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Obama and the Bill of Rights: Mandates, Guns and Drones

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By Gayle Trotter, senior fellow, Independent Women’s Forum

For all of the newfound political freedom that President Obama now enjoys as his second term is under way, his administration has spent the last four years shrinking our essential constitutional liberties. Our liberties preserve a place for the individual apart from the government, the local community apart from the state, and the state apart from the federal government.

Despite Obama’s pledge to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, he continues to limit our freedoms under the Bill of Rights. His second term promises even more encroachment.

Americans face dire challenges today. The disastrous Obama economy has created a higher poverty level than we have experienced since the 1930’s. Obama’s increases to the national debt exceed all of his predecessors combined.

Al Qaeda operatives murdered an ambassador and three other citizens with impunity. Pressed for answers, the administration’s response was, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” We lurch from one crisis to the next.

Today, our country finds itself far afield from Bill Clinton’s state of the union in which he declared that “the era of big government is over.” If only.

Instead, for every challenge, Obama is ready to propose a federalized, big-government, one-size-fits-all solution. These counterproductive responses consistently diminish our constitutional rights.

Our first amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion. Soon after Obama first took office, though, he began to restrict the rights of religious people to practice their beliefs.

ObamaCare requires all group health plans to provide services — contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization — that violate the deeply held religious beliefs of millions of Americans. Religious organizations face crippling fines if they decline to provide these conscience-defying products and services.

Now, the Obama administration seeks to restrict our second amendment rights, limiting the ability of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense of the home. Over 90% of violent crimes occur without a firearm. In those cases, guns reverse the balance of power for law-abiding citizens, especially women, defending themselves against a violent attacker.

The administration’s attempts to limit citizens’ second amendment right to choose to defend themselves places undue burdens on this right. Instead, sensible enforcement of existing gun laws, including meaningful and consistent penalties for violent felonies involving firearms, would increase public safety without limiting the rights of the law-abiding or jeopardizing their safety.

The Obama administration has also dramatically reduced the scope of fifth amendment due process rights. Under the fifth amendment, no citizen may be deprived of life without due process of law.

Today, secret decisions within the Obama administration provide the ostensible legal basis for assassinating U.S. citizens overseas. Obama personally approved a drone strike that specifically targeted a sixteen-year-old Colorado-born American boy, incinerating him from the sky.

The administration has claimed that these secret deliberations satisfy the fifth amendment due process rights of citizens targeted in drone attacks. This approach to due process is nothing less than a “legal disaster,” according to Harvard’s Noah Feldman. Claiming to apply due process while altering the term’s meaning in this way casts “a long shadow over what the term means everywhere else,” Feldman says.

The last four years under Obama have cast a long shadow over many Americans’ liberties. Under Obama, we have watched the unfolding legal disaster of a diminishing Bill of Rights. Now, having successfully acquired the additional “flexibility” that Obama notoriously promised to President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, we can expect even more attempts to expand federal power at the expense of our personal liberties.

Trotter is an attorney and senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum, her views are her own.

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Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There

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The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.

These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by 

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… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.

Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of  rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry

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In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.

To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.

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But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…

CONTINUE READING HERE:

The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.

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Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:

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Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:

The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.

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Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.

Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!

I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.

After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.

The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.

But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.

Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.

In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.

Your most humble and obedient,

Friedrich Trump

… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.

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