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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Constitution’

With word that Trump has revoked the press credentials of the Washington Post for appearing in an official capacity at any of his events, and criticism of that from the usual quarters, I couldn’t help but recall what I learned perhaps only about five to six years ago, about “America’s greatest President,” Abraham Lincoln, arresting critical newspaper editors.

In fact, here’s Lincoln’s official Executive Order on the matter (emphasis mine):

Whereas there has been wickedly and traitorously printed and published this morning in the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce, newspapers printed and published in the city of New York, a false and spurious proclamation purporting to be signed by the President and to be countersigned by the Secretary of State, which publication is of a treasonable nature, designed to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and to the rebels now at war against the Government and their aiders and abettors, you are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison in any fort or military prison in your command the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers, and all such persons as, after public notice has been given of the falsehood of said publication, print and publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; and you will hold the persons so arrested in close custody until they can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offense. You will also take possession by military force of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce, and hold the same until further orders, and prohibit any further publication therefrom.

And before that, America’s second president, John Adams, signed the blatantly unconstitutional “Alien and Sedition Acts,” which made it a punishable crime to be critical of the federal government.

Unlike Adams and Lincoln, Trump is still a private citizen. When he’s President, then starts banning various press agencies, then let’s put things in historical perspective and judge what a violator of the First Amendment he truly is, and decide on the appropriate remedy.

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In a little town in Quebec, Canada, a gold mining company is just one property away from developing Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine.

From the July 22, 2010 episode of CBC’s The Current:

Ken Massé is literally sitting on a gold mine. And he refuses to budge. Massé is the last thing in the way of Osisko Mining Corporation’s plan to develop Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine in tiny Malarctic, Quebec. All of Massé’s neighbours have sold out to the mining company, or have been relocated. But Massé won’t give up his childhood home without a fight.

What strikes me most about this case is the possibility of the taking of private property for private use, without the owner’s consent.

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, Canada’s constitution doesn’t require just compensation for the taking of private property for public use. Even worse, it doesn’t require any compensation, which even the communist Chinese Constitution requires.

Here, we’re talking about the taking of private property for private use, without the owner’s consent — something that the U.S. Constitution implicitly prohibits, but which, unfortunately, has been permitted with cases like Kelo v. New London.

The CEO of Osisko disclosed that they had sought an expropriation order of the property, which is understandable from the perspective of a publicly-traded corporation whose primary responsibility, both in law and dominant business culture, is to maximize shareholder’s wealth (as the Board and executives best see fit).

However, from the perspective of higher principle, as I believe is embodied in the U.S. constitutional requirement for just compensation, Canada’s lack of such a provision, both in law and practice, I believe, will lead to its long-term decline in the economic prosperity it currently enjoys.

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Google has a tool for tracking government requests directed to Google and YouTube. From http://www.google.com/governmentrequests/:

Like other technology and communications companies, we regularly receive requests from government agencies around the world to remove content from our services, or provide information about users of our services and products. The map shows the number of requests that we received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, with certain limitations.

Rounding out the top five countries with data requests were: Brazil (3663), United States (3580), United Kingdom (1166), India (1061), and Germany (458).

The top five countries with removal requests were: Brazil (291), Germany (188), India (142), United States (123) and South Korea (64).

Canada had 41 data requests and 16 removal requests, 43.8% of which have been fully or partially complied with.

What stands out the most for me, are the removal requests without a court order, in the United States particularly, given the constitutional requirement for a warrant.

For web search result removal requests without a court order, there were five in the U.S. and one in Canada. No information is given as to the status of any of the removal requests, so we don’t know whether they were complied with to any degree.

This should especially be of concern, given that Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Google’s mission is to store all the world’s information.

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My email to Pastor David Whitney of the Institute on the Constitution after his June 9, 2010 appearance on Radio Liberty with Dr. Stan Monteith:

Pastor Whitney,

I heard your very educational presentation of the Fifth Amendment on today’s show with Dr. Stan.

You said that you read an opinion by Justice Scalia, who you say has written many good opinions in keeping with the Constitution, and that in it, he argued that Grand Juries are independent of the three branches of government.

You later said that those Justices who found in favor of the city of New London in Kelo v. New London (2005), finding that private property could be taken for non-public use, should be impeached for violating their oath to uphold the Constitution, specifically the Fifth Amendment in this case. I agree wholeheartedly with you on that.

Now, consider the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), where Justice Scalia upheld President Bush’s denial of the writ of habeas corpus to Mr. Hamdan.

Article I Section 9 of the Constitution includes:

“The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

Given that:
1) The Constitution grants powers to, and limits powers of, the federal and state governments;
2) The privilege in question makes no mention of applying only to U.S. citizens, nor does the Bill of Rights;
3) There was no rebellion or invasion at the time;
4) Congress didn’t suspend the writ of habeas corpus through that provision;
5) The President takes a constitutional oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”;
6) Justice Scalia is a self-avowed “originalist;”

Do you agree that Justice Scalia should be impeached for his decision in that case, as you argued for those Justices who found in favor of the city of New London?

Regards,

Jason Erb

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Canada’s federal government blatantly disregarded Ontario’s provincial law requiring private security firms and their guards to be licensed, in the run-up to the 2010 G8/G20 summits.

As the Toronto Star reported on June 8, 2010:

The security firm awarded a government contract to provide private guards for the G8 and G20 summits is not licensed in Ontario.

Contemporary Security Canada, a Vancouver-based company that did private security for the 2010 Winter Olympics, was hired by the RCMP to provide about 1,100 private guards for the Toronto and Huntsville summits.

Security industry members say licensing is a rigorous process that normally takes six to eight months.”

“The clock is ticking down to the G20. For the aim of public safety, we’re moving forward with the process to have them licensed quickly with all the due diligence necessary,” said Laura Blondeau, spokeswoman for Minister Rick Bartolucci.

Blondeau said the Ministry became aware of the CSC’s contract no more than two weeks ago.

This story shows how:

1) Canada’s federal government doesn’t bother to familiarize itself with provincial law, or simply doesn’t care about it.
2) Even Canada’s largest province plans on buckling under the pressure of the federal government.
3) While claiming “public safety,” by moving to license the security firm in time for the summits, in half the usual time, Ontario’s government is indicating that their current licensing requirements are overburdensome, or they’re cutting corners and putting public safety at risk.

Canada’s provincial governments are granted exclusive jurisdiction over certain powers by the Canadian Constitution, just as U.S. states are by the U.S. Constitution, and the federal government can no more disregard provincial law than provincial governments can disregard federal law in their respective exclusive jurisdictions.

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In this interview by Lew Rockwell, libertarian and intellectual property lawyer Stephan Kinsella takes exception with Ayn Rand’s stance on intellectual property.

Starting at 11:11:

Rockwell: “Where did Rand go wrong?

If you didn’t believe that the U.S. Constitution’s view of patents and copyrights was exactly right, that you were a communist. But it seems to me she had very little argument for this.

Kinsella: “Her sort of religious adherence to the American scheme of government, which was almost perfect, in her mind.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, “Powers of Congress,” includes:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Note that it says: “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,” and not to promote bottom line of patent holders, many of which are corporations these days, unlike in 1787 when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

The significance of that, to me, is that individuals are more likely to patent something out of their interest in profiting from their own creations, as opposed to those corporations that file new patents or buy existing ones to stymie progress.

Kinsella points out that Rand mistakenly believed that the person who first files for a patent gets it, whereas the U.S. is the only country that grants the patent to the first person to invent what is filed for.

However, that is only true in theory, as the 1984 patent for the fraudulent “HIV test” shows, which was granted to Robert Gallo of the National Institutes of Health, instead of the first test developer and patent filer, 2008 Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier, as documented in the 2003 book, Science Fictions. If you have enough sway with the Patent and Trademark Office, you’ll get your patent regardless of who the first inventor was.

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From Murray Rothbard’s articles page on LewRockwell.com:

Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) was the dean of the Austrian School of economics, the founder of libertarianism, and an exemplar of the Old Right.

However, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary entry for libertarianism is:

Main Entry: lib·er·tar·i·an

Pronunciation: \ˌli-bər-ˈter-ē-ən, -ˈte-rē-\
Function: noun
Date: 1789
1 : an advocate of the doctrine of free will
2 a : a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action b capitalized : a member of a political party advocating libertarian principles

1789 was the year the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, were submitted to the States for ratification.

The Ninth Amendment sums it up well: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Clearly, libertarianism was a concept defined well before the 20th century.

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