Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rule of Law in America is in tatters | BizPac Review

Rule of Law in America is in tatters | BizPac Review

Rule of Law in America is in tatters

We are no longer a nation under the “Rule of Law.” The “rule of man” now prevails, as we are more and more governed by individuals — elected and appointed — in the executive branch of government. Too often, these individuals arbitrarily exercise powers belonging to Congress under the Constitution.
It has become the norm in the current administration’s playbook to follow a “selective enforcement” policy. President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama’s regulators have abused the rule of law, preferring to enforce only those laws they choose to. Enforcement of these laws seem mostly to apply to people who do not share Obama’s political positions. In particular, the Department of Justice selectively enforces laws by failing to prosecute those who break laws that Obama disagrees with.
The rule of law has been one of the major contributing factors to America’s greatness, and to its worldwide economic leadership in modern times. In fact, the American Declaration of Independence is essentially a document complaining about the decrees of one man against the American colonies: England’s King George III.
The rule of law in the U.S. is based on the fundamental doctrine that the individual is sovereign.
Individuals band together and, using due process, make a body of laws agreed to by all. The individual is the master over government, and laws are not issued by some king, dictator or tyrant. The “king” is not the law; the rule of law is king.
The U.S. rule of law is based on principles that safeguard against arbitrary governance, clearly described in our founding documents. Selective enforcement is an absolute violation of the rule of law because it allows persons to decide which laws will be ignored and which will not.
Without question, under Obama, the rule of law is crumbling because executive orders, decrees and regulations issued by his administration are capricious and based both on political currents of the times and the whim of tyrannical individuals with their own agendas. These people choose to both grant and revoke legal rights, placing the targets of their despotism under an arbitrary system of administrative rules written by these same individuals.
Want examples?
  • The Obama administration violated its duty to enforce current immigration laws that require undocumented foreign nationals to be prosecuted;
  • Last year, Obama released 165,900 prisoners arrested for illegal entry and subsequent crimes committed in America;
  • Obama’s attorney general failed to enforce the federal law that prohibits people from knowingly concealing or harboring undocumented aliens;
  • “Sanctuary cities” are permitted to violate U.S. laws by offering  immunity from prosecution to illegal aliens, without being punished;
  • The Supreme Court disallows racial quotas, yet Department of Justice zealots call it prejudice and bigotry when lenders in the housing market apply proper business standards to determine if borrowers are creditworthy;
  • Regulators just extorted $25 billion from five banks that used “robo-signers” for foreclosure documents, even though the major portion of the money will go to “homeowners who weren’t affected by the robo-practices” or to “various states,” says a Wall Street Journal column;
  • This week, Obama commuted the sentences of 46 convicts, bringing his total commutations to 90, a higher number than the previous four presidents combined. These offenders knew the penalties for their actions when they violated the law;
  • Obama’s attorney general refused to defend the Congressional Defense of Marriage Act;
  • Obama, not Congress, has dictated that the Web must be regulated by the government as a monopoly.
When Obama doesn’t like the law, he turns to the courts, and when he doesn’t like decisions of the courts, he takes arbitrary executive actions. In his administration, the rule of law is being attacked and the rule of man prevails.
The rule of man permits mob rule and tyranny, in which 51 percent of the citizens can loot the rights and property of the other 49 percent. As journalist P.J. O’Rourke puts it, “If enough voters get together and act in concert, they can take away something and not pay for it.”
When there’s no law, there is no liberty.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.


Read more: http://www.bizpacreview.com/2015/07/19/rule-of-law-in-america-is-in-tatters-226806#ixzz3gP3ET7Bm

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security - U.S. - Stripes

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security - U.S. - Stripes

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.
The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.
A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."
There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by "representative payees."
The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.
But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.
Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.
"Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe," said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. "They are very different determinations."
Steven Overman, a 30-year-old Marine Corps veteran who lives in Virginia, said his case demonstrates the flaws of judging gun safety through financial competence.
After his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that weakened his memory and cognitive ability.
The VA eventually deemed him 100% disabled and after reviewing his case in 2012 declared him incompetent, making his wife his fiduciary.
Upon being notified that he was being reported to the background check system, he gave his guns to his mother and began working with a lawyer to get them back.
Overman grew up hunting in Wisconsin. After his return from Iraq, he found solace in target shooting. "It's relaxing to me," he said. "It's a break from day-to-day life. It calms me down."
Though his wife had managed their financial affairs since his deployment, Overman said he has never felt like he was a danger to himself or others.
"I didn't know the VA could take away your guns," he said.
The background check system was created in 1993 by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was partially paralyzed after being shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan.
The law requires gun stores to run the names of prospective buyers through the computerized system before every sale.
The system's databases contain more than 13 million records, which include the names of felons, immigrants in the U.S. illegally, fugitives, dishonorably discharged service members, drug addicts and domestic abusers.
State agencies, local police and federal agencies are required to enter names into the databases, but the system has been hampered by loopholes and inconsistent reporting since its launch.
The shortcomings became clear in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people. Cho had been declared mentally ill by a court and ordered to undergo outpatient treatment, but at the time the law did not require that he be added to the databases.
Congress expanded the reporting requirements, but Social Security determined it was not required to submit records, according to LaVenia LaVelle, an agency spokeswoman.
After 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 children and six school staffers in Newtown in 2012, President Obama vowed to make gun control a central issue of his second term.
The effort fell flat. Congress ultimately rejected his proposals for new gun control legislation.
But among 23 executive orders on the issue was one to the Department of Justice to ensure that federal agencies were complying with the existing law on reporting to the background check system.
One baseline for other agencies is the VA, which has been entering names into the system since the beginning. About 177,000 veterans and survivors of veterans are in the system, according to VA figures.
The VA reports names under a category in gun control regulations known as "adjudicated as a mental defective," terminology that derives from decades-old laws. Its only criterion is whether somebody has been appointed a fiduciary.
More than half of the names on the VA list are of people 80 or older, often suffering from dementia, a reasonable criterion for prohibiting gun ownership.
But the category also includes anybody found by a "court, board, commission or other lawful authority" to be lacking "the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs" for a wide variety of reasons.
The agency's efforts have been criticized by a variety of groups.
Rosen, the Yale psychiatrist, said some veterans may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.
Conservative groups have denounced the policy as an excuse to strip veterans of their gun rights.
Republicans have introduced legislation in the last several sessions of Congress to change the policy. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, now under consideration in the House, would require a court to determine that somebody poses a danger before being reported to the background check system.
Social Security would generally report names under the same "mental defective" category. The agency is still figuring out how that definition should be applied, LaVelle said.
About 2.7 million people are now receiving disability payments from Social Security for mental health problems, a potentially higher risk category for gun ownership. An addition 1.5 million have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons.
The agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view. Even the National Rifle Assn. was unaware of it.
Told about the initiative, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: "If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks."
Gun rights advocates are unlikely to be the only opponents.
Ari Ne'eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.
"The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush," he said.
Since 2008, VA beneficiaries have been able to get off the list by filing an appeal and demonstrating that they pose no danger to themselves or others.
But as of April, just nine of 298 appeals have been granted, according to data provided by the VA. Thirteen others were pending, and 44 were withdrawn after the VA overturned its determination of financial incompetence.
Overman is one of the few who decided to appeal.
He is irritable and antisocial, he said, but not dangerous. "I've never been suicidal," he said. "To me that solves nothing."
More than a year and a half after Overman filed his challenge, the VA lifted its incompetence ruling, allowing his removal from the background check system before the VA ever had to determine whether he should be trusted with a gun.
Overman, who hasn't worked since leaving the military, said he and a friend are now thinking of opening a gunsmith business.

Obama collecting personal data for a secret race database | New York Post

Obama collecting personal data for a secret race database | New York Post

Obama collecting personal data for a secret race database

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”
Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.
This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.
Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.
So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.
OBAMA IS PRESIDING OVER THE LARGEST CONSOLIDATION OF PERSONAL DATA IN US HISTORY.

Housing database

The granddaddy of them all is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing database, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development rolled out earlier this month to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code. It will map every US neighborhood by four racial groups — white, Asian, black or African-American, and Hispanic/Latino — and publish “geospatial data” pinpointing racial imbalances.
The agency proposes using nonwhite populations of 50% or higher as the threshold for classifying segregated areas.
Federally funded cities deemed overly segregated will be pressured to change their zoning laws to allow construction of more subsidized housing in affluent areas in the suburbs, and relocate inner-city minorities to those predominantly white areas. HUD’s maps, which use dots to show the racial distribution or density in residential areas, will be used to select affordable-housing sites.
HUD plans to drill down to an even more granular level, detailing the proximity of black residents to transportation sites, good schools, parks and even supermarkets. If the agency’s social engineers rule the distance between blacks and these suburban “amenities” is too far, municipalities must find ways to close the gap or forfeit federal grant money and face possible lawsuits for housing discrimination.
Civil-rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software, and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new community outreach requirements.
“By opening this data to everybody, everyone in a community can weigh in,” Obama said. “If you want affordable housing nearby, now you’ll have the data you need to make your case.”

Mortgage database

Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by former Congressional Black Caucus leader Mel Watt, is building its own database for racially balancing home loans. The so-called National Mortgage Database Project will compile 16 years of lending data, broken down by race, and hold everything from individual credit scores and employment records.
Mortgage contracts won’t be the only financial records vacuumed up by the database. According to federal documents, the repository will include “all credit lines,” from credit cards to student loans to car loans — anything reported to credit bureaus. This is even more information than the IRS collects.
The FHFA will also pry into your personal assets and debts and whether you have any bankruptcies. The agency even wants to know the square footage and lot size of your home, as well as your interest rate.
FHFA will share the info with Obama’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acts more like a civil-rights agency, aggressively investigating lenders for racial bias.
The FHFA has offered no clear explanation as to why the government wants to sweep up so much sensitive information on Americans, other than stating it’s for “research” and “policymaking.”
However, CFPB Director Richard Cordray was more forthcoming, explaining in a recent talk to the radical California-based Greenlining Institute: “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.”

Credit database

CFPB is separately amassing a database to monitor ordinary citizens’ credit-card transactions. It hopes to vacuum up some 900 million credit-card accounts — all sorted by race — representing roughly 85% of the US credit-card market. Why? To sniff out “disparities” in interest rates, charge-offs and collections.

Employment database

CFPB also just finalized a rule requiring all regulated banks to report data on minority hiring to an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. It will collect reams of employment data, broken down by race, to police diversity on Wall Street as part of yet another fishing expedition.

School database

Through its mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection project, the Education Department is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions, by race, from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities in discipline will be targeted for reform.
Those that don’t comply will be punished. Several already have been forced to revise their discipline policies, which has led to violent disruptions in classrooms.
Obama’s educrats want to know how many blacks versus whites are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.
Schools that show blacks and Latinos under-enrolled in such curricula, to an undefined “statistically significant degree,” could open themselves up to investigation and lawsuits by the department’s Civil Rights Office.
Count on a flood of private lawsuits to piggyback federal discrimination claims, as civil-rights lawyers use the new federal discipline data in their legal strategies against the supposedly racist US school system.
Even if no one has complained about discrimination, even if there is no other evidence of racism, the numbers themselves will “prove” that things are unfair.
Such databases have never before existed. Obama is presiding over the largest consolidation of personal data in US history. He is creating a diversity police state where government race cops and civil-rights lawyers will micromanage demographic outcomes in virtually every aspect of society.
The first black president, quite brilliantly, has built a quasi-reparations infrastructure perpetually fed by racial data that will outlast his administration.
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes the racial politics behind the mortgage bust.