Tuesday, September 19, 2006

There must be an election coming up

The Coward Republican Party is starting to issue the empty platitudes about needing to secure the border.

Sorry, Mr. Frist. Your 11th hour electioneering won't work on people who have actually been paying attention to the Senate's actions - or lack thereof.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ohio: No conviction? No problem!

The state of Ohio has just passed legislation that allows prosecutors, the state attorney-general, or even private citizens to put other citizens on the state’s sex offender registry – all without the need for a costly trial.

While I think that sex offenders, especially child molesters, are vile creatures, I firmly believe in the right of due process, something which is denied to the accused in this first-of-its-kind “civil registry”. I am supremely confident that other states will enact measures similar to this one.

I’ve been saying for the last few years that “sex offenses” would be the new Scarlet Letter. I guess that time is now here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Aboooooouuuutt FACE!

Last month, The U.S. Senate voted to deny funding to build a 350-mile fence along the U.S./Mexico border. Yesterday, in an abrupt reversal, the Senate voted to approve funding for the fence.

Could it be that our elected criminals officials are finally getting the message that the citizens want border security? One can only hope.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Senate votes for border fence, votes against funding

Four months ago, in a move that surprised everyone, the Senate voted to build a fence along the U.S./Mexico border in an apparent effort to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the U.S.

Last week, in a move that surprised absolutely no one, that same Senate voted 71-29 to deny funding for the construction of the previously mentioned fence.

This kinda puts the government’s priorities into perspective, doesn’t it. The Republicrats running the show are more interested in regulating the private lives of citizens than it is in doing its Constitutionally mandated job of protecting those citizens.

FMA shot down in the House

The Federal Theocratic We-Control-Your-Life Amendment was shot down in the House, falling short of the 2/3 majority needed to pass in the House. The bill was also shot down in the Senate last week.

My opinion about government intervention in personal relationships has been well documented on my own blog. I go on the record once again saying that the government has absolutely no business dictating what two consenting, non-related adults do in their relationship.

Yet, religious nuts are positively apoplectic that their most recent attempt to force their outdated superstitious beliefs on us unwashed heathens has failed. Yeah, I hate linking to Newsmax, which, in my opinion is about as credible as the National Enquirer or the New York Times, but I want to show the nutcases as they exist in their own environment.

Dobson and his ilk, however, are merely a symptom of a much larger problem, and that problem is that a significant percentage of the population feels the need to force their own beliefs down everyone else's throat. This occurs in both major parties, which is why I see no real difference between the two.

Proponents of this theocratic amendment fail to realize the history and the intent of the Contitution. The Constitution was designed to impose limits on the government and to prevent the government from becoming an all-powerful, all intrusive entity. It was not, despite what is taught at the nations' brainwashing centers (collectively known as "churches"), a vehicle for controlling the actions of the citizenry. Such an effort was done in the past (the 18th Amendment), but that was such as disaster it was later repealed by the 21st Amendment. I find it interesting to point out that religious nuts were behind that fiasco, as well.

It's often been said those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. All you need to do is look at a newspaper these days to see the truth in that statement.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day. The way things are going in the US with the Republicrats in Washington doing everything possile to erode freedom and independence in this nation, there probably won’t be too many Independence Days left. It will soon be replaced by Nanny State Day.

Enjoy your independence while it lasts.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So it begins

Eviction proceedings have begun in New London, CT.

To the residents on New London who are having their homes stolen “to promote the common good” (read: “generate tax revenue”), I have these words:

Article [II.]
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Another Amendment Out The Window...

Thanks to our esteemed Supreme Court, police now have a free pass to enter your home without a search warrent if you are suspected of DUI.

Via cbs13.com...

(AP) SAN FRANCISCO Police may enter Californians' homes without warrants to arrest those suspected of driving under the influence, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case testing the scope of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The 6-1 decision follows similar rulings in about a dozen other states. A dissenting justice said the majority handed authorities a "free pass" to unlawfully enter private homes and arrest people without warrants.

Under the Fourth Amendment, authorities are prohibited from entering a home and making an arrest without a warrant unless so-called "exigent" circumstances are present. Those include "hot pursuit" of a fleeing felon, imminent destruction of evidence and the risk of danger to the police or other persons inside or outside of a house, among others.

In this case, Justice Marvin Baxter wrote that the loss of evidence at issue was obtaining a measurement of the suspect's blood-alcohol level. Baxter added that a contrary ruling would allow "the corruption of evidence that occurs when the suspect takes advantage of any delay to ingest more alcohol -- or to claim to have done so -- or when the suspect evades police capture until he or she is no longer intoxicated."

This shouldn't suprise anyone really. SCOTUS has been routinely pissing away our Constitutional rights in the name of "temprance" since 1983.

What really galls me about this is the double standard when it comes to preserving evidence. When you blow into that little machine and it spits out an arbitrary number such as .08 or .21 which is supposed to mean you are drunk -- regardless of bodyweight, tolerance, or the inconvenient fact that you haven't had anything stronger to drink than a glass of milk -- the breath sample is expelled from the machine into the outside air, preventing any further examination of that evidence. No one convicted of DUI based on a breathylizer reading is convicted on the actual evidence but a report that the evidence once existed. I'm no lawyer but that strikes me not only as hearsay but hearsay from a machine!

By the way, most breathylizer machine manufacturers do offer a kit to allow the machine to preserve the breath sample. It's very inexpensive but very few law enforcement agencies, if any, have actually ordered it for use in the field.

But the same flimsy bit of "evidence", which is discarded at the scene and not available during a trial is now justification for police to enter a home without a warrant.

The case concerned the 2003 Santa Barbara arrest of Daniel Thompson, whom a neighbor suspected was driving drunk and notified authorities. They found a parked car matching the description the neighbor provided and went to the front door of the adjoining residence during a summer evening.

The door was open and a woman said the car's driver was asleep. Moments later, Thompson walked by the officers and they entered the house and arrested him. The neighbor confirmed it was the person she suspected of driving intoxicated and throwing an empty vodka bottle out the car door.

Thompson's blood-alcohol level was 0.21, almost three times the legal limit for driving. He was convicted and handed a three-year suspended sentence. He appealed.

A state court of appeal tossed the conviction, saying Thompson's constitutional rights were violated. The Supreme Court reversed, saying the lower court misapplied search-and-seizure precedent.

So even if this guy's BAC (not his actual BAC but a machine generated claim of what his BAC was) was appropriate to prove that he was drunk, that's all it proves. The guy was drunk in his own home. The only evidence that he was driving under the influence was the neighbor's complaint. That too is hearsay. This case shouldn't have even gone to a grand jury, much less the Supreme Court.

I think it's pretty clear what this flagrant violation of constitutional rights, which, but for one dissenter, has been fully enabled by the Supreme Court, means. It means that at any time, and with the flimsiest of justification, the police can enter your home illegaly, arrest you, and effectivly convict you for drinking in your own home.

The hatchet-wielders are winning, people!

And in case I didn't mention it before, never, EVER, take the breathylizer test if you are pulled over. It's better to let them take you to jail and lose your license for six months or whatever than to be coerced into incriminating yourself. Although from the look of this case, the courts will soon be able to convict you no matter what and it won't matter.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Laws are for Thee, Not for Me.

I'm not a big fan of the New York Times. The paper's behavior lately, along with the behavior of many of it's alleged "reporters", has brought its credibility into question. In this case, however, the Times sheds light on our Congresscritters attempting to cover their asses regarding the much-lamented Jefferson raid.

Here we have a Congressmen who was videotaped by the FBI as he was taking bribes. Using this information, the FBI secured and executed a legal warrant to search Jefferson's home and offices. Naturally, the Congresscritters are up in arms about how the raid violated non-existent Constitutional protections.

In response to the execution of the warrant, Congress is threatening to subpeona U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before a committee to explain why the warrant was carried out. There's even talk of impeaching him for this.

To further prove that our "leaders" feel the laws of the land should not apply to them, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is proposing legislation to prevent the legal warranted search of the homes and offices of Congresscritters. This sounds suspiciously like Congress is trying to remove the Constitutional "checks and balances" on the Legislative branch.

The only thing missing here is a Congressional Marie Antoinette claiming "Let them eat cake."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush

Cross posted at the Liberty Zone and Just Citizens.

Gene Healy and Timothy Lynch of the Cato Institude examine the constitutional record of George W. Bush. The full text can be found here in .pdf format. Everyone who thinks Bush is upholding his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States needs to read this critical paper.

Because what Bush has done, according to Healy and Lynch, is to continuously seek to increase federal power and push the limits the Constitution places on governmental authority. After having examined the actions of the Bush administration for five years, Healy and Lynch conclude:

President Bush’s constitutional vision is, in short, sharply at odds with the text, history, and structure of our Constitution, which authorizes a government of limited powers.

The study shows that the President has consistently failed to protect the First Amendment right to free speech, free thought and free expression. He signed the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform travesty -- acknowledged it was unconstitutional, that it restricted free speech for individuals, but signed it anyway! This appalling limit on free speech the law makes it a felony for a nonprofit group like the National Rifle Association or the Sierra Club to broadcast an ad within 60 days of an election that criticizes an elected official by name.

Now do you understand why I call this act "The Incumbent Protection Act?" After all, if you can't criticize an incumbent candidate's paltry record on an issue right before an election without being prosecuted for it, you are giving an incumbent a huge edge in the election, especially given the American public's gnat-like attention span and willful apathy.

And we won't even go into those "free speech zones." I can understand the need to ensure the safety of our elected officials, but to put them purposefully out of the way -- behind busses, construction zones and far out of sight -- suggests more than just a desire to protect the President.

Bush and his administration have overstepped their boundaries and pushed the limits of executive power. Healy and Lynch claim Bush's view of executive power amounts to the view that, "in time of war, the president is the law, and no treaty, no statute, no coordinate branch of the U.S. government can stand in the president’s way when, by his lights, he is acting to preserve national security. That is apparent in a series of startling claims the administration has made in official documents and public papers, which include the following:"

• presidential power to ignore federal statutes governing treatment of enemy prisoners—as well as other federal laws that impinge on practices the president believes to be useful in fighting the war on terror;
• unilateral executive authority over questions of war and peace; and
• the power to designate American citizens “enemy combatants” and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror—in other words, perhaps forever.

Apparently, those powers also include torture, imprisonment, eavesdropping, expanded arrest powers and unconstitutional and unreasonable search and seizure. All these police-state tactics are brought to you by the War on Terror and in the name of "national security."

There are other blatant constitutional violations listed in this paper, although Healy and Lynch do note a couple of bright spots in Bush's presidency:

Early on in the president’s first term, Attorney General John Ashcroft made clear that it was the Bush administration’s position that the Second Amendment guarantees a personal, individual right to bear arms. In two federal cases, the Bush administration argued in formal court papers that the "Second Amendment... protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any militia... to possess and bear their own firearms, subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or... firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse." That was a significant, if symbolic, victory for those who believe that the Second Amendment means what it says, that “the right of the people” means an individual, personal right, just as it does in the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments. The president has also appointed a number of federal judges who appear to take constitutional limits seriously and may be expected to look skeptically at broad claims of legislative power. However, whether the same judges will look skeptically at broad claims of executive power remains very much in doubt.

All well and good. But frankly, without substantive action, this is all just talk. And Bush's blatant disrespect for the Bill of Rights, his promise to sign the "assault" weapons ban if its renewal was passed by Congress, support for taxpayer-funded trigger locks, support for bans on certain types of ammunition and age limits to gun ownership makes his former Attorney General's admission that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms sound pretty hollow.