Category Archives: Dumbasses and Authoritarians

Muzzling Professors

In Arizona, a state Senate committee approved a bill that would make the First Amendment null and void at that state’s universities. In the name of promoting tolerance and diversity of thought on campus, committee has decided to ban professors from doing the following:

*Endorsing, supporting or opposing any candidate for local, state or national office.
*Endorsing, supporting or opposing any pending legislation, regulation or rule under consideration by local, state or federal agencies.
*Endorsing, supporting or opposing any litigation in any court.
*Advocating “one side of a social, political, or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.”
*Hindering military recruiting on campus or endorsing the activities of those who do.

Under the legislation, the Arizona Board of Regents, which governs the state’s public universities, and the individual boards of community colleges would be responsible for setting guidelines for the law and for requiring all faculty members to participate in three hours of training annually on their responsibilities under the law.

Punishments could come in two forms. The governing boards’ guidelines would need to develop procedures, including suspensions and terminations in some cases, according to the bill. In addition, the state attorney general and county prosecutors could sue violators, and state courts could impose fines of up to $500. The legislation would bar colleges or their insurance policies from paying the fines — money would need to be paid directly by the professors found guilty.

In other words, if a professor dares to have a political thought, let alone express it, they could be sued and fined $500.

In Orwellian logic, the bill sponsor, Republican state Senator Thayor Verschoor had this:

“In our institutions of higher education, students should be learning how to think, not what to think.

In other words, Senator Verschoor only wants students to be taught what he wants you to think, not have your mind challenged by different thoughts and opinions.

Fortunately, student leaders and professors have come out against this bill. In addition, the man behind the Academic Bill of Rights, David Horowitz, has come out against it.

The First Amendment should not be the casualty of the outrageous actions of the Ward Churchills of our university campuses.

h/t QandO.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Someone needs a lesson in separation of powers… AGAIN

Well now, take a quick look at this bill, and see if you can tell me what’s wrong with it:

HR 563 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session
+

H. R. 563

To vacate further proceedings in the prosecution of certain named persons.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 18, 2007

Mr. HUNTER (for himself, Mr. POE, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. TANCREDO, Mr. ROHRABACHER, Mr. GOODE, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mrs. MUSGRAVE, Mr. ROYCE, Mr. DUNCAN, Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland, Mr. HERGER, Mr. COLE of Oklahoma, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. CARTER, Mr. PORTER, Mr. MCCOTTER, Mr. BURGESS, Mr. GERLACH, Mr. MICA, Mr. SAXTON, Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. CANTOR, Mr. HOBSON, Mr. LAHOOD, Mr. WALSH of New York, Mr. TERRY, Ms. FOXX, Mr. HASTINGS of Washington, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. KIRK, Mr. ROGERS of Alabama, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. STEARNS, Mr. RENZI, Mr. BONNER, Mr. BAKER, Mr. PETERSON of Pennsylvania, Mr. EVERETT, Mr. CANNON, Mrs. CUBIN, Mr. SHADEGG, Mr. SHIMKUS, Mr. COBLE, Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania, Mr. GILCHREST, Mr. HAYES, Mr. LEWIS of Kentucky, Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky, Mr. DAVID DAVIS of Tennessee, Mr. PEARCE, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. GARY G. MILLER of California, Mr. LOBIONDO, Mr. TIBERI, Mr. WHITFIELD, Mr. LATOURETTE, Mr. YOUNG of Florida, Mrs. BLACKBURN, Mr. PITTS, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. SULLIVAN, Mr. MANZULLO, Mr. MCHUGH, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. MCKEON, Mr. AKIN, Mr. KINGSTON, and Mr. TIAHRT) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To vacate further proceedings in the prosecution of certain named persons.

Whereas the conviction and sentencing of United States Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean for the pursuit and shooting of drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila which is the subject of a Federal criminal case in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas represents an extreme injustice: Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Congressional Pardon for Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean Act’.

SEC. 2. ORDER.

It is hereby ordered that the conviction and sentences of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are vacated. The release of the defendants from the custody of the Government is hereby ordered, with prejudice. No further criminal prosecution or other proceeding against these named individuals with respect to the circumstances giving rise to the convictions and sentences vacated by this Act shall take place.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

It is the sense of Congress that the Department of Homeland Security review the rules of engagement presently utilized by the United States Border Patrol.

END

If you guessed it had something to do with the title of this post, you get a gold star.

So, a little background for those of you who don’t know.

Ramos and Compean were Border Patrol Agents on the U.S. Mexican border, along the El Paso section; which happens to be one of the busiest smuggling regions, as well as one of the more dangerous.

Border patrol rules of engagement specify that BP agents are not to enter into armed confrontation with smugglers. Well, Ramos and Compean did; and they ended up shooting one in the back.

Oooh no, in the back, those foul evildoers…

Yeah it’s bull. Anyone who knows anything about a violent situation knows that when shooting starts, you don’t pay attention to anything other then staying alive, and stopping the threat. If he’s still moving, he’s still fighting; but that’s neither here nor there.

The problem is, after shooting at said scumbag (who was attempting to smuggle 800lbs of Marijuana that day) 15 times (they apparently only hit him once), they figured “ehh just another dead smuggler”, and they didn’t report the incident.

Now, that is a seriously big no-no. Very bad ju-ju. They violated their ROE, and they knew it, so they decided to hush it up. Grounds for dismissal certainly, and possibly a minor prosecution; but probably nothing really serious.

But the scumbag wasn’t dead; and he complained to his own government about being shot. The Mexican government then complained to our Department of Homeland Security (who run the Border Patrol), who at the behest of the Mexican government told the U.S. Attorney for the western district of Texas that these two agents had “Committed a conspiracy to commit murder against a Mexican citizen”.

Anyway, the El Paso U.S. Attorney looks at the ROE, looks at the criminal drug smuggling bastard shot in the back, and then looks at the pressure from Homeland Security and the Mexican government; and of course he sees where his bread is buttered, and decides to crucify Ramos and Compean.

They were charged with and convicted for, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, and conspoiracy to commit murder; and they each got 12 years… actually 11 years and 1 day, and 12 years respectively (not sure what the calculation was on that).

It gets better. Once they were remanded to custody, TWO BP AGENTS WHO SHOT A MEXICAN DRUG SMUGGLER WERE PUT INTO GEN-POP WITH ALL THE MEXICAN GANGS.

They were of course beaten nearly to death within hours, before being put into protective custody.

Now, SOP for a cop who gets sent to prison, is that they are NEVER put in with the general population, because if they do, it’s effectively a death sentence. How this was ignored… let’s just say is smells.

Let me just say something: I know for a fact we didn’t get the whole story out to the public. I have family in the Border patrol who tell me this whole thing stinks to high heaven. BUT, based on what evidence was presented, this wasn’t attempted murder or assault, this was a JUSTIFIED line of duty shooting.

What it comes down to is, the BP agents in question were so scared of the bureaucratic bull, and attitude of the Border Patrol management, that they decided to pretend it never happened. Their fear of their own bad management is what created this problem, not any improper action in shooting said drug smuggling scum bag.

Anyway, off my soap box for a minute.

Now, look at this little section from the bill above:

SEC. 2. ORDER.

It is hereby ordered that the conviction and sentences of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are vacated. The release of the defendants from the custody of the Government is hereby ordered, with prejudice. No further criminal prosecution or other proceeding against these named individuals with respect to the circumstances giving rise to the convictions and sentences vacated by this Act shall take place.

Now, here’s the big problem.

Congress can’t do that.

The constitution provides clearly delineated separation of the powers of the branches of government. Congress Makes the Laws, the Courts interpret and apply the laws, and the Executive branch executes and enforces the laws.

Pretty cut and dried.

Congress could write a new law, saying that what Ramos and Compean did isn’t illegal; but it wouldn’t change their case because what they did WAS illegal when they did it, according to the interpretation of the courts.

The courts could overturn their conviction, and dismiss the charges.

The Executive branch is the enforcement branch, and as such the privilege of executive clemency is their purview; so the president could pardon them.

But Congress cannot, “By act of Congress Assembled”, vacate a conviction, or grant a pardon. Oh they can do it symbolically with a “sense of congress” resolution, or they can ASK the president to issue a pardon, they can even by act of congress ask the supreme court to consider the case (as they did with the Terry Schaivo issue… though the way it was worded they overstepped their bounds there as well)…

But congress can not vacate a conviction, or issue a pardon. In fact, they can’t order the courts, or the president to do ANYTHING; except to follow the law. It is not within their constitutionally delegated powers to do so.

The only enforcement power that congress has, is to cite someone for contempt of congress (either for not following a law, or for not responding to the requests of congress expressed in their powers of subpoena to compel evidence and testimony); or to institute impeachment against the president (and in fact, they don’t enforce that: the supreme court, acting on the authority of the senate, vacates the office of the president, and then the next in line of succession takes over).

Of the bills 87 co-sponsors, most of them are lawyers, who one would assume took constitutional law at some point or another. Many of them are congressmen of long service, who really should understand their constitutional authority, role, and powers.

Perhaps we are asking too much of our congressmen to understand their jobs, or the constitution.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Let Them Eat Cake

Robert Mugage, Zimbabwe’s dictator for the past twenty-seven years, will turn 83 this week complete with a big birthday party, while his countymen starve for lack of bread:

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 21 — President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe turned 83 on Wednesday to the strains of the song “God Bless President Mugabe” on state-controlled radio, along with an interview on state television, a 16-page paean to his rule in Harare’s daily newspaper and the prospect of a grand birthday party — costly enough to feed thousands of people for months, his critics argued — on Saturday.

Zimbabwe’s economy is so dire that bread vanished from store shelves across the country on Wednesday after bakeries shut down, saying government price controls were requiring them to sell loaves at a loss. The price controls are supposed to shield consumers from the nation’s rampant inflation, which now averages nearly 1,600 percent annually.

Mugabe is not only unconcerned about his countrymen’s plight, but is already seeking to expand his power:

In his hourlong television interview, broadcast Tuesday evening, Mr. Mugabe showed no sign of concern that he was unpopular. Rather, he expressed confidence that voters would add another six-year term to the 27 years he has spent in power should he run for re-election.

He has proposed postponing the next presidential election, now scheduled for 2008, until 2010, and he mocked the ambitions of underlings who, he said, hoped to push him from office before he was ready to retire.

“Can you see any vacancies?” he asked. “The door is closed.”

On Wednesday, The Herald, the state-managed newspaper, included in 16 pages of tributes to Mr. Mugabe an editorial calling him “an unparalleled visionary” and “an international hero among the oppressed and poor.”

And, of course, those hungry people are just a bunch of unpatriotic traitors.

As for much of Africa, the prospects for Zimbabwe seem grim at the moment, but I particularly liked this quote from one Mugabe opponent:

Tawanda Mujuru, who runs a vegetable stall on Samora Machel Avenue in downtown Harare, said that she would be working in a factory if not for the failure of Mr. Mugabe’s economic policies.

“He has the guts to eat and drink when we are suffering like this,” she said. “Let him enjoy. Every dog has his day. We shall have our day.”

Mr. Mugabe, you may want to do a Wikipedia search on Nicolae Ceacescu

The New Assualt Weapons Ban

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York) has proposed a new assualt weapons ban. Say Uncle has a summary of what the ban proposes.

Instead of banning rifles with 2 evil features, it’s one evil feature. Said evil features are:
`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

`(ii) a threaded barrel;

`(iii) a pistol grip;

`(iv) a forward grip; or

`(v) a barrel shroud.

Expands the list of rifles banned specifically by name.
Bans possession of conversion kits (example, you couldn’t own a rifle and a bayonet lug even if the two weren’t attached).
Transfer of grandfathered weapons would have to go through a FFL.
Bans transfers of grandfathered semi-automatics with regular capacity magazines.

As mike pointed out in his post, the cops are using the ban expiration as an excuse to further militarize their departments. Imagine what checks there would be to these militarized cops if the McCarthy gun ban goes through.

Free Republic has the full text of the scary bill.

I’m waiting for outrage from the “libertarian Democrats” and the “libertarian left”.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

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