Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Category

Chuck Hagel: The “Perfect Fit” for Secretary of Defense

December 31, 2012

One of the first ways I got involved with politics was being part of the Internet movement that supported former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) for President back in 2008.  Back then I ran the Michigan for Hagel 2008 blog and co-ran the Students for Hagel blog.  Once Hagel announced he wasn’t running, the group disbanded, but a few of the leaders of the movement have stayed in touch.  When rumors came out that President Obama was considering Hagel for Defense Secretary, we decided to come together and ensure that the smear campaign against Hagel wasn’t successful.

He has combat experience—having served in the Vietnam War as an infantry squad leader, he achieved the rank of Sergeant and was awarded multiple medals including two Purple Hearts.  After leaving the military, Hagel was dedicated to helping American troops and veterans.  He was appointed Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration, where he fought for funding for VA programs, and he served as president and CEO of the USO.

Hagel also had a successful career in the private sector, co-founding a cell phone manufacturing company and serving as CEO of American Information Systems.

In short, Hagel has the military and administrative experience needed to be America’s next Secretary of Defense.

And despite the arguments made by some, Hagel’s positions do generally fit with the Republican Party.

Yes, it is true that Hagel was critical of many of President George W. Bush’s policies, including the Iraq War, but much of his disagreement with the Bush Administration dealt with the lack of transparency.  Throughout his Senate career, Hagel fought for transparency in the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and encouraged open Congressional debate, rather than quick votes on such important issues.  Isn’t that at the heart of the Republican Party—encouraging open public debate instead of shady, quick votes to ram legislation through? Hagel captured this principle in saying, “To question your government is not unpatriotic—to not question your government is unpatriotic.” Considering that right now, the GOP is fighting for transparency on the issues of the conflict in Libya and Benghazi, doesn’t it make sense to support someone who fought for DoD transparency, from both a Republican President and a Democratic Senate?  The fact that Hagel’s fight for transparency transcended political boundaries is exactly the reason he’s perfect for the Department of Defense.  The Defense Secretary shouldn’t be loyal to a party; he should be loyal to American and her national security.  And Hagel has agreed with this, saying, “I took an oath of office to the Constitution, I didn’t take an oath of office to my party or my president.”

And labeling Hagel a liberal based on his Iraq policy is absurd.  Hagel’s plan for Iraq was different than both the mainstream Republican and Democratic plans at the time. Rather than withdraw as soon as possible or stay indefinitely, Hagel advocated for moving our troops out of the areas of civil war and to the borders. This would ensure that terrorists did not flee or enter the country, while leaving the Iraqis to resolve the inner conflicts, a job that they, not the U.S., were best suited for.

On the issue of Israel, he has defended “our continued commitment to Israel’s defense” and acknowledged the “special and historic bond” between the U.S. and Israel. At the same time, he realizes that peace with its neighbors is the best thing for Israel.

While acknowledging that the defense budget needs to be cut, Hagel has never come out in support of across-the-board sequestration cuts.  In fact, it was because of reckless Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives that we are facing such drastic across-the-board cuts.  The defense sequestration cuts would come about as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was supported by 174 House Republicans and 28 Senate Republicans.  Passing such a bill to allow across-the-board cuts was reckless, and Hagel has never come out in support of sequestration; however, like many Republicans, he agrees that the Defense budget is bloated and should be cut where possible.

And Hagel supports continued sanctions against Iran and has never ruled out military action against Iran to prevent them from achieving nuclear capabilities.  But as a result of his experience in Vietnam, he realizes that we shouldn’t be putting our servicemen and women in harm’s way unless combat is absolutely necessary.  And that’s a good principle that the GOP should agree with.

Does Hagel agree with every single word in the Republican platform? No; but then again, who does? In fact, he had an 84% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. Republicans could not ask for a better nominee for Secretary of Defense from a Democratic President, and instead of hounding Hagel for disagreements in the past, Republicans should rally around him as a defender of many conservative principles and causes.

Republicans can’t just oppose Hagel because they want to oppose the President.  It’s time to stop being the party of “No”.  Hagel is one of our own, and while he may lean more moderate, he’d make an excellent Secretary of Defense.  It would be a shame if his nomination or confirmation was destroyed because the GOP wants to oppose Obama.  There is no good reason the GOP should oppose someone like Hagel.

For those who would like to show their support for Chuck Hagel, I would encourage you to like the Facebook page that was started, and if you’re on Twitter, I would encourage you to use the hashtag #SupportHagel in your tweets on the subject.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Legislature Needs to Get to Work on Permanent Budget

October 5, 2009

Last week, Michigan saw its second government shutdown in the state’s history.  In the history of this country, only two other states have had government shutdowns because of a budget crisis, and Michigan is the only state to have more than one shutdown.  What’s even more sad is that the 2 shutdowns came only 2 years apart.

I ended up watching most of the late-night sessions last week, as I followed the budget crisis, and while there were some humorous segments (such as “I can count!” coming from the chairman of the Senate), most of what I saw was just sad – it’s sad that the Michigan legislature can’t pass a budget on time.

So why does Michigan have problems passing a budget?  There has been a fundamental failure in leadership, as well as the overall impacts of having the state in such a poor economic state.

Michigan is essentially the same position as it was for the 2007 shutdown: a Democratic Governor with terrible economic policies, a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with Andy Dillon (D-Redford) as Speaker of the House waiting until it is too late to work on the budget, and a Republican-controlled Senate who tried to get the budget done on time, but was unable to overcome the incompetency of the House.

In both the 2007 and 2009 shutdowns, work on the budget started too late, and many legislators (including Republicans) weren’t committed to finishing the budget on time.

While portions of the budget were being passed by the Senate late Tuesday night, the House had already recessed for the day.  We saw the same thing in 2007: Andy Dillon would go would only have the House in session once or twice a week over the summer, and he even took a five-day weekend trip to Mackinac Island after acknowledging that the state was facing a budget crisis.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) had been getting Senate budget bills passed and sent over to the House faster than House bills were coming to the Senate.

But this isn’t to say that all Republicans were trying to finish the budget on time or that all Democrats were uninterested in finishing on time.  While the Senate Republicans seemed to generally work harder as the deadline got closer, NOBODY was working hard enough in the month and weeks beforehand.  Instead of passing a budget 2 hours into the government shutdown, the legislature should be passing a budget weeks or even months beforehand.

Representative Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe) has suggested that the Michigan Constitution be amended to require the budget be done by July 1st, and legislators wouldn’t get paid after that date until a budget was passed.  Bledsoe told the Detroit Free Press, “We’ve had every opportunity to get this work done earlier in the year.  There’s no excuse to be moving the budget as late as we did.”

Senator Hansen Clark (D-Detroit) has suggested fining legislators $1,000 a day for each day after the fiscal year that a budget isn’t completed, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leaders paying $3,000.  He told reporters, “Even though many of us work long hours, we don’t have the same incentives as other sectors of the work force.  Typically, our incentive would be to do a good job so we can get re-elected, but apparently that’s not enough. … The leaders have to be accountable for results.  If you don’t perform the core mission of your job, and that’s to enact a balanced budget … there should be a penalty.”

Former Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R) said that the problems run deeper than just legislators not cracking down in time: “The gap between revenue and spending is so large that there isn’t any structural issue that can compensate for it.  It’s a much deeper issue that legislators don’t want to deal with.  Michigan as a state can’t continue the level of spending it’s enjoyed for many years.  The economy has downsized underneath it.  Until you change the tax structure and the spending process, this kind of paralysis is likely to continue.  There is no process change that is going to make this a rational, timely, decision-making process.  Until there are fundamental changes, you can’t avoid this kind of chaos.”

And in part, I would agree with that.  The Democrats in the legislature have refused to accept that spending cuts are an inevitable result of the state’s deficit.  Taxes can only be raised so many times and only to a certain level, and when you’ve exhausted that option, you have to cut spending.  Michigan is not in a position to raise taxes.  Businesses won’t come to Michigan if we raise taxes, and we’ve even seen film companies come to Michigan now that we have a tax credit for film companies.  Raising taxes is only going to hurt the economy more and drive more people out of the state.

Fortunately, an interim budget was passed and signed by Governor Granholm only 2 hours into this year’s shutdown, but we aren’t in the clear yet.  The legislature gavels into session tomorrow, and a permanent budget still needs to be passed for the new fiscal year.  Unless legislators understand that spending cuts are not and option, but a necessity, and that they have to start cracking down and getting to work, we will wind up seeing a full government shutdown when the interim budget expires.

And we need to learn from our mistakes – this cannot happen in 2010.  It’s just unacceptable.  Fortunately, 2010 is an election year, and lawmakers will be trying to pass a budget on time so that they can get reelected, but unless things change, we will see ourselves back in this same position in 2011.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

House of Representatives Votes to Tax AIG Executives’ Bonuses at 90%

March 19, 2009

The House just passed H.R. 1586, officially titled “To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients” (sponsored by Charlie Rangel [D-NY]), which taxes the bonuses of AIG executives.  The bill technically places a tax on any bonuses given by companies who received TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money.

The following is the text of the legislation:

HR 1586 IH

 

111th CONGRESS 

1st Session

H. R. 1586

To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 18, 2009

Mr. RANGEL (for himself, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. PETERS, Mrs. MALONEY, Mr. STARK, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. TANNER, Mr. POMEROY, Mr. THOMPSON of California, Mr. LARSON of Connecticut, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. PASCRELL, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. MEEK of Florida, Mr. DAVIS of Alabama, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. ETHERIDGE, Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California, Mr. HIGGINS, Mr. YARMUTH, Mr. DINGELL, Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia, Ms. FUDGE, Mr. LUJAN, Mr. MAFFEI, Mr. PERRIELLO, Mr. CARNEY, Ms. CASTOR of Florida, Ms. CLARKE, Mr. COHEN, Mr. ELLISON, Mr. HALL of New York, Mr. HARE, Mr. KLEIN of Florida, Mr. LOEBSACK, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. SIRES, Mr. WELCH, Mr. WILSON of Ohio, Mr. WU, and Mr. HILL) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

 


 

A BILL 

To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients.

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

SECTION 1. BONUSES RECEIVED FROM CERTAIN TARP RECIPIENTS.

    (a) In General- In the case of an employee or former employee of a covered TARP recipient, the tax imposed by chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for any taxable year shall not be less than the sum of–

 (1) the tax that would be determined under such chapter if the taxable income of the taxpayer for such taxable year were reduced (but not below zero) by the TARP bonus received by the taxpayer during such taxable year, plus

(2) 90 percent of the TARP bonus received by the taxpayer during such taxable year.

    (b) TARP Bonus- For purposes of this section–

(1) IN GENERAL- The term `TARP bonus’ means, with respect to any individual for any taxable year, the lesser of–

(A) the aggregate disqualified bonus payments received from covered TARP recipients during such taxable year, or

(B) the excess of–

(i) the adjusted gross income of the taxpayer for such taxable year, over

(ii) $250,000 ($125,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return).

 (2) DISQUALIFIED BONUS PAYMENT-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term `disqualified bonus payment’ means any retention payment, incentive payment, or other bonus which is in addition to any amount payable to such individual for service performed by such individual at a regular hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or similar periodic rate.

(B) EXCEPTIONS- Such term shall not include commissions, welfare or fringe benefits, or expense reimbursements.

(C) WAIVER OR RETURN OF PAYMENTS- Such term shall not include any amount if the employee irrevocably waives the employee’s entitlement to such payment, or the employee returns such payment to the employer, before the close of the taxable year in which such payment is due. The preceding sentence shall not apply if the employee receives any benefit from the employer in connection with the waiver or return of such payment.

(3) REIMBURSEMENT OF TAX TREATED AS TARP BONUS- Any reimbursement by a covered TARP recipient of the tax imposed under subsection (a) shall be treated as a disqualified bonus payment to the taxpayer liable for such tax.

    (c) Covered TARP Recipient- For purposes of this section–

(1) IN GENERAL- The term `covered TARP recipient’ means–

(A) any person who receives after December 31, 2007, capital infusions under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which, in the aggregate, exceed $5,000,000,000,

(B) the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation,

(C) any person who is a member of the same affiliated group (as defined in section 1504 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, determined without regard to paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (b)) as a person described in subparagraph (A) or (B), and

(D) any partnership if more than 50 percent of the capital or profits interests of such partnership are owned directly or indirectly by one or more persons described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).

 (2) EXCEPTION FOR TARP RECIPIENTS WHO REPAY ASSISTANCE- A person shall be treated as described in paragraph (1)(A) for any period only if–

(A) the excess of the aggregate amount of capital infusions described in paragraph (1)(A) with respect to such person over the amounts repaid by such person to the Federal Government with respect to such capital infusions, exceeds

(B) $5,000,000,000.

    (d) Other Definitions- Terms used in this section which are also used in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall have the same meaning when used in this section as when used in such Code.
    (e) Coordination With Internal Revenue Code of 1986- Any increase in the tax imposed under chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by reason of subsection (a) shall not be treated as a tax imposed by such chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under such chapter or for purposes of section 55 of such Code.
    (f) Regulations- The Secretary of the Treasury, or the Secretary’s delegate, shall prescribe such regulations or other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.
    (g) Effective Date- This section shall apply to disqualified bonus payments received after December 31, 2008, in taxable years ending after such date.

The bill passed 328 (243 Democrats, 85 Republicans)-93 (6 Democrats, 87 Republicans).

Personally, this bill is very troubling to me.  It’s debatable as to whether or not it’s Constitutional.  Some have said that it’s a bill of attainder (a bill that focuses on punishing 1 group of people).  Technically, it never names AIG as the focus of the bill, but that’s definitely the intent.

This bill is more legally binding than Representative Gary Peters’ bill (H.R. 1527) that would impose a 60% tax on bonuses paid to executives if “the ownership interest of the Federal Government” is at least 79%.  Basically that says that if the government owns at least 79% of a company’s stock, it can tax bonuses on that company’s executives at a rate of 60%.  The problem with that bill, which I talked about yesterday, is that the government technically doesn’t own AIG. 

Even if it is Constitutional, I find this a huge invasion of the business sector.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  It’s a complete twist of the American tax code, and it sets a VERY dangerous precedent.

I don’t think AIG executives should have received the bonuses, but that stipulation should have been placed in the original TARP legislation.

Now, that stipulation WAS in the original bill; however, when it went to the conference committee, the Democrats took out that provision.  The exact details of how that happened are still unknown, but Chris Dodd had said that he introduced an amendment at the request of the Obama administration.  When this actually gets sorted out, I’ll let you know what actually happened.

Regardless of how they were allowed to get the bonuses, they were, and taking the bonuses away like this is questionably constitutional, but in the least, a blatant perversion of the tax code.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

D.C. Voting Rights Act is Clearly Unconstitutional

March 4, 2009

Last Thursday, the Senate passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, which gives the District of Columbia a voting member in the House of Representatives and eliminates the position of D.C. Delegate, who represents the District now.  Currently, that delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, can only vote when her vote does not affect the outcome; however, she is allowed to introduce bills, and this bill was introduced by Norton.  The bill would also give an additional seat to Utah, so that the partisan makeup of the House stayed the same.

S. 160 (formal title: “A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives”) was introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT).  The bill passed the Senate in by a vote of 61-37, falling mostly along party lines; however, five Republicans voted for it (Susan Collins [R-ME], Orrin Hatch [R-UT], Dick Lugar [R-IN], Olympia Snowe [R-ME], and Arlen Specter [R-PA]), and two Democrats voted against it (Max Baucus [D-MT] and Robert Byrd [D-WV]).

The bill that passed the Senate had been amended by Senator John Ensign (R-NV).  His amendment (S.AMDT. 575) restored several gun rights to the District by repealing the ban on semiautomatic weapons, the registration requirement, the ban on handgun ammunition, and several other laws.  That amendment passed 62-36.

Personally, I am ashamed of the Senate for passing this bill (although I’m glad that gun rights have been restored to the District).  Apparently 61 of our Senators need to go back to eighth grade civics class!

This act is clearly unconstitutional!  Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution says, “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.”  Washington, D.C. is not a state-it’s just that simple.

Furthermore, Norton never should have been allowed to introduce this bill.  She is unconstitutionally in the House of Representatives.  Section 2 of Article I also says, “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not … be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”  Norton is not an inhabitant of a STATE, and thus should not be able to introduce legislation in the House!

I am all for the representation of D.C. in Congress; however, this bill is not the way to do that.  If D.C. really was Constitutionally allowed to have a representative, they wouldn’t need a law to get their representation – all they’d need to do is file a court case.  Furthermore, if they deserve representation, why don’t they deserved 2 Senators as well?

If the House passes this bill and President Obama signs it, this bill would probably be the most blatantly unconstitutional law ever written.  At least when President Bush violated the Constitution, he did so in ways that were debatable as to whether or not he actually violated the Constitution, but this bill takes Article I, Section 1 and says, “That’s not an important part of the Constitution.”  Find me any time that President Bush DIRECTLY violated the Constitution – he  didn’t.  The violations of the 4th Amendment were debatable.  I personally think that he violated the 4th Amendment, but there are ways that you could argue that he did not; however, with this bill, nobody with an ounce of sanity can argue that this is Constitutional!

Does anybody else find it ironic that the same Senators who complained about President Bush’s debatably unconstitutional laws just voted in favor of a law that directly and clearly goes against the very wording of the Constitution?  Come on!

Proponents of the bill claim that the “District Clause” (Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution) allows for the Congress to give D.C. a Representative.  The text of that clause reads, “[The Congress shall have Power] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District … as may … become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

“Exclusive Legislation” only gives Congress the right to govern the District, not magically ignore Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution when it comes to the District.

This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, and those who voted for it and criticized the Bush administration ought to be ashamed of themselves.  Fortunately the Supreme Court still respects the Constitution, and I am willing to bet that they will declare this unconstitutional in a heartbeat – in fact, I really don’t see any of the 9 Justices siding with the Senate.  If they do, they are shaming the Constitution and the office of Justice of the Supreme Court!

Even my liberal roommate agrees – this bill is CLEARLY unconstitutional!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Obama Should Keep Guantanamo Open but Change the Detention Procedures

January 26, 2009

Recently, Barack Obama issued an executive order that would close the detention facility at the  Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as well as review the detention status of all of the detainees.

Here’s that executive order, courtesy of the White House (note, if you want to skip all of the executive orders and just to my analysis, scroll toward the bottom :

EXECUTIVE ORDER — REVIEW AND DISPOSITION OF INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AT THE GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE AND CLOSURE OF DETENTION FACILITIES        

   By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (Guantánamo) and promptly to close detention facilities at Guantánamo, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, I hereby order as follows:

        Section 1Definitions. As used in this order:

        (a)  “Common Article 3″ means Article 3 of each of the Geneva Conventions.

        (b)  “Geneva Conventions” means:

   (i)    the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3114);

   (ii)   the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);

   (iii)  the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316); and

   (iv)   the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3516).

        (c) “Individuals currently detained at Guantánamo” and “individuals covered by this order” mean individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense in facilities at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base whom the Department of Defense has ever determined to be, or treated as, enemy combatants.

        Sec. 2Findings.

        (a)  Over the past 7 years, approximately 800 individuals whom the Department of Defense has ever determined to be, or treated as, enemy combatants have been detained at Guantánamo. The Federal Government has moved more than 500 such detainees from Guantánamo, either by returning them to their home country or by releasing or transferring them to a third country. The Department of Defense has determined that a number of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo are eligible for such transfer or release.

      (b) Some individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have been there for more than 6 years, and most have been detained for at least 4 years. In view of the significant concerns raised by these detentions, both within the United States and internationally, prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo and closure of the facilities in which they are detained would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice. Merely closing the facilities without promptly determining the appropriate disposition of the individuals detained would not adequately serve those interests. To the extent practicable, the prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals detained at Guantánamo should precede the closure of the detention facilities at Guantánamo.

        (c) The individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Most of those individuals have filed petitions for a writ of habeas corpus in Federal court challenging the lawfulness of their detention.

        (d)  It is in the interests of the United States that the executive branch undertake a prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal bases for the continued detention of all individuals currently held at Guantánamo, and of whether their continued detention is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and in the interests of justice. The unusual circumstances associated with detentions at Guantánamo require a comprehensive interagency review.

        (e)  New diplomatic efforts may result in an appropriate disposition of a substantial number of individuals currently detained at Guantánamo.

        (f)  Some individuals currently detained at Guantánamo may have committed offenses for which they should be prosecuted. It is in the interests of the United States to review whether and how any such individuals can and should be prosecuted.

        (g)  It is in the interests of the United States that the executive branch conduct a prompt and thorough review of the circumstances of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo who have been charged with offenses before military commissions pursuant to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Public Law 109-366, as well as of the military commission process more generally.

        Sec. 3Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

        Sec. 4Immediate Review of All Guantánamo Detentions.

        (a) Scope and Timing of Review. A review of the status of each individual currently detained at Guantánamo (Review) shall commence immediately.

      (b) Review Participants. The Review shall be conducted with the full cooperation and participation of the following officials:

   (1)  the Attorney General, who shall coordinate the Review;

   (2)  the Secretary of Defense;

   (3)  the Secretary of State;

   (4)  the Secretary of Homeland Security;

   (5)  the Director of National Intelligence;

   (6)  the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

   (7)  other officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States, including employees with intelligence, counterterrorism, military, and legal expertise, as determined by the Attorney General, with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency concerned.

        (c)  Operation of Review. The duties of the Review participants shall include the following:

   (1)  Consolidation of Detainee Information. The Attorney General shall, to the extent reasonably practicable, and in coordination with the other Review participants, assemble all information in the possession of the Federal Government that pertains to any individual currently detained at Guantánamo and that is relevant to determining the proper disposition of any such individual. All executive branch departments and agencies shall promptly comply with any request of the Attorney General to provide information in their possession or control pertaining to any such individual. The Attorney General may seek further information relevant to the Review from any source.

   (2)  Determination of Transfer. The Review shall determine, on a rolling basis and as promptly as possible with respect to the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo, whether it is possible to transfer or release the individuals consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and, if so, whether and how the Secretary of Defense may effect their transfer or release. The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and, as appropriate, other Review participants shall work to effect promptly the release or transfer of all individuals for whom release or transfer is possible.

   (3)  Determination of Prosecution. In accordance with United States law, the cases of individuals detained at Guantánamo not approved for release or transfer shall be evaluated to determine whether the Federal Government should seek to prosecute the detained individuals for any offenses they may have committed, including whether it is feasible to prosecute such individuals before a court established pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, and the Review participants shall in turn take the necessary and appropriate steps based on such determinations.

   (4)  Determination of Other Disposition. With respect to any individuals currently detained at Guantánamo whose disposition is not achieved under paragraphs (2) or (3) of this subsection, the Review shall select lawful means, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, for the disposition of such individuals. The appropriate authorities shall promptly implement such dispositions.

   (5)  Consideration of Issues Relating to Transfer to the United States. The Review shall identify and consider legal, logistical, and security issues relating to the potential transfer of individuals currently detained at Guantánamo to facilities within the United States, and the Review participants shall work with the Congress on any legislation that may be appropriate.

        Sec. 5Diplomatic Efforts. The Secretary of State shall expeditiously pursue and direct such negotiations and diplomatic efforts with foreign governments as are necessary and appropriate to implement this order.

        Sec. 6Humane Standards of Confinement. No individual currently detained at Guantánamo shall be held in the custody or under the effective control of any officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or at a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, except in conformity with all applicable laws governing the conditions of such confinement, including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. The Secretary of Defense shall immediately undertake a review of the conditions of detention at Guantánamo to ensure full compliance with this directive. Such review shall be completed within 30 days and any necessary corrections shall be implemented immediately thereafter.

        Sec. 7Military Commissions.  The Secretary of Defense shall immediately take steps sufficient to ensure that during the pendency of the Review described in section 4 of this order, no charges are sworn, or referred to a military commission under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Rules for Military Commissions, and that all proceedings of such military commissions to which charges have been referred but in which no judgment has been rendered, and all proceedings pending in the United States Court of Military Commission Review, are halted.

        Sec. 8General Provisions.

        (a) Nothing in this order shall prejudice the authority of the Secretary of Defense to determine the disposition of any detainees not covered by this order.

        (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

        (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

     BARACK OBAMA

     THE WHITE HOUSE,

     January 22, 2009. 

Alright, so there’s the executive order to close the detention center within a year.  Personally, other than Section 3, I really don’t have a problem with this executive order.  I just don’t see the need to close the detention center itself.  The detention center isn’t the problem.  The problem (and I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with people’s stance on the problem) has to do with whether or not we can hold them while denying  them the writ of habeas corpus.  That has NOTHING to do with WHERE the detention center is.  We could hold them here in the U.S. and we could still deny them habeas corpus.  Or we could keep them in Guantanamo and let them live like it’s a Hilton hotel.  My point is – Guantanamo, the detention center, really has nothing to do with the problem, other than it’s become an image of a violation of human rights.

President Obama also issued the following executive order, to figure out what we’re going to do with those accused of committing acts of terrorism:

EXECUTIVE ORDER — REVIEW OF DETENTION POLICY OPTIONS

   By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to develop policies for the detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations that are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, I hereby order as follows:

   Section 1Special Interagency Task Force on Detainee Disposition.

   (a) Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force. There shall be established a Special Task Force on Detainee Disposition (Special Task Force) to identify lawful options for the disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.

   (b) Membership. The Special Task Force shall consist of the following members, or their designees:

   (i)     the Attorney General, who shall serve as Co-Chair;

   (ii)    the Secretary of Defense, who shall serve as Co-Chair;

   (iii)   the Secretary of State;

   (iv)    the Secretary of Homeland Security;

   (v)     the Director of National Intelligence;

   (vi)    the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

   (vii)   the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

   (viii)      other officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States, as determined by either of the Co-Chairs, with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency concerned.

   (c) Staff. Either Co-Chair may designate officers and employees within their respective departments to serve as staff to support the Special Task Force. At the request of the Co-Chairs, officers and employees from other departments or agencies may serve on the Special Task Force with the concurrence of the heads of the departments or agencies that employ such individuals. Such staff must be officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States. The Co-Chairs shall jointly select an officer or employee of the Department of Justice or Department of Defense to serve as the Executive Secretary of the Special Task Force.

   (d) Operation. The Co-Chairs shall convene meetings of the Special Task Force, determine its agenda, and direct its work. The Co-Chairs may establish and direct subgroups of the Special Task Force, consisting exclusively of members of the Special Task Force, to deal with particular subjects.

   (e) Mission. The mission of the Special Task Force shall be to conduct a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.

   (f) Administration. The Special Task Force shall be established for administrative purposes within the Department of Justice, and the Department of Justice shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Special Task Force.

   (g) Report. The Special Task Force shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President, on the matters set forth in subsection (d) within 180 days of the date of this order unless the Co-Chairs determine that an extension is necessary, and shall provide periodic preliminary reports during those 180 days.

   (h) Termination. The Co-Chairs shall terminate the Special Task Force upon the completion of its duties.

   Sec. 2General Provisions.

   (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

   (b) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

     BARACK OBAMA

       THE WHITE HOUSE,

     January 22, 2009.

Alright, that’s a GREAT executive order there, because if he’s going to go through with closing the Guantanamo detention center, we need to have a place to put the alleged terrorists.

And lastly, we have an executive order dealing with interrogation processes:

EXECUTIVE ORDER — ENSURING LAWFUL INTERROGATIONS

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to improve the effectiveness of human intelligence gathering, to promote the safe, lawful, and humane treatment of individuals in United States custody and of United States personnel who are detained in armed conflicts, to ensure compliance with the treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions, and to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  Revocation.  Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked.  All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order.  Heads of departments and agencies shall take all necessary steps to ensure that all directives, orders, and regulations of their respective departments or agencies are consistent with this order.  Upon request, the Attorney General shall provide guidance about which directives, orders, and regulations are inconsistent with this order.
Sec. 2.  Definitions.  As used in this order:

(a)  “Army Field Manual 2 22.3″ means FM 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations, issued by the Department of the Army on September 6, 2006.

(b)  “Army Field Manual 34-52″ means FM 34-52, Intelligence Interrogation, issued by the Department of the Army on May 8, 1987.

(c)  “Common Article 3″ means Article 3 of each of the Geneva Conventions.

(d)  “Convention Against Torture” means the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, December 10, 1984, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85, S. Treaty Doc. No. 100 20 (1988).

(e)  “Geneva Conventions” means:

 (i)    the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3114);

 (ii)   the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);

 (iii)  the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316); and

 (iv)   the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3516).

(f)  “Treated humanely,” “violence to life and person,” “murder of all kinds,” “mutilation,” “cruel treatment,” “torture,” “outrages upon personal dignity,” and “humiliating and degrading treatment” refer to, and have the same meaning as, those same terms in Common Article 3.

(g)  The terms “detention facilities” and “detention facility” in section 4(a) of this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.

Sec. 3.  Standards and Practices for Interrogation of Individuals in the Custody or Control of the United States in Armed Conflicts.

(a)  Common Article 3 Standards as a Minimum Baseline.  Consistent with the requirements of the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A, section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, and other laws regulating the treatment and interrogation of individuals detained in any armed conflict, such persons shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment), whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States.

(b)  Interrogation Techniques and Interrogation-Related Treatment.  Effective immediately, an individual in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, in any armed conflict, shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2 22.3 (Manual).  Interrogation techniques, approaches, and treatments described in the Manual shall be implemented strictly in accord with the principles, processes, conditions, and limitations the Manual prescribes.  Where processes required by the Manual, such as a requirement of approval by specified Department of Defense officials, are inapposite to a department or an agency other than the Department of Defense, such a department or agency shall use processes that are substantially equivalent to the processes the Manual prescribes for the Department of Defense.  Nothing in this section shall preclude the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other Federal law enforcement agencies, from continuing to use authorized, non-coercive techniques of interrogation that are designed to elicit voluntary statements and do not involve the use of force, threats, or promises.

(c)  Interpretations of Common Article 3 and the Army Field Manual.  From this day forward, unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance, officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government may, in conducting interrogations, act in reliance upon Army Field Manual 2 22.3, but may not, in conducting interrogations, rely upon any interpretation of the law governing interrogation — including interpretations of Federal criminal laws, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, Army Field Manual 2 22.3, and its predecessor document, Army Field Manual 34 52    issued by the Department of Justice between September 11, 2001, and January 20, 2009.
Sec. 4.  Prohibition of Certain Detention Facilities, and Red Cross Access to Detained Individuals.

(a)  CIA Detention.  The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.

(b)  International Committee of the Red Cross Access to Detained Individuals.  All departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with notification of, and timely access to, any individual detained in any armed conflict in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States Government, consistent with Department of Defense regulations and policies.
Sec. 5.  Special Interagency Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies.

(a)  Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force.  There shall be established a Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies (Special Task Force) to review interrogation and transfer policies.

(b)  Membership.  The Special Task Force shall consist of the following members, or their designees:

 (i)     the Attorney General, who shall serve as Chair;

 (ii)    the Director of National Intelligence, who shall serve as Co-Vice-Chair;

 (iii)   the Secretary of Defense, who shall serve as Co-Vice-Chair;

 (iv)    the Secretary of State;

 (v)     the Secretary of Homeland Security;

 (vi)    the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

 (vii)   the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

 (viii)  other officers or full-time or permanent part time employees of the United States, as determined by the Chair, with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency concerned.

(c)  Staff.  The Chair may designate officers and employees within the Department of Justice to serve as staff to support the Special Task Force.  At the request of the Chair, officers and employees from other departments or agencies may serve on the Special Task Force with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency that employ such individuals.  Such staff must be officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States.  The Chair shall designate an officer or employee of the Department of Justice to serve as the Executive Secretary of the Special Task Force.

(d)  Operation.  The Chair shall convene meetings of the Special Task Force, determine its agenda, and direct its work.  The Chair may establish and direct subgroups of the Special Task Force, consisting exclusively of members of the Special Task Force, to deal with particular subjects.

(e)  Mission.  The mission of the Special Task Force shall be:

 (i)   to study and evaluate whether the interrogation practices and techniques in Army Field Manual 2 22.3, when employed by departments or agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidance for other departments or agencies; and

 (ii)  to study and evaluate the practices of transferring individuals to other nations in order to ensure that such practices comply with the domestic laws, international obligations, and policies of the United States and do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.

(f)  Administration.  The Special Task Force shall be established for administrative purposes within the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice shall, to
the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Special Task Force.

(g)  Recommendations.  The Special Task Force shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President, on the matters set forth in subsection (d) within 180 days of the date of this order, unless the Chair determines that an extension is necessary.

(h)  Termination.  The Chair shall terminate the Special Task Force upon the completion of its duties.
Sec. 6.  Construction with Other Laws.  Nothing in this order shall be construed to affect the obligations of officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government to comply with all pertinent laws and treaties of the United States governing detention and interrogation, including but not limited to:  the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A; the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441; the Federal assault statute, 18 U.S.C. 113; the Federal maiming statute, 18 U.S.C. 114; the Federal “stalking” statute, 18 U.S.C. 2261A; articles 93, 124, 128, and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 893, 924, 928, and 934; section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd; section 6(c) of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Public Law 109 366; the Geneva Conventions; and the Convention Against Torture.  Nothing in this order shall be construed to diminish any rights that any individual may have under these or other laws and treaties.  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 22, 2009

 Honestly, that’s REALLY the most important executive order that he needed to issue in order to remedy the human rights / Constitutional violations.

I really don’t think that Guantanamo detention center needs to be closed.  If Obama wants to simply use better interrogation methods and restore the writ of habeas corpus, closing Guantanamo, in and of itself doesn’t do that.  All he really has to do is change the process of how we handle accused terrorists.

Instead, he has chosen to close Gitmo, and that creates a problem: What do we do with the alleged terrorists?

We can’t put them in normal prisons with other prisoners.  Sex offenders and child molesters already have problems in prison.  Can you imagine what prisoners would do if they were around an accused terrorist?  The terrorist wouldn’t last more than maybe a week.

So, that means that we have to build a new prison.  Well, where are we going to do that?  Nobody will want the prison in “their backyard.”  What if a prisoner escapes?  That means that a terrorist is running around.  People aren’t going to want to risk that in their neighborhood.  Obama is going to find it very difficult to find somewhere that will/can take these prisoners.

Personally, as long as the prison was secure (and I mean REALLY secure), I wouldn’t mind having it in Michigan.  We’d definitely have to build a new prison, since we don’t have enough room in our prisons as it is.

Still, I think the best way to deal with the terrorist detainees is to keep them in Guantanamo Bay.  If Obama wants to ensure that they have more rights/privileges/whatever you want to call it, he can instruct his Attorney General to give them to the detainees, but closing Gitmo only creates more problems.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Barack Obama Retakes Oath of Office

January 22, 2009

Yesterday, President Barack Obama retook the oath of office, due to the fact that a he said a word out of order on inauguration day.  Here’s a video, courtesy of the BBC, of the oath of office:

And here’s a transcript of what happened, the bolded parts are areas where something went wrong:

ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama…
OBAMA: I, Barack…
ROBERTS: … do solemnly swear…
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear…
ROBERTS [faithfully is out of order]: … that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully…
OBAMA: … that I will execute…
ROBERTS [faithfully is in the right spot]: … faithfully the office of president of the United States…
OBAMA: … the office of president of the United States faithfully…
ROBERTS: … and will to the best of my ability…
OBAMA: … and will to the best of my ability…
ROBERTS: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

While a lot of people have made fun of Robertsfor slipping up, it should be  noted that Obama interrupted him first, and that’s what probably threw Robert’s off, leading him to mess up the “faithfully” part.

Some Constitutional experts said that it was OK because he still said all of the words with their meanings still in tact, but the President wanted to make sure that everything was all right, so he had the oath re-administered.  I agree with him – if he hadn’t have done that, we’d have conspiracy nuts talking about him not being our rightful President for the next 4 years.

When Roberts asked President Obama, “Are you ready to take the oath?” Obama replied, “I am, and we’re going to do it very slowly.”

Again, it was the right move, even if unecessary, to avoid conflict down the road.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Barack Obama Issues Executive Order Increasing Presidential Transparency

January 22, 2009

Yesterday, President Obama issued his first (or second) executive order, rescinding Executive Order 13233, issued by President Bush.  Obama’s executive order restored some transparency to the White House, back to the levels before President Bush.

Here’s the executive order issued by Obama:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this order:

(a) “Archivist” refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.

(b) “NARA” refers to the National Archives and Records Administration.

(c) “Presidential Records Act” refers to the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.

(d) “NARA regulations” refers to the NARA regulations implementing the Presidential Records Act, 36 C.F.R. Part 1270.

(e) “Presidential records” refers to those documentary materials maintained by NARA pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, including Vice Presidential records.

(f) “Former President” refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.

(g) A “substantial question of executive privilege” exists if NARA’s disclosure of Presidential records might impair national security (including the conduct of foreign relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the executive branch.

(h) A “final court order” is a court order from which no appeal may be taken.

Sec. 2. Notice of Intent to Disclose Presidential Records.

(a) When the Archivist provides notice to the incumbent and former Presidents of his intent to disclose Presidential records pursuant to section 1270.46 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist, using any guidelines provided by the incumbent and former Presidents, shall identify any specific materials, the disclosure of which he believes may raise a substantial question of executive privilege. However, nothing in this order is intended to affect the right of the incumbent or former Presidents to invoke executive privilege with respect to materials not identified by the Archivist. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

(b) Upon the passage of 30 days after receipt by the incumbent and former Presidents of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Archivist may disclose the records covered by the notice, unless during that time period the Archivist has received a claim of executive privilege by the incumbent or former President or the Archivist has been instructed by the incumbent President or his designee to extend the time period for a time certain and with reason for the extension of time provided in the notice. If a shorter period of time is required under the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist shall so indicate in the notice.

Sec. 3. Claim of Executive Privilege by Incumbent President.

(a) Upon receipt of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Attorney General (directly or through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel) and the Counsel to the President shall review as they deem appropriate the records covered by the notice and consult with each other, the Archivist, and such other executive agencies as they deem appropriate concerning whether invocation of executive privilege is justified.

(b) The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, may jointly determine that invocation of executive privilege is not justified. The Archivist shall be notified promptly of any such determination.

(c) If either the Attorney General or the Counsel to the President believes that the circumstances justify invocation of executive privilege, the issue shall be presented to the President by the Counsel to the President and the Attorney General.

(d) If the President decides to invoke executive privilege, the Counsel to the President shall notify the former President, the Archivist, and the Attorney General in writing of the claim of privilege and the specific Presidential records to which it relates. After receiving such notice, the Archivist shall not disclose the privileged records unless directed to do so by an incumbent President or by a final court order.

Sec. 4. Claim of Executive Privilege by Former President.

(a) Upon receipt of a claim of executive privilege by a living former President, the Archivist shall consult with the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel), the Counsel to the President, and such other executive agencies as the Archivist deems appropriate concerning the Archivist’s determination as to whether to honor the former President’s claim of privilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege. Any determination under section 3 of this order that executive privilege shall not be invoked by the incumbent President shall not prejudice the Archivist’s determination with respect to the former President’s claim of privilege.

(b) In making the determination referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the Archivist shall abide by any instructions given him by the incumbent President or his designee unless otherwise directed by a final court order. The Archivist shall notify the incumbent and former Presidents of his determination at least 30 days prior to disclosure of the Presidential records, unless a shorter time period is required in the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

Sec. 5. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 21, 2009

And here’s Executive Order 13233, issued by Bush:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures implementing section 2204 of title 44 of the United States Code with respect to constitutionally based privileges, including those that apply to Presidential records reflecting military, diplomatic, or national security secrets, Presidential communications, legal advice, legal work, or the deliberative processes of the President and the President’s advisors, and to do so in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425 (1977), and other cases, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions.

For purposes of this order:

(a) “Archivist” refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.

(b) “Presidential records” refers to those documentary materials maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.

(c) “Former President” refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.

Sec. 2. Constitutional and Legal Background.

(a) For a period not to exceed 12 years after the conclusion of a Presidency, the Archivist administers records in accordance with the limitations on access imposed by section 2204 of title 44. After expiration of that period, section 2204(c) of title 44 directs that the Archivist administer Presidential records in accordance with section 552 of title 5, the Freedom of Information Act, including by withholding, as appropriate, records subject to exemptions (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), (b)(4), (b)(6), (b)(7), (b)(8), and (b)(9) of section 552. Section 2204(c)(1) of title 44 provides that exemption (b)(5) of section 552 is not available to the Archivist as a basis for withholding records, but section 2204(c)(2) recognizes that the former President or the incumbent President may assert any constitutionally based privileges, including those ordinarily encompassed within exemption (b)(5) of section 552. The President’s constitutionally based privileges subsume privileges for records that reflect: military, diplomatic, or national security secrets (the state secrets privilege); communications of the President or his advisors (the presidential communications privilege); legal advice or legal work (the attorney-client or attorney work product privileges); and the deliberative processes of the President or his advisors (the deliberative process privilege).

(b) In Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, the Supreme Court set forth the constitutional basis for the President’s privileges for confidential communications: “Unless [the President] can give his advisers some assurance of confidentiality, a President could not expect to receive the full and frank submissions of facts and opinions upon which effective discharge of his duties depends.” 433 U.S. at 448-49. The Court cited the precedent of the Constitutional Convention, the records of which were “sealed for more than 30 years after the Convention.” Id. at 447 n.11. Based on those precedents and principles, the Court ruled that constitutionally based privileges available to a President “survive[] the individual President’s tenure.” Id. at 449. The Court also held that a former President, although no longer a Government official, may assert constitutionally based privileges with respect to his Administration’s Presidential records, and expressly rejected the argument that “only an incumbent President can assert the privilege of the Presidency.” Id. at 448.

(c) The Supreme Court has held that a party seeking to overcome the constitutionally based privileges that apply to Presidential records must establish at least a “demonstrated, specific need” for particular records, a standard that turns on the nature of the proceeding and the importance of the information to that proceeding. See United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 713 (1974). Notwithstanding the constitutionally based privileges that apply to Presidential records, many former Presidents have authorized access, after what they considered an appropriate period of repose, to those records or categories of records (including otherwise privileged records) to which the former Presidents or their representatives in their discretion decided to authorize access. See Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. at 450-51.

Sec. 3. Procedure for Administering Privileged Presidential Records.

Consistent with the requirements of the Constitution and the Presidential Records Act, the Archivist shall administer Presidential records under section 2204(c) of title 44 in the following manner:

(a) At an appropriate time after the Archivist receives a request for access to Presidential records under section 2204(c)(1), the Archivist shall provide notice to the former President and the incumbent President and, as soon as practicable, shall provide the former President and the incumbent President copies of any records that the former President and the incumbent President request to review.

(b) After receiving the records he requests, the former President shall review those records as expeditiously as possible, and for no longer than 90 days for requests that are not unduly burdensome. The Archivist shall not permit access to the records by a requester during this period of review or when requested by the former President to extend the time for review.

(c) After review of the records in question, or of any other potentially privileged records reviewed by the former President, the former President shall indicate to the Archivist whether the former President requests withholding of or authorizes access to any privileged records.

(d) Concurrent with or after the former President’s review of the records, the incumbent President or his designee may also review the records in question, or may utilize whatever other procedures the incumbent President deems appropriate to decide whether to concur in the former President’s decision to request withholding of or authorize access to the records.

(1) When the former President has requested withholding of the records:
(i) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President concurs in the former President’s decision to request withholding of records as privileged, the incumbent President shall so inform the former President and the Archivist. The Archivist shall not permit access to those records by a requester unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.
(ii) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President does not concur in the former President’s decision to request withholding of the records as privileged, the incumbent President shall so inform the former President and the Archivist. Because the former President independently retains the right to assert constitutionally based privileges, the Archivist shall not permit access to the records by a requester unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.
(2) When the former President has authorized access to the records:
(i) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President concurs in the former President’s decision to authorize access to the records, the Archivist shall permit access to the records by the requester.
(ii) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President does not concur in the former President’s decision to authorize access to the records, the incumbent President may independently order the Archivist to withhold privileged records. In that instance, the Archivist shall not permit access to the records by a requester unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.
Sec. 4. Concurrence by Incumbent President.

Absent compelling circumstances, the incumbent President will concur in the privilege decision of the former President in response to a request for access under section 2204(c)(1). When the incumbent President concurs in the decision of the former President to request withholding of records within the scope of a constitutionally based privilege, the incumbent President will support that privilege claim in any forum in which the privilege claim is challenged.

Sec. 5. Incumbent President’s Right to Obtain Access.

This order does not expand or limit the incumbent President’s right to obtain access to the records of a former President pursuant to section 2205(2)(B).

Sec. 6. Right of Congress and Courts to Obtain Access.

This order does not expand or limit the rights of a court, House of Congress, or authorized committee or subcommittee of Congress to obtain access to the records of a former President pursuant to section 2205(2)(A) or section 2205(2)(C). With respect to such requests, the former President shall review the records in question and, within 21 days of receiving notice from the Archivist, indicate to the Archivist his decision with respect to any privilege. The incumbent President shall indicate his decision with respect to any privilege within 21 days after the former President has indicated his decision. Those periods may be extended by the former President or the incumbent President for requests that are burdensome. The Archivist shall not permit access to the records unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

Sec. 7. No Effect on Right to Withhold Records.

This order does not limit the former President’s or the incumbent President’s right to withhold records on any ground supplied by the Constitution, statute, or regulation.

Sec. 8. Withholding of Privileged Records During 12-Year Period.

In the period not to exceed 12 years after the conclusion of a Presidency during which section 2204(a) and section 2204(b) of title 44 apply, a former President or the incumbent President may request withholding of any privileged records not already protected from disclosure under section 2204. If the former President or the incumbent President so requests, the Archivist shall not permit access to any such privileged records unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

Sec. 9. Establishment of Procedures.

This order is not intended to indicate whether and under what circumstances a former President should assert or waive any privilege. The order is intended to establish procedures for former and incumbent Presidents to make privilege determinations.

Sec. 10. Designation of Representative.

The former President may designate a representative (or series or group of alternative representatives, as the former President in his discretion may determine) to act on his behalf for purposes of the Presidential Records Act and this order. Upon the death or disability of a former President, the former President’s designated representative shall act on his behalf for purposes of the Act and this order, including with respect to the assertion of constitutionally based privileges. In the absence of any designated representative after the former President’s death or disability, the family of the former President may designate a representative (or series or group of alternative representatives, as they in their discretion may determine) to act on the former President’s behalf for purposes of the Act and this order, including with respect to the assertion of constitutionally based privileges.

Sec. 11. Vice Presidential Records.

(a) Pursuant to section 2207 of title 44 of the United States Code, the Presidential Records Act applies to the executive records of the Vice President. Subject to subsections (b) and (c), this order shall also apply with respect to any such records that are subject to any constitutionally based privilege that the former Vice President may be entitled to invoke, but in the administration of this order with respect to such records, references in this order to a former President shall be deemed also to be references to the relevant former Vice President.

(b) Subsection (a) shall not be deemed to authorize a Vice President or former Vice President to invoke any constitutional privilege of a President or former President except as authorized by that President or former President.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to grant, limit, or otherwise affect any privilege of a President, Vice President, former President, or former Vice President.

Sec. 12. Judicial Review.

This order is intended to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party, other than a former President or his designated representative, against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.

Sec. 13. Revocation.

Executive Order 12667 of January 18, 1989, is revoked.

GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 1, 2001.

And here’s Executive Order 12667, issued by Reagan:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of Executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions.

For purposes of this Order:

(a) “Archivist” refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.

(b) “NARA” refers to the National Archives and Records Administration.

(c) “Presidential Records Act” refers to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (Pub. L. No. 95-591, 92 Stat. 2523-27, as amended by Pub. L. No. 98-497, 98 Stat. 2287), codified at 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.

(d) “NARA regulations” refers to the NARA regulations implementing the Presidential Records Act. 53 Fed. Reg. 50404 (1988), codified at 36 C.F.R. Part 1270.

(e) “Presidential records” refers to those documentary materials maintained by NARA pursuant to the Presidential Records Act and the NARA regulations.

(f) “Former President” refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.

(g) A “substantial question of Executive privilege” exists if NARA’s disclosure of Presidential records might impair the national security (including the conduct of foreign relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the Executive branch.

(h) A “final court order” is a court order from which no appeal may be taken.

Sec. 2. Notice of Intent to Disclose Presidential Records.

(a) When the Archivist provides notice to the incumbent and former Presidents of his intent to disclose Presidential records pursuant to section 1270.46 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist, utilizing any guidelines provided by the incumbent and former Presidents, shall identify any specific materials, the disclosure of which he believes may raise a substantial question of Executive privilege. However, nothing in this Order is intended to affect the right of the incumbent or former Presidents to invoke Executive privilege with respect to materials not identified by the Archivist. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

(b) Upon the passage of 30 days after receipt by the incumbent and former Presidents of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Archivist may disclose the records covered by the notice, unless during that time period the Archivist has received a claim of Executive privilege by the incumbent or former President or the Archivist has been instructed by the incumbent President or his designee to extend the time period. If a shorter time period is required under the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist shall so indicate in the notice.

Sec. 3. Claim of Executive Privilege by Incumbent President.

(a) Upon receipt of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Attorney General (directly or through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel) and the Counsel to the President shall review as they deem appropriate the records covered by the notice and consult with each other, the Archivist, and such other Federal agencies as they deem appropriate concerning whether invocation of Executive privilege is justified.

(b) The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, may jointly determine that invocation of Executive privilege is not justified. The Archivist shall be promptly notified of any such determination.

(c) If after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, either the Attorney General or the Counsel to the President believes that the circumstances justify invocation of Executive privilege, the issue shall be presented to the President by the Counsel to the President and the Attorney General.

(d) If the President decides to invoke Executive privilege, the Counsel to the President shall notify the former President, the Archivist, and the Attorney General in writing of the claim of privilege and the specific Presidential records to which it relates. After receiving such notice, the Archivist shall not disclose the privileged records unless directed to do so by an incumbent President or by a final court order.

Sec. 4. Claim of Executive Privilege by Former President.

(a) Upon receipt of a claim of Executive privilege by a former President, the Archivist shall consult with the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel), the Counsel to the President, and such other Federal agencies as he deems appropriate concerning the Archivist’s determination as to whether to honor the former President’s claim of privilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege. Any determination under section 3 of this Order that Executive privilege shall not be invoked by the incumbent President shall not prejudice the Archivist’s determination with respect to the former President’s claim of privilege.

(b) In making the determination referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the Archivist shall abide by any instructions given him by the incumbent President or his designee unless otherwise directed by a final court order. The Archivist shall notify the incumbent and former Presidents of his determination at least 30 days prior to disclosure of the Presidential records, unless a shorter time period is required in the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

Sec. 5. Judicial Review. This Order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Executive branch and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.

RONALD REAGAN
The White House,
January 18, 1989.

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:07 a. m., January 19, 1989]

As you can see, Obama’s EO and Reagan’s  are nearly identical (maybe 20 word changes overall, and nothing that changes the meaning of  anything.

Overall, I am VERY happy in President Obama’s actions here.  Personally, I thought that Bush’s order was wrong, and never should’ve been issued.  Even the courts agreed with me, because part of it was overturned in 2007.

Although I disagree with a LOT of what Obama sands for, the fact that he’s already making the Presidency more transparent (back to the days of Reagan and Clinton) makes me very happy.

Kudos to President Obama for this one.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Effigy of Sarah Palin Hanging by a Noose is Despicable, but Legal

October 28, 2008

I’ve seen some pretty weird Halloween decorations before, but this one probably tops them all.  In West Hollywood, California, Chad Michael Morisette has put up an effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose with John McCain up on the chimeny with flames coming out of it (as well as skeletons and spider webs on other areas of the house).

Well, this made some people very unhappy and even sparked an investigation the FBI as well as the Los Angles Police Department.

The LAPD has determined that this doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime (I don’t remember if the FBI has finished its investigation).

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters, “I’m not defending this; I’m not criticizing it.  It doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime.  Now, if there was a crime against bad taste–.”  When asked about an effigy of Barack Obama, he replied, “That adds a whole other social, historical hate aspect to the display, and that is embedded in the consciousness of the country [but I am not sure that it would be a hate crime].  It would be ill-advised of anybody to speculate on that.”

Morisette claims that it’s  all in fun, saying, “It should be seen as art, and as within the month of October.  It’s Halloween, it’s time to be scary, it’s time to be spooky.”

The Mayor of West Hollywood, Jeffrey Prang, told reporters, “While these residents have the legal right to display Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in effigy, I strongly oppose political speech that references violence–real or perceived.  I urge these residents to take down their display and find more constructive ways to express their opinion.”

I agree with the Mayor here.  The point of a hate crime is that it has to threaten violence, or be violence toward a person because of discrimination (and hate crime isn’t a real legal term, but it’s easier to just say “hate crime”.  For the law that defines hate crimes, see U.S. Federal Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 13, § 245).  There is no threat of violence here.  Now, if this were done of Obama, I would say the same thing.  If it’s in a Halloween decoration, it’s generally not intended as a violent threat (as the sheriff’s department found in its investigation).  As long as it’s not being done to encourage violence for racist reasons, it’s not a hate crime.

So, I think this was over the line, but it’s still protected as free speech by the First Amendment.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Cop Arresting Cameraman for Filming Peaceful Protest: “I Can Do Whatever I Want”

October 27, 2008

I was looking through some news stories and came across this story from WCBS (CBS 2) in Newark, New Jersey (WCBS is out of New York City).  Watch the video and I’ll have some analysis below:

Whoa!  The most disturbing part of that was the police officer’s comment, “I can do whatever I want” in response to the reporter, Christine Sloan, saying, “You can’t arrest him.”  (I don’t have the officer’s name – if somebody could find it, that’d be awesome!)

After arresting the photographer, Jim Quodomine, the officer even threatened Sloan, saying, “[This is] none of your business.  Stay away or you’ll be sitting in the car.”

Latrice Smith, a witness of the incident, told WCBS, “He went to put the camera down.  Before he had the opportunity to [do so], the police officer came and knocked it down. … [The officer] just started grabbing him, putting handcuffs on him, grabbed him by the neck.  It was out of control for no reason.”

Another witness told WCBS, “I couldn’t believe how they grabbed him.”

Kudos to Councilwoman Mildred Crump for standing up for justice here.  The officer CLEARLY violated the the photographer’s First Amendment rights.  Hopefully the investigation goes through as Crump has demanded and the officer is fired.  I’m a Law and Order Conservative.  I can’t stand  criminals and I love police officers, but this guy clearly overstepped his bounds.  The cameraman was on public property, and thus had a right to videotape whatever he wanted (which is ALSO why it’s legal for the government to videotape YOU in public – it’s not invading your privacy – you’re out in public – just wanted to bring that up really quick).

This cop needs to be fired.

I’m honestly surprised that he still pressed charges against Quodonine for disorderly conduct.  I’m pretty sure that Quodonine will have those charges dismissed by the magisstrate (and if not, he’ll win an appeal).  If I were him, I would be outraged.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Illinois City Bans Trick-or-Treating for Teenagers

October 27, 2008

Well, this is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while.  Belleville, Illinois passed an ordinance last Monday that restricted trick-or-treating.  That sounds normal, right, most cities limit the time that kids can trick-or-treat.  But the city isn’t just limiting when; they’re also limiting who can trick-or-treat.  And it also limits the wearing of masks, to only Halloween (unless you’re under 12).

Here’s an overview of the ordinance (unfortunately, Belleville is a little slow in uploading their meeting minutes, and all they have right now is a copy of the agenda, so this isn’t the exact wording of the ordinance):

  • Limits trick-or-treating on Halloween from 5:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M.
  • Bans anyone in above the 8th grade (anybody older than 13 or 14) from trick-or-treating on Halloween, unless they are a “special-needs” child, and then they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Allows children age 12 and under to wear a mask and/or disguise any day of the year, but restricts anyone above 12 to being able to wear a mask and/or disguise only on Halloween.
  • Prohibits any and all child sex offenders from going to any event and/or holding any event for Halloween where any child (other than his/her own) will be present. Child sex offenders must also turn out their outside lights on Halloween night, and they are banned from handing out candy.

OK, so bullet points 1 and 4 I have no problem with.  It’s 2 and 3 that I have an issue with.

But before I go on, let me give you some quotes that Mayor Mark Eckert told reporters:

We believe that Halloween is for little children.  We just feel that we need to go that extra mile to protect the children.

We were hearing more and more about bigger kids knocking on doors after 9:00 at night and the people who lived in the homes were scared.  The seniors were especially scared.  They didn’t want to be the recipient of some kind of trick, but they didn’t want to open their doors late at night, either.

Sexual predators can’t have parties.  It’s not right, it’s wrong.  They lost that privilege.

OK, so I get the principle behind this, but here’s where you have a problem: Those teenagers out after 9:00 P.M. would be out past the overall curfew anyway, so they’d already be breaking the law.  What is the need for another law here?  If they’re out past 8:30, they can be arrested (I’m assuming that’s the punishment).  So that right there would solve your teenagers out late problem.  Banning trick-or-treating for anybody above the 8thgrade is simply ageism.  You cannot discriminate against somebody like this.  I’ll accept a curfew (although I have problems with those at times too), but to ban outright the practice of trick-or-treating for ANYBODY (other than felons who lose some rights when they’re convicted) is discrimination, and in my view, illegal!

Now, the mask/disguise ordinance.  You’re telling me that a 16-year-old kid can’t wear a mask outside at a Halloween party the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night if you live here in Detroit)?  Or what if a Star Trek convention comes to Belleville?  Are you telling me that masks aren’t allowed?  It’s ridiculous!  Unfortunately, without the ordinance I don’t have the city’s legal definition of “disguise” but would this apply to people dressed up as Santa Clause?  Are you going to haul away the Salvation Army Santa for being in a “disguise” on a day other than Halloween?  It’s dumb.  It restricts the Freedom of Speech (this isn’t a dress code in school we’re talking about here – this is just being out in PUBLIC generally!)!  It’s asinine, ridiculous, and it’s unconstitutional.

I hope somebody old goes out and trick-or treats, or wears a mask the day after Halloween so that this can be taken to court and overturned.  I’m a Law and Order Conservative – I abide by the laws.  I don’t speed.  I don’t drink underage.  I’ve never stolen a candy bar.  But when the law goes against Constitutional principles, it MUST be disobeyed so that it can be challenged in court, and this is one time where I say, “Break that law!”

Done Ranting

Ranting Republican
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