Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Great resource on law enforcement program evaluation.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays!
Anyone interested in how to make law enforcement more effective must check out this DOJ website.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Newt Gingrich assaulting the power of judicial review?

Although the Supreme Court seems often to be a mixed blessing, its power of judicial review is long-established and essential to a free society. Newt Gingrich apparently would rein in the judicial branch and the Supreme Court. This is an extremely bad idea if you value a free society. Don't get me wrong, the Supreme Court has, often damaged freedom, e.g. Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, U.S. v. Miller, Korematsu v. U.S.. However, even in these cases, it only sanctioned action taken by the other branches or state legislatures) The Court has done more good than we can expect from the other two branches (e.g. Brown v. Bd. of Education, D.C. v. Heller, McDonald v. Chicago, U.S. v. Eichman). In these cases, the Court overruled unconstitutinal policy decisions by non-judicial actors. With all its warts, I trust the Supreme Court over the President and Congress. However, I am always wary of blog material without cites or links. I would appreciate a post if anyone has evidence that this blogger is wrong.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

9th Circuit cuts back on Taser Use

The 9th Circuit is one of the most liberal circuits and one of the most skeptical about police use of force. They have jurisdiction over only Calif. and 6 other Pacific Coast and/or western states. One wonders about the need to tase a woman who is 7-months pregnant and refuses to get out of the car after refusing to sign the ticket. At least they didn't Taser her in the abdomen. The court seems to be saying that Tasers cannot be used against a non-threatening suspect/arrestee. It remains to see if any of the other Circuits will go along. The U.S. Supreme Court has not decided this issue.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The only solution for Mexico?

Some time ago I suggested that the only resolution to Mexico's drug cartel reign of terror was a Mexican government deal with the cartels. Now that it has become obvious that the U.S. is both the cause and an exacerbation (American illegal drug purchases, Operation Fast and Furious, laundering $ for the cartels, etc. see prior posts) this solution seems even more inevitable. In this very pessimistic article this writer agrees.
"It will get worse here in Mexico, unless the Mexicans themselves do something about it. They probably cannot. Vicente Fox (former president of Mexico, as Americans are all aware) favors legalization everywhere, but the cartels can easily buy any country's politicians to prevent this. The Mexican public more and more favors reaching an accommodation with the narcos: “You sell your drugs and we will turn a blind eye, but put an end to kidnappings, extortion, and the murder of the uninvolved.” This might work because it would be in the interest of the traficantes, who could discourage kidnappers by killing them unpleasantly. Nothing that isn't in the interest of the nacros will work, since they are too strong to coerce".

Use of Death Penalty Plummeting

Use of the death penalty reached a 35 year low in the U.S.. Public support is also dropping although 61% still support the death penalty for convicted murderers.

Indefinite detention without charges or trial could be authorized

The government should not have the power to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone inside the U.S. without charges or a trial. This ambiguous and potentially dangerous provision in the National Defense Authorization Act should be vetoed in the interest of a free society.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Have Obama and the Far Left adopted the Cloward-Piven Strategy?

Reckless spending, huge deficits, policies which will harm private sector economic growth and hiring seen to be intentional strategies of the Obama administration and the Far Left. This approach is consistent with, and may have been inspired by the Cloward-Piven strategy. After all, the first significant move to the far Left in the U.S. took place in the Great Depression under FDR. When people get economically desperate they no long care about the Constitution and fending off authoritarianism. They will vote for whomever offers the best deal with their vote buying. Hitler took advantage of the Depression with his socialist, nationalist and racist promises in the Party's 25 points (that's why it was called "National Socialism"). Hitler was no fan of capitalism. He tolerated and used Germany's capitalists. In terms of economics and public welfare, Nazism was closer to the left than the right. In some respects it is an error to classify Nazism as right wing. Perhaps a great socialist on a white horse will emerge if the Left's strategy works in this country.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Authoritarian?"

I use the label "authoritarian" and "authoritarianism" frequently, but unfortunately, have not attempted to define the term. Let me start the attempt with the following:
My use of the term authoritarian is based at least in part on Erich Fromm’s famous book, Escape from Freedom.
“Authoritarianism: Fromm characterises the authoritarian personality as containing a sadist element and a masochist element. The authoritarian wishes to gain control over other people in a bid to impose some kind of order on the world, they also wish to submit to the control of some superior force which may come in the guise of a person or an abstract idea.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fear_of_Freedom

Most of us can accept the need from some degree of social control imposed by government. However, government is limited by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Too many on both the left and the right have the idea that it is necessary to control people to impose order, in spite of constitutional rights. The Left is often obsessed with gun control and eliminating poverty by radically and forcibly reallocating income and property. Hate speech must be crushed in spite of the fact that it is constitutionally protected. The Right is often obsessed with government enforcement conservative Christian morality, laissez-faire capitalism and a strong government. Criticisms of religion and patriotism must be stomped out in spite of that fact that they are protected by the First Amendment. Of course, neither group wants the controls to be aimed at themselves. That is the great hypocrisy from which both sides suffer.
For some on the left, the person is often Marx and the abstract idea has evolved into democratic socialism. The person may be Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Juan/Eva person, Che Guevara or Mao Tse-Tung or Barak Obama. The abstract idea for some may be total equality in all dimensions of life. This would require, a totalitarian government. On the right of course, that person could be Adolph Hitler (although one could argue that Hitler's domestic economics were Socialist) and the Neo-Nazis. All of these people have both good and bad ideas. Although obviously for many the bad ideas greatly outweighed any of their good ideas. The problem emerges when people follow these leaders slavishly and unthinkingly. They give up thinking for themselves in an open but critical fashion. The forget that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The basic problem is that many on both sides view individual rights they fear and dislike as dispensable. The ends justify the means (sacrificing the individual). Obviously, there are people, theorists and politicians who are exceptions, but hopefully you get the picture of what I am trying to say.
Authoritarianism can be both Left- and Right-Wing. Academia, which is dominated by the left, has focused primarily on it’s enemies on the right. IMHO, freedom and constitutional rights have enemies on both sides of the political spectrum.

U.S & Mexico's Drug Cartels: Part of the problem or part of the solution?

We all know that the voracious appetite of U.S. residents for illegal drugs is the main reasons why the cartels in Mexico are so powerful. Don't these druggies feel some guilt about all the innocent people and honest cops and military personnel in Mexico who are murdered by cartels? Who are these moral idiots who feel their drug habit is more important than the lives of innocent Mexicans? In addition to inexcusably providing weapons (via BATF), DEA has helped launder millions of dollars in cartel money. Looks to me like the U.S. is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Are some of our federal law enforcement agencies out of control? Arguably, some, including BATF have been out of control for decades (e.g. see Kopel and Blackman, "No More Wacos." Of course don't forget Ruby Ridge.

Left-wing authoritarianism on campus

It is unfortunate that authoritarianism and disrespect for the rights of others are prominent on some campuses when rights are asserted. I am reminded of student protests against desegregation and various forms of protected speech. However, even authoritarians have First Amendment rights. Some people just can't adjust when rights expand.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The real reason for Operation Gunwalker/Fast and Furious?

Thanks to Bennett Jones for the link. This is the only explanation I've heard so far that makes any sense. It has been my suspicion for a long time. Note this is from CBS, not Fox or the NRA. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Latest report on Taser use on Healthy Adults

This report concludes that Taser use on healthy, normal, adults does not pose a high risk of death or serious bodily injury. Nonetheless, Taser use on such people could still violate the Fourth Amendment (see post below for latest important Taser case).

Important Taser Case from Ninth Circuit

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to hear a Taser case. Thus, U.S. Court of Appeals decisions are the best we have on legal guidance on Taser use. This decision, from the often Left-leaning 9th Circuit, appears to significantly limit officer discretion to use the Taser.

One examination of the anti-Second Amendment mentality

There is plenty of authoritarianism on both the Left and Right to go around in this country. This article is a good examination of the Left's opposition to the Second Amendment and gun ownership.

Example of Left-wing material in scholarly journals.

There is lots of both left- and right-wing claptrap in "scholarly" journals. Because the left dominates academia there is more of the left-wing propaganda which cannot even be remotely considered unbiased. IMHO, here's a prime example. I know nothing about this particular individual, but there's a good chance he is employed by a taxpayer funded institution. However, I respect his First Amendment right to publish whatever he sees fit.

Monday, November 21, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I'm Signing off until early next week. I hope everyone has a safe and happy THANKSGIVING!

Use of pepper spray against Occupiers costs officers

UC Davis took action against two of its campus police officers who pepper-sprayed passively resisting Occupy demonstrators. These tactics may only create sympathy for the demonstrators, anger sympathizers, help recruitment into the movement, and increase their credibility. Of course, this might be what some of the demonstrators and/or their leaders were hoping for.

What is the best method for creating new, long-term jobs in the U.S?

The Obama administration seems to believe that more government spending on temporary projects is the best way to create jobs. Common sense suggests that recovery and growth of the private sector is the way to go. Government projects only raise the deficit and create economic uncertainty among the segments of the private sector who have the capital to create real jobs.
It is thus not surprising that the Obama administration has put off deciding on a large-scale private sector project that would create both temporary and long-term jobs and lower the cost of oil in the U.S.--the Keystone XL pipeline. The environmental concerns have already been addressed. See the linked article by a well-known Texas economist.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Great article on Libertarianism.

Link to "Left and Right: the Prospects for Liberty," by Murray Rothbard (1965). Note thaT when Rothbard refers to "Liberalism" he (e.g. p. 3)is referring the "Classical Liberalism" not the contemporary liberalism exemplified by Roosevelt's New Deal (see p. 12.) This is a classic statement of libertarianism. Being a "cautious" libertarian I do not necessarily agree with everything in the article, but it is a classic in libertarian thought. If you are interested in libertarianism or political philosophy (e.g. there are discussion of socialism and Marxism) this is a very worthwhile read of only 23 pages. Lew Rockwell's website is a little too "uncautious" for me in many respects, but is a good website for libertarian thought.

The Obama Care Case in Plain English

This article from scotusblog attempts to use plain English to explain the ObamaCare cases before the Supreme Court. The Court decided to hear 3 separate appeals from lower courts. As the article states, this decision will be a "historic one." Hopefully the decison will be announced in June or July.

Great article on Limited Government from Forbes.

Couldn't have said it better myself

69% believe ObamaCare is Unconstitutional

According to this Rasmussen poll, 69% of Americans believe the federal government has no power under the Constitution to require that people purchase medical purchase. Let's hope 69% of the Supreme Court agrees and reinforces the concept that the federal government is one of limited powers.

Recusal Refusal: Latest on the ObamaCare case

Justices Thomas and Kagan refused to recuse themselves (sit out) the ObamaCare case.
No net change as Thomas will vote almost certainly vote against it, Kagan (appointed by Obama) will almost certainly vote for it. Obama sought "empathetic" Justices for the Supreme Court. How could any sincerely "empathetic" Justice vote against expanding the welfare state? They will cancel each other out. As usual, J. Kennedy will be the swing vote in what is very likely to be a 5-4 decision.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More on ObamaCare case

More on the Supreme Court's ObamaCare case at Scotus blog.com. The usual suspects reacted as expected. NY Times in favor of the law, Wall St. Journal hopes it is overturned.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Supreme Court to hear ObamaCare case

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases on the constitutional challenges to ObamaCare. Although what the Justices say during oral argument will probably give a better basis for predictions, based on prior cases, the Court's 4 conservatives (Scalia, Thomas, Alito and C.J. Roberts) will vote against ObamaCare. The Court's 4 liberals (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomay and Kagan) will vote for it. Kennedy will be the swing vote. This will decision will be HUGE in what it says about the powers of the federal government. If ObamaCare is upheld, it will be only a short step to a federal government with no constitutional limits save the Bill of Rights. The doctrine of "enumerated powers" will be only a verbal shell.

More covering up on Operation Fast and Furious?

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry may have been murdered by a gun allowed to get into Mexico as part of BATF's Operation Fast and Furious. The criminal case against one his alleged murderers has been sealed. Even the docket is hidden from public view. One organization calls this an "extraordinary step" in which the "risks of abuse are very high." More CYA?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Income inequality propaganda exposed.

The Left and Occupiers make great complaint about the unequal distribution of income in the U.S. No doubt it exists, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Our progressive income tax was intended to make the wealthy pay more, but a multitude of exemptions, deductions, credits, etc. tend to defeat this. Perhaps this is where reform should come. However, the Left wants more, actual income equality (a form of "social justice"). As usual Thomas Sowell points out the sloppy thinking (if not propaganda) of the income equality position.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Another Plea in W. Texas (Winkler County) Retaliation-Against-Nurses Scandal

Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles, Jr., The Winkler County Texas M.D. who started the ball rolling for the unlawful retaliation against two nurses who reported his misconduct, finally got his comeuppance. The two others involved, the Sheriff and County Attorney (who was acting D.A.) have already been sentenced (see prior posts).

U.S. Taxpayers contributing to European Bailouts

The economic crises and riots in Greece, Portugal and Ireland and the impending crisis in Italy are major economic concerns in the U.S. It appears that American taxpayers are at least indirectly contributing to the bailouts of European governments who are reaping the consequences of huge deficits brought on by reckless spending and vote-buying. It doesn't make any difference who is in the White House, or who controls Congress, the more people find out about their own government the angrier they should get (e.g. Operation Fast and Furious).

Monday, November 07, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is a secret Wall Street Plot?

I knew it! Occupy Wall Street is really a corporate/Wall Street/capitalist plot to make more money. OWS applied for a trademark so it can protect the market for its T-shirts, flags, and other goods.

The lessons of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and California for the U.S.

Over a century ago, I think it was de Tocqueville who quipped that democracy would work well in America until politicians figured out they can buy votes with benefits, programs, etc. We hit that point a long time back, and both liberals and conservatives have been guilty. Left-wing Democrats and Obama, however, are the most culpable so far.

Look at the patterns for the economic problems in Western Europe and many places in the U.S. such as California. In Europe, Italy is the latest (following Greece, Ireland and Portugal) to go into a financial crisis.

It is not rocket science to figure out how this happens on the city, state and national levels. Politicians offer high wages, generous retirements to government employees. Government lowers the retirement age and promises big benefits. Government employees and their unions, become strong political supporters.The poor a given handouts rather than real opportunities to improve their lot. The government really doesn't want these folks to become successful. Once their dependence on handouts end, they no longer need those politicians. The public slowly gets drawn in with programs. Anyone who hints that benefits, salaries, etc. might have to be cut will not get elected. The politician with the best handout package is likely to get elected. The deficits balloons and default and bankruptcy become likely. The government responds with job-creation programs that only exacerbate the deficit and creates no long-term jobs. Domestic and foreign investors get nervous and cut back. With no private sector investment, no jobs are resuscitated and no new jobs are created. Government bond ratings go down and the issuers have to raise the interest rates to get new borrowers. Leftists try to play the race card and the politics of envy. They blame corporations and Wall Street, when it's government that started and created the basic mess. It's a vicious circle. Austerity programs bring discontent and rioting. You don't have to be a genius to see that this is where the U.S. is headed. You can argue that this will not happen to the world's largest economy. However, when will China become the world's largest and most powerful economy and then the U.S. has to dance to all the Chinese, Saudi and other U.S. debt buyers? The handwriting is on the wall! If you can't figure out who to vote against in the 2012 presidential elections, there's no hope for you. However, it goes beyond that, vote for people with some realistic understanding of real world economics. As the Trojans said "beware of Greeks bearing gifts."

NRA's theory on BATF's Gunwaler/Fast and Furious Operation

One always has to take the NRA's claims with a grain of salt, but this one might be right. I have wracked my brain for a logical explanation for BATF's illogical and dangerous operation Gunrunner. The NRA's position makes more sense than anything I've been able to come up with.

Friday, November 04, 2011

More economic common sense

Have you ever found an article that says what you want to say, but says it a lot better than you can. This article on Greece, Ireland, and the European economic crisis says it all and has a message for America. Government financed job-creation programs only create temporary jobs, increase the deficit and exacerbate economic uncertainty. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is not going to go down markedly until the private sector feels confident enough to invest in America. That's one thing that the left and "occupiers" don't seem to get.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Latest on BATF's Fast and Furious Scandal

The more the media digs into the trash mound, the smellier it gets. Latest on Operation "Gunwalker/Fast & Furious." Everyone involved is currently in the denial mode. How long will it be until a sacrificial lamb (e.g. Napolitano?) will be thrown under the bus/sacrificed? This is not Fox News or the NRA reporting, this is CBS!

New Social Science Fraud

We rely on the social sciences for help in solving policy and legal puzzles. Unfortunately, fraud is rarely discovered and is probably more prevalent than we think. I am reminded of the Bellesiles fraud. Given that most of academia leans Left, I wonder how many "progressive" policies are based on unreliable studies and data. Don't get me wrong, there are academics on the Right who are guilty of the same thing. There are just more academics on the Left.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

S.Ct. case on liability for false testiimony before grand jury

Another example of law enforcement and prosecutor wrongdoing. Issue is what kind of immunity from civil suit the officers get. IMHO no absolute (total) immunity, just qualified immunity (requires good faith by public officers). There has to be some accountability. This case reminds me a little of the West Texas nurses case covered in prior post.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

An equal protection/due process victory for gun rights.

Excerpts from State of Washington v. Ibrahim. "Sweeney, J. — This appeal follows the conviction of a legal alien for violating a former statute that required aliens to register all firearms. Citizens are not required to register their firearms. The defendant here was a permanent legal alien when he was arrested for possession of a firearm. We conclude that the statute violates the defendant’s right to equal protection of laws and we therefore reverse the conviction and dismiss the prosecution." . . . The United States Supreme Court has held that rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution extend “to a class of persons who are part of a national community orwho have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.” United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265, 110 S.Ct. 1056, 108 L. Ed. 2d 222 (1990). That includes those who are legally in the country and excludes those who are illegally in the country. United States ex rel. Turner v.Williams, 194 U.S. 279, 292, 24 S. Ct. 719, 48 L. Ed. 979 (1904). Mr. Ibrahim falls within that class of people who have developed a sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community. He is a legal alien and before now had no convictions. The State argues that the former statute’s requirement that any alien “obtain an alien firearm license” eliminates any constitutional infirmity. The problem with the State’s argument is that it ignores the absence of any such requirement for a citizen. And again it makes no compelling case based on anything in this record why an alien legally in this country should be treated any differently than a citizen. And more importantly, as we have already concluded, it denies due process of law by discriminating between legal aliens and citizens." For more on this and the current, now presumptively unconstitutional statute, see this post. Note there is also a similar federal statute that may also be unconstitutional. Here is the full opinion.

Book recommendation: Gun Fight by Prof. Adam Winkler

For a relatively balanced treatment of gun control and Second Amendment issues I recommend Prof. Adam Winkler's Gun Fight. I have read the book and will be using it in both my graduate and undergraduate classes on guns. It has gotten good reviews for its lack of polemics that usually go along with the topic. It is suitable for the average college-educated reader. You don't have to be a legal eagle to appreciate it.

Important 4th Amend case at Supreme Court--U.S. v. Jones

GPS devices are now commonplace in society and police work. This Supreme Court case will hopefully provide some Fourth Amendment answers.

Victory for Second Amendment and Due Process

I agree with this ruling on both the Second Amendment and due process issues.However, this was just a trial court ruling. The state will undoubtedly appeal. See this post at the Volokh Conspiracy. I highly recommend this website.

Gun ownership, oppositon to more gun control and support for 2nd Amend. on the rise in the U.S.

In recent years, the poll data on a "gun in the home," has shown a decline. Many consider this an artifact of polling because of the "socially desirable response" bias and distrust of government and pollsters. Recent polls show that the percentage of households showing a gun in the home has gone up. Support for more gun control is down. If the federal interstate reciprocity for concealed carry bill makes it through Congress, will Obama veto it? Tough call for him as not vetoing it will alienate the ideologues in his own party. On the other hand, vetoing it will cost him mainstream votes and votes in the South, Midwest and parts of the West. (A strong majority of the population agrees that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms.) It will also mean more money for the NRA's political coffers. Tough call for Barak! A veto will show his true, far-left, authoritarian, ideological colors. Recall Candidate Obama's bigoted remarks in his 2008 campaign about "bitter" small-town and rural yokels who cling to their guns and religion. Looks like it not just the bitter yokels who have guns.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Economics and the First Amendment

The Occupy Wall Street folks are tremendously naive. They believe Wall Street is responsible for the collapse. Partly, but the U.S. government is more culpable. It started with federal legislation encouraging banks to make home loans to very high risk borrowers. It was exacerbated by a lack of investor confidence in the government and economy because of a federal debt that was out of control and an ObamaCare plan which would cost billions and jobs. Yes, there was criminality and corruption on Wall Street and it needs to be dealt with. However, bailing out obviously mismanaged firms sent the wrong message. They think some kind of socialism is the cure. (See Economist Walter Williams recent column) They haven't been doing much reading about the crisis in Greece and the EEU. They don't get it that there is no such thing as a free lunch or pie in the sky. However, I respect their First Amendment right to protest peacefully.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occasionally, I like to pass on materials that I am using for my courses. This excerpt examines the problem of judges (both liberal and conservative) who believe that their ideology, rather than Constitution, is the Supreme Law of the land (a la Seigel and Spaeth's Attitudinal Model of Supreme Court decisionmaking). As Bork notes, both conservative and liberal judges have been guilty. JUDGES USING THEIR IDEOLOGY TO DECIDE CASES: The excerpts below are from a 1990 book for Robert Bork, a strident conservative whose nomination to the Supreme Court was defeated by the Senate. Although Bork’s primary target is the political Left (liberals), he recognizes that conservatives have been guilty in the past and would probably commit the same offenses if they had the power. Many liberal critics of the Roberts Courts conservative decisions would probably make similar allegations against the conservative Justices currently on the Supreme Court. Although I agree with Bork, the validity of Bork and these critics arguments are for you to decide. IMHO, the Roberts Court has been less guilty than most Supreme Courts since at least the 1920’s. The Warren Court was, less guilty than many assume. Excerpts from The Tempting of America by Robert Bork, New York: The Free Press, 1990, pp1-12 (underlining and [ ] by instructor) “In the past few decades American institutions have struggled with the temptations of politics. Professions and academic disciplines succumbed, in some cases almost entirely, to the belief that nothing matters beyond politically desirable results, however achieved. In this quest, politics invariably tries to dominate another discipline, to capture and use it foe politics’ own purposes, while the second subject—law, religion, literature, economics, science, journalism, or whatever—struggles to maintain its independence. But retaining a separate identity and integrity becomes increasingly difficult as more and more areas of our culture, including the life of the Intellect, become politicized. It is coming to be denied that anything counts, not logic, not objectivity, not even intellectual honesty, that stands in the way of the “correct” political outcome. [In this writer’s opinion, many in the social sciences, including those in the fields of Criminology and Criminal Justice, have given into the “temptation.”] The process by which this is accomplished may vary from field to field, from universities to media to courts. In law, the moment of temptation is the moment of choice, when a judge realizes that in the case before him his strongly held view of justice, his political and moral imperative, is not embodied in a statue or in any provision of the Constitution. He must then choose between his version of justice and abiding by the American form of government. Yet the desire to do justice, whose nature seems to him obvious, is compelling while the concept of constitutional process is abstract, rather arid, and the abstinence it counsels unsatisfying. To give in to temptation, this one time, solves an urgent human problem, and a faint crack appears in the American foundation. A judge has begun to rule where a legislature should. The American people are tempted as well. Many of the results seem good, and they are told that the choice is between a cold, impersonal logic, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, morality and compassion. This has always been the song of the tempter, and now it is heard incessantly from those who would politicize the courts and the Constitution, as a necessary stage in the politicization of the culture at large. . . . Those who would politicize the law offer the public, and the judiciary, the temptation of results without regard to democratic legitimacy. This strategy, however, contains the seeds of its own destruction. Since the politicization of the law has, for half a century, moved results steadily to the left, a very large number of Americans do not like those outcomes. Increasingly, they are not deceived by the claim that those results are compelled by the actual Constitution. This perception delegitimizes the law in their eyes. There are signs that law may be at a tipping stage in the public perception of its legitimacy. Americans increasingly view the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, as political rather than legal institutions. Perhaps a lesson may be learned from another great institution: the press. The political coloration of news reporting is easier for the public to see than is that of judicial decision-making, and, as the press has in fact become more political, it has lost legitimacy with large sections of that public. Something of the same thing may be happening to law, more slowly but perhaps as inexorably. Conservatives, who now, by and large, want neutral judges, may decide to join the game and seek activist judges with conservative views. Should that come to pass, those who have tempted the courts to political judging will have destroyed a great and essential institution. . . . In the clash of law and politics, the integrity of the law has already been seriously undermined and the quality of its future remains very much in doubt. . . .When the Supreme Court invokes the constitution, whether legitimately or not, as to that issue the democratic process is at an end. . . . [In Washington, D.C.] . . . demonstrators march past the Houses of Congress with hardly a glance and go straight to the Supreme Court building to make their moral sentiments known where they perceive those sentiments to be relevant. The demonstrators on both sides believe the issue to be moral, not legal. So far as they are concerned, however, the primary political branch of government, to which they must address their petitions, is the Supreme Court. . . . The judiciary’s great office is to preserve the constitutional design. It does this not only by confining Congress and the President to the powers granted them by the Constitution and seeing that the powers granted are not used to invade the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, but also, and equally important, by ensuring that the democratic authority of the people is maintained in the full scope given by the constitution. . . . But if judges are, as they must be to perform their vital role, unelected, unaccountable, and unrepresentative, who is to protect us from the power of the judges? How are we to be guarded from our guardians? The answer can only be that judges must consider themselves bound by law that is independent of their own views of the desirable. They must not make or apply any policy not fairly to be found in the Constitution or statue. It is of course true that judges to some extent must make law every time they decide a case, but it is minor, interstitial lawmaking. . . . No matter the base from which they start, they all wind up in the same place, prescribing a new constitutional law that is much more egalitarian and socially permissive than either the actual Constitution or the legislative opinion of the American public. That, surely, is the point of their efforts. . . . There is a story that two of the greatest figures in our law, Justice Holmes and judge Learned Hand, had lunch together and afterward, as Holmes began to drive off in his carriage, Hand, in a sudden onset of enthusiasm, ran after him, crying, “Do justice, sir, do justice.” Holmes stopped the carriage and reproved Hand: “that is not my job. It is my job to apply the law.” . . . The heresy described is not peculiar to any political outlook. When it has suited their purpose, conservatives as well as liberals have surrendered to its temptation. Given the chance, no doubt many conservatives would be delighted to succumb again. If I address the failings of liberals more than those of conservatives, it is only because liberalism or ultraliberalism is currently in the ascendancy in constitutional theory and practice. The orthodoxy of original understanding, and the political neutrality of judging it requires, are anathema to a liberal culture that for fifty years has won a succession of political victories from the courts and that hopes for more political victories in the future. The representatives of that culture hate the American orthodoxy because they have moral and political agendas of their own that cannot be found in the Constitution and that no legislature, or at least none whose members wish to be reelected, will enact. That is why these partisans want judges who will win their victories for them by altering the Constitution. . . . Those who now dominate public discourse on these matters recognize that, if the Constitution is the law, departures from the principles the ratifiers understood themselves to be enacting are illegitimate. Yet such departures are essential if the results desired by the liberal culture are to be achieved through the courts. It follows that the Constitution cannot be law. Thus, the morality and politics of the intellectual or knowledge class, a class that extends well beyond the universities, can be made into constitutional law. The class I describe is not necessarily composed of people who are good at intellectual work. They are defined as a class because of their work, however adroitly or maladroitly, with words and ideas. For reasons that will be discussed, they tend to have values antagonistic to a traditional, bourgeois society. It is not much to say that these people see the Constitution as a weapon in a class struggle about social and political values. Judges are by definition members of the intellectual class and, in addition, for professional and personal reasons, tend to be influenced by the culture of the law schools. Like most people, judges tend to accept the assumptions of the culture that surrounds them, often without fully understanding the foundations of those assumptions or their implications. . . . Though the Court once legislated results that may be called conservative (which was also an illegitimate judicial role), rarely, if ever, in the past fifty years has it done so. . . . When Courts are viewed as political bodies, we may expect judicial confirmations that are increasingly bitter. We may also expect a constitutional law that lurches suddenly in one direction or another as one faction or another gains the upper hand, a constitutional law that is seen as too crucial a political weapon to be left to nonpolitical judges, and certainly too important to be left to the actual Constitution. . . . It is the enterprise of the large majority of this intelligentsia to justify the political behavior of the Court in the past and to provide theories that will draw the Court ever farther along the path of left-liberal Constitution rewriting."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10 AZ Sheriffs (Repub & Dem) Demand Independent Investigation of "Fast & Furious"

Bipartisan push for independent investigation of BATF's operation "fast and furious"/"Gunrunner. Sounds like a good idea. This is not the NRA talking, this is state law enforcement talking via CBS evening news. Good video!

Abolish Federal Death Penalty?

A bill has been introduced to totally abolish the federal death penalty. Because of the real problem of executing innocent people, I would like to see fewer offenses subject to the penalty. However, shouldn't we at least preserve it for future Timothy McVeighs?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

BATF presursor to Fast & Furious?

Operation Wide Receiver: BATF's precursor to Operation Fast and Furious? The more you dig, the smellier it gets. Sunlight is the best disinfectant!

Latest on BATF's Fast and Furious Scandal

Obama defends AG Holder. Claims Holder did not know about BATF's operation fast and furious in which over 2000 firearms were permitted by BATF to pass illegally into Mexico. However, there is some evidence suggesting Holder knew about the operation. Will congressional investigation reveal a "smoking gun?" Will Obama be forced to jettison Holder? Stay tuned.

More authoritarianism in Higher ed at SHSU.

First Amendment rights take a hit at Sam Houston State University. Doesn't speak well for the learning atmosphere at SHSU. Doesn't anybody care about freedom of speech and press anymore?

Most recent Second Amendment decision

In a case Dubbed Heller II,the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the District's stringent post-Heller new gun laws. One Justice dissented. The majority refused to use strict scrutiny or any test with any teeth. The Court used a "reasonably related" to an "important governmental interest." Under this test, Second Amendment rights are worth very little. The U.S. Supreme Court needs to take a Second Amendment case and settle this issue. For more on this, see this article from Reason magazine. The opinions are long but available in pdf

Monday, October 03, 2011

Potential Second Amendment cases at the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court went back into session today. (See post below) Many are hoping the Court will select a Second Amendment case for decision (grant a writ of certiorari). The Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald left many unanswered questions. One of these is whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home. Both Heller and McDonald involved handgun bans applying to the home. In spite of the fact that the Second Amendment states “bear” arms, most Courts have refused to provide protection outside the home. Thus far, the Court has NOT agreed to hear any Second Amendment cases. The Court recently decided not to hear Williams v. Maryland (10-1207), involving a person who was carrying a gun at a bus stop while on his way home from picking up the weapon at his girlfriend’s home . Currently, the only other two potential cases are Masciandaro v. U.S. (10-11212) and Chein v. California (10-1474). The Court has not yet decided whether to hear these cases. Other potential cases may still be in the pipeline. There is still time for the Court to accept a Second Amendment cases. Stay tuned.

U.S. S.Ct. term starts today (Mon. Oct 3).

The U.S. Supreme Court's Oct. 2011-12 term started today. The constitutionality of ObamaCare is the high profile issues, but there are others. The decisions on the big cases usually do not come out until the end of the term (May-June). Later posts will highlight some of these cases.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On-line book review of a timely book

My latest publication is a review of a book about privacy and security in post-911 America. This is a relatively readable book about a very important topic.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fullerton CA officer charged with 2nd degree murder

A Fullerton, CA police officer was recently charged with second-degree murder. The officer's own recording device reports that he said "See my fists? They are going to f___ you up." This occurred shortly before the victim was beaten (incl. stun gun) to death. Some agencies are now requiring that officers' record (audio and/ or video) all encounters with citizens. For some of these agencies this has replaced in the in-car video cameras. Sounds like a good policy. It will help clear or convict officers without the usual swearing contests that are often difficult to decide.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Second Amendment decision

9th Circuit concludes that,despite Second Amendment, habitual drug users cannot traffic in firearms. Sensible decision to me. No constitutional right is absolute. "Because Defendant also had a business of dealing in firearms, a jury convicted him of, among other things, shipping and receiving firearms through interstate commerce while using a controlled substance, in violation of § 922(g)(3") I could be wrong, but it does not appear that he was convicted of mere possession in his home. The case might be different if defendant was charged with mere possession of weapon in his home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Too much education, too little learning

Black economist Walter Williams hits the nail on the head again: Citing the research of AEI scholar Charles Murray's 2008 book "Real Education," Vedder says: "The number going to college exceeds the number capable of mastering higher levels of intellectual inquiry. This leads colleges to alter their mission, watering down the intellectual content of what they do." In other words, colleges dumb down courses so that the students they admit can pass them

Gun Murders down in U.S.

In spite of the fact that the number of handguns and all firearms increases every year, the rates and absolute numbers of handgun and firearms homicides has decreased every year since at least 2006. This is not what one would expect if guns cause homicide.

Oath Keepers organization

Thanks to Bennett Jones for providing a link to this interesting organization. Glad to see some folks taking the Constitution seriously.

Latest on BATF's Fast and Furious Scandal

Much to the dismay of the Obama administration, the BATF Gunwalker/Fast and Furious scandal just won't go away. See the latest here from CBS News.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NOPD under consent decree

After the conviction of NOPD officers in the Danziger Bridge incident, the Department has agreed to a consent decree to try to clean up the wide-spread problems. The consent decree will be overseen by a federal judge and will include a monitor who will check to see that NOPD is implementing the required changes. LAPD appears to have markedly improved under a similar decree. Although the article does not so specify, it appears that this consent decree is the result of a threat of federal "pattern or practice" litigation against the agency.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Gun Control in Public Housing.

One of the most pernicious forms of gun control are bans on residents of public housing possessing guns IN THEIR HOMES. These are obvious violations of the Second Amendment, yet they persist. San Francisco and some other cites dropped these bans after being sued, but they still persist. The latest suit was filed against Wilmington, Del. See this piece by the Cesar Rodney Foundation. By the way, this is not a gun-group. It is an improve Delaware government group. The public ends up paying litigation expenses and the attorneys' fees of challengers. The taxpayer foots the bill for politicians who want to ride their ideological hobby horses. These types of bans are amongst the worse. Public housing projects tend to have extremely high crime rates. Criminals living there will have guns no matter what the law or lease says. The disarmed law-abiding residents will be at the mercy of armed criminals. Arguably, the people who need the Second Amendment most are deprived of its protection. Of course, we all know the general demographics of public housing residents. Does that play a role? We all know that politicians and media types don't live in public housing.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Great quote about the citizen and the government

“It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into [political or ideological beliefs that are] error. It is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” Mr. Justice Jackson, concurring in part and dissenting in part in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 439 (1950).

CBS News on BATF coverup

Good short article from CBS on BATF in Gunwalker scandal. Heads have already rolled, but, as usual, the higher-ups (e.g. Holder) will escape responsibility. The stonewalling and evasion continues. Anyone who thought things would be different in D.C. after Obama took over was terrible naive. As usual, it's CYA in Washington.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NJ S.Ct. Changes Rules on Eyewitness ID's.

Faulty eyewitness identifications are one of the main causes of wrongful convictions. The NJ Supreme Court tightens up the rules on such testimony. Overall, I think this is a good move.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Left-wing Attack on Constitutional Rights

These proposed federal rules are an example of left-wing political correctness that diminishes constitutional protection. Welcome to the Obama version of the Constitution. To paraphrase an old saying: Eternal vigilance as to attacks from both the left and right is the price of liberty.

Monday, August 29, 2011

County owes over $4.1 BILLION

Yes folks, you read it correctly, a COUNTY owes at total of over $4.1 BILLION. That's Billion with a "B," not Million with an "M." I bet there are some NATIONS out there that don't owe that much. This is mind-boggling! According to the Dallas Morning News, the county's "problems arise from a mix of outdated sewer pipes, the economy, court rulings and public corruption". (Sat. Aug. 13, p. 5A, col. 1-4.) The biggest debt is $3.1 for the sewer system. Looks like the the strategy of buying votes by spending but not raising taxes adequately has finally caught up with some folks. These county leaders need to think about running for Congress! Where do the voters find these people? It looks like irresponsible spending exists at all levels of government (U.S. California, Jefferson County). For more see link.

Friday, August 26, 2011

More on the "entitlement mentality"

Let's not forget about small town newspapers as sources of insight.

Challenge to law forbidding taping cops in public

ACLU v. Alvarez. Even if you are not an ACLU fan, this suit needed to be brought. Hopefully the statute will be struck down. This is the type of law you come to expect from one of nations most corrupt states.

Great piece from Thomas Sowell

Great article by Thomas Sowell. Although I do not always agree with him, and use of the term "degeneration" may be a little strong, in all 3 parts of this series he pretty much hits the nail on the head. Especially relevant is his statement: "Our elites often advise us to learn from other countries. They usually mean that we should imitate other countries. But it may be far more important to learn from their mistakes -- the biggest of which may be listening to fashionable nonsense from the smug intelligentsia.These [western European and Mediterranean] countries show us where that smug nonsense leads. It may be a sneak preview of our own future". Please read the prior two parts. Part Two is here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

My apologies to Followers

The followers list has disappeared from my and other blogs. I have not deleted you. Blogger has been working on a fix since July 28. However, no fix yet. If anyone knows of a fix, please let me know.

Great Report on Gun Control

Great report from CRS regarding gun control. See esp. the rate data on p. Although the number of firearms in the U.S. increases each year, the rate of firearms murders has been declining since 2006. See also "gun-related statistics" on p. 4 regarding lack of evidence on a causal connection.

Friday, August 12, 2011

11th Circuit strikes down individual mandate in Obamacare

The 11th Circuit has found the individual mandate in Obamacare unconstitutional. I agree with the decision. If the idea of enumerated powers and a government with Art I limits on its powers is to remain meaningful, this has to be done. Lower courts have split about 50/50 on this. This will be the big case for the 2011-2012 term.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs found guilty.

FLDS church leader Warren Jeffs was convicted of child sexual assault and faces up to 119 years in prison. Is it just me or does it seem that there's something wrong with those who believe that a man in his 50's can get to heaven by having sex with young girls?

Danziger Bridge Cops Found Guilty

Five curent and former New Orleans cops found guilty in the death of 2 on NO's Danziger Bridge during the Katrina aftermath. Some of the convictions involved attempts to cover up the truth of the incident. Jurors found the officer guilty on almost all counts. Sentencing will be in Dec. All officers face long prison sentences Glad to see the courts sending a message to the police, public and the victims.

Findlaw's top 5 recent S.Ct. decisions

Findlaw's five top Supreme Court decisions of 2010-11 term. I agree with #1 (Snyder) and #3 (King). I have mixed feelings about # 4 (Brown) It is well established that minors get less First Amend. protection. The argument that parents will protect their children is a joke. Interestingly, one very liberal (Breyer) and one very conservative (Thomas) Justice dissented. Don't know enough about 2 and 5 to express an opinion. What do you think?

Friday, August 05, 2011

NRA & others call for AG Holder's Resignation

The outrage over Operation Fast and Furious and other "missteps" by the USDOJ has led to calls for Obama's Attorney General to resign. Not likely to happen with elections coming up next year. Resignation would be interpreted as a sign of culpability.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Latest on Notorious 1971 Skyjacker "D.B. Cooper"

One of the most famous unsolved American crimes was the 1971 skyjacking by "D.B. Cooper." Here's the latest.

More Second Amendment Challenges to Ill. Gun Law

Illinois has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in nation. They are increasingly coming under legal attack. Stay tuned.

Officer Charged in Taser Incident

A Pa. police officer faces multiple charges involving use of a Taser. I don't know if it is an artifact of more complete reporting, but it seems to me that criminal charges against police officers seem to be more common in the recent past than in the prior 11 years.

Video Honoring Slain Border Patrol Agent

New video honors slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DOJ to investigate Newark N.J. PD

Hopefully things will improve in Newark now that they will be scrutinized more heavily, but it's easier to talk about change than get it in the real world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hearings on BATF's "Fast and Furious Resume Today"

The second round of congressional hearings on BATF's outrageous operation fast and furious begin today. I love to see arrogant bureaucrats who are exposed squirm in the spotlights. Stay tuned.

NRA sues D.C. over Housing Authority Gun Ban

The Second Amendment protects everyone, even those in public housing. Government cannot condition receipt of public benefits on renunciation of a constitutional right. This case should have been brought long ago.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Step Forward for BART after the Mesherles incident

It's not rocket science to conclude that the police cannot effectively police themselves. I hope this new auditor for BART has enough authority, funds and independence, etc. to make it work. He will still may have the penetrate the blue wall of silence that infects many agencies. It is always good to see police agencies at least making an attempt to mprove. Good luck BART!

More on BATF & Mexico

BATF's SNAFU's on Gunwalker and Fast and Furious continue to reverberate in Mexico. No wonder they don't trust the gringos.

Latest on Operation Fast and Furious

As time goes by, BATF begins to look even worse than we imagined.

Another Second Amendment & related SNAFUs

Assuming the allegations are true, the conduct of these officers is constitutionally unacceptable and another example of harassment of law-abiding citizens. I am reminded of the harassment and arrest of black people in the 60's who refuse to go to the back of the bus. The DA's interpretation of the Second Amendment seems to be that it protects carrying only of unloaded weapons. Completely unjustified and ludicrous. Finally, why hasn't one of these officers (Belt) been suspended or fired (see link to court judgment). Welcome to the land of the free and home of the brave!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Great quote re police and the police state

Came across this great quote which says so much: "A policeman's job is only easy in a police state." This is from Orson Welles'1958 movie, "A Touch of Evil." Unfortunately too many police chiefs trample on people's rights (e.g. Second Amendment) to try to make their job easier. They are not sophisticated enough to figure out that gun control does not reduce crime.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Intresting lawsuit from Montana on limiting federal gun control

Interesting lawsuit from Montana. Existing precedents favor the feds, but I hope this one gets to the Supreme Court.

Illegal alien not part of Second Amendment "people."

The Fifth Circuit (Texas, La., Miss) held that illegal aliens are not entitled to Second Amendment protection. The dissent raises some troubling issues, but, on first impression I agree with the majority as far as the Second Amendment goes. Although I haven't thought it out much, it seems to me that the definition of "people" must be read in the specific context of the specific right. On the other hand, one can argue that the natural law right, from which the Second Amendment springs, extends to all persons, in the U.S., citizens or not. I hope this case gets to the U.S. Supreme Court.

More mission creep in Libya?

The U.S. formally recognized the rebels are the lawful government in Libya. After Obama and others said he has to go (and the international court charged him with crimes) it is not surprising that Gadhafi dug in his heels. Pres. Obama's arrogant end-around the War Powers Act re Libya is starting to look like mission creep. Congress needs to seriously consider cutting off funds.

Mexicans also angry about BATF's Opn Fast & Furious

Glad to see that at least some folks in Mexico are beginning to see that they are the primary victims of BATF's idiotic Operation Fast and Furious!

Primer on Driving While Stoned

Although it may not contain anything some of you don't already know, this is a good, short article.

New high tech tool for police

New high tech tool for police. Based on current Fourth Amendment theory I don't see any problems with this if it happens in a public place and police do not have to restrain the suspect. Restraint would require at least a reasonable suspicion.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OperationFast and Furious Timeline

The Fast and Furious Scandal is a complex one. See the CBS News timeline.

First Congressional Report on BATF's Fast and Furious

The first report from Congress on BATF's disastrous Operation Fast and Furious is out. If you already have high blood pressure, I suggest you pass on this. Your tax money at work!

A 51st State?

Some conservative California counties want to split off and form a new state. Not much chance of this getting through. Thanks to Chris Gage for this item!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Chicago's post-McDonald Gun law exposed

It is always disgraceful when public officials deliberately attempt to defeat the Constitution (which they have sworn to uphold) and Supreme Court decisions. I am reminded of southern resistance to public school desegregation. After Chicago lost before the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago, it tried the scheme challenged in this court case. This case is not over yet as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals approved only a preliminary injunction against the city. There is more to come in this case, but it appears that the Constitution will prevail. You really need to read this case to see how little respect the Constitution gets in Chicago. As the concurring opinion notes, this was a "thumbing of the municipal nose at the Supreme Court." If you think the fight for individual Second Amendment rights is over, you'd better think again. Another scary thing to remember in the upcoming Presidential elections is that the Second Amendment hangs by one vote in the Supreme Court. Our current President appointed two Justices who are clearly anti-Second Amendment. Fortunately, they only replaced two older Justices who were also anti-Second Amendment. To paraphrase a famous saying: "Eternal vigilance [and voting are] the price of liberty"

These officers should have been terminated

Dangerous, stupid, immature conduct inside police stations should not be tolerated. both officers drew weapons. A handgun was discharged. Although no one was hurt, one week unpaid supervision as discipline is a joke! Tampa PD has apparently dumbed down it's expectations for its officers.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Reflecting on the Fourth of July

As we celebrate the 4th of July, please take a moment to reflect on where we came from and where we are now. The two main complaints of the rebellious colonists were lack of representation in Parliament and deprivations of liberty. We now have representation, but I’m not so confident about our liberty. As noted before, constitutional liberty is under constant attack from both the political left and right. I’ve been taking lots of shots at the liberals, but they hold the White House and during Democratic dominance in Congress passed lots of constitutionally questionable legislation. Let me try to add some balance to this debate. In the spirit of constitutional rights, I call upon my friends on the Right to end their opposition to lawful gay marriage. Like it or not, our courts or legislatures are eventually going to require recognition of it. Gays are human beings like everyone else. Even if you personally think they are sinful, the Constitution, not your religion, is the supreme law of the land. No one can require you to go to the ceremony or personally recognize the union. People have got to remember that they have no right to have their beliefs enacted into law when it conflicts with the Constitution. I respect everyone's freedom of religion, but, America is not a theocracy. Don't use your religious freedom as a weapon to destroy the freedom of others. I call upon my friends on the Left to end their opposition to granting law-abiding, competent adult citizens their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. Second Amendment rights are not absolute, but they deserve as much or more respect than anything else in the Bill or Rights. Guns do not cause crime. Gun control will not reduce crime as those intent on violent crime will always be able to obtain a gun on the black market. We cannot even attempt to strictly control guns without violating other rights in addition to the Second Amendment (e.g. due process, self-incrimination, search and seizure). Guns are used for lawful self-defense as much or more than for crime. People have a natural law right to defend themselves. Depriving people of guns for defensive purposes is a burden that falls most heavily on the poor and minorities who tend to live in high crime neighborhoods. The wealthy with their security guards and high-tech security systems in their gated communities and high-security high-rises see no need for defensive arms. Further, if we take away people’s Second Amendment rights, what kind of precedent does that set? Let’s join together and start respecting everyone’s liberties—not just the liberties and people we personally like.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Busy month for busting crooked politicians

Many of our elected officials have been busy beavers! Not only to the rip us off, we pay their salaries. No wonder so many folks aspire to political office. Even too many of the honest ones are right or left-wing ideologues who care nothing about the supreme law of the land. There is also a new political scandal developing in Dallas City government. Never a dull moment! Is this a great country or what? The overall quality of public leadership in this country is appalling!

Austerity unrest in Britain

A look at austerity unrest in Britain. See earlier post on Greece for that example. Is this what the U.S. has to look forward to? Note the class warfare rhetoric of one of interviewees. The entitlement mentality at work. Karl and Friedrich would be pleased.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weak federal gun laws a form of "racism?"

The head of one of the country's largest police departments labels weak federal gun control laws a form of "government-sponsored racism." I guess the Second Amendment is racist too. Too bad this top cop didn't read the Supreme Court's decision in McDonald v. Chicago where the Court notes that white-supremacist gun control was one of the main factors in ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Genetic component in psychopathy

Psychopathy is one of the strongest predictors of criminal behavior and many of our most heinous crimes have been committed by psychopaths. This important new study confirms the existence of a genetic factor in the condition. The environment, however, remains an important factor.

ObamaCare passes 6th Circuit Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholds Obamacare and finds no constitutional commerce clause problems in the individual mandate to obtain medical insurance. Based on existing precedent, this is probably the proper result. The Supreme Court is going to have to shoot down a number of existing precedents (e.g. Wickard v. Fillburn) to invalidate the law. Supreme Court here we come.

Obama's America in 20 years? Austerity riots in Greece

Although there are a multitude of differences between Greece and the U.S.,don't ever say something can't happen here--witness 9-11. Overspending, over-give aways, relentless vote-buying with new programs and an entitlement mentality meets fiscal reality in Greece.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Danziger Bridge Trial of NOPD Officers Underway

The criminal trial of 5 NOPD officers for the infamous Danziger Bridge shootings is now underway. See the link for a short video and other info. on the case.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Atlanta pays $4.9 million in death of 92 year old woman

Another outrageous violation of the Fourth Amendment by police costs Atlanta $4.9 million. Some of the officers involved were sentenced to prison. Widespread wrongdoing was revealed in the department.For more detail on this incident and APD see the Wikipedia article.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Long-time fugitive Whitey Bulger arrested.

Former Boston organized crime boss Whitey Bulger has been on the FBI's ten most wanted list for over a decade. He has now been arrested. Congrats to all involved in getting this arrest.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Landmark case on Tenth Amendment.

For the first time, the Supreme Court has held that individual criminal defendants have standing to raise 10th Amendment objections to the federal statute under which they were convicted. Before, litigants like Lopez (U.S. v. Lopez) could only argue that the statute exceeded a Congressional power (e.g. commerce clause). Now they can also argue the reserved powers arguments based on the Tenth Amendment. This case is a turning point on the issue of Tenth Amendment standing and may open the door to Court reexamination of constitutional federalism. Somewhat surprisingly, it was a unanimous opinion and the Court shows enthusiasm for consitutional federalism. " The federal system rests on what might at first seem a counterintuitive insight, that "freedom is enhanced by the creation of two governments, not one." Alden v. Maine, 527 U. S. 706, 758 (1999). The Framers concluded that allocation of powers between the National Government and the States enhances freedom, first by protecting the integrity of the governments themselves, and second by protecting the people, from whom all governmental powers are derived. Federalism has more than one dynamic. It is true that the federal structure serves to grant and delimit the prerogatives and responsibilities of the States and the National Government vis-À-vis one another. The allocation of powers in our federal system preserves the integrity, dignity, and residual sovereignty of the States. The federal balance is, in part, an end in itself, to ensure that States function as political entities in their own right. But that is not its exclusive sphere of operation. Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity. "State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: 'Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.' " New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 181 (1992) (quoting Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U. S. 722, 759 (1991) (Blackmun, J., dissenting))." In the end, the result will probably be the same no matter what part of the Constitutuion litigants argue. It will depend on the interpretations of federalism held by any 5 Justices who agree on something. See opinion here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

U.S. Senate (and Presidential) disgrace

The U.S. Senate sidetracked a move to eliminate the $5 BILLION dollar annual subsidy for farm-belt corn farmers and corporations, among others. I guess some folks would rather cut programs that may actually help needy people than eliminate an outrageous example of the American kleptocracy at work. Our President was against eliminating the subsidy. It's not often we get a chance to separate the sheep from the goats in Congress. It shouldn't be hard to figure out who really cares about fair and sensible spending and deficit reductions. Those who voted against elimination of the subsidy have shown their true stripes.

A little justice for W. Texas--Sheriff convicted

Winkler County Sheriff Robert Robers was convicted of both felonies and misdemeanors in the latest saga of the disgraceful story from Winkler County Texas. Something you don't see (or at least don't hear about) happened in this case. After the jury convicted, a bargain on the sentence was worked out with the judge. IMHO, this suggests more of the "good ol boy" system which got this fiasco started. At least one witness blamed the legal pursuit of 2 female nurses (who were later cleared and collected $ damages) as the workings of the local "good ol' boy" system. For a chronology of this story see this link

A name from the past: Ex-Black Panther Elmer Pratt

Those of you who were not around for the wild '60's and early 70's, really missed out on something. This ex-Black Panther died recently. He was finally exonerated after 27 years in prison. The FBI and LA settled the suit brought by him for $4.5 million. A little insight into why many black Americans don't trust white America.

Congressinal hearings on BATF start today

Congressional hearings begin to today on BATF's irresponsible operation "Fast and Furious" and other border shenanigans. Taxpayer dollars at work to make things worse. The link has lots of links to other articles. I hope someone will write a book on this fiasco.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interesting/Bizarre Ohio Statutory Rape Case

Although 12 and 13-year olds exchanging sex for video games doesn't sound real healthy, sometimes you have to wonder what prosecutor's are thinking! Certainly there has to be some other way to deal with this. Hint: parental intervention and supervision. Of course, some parents want the Nanny State to raise their kids for them.

Another excellent, and readable article on the Civil War

Excerpts from "Opening Salvo" from the Smithsonian, vol. 42, #1, Apr. 2011, pp. 76-99. (This is a one of the best magazines in the country if you enjoy human and natural history, science, etc. It is very readable for the average reader) "Generations of historians have argued over the cause of the war. "Everyone knew at the time that the war was ultimately about slavery" says Orville Vernon Burton, a native South Carolinian and author of" The Age of Lincoln. 'After the war, some began saying that it was really about states' rights, or a clash of two different cultures, or about the tariff, or about the industrializing North versus the agrarian South. All these interpretations came together to portray the Civil War as a collision of two noble civilizations from which black slaves had been airbrushed out." African-American historians from W.E.B. Du Bois to John Hope Franklin begged to differ with the revisionist view, but they were overwhelmed by white historians, both Southern and Northern, who, during the long era of Jim Crow, largely ignored the importance of slavery in shaping the politics of secession. Fifty years ago, the question of slavery was so loaded, says Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln President-Elect and other works on the 16th president, that the issue virtually paralyzed the federal commission charged with organizing events commemorating the war's centennial in 1961, from which African-Americans were virtually excluded. (Arrangements for the sesquicentennial have been left to individual states.) At the time, some Southern members reacted with hostility to any emphasis on slavery, for fear that it would embolden the then-burgeoning civil rights movement. Only later were African-American views of the war and its origins finally heard, and scholarly opinion began to shift. Says Holzer, "Only in recent years have we returned to the obvious--that it was about slavery" As Emory Thomas, author of The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 and a retired professor of history at the University of Georgia, puts it, "The heart and soul of the secession argument was slavery and race. Most white Southerners favored racial subordination, and they wanted to protect the status quo. They were concerned that the Lincoln administration would restrict slavery, and they were right." [Lincoln} . . .declared explicitly that he would not tamper with slavery where it already existed. (He did make clear that he would oppose the expansion of slavery into new territories.) However, the so-called Fire-eaters, the most radical Southern nationalists who dominated Southern politics, were no longer interested in compromise. "South Carolina will secede from the Union as surely as that night succeeds the day, and nothing can now prevent or delay it but a revolution at the North," South Carolinian William Trenholm wrote to a friend. "The ... Republican party, inflamed by fanaticism and blinded by arrogance, have leapt into the pit which a just Providence prepared for them." In Charleston, cannon were fired, martial music was played, flags were waved in every street. Men young and old flocked to join militia companies. Even children delivered "resistance speeches" to their playmates and strutted the lanes with homemade banners. . . .According to historian Douglas R. Egerton, author of Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War, "To win over the yeoman farmers--who would wind up doing nearly all the fighting--the Fire-eaters relentlessly played on race, warning them that, unless they supported secession, within ten years or less their children would be the slaves of Negroes." . . .In December 1860, a little more than a month after Lincoln's election, South Carolina's secession convention, held in Charleston, called on the South to join "a great Slaveholding Confederacy, stretching its arms over a territory larger than any power in Europe possesses." While most Southerners did not own slaves, slave owners wielded power far beyond their numbers: more than 90 percent of the secessionist conventioneers were slaveholders."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Pushing prisoners' rights too far

I believe prisoners have constitutional rights, but this case pushes things too far. Suing over self-castration because of inability to get a state-funded sex-change operation? Talk about an entitlement mentality! P.S. Please try to keep the puns semi-tasteful.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Warrantless cellphone searches spreading.

The courts are divided on the issue and the practice is spreading. Hopefully the Supreme Court will settle this Fourth Amendment controversy relatively soon.

Current & Former NYPD Officers Busted

Former and current NYPD and FD officers allegedly involved in a gambling ring on Staten Island were arrested recently. It is so sad when a few dishonor the heroism of their fellow officers.

Another Congressional Scumbag indicted

John Edwards is the latest in a long list. For more on this topic see Wikipedia/

LAPD pays nearly $ 4 million to settle suit brought by

The survivors of a teen killed by police? A woman raped by an LAPD officer? Guess again, it's an LAPD officer who sued over snide comments and "abuse" by other LAPD officers. Over the past 4 years LA has paid $ 18 million to settle around 45 cases brought by LAPD officers. There's obviously some serious internal problems in LAPD to go along with the massive external problems (e.g. Rampart scandal, Rodney King case, etc., etc., etc.) Don't they have enough financial worries in LA already? When are LA citizens going to get fed up with the costs of inability of the agency to clean itself up?

Ron Paul wants to legalize heroin?

Ron Paul is the GOP's leading libertarian. His ideologically pure stands on heroin and other issues (e.g. prostitution) may cost him many conservative votes. He naively concluded that if heroin were legalized "nobody" would use it. His frankness will, IMHO, keep hm from getting the GOP nomination for Pres. This highlights the split between the GOP and its libertarian wing. Libertarian ideas frighten many on both the liberal left and conservative right. There is a libertarian political party, but it will never really take off. While I agree with many libertarian ideas, I am a "cautious" libertarian and feel legalizing heroin and cocaine are massive, risky public health experiments that are too risky.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Slim chances for licensed concealed carry on Texas Campuses

The Texas legislature is now in special session. Only bills that the governor allows can be considered in this special session. Licensed concealed carry, along with hundreds of other bills, died at the end of the regular session. The last hope is that Gov. Perry will add it to the list for consideration in the special session. I am not optimistic as there are lots of contentious budget cut issues that have to be dealt with.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Another 2nd Amend Case

This case, Peruta v. County of San Diego, is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Although the 9th Circuit is generally anti-gun, I think this case looks like a winner. The Plaintiff argues that the County Sheriff routinely denies all applications for CCW permits, thus violating the Second Amendment. For more info, see the linked amicus brief This is the type of thing that happens when public officials get arrogant and think they are above the law of the land. Stay tuned

Latest on the infamous 1989 Central Park Jogger Case

Latest on the infamous 1989 Central Park Jogger case. This wrongful conviction cast doubt on the validity of confessions to police.

Latest on former BART officer, Mehserle, convicted of killing suspect

Former BAR Tofficer, Johannes Mehserle, who was convicted of killing a suspect with a handgun (while allegedly thinking he was drawing his Taser) may be released shortly. If released, he will have served slightly less than 1/2 the 2-year sentence. The family of the victim is considering a civil suit.

Recent 2nd Amend. decision

In spite of Heller and McDonald, lower courts are generally reluctant to strike down gun control laws. This case is from California.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Supreme Court Permits Release of Thousands of Calif. Prisoners

Prisoners' rights has been a relatively dead issue for the Supreme Court for a number of years. That is no longer the case. Justice Kennedy joined the 4 Democratic appointees to uphold the lower court rulings. Just one more reason not to move to California. After too many years to reckless spending, the state is becoming a basket case! (Also see prior post on the San Franciso wackiness) The case is Brown v. Plata (2011)

Violent Crime Rates Fall Again

In recent years we have seen a surge in gun sales, but violent crime rates (including homicide) continue to move in the opposite direction. The case for gun control aimed at ordinary citizens gets weaker and weaker every year!

Male Circumcision Ban in San Francisco?

Those wackos in California are at it again. As near as I can determine, the proposal is backed by left-wingers who believe circumcision of MALES is a type of mutilation that parents have no right to inflict on children. IMHO, this proposal clearly violates First Amendment freedom of religion and the liberty to raise one's children without unjustifiable government intervention (e.g. Wisconsin v. Yoder (406 U.S. 205, 1972). It is very disturbing how much people want government to ignore the Bill of Rights.

Not looking good for licensed concealed carry on TX campuses

The Texas bill to allow licensed concealed carry in buildings on Texas college campuses may not make it. Latest news here.

The Myth of Big Time Gun Trafficking.

"The myth of big-time gun trafficking." Great article by the leading authority on the issue.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ordinary Mexicans Arm for Self-defense

Ordinary, law-abiding Mexicans are increasingly caught between brutal cartels, corrupt police and sometimes abusive military forces. It is fairly obvious that their government cannot, or will not, protect them from any of these. They will have to arm themselves to exercise their right of self-defense.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Important 4th Amend decision from S.Ct.

In Kentucky v. King, (2011) the Court finally made clear a point that many had already assumed. Police cannot rely on the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement if they create or "manufacture" the exigency by engaging in conduct which violates the 4th Amend. Not a new principle for lower courts, but it was nice to see the U.S. Supreme Court adopt that rule. The case was remanded.

Friday, May 13, 2011

26th Anniversary of the infamous MOVE incident in Philly

On May 13, 1985 all hell broke loose in this Philadelphia neighborhood when police confronted members of MOVE.

National Police Week

National Police week, honoring those who serve and sacrifice for us will be celebrated May 15-21. Thanks to all the guys and gals in law enforcement!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Concealed Carry on Campus goes to TX House.

Just when you think a TX bill is dead, it resurrects. This one is a good one. Concealed carry on TX campuses passed the senate and is now headed to the TX House. See the link for links to contact your State Rep. Although "civil liberties are so pre- 9-11," here's a chance to enhance the civil liberties. of law-abiding citizens in TX.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What strict gun control means for the average person

What ordinary citizens in the U.S. have to look forward to if we adopt British-style gun control in the U.S. Thank God for American Bill of Rights!

TX concealed carry on campus bill delayed again

Latest on bill for concealed carry on TX college campuses. Doesn't look good for the bill. IMHO, Zaffirini has been a chronic meddler in higher education in Texas.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Some frivolous, off-topic, trivia

Even wonder where the name "Budweiser" for the beer came from. I thought it was a surname. Not so! P.S. We should be ashamed that we downed so many of these and never knew the origin of the name. P.P.S. I know what some of you are thinking: "That's the most intelligent thing he's posted all day" LOL! "Today's Word "Budweis" Budweis \BUD-vis\ (noun) - The German name of the Czech city of Ceske Budejovice. The city of Cesky Budejovice is called "Budweis" in German so that Budweiser Beer means "beer from Budweis" in that language. The American brewery Anheuser-Busch began using the name in 1876. The problem is that the Czechs have been brewing beerwhich they called the Beer of Kingsin their town since thirsty King Premysl II Otakar (son of good King Wenceslas I) founded the city in 1245." Source: Vocabulary, by ArcaMax.

Obama Admin. on State Medical Marijuana laws.

Looks like Obama et al. are backing out on another campaign promise. This time the broken promise was to back off on enforcing federal marijuana laws in state medical marijuana law situations. It looks like the only promises Obama has not broken are his pledge to move the country sharply in the direction of European-style socialism and to put "empathetic" judges (left-wing ideologues) on the Supreme Court.

The American version of a Greek Tragedy

Arguably, the Constitutional Convention laid the groundwork for the Civil War by combining slave and non-slave states in a union where a federal government enjoyed the power of the Constitution’s “supremacy” clause. Such a union arguably was necessary if the new nation was going to be able to defend itself against the real threats posed by British and French colonialism and future threats. Although the Declaration of Independence declared that all men are created equal,” the felt necessity was to form a union now, with some compromises and ultimately let the slavery issue work itself out. However, it seems like a Greek tragedy where a horrible ending is pre-ordained. The nation’s greatest tragedy is that even though many saw it coming, the Civil War could not have been prevented. Many argue that slavery would have eventually died a natural death. Was the Civil War worth it? I can’t answer that. Note especially Jefferson’s and Madison’s quotes. "The Slavery Compromises: Years before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Thomas Jefferson, a slaveowner himself, admitted the horrible nature of slavery: In his 1782 "Notes on Virginia" he made a prophetic statement in regard to U.S. slavery: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." Recall that in the "Great Compromise," it was determined that representation in the House of Representatives would be based on the population of each state. After the convention approved the Great Compromise, Madison wrote: "It seems now to be pretty well understood that the real difference of interests lies not between the large and small but between the northern and southern states. The institution of slavery and its consequences form the line of discrimination." This division over slavery led to the "3/5 Compromise." Of the 55 Convention delegates, about 25 (almost half!) owned slaves. The delegates from Southern (slave) states wanted to counts slaves as part of their population. This would give the Southern states additional representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Delegates from the Northern (Free) states strongly opposed this, arguing that if slaves had no rights to vote (or any other rights of citizenship) then the South should not be given additional representatives in the House. Also, the North feared that counting slaves as part of the South's population would allow the South to have enough representatives in the House to out-vote the North on issues regarding slavery. The South likewise feared that not counting slaves as part of their population would give the South too few representatives in the House, thus allowing the North to out-vote the South on issues regarding slavery. The compromise they reached would arbitrarily count each slave as 3/5 of a person. Thus, neither North nor South fully got their way, as slaves were counted in part toward population when determining how many representatives the free whites should have in the House of Representatives. Hence the name "3/5 compromise." Not wanting to put the word "slave" in the Constitution, the delegates agreed the Constitution would state that population would be determined by counting the number of "free Persons . . . plus three-fifths of all other Persons . . ." Of course, if one is an "other person" rather than a free person, obviously the "other person" must be "not free"; in other words, a slave. The North and South also divided over whether the new national legislature (Congress) would be able to regulate (and thus perhaps outlaw) slavery. The North wanted the legislature to be able to regulate slavery, and of course the South did not want the legislature to have this power. The Southern delegates used both economic and racial justifications for slavery. During the South Carolina Ratifying convention, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney repeated his argument for continuing slavery: "While there remained one acre of swamp-land uncleared of South Carolina, I would raise my voice against restricting the importation of negroes. I am . . . thorougly convinced . . . that the nature of our climate, and the flat, swampy situation of our country, obliges us to cultivate our lands with negroes, and that without them South Carolina would soon be a desert waste." (4 Jonathan Elliott, Debates in the Several State Conventions 273, 285 (1891)) Other Southerners were evern more direct racial supremacists, arguing that if slaves became free, they would engage in countless violent crimes against whites, and would also interbreed with whites, thus "polluting" the white race. The delegates from the Northern free states believed that concessions on slavery were the price for the support of southern delegates for a strong central government. They were convinced that if the Constitution restricted the slave trade, some Southern states would refuse to join the Union. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention finally agreed that Congress would be prohibited from regulating the international slave trade (i.e. imports of slaves from foreign countries) for 20 years, but after that time it could prohibit it. Again, not wanting to use the word "slavery, the delegates agreed the Constitution would state: "the The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight." (Notice 1808 would be 20 years after ratification). To what degree domestic slavery could be regulated after that time was simply left an open, undecided question. Basically the delegates agreed they could not agree, so put off the issue for (at least) 20 years. But by sidestepping the slavery issue, the framers simply were delaying the inevitable conflict over slavery. However, the Southern states' agreement to the ending of the international import of slaves was based not on morality, but on simple economics and politics. Politically, Southern whites feared if the slave population continued to increase in relative proportion to the white population, eventually the slave population would become so large, it would be uncontrollable by the white population and would rebel and even take revenge on their former masters. Economically, states with a large existing slave population such as Virginia would see the value of their slaves increase if the importation of additional slaves was halted. So even the Southern states went along with the ban on new importation of slaves, but for purely selfish reasons and not out of any moral opposition to slavery. Finally, the Southern states insisted that escaped slaves be returned to them, otherwise slaves would have a strong incentive to try to escape to a Northern state where they could be free. So, the Northern delegats agree to a clause in the Constitution dealing with fugitive slaves, required runaway slaves to be returned their owners upon demand by the owner. Once again not wanting to use the word "slave," the Fugitive Slave Clause substituted "person held to service or labour" in place of the word "slave": "No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, . . . , escaping into another, shall . . . be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due." Some of the delegates, however, such as Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, were outraged that any compromise was reached. During the Convention, on August 8, he gave what came to be called his famous "Curse of Heaven" speech, one of the most stirring speeches at the Constitutional Convention. Madison's notes for that day record "Gvrnr. Morris" as stating: "He never would concur in upholding domestic slavery. It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of heaven on the States where it prevailed. . . . Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in representation? Are they men? Then make them Citizens and let them vote. Are they property? Why is no other property included? . . .The admission of slaves into the Representation when fairly explained comes to this: that the inhabitant of Georgia and S.C. who goes to the Coast of Africa, and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears away his fellow creatures from their deearest connections and damns them to the most cruel bondages, shall have more votes in a Govt. instituted for the protection of the rights of mankind, than the Citizen of Pa. or N. Jersey who views with a laudable horror, so nefarious a practice." Gouverneur Morris went on to contrast the prosperity and human dignity of free states and territories with "the misery and poverty" of slave states. On Saturday, August 25, John Dickenson moved to make the slavery clauses more explicit by changing "persons" to "slaves." Several delegates objected to this. Madison records his own objection: "Mr. Madison thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men." A draft of notes that Dickinson made for a speech at the convention (but which he apparently never gave) arguing in favor of using the world "slave" included this statement: "The omitting the Word will be regarded as an Endeavor to conceal a principle of which we are ashamed."