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Free Speech vs Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

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The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

On October, 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law HR-1913 – Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

The law is designed to help local law enforcement agencies who are operating with small budgets and resources by providing funding “or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of a violent crime, a hate crime, or a crime that constitutes a felony under state, local, or tribal law….at the request of a state, local, or tribal law enforcement agency, to provide technical, forensic and prosecutorial assistance” and limits “the amount of any grant to $100,000 for any single jurisdiction in any one-year period.”

The law focuses on the term “hate crime” and defines it as “a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person”.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and prohibits Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion”, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech and infringing on the freedom of the press.

In the 20th century, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.

Conscious of this, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 provides “that any provision of this Act that is held to be unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining provisions of this Act.” (Section 7 of HR-1913) In addition, it declares “that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit the exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech.” (Section 8 of HR-1913).

Officially Preferred Victims

Liberty University law professor Shawn Akers writes that if H.R. 1913, the federal “Hate Crimes” bill, becomes law, “local and state law enforcement would have the incentive of federal funds to prosecute cases involving … preferred victims to the exclusion and neglect of less valuable victims.” Membership in the “preferred” category is “based not on immutable characteristics but on the class member’s choice of sexual conduct… and subjective gender self-identity.”

Following is Akers’s analysis of the federal “Hate Crimes” bill, HR 1913.

The “Hate Crimes” Bill

H.R. 1913, the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009”

I. Characteristics

    A. “This bill would create a federal offense imposing federal criminal penalties – potentially in addition to criminal penalties imposed under state law” – on any defendant who chooses his victim in whole or in part because of the victim’s “actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin” or “actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.” “Violations would be punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years, or imprisonment for life if the offense results in death or ‘includes kidnaping [sic] or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.’” See Legislation Detail: http://www.overcriminalized.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?id=441.
    B. The bill includes the terms “Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity” – ambiguous terms that the drafters of the bill have refused to define. It places those descriptions on par with race, color, religion and nationality.
    C. As a matter of mechanics, the bill provides financial grants to state and local entities, provides additional personnel for investigation and prosecution, creates new federal criminal offenses, and creates a new evidentiary rule (no evidence of speech or associations is admissible to prove motive of defendant unless the speech or association is “specifically related” to the “hate crime”).
    D. The bill is couched in terms of providing assistance to state local and Indian governments but it reserves the right to act if they fail to exercise their jurisdiction, or leave “demonstrably un-vindicated the federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.”

II. Status

    A. The version of the bill titled HR 1913 RH passed out of Judiciary committee on a 15-12 vote. It appears that the only change from the prior version, HR 1913 IH, was the dropping of the original section 2 – the findings section which included exaggerated figures of so-called hate crimes and included the interstate commerce language.
    B. Rep. Steve King, Rep. Bob Goodlatte and others offered and argued persuasively for several amendments all of which were defeated. One that was particularly interesting was Steve King’s amendment to merely exclude pedophiles from the protected class based on “sexual orientation” – it was voted down 13-10.

III. Major Concerns

While the bill’s supporters have very effectively framed the bill as one that will protect victims from criminal acts, the bill actually has very little to do with protection. Indeed, if the bill’s drafters and supporters are to be believed, the bill only becomes relevant after a criminal has committed an already illegal act. On closer analysis, the bill does not merely provide stiffer penalties for certain crimes but, rather, represents a substantive and fundamental shift away from the American ideas of free speech and God given immutable equality and toward the European ideas of state approved speech, state endorsed morality, state-given egality. The particular concerns with the bill are numerous, but a few of the most troublesome are listed below.

A. Unequal Protection of Laws Under 14th Amendment

    1. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires that all citizens be extended equal protection under the law. HR 1913 in effect creates two classes of victims, i.e. those who are a member of the preferred and protected class created by the bill and those who are not. Inclusion in the preferred class is to a great extent based not on immutable characteristics but on the class member’s choice of sexual conduct, subjective gender, and subjective gender self-identity.

    2. The practical effect of the carrot and the stick of federal funds, federal promotion and federal oversight is the promotion of the preferred class and the neglect of non-class members. Specifically, local and state law enforcement would have the incentive of federal funds to prosecute cases involving these preferred victims to the exclusion and neglect of “less valuable” victims. Additionally, with federal funds available when the requisite “hate” connection can be alleged, the bill creates a powerful incentive to force cases into the “hate crimes” mold. This heavily incentivized increase in reported “hate crimes” would artificially inflate the number and apparent prevalence of so called “hate crimes.” The natural and very political result of such a perceived increase in “hate crimes” would undoubtedly be an increase in the political influence of the preferred class, and as night follows day, a corresponding increase and expansion of even more intrusive “hate crime” and “hate speech” legislation to address the perceived crisis.

B. Punishes Thought (Potentially Religious or Political thought) rather than Mere Intent To Commit a Crime.

    1. Ironically hate is not even an element of a “hate crime” in the bill. Rather, the definition of a “hate crime” is borrowed from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 – requiring only that the defendant selects a victim because of the membership or perceived membership in one of these proposed protected classes. Proponents of the bill argue that the criminal is being punished for his or her intent to terrorize an entire class of people (i.e. all homosexuals) but no such intent to terrorize is actually required. Indeed, despite the framing of the term “hate crime” the bill does not even require a showing of animus toward the victim or the preferred class. Under existing law, the criminal would be punished if he or she possessed the requisite intent to commit the act. The additional criminal fines and prison sentences that would be created by HR 1913 are based not on whether the defendant intended to commit the act but on whether the defendant considered the victim’s membership in the preferred class in choosing the victim. In other words, because penalties already exist for those who commit criminal acts, HR 1913 serves only to punish individuals for the beliefs, opinions, or convictions held at the time an act is committed. As such, HR 1913 does not punish criminal intent, but criminalizes thought.

C. Wider Immediate Application than Claimed.

This bill will certainly be construed in light of existing federal law including specifically United States Code Title 18, Section 2, that says that : “Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.”. This is the feared immediate nexus between the speech of a pastor or radio commentator and the actions of a deranged parishioner or listener. Proponents of the bill argue that it clearly, under its own language, applies only to acts of violence. This argument is misleading and naïve in that it implies that criminal liability would be available only for the person physically committing the violent act, while ignoring completely the likelihood that courts, especially ideologically driven, activist courts, will impose criminal liability on those deemed complicit in the violent act whether or not they physically contributed to the act.

D. Federal Power Grab

The bill, if passed into law, would as a practical matter federalize virtually every sexual crime in the United States. This federalization would occur even in the absence of any evidence of failure by states and municipalities to prosecute. Under the bill, membership in one of the preferred classes does not have to be the impetus for the criminal act but merely a factor in the defendant’s selection of his victim. This is almost always the case. Muggers invariably choose little old ladies as victims precisely because they are little old ladies and unlikely to be able to fend them off. Under the bill, consideration of the gender of the victim effectively creates the potential for federal jurisdiction. Considering both the extreme breadth of the bill and the built-in incentives to bring crimes under the bill, the likely result is the practical federalization of large swaths of state and local criminal law.

E. Trend of Nationalization of State and Local Law and the Internationalization of Federal Law; And a Corresponding rise in Anti-Semitic and Anti-Christian activity.

    1. The recent report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) widely increased the number of people who may be classified as terrorists and who almost by definition would be members of hate groups. Under the HR 1913, the speech of a criminal defendant and the mere membership of the defendant in a given group may be used as evidence of his or her biased motive so long as a prosecutor can show that the speech or association was “specifically related” to the criminal act.
    2. Substance and methods similar to that offered in the DHS report have recently been echoed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That group provides influential lists of alleged hate groups relied upon by state and federal law enforcement. The reports have begun to blend among its lengthy list of true hate-based groups such as neo-Nazi groups and the Ku Klux Klan, other organizations based on little more than their opposition to homosexuality. The effect of listing a pro-family organization along side several neo-Nazi groups is to create guilt by the artificial manufactured appearance of association.
    3. Additionally the appointment of Harold Koh as legal advisor to the State Department and the rise of acceptability of his stance that international laws should be used to interpret American laws, even among such figures as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, creates the danger and likelihood that judicial activism would further increase the power, reach, and tyrannical effect of HR 1913 by bringing its application in line with its counterparts in Canada, the Netherlands, etc.
    4. Proponents of HR 1913 argue or imply that the law would provide greater protection for members of all faiths, presumably including Judaism and Christianity. The application of hate crimes laws in the countries they are most prevalent (and the countries to which Harold Koh would likely look for interpretive guidance), produce exactly the opposite result. The application of hate crimes laws in countries like the Netherlands experiencing the increased influence of Shariah – stringent Islamic religious law — is patently and consistently anti-Semitic. The most concrete example of this is the stark contrast in the application of the hate crimes laws in the Netherlands between those who criticize Shariah and those who call for violence against Israel and the Jewish people. For instance, Geert Wilders, who produced a 17-minute film critical of Shariah, is being vigorously prosecuted under the Netherlands’ hate crimes laws — while the blatant and violent anti-Semitism of others such as Dutch MP Harry van Bommel, who called for intifada against Israel earlier this year, and Doekle Terpstra, who sponsored an “Olive Tree Campaign” rally in Amsterdam where the participants chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas!” are apparently immune from hate crimes prosecution.
    5. The same is likely true of the UN Anti-Blasphemy measures which realistically can be seen only to forbid criticism of Shariah while allowing wholesale anti-Semitism.
    6. Christians who vocally oppose homosexuality and the state endorsement of homosexuality in Holland, Canada, and Brazil routinely receive similar treatment, finding themselves on the prosecuted and persecuted end of hate crimes legislation while the anti-Christian actions of other groups are ignored.
    7. Historically an increase in Shariah influence and/or a rise in economic problems have consistently shown a corresponding rise in anti-Semitism. The growing national and international acceptance and preferential treatment of the pro-homosexual movement has likewise shown a similar increase in anti-Christian activity (such as the threats of violence against Proposition 8 supporters in California and the recent attack launched by homosexual activist Perez Hilton against a contestant in the Miss USA competition). Were the United States under the leadership of Harold Koh, Janet Napolitano, etc., to follow the hate crimes trends and precedents established in the international community, the actual application of HR 1913 and its certain coming hate crimes and hate speech progeny, would likely undermine the rights of Christian and Jewish citizens.

F. Incremental Move Toward Making Speech a Federal Crime.

    1. All of the above can reasonably be expected to lead to a quickly spawned progeny of hate crime legislation demanding greater and greater control of thought, expression and association. This is the pattern in the international community. HR 1913 would firmly brand one’s thoughts on the issues of human sexuality as potentially criminal activity. The logical next step is to recognize the “harmful impact of hateful speech” on preferred classes and to begin outlawing speech that would communicate what members of preferred classes find offensive. Proponents of HR 1913 have argued that this is preposterous but tellingly, in the April 23, 2009 Judiciary Committee hearings on HR 1913, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) said unequivocally that “We need to protect victims against hateful words, hateful acts and even violent acts.”

IV. Action Steps
Since the bill was signed into law by President Obama coupled with the fact that Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh was confirmed 06/25/2009 as the State Department’s legal advisor in a roll-call vote, 62-35, the relevant items below have been struck.

    1. Encourage constituents to participate in immediate, continued, and persistent contact with both personal senators and congressmen and those of other districts and states (Congressional Switchboard: 202-225-3121; or 202-224-3121; http://www.congress.org).
    2. Support, promote and demand a filibuster if the measure reaches the floor of the Senate.
    3. Record and hold to account every member of Congress supporting the bill in the coming elections.
    4. Actively oppose the confirmation of Harold Koh.
    5. Vigorously hold Janet Napolitano responsible for the libelous report issued by the DHS.

Source:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1913&tab=summary

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1913/show

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Written by Ben

October 29, 2009 at 10:25 am

Bush Bashing Media Engine Continues to Support Obama

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First, a couple of jokes

President Bush goes into a library. “I would like a cheeseburger and fries,” he says in a loud, clear voice.”
“But sir,” says the assistant, “this is a library.”
“Gee, I’m sorry,” says Bush, and whispers very quietly, “I’d like a cheeseburger and fries.”

Change We Can Believe In

Obama campaigned for the presidency with a sweeping promise of “change we can believe in” and entered office with America in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and with the nation at war on two fronts. It is a time when America is at one of the most challenging junctures in modern American history.

However, since his inauguration, confidence in this president has been fading – and fading fast.

Six months into his term, a July 2009 Rasmussen Poll showed just 30 percent of the nation’s voters “strongly approve” of Mr. Obama’s job performance while 40 percent “strongly disapprove” of the president’s performance.

An October 2009 Gallup Poll recorded an average daily approval rating of 53 per cent for Mr Obama for the third quarter of the year, a sharp drop from the 62 per cent he recorded from April. It is worst poll rating drop in 50 years.

Jeffrey Jones of Gallup explained: “The dominant political focus for Obama in the third quarter was the push for health care reform, including his nationally televised address to Congress in early September.”

Jones continued, “Obama hoped that Congress would vote on health care legislation before its August recess, but that goal was missed, and some members of Congress faced angry constituents at town hall meetings to discuss health care reform. Meanwhile, unemployment continued to climb near 10 per cent.”

President Obama is also facing criticism from the right for his drawn-out decision-making process over what to do next in Afghanistan.

In a speech given at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, Vice-President Dick Cheney accused Mr Obama of failing to give Americans troops on the ground a clear mission or defined goals and of being seemingly “afraid to make a decision” about Afghanistan “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger” .

“Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries.” – Vice-President Dick Cheney

Cheney further criticized Obama aides who suggested that the Bush administration had failed to weigh up conditions in Afghanistan properly before committing troops.

“Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced. It’s time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity.” – Vice-President Dick Cheney

Former Bush deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said, “For a guy who campaigned on taking responsibility and looking forward, he spends an awful lot of time pointing fingers and looking backward.”

Democratic Party strategist Liz Chadderdon defends their Bush bashing and believes things are better now than they have been.

“I think Bush-bashing has been alive and well since ’07 and, since it keeps working, why not use it? Voters have short memories. The administration needs to remind people that things were way worse over the last four years than in the last six months.” – Liz Chadderdon

While he asserts his responsibility for addressing the nation’s problems, Mr. Obama manages to highlight that he was left to deal with others’ missteps.

At a July 2009 town-hall meeting in Michigan — the state with the nation’s highest jobless rate — Mr. Obama said that fixing the economy is “a job I gladly accept.”

But he added, “I love these folks who helped get us in this mess. And then suddenly say, ‘Oh, this is Obama’s economy.’ ”

Wrapped in controversy, Bush’s support of TARP legislation averted a full-blown economic melt-down but Obama wants to take the credit and often claims Bush let the economy burn, despite evidence to the contrary.

While Bush didn’t compel Obama to spend money nearly as fast as it could be printed, or roughly double the projected debt over the next decade, Obama continues to blame Bush for the $1.42 trillion dollar deficit. Obama’s motto: “Stop Bush – before he makes me spend again!”

As expected, the nation’s press levied this list of criticisms over his drunken spending habits.

New Orleans who? What’s a New Orleans?

After Obama’s recent trip to the Gulf Coast regions which are still wrestling with Katrina’s aftermath, a few Gulf Coast newspapers and politicians were a bit miffed about the shortness of his visit.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune : “That’s it?”

The Picayune’s Jonathan Tilove : “Say what you will about former President George W. Bush and his administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath — the man knew how to put together a post-Katrina White House visit to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. “They were exhaustive, exhausting, sun-up-to-sundown, sometimes multiday and multistate affairs.”

Mississippi’s Sun Herald : “Why are we invisible?”

Fellow Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu : “If this visit is too brief, it will not afford the president the opportunity to see firsthand the impact that an effective and committed administration can have on rebuilding neighborhoods and communities.”

Obama’s day began with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward. In the afternoon, he held a brief town hall meeting at the University of New Orleans Lakefront campus.

As a candidate, Obama railed against the Bush administration for abandoning and then neglecting the people of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. He made five campaign trips to the city. As president, Obama waited almost nine months before visiting the city, spent less than four hours on the ground there and then jetted to San Francisco for a $3 million Democratic National Committee fundraiser. The press had this to say about his disappearing act.

Obama Shirks Meeting with The Dalai Lama – Fears Angering China

When President Barack Obama decided not to meet with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Washington in the first week of October 2009, analysts are sensing the rebuff is related to the $8 billion U.S. Treasury debt held by the Chinese government, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt. Obama clearly sees his ability to continue to finance his deficit spending is tied directly to keeping China as happy as a Panda.

It was the first time since 1991 that the Dalai Lama has come to Washington and not met with the U.S. president.

Co-chairman of the Congressional Tibet Caucus, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), blasted “the administration’s unwillingness to meet with an internationally respected human rights leader in order to placate Chinese tyrants.”

“The U.S. has permitted China to have a one-way free-trade policy for decades, and now we are not only suffering the serious economic damage caused by that policy; we are finding ourselves politically vulnerable to a regime that is the world’s worst human rights abuser,” — Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)

After awarding Obama with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, and in a clear swipe at his predecessor, George W. Bush, the Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Obama for the “change in the international climate” that the President had brought.

Obama’s War with Fox News

There are those on the left who claim that Fox News is operating as a radio show outlet, not a news organization. Several top White House advisers have gone on other channels to criticize Fox News’ coverage of the administration, dismiss the network as the mouthpiece of the Republican Party and urge other news organizations not to treat Fox News as a legitimate news station.

On October 20, 2009, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said White House officials

“render (that) opinion based on some their coverage and the fairness of that coverage.”

But asked how Fox News was different from other news organizations, Gibbs mentioned the channel’s 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows, in an explicit reference to “Beck” and “Hannity” — even though those two shows represent opinion programming.

Informed that those hours are for opinion programming, Gibbs said:

“That is our opinion.”

While the left may rejoice and find Obama’s tactic on target, Obama is going down a slippery slope. He is breaking a bit of new ground by focusing upon negative opinion about the effectiveness of his policies and attempts to marginalize the news outlet by claiming it isn’t a legitimate news organization.

Obama’s tactic removes all moral ground to stand upon which allows the left to complain if the next Republican president attempts to marginalize MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, et. al. simply because they disagree with opinion.

Obama’s behavior is childish, but it is to be expected from an inexperienced, untested, under-qualified yet glorified community organizer clueless about what it means to actually act like a president of the United States. Being president comes with some awesome challenges. So far, Obama demonstrates an inherent inability to meet and rise above those challenges.

Of a larger concern, if Obama cries foul over a little negative opinion and threatens to take his ball and go home like some school child, how will he behave when the going really gets tough with his failing foreign policies?

If the Bush Administration had declared a war upon the Liberal Media, we would never hear the end of it. The Liberal Media would make sure of that.

“If George Bush had taken on MSNBC, what would have happened? That’s one place you can point to a real difference in how I’d imagine Bush would be treated.” — Phil Bronstein, editor-at-large, San Francisco Chronicle.

The True Colors of the Nation’s Media

Bush was frequently criticized for secret meetings with the oil industry, politicizing the White House, the number of executive orders which pale in number compared to the pile already assembled by Obama and spending too much time on his bike.

How does Obama get away unscathed? Simple, while Obama continues with his Bush bashing campaign, the press is more than willing to oblige him. The Liberal Media Machine, aided by George Soros remains “in the tank” for Obama. What used to be Bush’s loudest critics are now Obama’s biggest supporters.

Apparently, the 500 pound gorilla is getting too big to ignore. Media observers have noted the president gets kid-glove treatment from the press, fellow Democrats and, particularly, interest groups on the left, such as Media Matters and MoveOn.org.

While Bush was characterized by the press as being a Big Business Republican who “drove daddy’s car the White House”, stories about secret energy meetings and his lack of oratory skills, the press was all too willing to reinforce the image of a backward country bumpkin with ties to evil Halliburton over and over again and the “bots” on the left willingly drank the kool aide.

The press continues to paint Obama with a positive brush despite the fact that Obama is a empty suit, however, Saturday Night Live says what the media won’t.

Obama Defends Himself While The Press Feigns Criticism

President Barack Obama has been in office just nine months and already he is aggressively defending his legacy against criticism of his record on health care, climate change, closing Guantanamo, reforming immigration laws and financial regulations and his mismanagement of the war in Afghanistan.

“There’s an aspect of the campaign that’s all about projecting our hopes and our dreams and it’s full of excitement, and now we’re in governing mode, and governing is always tough because there are conflicting interests. Things take time, people argue. Our problems won’t be solved overnight, especially problems that grew over the course of decades.” — Barack Obama, at October 2009 fundraiser for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

At another fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama said he doesn’t mind cleaning up the mess Republicans left. “But I don’t want the folks who made the mess to sit there and say, you’re not mopping fast enough,” Obama says. “I want them to grab a mop!”

In the last week of October 2009, when Obama appeared at yet another fundraiser (YAFuR) in New York, a crowd of several thousand Obama supporters were chanting “Grab a mop!” a reference to his campaign mantra, “Yes, we can!”.

In spite of the fact that some Democrats are finding the complaints of Obama “getting a pass” hard to stomach, the New York Times’s idea of criticism is to note that Obama’s all-male basketball games drew fire from the head of the National Organization for Women, who called the games “troubling.” This piece of dazzling journalism represents yet another outstanding example of the dynamic and weighty investigative reporting for which the Times is best known.

Read more about the MOP here.

Written by Ben

October 28, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Barack Obama, Politics

Tagged with ,

San Francisco Protects Illegal Immigrants

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The Board of Supervisors gave final approval to a measure that would keep law enforcement from turning over minors to immigration authorities unless they have been found guilty of a felony.

San Francisco. It’s a city infamous for its liberal policies. It is known for tackling issues ranging from gay marriage to universal health care. Now, it is wrestling with another divisive issue.

The Board of Supervisors gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would keep law enforcement from turning over minors to immigration authorities unless they have been found guilty of a felony.

The move pits the panel against Mayor Gavin Newsom and law enforcement by reversing his policy of turning over youths to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after their arrest.

Newsom took the stance in 2008 after the city was accused of protecting young offenders such as Edwin Ramos from deportation.

Ramos, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was charged with felonies as a minor, but the sanctuary policy allowed the suspected gang member to stay in the U.S.

Now 22, Ramos is awaiting trial in the shooting death of a man and his two sons in San Francisco as they headed home from a barbecue.

Since the mayor changed the policy, 149 undocumented juveniles charged with felonies have been referred to immigration officials, ICE said.

The newly approved measure is supported by civil rights groups, immigrant advocates and the Juvenile Division of the Public Defender’s Office, who contend it restores the right of minors to due process and gives them a chance to defend themselves before facing possible deportation and separation from their families.

“We need to treat children as children — they are vulnerable and they are different from adults,” said Patricia Lee, head attorney with the Juvenile Division of the Public Defender’s Office.
Newsom’s policy, she said, “flies in the face of any code in the nation that provides for the protection of the child and reunification with the family.”

Those siding with the mayor — the police chief and district attorney, among others — argue the new ordinance will force officers to go against federal law by shielding undocumented immigrants and exposing the city to lawsuits.

“The mayor is not going to force his own law enforcement officials to break state and federal law just because supervisors have made this Quixotic gesture,” said Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Newsom. “If you have committed a serious crime, there is no sanctuary for you.”

The measure must now go to Newsom, who has said he would veto it. Supervisors have said they would overturn his veto, a move likely to touch off a legal fight.

“The mayor does not have the authority to disregard it unilaterally,” said David Campos, the supervisor who initiated the measure. “If the law is challenged, it will be up to the courts to decide its legality.”

Other cities are watching San Francisco to see how it decides to handle undocumented minors. Requiring due process for children before they are referred to ICE is an innovative strategy and could be implemented elsewhere, said Angela Chan, staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, a legal and civil rights group that has worked closely with youth affected by the city rule.

At the heart of the issue is San Francisco’s City of Refuge ordinance, adopted in 1989 as part of a national sanctuary movement intended to help refugees from Central American civil wars. Dozens of cities across the country adopted similar sanctuary policies.

The sanctuary policy allows officials who encounter undocumented immigrants not to report them to federal officials. It’s credited with improving law enforcement relationships with the city’s large immigrant community.

Adults who commit crimes are completely exempted from protection, but the situation of minors was unclear under the rule. Instead of turning juveniles suspects over to immigration officers, San Francisco was housing them or flying them back to their home countries at city expense.

Bill Ong Hing, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, who testified in favor of San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance when it was first proposed, said federal law does not require officers to turn over undocumented immigrants.

“Every day across the country, local law enforcement officials often do not turn over undocumented immigrants that they come across,” he said. “They want to maintain a good, trusting relationship with immigrant communities because that is better for public safety.”

Deputy probation officers, who would be responsible for taking youths from police and deciding whether to hand them over to ICE, are afraid that obeying the new measure would mean violating federal law. They have vowed not to follow the new rule, said Gabriel Calvillo, head of the San Francisco Deputy Probation Officers Association.

“We just want to be safe, to make sure our officers are not put in the cross hairs of federal officials,” Calvillo said. “We’re going to continue to follow the mayor’s direction.”

Written by Ben

October 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Immigration, Liberals, Politics

Tagged with

Unemployment rate over last 25 years

with 6 comments

A little graph

Unemployment

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. US Senate.

A few statistics

Selected statistics at the end of 2006 (last year Republicans controlled both houses of Congress):

Unemployment rate: 4.4%.
Previous year of GDP growth: +2.4%.
Previous year of job growth: +1.6%.
S&P 500: 1418.

Same statistics, most recently (after almost 3 years of Democrats controlling both houses of Congress):

Unemployment rate: 9.8%.
Previous year of GDP growth: -3.8%.
Previous year of job growth: -4.2%.
S&P 500: 1080.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Fed/FRED (GDPC96 and PAYEMS series), Yahoo Finance.

A Quote

“By any measure, my administration has inherited a fiscal disaster.”
President Barack Obama.

A little analysis

We’re doomed.

Written by Ben

October 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

Fiat, Devaluation and Hyper-Inflation

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Fiat money

Most nations have fiat money today, not backed by any physical asset. Its worth is not based on how much is in circulation, rather it is based on the “guess” of how much tax and other revenues the government will receive in the next year.

Issuance to reserve banks, nature of obligation and redemption

Federal reserve notes are issued at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the purpose of making advances to Federal reserve banks through the Federal reserve agents.

The notes are obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal reserve banks for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They are redeemed as lawful money on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve bank.

Hyper-Inflation

The classification of hyper-inflation is: an episode where the inflation rate exceeds 50 per cent per month. In history this has occurred in the 1920s in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Russia. Germany in 1923, for example, experienced a 3.25 million per cent inflation rate in a single month. Since the 1950s hyperinflations have been experienced in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ukraine and Zimbabwe, so confined largely to developing and transitioning economies.

The root cause of hyperinflation is: “excessive money supply growth, usually caused by governments instructing their central banks to help finance expenditures through rapid money creation.”

Could hyper-inflation happen in the U.S.? While possible, certain conditions would have to exist.

  • The rapid expansion of the monetary base by the Fed, European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BoE) would have to continue and feed into a more rapid and sustained expansion of money in the hands of the general public.
  • Governments would have to face difficulties financing their bailout packages and funding their debt.
  • Public confidence in the government’s ability to service debt without resorting to the printing press would have to disappear, as well as the government’s actual ability to withstand the pressure to do so in the first place.

With the fact that governments are pumping large sums of cash into the banking systems, the creation of government programs designed to stimulate the economy and the bailout of large corporations, a scenario of hyper-inflation cannot be ignored. Markets are currently priced with an opposite view of lasting deflation in the next several years.

More: http://www.shadowstats.com/article/hyperinflation

Written by Ben

October 18, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Market Meltdown, Politics

Tagged with ,

The charges against Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y

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Republican Rep. John Carter introduced a resolution Wednesday, October 07, 2009, to strip Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., from his position as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rangel is at the center of a government ethics probe into whether he failed to pay taxes and disclose income on multiple properties.

Whereas the gentleman from New York, Charles B. Rangel, the fourth most senior Member of the House of Representatives, serves as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a position of considerable power and influence within the House of Representatives;

Whereas clause one of Rule XXIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives provides, “A Member, Delegate, Resident Commission, officer, or employee of the House shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”;

Whereas The New York Times reported on September 5, 2008, that, “Representative Charles B. Rangel has earned more than $75,000 in rental income from a villa he has owned in the Dominican Republic since 1988, but never reported it on his federal or state tax returns, according to a lawyer for the congressman and documents from the resort.”;

Whereas in an article in the September 5, 2008 edition of The New York Times, his attorney confirmed that Representative Rangel’s annual congressional Financial Disclosure statements failed to disclose the rental income from his resort villa;

Whereas The New York Times reported on September 6, 2008 that, “Representative Charles B. Rangel paid no interest for more than a decade on a mortgage extended to him to buy a villa at a beachfront resort in the Dominican Republic, according to Mr. Rangel’s lawyer and records from the resort. The loan, which was extended to Mr. Rangel in 1988, was originally to be paid back over seven years at a rate of 10.5 percent. But within two years, interest on the loan was waived for Mr. Rangel.”;

Whereas clause 5(a)(2)(A) of House Rule 25 defines a gift as, “…a gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value” and prohibits the acceptance of such gifts except in limited circumstances;

Whereas Representative Rangel’s acceptance of thousands of dollars in interest forgiveness is a violation of the House gift ban;

Whereas Representative Rangel’s failure to disclose the aforementioned gifts and income on his Personal Financial Disclosure Statements violates House rules and federal law;

Whereas Representative Rangel’s failure to report the aforementioned gifts and income on federal, state and local tax returns is a violation of the tax laws of those jurisdictions;

Whereas the Committee on Ways and Means, which Representative Rangel chairs, has jurisdiction over the United States Tax Code;

Whereas the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct first announced on July 31, 2008 that it was reviewing allegations of misconduct by Representative Rangel;

Whereas Roll Call newspaper reported on September 15, 2008 that, “The inconsistent reports are among myriad errors, discrepancies and unexplained entries on Rangel’s personal disclosure forms over the past eight years that make it almost impossible to get a clear picture of the Ways and Means chairman’s financial dealings.”;

Whereas the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced on September 24, 2008 that it had established an investigative subcommittee in the matter of Representative Rangel;

Whereas after the Ethics Committee probe was underway, The New York Times reported on November 24, 2008 that, “Congressional records and interviews show that Mr. Rangel was instrumental in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited Nabors Industries an oil drilling company last year, while at the same time its chief executive was pledging $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at C.C.N.Y.”;

Whereas the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced on December 9, 2008 that it had expanded the jurisdiction of the aforementioned investigative subcommittee to examine the allegations related to Representative Rangel’s involvement with Nabors Industries;

Whereas since then, further serious allegations of improper and potentially illegal conduct by Representative Rangel have surfaced;

Whereas during the recently completed August district work period, Representative Rangel acknowledged his failure to publicly disclose at least half a million dollars in cash assets, tens of thousands of dollars in investment income, and his ownership of two pieces of property in New Jersey;

Whereas corrected financial disclosure statements filed by Representative Rangel on August 12, 2009 now reveal his net worth to be nearly twice as much as he had previously revealed;

Whereas The New York Times newspaper reported on August 26, 2009 that, “United States Representative Charles B. Rangel, whose personal finances and fund raising are the subject of two House ethics investigations, failed to report at least $500,000 in assets on his 2007 Congressional disclosure form, according to an amended report he filed this month. Among the dozen newly disclosed holdings revealed in the amended forms are a checking account at a federal credit union with a balance between $250,000 and $500,000; three vacant lots in Glassboro, N.J., valued at a total of $1,000 to $15,000; and stock in PepsiCo worth between $15,000 and $50,000.”;

Whereas Roll Call newspaper reported on August 25, 2009 that Representative Rangel’s corrected filings also revealed “at least $250,001 in a fund called ML Allianz Global Investors Consults Diversified Port III.”;

Whereas the aforementioned Roll Call story reported that “Rangel also originally misreported that his investments in 2007 netted him $6,511-$17,950 in dividends, capital gains and rental income. In his revised filing, that range jumped to between $29,220 and $81,200.”;

Whereas these most recent revelations by Representative Rangel have resulted in heightened national news media coverage of alleged impropriety and potentially criminal conduct by one of the most senior Members of the House;

Whereas an editorial in The Washington Times newspaper on September 1, 2009 noted, “Charlie Rangel is one lucky guy. The Democratic congressman from Harlem, N.Y., just discovered that his net wealth is twice what he thought. That’s a pretty good day at the office for a public servant. Mr. Rangel also realized that he made tens of thousands of dollars more than he reported in many different years over the past decade. This is the most recent string in a series of financial bonanzas for Mr. Rangel, who last year admitted he had forgotten about $75,000 in rental income on his Caribbean resort property.”;

Whereas the same editorial also noted, “The congressman has failed to pay property taxes on two lots in New Jersey, according to the New York Post. That’s not all. In order to avoid taxes and get lower mortgage rates, Mr. Rangel simultaneously claimed three ‘primary residences’.”;

Whereas an editorial in the September 17, 2009 edition of the New Haven Register stated, “The ethics and tax complaints keep piling up against U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, who as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee controls writing of the nation’s tax laws. The New York Democrat may write those laws, but he apparently feels no obligation to obey them. The investigation appears to have a long way to go. The man who is in charge of writing the nation’s tax laws doesn’t pay his federal income or local property taxes. He has such a poor grasp of his own finances that he neglects to list half his assets on a disclosure form intended to keep members of Congress accountable and honest. We can already hear the defense of the next tax deadbeat called into court. If Charlie Rangel doesn’t have to pay his taxes, why should I?”;

Whereas, an article in The Washington Post on September 15, 2009 stated, “Rangel is now the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a man of immense importance in Washington. Nonetheless, he has been busy of late revising and amending the record, backing and filling, using buckets of Wite-Out as he discovers or remembers properties he has owned in New York, New Jersey, Florida, the Dominican Republic and God only knows where else. Rangel recently even discovered bank accounts that no one in the world, apparently including him, knew he had. One was with the Congressional Federal Credit Union; another was with Merrill Lynch – each valued between $250,000 and $500,000. He somehow neglected to mention these accounts on his congressional disclosure forms, which means, if you can believe it, that when he signed the forms, he did not notice that maybe $1 million was missing. Someone ought to check the lighting in his office.”;

Whereas the same article in The Washington Post stated, “There is something wrong with Charlie Rangel. Either he did not notice that he was worth about twice as much as he said he was – which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader – or he thinks he’s above the law, which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader.”;

Whereas it has been more than one year since an editorial in The New York Times on September 15, 2008 stated, “Mounting embarrassment for taxpayers and Congress makes it imperative that Representative Charles Rangel step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems are investigated.”;

Whereas at various times during the past twelve months Representative Rangel and Speaker Pelosi have made public statements asserting that the ongoing investigation of Representative Rangel by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct would soon be concluded;

Whereas the Committee has to date issued no public statements concerning any expected timeline for conducting or concluding its investigation of Representative Rangel;

Whereas major daily newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post , and The New York Post have called for Representative Rangel’s removal from his powerful position at least until the House Ethics Committee has completed its ongoing probes of allegations against him;

Whereas, Representative Rangel’s powerful position as chairman permits him to participate in high level decisions about critically important issues such as reform of the nation’s health care system;

Whereas an October 1, 2009 story in The New York Times stated, “Mr. Rangel is one of a small group of House leaders now meeting almost daily behind closed doors with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to distill from the three bills produced in separate committees the one package that will go to the House floor.;

Whereas an Associated Press story on September 20, 2009 stated, “The ethics committee’s investigation of Rangel is almost a year old. It’s as much a problem for House Democratic leaders as for Rangel himself. Later this year, when Rangel’s committee considers estate tax legislation that could expand into other matters, the headlines will be a version of this message: ‘Tax scofflaw presiding over tax changes.’”;

Whereas the New York Post newspaper reported on September 2, 2009 that, “A review of property records for the borough of Glassboro revealed at least six tax liens levied against Rangel’s property during the past 16 years. Just last year, two separate liens were levied against both properties owned by Rangel.”;

Whereas on May 24, 2006, then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cited “high ethical standards” in a letter to former Representative William Jefferson asking that he resign his seat on the Committee on Ways and Means in light of ongoing investigations into alleged financial impropriety by Representative Jefferson;

Whereas Speaker Pelosi took the aforementioned action while Representative Jefferson was under investigation and the subject of considerable controversy in the news media, but prior to any indictment Whereas on May 24, 2006, then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cited “high ethical standards” in a letter to former Representative William Jefferson asking that he resign his seat on the Committee on Ways and Means in light of ongoing investigations into alleged financial impropriety by Representative Jefferson;

Whereas in April of 2007, Republican Leader John Boehner successfully urged several Republican Members to relinquish their committee assignments after learning that each had become the subject of investigations into possible criminal activity; Whereas Leader Boehner took the aforementioned actions while the Members in question were under investigation and the subjects of widespread media controversy, but prior to any indictments;

Whereas in the wake of the most recent allegations against Representative Rangel various editorials and articles in major national newspapers criticizing Speaker Pelosi’s continued refusal to remove Representative Rangel as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means after promising she would preside over “the most ethical Congress in history” have held the House up to public ridicule; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that upon adoption of this resolution and pending completion of the investigation into his affairs by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Representative Rangel is hereby removed as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.”

Written by Ben

October 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Will USAF drop calling card upon Iran Nuke facilities?

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The Pentagon is shifting spending from other programs to fast forward the development and procurement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. The Pentagon comptroller sent a request to shift the funds to the House and Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees over the summer.

The comptroller said the Pentagon planned to spend $19.1 million to procure four of the bombs, $28.3 million to accelerate the bomb’s “development and testing”, and $21 million to accelerate the integration of the bomb onto B-2 stealth bombers.

The notification was tucked inside a 93-page “reprogramming” request that included a couple hundred other more mundane items.
MopRequestPage
The request was quietly approved. On Friday, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a $51.9 million contract to provide “Massive Penetrator Ordnance Integration” on B-2 aircraft.

“The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON.” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).
MopRequestPage2
Lots of airspace penetration problems are solved for the Israelis this way. Also gives as few excuses as possible for counter-attack against Israel. Plausible deniability stuff.

Written by Ben

October 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Iran, Politics