Federal Government Seldom Able To Police Itself

America’s founders, largely distrustful of centralized power, created several checks and balances into the U.S. Constitution to help insure that one person, or one group of people, would not be able to unilaterally exert his or their will over the American citizenry. First, the federal government itself was divided into three separate and distinct branches–each holding the capability (and responsibility) to check the power of the other. Second, the Bill of Rights was made part of the Constitution for the protection of individual liberties. Third, the “free and independent states” of the nation retained their sovereignty and independence after the central government was created (by the states), with the Tenth Amendment specifically recognizing their authority and jurisdiction over matters not directly delegated to the federal government.
It was also assumed that the freedom of the press and the freedom of religion would help the citizenry be sufficiently informed and inspired to keep the would-be despots at bay. And, of course, “We the People” are recognized as being the ultimate guardians of liberty by the recognition that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (Declaration) The “consent of the governed” was given teeth by the constitutional recognition of the people’s right to wield the power of the voting booth, the jury box, and, as a last resort, the cartridge box.
What has become increasingly obvious to a large segment of the American populace is the complete unwillingness of the national media to hold the federal government accountable. Neither do America’s pulpits provide the moral leadership necessary to maintain good government. The freedom of the press and religion accomplish precious little today in the safeguarding of liberty. And it is also absolutely clear that the three branches of government in Washington, D.C., adamantly refuse to use the constitutional obligations placed upon them to hold the federal government in check.

The latter was made crystal clear by a recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. Here is the report:

“A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court means the federal government now has an open door to ‘detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker,’ according to critics.

“The high court this week refused to review an appeals court decision that said the president and U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals.

“The firm of William J. Olson, P.C., which filed a friend-of-the court brief asking the court to step in, noted that not a single justice dissented from the denial of the request for review.
‘The court ducked, having no appetite to confront both political parties in order to protect the citizens from military detention,’ the legal team said in a statement to WND. ‘The government has won, creating a tragic moment for the people–and what will someday be viewed as an embarrassment for the court.'”

The report continues: “The controversial provision authorizes the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely American citizens thought to ‘represent an enduring security threat to the United States.’

“Journalist Chris Hedges was among the plaintiffs charging the law could be used to target journalists who report on terror-related issues.

“A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case stated: ‘The central question now before this court is whether the federal judiciary will stand idly by while Congress and the president establish the legal framework for the establishment of a police state and the subjugation of the American citizenry through the threat of indefinite military arrest and detention, without the right to counsel, the right to confront one’s accusers, or the right to trial.’

“The brief was submitted to the Supreme Court by attorneys with the U.S.
Justice Foundation of Ramona, California; Friedman Harfenist Kraut & Perlstein of Lake Success, New York; and William J. Olson, P.C. of Vienna, Virginia.”

Amici Curiae of the brief included U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, Virginia Senator Dick Black, Gun Owners of America, Downsize DC Foundation, Western Journalism Center, The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Tenth Amendment Center, Policy Analysis Center, Constitution Party National Committee, Professor Jerome Aumente, and yours truly, among others.

See the brief here:

Amicus Brief

The WND report goes on to say: “The 2012 NDAA was fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments, while most Americans were distracted by the scandal surrounding A&E’s troubles with ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.

“Eighty-five of 100 senators voted in favor of the new version of the NDAA, which had already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives. [Disgustingly, Montana’s only U.S. House member, Republican Steve Daines, who purports himself to be a staunch conservative, voted for the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA, as did Montana’s two Democrat Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester. How did your congressman and senators vote? In my opinion, this is a monumentally-important vote, and a vote granting this unconstitutional power to the military and federal police agencies is inexcusable and demonstrates how both Democrats and Republicans will unite together to dismantle the constitutional protections of the American people in the name of “national security.”]

“Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and others filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the Obama administration to challenge the legality of an earlier version of the NDAA.

“It is Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA, and its successors, that drew a lawsuit by Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alex O’Brien, Kai Warg All, Brigitta Jonsottir and the group U.S. Day of Rage. Many of the plaintiffs are authors or reporters who stated that the threat of indefinite detention by the U.S. military already had altered their activities.

“‘It’s clearly unconstitutional,’ Hedges said of the bill. ‘It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.’

“Hedges is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was part of a team of reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.”

See the complete WND report here:

Supreme Court Green Lights Detention Of Americans

Remember that it was Republican President George W. Bush and a Republican U.S. House and Senate that shackled the American people with the USA Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security–along with the rest of the gargantuan police state apparatus under which the people of the United States are now being forced to live. And it is Democrat President Barack Obama and a Democrat U.S. Senate–along with a Republican U.S. House–that continues to expand the reach of this police state. One thing that both Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals agree on is the construction and implementation of a police state. Under the rubric of “national security” or “law and order,” the Bill of Rights is being systematically and deliberately expunged by both sides of the political aisle.

And now we know the judicial branch of government in Washington, D.C., also refuses to hold the executive and legislative branches of government in check–as if we needed more evidence. Both Republican-appointed and Democrat-appointed justices refused to say a word condemning this draconian abuse of power within the NDAA. By so doing, the Supreme Court showed itself unwilling to stand in between the liberties of the American people and an ever-burgeoning police state.

In fact, when it comes to holding the government in DC in check, when does the Supreme Court ever intervene? Hardly ever! If it is a dispute between the states and the federal government or between individuals and the federal government, SCOTUS almost always rules in favor of DC.

Once-in-awhile, one or the other branch of government (including the judicial branch) in DC will be willing to protect constitutional liberties from another branch of government in DC, but such instances are the exception, not the rule.

And since the liberties of the American people have few friends in the national media or in the country’s pulpits, the protection of our freedoms has quickly come down to the states, the local media (yes, some local media is still friendly to freedom), county sheriffs, and the people ourselves.

Currently, there is a huge momentum building among State legislatures to begin pushing back against the overreach of Washington, D.C. For example, the State of Texas is squaring off against the BLM over tens of thousands of acres along the Red River border of Texas and Oklahoma, and the State of Utah has already passed legislation claiming more than 30 million acres currently controlled by the federal government. Here is an excerpt from a Breitbart.com report:

“Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R), earlier this year, signed the Transfer of Public Lands Act. This new state law calls upon the federal government to turn over control of more than 30 million acres to the State.”

See the complete report at:

Utah Grabbing Land From BLM While Texas Plays Defense

Plus, more and more county sheriffs are beginning to stand against federal encroachments. Read this report:

Badge VS. Badge

And, of course, just recently it was “We the People” standing against a brutish, totalitarian-style federal assault against the Bundy family in Bunkerville, Nevada. And among the brave souls at Bunkerville were State and local officials and even county sheriffs. And I was there, too. Here is the video of my message to, and prayer service for, the Oath Keepers and militia on the ground there in Bunkerville:

Sermon & Prayer At Bundy Ranch

As the three branches of government in Washington, D.C., become less and less accountable to the checks and balances assigned them by the Constitution, it is going to require that the states, county sheriffs, and people ourselves become more and more engaged in pushing back against federal overreach and abuse of power.

P.S. I have been inundated with requests from people across the country asking me to help them start unincorporated, non-501c3 churches. In this column next week, I will launch a major initiative in response to these appeals. I urge readers to not miss my column next week.

(c) Chuck Baldwin
 

Coming End to Racial Preferences

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court 6-2 ruling in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action et al. upheld Michigan’s constitutional amendment that bans racial preferences in admission to its public universities. Justice Sonia Sotomayor lashed out at her colleagues in a bitter dissent, calling them “out of touch with reality.” She went on to make the incredible argument that the amendment, which explicitly forbids racial discrimination, itself amounts to racial discrimination. Her argument was that permissible “race-sensitive admissions policies,” the new name for racial preferences, both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body and inure people to the benefit of racial minorities. By the way, no one has come up with hard evidence of the supposed “educational benefits” that come from a racially mixed student body, and there’s mounting evidence of harm done to minorities through academic mismatching.

Far more important than the legal battles over racial preferences in college admissions is the question of why they are being called for in the first place. The SAT’s purpose is to predict how well a student will perform in college classes. Blacks score at least 100 points lower than whites in each of the assessment areas — critical reading, math and writing. Asians score higher than whites in math and writing. SAT scores are also reported for Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Indians and others. Blacks score lower than these minorities, who themselves score lower than whites and Asians.

If we reject the racist notion of mental inferiority of blacks, holding that blacks can never compete academically and that “racially sensitive” college admissions are needed in perpetuity, we must seek an explanation for their relatively poor academic performance. My longtime colleague and friend Dr. Thomas Sowell offers some evidence in a recent column, “Will Dunbar Rise Again?” (http://tinyurl.com/mjt39ks).

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was founded in 1870 as the first public high school in the nation for black students. As far back as 1899, when tests were given in Washington’s four academic high schools, Dunbar students scored higher than students in two of the three white high schools. Over the first several decades of the 20th century, about 80 percent of Dunbar graduates went on to college, a percentage far greater than that of high-school graduates of any race in the country at large at the time. Most blacks went to inexpensive local colleges, but among those who went on to Ivy League and other elite colleges, a significant number graduated Phi Beta Kappa. At one time, Dunbar graduates were admitted to Dartmouth or Harvard without having to take an entrance exam. One would have to be a lunatic to chalk up this academic success, in the early to mid-1900s, to Sotomayor’s “race-sensitive admissions policies.”

The shame of the nation is that poor black children are trapped in terrible schools. But worse than that is that white liberals, black politicians and civil rights leaders, perhaps unwittingly, have taken steps to ensure that black children remain trapped. Sowell says, “Of all the cynical frauds of the Obama administration, few are so despicable as sacrificing the education of poor and minority children to the interests of the teachers’ unions.” Attorney General Eric Holder’s hostility, along with that of the teachers unions, toward the spread of charter schools is just one of the signs of that cynicism. Holder’s threats against schools that discipline more black students than he thinks they should add official support to a hostile learning environment.

The weakening of racial preferences in college admissions can be beneficial if it can focus our attention on the causes of the huge gap in academic achievement between blacks and whites and Asians. Worrying about what happens when blacks are trying to get in to college is too late — as a matter of fact 12 years late.

Moral Bankruptcy

If you want to get some idea of the moral bankruptcy of our educational system, read an article in the May 4th issue of the New York Times Magazine titled, “The Tale of Two Schools.”

The article is not about moral bankruptcy. But it is itself an example of the moral bankruptcy behind the many failures of American education today.

Someone had the bright idea of pairing public high school kids from a low-income neighborhood in the Bronx with kids from a private high school that charges $43,000 a year.

When the low-income youngsters visited the posh private school, “they were just overwhelmed” by it, according to the New York Times. “One kid ran crying off campus.” Apparently others felt “so disheartened about their own circumstances.”

What earthly good did that do for these young people? Thank heaven no one was calloused enough to take me on a tour of a posh private school when I was growing up in Harlem.

No doubt those adults who believe in envy and resentment get their jollies from doing things like this — and from feeling that they are creating future envy and resentment voters to forward the ideological agenda of the big government left.

But at the expense of kids?

There was a time when common sense and common decency counted for something. Educators felt a responsibility to equip students with solid skills that could take them anywhere they wanted to go in later life — enable them to become doctors, engineers or whatever they wanted to be.

Too many of today’s “educators” see students as a captive audience for them to manipulate and propagandize.

These young people do not yet have enough experience to know that posh surroundings are neither necessary nor sufficient for a good education. Is anyone foolish enough to think that making poor kids feel disheartened is doing them a favor?

This school visit was not just an isolated event. It was part of a whole program of pairing individual youngsters from a poverty-stricken neighborhood with youngsters from families that can pay 43 grand a year for their schooling.

What do these kids do? They tell each other stories based on their young lives’ unripened judgment.

They go to a big park in the Bronx together and take part in a garden project there. They talk about issues like gun violence and race relations.

They have a whole lifetime ahead of them to talk about such issues. But poor kids, especially, have just one time, during their school years, to equip their minds with math, science and other solid skills that will give them a shot at a better life.

To squander their time on rap sessions and navel-gazing is unconscionable.

This is just one of many programs dreamed up by “educators” who seem determined to do anything except educate. They see school children as guinea pigs for their pet notions.

The New York Times is doing these youngsters no favor by publishing page after page of their photographs and snippets of things they said. More than two centuries ago, Edmund Burke lamented “everything which takes a man from his house and sets him on a stage.”

Setting adolescents on a stage is even more ill-advised, at a time of life when they do not yet have the experience to see what an inconsequential distraction such activities and such publicity are.

At a time when American youngsters are consistently outperformed on international tests by youngsters in other countries, do we have the luxury of spending our children’s time on things that will do absolutely nothing for them in the years ahead? Are children just playthings for adults?

Maybe the affluent kids can afford to waste their time this way, because they will be taken care of, one way or another, in later life.

But to squander the time of poor kids, for whom education is often their only hope of escaping poverty, is truly an irresponsible self-indulgence by adults who should know better, and it is one more sign of the moral bankruptcy of too many people in our schools.