Tag Archives: Constitution

Doug Casey on Whether the US Could Soon Declare a “State of Emergency” Like Canada

As Canada goes, so goes the U.S.? From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

Emergency

International Man: Historically, when a crisis takes shape, politicians declare a “state of emergency,” which allows government to take action in ways it’s normally not allowed to.

This tactic has been used over and over again to justify all sorts of government action, removal of individual rights, and more.

What’s your take on this? Does it prove that constitutional rights are just imaginary and can be arbitrarily taken away at any moment?

Doug Casey: First, contrary to popular belief, the Constitution doesn’t grant rights. You have rights as a human being regardless of what the Constitution says or doesn’t say.

For instance, the Second Amendment of the Constitution has to do with the right to keep and bear arms. Throughout history, one of the things that distinguished a free man from a slave was the fact that a free man didn’t need permission to bear arms. If he couldn’t bear arms, it was because he was a slave. It was one of the major distinctions between a free man and a slave.

The Bill of Rights is an excellent document, but it’s hard to rely on for moral guidance simply because the Constitution is a dead letter as a practical matter. It no longer means what it says or says what it means. The Constitution has been interpreted out of existence.

It’s good that rights are spelled out in the Constitution, of course, but rights are much more basic than any Constitution. Constitutions can be changed.

We shouldn’t be dependent upon political laws at all, simply because they blow with the political winds. The US Constitution has had a good run as a philosophical, political statement. In fact, it’s the best that’s ever been put into real-world effect. But the hoi polloi view it as an obsolete product of old, dead, white men—the patriarchy. White men and their artifacts, like Western Civilization itself, are now held in contempt by large sections of society.

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CIA Spies and Their Collaborators, by Andrew P. Napolitano

In contravention of Federal law and the Constitution, the CIA collects bulk data and spies on us. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

In the past month, this column has twice addressed the unbridled propensity of federal intelligence agencies to spy on Americans without search warrants as required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

These agencies believe that the Fourth Amendment — which protects the individual right to privacy — only regulates law enforcement and does not apply to domestic spying.

There is no basis in the constitutional text, history or judicial interpretations for such a limiting and toothless view of this constitutional guarantee. The courts have held that the Fourth Amendment restrains government. Period. Last week, Congress got burned when the CIA released a heavily redacted summary of its current spying in the United States.

Here is the backstory.

When the CIA was created in 1947, members of Congress who feared the establishment here of the type of domestic surveillance apparatus that the Allies had just defeated in Germany insisted that the new CIA have no role in American law enforcement and no legal ability to spy within the U.S. The legislation creating the CIA contains those limitations.

Nevertheless, we know from statements of former governors of several states that CIA agents claim to be physically present in all 50 statehouses in the United States.

The agents who have infiltrated state governments didn’t arrive until after Dec. 4, 1981. That’s the date that President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which purports to give the CIA authority to spy in America — supposedly looking for narcotics from foreign countries — and keep from law enforcement whatever it finds.

Stated differently, while Reagan purported to authorize the CIA to defy the limitations imposed upon it by the Constitution and by federal law, he insisted on a “wall” of separation between domestic spying and law enforcement.

So, if the CIA using unconstitutional spying discovered that a janitor in the Russian Embassy in Washington was really a KGB colonel who abused his wife in their suburban Maryland home, under E.O. 12333, it could continue to spy upon him in defiance of the Fourth Amendment and the CIA charter, but it could not reveal to Maryland prosecutors — who can only use evidence lawfully obtained — any evidence of his domestic violence.

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The Police State’s Reign of Terror Continues … With Help from the Supreme Court, by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

The belief that the third branch of government would stand apart from the other two and stop their depredations and tyranny, if it ever had any validity at all, now looks positively quaint. From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges.”—George Carlin

You think you’ve got rights? Think again.

All of those freedoms we cherish—the ones enshrined in the Constitution, the ones that affirm our right to free speech and assembly, due process, privacy, bodily integrity, the right to not have police seize our property without a warrant, or search and detain us without probable cause—amount to nothing when the government and its agents are allowed to disregard those prohibitions on government overreach at will.

This is the grim reality of life in the American police state.

In fact, in the face of the government’s ongoing power grabs, our so-called rights have been reduced to mere technicalities, privileges that can be granted and taken away, all with the general blessing of the courts.

This is what one would call a slow death by a thousand cuts, only it’s the Constitution being inexorably bled to death by the very institution (the judicial branch of government) that is supposed to be protecting it (and us) from government abuse.

Court pundits, fixated on a handful of politically charged cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term dealing with abortion, gun rights and COVID-19 mandates, have failed to recognize that the Supreme Court—and the courts in general—sold us out long ago.

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that Americans can no longer rely on the courts to “take the government off the backs of the people,” in the words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. When presented with an opportunity to loosen the government’s noose that keeps getting cinched tighter and tighter around the necks of the American people, what does our current Supreme Court usually do?

It ducks. Prevaricates. Remains silent. Speaks to the narrowest possible concern.

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9/11 and the Politics of Fear and Self-Preservation, by Whitney Webb

The choice is ours. From Whitney Webb at lewrockwell.com:

We will either be remembered as a country that took freedom and liberty for all seriously or we will be remembered as a nation of cowards who, driven by fear, were willing to deprive this group, then that group, of their freedom — before losing that freedom entirely.

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When the Constitution Fails Us, by Andrew Napolitano

When the Constitution fails us, it’s time for new arrangements. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been writing for years asking if we still have the U.S. Constitution. That issue has come into sharper focus in the past 18 months as mayors and governors have created dictatorial powers and exercised those powers to interfere with personal autonomy in America. They have done this in utter disregard for the freedoms protected by the Constitution they have sworn to uphold by asserting that public health trumps personal liberty.

Here is the backstory.

Government is essentially the negation of freedom. If the values underlying the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — maximum personal liberty and minimal government — are to be taken seriously, then we all know that government has gone so far astray as to make it unrecognizable to the revolutionaries who fought the British and the founders and framers who wrote and ratified the Constitution and its first 10 amendments.

Those underlying values are generally articulated in the first eight amendments, which restrain the government from interfering in personal liberty. The Ninth Amendment codifies that our rights are too numerous to list, and thus it requires the government to respect the natural unenumerated rights of all persons, in addition to those rights specifically enumerated.

The 10th Amendment reflects the ratifiers’ public understanding that the Constitution is a compact, voluntarily entered into by sovereign states; and when they entered, they only surrendered to the federal government those powers enumerated in the Constitution, and thus they retained the powers not surrendered.

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Woke Nonsense Is Warping Everyday Life, by Victor Davis Hanson

Under the Biden administration, the rule of law, US borders, contractual rights, and race relations are crumbling. From Victor Davis Hanson at zerohedge.com:

Americans are growing angrier by the day, but in a way different from prior sagebrush revolts such as the 1960s Silent Majority or the Tea Party movement over a decade ago.

The rage this time is not just fueled by conservatives.

For the first time in their lives, Americans of all classes and races are starting to fear a self-created apocalypse that threatens their family’s safety and the American way of life.

The border is not just porous as in the pre-Trump past. It is arguably nonexistent. Some 2 million people may cross illegally in the current fiscal year, according to reports — with complete impunity. There is zero effort to stop them. Officials hector Americans daily to get vaccinated and tested for COVID-19. But they are mute about illegal entrants, some of them no doubt infected with the virus.

Have we ever had a president who made no pretense about destroying federal immigration law and asking of Americans what he does not ask of those entering the country illegally?

Joe Biden has also conceded that his moratorium on housing evictions defied a Supreme Court ruling. He added that he probably didn’t have the legal authority to ignore the court but didn’t really care.

As in the case of demolishing immigration law, the president seems either unaware or proud that he is insidiously dismantling the Constitution.

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Canceling the Constitution: Biden Hailed for Violating Rule of Law to Extend Eviction Moratorium, by Jonathan Turley

It’s clear that the Supreme Court considers the CDC’s eviction moratorium an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress’s powers, and its clear the Biden administration doesn’t give a damn. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the Hill on the extension of the eviction moratorium — a move that his White House Counsel and most legal experts told him was unconstitutional. However, according to the Washington Post, Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged Biden to call Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe who reportedly advised hm that he had the authority. I have had many (and sharp) disagreements with Tribe over the years (including profane and personal attacks) but there is usually some good-faith underlying disagreement in controversies like impeachment. This is not such a case. I fail to see the credible basis for telling a President that the CDC can use the same authority that five justices just declared it did not have.

Here is the column:

During the 2020 presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden told voters that the choice between him and Donald Trump was between the lawful and the lawless. He called for voters to support “the rule of law, our Constitution,” a choice repeated mantralike by the media to “end Trump’s assault on the rule of law.” Now, six months into his presidency, Biden is openly flouting the Constitution with a knowingly invalid extension of the eviction moratorium — and some law professors and advocates on the left are cheering him for it.

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled on the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to impose a nationwide moratorium on the eviction of renters during the pandemic. Some of us criticized the CDC order as unconstitutional. The reason is the breathtaking authority claimed by the CDC under a federal law that gives it the power to “make and enforce such regulations as in [its] judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases.”

I have long been a critic of such unchecked and undefined authority in pandemics. This, however, is a particularly chilling example. It would give the CDC authority over huge swaths of our economy to avoid even the possibility of the “introduction” or spread of a disease. It means that a Constitution designed to prevent tyranny and authoritarianism becomes largely irrelevant if you put on a white lab coat. After all, the law was designed to control disease, not democracy, as a public health priority.

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Joe Drunk, by Eric Peters

The treatment of people suspected of driving while intoxicated shreds the Constitution. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The presumption of innocence is something not paid much respect – or even given much thought – anymore. Everyone is guilty – of everything. No matter that you or I haven’t actually done anything.

It is just a matter of accusation.

The finger now points at every driver – and soon, at every new car buyer – who is to be presumed “drunk” without the bother of conviction.

Or even a probable-cause-free sobriety checkpoint.

Senate Democrats – and some might-as-well-be Democrats who identify as Republicans – have inserted language in the $1 trillion “infrastructure” bill peristaltically making its way through the Senate colon that would require every new car sold within 10 years be equipped with what you used to have to be convicted of DWI to have to have installed in your car:

An alcohol-detecting interlock of some kind that disables the vehicle and prevents it from being driven by a “drunk” driver – the latter to be defined presumptively as every driver.

And on the basis of ever-attenuating standards of “drunkenness,” which now encompasses the drinking of as little as a single beer or even less, in states that have lowered their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) thresholds defining it at .05 or even less (for those under 21). No evidence of actual impairment being necessary to convict.

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Their Endgame For The Flag, The National Anthem, The Declaration Of Independence And The Constitution

The game is not just to get rid of cherished national symbols, but to get rid of the ideas embedded implicitly or explicitly in those symbols. From Michael Snyder at themostimportantnews.com:

A huge national debate about our most important national symbols has erupted, and it is rapidly becoming one of our hottest political issues.  But what most people don’t realize is that this isn’t really a debate about our past.  Rather, it is a debate about what our future is going to look like.  Those that are demonizing the American flag, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not doing so for the purpose of winning a historical debate.  Their true goal is to “cancel” those symbols and replace them with new ones, because our existing national symbols represent values and principles that are diametrically opposed to the values and principles that they wish to impose upon society.

If they ultimately get their way, the United States will eventually become an extremely repressive high tech dystopian society where absolutely no dissent is tolerated.  In other words, we would look a whole lot like communist China does today.

When I was growing up, the “godless communists” on the other side of the globe were the “bad guys”, and I was raised to greatly love the flag and the freedoms that it represented.  But now our flag is regularly demonized by the corporate media.  For example, the New York Times just published an article in which the flag was described as “alienating”

What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.

And it has made the celebration of the Fourth of July, of patriotic bunting and cakes with blueberries and strawberries arranged into Old Glory, into another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray.

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Can the President Kill? by Andrew Napolitano

It certainly was not the intent of the Constitution’s framers, but the presidential war power has become such that the president can unilaterally make war. Wars do indeed kill people, which means that yes, presidents can kill. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last weekend, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. ordered the U.S. military to bomb targets in Syria and Iraq in an effort “to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message” to Iran. It is apparently the belief of the Biden administration — as it has been with Biden’s three immediate presidential predecessors — that the U.S. has the moral and legal authority to destroy any target outside the U.S. with financial or political or military ties to Iran.

Morally, the U.S. can only use force defensively or to repel an imminent attack. When asked for the legal authority for an offensive attack, a Pentagon spokesperson stated that it could be found in Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Yet, it is not there.

Governments love war. The political philosopher Randolph Bourne, who made a lifetime study of the effects of war, once famously and derisively called it “the health of the State” because it tends to unify persons behind the military might of the war-makers and it makes it easier to raise taxes to support the troops. It keeps the government’s agents busy and its patrons well compensated. Hence the nearly irresistible impulse that modern American presidents have had to utilize the military to assert imperial political will around the globe.

Can the president on his own send lethal missiles to any target of his choosing? In a word: No.

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