Friday, August 31, 2012

Geo. Zimmerman wins one--judge disqualifed

The handling of the Geo. Zimmerman case was beginning to look like a kangaroo court proceeding. However, Zimmerman's motion to disqualify the trial court judge was granted.  He will get a new judge.  Appellate courts rarely grant such motions. However, this was a rather flagrant case. Perhaps there is a chance Zimmerman will get a fair trial. I'm still not optimistic as the race card undoubtedly will be played (again) once the case gets to trial. However, this is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Presidential Candidates & Civil Liberties

Civil liberties issues tend to be ignored in Presidential campaigns. This article is an exception.  Most candidates have very little say except vaguely mouthing support.  It is difficult to figure out where our two Presidential candidates stand.  However, it is fairly obvious that Obama is not a supporter of the individual rights approach to the Second Amendment announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 in D.C. v. Heller (e.g., "Bittergate," appointment of Sotomayor to Supreme Court). It is somewhat puzzling, and disturbing to some, that Romney chose Robert Bork to head his "Justice Advisory Committee."  In this age of anti-terrorism, cyber-snooping, and mass murder, it is not looking good for civil liberties in the U.S.-- no matter who is in the White House.

Thanks to commenters! Comment on older post

I appreciate all who comment here.  Wish I had time to respond to everyone.  However, I'm still at my full-time gig and try to squeeze in a little "real life" once in a while. Thanks for keeping it "clean" and avoiding personal attacks. I don't want to start moderating.  I have never deleted anyone's post and would never do so in ideological/political/disagreement grounds.  Sometimes we miss new comments on posts because the original post is no longer on the first page.  On Aug. 16, BM commented on the post "Fort Worth Offers $2 million to settle Taser death case."  Unfortunately, the original post was no longer on the front page. BM's post was very informative.  Check it out.  Search for "Fort Worth."  Again, thanks BM!  To help deal with this,  I have increased the number of posts (and their comments) on the main/first page to 27 (Very roughly a month-worth of posts).  Please scroll down to see all 27.  Let me know if you would like to see more older posts and comments on the first/opening page of the blog.

Repub. Platform Pro-Second Amendment

Just in  case you didn't already know who to vote for if you value the rights to keep and bear arms and self-defense. On the other hand, sometimes political platforms turn out to be forgotten once the candidate is selected.   Demo Platform review above.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Williams on public education

I hope you don't get tired of Walter Williams.  He pierces the political crap and tells it like it is.  He exposes the idiocy, lies and hypocrisy of the far left.  (The far right has its share, but that's another topic.)  In this article Williams exposes some of the liberal fraud about public education.  Politicians in general, and liberals in particular love, to throw money on problems without any real plan or hope of success. Why?  It's a convenient cover for pretending to have a solution and for  buying votes. More money for teachers and technology, etc. do not solve the problems of inner-city schools. Teachers, teacher's unions, school bureaucrats and school boards love extra money.  So do all the vendors and contractors who make profits. However, have you noticed that the problems never seem to get fixed no matter how much $ we throw at them?  Look at D.C.   The fundamental problems, violence in school, lack of parental support for education, peer group pressure against academic achievement, lax discipline, dumbed-down standards, teaching for tests, etc. are not tackled.  While there are constitutional limits on how far government can intervene in the lives of children and families, poor parenting, single-parent household, etc. these problems can be addressed in a constitutional fashion.  But, they are not, for ideological reasons. However, don't just blame the liberals.  "Conservative" Pres. George W. Bush brought us the catastrophe known as no child left behind.   Although I am not so sure that alternatives to public education are the cure, it's obvious that reason needs to prevail.

Monday, August 27, 2012

More left-wing bigotry in academia

The left dominates most universities and their irrational  fear/dislike/loathing of even lawful gun carriers is obvious, in spite of the fact that there has never been a licensed carrier shooting up a classroom because of something a prof. or other student said.  Zero cases in spite of millions of licensed carriers. This case is from Colorado where the state supreme court said campuses could not  ban licensed concealed carriers.  I don't think there are too many emotional discussions in physics classes. Another prof. who doesn't believe in the rule of law.

Good article on proposed national reciprocity act

Heeeeeeee's Baaaaack!  Good article on the proposed national concealed carry reciprocity act.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Budget, spending and borrowing crisis

Last post for a while as I go on vacation (again).  Please hold the applause!  I promise to get back to the NDAA issue then.

Come January we might have fewer border patrol and FBI agents.  We might even get lower farm subsidies.  Those are just a few of the automatic cuts that will take place on Jan 2 (a "sequester') if there is no deal to cut spending.  The strategy is designed to force Congress to deal with huge deficits. These deficits currently require the federal  "government to borrow 33 cents of every dollar it spends."  When is sanity going to prevail in D.C.?  Hasn't anyone there heard of the crises in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and all the problems in the EEC?

You gotta read this on immorality and inequality"

Many have suggested that the "science" in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, economics, psychology, etc.) is largely illusory.  Too many "scientists" let their ideology (or "morals") get in the way of the objectivity that science requires.  One example of this may be the Arming America book scandal. Here's another possible example from an economist:

" What's wrong with the economy can be traced to the growing gap between the wealthy and everyone else. . . . I'm not arguing for the elimination of inequality.  Bur the extreme that we've reached is really bad.  We could have a more equal society and a more efficient, stable, higher-growing economy.  That's really the "so what." Even if you don't have any moral values and you just want to maximize GDP, this level of inequality is bad."

Wow! Economic inequality is the cause of problems with the economy. Further, it appears that anyone with moral values (like the writer's) would want less inequality. Shame on you folks who aren't smart enough to figure this out and are immoral enough to support a system with this much economic inequality. Is this writer's left-wing sense of morality influencing his analysis?  Talk about demonizing the opposition.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Latest on the Geo. Zimmerman case

FWIW, defenders of George Zimmerman have started a website to counteract the the massive and negative media coverage.  In related news,  as expected, the trial judge refused to step down from the case.  Zimmerman has appealed.  Although there are reasons to suspect the judge's neutrality, these motions are rarely granted unless there is a "smoking gun." 

Monday, August 13, 2012

House sues Holder

The House of representatives filed suit against AG Holder for his refusal to turn over documents related to BATF's notorious operation fast and furious.  No way to predict how this will turn out.  It will probably be deemed moot or dropped if Obama loses the upcoming election.  Anyone who thought things would be different in D.C. under Obama has to be sorely disappointed.  Some observers have rated Chicago as the most corrupt city in the U.S. Corrupt machine politics is still the norm in Chi town.  Illinois has a horrible record of having governors and public officials convicted. Seriously, did anyone think a Democratic politician from Chicago was going to really improve anything about honesty and transparency in government?

Another Serious Civl Liberties issue ignored by the NYT and most media.

The National Defense Authorization Act has been challenged by many journalists for its detention and other provisions. However, even though journalists may be among the most affected, they, and the New York Times, have been very quiet.  This is not surprising as re-electing Obama is priority #1, taking precedence over civil liberties. Thanks to Mike Perry and Bennett Jones for this link

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review of Recent S.Ct. 4th Amendment cases

See this review of the 4 Fourth Amendment cases from the U.S. Supreme Court's latest term.  I agree with Jones and strongly disagree with Florence and Messerschmidt.  This writer and the cited author have some problems with Messerschmidt.  The author is, IMHO, being "generous" in his critical evaluation of Messerschmidt (emphasis supplied):

"Messerschmidt is the more interesting remedies case, in part because it involved the all-too-common practice among investigators of being sloppy with the particularity of warrants. The Fourth Amendment requires warrants to particularly describe the property to be seized, and the warrants must develop probable cause for each of those items to be seized. In the suppression context, which is by far the more common context in which warrant particularity is litigated, courts tend to be quite generous with defects in particularity. If the police add in a “catch all” clause in the warrant that is obviously overly broad, courts usually just sever the obviously unconstitutional part of the warrant and allow the evidence if it was obtained by reliance on other parts of the warrant. (See, for example, the Sixth Circuit’s 2001 decision in United States v. Greene.) As a result, officers often aren’t as careful with particularity as they should be. By arising in a civil setting, Messerschmidt didn’t allow the easy path of severability often seen in criminal cases.
A divided Court in Messerschmidt ruled that qualified immunity applied by taking a rather generous view of what kind of evidence might be present and relevant to a domestic dispute involving a gun fired by a gang member. As a practical matter, the most important aspect of the majority opinion is its conclusion that seeking and obtaining the approval of higher-ups bolstered the case of qualified immunity by indicating that the officer was not at personal fault. This ruling is in in significant tension with United States v. Leon, (a criminal prosecution, exclusionary rule case) which generally requires only a facial review of the warrant to see if a defect is so significant that suppression is warranted. (The Court has generally equated the good-faith exception in the criminal setting and qualified immunity standard in the civil setting, so precedents from one context should be applicable to the other.) At the same time, the ruling is consistent with the recent trend of Roberts Court cases on Fourth Amendment remedies in emphasizing the personal culpability of individual officers as a prerequisite to liability. In my view, focusing on personal culpability is problematic: Bad faith is hard for defendants to uncover and the appearance of good faith is relatively easy for the police to game. Under Messerschmidt, even if the warrant has a serious defect, review by higher-ups may provide an extra defense against not only personal liability but suppression of evidence. It’s too early to tell whether lower courts will connect those dots and use Messerschmidt in this way, but it seems quite plausible that they will."

If too many lower courts connect the dots, it could result in a serious weakening of 4th Amendment protections.

Latest in Geo. Zimmerman case

George Zimmerman's chances of getting a fair trial seem to get worse as time goes on.  Guilty or innocent, all defendants are entitled to a fair trial.   The prosecutor "mistakenly" released a picture of Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman's  unflattering college transcript.  Fla. law did not authorize release of either item.  As this case has developed, I'm having doubts about the judge and prosecutor.   A prosecutor's obliagation is not to get convictions, but to see that justice is done. (See prior post re Alan Dershowitz's assertion that the prosecutor should step down.) Judges are supposed to be impartial.  The media, in general have been strongly biased against Zimmerman.
Another disturbing trend is that some groups may be  getting ready to play the "riot card."  If Zimmerman is acquitted there will be riots, as occurred  following the state court acquittal of the officers involved in the Rodney King case.. Martin also filed motions that are mentioned in the article.  Even if innocent, will Zimmerman be sacrificed on the altar of racial harmony?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Dangers to liberty

As we ponder more gun controls, bans on large sweet drinks, and all sorts of other restrictions urged by both the left and right, it is always wise to keep in mind the following great quote:

“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Local Fiscal Responsibility

We almost always focus on fiscal irresponsibility at the federal level.  However, the problem is almost as bad for many cities and states (e.g. California).  This article by  Texas A&M San Antonio Prof. Dennis Elam discusses "The failed policies of poorly run (by Democrats) cities . . ."  Although both parties have spend recklessly on the federal level, it appears to be the Democrats who are clearly most responsible at the state and local levels.  Check out some of the other posts there.  Also, check out Prof. Elam's site, esp if you are interested in some of the economic and business issues involved in our current political debates.

Monday, August 06, 2012

More Williams' Wisdom:

As Williams points out, the CJ system is just the last line of defense when informal social controls (e.g., family, neighborhood, church, etc.) fail.

Left-wing Political Correctness v. First Amendment

After Chick-Fil-A's-CEO announced opposition to gay marriage on religious grounds, the left reacted angrily. Private citizens don't have to honor the First Amendment, but public officials must.  Two of the nation's worst knee-jerk authoritarian left-wing mayors, Emmanuel of Chicago and Menino of  Boston threatened to ban Chick-Fil-A from their cities. Both are also strong supporters of gun control laws that would probably  not pass Second Amendment muster.   Even the left-leaning Dallas Morning News called them out on their disrespect for First Amendment rights.  Left-wing political correctness is the supreme law of the land for many on the left.  However, the Constitution is the the real supreme law of the land.  As you may recall, Emmanuel was Obama's Chief of Staff.  I hope Obama doesn't share his former staff-member;s attitudes.  However, Obama's infamous "Bittergate" remarks suggest that Obama is also not a supporter of freedom of religion.