by Scott Creighton
UPDATE: Sec. of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson was just on Morning Joe (Thursday) and he was asked specifically about the fact that Omar was not on the no fly list and had passed a background check, so how would the proposed legislation have prevented this attack.
What he said was that there were “several” proposals in congress right now and that it wasn’t a matter of whether we should take action but that we “must” to protect the “homeland”
In short, he did not answer the question at all but instead referred to these two pieces of legislation.
Plus, I just saw David Ignatius on the same show saying that claims about the constitutionality of various aspects of our “war on ISIS” plays right into the “hands of the terrorists”
“(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated for grants under this subsection $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2019.”.
The following is part of H.R.1217 – Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2015 submitted by Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Peter King is also the sponsor of the “No Buy No Fly” bill, HR1076 – Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015, which seems to be in vogue right now on the rabid left.
I will now show you how both of these proposed bills with strip US citizens of their constitutional rights through arbitrary, secretive means and begin the dangerous processes of 1. creating official blacklists of US citizens and 2. creating a new class of “uncitizens” in this country. Both of these things will be done to “suspected” individuals without due process of law, an official court order or the ability to reasonably seek a reversal of the decision in order to reestablish one’s lost constitutional rights.
Also of note: You see the 100 million dollar yearly price tag that goes with it? That was one of the first things listed in the bill. It has been modified, made larger, from the original 2015 bill. It’s always about money too, isn’t it?
The following are sections taken directly from these two unconstitutional bills complimented by my interpretations of what they are designed to create as well as how they are in direct contrast to the rule of law in this country and our current constitutional protections.
In the interest of full disclosure:
- As I am not a constitutional lawyer but rather a layman in that regard, my interpretations will lack the legal jargon that some might expect in an evaluation such as this but it is important that you actually read these passages in that the language itself is very clear. So much so, even a layman like myself can understand it’s rather insidious meaning.
- I am not a gun owner but I am the owner of my 2nd amendment rights, something given to me by birth and guaranteed me by all those (including my father) who served this country in the name of those rights and still others who protested in order to win them. Though I choose not to own a firearm, my right to is something I value and cherish and something I do not wish to see arbitrarily taken from me by some secretive panel in some back room that I have no control or sway over.
- I am WAY to the left of Hillary Clinton and even left of Bernie Sanders for that matter.
- And contrary to popular belief (thank you Rachel Maddow), some of us out here can have strong feelings about this issue and work to protect our 2nd amendment rights without being on the payroll of the NRA or a dyed in the wool republican
If you are someone who has drank the Kool-Aid and think something MUST be done for the kids of Sandy Hook, the church-goers of Charleston and the alternative community members of Orlando I caution you to simply take a moment and reflect on how such decrees of the past have been misused to horrific ends time and time again by this government and others that we have supported over the decades (Indonesia, Egypt, Chile, Argentina, Haiti, Mexico, Bolivia and many many more)
And also to remember… President Peace Prize (of the drone strike kill list (who is the only US president to ever authorize the extrajudicial murder of 2 US citizens via drone strikes)) and Hillary Clinton (who lobbied Obama incessantly to attack Libya and started sending “moderate” terrorists into Syria to destabilize that nation and who gleefully cheered herself for the illegal murder of a beloved leader of another country) will NOT be your president in perpetuity. WHAT YOU PROVIDE THEM IN TERMS OF EXTRAORDINARY UNCONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY WILL BE HANDED OVER TO THE NEXT PRESIDENT (perhaps Trump? Jeb Bush? TED CRUZ?!?)
Without further ado, let’s get started.
As we talk about these bills I want you to keep something in mind: the claim that the Orlando shooting was a “terrorist attack” is without merit. We know from the FBI’s own investigation that there was no communication between the suspect and “ISIS” yet, that fact is constantly forgotten by the talking heads in the media and all of the political figures in our country. Having some undisclosed source tell us via hearsay that the suspect declared allegiance to “ISIS” in a phone call is not evidence. It is propaganda until factually proven via the release of that 911 call and it’s subsequent verification after inspection.
Why is that important?
That is important because the kinds of evidence both of these bills seek to use as determining factors in future decisions may not involve any communications with anyone “appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof”.
There was no such communications in Sandy Hook, none in Charleston, none in San Bernadino and none in Orlando.
And there was also a lack of a motive in all of these cases that comes anywhere close to meeting the definition of terrorism. Though Dylan Stormroof left behind a manifesto of sorts, the couple in San Bernadino did not, nor did Adam Lanza, James Holmes or Omar Mateen (as far as we know at this point)
This bill, written by Peter King who is very close to Billionaire Bloomberg (also of New York), defines what I call the “national mental hygiene law”
§ 5511. Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes
“(a) In general.—In any case arising out of the administration by the Secretary of laws and benefits under this title, a person who is determined by the Secretary to be mentally incompetent shall not be considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 until—
- “(1) in the case in which the person does not request a review as described in subsection (c)(1), the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the person receives notice submitted under subsection (b); or
- “(2) in the case in which the person requests a review as described in paragraph (1) of subsection (c), upon an assessment by the board designated or established under paragraph (2) of such subsection or court of competent jurisdiction that a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency.
“(b) Notice.—Notice submitted under this subsection to a person described in subsection (a) is notice submitted by the Secretary that notifies the person of the following:
- “(1) The determination made by the Secretary.
- “(2) A description of the implications of being considered adjudicated as a mental defective under subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18.
- “(3) The person’s right to request a review under subsection (c)(1).
“(c) Administrative review.— (1) Not later than 30 days after the date on which a person described in subsection (a) receives notice submitted under subsection (b), such person may request a review by the board designed or established under paragraph (2) or a court of competent jurisdiction to assess whether a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency. In such assessment, the board may consider the person’s honorable discharge or decoration.
“(2) Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2015, the Secretary shall designate or establish a board that shall, upon request of a person under paragraph (1), assess whether a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency.
“(d) Judicial review.—Not later than 30 days after the date of an assessment of a person under subsection (c) by the board designated or established under paragraph (2) of such subsection, such person may file a petition for judicial review of such assessment with a Federal court of competent jurisdiction.
In this case, “the Secretary” (I am assuming Secretary of State) will issue a declaration of a citizen’s loss of their constitutional right to bear arms based on a determination by the Secretary or his/her office or commission of that individual’s being considered adjudicated as a mental defective.
That doesn’t mean he/she was actually adjudicated in a court of law where said individual has the right to defend himself or oppose his being deemed “a mental defective”. It means someone at the State Department (?) has made the determination and said individual has only 30 days to appeal that determination to a board, set up by the same people who made the determination in the first place.
The plaintiff in the matter appears to have the option of bringing the matter to a “Federal court of competent jurisdiction” but likely that process will take a very long time and be rigged, as you will see in the next bill, to the advantage of the State Department (?).
What are the determining factors involved in the Secretary’s decision as to a citizen’s mental incompetency? This is unclear.
We already have laws on the books which prevent certain types of mentally ill individuals from purchasing firearms so it is logical to assume the new criteria for this declaration will extend far beyond legal settlements, legal actions and official reports from mental health professionals.
More likely this new declaration of adjudication of “mental defectiveness” will be based on other information gleaned from less than official sources. What you write, what you say in phone conversations, how you vote perhaps…
What we are basically talking about is a new official commission designated as the official office of making sure you “got your mind right” and that is a scary proposition to folks like me.
As you can see from the history of the cases which brought us here, most of these individuals appeared to be living well balanced, successful lives. One a graduate student. One a worker with a government agency. One a security guard working for years for the same (CIA-linked) company.
What set them apart supposedly were comments left on things like Facebook or Myspace or Twitter. And this is a dangerous road to be traveling down: allowing comments left on social media to determine your access to constitutional rights.
Accounts can be hacked. They can be forged in your name. They can be edited later to insert questionable, dangerous content. All of these things go to show that judging someone for such a serious determination based on this type of content is extremely irresponsible.
The other aspect of that problematic source of evidence is the fact that it is entirely subjective.
Some might say it is anti-Semitic to advocate the BDS movement. Others would view it as humanitarian.
Some say Monsanto is a boon to our economy and a credit to our nation while others view it as a monstrous corporate entity which cares not for the environment or the people who live in it.
Some say we had to bring democracy and freedom to Iraqis and others say we went to get that oil.
Who determines what is the measure of dangerous content and what is acceptable? Will such determining factors change with the tides as new administrations come to power? What are the guidelines? Who sets them in place? They certainly wont be voted on so they are, by their very nature, undemocratic.
This is why mental hygiene laws based on arbitrary decisions made by secretive commissions behind closed doors don’t work and cannot work. It is designed with inherent flaws which will be exploited to political/social ends by those in power. History proves that cannot be denied.
If you give enhanced powers to secretive committees to make damning adjudications like calling someone a “mental defective” based on subjective criteria and strip them of constitutional rights by putting them on secretive lists, you are going to end up with a nasty, third world dictatorship in the very near future.
This brings us to the “No Buy No Fly” bill which expands the Attorney General’s authority to deny constitutional rights to another set of US citizens based on a different criteria.
In certain “liberalish” circles, it is in vogue right now to make the following statement:
“I can’t understand how we live in a country where you can’t get on a plane with a full bottle of shampoo but you can buy an AR-15 when you are on the No Fly list”
That is an insipid statement on many levels but the most glaring is comparing one’s ability to carry hair product onto a plane with a constitutional right.
It is such a vapid and ignorant comparison it doesn’t merit anymore debunking than that.
And this is the point of that current, ridiculous talking point being sent out on a variety of morning show talking point memos: the left is busy trying to push for the passage of a republican’s totally fascistic HR1076 bill which reads in part:
2. Granting the attorney general the authority to deny the sale, delivery, or transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearms or explosives license or permit to dangerous terrorists
(a)Standard for exercising attorney general discretion regarding transferring firearms or issuing firearms permits to dangerous terrorists
Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—
(1) by inserting the following new section after section 922: 922A.
Attorney General’s discretion to deny transfer of a firearm
The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm pursuant to section 922(t)(1)(B)(ii) if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.
(g) Attorney general’s ability To withhold information in firearms license denial and revocation suit
Section 923(f) of such title is amended—
(1) in the 1st sentence of paragraph (1), by inserting
, except that if the denial or revocation is pursuant to subsection (d)(1)(H) or (e)(3), then any information on which the Attorney General relied for this determination may be withheld from the petitioner if the Attorney General determines that disclosure of the information would likely compromise national securitybefore the period; and
This piece of legislation allows one individual (or his subordinates in the Justice Department) to determine, on his own, the constitutional rights or lack thereof of a US citizen (born or naturalized) if said Attorney General even “suspects” said individual may have some form of connection to terrorism, or someone associated with terrorism or someone somehow related to terrorism. It states that said Attorney General can therefore act on a “reasonable belief” that said citizen “may” cause harm to others sometime in the near future.
Is this “pre-crime”?
Is this trial by 6 degrees of separation?
Where is it stated in the constitution that ANY of our constitutional rights can be withheld from us or denied us by the decision of one person other than a judge following a legal process?
Even the president isn’t afforded that kind of power and with good reason.
Our constitution, though seriously flawed, was constructed as a reaction to the repression of a tyrannical system of governance where things like the rule of law and the rights of individuals being sacrosanct were non-existent.
Political individuals in that system could make similar declarations regarding the citizenry and such rulings were beyond reproach and they had catastrophic consequences for the people about whom they were made.
In this case, the rulings are also beyond reproach.
Notice what that second segment of the “No Buy No Fly” law says:
any information on which the Attorney General relied for this determination may be withheld from the petitioner if the Attorney General determines that disclosure of the information would likely compromise national security
In the interests of “national security” the evidence against any citizen so deemed a threat, can and most likely will be withheld from them even in court proceedings where said citizen fights to regain their constitutional rights.
Secret courts. Secret evidence. Secret decisions. Secret lists.
Holy God, is this what we are becoming? Is this how we honor all those children in Sandy Hook? Is this how we honor those church members in Charleston? Is this how we honor the LGBT community in Orlando? By instituting a clearly fascist piece of legislation designed to make secret “unperson” lists here in the land of the free and the home of the brave and protecting those lists with secret evidence?
You want to talk about the terrorists winning? That’s it folks. You think the USA Patriot Act was bad? You think the 2012 NDAA was bad? Just wait til they create a legal framework for the secret blacklist system and they do so while standing on the corpses of dead children.
Unless Bush, Obama or Clinton bomb them into the stone-ages, democracies don’t usually fall overnight. They die the death of a thousand cuts. One piece of fascist legislation at a time and each one usually brought about by horrific acts of terrorism which serves a purpose, even if there is no declarable motive held by the suspect. There is always a motive.
We are about to enter into a brave new world. One where the rule of law is determined by the TPP, the TTIP and TiSA.
Do we really think it is a coincidence that at this critical time, we face the prospect of allowing and codifying into law the creation of secretive lists of “mental defectives” and people who just “might” have terrorist inclinations?
Overseas in every country that we neoliberalize, where we install dictators who facilitate our neoliberal rape of their countries, we declare any and all opposition to our rule “terrorism”
We send over the CIA to teach these new dictators how to create lists of such potential problematic civilians and how to deal with them once the lists are complete.
And here we are, about to drop the full scale economic brick of Milton Friedman neoliberal “free market” ideology on the people of this country and many others via these “trade deals” (that are really a bill of right for the various globalist corporations that wrote them) and we are seriously being asked to accept the creation of secret lists of folks who don’t have their minds right and folks who might just cause problems in the near future.
This is not a slipper slope people, this is staring into the abyss.
We must not allow these laws to be passed as written. We must not allow various factions within this country to use the memory of these fallen men, women and children to be used to such a nefarious purpose.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t like guns. They will not stop at one constitutional right. Freedom of speech will be next, then the right to a fair trial, then the right to a speedy trial, then the right to legal representation, then the right to a trial at all. And this is not hyperbole. The NDAA 2012 made that very clear.
The crimes these actors have committed overseas will always come home to be inflicted on the people right here. It is the natural progression of things.
Did you know in countries we overthrow and occupy by either Shock and Awe or “moderate terrorist” regime change, the first thing to go is always, always, their constitution?
We are at a turning point boys and girls and it is no small one. These laws must not be allowed to pass. We cannot allow them to take us further into the abyss.
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