Category Archives: Law

Rand Paul’s Senate Vote Rolls Back the Warfare State, by Ron Paul

The last thing Congress wants to do is assert its own constitutionally granted war powers, but Ron Paul sees some reason for optimism. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Last week, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reminded Congress that in matters of war, they have the authority and the responsibility to speak for the American people. Most Senators were not too happy about the reminder, which came in the form of a forced vote on whether to allow a vote on his amendment to repeal the Afghanistan and Iraq war resolutions of 2001 and 2002.

It wasn’t easy. Sen. Paul had to jump through hoops just to get a vote on whether to have a vote.

That is how bad it is in Congress! Not only does Congress refuse to rein in presidents who treat Constitutional constraints on their war authority as mere suggestions rather than as the law of the land, Congress doesn’t even want to be reminded that they alone have war authority.

Congress doesn’t even want to vote on whether to vote on war!

In the end, Sen. Paul did not back down and he got his vote. Frankly, I was more than a little surprised that nearly 40 percent of the Senate voted with Rand to allow a vote on repealing authority for the two longest wars in US history. I expected less than a dozen “no” votes on tabling the amendment and was very pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Last week, Rand said, “I don’t think that anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes that these authorizations from 16 years ago and 14 years ago … authorized war in seven different countries.”

Are more Senators starting to see the wars his way? We can only hope so. As polls continue to demonstrate, the American people have grown tired of our interventionist foreign policy, which burns through trillions of dollars while making the world a more dangerous place rather than a safer place.

To continue reading; Rand Paul’s Senate Vote Rolls Back the Warfare State

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New US Law Blurs the Line Between Hate Speech and Hate Crime, by Michael S. Rozeff

It was a huge mistake to make “hate” an aggravating element  of crimes beyond the traditional state of mind requirements known as mens rea, especially when the “hate” is only certain types of hate. Now hate speech, which was formerly not a crime, is becoming a hate crime. From Michael S. Rozeff at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Eleven years ago, this essay argued against hate-crime laws. One argument read “People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.” This has now come to pass, I am sorry to say. This week, the Congress passed S. J. Res. 49, and President Trump signed it, making it part of the U.S. legal code.

The law rejects “White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups…” But why? Because of their ideas? Because of their expression of these ideas? No government that stands for freedom and free speech, whose charge is to protect rights, should be singling out specific groups by name and by law declaring them as outlaws or threats because of their philosophies. If they have committed a crime, such as defamation of character or incitement to riot or riot itself, then charge them and try them. But American government has no legitimate authority to single out some of its citizens in this way. This, furthermore, is an exceedingly bad precedent. Who’s next?

The resolution is too specific, but it’s also dangerously vague. The term “other hate groups” has no known definition. Suppose that this term is defined by a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC currently names 917 groups as hate groups (see here for a list). Their criteria are not restricted to violent actions. They comprise SPEECH. They say “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They are very clear about this: “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

This Congressional resolution is a declaration that certain kinds of groups, some named but many, many others open to inclusion, are to be attacked by the U.S. government. The law urges “the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.” The term “threats” in the first paragraph is vague, dangerously vague. However, the very next paragraph singles outfree speech actions when “hundreds of torch-bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans…” The same sentence joins this with violent actions “…and violently engaged with counter-demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville…”

To continue reading: New US Law Blurs the Line Between Hate Speech and Hate Crime

Dreamers Dreaming Dreams, by James Howard Kunstler

The DACA “dreamer” issue should rightly be resolved by Congress. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are so out of the news now that people not listening to the mold grow in their sweltering bedrooms probably think these events had something to do with the Confederate defeat. Both The New York Times and the WashPo are much more concerned this morning with doings on the planet Saturn, and the career moves of fashion icon Chelsea Manning, which is perhaps how things should be in Attention Deficit Nation. Standing by on developments there….

In the meantime, personally, I think it would be cruel to deport fully acculturated and Americanized young adults to Mexico and Central America. But there should be no question that it’s up to congress to figure out what to do about the DACA kids, and put it into coherent law. The Golden Golem of Greatness was correct to serve the ball into congress’s court. The suave and charming Mr. Obama only punted the action on that problem, and rather cynically too, I suspect, since he knew the next president would be stuck with it.

It’s hard to overcome the sentimental demagoguery this quandary fetches up. The so-called Dreamers are lately portrayed in the media as a monoculture of spectacularly earnest high-achievers, all potential Harvard grads, and future Silicon Valley millionaires working tirelessly to add value to the US economy. This, again personally, I doubt , and there’s also room to doubt that they are uniformly acculturated and Americanized as claimed by the journalists cherry-picking their stories to support the narrative that national borders and immigration laws are themselves cruel anachronisms that need to be opposed.

That Dem / Prog narrative has been suspiciously hypocritical for years — the insistence on referring to anybody here illegally as “undocumented,” as if their citizenship status was due to a mere clerical error, and also the obvious pandering for votes among the fast-growing Hispanic demographic by pretending that boundaries shouldn’t matter. Trump’s infamous “wall” is actually just a metaphor for a political faction that believes boundaries do matter, especially in law, where ambiguity is a vice.

To continue reading: Dreamers Dreaming Dreams

He Said That? 9/14/17

From Richard Lamm (born 1935), American politician, writer, Certified Public Accountant, college professor, and lawyer.

All we know about the new economic world tells us that nations which train engineers will prevail over those which train lawyers. No nation has ever sued its way to greatness.

U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Reveals Its Latest Rent-Seeking Swindle, by Michael Krieger

This pharmaceutical dodge is a classic of legal legerdemain. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

For as long as I’ve been writing on this website, I’ve argued that the U.S. economy has become little more than a gigantic rent-seeking swindle where much of the wealth being “created” isn’t being created at all. Rather, money is being shuffled around and extracted from the population at large via increasingly elaborate and preposterous schemes. Indeed, it appears much of the nation’s creative energy is being directed at discovering new corporate scams, versus the invention of new goods and services that benefit everyone.

For the latest scheme we turn, unsurprisingly, to the pharmaceutical industry and Allergan in particular. The ploy was revealed by The New York Times last week, and its pretty grotesque.

What follows are excerpts from the article, How to Protect a Drug Patent? Give it to a Native American Tribe:

The drugmaker Allergan announced Friday that it had transferred its patents on a best-selling eye drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in upstate New York — an unusual gambit to protect the drug from a patent dispute.

Under the deal, which involves the dry-eye drug Restasis, Allergan will pay the tribe $13.75 million. In exchange, the tribe will claim sovereign immunity as grounds to dismiss a patent challenge through a unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The tribe will lease the patents back to Allergan, and will receive $15 million in annual royalties as long as the patents remain valid.

The surprising legal move rippled quickly through the pharmaceutical world on Friday, setting off speculation about whether other drug companies would soon follow suit in order to protect their patents from challenges through a patent-review process that the industry despises.

If Allergan succeeds in holding onto its patents, “we will probably see multiple branded companies housing their patents with Indian tribes,” Ronny Gal, an analyst for Bernstein, said in a video message to investors on Friday.

Mr. White said the tribe was approached in April by a Dallas law firm, Shore Chan DePumpo, which proposed the idea. The tribe has already taken ownership of patents owned by a technology company that Mr. White declined to name, but said the Allergan arrangement is the tribe’s first pharmaceutical deal.

To continue reading: U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Reveals Its Latest Rent-Seeking Swindle

Let’s Make America Free Again: 230 Years After the Constitution, We’re Walking a Dangerous Road, by John W. Whitehead

It’s disheartening to realize how much of the Bill of Rights has been eviscerated. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life.”—Osama bin Laden (October 2001)

Ironically, we mark the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the same week we celebrate the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

While there has been much to mourn since 9/11, there has been very little to celebrate.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution today.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind (the media, as well), worship, assemble, and protest nonviolently without being bridled by the government. Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, Americans continue to be censored, silenced and prosecuted for challenging government misconduct and corruption.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Essentially, this amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government. Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and militarized government agents armed to the teeth.

The Third Amendment prohibits the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” Yet with the police increasingly training like, acting like, and arming themselves like military forces, we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that you are guilty of a crime. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches, surveillance and home invasions.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in our suspect/surveillance society, these fundamental principles have been upended.

To continue reading: Let’s Make America Free Again: 230 Years After the Constitution, We’re Walking a Dangerous Road

Rand Paul Takes a Stand Against Unconstitutional War, by Michael Krieger

Congress has virtually ceded its power to declare war to the president. Kudos to Rand Paul, who may be starting to push the pendulum in the other direction. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential run was extremely disappointing. Rather than take it hard to the establishment, he seemed more interested in playing footsie with neocons and establishment Republicans. That strategy didn’t work and it never will. Rand Paul is best when he’s acting like a statesman and not a politician — that’s what people who like him, like about him. His campaign advisors were clearly incompetent, but at the end of the day the buck stops with him.

That being said, life is all about learning from your mistakes and Rand has truly started coming into his own in the age of Trump. With much of the party fractured and bickering, Paul seems to have found the space to push forward on key issues such as civil asset forfeiture, prison reform and endless war. He’s serving a very important function within a elitist and crony U.S. Congress and we should all take the time to thank him for his efforts.

His latest stand relates to the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been consistently abused for 16 years by multiple presidents in order to start endless military interventions against new enemies without forcing Congress to uphold its constitutional duty to wage war.

As Senator Paul explained in a recent Rare opinion piece:

As Congress takes up the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will insist it vote on my amendment to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force.

Why?

Because these authorizations to use military force are inappropriately being used to justify American warfare in 7 different countries. Sunsetting both AUMFs will force a debate on whether we continue the Afghanistan war, the Libya war, the Yemen war, the Syria war, and other interventions.

Our military trains our soldiers to be focused and disciplined, yet the politicians who send them to fight have for years ignored those traits when developing our foreign policy.

The result? Trillions spent in seemingly endless conflicts in every corner of the globe, while we find ourselves 16 years into the war in Afghanistan wondering what our purpose there even is any more, or if we’ll ever bring our troops home.

To continue reading: Rand Paul Takes a Stand Against Unconstitutional War