Darrell Castle talks about the rise of the totalitarian police state and the destruction of the Bill of Rights.
Darrell discusses President Obama’s redefining the Bill Of Rights.
My business requires me to fly a lot and since I live in Memphis, Tennessee, I usually fly from the Memphis International Airport. I passed through the Memphis Airport without incident the first week in October, but between that trip and my flight on October 13, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began using the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines currently being deployed across the nation. AIT is a high sounding name for something that amounts to a virtual strip search.
My wife and I started through the security line together but became separated at the carry-on baggage x-ray machine. I ran my bag down the conveyor and into the machine and stepped up to the line as always. The agent told me to take off my belt, which was unusual, but still I’ve seen particularly obsessive agents do it before.
When I stepped through the screening machine I was immediately in the virtual strip search machine before I knew it. The agent commanded me to put my hands over my head so he could see my naked 62-year-old body. When the scan was finished he commanded me to take the non-metallic things from my pockets for his viewing.
This whole process filled me with a rage that is hard to describe. Think of your wife and young daughters being virtually strip searched by a bunch of federal “agents.” Images of Nazi thugs with their police dogs leaping at frightened Jewish women and children came to mind, but then I regained control and thought, no this doesn’t compare to Nazi Germany, not yet.
I stood and watched the process for a while. My wife and I were the only ones who seemed to be alarmed by it. Lines of people – old women, young women, young girls, and boys – all stood naked in front of the “agents” without a word of complaint. Later in the Delta lounge, people drank their coffee as usual and passed their wait in silence.
A pilot for ExpressJet Airlines named Michael Roberts went through the process the day after I did and wrote a nice article about his experience for LewRockwell.com. Mr. Roberts was a little more aware than I and he noticed the machines and refused screening. His experience and TSA’s refusal to let him go about his work are definitely worth reading. Here’s an excerpt from his article:
“Do you want them to board your plane?” he asked. “No, but I understand there are other, better ways to keep them off. Besides, at this point I’m more concerned with the greater threat to our rights and liberties as a free society.” “Yeah, I know,” he said. And then to my amazement, he continued, “but somebody’s already taken those away.”
Mr. Roberts found that refusing the scan caused him much trouble and perhaps will even cost him his job.
You may say that it doesn’t affect you because you don’t fly, and that’s fine unless living in a thug-run police state is a concern. Now even that is problematic because the various urban police departments are being supplied with mobile units that can do drive-by virtual strip searches of cars and yes, of people. The images taken by the AIT scanners are permanently stored in a database for future federal use, as are images taken by the mobile scanners for tracking movement.
What does all this mean for America?
It means that this is no longer a free country. It means that the Constitution and Bill of Rights no longer even receive lip service. It means that our bodies are wholly owned commodities of the federal government.
How much will we as Americans be willing to take? Apparently quite a lot. How much further will the federal government be willing to go? As far as we are willing to let it go. I hate to paraphrase Howard Stern, but his advice is still pretty good: Just put your bodies in boxes and mail them to the federal government. It owns you now.
- Darrell Castle
The title of this article asks a reasonable question in view of information that has recently come to light.
The United States government has admitted publicly that it keeps certain “kill lists” of American citizens who are suspected of terrorism, but who reside far from any war zone in which the United States is formally engaged.
Under our constitutional system, Americans have certain rights or constitutional protections when they are suspected of crimes by the government. These protections are more than just court precedents laid down by courts over the years, and instead go to the Bill of Rights itself.
The Fifth Amendment, for example, states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…” The Fifth Amendment goes on to say that no person may be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
This means that when the United States believes that a person is a terrorist, the government has an obligation to present that information to a properly constituted grand jury to let that jury decide if the government has enough evidence to bind the accused for trial.
In the recent case of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, who is accused of being a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the government would have to present its case to a grand jury and let the jury decide if he should be tried for a crime. Instead of following the Constitution’s requirements, the government simply places his name on its executive list, which apparently means kill on site.
Lawyers from the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights recently filed a 12-page complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief seeking to have targeted killing of American citizens declared unconstitutional, and for an injunction against the killing of Al-Aulaqi. The complaint makes several arguments of a constitutional nature, including that the kill list amounts to a death sentence without a conviction, trial or even charges having been brought.
The president decides that Mr. Al-Aulaqi is a terrorist and orders him killed: it’s that simple. In response to the complaint, the government filed a 60-page memorandum and motion to dismiss. That memo raises some questions that should be of vital interest to all Americans:
There are several procedural objections raised in the memo, but the government’s basic position is that the kill lists targeting American citizens for death sentences are a matter of foreign policy, which is the exclusive right of the president.
The memo further concludes that to rule otherwise would be to violate the doctrine of separation of powers because the judicial branch has no authority in the area of foreign policy.
The government’s argument, if accepted, would put the president above the law, legally and officially, not just in fact.
It’s bad enough for the government to kill and torture people and then deny it, so that we don’t know for sure it is being done; but to be up front and admit it, and to insist that it is acceptable legally, is completely different.
It’s different because when the American people don’t know it is being done, they are not legally complicit in the crimes. That doesn’t lessen the crimes, but at least we are not invited along to sign off on the last of the Constitution.
Do we really want to admit once and for all that we have totally abandoned the Constitution and don’t even pay lip service to it anymore? Do we want to admit that the president is above the law and nothing checks his power? Like King John, he will then say that “the law is in my mouth.” Have we really devolved to pre-1215 law?
Let us not forget that the people doing this are “progressives.” The lawyers who signed the government’s brief were appointed by Mr. ‘Progressive” himself – President Obama.
What happened to what used to be called the liberal agenda? It was the liberal agenda until they became ashamed of the name and decided they were really “progressives.” “Progressives” have always been collectivists and statists and have always been honest about stealing the fruits of our labor for this or that program, but they used to at least pay lip service to protecting human rights.
What happened to the hope (I’m sorry I had to say it) that came out of the 70’s with the work of the Church Committee and the passing of the Freedom of Information Act? I suppose it died with Jimmy Carter’s Trilateral Commission Cabinet. Too bad, but I guess it’s more difficult to defend the “progressive” agenda when its leader of hope and change is a war criminal.
- Darrell Castle
The Ron Ramsey for Governor campaign comes to Shelby County this Thursday and Friday, July 22nd and 23rd. This is an opportunity for those of you who support Ron Ramsey’s campaign to meet him and participate in his volunteer tour of Shelby County.
Those who wish to participate are urged to be at the Memphis Headquarters of the Ramsey campaign, located at 925 Yates near Poplar, at 4:00pm on Thursday and/or Friday.
More information on the tour is available at the campaign’s website.
Ramsey is a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, as we all should be. He has also said that as governor, he will veto any legislation that Memphis may get passed allowing it to incorporate itself and Shelby County.
I don’t mean to put words in his mouth, but that could mean that he understands the significance of the movement toward consolidation and he supports the rights of individuals over those of the collective. If so, he finds himself in the company of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Darrell L. Castle
The Tennessee state primary election is scheduled for August 5th, 2010. In that election candidates of the Democrat and Republican Parties will be selected to face each other in the November election for Governor of Tennessee.
One of the leading candidates in the Republican primary is Zach Wamp, and fortunately we do not have to search very long to find Mr. Wamp’s philosophy of government, as Zach Wamp has been in the United States Congress representing Tennessee’s 3rd District since 1995.
Let’s now examine a small part of Congressman Wamp’s 15-year voting record.
He voted to authorize the war against Iraq and has repeatedly voted to continue its funding. As a result of that war over 4000 young Americans have lost their lives and tens of thousands more have been physically and/or psychologically injured for life. Only God knows for sure how many Iraqis have been killed – perhaps hundreds of thousands or more. Millions more have been reduced to the status of homeless refugees; the infrastructure of their country destroyed; their land, water, and air contaminated by depleted uranium weapons. Keep in mind that Iraq was a country which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and represented no threat to the United States whatsoever.
Congressman Wamp states on his campaign website that “we need a balanced budget,” and “reckless spending cannot continue.” Those are noble sentiments, but his voting record does not indicate a genuine commitment to them.
He voted against the ban on UN funding, for the Cash for Clunkers program, for the banker bailout, for the Economic Stimulus Act, for the Peru Free Trade Agreement, for foreign aid, for the Oman Free Trade Agreement, for the Iraq War authorization and continued funding as previously stated, for various supplemental appropriations funding, and repeatedly for deficit spending and unbalanced budgets.
Those votes do not indicate a committment to fiscal responsibility or to the U.S. Constitution.
If that were all it would be plenty, but there’s more. He voted for warrantless searches, for electronic eavesdropping, for criminalizing legitimate dissent through the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, for military tribunals for those designated unlawful enemy combatants, for Patriot Act reauthorization, and against an amendment to deny funds for implementation of the National Animal Identification System.
These votes do not indicate a commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill Of Rights.
Congressman Wamp’s voting record as a whole indicates a firm commitment to the congressional leadership of the Republican Party but a weak commitment to the best interests of the American people. For those reasons I cannot support him as a candidate for Governor of Tennessee.
- Darrell Castle
The Supreme Court of the United States recently placed further limits on the Miranda decision by their 5-4 majority decision in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins.
The decision puts to bed the advice that lawyers have given their clients since Miranda was decided in 1966 – that advice, of course, was “keep your mouth shut.”
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority continued the ever-expanding assault on the Miranda rights of a criminal suspect while being interrogated by the police. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which held that suspects must break their silence and tell police they are going to remain quiet in order to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police they want a lawyer.
Justices joining Kennedy were Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts. Newly confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayer wrote the dissent, stating that “the ruling turned Americans’ rights of protection upside down.”
I find myself in the position of agreeing with the Supreme Court’s liberal minority in opposing any further destruction of time-honored civil rights. The Bill of Rights is our foundation, and currently that foundation is under severe attack. It seems to me that we should defend it at all costs.
I especially liked Justice Sotomayer’s reasoning expressed in her dissent:
“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent – which counterintuitively requires them to speak. At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results…are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles.”
Well said Justice Sotomayer, I completely agree. The majority opinion, in essence, is that to remain silent you must speak. This means that rights are not really ours unless we overtly claim them in the face of intense police questioning.
Imagine that you are a criminal defendant. And that could happen, you know. Yes, it could happen to any of us, and if it does, we will need Miranda protection. I point you to the MIAC report and other recent hit lists as evidence.
We can’t allow Miranda or the Bill of Rights to be further eroded. To do so is to empower the State at the expense of individuals. For at least the last 10 years and probably more, the State has been ascendant against the individual.
The Constitution Party, I believe, stands for the reversal of that trend and therefore no Constitutionalist should be happy with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision.
The Sunday New York Times carried an editorial which attempted to take President Obama to task for his efforts to dismantle the Bill of Rights.
Quoting from the editorial:
“For nearly nine years the threat of international terrorism has fueled a government jack hammer, cutting away at long-established protections of civil liberties. It has been used to justify warrantless wiretapping, an expansion of the state secrets privilege in federal lawsuits, the use of torture, and the indefinite detention of people labeled enemy combatants. None of these actions were necessary to fight terrorism, and neither is a dubious Obama administration proposal to loosen the Miranda rules when questioning terror suspects and to deny presenting suspects to a judge.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The Times goes on to opine that if Attorney General Eric Holder wants to change the Miranda rules, he owes the public a much better explanation than announcing it on a Sunday talk show – but I beg to differ. If Attorney General Eric Holder wants to change the rules, he owes the public his resignation.
He has no constitutional authority to just change the rules. I am of the opinion that only the Supreme Court of the United States can change Miranda. The president is working hard to make sure that the court will change the rules if he deems it necessary: his recent appointee Elena Kagan is admittedly hostile to the First and Second Amendments, so it’s not a stretch to think she hates the Fifth as well.
What we’ve come to think of as the Miranda warning comes from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. The case held that statements made by a criminal defendant while in police custody are admissible only if the consent was informed consent. The police have a duty to inform the accused of his constitutional right to not incriminate himself and to consult with a lawyer before answering any questions. The administration now wants to create a Miranda exception to deal with the threat of terrorism.
The Times has a hard time questioning President Obama about Miranda. The editorial says that it hopes he is not simply reacting to “shortsighted pressure.”
I guess it’s bad form to be too hard on a fellow progressive. I wonder what President Obama is progressing toward? Perhaps a total surveillance military police state. I feel slimy hands around the throat of the Bill of Rights, almost as if George W. Bush were still president. After all, Bush abolished 800 years of habeas corpus and chipped away at the Bill of Rights for his entire eight years, but this president has advanced the destruction much further and much faster.
Bush can’t still be president, though, because he is a neo-Con (and they are bad) and Obama is a progressive (and they are good). It’s just so hard to tell the difference these days.