I’m sorry, but this does not look like the America I know. A tragedy like what happened the other day is no excuse for the installation of a police state…
On his radio show Wednesday afternoon, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee suggested that new gun control efforts could bear similarities to how pre-Nazi Germany devolved into a brutal dictatorship.
First, on a personal note: Thank you, thank you and thank you, Mary Elizabeth Williams! What a glorious service you’ve done the pro-life cause. I know, that’s not what you intended. But that’s precisely what you’ve accomplished.
Did I say thank you?
In her jaw-dropping article “So what if abortion ends life?”, Williams – a mainstream, though uncharacteristically honest pro-abort scribe for Salon.com – has inexplicably broken from the Orwellian left’s ministerial script. In so doing, she’s severely undermined the very cause for which she would gladly “sacrifice” (dismember alive, that is) her very own daughter. A daughter, mind you, whom she coldly acknowledges to be “a human life.”
But enough with the pleasantries.
In his 1925 manifesto “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler wrote: “Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal.” Though technically a human life, “the parasitic Jew is a human life without having the same rights as the Aryan.”
“Mother Germany is the boss,” he declared. “Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous Jew. Always.”
Ha! Just kidding. Actually, Ms. Williams wrote those things. She wrote them, not from Nazi Germany in 1925, but rather from America. Wednesday.
She wrote them, not about the Jewish people, but instead about the most vulnerable of all people: the child in her mother’s womb. (A holocaust by any other name …)
Yes, welcome to Feminist Funland, where the women are randy and the children are dead. In “So what if abortion ends life?” (I just love writing that), Williams, like some unintentionally creepy clown, guides us through the “pro-choice” house of mirrors, revealing with crystal clarity the true horror behind the left’s distorted reflections.
“While opponents of abortion eagerly describe themselves as ‘pro-life,’” she writes, “the rest of us have had to scramble around with not nearly as big-ticket words like ‘choice’ and ‘reproductive freedom.’”
Here, Ms. Williams essentially admits what the life community has said for decades – that the euphemistic language of “choice” and “reproductive freedom” long employed by the multi-billion-dollar abortion industry is exactly that; euphemism – propaganda.
In so many words, she goes on to acknowledge that, rather than “pro-choice,” “pro-death” is indeed the appropriate moniker for her movement. “Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice,” she proclaims.
Nice. Wonder how many of the little Williams babies made the cut.
But the money line? “Here’s the complicated reality in which we live,” she declares. “All life is not equal.”
Get that, Thomas Jefferson? “All life is not equal.” Put that in your self-evident-truth-pipe and smoke it. We clear, MLK? Wrap that “I have a dream” up in a big wad of “All life is not equal” and get to the back of the Birmingham bus.
Indeed, Ms. Williams is a militant feminist, and that’s adorable; but her line of reasoning here is anything but fresh and cute. It stems from the utilitarian rotgut Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger poured down the gullet of her power-drunk eugenicist fans – foremost of whom was the hypertensive fuhrer himself.
Still, to be fair, I’ll let Ms. Williams speak for herself: “Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides,” she finds. “She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”
In other words: “Me no likey? You die.” Or, as Hitler really did say: “We shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jew.” Old Adolf, of course, defined “health” to mean exactly what feminists mean by it. “Health: Any reason at all.”
Maybe I’ve been at this too long, but I love it when liberals mistake sociopathy for conviction – candor for courage. I revel in those rare moments when left-wing extremists, nestled warm inside the foul bowels of their “progressive” echo chamber, pull back the wizard’s curtain just far enough to expose, if only for an instant, the wicked sty in which they roll, splash, and play.
Like this gem: “If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant,” Williams boasts, “you bet you’re a-s I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion. … I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.”
“The World’s Greatest Abortion.”
“A life worth sacrificing.”
Submitted without comment.
“Propaganda, Propaganda, Propaganda. All that Matters is Propaganda”-Adolf Hitler
Surrounded by four children, presumably representing all youth in America, Obama recently gave a riveting speech on gun control. His announcement came in response to the Newtown shooting, or at least so he claims. According to Obama, the youngsters on stage wanted speedy resolutions and had written heartfelt letters to him suggesting their fears and concerns about gun violence. Interestingly, Obama neglected to mention what opinion any of them held about the United States Constitution, or the Second Amendment to be more precise. Lest we miss the bigger picture, the article is not about the four youngsters or their misguided parents who should have never subjected their children to such outright propaganda. Instead, the focus of this article is upon the shameless use of children, again, by Obama to promote his gun control agenda.
Indeed, there exists a gun control agenda; and unless Congress steps in, it will continue to rear its ugly head at every opportunity. It is clear that Obama’s latest gimmick intends to set a precedent that will undoubtedly bring down the Second Amendment and ultimately our Constitution if left unchecked. His shameless anti-American ideology knows no bounds. Consider for example that following the tragic deaths of the innocent children in the Newtown shooting, Obama unashamedly lashed out against law-abiding Americans. He has now followed it up by using these four children to move “forward” yet again in “hope” of bringing “change” to the way our society functions. How else can he explain the basis of his 23 executive orders on gun controls?
Most of the suggested reforms from his 23 executive orders were illogical enough to confuse Albert Einstein and offer no real resolutions to avoid another tragedy like the one experienced by the Newtown community. For example, what did Obama mean by offering more “resource officers” to schools? Did he mean more teachers or more guidance counselors? Precisely how would these “resource officers” help schoolchildren in the event another unfortunate episode occurs? Nay, he was unspecific about these resource officers just as he is unspecific about any of his other plans. He then emphasized the number of people who died “at the end of a gun”; but his statistics likely did not include those lives protected by guns.
Next, Obama claimed that someone with mental illness is “more likely to be the victim” in such tragedies but conveniently forgot to mention that the man guilty of the Newtown shooting was mentally disturbed. Obama then demanded that Congress fund research to study how violent video games affect young minds. Interestingly, he skipped adding violent Hollywood flicks or TV shows to his “research” list. Why should he? After all, doing so would mean lining up most of his supporters.
Of course, the most preposterous of all his reforms was the one that calls for universal background checks. Yes, one can see all the criminals arriving in droves to fill up paperwork for background checks post haste. It is obvious to those of us paying attention that Obama’s ridiculous call for action on gun control targets law-abiding Americans more and criminals less. In his speech, Obama claimed outrageously that “we don’t benefit from ignorance.” Yet, if we continue to allow him to encroach upon our liberties, are we not ignorant? Is he not then benefiting from our ignorance?
Consider another tyrant who did the same thing in the early twentieth century. Yes, this man too devised a grand scheme that included brainwashing the youth. He controlled the nation by controlling the youth. He effectively presented only one side of the argument-his side-and promised to reform the nation’s problems. Most of us know the history of Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the outcome it produced. Suffice it to say that Hitler’s tyranny left many men, women, and children dead, dying, or destitute. Our children are not wearing brown shirts with swastikas and black shorts like the German children. No one is forcing them to become storm troopers at the age of eighteen. Nay, no one is brainwashing them with anti-American ideology either; or are they?
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A nationwide appeal has been sent to gun owners and their families asking they go to their state capitol this Saturday, January 19, from noon to 3 p. m. to show support for our 2nd Amendment rights. In Florida, gun owners are asked to meet in the “middle of the state” at noon, at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville, FL 334601.
This urgent call to action is in response to the Barack Obama/Joe Biden/Dianne Feinstein legislative aim of imposing bans on arbitrarily selected groups of firearms and accessories. One North Carolina police lieutenant warns internet audiences that ”We’re in huge trouble.” A devout Christian, the 31 year police veteran tells listeners that “I cry. . .when guns are gone, you won’t be able to worship the Creator. ..gone. . .Freedoms gone.”
An officer who lives near the site of the Sandy Hook killings is concerned that “We are being set up to confiscate our guns. . .we can’t back away. . .these people are coming at us head on. . .we must tell our legislators…we will not tolerate confiscation or ban[s] on our guns.”
When asked what he thought about Obama wanting to take our guns, an elderly veteran at a Florida rec hall said “That’s not happening.” Quoting the soldier’s oath, he said. . .”to defend [the Constitution of the United States] against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” He emphasized domestic.
Firearms trainer and consultant Kelly Alwood would agree with the old soldier. “[Without the Second Amendment] there is no way to resist the government voiding all other amendments,” said Alwood during an interview with the Blaze. “Why should [the government] continue to give you your freedom of speech if there is no one to stop them? It [the 2nd Amendment] is the only safeguard we have to protect us from a tyrannical government.”
Naturally, the left is eager to ridicule “worriers” like Alwood, immediately characterizing all who voice such concerns as ‘nuts’ or ‘conspiracy theorists.’ But mistrust of the motives of governments that have disarmed their “subjects” is quite legitimate as the histories of Nazi Germany, the USSR, and China have so clearly illustrated.
To the Founders of this nation, the right to keep and bear arms became nothing more complicated than “…the right of armed self-defense against tyranny.” Indeed, that was the purpose of this right as later expressed in the 2nd Amendment. And in spite of the best efforts of modern hoplophobes and would-be tyrants to confuse the issue, it has not changed to this day.
For as eager as gun-banning politicians have been to change the focus of the gun control discussion to one of hunting or target shooting, the truth of their disarmament agenda never stays hidden for long. New York Governor Cuomo made that clear with his statement that “confiscation might be an option” when placed in conjunction with his plans for an “assault weapons” ban.
Sorry, Mr. Governor. We’ll not negotiate away our means of remaining free from the likes of you.
Photo credit: SS&SS (Creative Commons)
Forget all that turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, today should be a day of fasting and atonement for American “sin.” That’s according to Robert Jensen, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Jensen, known for his hard-left politics, also calls Thanksgiving a “white-supremacist holiday.”
Jensen’s opinion piece “No Thanks for Thanksgiving,” appeared on the far-left, Soros-connected website Alternet on Thanksgiving eve. In it, he wrote how Native Americans suffered because of the “European invasion of the Americas.” He went on to compare the Founding Fathers to Nazi Germany. “How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis?” he asked.
According to Jensen, Thanksgiving is “at the heart of U.S. myth-building. “But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin — the genocide of indigenous people — is of special importance today,” he explained.
Read More at CNS News . By Dan Gainor.
Photo credit: Leo Reynolds (Creative Commons)
On October 29, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Clapper v. Amnesty International. The Court will then decide whether Americans have standing to challenge a federal statute that permits the government to intercept their communications without suspicion of any crime, without a warrant, and with virtually no meaningful judicial oversight of any sort. Our law firm had the privilege of filing an amicus curiae brief in the Clapper case on behalf of Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., U.S. Justice Foundation, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, and the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund.
The case involves the 2008 FISA Amendments Act (“FAA”), which broadened the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). For years, FISA has permitted the gathering of “foreign intelligence” outside the traditional legal safeguards associated with criminal law enforcement. Even before the 2008 amendments, FISA has allowed wiretaps so long as there was probable cause to believe that the target of the surveillance was a foreign power, or agent thereof. And, so long as the “target” is legitimate, all “incidental” information that is picked up has been fair game, even if that includes the surveillance of “U.S. persons” (a term which includes U.S. citizens) not suspected of any wrongdoing.
Although FISA is purportedly designed to gather foreign intelligence, seized communications have been used in numerous criminal investigations and trials, even though FISA is not subject (i) to the same “particularity requirements” as traditional warrants (the who, what, where, and when), or (ii) to any customary oversight by an independent court. The only judicial checkpoint is the special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”), which has proven highly compliant with the wishes of the intelligence community.
Seeking still more unfettered authority, the executive branch urged Congress to pass FAA, which eliminates even the need for individual warrant applications. The FAA removes judicial oversight, as FISC is stripped of any substantive role in determining probable cause. Its only role is to make sure “that the government has made the proper certifications” — i.e., that the right boxes have been checked. Further, under FAA, there is no “ongoing judicial review” of approved surveillance. Instead, federal executive officials police themselves.
As the Clapper plaintiffs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit put it, the government need only issue an “acquisition order” to capture “[a]ll telephone and e-mail communications to and from countries of foreign policy interest….” The government never challenged that characterization of its power. Who knows — that may be exactly what they have done, and if for one country, why not for every country.
The secret nature of FAA-authorized surveillance enabled the government’s remarkable claim that, because the plaintiffs could not demonstrate with certainty that they had been the subject of surveillance, they had no standing to bring suit to defend their Constitutional rights. If the government wins on this point, the American people will be denied all access to any judicial remedy for clandestine violations of their Constitutional rights.
FAA is not the first such assertion of the power of unlimited, unsupervised, warrantless surveillance of Americans by the federal government. In January of this year, the Supreme Court decided U.S. v. Antoine Jones, rejecting the claim by federal agents that they could install and use a GPS tracking device on a person’s automobile without a warrant, probable cause, or even mere suspicion. The court ruled that, by surreptitiously placing a GPS tracking device on Jones’ Jeep without a warrant, the government violated the Fourth Amendment by trespassing on Jones’ property. This ruling, however, has not deterred the government from tracking our movements without a warrant by means of the GPS chip that the federal government has required to be placed on our cell phones. The government claims that there is no trespass, and no reasonable expectation of privacy, so the Fourth Amendment does not even apply.
Government-installed traffic cameras, security cameras, red light cameras, and plate-scan cameras already monitor us on the streets and in other public places. Additionally, federal, state and local governments are already publically discussing their plans to use increasing numbers of unmanned aerial drones to follow us even on private property. Government agents already interfere with our ability to travel, without, of course, any warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing. TSA agents inspect our toddlers’ toys and grandparents’ diapers at airports, rail stations, and bus terminals. Also, local law enforcement conducts random “sweeps” and searches at public transit locations, like subway stations, and stops vehicles at checkpoints under the pretense of looking for drunk drivers, inspecting drivers’ licenses, or conducting the increasingly popular “routine safety check.”
Amidst this vast web of random, suspicionless, warrantless searches and seizures, not only is our privacy at risk, but just as important, our property. Property rights are meaningless if they do not include the right to exclude others from one’s property (especially the government). The Supreme Court correctly ruled that, since Antoine Jones had a property right in his car, the government was prohibited from trespassing on it to install a GPS tracking device. Likewise, Americans should have property rights in the location data emitted by their cellular phones and the content of their phone calls and emails along with, of course, their tangible “persons, houses, papers and effects.” And yet, all of these rights are being eroded when balanced against the government’s purported interests of “public safety” and “crime detection/prevention.”
Such intrusions may be unprecedented in the United States, but they have not been elsewhere. United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, a close friend and confidant of President Franklin Roosevelt, served as the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. While in Germany, he was able to learn first hand how the German people had lost their freedoms. Upon his return, he became a champion of Fourth Amendment rights.
Justice Jackson’s Executive Trial Counsel at Nuremberg, Whitney Harris, discussed part of their shared experience in Germany in his book Tyranny on Trial, explaining that, as with the U.S. Constitution, “[t]he Weimar Constitution contained positive guarantees of basic civil rights. Chief among them were personal freedom … inviolability of the home [and] secrecy of letters and other communications….”
However, the Weimar Constitution also contained an extraordinary provision, Article 48, “under which the Reich President was authorized to suspend basic civil rights ‘if the public safety and order in the German Reich are considerably disturbed or endangered….’” In order to lay the predicate for this suspension of rights, it is generally believed that the Nazis themselves set fire to the Reichstag, which was followed the next day by a Presidential edict that “[personal freedom ... inviolability of the home [and] secrecy of letters and other communications] are suspended until further notice [and] violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits unless otherwise prescribed.”
Having thus suspended the property rights of the German people, and attributing all the nation’s problems to Communist terrorists, the Nazis began a campaign of random searches and seizures in order to flush out “Communist literature and illegal weapons.” Constitutional lawyer and Second Amendment scholar Steven Halbrook explains the process in his article, Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews. Two days after Hitler took power, the Berlin police, in response to a shooting of a Nazi official, “closed off the street to all traffic while at the same time criminal detectives conducted extensive raids in the houses. Each individual apartment was searched for weapons.” A little over two months later, “[h]aving disarmed and mopped up the ‘Communists” with such raids … the Nazis … turned their attention more toward the Jews” and in one case “[a] large force of police assisted by Nazi auxiliaries raided a Jewish quarter in Eastern Berlin, searching everywhere for weapons and papers.” In order to further “enforce this [campaign of] repression, telephones were tapped and informants lingered in cafes.”
Upon his return to the high court, Justice Jackson wrote a ringing dissent in Brinegar v. United States, warning of the dangers associated with the erosion of property rights. Ranking Fourth Amendment rights as being of the highest order, Justice Jackson wrote that “[a]mong deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. And one need only briefly to have dwelt and worked among a people possessed of many admirable qualities but deprived of these rights to know that the human personality deteriorates and dignity and self-reliance disappear where homes, persons and possessions are subject at any hour to unheralded search and seizure by the police.”
Just because the United States Constitution has no provision allowing a President to suspend the Fourth Amendment and other civil liberties does not mean that something akin to what happened in Nazi Germany cannot happen here. Congress has already deferred to the arbitrary exercise of unenumerated Presidential powers based on the wartime rationale of necessity that could lead to the same dark and dangerous place. Too many Americans think that it “can’t happen here.” No doubt, many Germans felt the same way under the Weimar Republic. But Justice Jackson’s warnings must not go unheeded.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already taken a first step on the road back to liberty by its ruling in Jones that the Fourth Amendment protects the right of the American people to possess their private property to the exclusion of the federal government. The next step would be for the Court to recognize that the People have the same property right to exclude the government from seizing their private communications, however transmitted. In order for the Court to do that, it must recognize that the lawyer and journalist plaintiffs in Clapper have standing to seek judicial protection of their proprietary interests in their private communications with their clients and their information sources.
If the Supreme Court denies the Clapper plaintiffs legal standing, then there will be no judicial check upon the federal government’s voracious appetite to devour the Fourth Amendment protection of our property interests in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects.” If, on the other hand, the Court grants legal standing, then the Clapper plaintiffs will have a singular opportunity to urge the justices to heed Justice Jackson’s warning that a government possessing the uncontrolled power to search and seize the people’s property “cows” the people, “crushes” the individual spirit, and “terrorizes” even the most stout-hearted amongst us.
Bill Olson has practiced law in the Washington, DC area for 36 years, and served in three positions in the Reagan administration. Herb Titus taught constitutional law for 26 years, concluding his academic career as founding dean of Regent Law School. They now practice constitutional law together, defending against government excess, at William J. Olson, P.C. They can be reached at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @Olsonlaw.
Baseball Hall of Famer Roger Clemens has just been acquitted on all six charges of lying about taking drugs 14 years ago, after having faced trial two years previously from the same Federal prosecutors. Barry Bonds encountered a similar experience a few years earlier. The recent decision followed acquittal on one count and deadlock and dismissal on others for former Senator John Edwards for supposed campaign finance violations. In all three cases, the accused were charged and put in jeopardy for minor infractions carrying long sentences and so were forced to expend funds that few other American could afford to prove their innocence.
Even more seriously, Californian Frank O’Connell was charged and convicted of murder in 1985 based on eyewitness testimony and an ambiguous dying declaration by the victim. He served a quarter century in jail but was exonerated in 2012 after the key eyewitness admitted he never recognized the killer in the first place, and it was discovered that police had hidden evidence of other suspects and improperly influenced the now recanted identification procedure.
Conservatives have always been for law and order. But it is essential to understand what that phrase means. Obviously, there was some type of law and order even in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but that, contrary to the hallucinations of the Left, is not the type of order conservatives propose.
Most conservatives recognize the arbitrariness of much of U.S. bureaucratic law these days, but what is more alarming is the increasingly capricious nature of criminal law. A National Registry of Exonerations from criminal convictions has recently been compiled by the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law to list all known exonerations in the United States since 1989. This registry now contains 891 case files of the estimated 2,000 legal exonerations as a result of pardons, dismissals, acquittals, or certificates of innocence during this period. DNA evidence has resulted in 37 percent of exonerations, 63 percent in cases of accused rape.
The cases are disturbing. A 56 percent majority of homicide exonerations resulted from misconduct by police or legal officials. The leading contributing causes to these miscarriages of justice, 66 percent, were perjury or false accusation - mostly deliberate misidentifications (44%). Some exonerates were falsely implicated by a co-defendant who confessed. Including such cases, the convictions in 39 percent of homicide exonerations were caused in part by false confessions. Homicide exonerations represent 76 percent of all false confessions in the data. Juvenile and mentally disabled were, respectively, five times and nine times more likely to falsely confess than adults without known mental disabilities.
Or consider sexual assault exonerations. These resulted overwhelmingly, 80 percent, from cases with mistaken eyewitness identifications. A majority of 53 percent of all sexual assault exonerations resulted from mistaken eyewitness identifications involving black men who were accused of raping white women. The study suggests this huge racial disproportion (about 10 to 1) is probably caused primarily by the difficulty of cross-racial eyewitness identification. Many sexual assault cases also include bad forensic evidence (37%). Child sex abuse exonerations are even more troubling, primarily resulting from fabricated crimes that never occurred at all (74%). Robbery exonerations (like adult rape exonerations) are overwhelmingly cases with mistaken eyewitness identifications (81%).
Most exonerations depend on otherwise finding proof that someone other than the defendant actually committed the crime for which the defendant was convicted. Obviously, if in truth no crime occurred, no one else can be found. A small number of no-crime exonerations involve mistakes, usually cases in which a suicide or an accidental death is mistaken for homicide. Five exonerated defendants were convicted of killing or severely injuring infants by shaking them under circumstances that recent evidence has shown could not result in death. Six exonerated defendants were convicted of arson or murder based on forensic evidence that is now recognized as valueless. The investigators believe there are many more false convictions such as these.
Most no-crime exonerations are sexual assault cases in which the complaining witnesses fabricated crimes (89 of 129 cases). Most of these fictitious reports were child sex abuse cases (70). Two-thirds of the child sex abuse exonerations are child sex abuse hysteria convictions from the 1980s and early 1990s. By far, the largest concentrations of no-crime cases are group exonerations: at least 1,170 defendants were exonerated in the aftermath of the discovery of 13 major scandals around the country in which police officers fabricated crimes, usually by planting drugs or guns on innocent defendants.
As the Report concedes, “even 2,000 exonerations over 23 years is a tiny number in a country with 2.3 million people in prison and jails.” The problem is that we do not know how many others exist, and logic suggests there must be more. “If we could spot them easily they wouldn’t happen in the first place.” Moreover, 83 percent of the exonerations were for the serious crimes of murder and rape, but these represent only two percent of crimes. Surely, criminal actions that receive less publicity have similar problems. It is difficult to know. The Center for Wrongful Convictions will not even investigate if a prisoner has less than ten years to serve given limited resources, the time necessary to gather the facts and the greater stakes involved elsewhere.
The problem is compounded by the fact that 90 percent of criminal convictions today are by plea bargaining. It is enormously difficult to exonerate someone who pleads guilty, although given the errors we know about, some accused who are not guilty fear going to court to receive even harsher sentences. Indeed, the files show 135 people who confessed to a crime who were later exonerated. Sixty percent of these exonerations were originally based on coerced confessions. Even assume that this is rare. There is something very disturbing about a legal system that the vast majority of accused people is afraid to use.
The American public views violent crime as the more serious, but half of state and ninety percent of national prisoners are jailed for nonviolent crimes. There are so many of these today; a popular book is titled Three Felonies a Day, saying that a number of crimes are committed by average persons every day without even knowing it. Narrowing the number of supposed crimes is a first step so that the law can at least be known. As far as sentencing non-violent criminals, certainly more can be done with supervised restitution regimes paid to victims, fines, more effective probation, house arrests with electronic monitoring, weekend jail time, halfway houses, public shaming such as on neighborhood billboards, and other such punishments rather than jail that many consider more effective in reducing future crimes.
Even restricting the number of crimes will still leave murder, assault, robbery, rape and sexual battery, and the rest. Of course, violent crime is a serious business that needs to be controlled, and prisons will be necessary for some. Even for serious crimes, alternatives are possible such as required alcohol or drug breathalyzers, turning off ignitions for dangerous drivers, or even chemical castration for repeat sexual offenders. Unfortunately, it is not even clear much crime is prevented by punishment regimes anyway since the legal system normally acts only after something happens. Obviously, once convicted, a guilty criminal is placed where he cannot hurt society again – and that is necessary. But 67 percent of prisoners commit similar crimes within three years of release, and that suggests the present system does not work very well.
Americans used to be more creative. The Declaration of Independence was to a great degree a rejection of using a professional standing army quartered on the people to control them. The Constitution specifically wrote in local militia clauses, time restrictions on military appropriations, protections of habeas corpus, and a 10th Amendment limiting national control. As noted by historian George Liebmann, even a professionalized police force in the U.S. is only a bit more than a century old, and for 600 years in the mother country and from the birth of the U.S., order was kept by a local elected constable responsible to a small community whose purpose was to deter rather than apprehend, relying primarily on consensus rather than force. This lone constable was backed only by a neighborhood watch and then by a posse commitatus and militia of all adult citizens, supervised by a circuit-riding judge.
The best and most just anti-crime program creates an order that prevents crime from occurring in the first place. In his wonderfully creative book Neighborhoods Future, Liebmann reports the interesting fact that dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of the modern professionalized and militarized police force has led to a “spontaneous recreation of the earlier institutions. Today, nearly 30 percent of the American population lives in residential-community associations with elected officers, a large percentage of which have assumed some security functions.” Wanted posters have moved to neighborhoods, shopping bags, and local newspapers; neighborhood policing has been revived; and gated communities and neighborhood watches have grown exponentially with little or no national encouragement or even attention.
News stories are usually limited to very rare examples of violence such as the recent killing of Trayvon Martin by watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Even if he overreacted, it is clear that Zimmermann was injured by Martin and that the community had created a neighborhood watch to keep a peace they thought was threatened. In fact, neighborhood watches do limit crime. These watches tend to be limited to more affluent areas, but there is no reason they could not be encouraged everywhere since costs are minor. Deputy New York City Mayor Stephen Goldsmith was notable in encouraging what he called “municipal federalism” as Indianapolis mayor and in New York, and Liebmann demonstrates that sub-local institutions still flourish in the U.S and throughout the world. That should be the model for a true conservative law and order program.
A criminal justice system is the first responsibility of government, and none can be perfect. But there are too many errors in the present system: it is too adversarial, too bureaucratic, too nitpicking, too large, too focused on locking people up, and, generally, too unimaginative. Conservative ideas about decentralization, experimentation, and restricted scope of criminalized behavior can help to make it better, more humane, and more efficient in promoting order.
Donald Devine, the editor of ConservativeBattleline On Line, was the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from 1981-1985 under Ronald Reagan and is Senior Scholar at The Fund for American Studies.
Photo credit: Michael P. Whelan (Creative Commons)
I recently finished reading “Bonhoeffer” by Eric Metaxas. The book, a nearly 600-page biography of German pastor and influential theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was simply life-changing. Throughout his page-turning treatise, Metaxas brilliantly illustrates how Bonhoeffer lived and died by Christ’s admonition, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).
Although Bonhoeffer penned a number of widely-read books on theology and Christian apologetics, he is chiefly remembered for his key role in one of several German conspiracies to assassinate Adolf Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime. For this, he was captured and hanged just weeks before the end of World War II.
It seems natural at this point to trek into “must read” book review territory; however, I will resist that temptation. Although “Bonhoeffer” kicked open the door to any number of theological, philosophical, and political themes, it struck another cord with me entirely.
As I read of Bonhoeffer’s efforts to thwart the genocidal slaughter of millions of Jews, disabled people, and other “enemies of the State,” I could not help but recognize the parallels between the vast holocaust carried out in Nazi Germany just decades ago and the modern-day holocaust ongoing within our own shores.
Whereas the Nazis were responsible for the wholesale murder of more than 6 million Jews, those today who support the practice of abortion homicide are no less complicit in the systematic slaughter of 55-million-and-counting equally precious human beings post Roe v. Wade. The parallels are undeniable and the science unequivocal. Murder is murder, regardless of what stage of development the human victim has reached.
The stark similarities between the two holocausts were lost on neither Dietrich Bonhoeffer nor Eric Metaxas. “Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life,” wrote Bonhoeffer in “Ethics,” his very last book.
“To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder,” he concluded.
Indeed, Psalm 139:13 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
So it occurs to me that those who call themselves “pro-life” and put faith to action in defense of innocent persons – as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer – honor both the memory of this Christian martyr and the God he served. They have picked up his mantle. They are continuing his noble work.
By contrast, if pro-lifers are modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffers, then what does that make abortion supporters? In the years leading up to and during World War II, many Germans – who were otherwise generally good people – succumbed to Nazi propaganda and acquiesced to the horrific Jewish persecution that escalated from a slow boil to a red-hot torrent around them. In effect, they bought into exactly the same kind of dehumanizing, euphemistic semantical garbage embraced by those who today call themselves “pro-choice.”
Mind-boggling is the human capacity to rationalize genocide.
On Feb. 2, 2012, Eric Metaxas gave the keynote address at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. He was clearly inspired and influenced by the subject of his latest biography.
Sharing the stage and sitting mere feet away was Barack Obama, the most radically pro-abortion president in U.S. history. In a spectacular show of resolve and moxie, Metaxas walked over to the president and handed him a copy of “Bonhoeffer.” He then launched into one of the most powerful and stirring speeches I’ve ever heard.
While President Obama squirmed nervously in his seat, Metaxas addressed both his book and the abortion holocaust with incisive clarity, saying, in part, “We are capable of the same horrible things. … Apart from God we cannot see that they (the unborn) are persons as well. So those of us who know the unborn to be human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see that. We need to know that apart from God we would be on the other side of that divide, fighting for what we believe is right. We cannot demonize our enemies. Today, if you believe abortion is wrong, you must treat those on the other side with the love of Jesus.”
Indeed, we are admonished in Scripture to pray for our enemies – to love those who do evil.
Nonetheless, we are also commanded to speak truth. We are told to hate that which is evil and to fight – indeed to die if necessary – for that which is good.
I will, no doubt, be accused of demonizing abortion supporters by equating abortion genocide to the Nazi Holocaust. I will be charged with violating “Godwin’s law” which holds that: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Still, my comparison is not intended to be an ad hominem attack. In fact, it’s not an attack at all. It simply is what it is. To identify the undeniable juxtaposition between the Nazi and abortion holocausts, respectively, is to make use of the best analogy available. I can think of no more fitting a comparison. If the shoe fits and all that.
Indeed, ours is a holocaust no less real – no less evil than that perpetrated by the Nazi regime. We’ve simply moved from the gas chambers to the abortion clinic – from Auschwitz to Planned Parenthood.
I love America. She’s the greatest nation on earth. Nonetheless, as long as we continue to allow this enduring slaughter of the most innocent among us, we are no better than was Nazi Germany. Abortion on demand will be viewed by our progeny as the single greatest blight on our American heritage.
To live under Roe v. Wade is to live in shame. To live under pro-abortion leadership is to live under the Fourth Reich.
Photo Credit: WeNews (Creative Commons)
Those who think socialized medicine is just an “all good” program that keeps you healthy while somebody else pays your medical bills ought to think again. Socialized medicine takes whatever you have, whatever it can get from you. If you have financial means, it will take your money and your rights. If you have no money, socialized medicine will take your rights – even your religious rights.
Recently, a German court, no doubt encouraged by the European system of socialized medicine, ruled that circumcision, even for (especially for?) religious reasons amounts to a bodily assault. In doing so, the Cologne regional court, a creation of man supported by a secular system hostile to religion, cast aside five thousand years of Jewish tradition and practice.
The system that spawned that type of thinking is now here in America. It is found in the 2000 page monstrosity called Obamacare. Using Obamacare as their weapon, Barack Obama and his socialist thugs in Washington are, this very day, preparing to trample on America’s tradition of religious rights. They are gearing up to force Christians, especially Catholics, to pay for abortions for their workers. Regardless of what the calendar says, in terms of religious freedom, we are entering into Nazi Germany of the 1930s.
So far, America’s secular Jews have not seen fit to join in this fight. “When they came for them, I didn’t fight because I wasn’t one of them…. and finally, when they came for me, there was no one left to fight for me” comes to mind.
The German court’s explanation that“The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised,” is the kind of cynical secular attack on religion we can expect from Barack Obama in the months to come.
While the court equivocated as to the guilt or innocence of the doctor who performed the operation on the boy, who happens to be Muslim, it made itself very clear about its opposition to parents’ rights to decide what is best for their children.
“The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision. This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs,” it said. In other words, “This gives the religious world an edge on the secular world, and we don’t like that.”
Trampling on religious freedoms based on a secular government’s disapproval of a religious practice is exactly where Obamacare will bring us. Any religion he doesn’t approve of will be fair game.
When Catholics are forced to pay for abortions, can the day Jews will not be allowed to circumcise their baby boys be far behind? This is a real and present danger. Vote conservative.
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Photo Credit: Fresh Conservative (Creative Commons)