Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Category

Judge Says Police Torture Report Should Be Released

May 25, 2010


May 19, 2006 (CHICAGO) (WLS) —

A report on torture allegations against former Chicago Police Commander John Burge and other officers will be released to the public. The torture investigation is now drawing the attention of the United Nations.

The investigation started four years ago. Attorneys for several officers involved tried to block the report’s release.

This case is, as Judge Paul Biebel wrote, “an open sore on the civic body of Chicago that has festered for many years.” The special prosecutor’s report, four years and $5 million in the making, is an effort to get at the truth.

Though there was some opposition, there was little doubt that Biebel Friday would authorize the release of the report which he did. That release could come early next month.

“In the City of Chicago, 192 men were tortured, on the South Side of Chicago, and it was because of their race, bottom line,” said David Bates, alleged torture victim.

David Bates did time for a murder he says he didn’t commit. He confessed to it only because, he says, detectives beat him and tried to suffocate him.

Bates’ case is one of dozens that have been the subject of protests over the years aimed at fired Chicago police commander John Burge, and other violent crimes cops who allegedly tortured suspects into confessions.

As a small group chanted and carried some now familiar signs Friday morning, Chief Criminal Courts Judge Paul Biebel decided that a special prosecutors report into the police torture allegations will be released to the public.

Attorneys for some of the police officers had argued against that, but Biebel ruled that “the public’s right to be informed of the results of this exhaustive investigation outweighs the privacy rights of individual officers.”

“Biebel is a great judge. He sees it one way. I see it another,” said Joe Roddy, attorney for police officers.

“The time has come for disclosure. The time has come for people to be held to account criminally,” said Locke Bowman, MacArthur Center for Justice.

Even if the special prosecutor’s report concludes that there was evidence of systematic and methodical torture of criminal suspects, the officers couldn’t be charged with that now because too many years have passed.

But the lawyers who argued this case contend that police and the city have continuously stifled efforts to disclose what truly happened, and that, they believe, constitutes obstruction of justice.

“If there are no indictments we certainly feel and hope and trust that the US government will finally, after all these years, act in conformance with the committee against torture of the United Nations,” said G. Flint Taylor, Peoples Law Office.

Taylor refers to the United Nations Committee against Torture which earlier this month in Geneva, Switzerland, held hearings that focused in part on the Burge cases. That panel released a statement Friday expressing its concern with what it called a “limited investigation” and “lack of prosecution” in the alleged torture cases in Chicago, and it wants a report on the ongoing investigation.

The next status report on this case is in about two weeks.

ABC7 Exclusive: Former Boy Scouts claim to have witnessed torture

Two former Boy Scouts say they witnessed the torture of a suspect and they believe former commander Jon Burge was involved.

There was a 1980’s film called “Stand By Me” about kids who stumbled onto a crime scene and it changed their lives forever. Not only are the following memories remindful of that film, they are also the first independent, corroborated witness accounts of possible torture inside a Chicago police station.

“I’ve tried to put it in the back of my mind most of the time and tried to live my life as good as I could. But after seeing something like that, it’s a life-changing experience,” said Frank Sirtoff, alleged torture witness.

Forty-five-year-old Frank Sirtoff says he will never forget what he saw during the summer of 1975 when he was a 14-year-old boy scout living on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Sirtoff says he and a cousin, who was also a scout, entered the Area 3 police headquarters — then at 39th and California — to visit their scout leader who was a detective in the youth division on the third floor.

“We made it a habit of going there quite often, at least once a week,” said Sirtoff.

But that day, the boys went exploring on the second floor. Sirtoff says he remembers opening a door and seeing a black man in distress sitting at a long desk.

“And this man was sitting in the wooden chair, strapped down with handcuffs on his arms, his legs,” Sirtoff said. “The leg of the chair and wires all over his body, wires on his arms, his hands, his forehead, by the temples of his head … and on top of the desk was a black box with a crank handle and all of the wires going into the box.”

Frank’s cousin wished to remain anonymous as he talked about also seeing the black man, the box and the wires and a large, red-haired detective.

“He had red hair, mustache, big guy. He said, ‘shut that n—-r up and get these f—–g kids out of here,’ ” said Frank’s cousin, who was 13 at the time.

Sirtoff says, after seeing news reports during the past 30 years, there is no doubt in his mind the red-haired man was Jon Burge, the now retired police commander under investigation for the torture of nearly 200 black men.

“I look at Burge, and Burge looks at me right in the eye, and says, ‘kill the n—–r and get the kid,’ ” Sirtoff said.

Police department records say that in 1975 Burge was not assigned to Area 3. That year he was a sergeant working as a detective in the intelligence division and for the Fourth District on the South Side.

Sirtoff’s scout leader, Martin W. Conroy, who retired as a detective in 1995, says he remembers Sirtoff and the other boy “frequently visited at the youth division”. By telephone from his home in Texas, Conroy said, “I believe them. Why would they make it up?”

On Burge being at 39th and California that day, Conroy said, “If outside detectives made an arrest in Area 3, they might come there for an interrogation or to take part in it.”

Attorney Flint Taylor has represented alleged victims in 10 torture-related lawsuits.

“It’s been documented that in the ’70’s there were cases where people would be picked up in another area of the city, for Burge, that Burge would either go to him or he’d be brought to Burge,” said Flint Taylor, People’s Law Center.

Sirtoff says, after the confrontation with the red-haired detective, he and his cousin ran to Conroy’s office on the third floor where they were ordered out of the building. It wasn’t until many years later, after seeing news reports on alleged police torture, that he began suffering guilt for not telling someone about what he had seen.

“I want to be able to say to myself and think to myself that I didn’t die taking this to the grave with me, and that guy that was sitting in the chair, he knows that I finally told somebody about it,” said Sirtoff.

Sirtoff says in 1994 he told the FBI in northwest Indiana about what he saw. He says he did not tell the FBI in Chicago fearing it might be as corrupt as police. The FBI will neither confirm nor deny that such an interview took place.

Sirtoff left voice mail messages at the People’s Law Center in Chicago three years ago. He told the same story on the tapes — that still exist — but he did not leave his name or a number where he could be reached.

Neither Sirtoff nor his cousin talked to the special prosecutor who has been conducting the official investigation.


Feds: States’ Growing Gun-Rights Movement a Threat

May 25, 2010

Attorneys Argue Laws ‘Void’ Because of Impact on ‘interstate commerce’

Posted: May 20, 2010
10:55 pm Eastern

Handguns from Freedom Arms in Wyoming

The federal government is arguing in a gun-rights case pending in federal court in Montana that state plans to exempt in-state guns from various federal requirements themselves make the laws void, because the growing movement certainly would impact “interstate commerce.”

The government continues to argue to the court that the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution should be the guiding rule for the coming decision. The argument plays down the significance of both the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the 10th Amendment provision that reserves to states all prerogatives not specifically granted the federal government in the Constitution.

 WND has reported both on the lawsuit filed by Montana interests seeking affirmation of the 2009 Montana Firearms Freedom Act as well as the growing movement that has seen six other states, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Tennessee and Arizona, follow with similar laws.

 Here are answers to all your questions about guns, ammunition and accessories.

 The movement worries the federal government. In a brief filed this week in support of government demands that the case be dismissed, posted on the website for the Firearms Freedom Act, attorneys wrote, “Because an illicit market for firearms exists nationwide, a ‘gaping hole’ in federal firearm regulation would persist if firearms made and sold in Montana were exempted from compliance.”

The brief continued, “Moreover, six states have followed Montana’s lead in enacting ‘virtually identical’ Firearms Freedom Acts, and an additional 22 have proposed similar legislation. … The fact that up to 29 states may essentially ‘opt out’ of certain federal firearms laws would have an indisputable effect on interstate commerce.”

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit previously argued that the Commerce Clause, in the original Constitution, later was modified by both the Second Amendment and 10th Amendment.

In a brief submitted on behalf of Montana lawmakers who wrote and adopted the law, attorneys argued that the state law simply allows Montana citizens to “engage within their state in constitutionally protected activity without burdensome federal oversight.”

“It is questionable whether Congress’ authority under its conditional spending power or its power to regulate interstate commerce extends to MFFA firearms,” the argument continued.

“Where a power had not been granted exclusively to the national government or, where generally granted, had not been exercised … the states retain freedom to legislate,” the lawmakers argued.

Montana statehouse

“There is nothing in the MFFA that should offend the powers of the national government,” they said. And the lawmakers argued that the Constitution’s supremacy clause has no impact because “only laws made in pursuance of the Constitution constitute the supreme law of the land.”

In this case, the state is addressing intrastate commerce under its authority under the Second and Tenth Amendments, the brief argued.

Not so, said the feds.

Not only do the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the case, Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce is extended to anything that affects interstate commerce – including intrastate actions and the federal action to strike down the Montana law doesn’t violate any constitutional provisions, the government brief argues.

“Congress also may ‘regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce,'” the government argues. “Here, Congress has rationally concluded that the manufacture and sale of firearms, a highly regulated commodity, substantially affects commerce.”

“While the MFFA may only apply to guns made and sold in Montana, it is unreasonable to expect that these firearms will not leave the state,” the brief continues.

The government argues that not even the Second Amendment supports the idea of state-regulated firearms rather than federal regulations.

“It is important to note that Heller [a Supreme Court decision affirming the individual right to bear arms] did nothing to disturb prior holdings refusing to extend Second Amendment protection to firearm manufacturers.”

A separate brief also was filed in support of striking down the Montana law by lawyers on behalf of the Brady Center to Prevent Violence, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, National Black Police Association and several others, drawing a sort of rebuke from the judge in the case.

He noted that only the Brady Center had been authorized to file the friend-of-the-court brief so the other organizations cited would not be recognized.

Montana’s plan is called “An Act exempting from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Montana.”

The law cites the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time it was admitted to statehood in 1889.

Lawmakers in Montana actually took the dispute to the feds. They argued, “Should Congress enact a law that appears to conflict with the guidance in the [Montana Firearms Freedom Act], the courts may then determine whether Congress has acted within the scope of its delegated powers as limited by later amendments. … The courts may then determine the extent to which Congress’ enactment has abrogated the state’s exercise of power within the same sphere.”

The lawsuit was brought against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Montana Shooting Sports Association in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont.

It seeks a declaration that the federal government must stay out of the way of Montana’s management of its own firearms.

According to the Firearms Freedom Act website, such laws are “primarily a Tenth Amendment challenge to the powers of Congress under the ‘commerce clause,’ with firearms as the object – it is a states’ rights exercise.”

When South Dakota’s law was signed by Gov. Mike Rounds, a commentator said it addresses the “rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades.”

Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center said Washington likely is looking for a way out of the dispute.

“I think they’re going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out the case,” he told WND earlier. “When they really start paying attention is when people actually start following the [state] firearms laws.”

WND reported when Wyoming joined the states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation. Officials there took the unusual step of including penalties for any agent of the U.S. who “enforces or attempts to enforce” federal gun rules on a “personal firearm.”

The costs could be up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines for an offender.

17 More States Planning Ariz. ‘Illegal’ Crackdown

May 25, 2010


But ICE Chief Says Feds Might Not ‘Process’ Illegals Arrested by State

Posted: May 21, 2010
9:00 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

 In what is developing into a standoff between states and the federal government that could be bigger than gun control or even health care, 17 states have launched versions of Arizona’s immigration law, even as federal officials say they may not bother to process illegal aliens caught by the states.

 William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been trying to get officials to address the open southern border for years, warned the consequences could be dire.

“Over the last couple days, Obama and the chief of ICE have refused to honor their oaths of office,” he said. “Their constitutional requirement is to enforce existing laws.

 “They’ve told the American public to go eat cake,” he said.

 Tell Washington what you think about immigration by sending every member of the Senate “The No Amnesty Pledge.”

 His organization is assembling the list of state efforts to emulate the Arizona law, which makes it illegal under state as well as federal law to be in the state without documentation.

“Seventeen states are now filing versions of Arizona’s SB 1070, which is designed to help local police enforce America’s existing immigration laws,” ALIPAC said in a report today.

The report said numerous national and local polls indicate 60 to 81 percent of Americans support local police enforcing immigration laws.

“Our national network of activists have been working overtime trying to help the state of Arizona and the brave Arizonans who have passed this bill,” he said. “Arizona no longer stands alone and we have now documented state lawmakers filing, or announcing they will file, versions of the Arizona bill in seventeen states! We will not stop until all states are protected from invasion as required by the U.S. Constitution.”

Gheen said the states where some form of immigration crackdown is under development include Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

President Obama several times has said he doesn’t like the Arizona law. He’s called it misguided and ordered a review by the Justice Department.

John Morton, who heads the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said his agency might not process illegal aliens caught under state jurisdiction, the Chicago Tribune reported.

He insisted that only the federal government should respond to the problem.

“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton said.

One blogger expressed concern that “a senior Homeland Security official has openly declared that he won’t be doing his job.”

“Morton has sworn an oath to uphold the laws of the United States. He is not allowed to pick and choose which ones he likes and which he doesn’t.”

Gheen said the Arizona law and the plans it has spawned in other states is a victory for Americans. But he said those are just battles, and winning the war will require success in elections this fall.

A “comprehensive” solution to the problem will arrive when there are enough “hostile” members of Congress to tell the administration to uphold the existing immigration and border laws or the impeachments will start, he said.

“[We need to send] to Washington a hostile Congress that is going to encircle the executive branch and tell them to [follow the law] or we’ll impeach all the way down to the speaker of the House,” he said.

Gheen said he is alarmed over the pending release, expected sometime just before the election, of a movie called “Machete,” which reportedly is the story of a Mexican uprising in the United States.

Gheen said the message in the movie reportedly is that Americans will either submit to the “rape” of their land or else.

He said he believes the project is intended to create turmoil just as the mid-term elections draw near.

“There is nothing as important right now as getting [people] fully involved with all the campaigns,” he said.

ALIPAC already has helped to pass some form of immigration enforcement legislation in more than 30 states. And Gheen has developed a national reputation for defeating socially progressive plans to hand out licenses, in-state tuition and other taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens.

“It is incumbent upon our states to protect American lives, property, jobs, wages, security, and health, when the executive branch fails to honor its constitutional responsibility to do so by enforcing our existing border and immigration laws,” he said.

The Arizona law, which strictly prohibits racial profiling, empowers local police to enforce immigration laws.

To monitor the growing number of states considering similar legislation, ALIPAC utilizes a public forum in which members can update the organization with news articles and other information from states where the push for an Arizona-like law is making headway.

In Arizona’s neighboring state Utah, for example, Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, reportedly is drafting a bill that would similarly require immigrants to carry proof of status and require law enforcement officers to check for it.

“Utah is seen as state that welcomes illegal immigrants. We almost encourage it with driving privilege cards and in-state tuition for illegals,” Sandstrom told the Salt Lake Tribune. “With Arizona making the first step in this direction, Utah needs to pass a similar law or we will see a huge influx of illegals. The real issue is just establishing a rule of law in our state.”

Across the country in Maryland, Baltimore’s WBAL-TV reported earlier that State Delegate Patrick McDonough, R-Baltimore County, is drafting a bill identical to Arizona’s. He’s also planning to poll his fellow legislators before the bill is filed.

Obama Administration Plans to snatch up to 75% of your income

May 25, 2010

Federal Government Could Confiscate More Than Half of Everything Earned

© 2010 WorldNetDaily:

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium online newsletter published by the current No. 1 best-selling author, WND staff writer and columnist. Red Alert subscriptions are $99 a year or $9.95 per month for credit card users. Annual subscribers will receive a free autographed copy of “The Late Great USA,” a book about the careful deceptions of a powerful elite who want to undermine our nation’s sovereignty.

 If President Obama repeals the Bush tax cuts and imposes a 20 percent value added tax, or VAT, on the U.S., Americans may be facing tax rates where more than half of everything earned is confiscated by the federal government in the form of income taxes, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports.

 Add Social Security taxes and the tax burden quickly advances to more than 60 percent.

 “Adding state property and income taxes to the burden, the amount government confiscates could be in the 75 percent range before Americans have a chance to vote Obama out of office in 2012,” Corsi wrote. “Are Americans willing to be taxed 75 percent of every dollar earned?”

That is the current tax burden in Scandinavian countries as the table below demonstrates.

“In a five-day work week, will Americans be willing to work four days for the government?” Corsi asked.

He said as Obama moves the U.S. in the direction of becoming a European-style social welfare state, it is important to consider taxation levels typical in Europe.

Corsi noted that even high levels of taxation are not sufficient in Europe to prevent debt levels from rising to crisis proportions, as has been seen in Greece and is looming on the horizon in Portugal, Spain and Italy.

“These are the real costs of income redistribution, as taxpayers are made to bear the taxation costs of generous pension plans for government employees at all levels of government – federal, state and local – as well as funding Social Security, paying for Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare and funding welfare, including educating the children of illegal immigrants in Spanish in public schools,” he wrote. “There is no limit to generosity when it comes to socialist states providing social welfare benefits to increasingly government dependent populations.”

To learn more about the true costs of income redistribution, read Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium, online intelligence news source by the WND staff writer, columnist and author of the New York Times No. 1 best-seller, “The Obama Nation.

Red Alert’s author, whose books “The Obama Nation” and “Unfit for Command” have topped the New York Times best-sellers list, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972. For nearly 25 years, beginning in 1981, he worked with banks throughout the U.S. and around the world to develop financial services marketing companies to assist banks in establishing broker/dealers and insurance subsidiaries to provide financial planning products and services to their retail customers. In this career, Corsi developed three different third-party financial services marketing firms that reached gross sales levels of $1 billion in annuities and equal volume in mutual funds. In 1999, he began developing Internet-based financial marketing firms, also adapted to work in conjunction with banks.

In his 25-year financial services career, Corsi has been a noted financial services speaker and writer, publishing three books and numerous articles in professional financial services journals and magazines.

Supreme Court Nominee’s Pro-Abortion Views Exposed

May 20, 2010


While working for President Clinton, Kagan wrote that any ban on abortion is
unconstitutional – including the horrendous partial-birth abortion (PBA) procedure.  Reports that she once counseled Clinton to ban PBA’s ignore the fact that it was purely  political maneuver she was recommending.


She is  a financial contributor to the National Partnership for
 Women and Families (NPWF), a pro-abortion group. The group
 advocates “to increase women’s access to…reproductive
 health services and blocks attempts to limit reproductive
  rights…and to give every woman access to…abortion
  services.” Plus, a senior adviser of the NPWF volunteered
  a statement “wholeheartedly” supporting Kagan’s Solicitor G
  eneral confirmation.


She publicly opposed a Supreme Court case upholding a prohibition on
 federal Title X funds from being used for abortion.


To further illustrate how radical her abortion beliefs are,
  many pro-life groups are reporting that Kagan believes
  crisis pregnancy centers should be barred from advising
  teens on pregnancy matters. That is outrageous!

Liberty Counsel’s urgent message to the United States Senate:


Liberty Counsel, with offices in Florida, Virginia and
Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit litigation, education and
policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom,
the sanctity of human life and the traditional family.
Liberty Counsel . PO Box 540774 . Orlando, FL 32854 .800-671-1776

Obama’s Record Shows No Support for 2nd Amendment

May 19, 2010

From: “The Hard Truth”

 Barack Hussein Obama’s voting records in both the Illinois & United States Senate show that he does not support the right of individual citizens to own firearms, especially handguns.

It must be realized that our Founding Fathers knew that if future generations of Americans were to remain free citizens they must have the right to bear arms. As a result they inserted into the Bill of Rights the 2nd Amendment which says: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a FREE STATE, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Our courts have held, most recently in the now famous case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290, June 26, 2008, which declared the District’s total ban on handgun ownership unconstitutional, that “The People” referred to in the 2nd Amendment are individual citizens just the same as “the people” mentioned in the 4th Amendment that prevents unreasonable searches & seizures.

University of Maryland Research Scientist John R. Lott, author of the book More Guns, Less Crime, points out, in an article in the Philadelphia Enquirer of October 14, 2008, that while Obama said the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Heller case confirmed his own view of the 2nd Amendment, in November 2007 Obama’s campaign told the Chicago Tribune that Obama believed the DC law (banning the ownership of handguns) was constitutional.

Then, in February 2008, while being interviewed by Leon Harris, a reporter for an ABC News affiliate in DC, Obama said he supported the DC gun ban and that in his opinion it was completely constitutional.

Lott goes on to point out that the Associated Press reported that, in 2004, Obama voted in favor of a gun control bill that would not allow people who were charged with possessing firearms in violation of local gun ban laws to claim self defense after using guns in response to intrusions into their homes by criminals.The bill was a reaction to a Chicago-area man’s being found not guilty of possessing a gun in violation of a local gun ban ordinance after the jury found he had a right to defend himself & his home. The bill that Obama supported was designed to take away the “self defense” argument, as a matter of law, in cases where the only charge was illegally possessing a gun. The only thing a jury would be able to decide is whether or not the accused possessed a gun in violation of any given local laws.

Lott goes on to say that he first met Obama in the 1990′s while they were both law students at the University of Chicago. In a conversation they had about gun control Lott says that Obama said: “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns.”

Obama quotes & votes pertaining to the 2nd Amendment:

“I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry [of handguns].” Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004

“…just because you have an individual right [to keep and bear arms] does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right…” 2008 Democratic Candidate debate in Philadelphia, PA

“I think it is a scandal that this President [Bush} did not authorize a renewal of the “assault weapons” ban.” Illinois Senate Debate #3 Obama vs. Alan Keys, October 21, 2004

“I’ll continue to be in favor of handgun registration laws and licensing requirements for training.” Chicago Defender, July 5, 2001

Obama voted to allow state & local governments to sue gun manufacturers in an effort to blame them for the criminal conduct of individuals who used guns to commit crimes. July 29, 2005; Vote 219; Senate Bill 397

Obama voted to ban nearly all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting. July 29, 2005; Vote 217; Senate Bill 397

Obama voted to allow the prosecution of citizens who use a firearm for self-defense in their home. March 25, 2004; Illinois Senate Bill 2165

Obama supports increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500%.   Chicago Defender December 13, 1999

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Feds: Nightstick at polls ‘not prosecutable’

May 19, 2010

Commission demands to know why Obama administration gave Black Panthers free pass

Posted: May 18, 2010
9:07 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

New Black Panther Party members outside polling place on Election Day


The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is demanding to know why the Obama administration Justice Department dropped a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and threatening voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day.

 The commission, an independent body charged with investigating civil-rights complaints and making recommendations to the federal government, held a hearing on the case May 14. Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, gave testimony, stating that “the facts did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes.”

 As WND reported, two men, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson, wearing paramilitary uniforms and armed with a nightsticks, blocked a doorway to a polling location to intimidate voters. Shabazz is leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Black Panther Party.

After a poll watcher saw one of the men brandishing a nightstick to threaten voters, he called police.

“As I walked up, they closed ranks, next to each other,” he told Fox News. “So I walked directly in between them, went inside and found the poll watchers. They said they’d been here for about an hour. And they told us not to come outside because a black man is going to win this election no matter what.”

He said the man with a night stick told him, “‘We’re tired of white supremacy’ and he starts tapping the nightstick in his hand. At which point I said, ‘OK, we’re not going to get in a fist fight right here,’ and I called the police.”

A poll watcher with the University of Pennsylvania asked the men who they were with.

The man with the nightstick responded, “Uh, security,” and asked why he was taking pictures.

He told them, “I think it might be a little intimidating that you have a stick in your hand.” He continued, “I am a concerned citizen, and I’m just worried that …”

Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department

“So are we, and that’s why we’re here,” the Black Panther with the nightstick interrupted.

According to various witnesses, the men also hurled racial epithets such as “white devil” and “cracker” and told voters they should prepare to be “ruled by the black man.” One person said the men called a Republican poll worker a “race traitor” and told him there would be “hell to pay.”

The Washington Times reported witnesses testified that they saw would-be voters try to enter the polling place. They purportedly saw the Black Panthers in the doorway and left without voting.

Officers escorted the man with the nightstick away from the polling location, but the other person in Black Panther gear was a poll watcher. Police allowed him to remain on the premises.

Minister Najee Muhammad, national field marshal for the New Black Panther Party, told a crowd Nov. 2 that the Black Panthers would send members to polling sites on Election Day, the Jackson Sun reported.

“We will not allow some racists and other angry whites, who are upset over an impending Barack Obama presidential victory, to intimidate blacks at the polls,” he said. “Most certainly, we cannot allow these racist forces to slaughter our babies or commit other acts of violence against the black population, nor our black president.”

Uhuru Shakur, chairman of the Atlanta chapter, said, “We love Barack Obama – he gives our people great hope and light for advancement. Every president America has had has been a white man. Now the black man must be given his time to rule. Obama is a man of justice and a leader who wants to do right.”

Shakur had warned, “We will be at the polls in the cities and counties in many states to ensure that the enemy does not sabotage the black vote, which was won through the blood of the martyrs of our people.”

On Jan. 7, 2009, the Justice Department filed a complaint seeking injunctive and declaratory relief under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 against four defendants: the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and its leader, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and the two men who appeared at the Philadelphia polling place on Nov. 4, 2008, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson. The complaint accused them of attempting to engage in, and engaging in, both voter intimidation and intimidation of individuals aiding voters.

“After reviewing the evidence, the Department concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the Party or Malik Zulu Shabazz violated Section 11(b),” Perez said in his testimony.

He added, “Prior to the election, the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense made statements and posted notice that over 300 members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would be deployed at polling locations during voting on November 4, 2008, throughout the United States. To the department’s knowledge, the single polling place in Philadelphia is the only location where an incident occurred. This apparent fact is inconsistent with the notion that the Party or Malik Zulu Shabazz directed a campaign of intimidation.”

He noted that the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense posted a statement on its website dated Jan. 7, 2009, saying the men who blocked the polling place “do not represent the official views of the New Black Panther Party and are not connected nor in keeping with our official position as a party.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Loretta King

“At a minimum, without sufficient proof that New Black Panther Party or Malik Zulu Shabazz directed or controlled unlawful activities at the polls, or made speeches directed to immediately inciting or producing lawless action on Election Day, any attempt to bring suit against those parties based merely upon their alleged ‘approval’ or ‘endorsement’ of Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jackson’s activities would have likely failed,” Perez explained. As WND reported, Malik Zulu Shabazz endorsed Obama for president on Obama’s own website prior to the election. Shabazz boasted he met Obama in 2007 on the 42nd anniversary of the voting rights marches in Selma, Ala.

With regard to King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson, Perez said the Justice Department considered all available information, including signed statements of poll observers or poll watchers at the polling place. The department filed an injunction against Shabazz, prohibiting him from displaying a weapon within 100 feet of a Philadelphia polling place. The department concluded that a nationwide injunction against Shabazz was not legally supportable.

In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania declined prosecution. According to Perez, local police also declined to pursue state criminal charges.

“The evidence was insufficient to show that Minister King Samir Shabazz had engaged or planned to engage in a nationwide pattern of such conduct as he exhibited at the polling place in Philadelphia, or that he was inclined to disregard the injunction,” Perez said.

The department stopped at the injunction and didn’t call for criminal penalties, monetary damages or other civil penalties.

Despite videos of the incident posted on YouTube, Perez said the Justice Department concluded that the allegations against Jackson, the other defendant who was also a certified poll watcher at the Philadelphia polling place, “did not have sufficient evidentiary support.”

He said the decisions on the case were made by a career attorney then serving as the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.

Before the charges were dropped, a federal judge ordered default judgments against the Panthers after party members refused to appear in court. The Washington Times reported the Justice Department was seeking sanctions when Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general who had been granted a political appointment by President Obama in January 2009 to temporarily fill the position, ordered a delay in the proceedings. According to the report, the ruling was issued after King met with Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the department’s No. 3 political appointee, who approved the decision.

“Based on the totality of the evidence and the relevant legal precedent, the acting assistant attorney general made a judgment about how to proceed, choosing to seek an injunction against the only defendant who brought a weapon to the Philadelphia polling place on Election Day and to voluntarily dismiss the other three defendants,” Perez explained.

He added, “The decision to proceed with the claims against Minister King Samir Shabazz and to dismiss the claims against the three other defendants was based on the merits and reflects the kind of good faith, case-based assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of claims that the Department makes every day.”

In August last year, Gerald A. Reynolds, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, told the Washington Times the Justice Department has been offering “weak justifications.”

He said, “If you swap out the New Black Panther Party in this case for neo-Nazi groups or the Ku Klux Klan, you likely would have had a different outcome.”

Elena Kagan vs. That 1st Amendment Thing

May 19, 2010

Posted: May 19, 2010
1:00 am Eastern

© 2010 

On being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, Elena Kagan spoke of “why I love the law so much. … It keeps us safe, it protects our most fundamental rights and freedoms and … it is the foundation of our democracy.” Were I on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in my first round of questioning, I would focus on her record regarding the First Amendment’s foundation of our individual liberties – the right to criticize our government. And surely many Americans are exercising this right of free speech against the Obama administration.

 Last September, Kagan, then Obama’s solicitor general, was arguing before the high court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, on the government’s case for limits to corporations’ political speech – newspaper, television and radio ads, among other support of candidates for federal office.

 During the oral argument, Chief Justice John Roberts asked Kagan how far the government could censor corporations’ political speech: “If you say you are not going to apply (censorship) to a book (about the candidates), what about a pamphlet?”

 The ultimate expose on the radical nature of our 44th president: “The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and other Anti-American Extremists”

 This is how the former dean of the Harvard Law School and a former clerk of Justice Thurgood Marshall, an ardent protector of free speech, answered: “I think a pamphlet would be different. A pamphlet is pretty classic electioneering.” The government, therefore, could penalize such corporate speech.

 I have long been reporting on the need for more Americans, very much including members of Congress, to learn how we became the United States of America, including the impact of such pre-Revolution pamphlets as Tom Paine’s “Common Sense” and “The Crisis”; John Dickinson’s “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania”; and Samuel Adams’ “The Rights of the Colonists,” among others of his pamphlets that contributed to John Adams saying: “Without the character of Samuel Adams, the true history of the American Revolution can never be written.”

 Responding to Solicitor General Kagan’s need of an education in civics, Chief Justice Roberts, in his concurring opinion in the Citizens United case, said: “The (Obama) government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech. It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets.”

 I know that a solicitor general is required to provide the Supreme Court with the positions of the administration that put her in office – but to this extent? Once on the Court, how solicitous will she be to the president who elevated her career and renown? I am assuming she knows that Tom Paine was a pamphleteer.

 I’d also like to know how a Supreme Court Justice Kagan would react to those in the Obama administration who urge more “media diversity” – their poorly disguised attempt to return to the Fairness Doctrine, whereby the Federal Communications Commission could revoke the license of a radio or TV station that was not being “fair” in its distribution of balanced views in its programming of political speech. Last year, the Obama FCC set up an Advisory Committee for Communications on the Digital Age. (Rush Limbaugh, be prepared.)

 Also last year, Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., declared: “there is a responsibility to see that both sides, and not just one side, of the big public questions of the day are aired … with some modicum of fairness.”

 Who is to exercise this responsibility? She wanted to “look at the legal and constitutional aspects of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine” in some form.

 Or as Barack Obama pithily put it: “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.” (Both quotes are in “Shut Up America!” by Brad O’Leary, WND Books, 2009).

 Here is Kagan on government involvement in speech in her 1996 article in the University of Chicago Law Review: “Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First American Doctrine.” From the article, as quoted on May 12 of this year by Seton Motley, director of Communications of the conservative Media Research Center:

“Kagan wrote: If there is an ‘overabundance’ of an idea in public discourse in the absence of direct governmental action – which there well might be when compared with some ideal state of public debate – then action disfavoring that idea might ‘unskew,’ rather than skew (distort) public discourse.” What on earth does that mean?

Translated by Motley, what Kagan was actually saying: “So if talk radio suffers from an ‘overabundance’ of conservative voices, government action to ‘unskew’ this particular public discourse is just fine by her.”

Is this being fair to Kagan’s views on what some of her critics have called her support of “government ‘redistribution of speech'”? A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee should ask about her revisions of the First Amendment during the confirmation hearing. It probably won’t be a Democratic senator.

For an ominous example of those revisions, Kagan, speaking before the Court defending a 1999 federal ban on depictions of animal cruelty, said: “Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs” (Jacob Sullum,, May 12). What a boon to all kinds of censors!

If James Madison were on the Judiciary Committee, would he have voted for Elena Kagan?

Next week: This prospective Supreme Court justice’s positions on the Constitution’s separation of powers. In this age of terrorism, how far can the commander in chief go? Have the Bush-Cheney and Obama administrations exceeded the Constitution’s limits of executive powers? What does she think of putting an American citizen on a list of extra-judicial targeted killings by pilotless drone planes?

 Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of many books, including “The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance.”

When The Cops Seize Your Stuff

May 19, 2010

From WorldNetDaily: Commentary by John Stossel

Posted: May 19, 2010
1:00 am Eastern

In America, we’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Life, liberty and property can’t be taken from you unless you’re convicted of a crime.

 Your life and liberty may still be safe, but have you ever gone to a government surplus auction? Consumer reporters like me tell people, correctly, that they are great places to find bargains. People can buy bikes for $10, cars for $500.

 But where did the government get that stuff?

 Some is abandoned property.

 But some I would just call loot. The cops grabbed it.

Zaher El-Ali has repaired and sold cars in Houston for 30 years. One day, he sold a truck to a man on credit. Ali was holding the title to the car until he was paid, but before he got his money the buyer was arrested for drunk driving. The cops then seized Ali’s truck and kept it, planning to sell it.

Ali can’t believe it.

“I own that truck. That truck has done nothing.”

The police say they can keep it under forfeiture law because the person driving the car that day broke the law. It doesn’t matter that the driver wasn’t the owner. It’s as if the truck committed the crime.

“I have never seen a truck drive,” Ali said. “I don’t think it’s the fault of the truck. And they know better.”

Something has gone wrong when the police can seize the property of innocent people.

“Under this bizarre legal fiction called civil forfeiture, the government can take your property, including your home, your car, your cash, regardless of whether or not you are convicted of a crime. It’s led to horrible abuses,” says Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice, the libertarian law firm.

Bullock suggests the authorities are not just disinterested enforcers of the law.

“One of the main reasons they do this and why they love civil forfeiture is because in Texas and over 40 states and at the federal level, police and prosecutors get to keep all or most of the property that they seize for their own use,” he said. “So they can use it to improve their offices, buy better equipment.”

Obviously, that creates a big temptation to take stuff.

This is serious, folks. The police can seize your property if they think it was used in a crime. If you want it back, you must prove it was not used criminally. The burden of proof is on you. This reverses a centuries-old safeguard in Anglo-American law against arbitrary government power.

The feds do this, too. In 1986, the Justice Department made $94 million on forfeitures. Today, its forfeiture fund has more than a billion in it.

Radley Balko of Reason magazine keeps an eye on government property grabs: “There are lots of crazy stories about what they do with this money. There’s a district attorney’s office in Texas that used forfeiture money to buy an office margarita machine. Another district attorney in Texas used forfeiture money to take a junket to Hawaii for a conference.”

When the DA was confronted about that, his response was, “A judge signed off on it, so it’s OK.” But it turned out the judge had gone with him on the junket.

Balko has reported on a case in which police confiscated cash from a man when they found it in his car. “The state’s argument was that maybe he didn’t get it from selling drugs, but he might use that money to buy drugs at some point in the future. Therefore, we’re still allowed to take it from him,” Balko said.

Sounds like that Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report,” where the police predict future crimes and arrest the “perpetrator.”

“When you give people the wrong incentives, people respond accordingly. And so it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re stretching the definition of law enforcement,” Balko said. “But the fundamental point is that you should not have people out there enforcing the laws benefiting directly from them.”

Balko is exactly right.


John Stossel is a longtime award-winning broadcast journalist who hosts “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of “Give Me a Break” and of “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.” To find out more about John Stossel, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage.

Constitution, Law Of The Land, takes hit from Supreme Court

May 19, 2010

Citing unapproved treaty is ‘act of most fundamental reordering of legal system’

Posted: May 18, 2010
8:54 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

 The fundamentals of the U.S. Constitution possibly have been shoved one step closer to irrelevance by the U.S. Supreme Court, which yesterday cited an international treaty that has not been adopted in the U.S. as support for its opinion.

 The issue is raising alarms for those who have been fighting the trend toward adopting “international” standards for American jurisprudence rather than relying on a strict application of the Constitution.

 “It is bad enough for the Supreme Court to engage in judicial activism,” said Michael Farris, of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “It is far worse when the justices employ international law in support of their far-reaching edicts.

 Don’t underestimate the globalists. “The Beast on the East River” presents a frightening exposé of the United Nations’ global power grab and its ruthless attempt to control U.S. education, law, gun ownership, taxation, and reproductive rights.

 “We have not ratified the U.N. child’s rights treaty – its provisions should not be finding their way into Supreme Court decisions,” he said.

 Roger Kiska, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund who is based in Europe, said the Supreme Court’s use of an unadopted precedent “completely overlooks the checks and balances system that is established by the U.S. Constitution.”

 It’s not the first time the court has done it, and “It’s never amounted to any good,” he said in a telephone interview from his base of operations in Europe. “It leans toward social radicalism.”

 He said there are reasons why the U.S. never adopted the U.N. convention, citing a recent case in Sweden in which a child was taken away from his home because his parents were homeschooling him, and other issues.

 The child, Domenic Johanssen, has been in the custody of social services agents for almost a year now as his parents have fought – unsuccessfully so far – for his return home.

 “That is a prime example of what can happen when the Convention on the Rights of the Child is used as a sword rather than as a shield,” Kiska said.

The Graham v. Florida decision dealt with whether young people can be sentenced to life prison terms if they haven’t killed the victims of their crimes. It arose in the case of Terrance Graham, implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. He now is 23 and is in a Florida prison – for life.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who frequently swings to the liberal side of the court, said such life sentences are not allowed.

“The state has denied him any chance to later demonstrate that he is fit to rejoin society based solely on a non-homicide crime that he committed while he was a child in the eyes of the law,” Kennedy’s majority opinion said. “This the Eighth Amendment does not permit.”

Wrote Kennedy:

We also note, as petitioner and his amici emphasize, that Article 37(a) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nov. 20, 1989, 1577 U. N. T. S. 3 (entered into force Sept. 2, 1990), ratified by every nation except the United States and Somalia, prohibits the imposition of ‘life imprisonment without possibility of release . . . for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.’

Kennedy’s opinion continued:

The court has treated the laws and practices of other nations and international agreements as relevant to the Eighth Amendment not because those norms are binding or controlling but because the judgment of the world’s nations that a particular sentencing practice is inconsistent with basic principles of decency demonstrates that the court’s rationale has respected reasoning to support it.

Jordan Sekulow, director of international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice, told WND the first danger is citing United Nations precedents at all.

Then comes the citation of international concepts that have not been adopted in the U.S.

“When they’re citing laws that have not been adopted, they are creating new legal ground,” he warned.

“It’s great that all these other countries have adopted the laws, but until we’ve actually implemented it, it should have no impact whatsoever on our Supreme Court,” he said.

He warned that such activism will lead the U.S. into trouble.

Other nations’ courts already have been busy creating “new human rights” such as the “right” to “health care,” he said.

“You can see that line of reasoning in cases,” he said.

Farris, who had filed a brief in the Graham case on behalf of members of Congress, said, “There is simply no place for international law or practice in interpreting the American Constitution. International law has its place in deciding truly international cases – but a case involving juvenile offenders in Florida is a domestic case through and through.

“It was plainly gratuitous for the majority to employ international law in this context,” he said.

Farris also is involved in Parental Rights, an organization urging a U.S. Constitution amendment to protect the rights of parents and families.

The amendment plan already has the support of seven members of the U.S. Senate and more than 130 in the House.

The brief filed by Farris was a response to arguments from Amnesty International, which sought the inclusion of international opinion in the Supreme Court ruling.

In claiming the U.S. was the only nation with such penalties, Amnesty had offered to the court “a hodgepodge of letters and e-mails supposedly on file in Amnesty’s offices. Such ‘evidence’ would not be admissible in a traffic court; it is shocking that the Supreme Court relies on such data to make constitutional decisions,” Farris said.

“Our brief demonstrated that the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (the U.N.’s official monitoring body) had found that dozens of nations were in violation of the juvenile sentencing standards of the U.N. child’s rights treaty. It is simply fiction to say that the United States is the only nation which authorizes such sentences,” he said.

Farris told WND that references to “the Constitution” still will remain foundational in Supreme Court opinions. But he said essentially what will happen is that there will be “new content” ascribed to the original document.

“I think that it is an act of the most fundamental reordering of the legal system,” he told WND.

The Parental Rights organization right now is working in support of a plan submitted by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose S. Res. 519 is urging President Obama to refrain from sending the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child to the U.S. Senate for a ratification vote.

“S. Res. 519 seeks to put the Senate of the United States on record that American law and only American law should govern our families and our juvenile courts,” Farris said. “I hope that every American who believes that we should remain a self-governing nation will call their senators today to urge them to become a co-sponsor of S. Res. 519.”

That proposal expresses “the sense of the Senate that the primary safeguard for the well-being and protection of children is the family, and that the primary safeguards for the legal rights of children in the United States are the Constitutions of the United States and the several states, and that, because the use of international treaties to govern policy in the United States on families and children is contrary to principles of self-government and federalism…”

DeMint’s proposal explains that Professor Geraldine Van Bueren, the author of the principal textbook on the international rights of the child and a participant in the drafting of the convention, has described the “‘best interest of the child standard’ in the treaty as ‘provid[ing] decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents.'”

The U.N. already has ruled the United Kingdom in violation of the convention for allowing parents to opt their own children out of a sex education course and determined both Indonesia and Egypt out of compliance because of the way those nations structured their national budgets.

A year ago, the HSLDA had reported that Graham Badman had generated a report that was reviewed by the U.K. government that confirmed the UNCRC “gives children and young people over 40 substantive rights which include the right to express their views freely, the right to be heard in any legal or administrative matters that affect them and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.”