Liberty and freedom have already suffered under Obama far more than under George W. Bush. This is a hard statement to make. But it is unfortunately true.
From decisions changing the face of commerce in our country to the system he is advocating for selecting our judges to Obama's ability to decide what he can refuse to disclose about our government's intrusion into our lives, the march of this philosophy of change is so dominant that it is publicly paraded in front of our country on a daily basis.
The dominant doctrinal approach of the Federalist Society under George W. Bush has left us with a system that allows Obama to take actions in the dark of night, unexposed to the public, whenever he wishes to do so. Yet even when the discussion is public and in the open, few take up any of these issues much less catalog them for the public.
Given our government's history of prudent, careful review before any government action with very few exceptions, there should be more than the minor opposition that has confronted the Federal Reserve, Obama and Congress as they have implemented Obama's plan to reallocate, redistribute, and morph our country from what it was into Obama's vision. Yet there is almost none. And there are no catalogs of all that is happening and has been happening apart from the occasional reference to these issues during press conferences that are more and more like love fests rather than critical challenges to government actions.
The absence of any substantial critique or even a single catalog of government actions are due to many factors.
Obama is still popular. Opposition remains tied to racism. His approach that favors giving to select groups like the automotive industry and Michigan in general is seen as a sign that others can get the same government largesse. His agenda is supported in the main by most of the media and the majority of this Congress. And the movement from claimed crisis to claimed crisis has managed to obfuscate many significant events.
Yet these are not sufficient reasons not to question his approaches, much less to support his actions because he somehow "deserves a chance to show what he can do."
Perhaps the greatest barrier to adequate analysis and review is the news media. We learned last year that our Fourth Estate will not stand up and be counted if any facts could negatively impact Obama. Most of the Fourth Estate have no independence from Obama. They are now largely joined at the hip with the man they got nominated and elected. They stoke the flames of control, advocate the loss of liberty, call for multiple controls at local, state and federal levels, all the while claiming without evidence that this is required for the good of the country. And they turn blind eyes toward the most important events as if they are unimportant or immaterial when they opposed the very same policies during all of the Bush years.
Blank stares come from the Fourth Estate who claim to be free of any predilection. Even those who admit they oppose Obama policies remain largely silent on the nature of the whole, permitting themselves to dwell on the issue of the day, reasoning that this is what is best for their audience.
The situation is dire already. In the face of an unending and unprecedented stream of money, guarantees, promises, threats and penalties, including precluding, avoiding and at times ignoring the requirements of US laws, our country and its institutions have been left largely to this one man. Our economic and legal systems have been skewered on the altar of change. We have seen a flood of entitlements, special interests, money streams, and law altering decisions and threats that would have been inconceivable under Bush.
From the regular rejection of free enterprise to the threat of prosecution for legal opinions, the death knell of law and order and our very economic and political systems has sounded. The bell rings telling us that our government is now a central government, controlling the allocation of assets and disposition of government largess and no one in Congress or our courts seems to care.
The Loss of Economic Freedom
Under Obama, the United States limits or eliminates financial obligations gained by fraud, threatens those who help operate our economy with the loss of ownership and pay, lauds a type of executive power more than two hundred and thirty years after England's monarch was thrown out, and increases the pork Obama claimed he was against.
The sums of money and largesse provided largely for free under Obama is staggering. Fifty billion of our money to GM. Trillions for other small segments of our population. Both the rich and the poor come hand in hand to the trough of government handouts that increase by the day.
If only because choices have been made that saddle our grandchildren and their children with monumental, insurmountable debt, freedom and independent determination have been destroyed. We have no economic choice, but are instead saddled with our automotive and housing economy far into the future, which brings with it roads and bridges requiring trillions of dollars of repairs during this and the next century, increasing use of our natural resources, and ultimately a consumer-rejecting philosophy begun by Eisenhower and remaining a blight on our world.
This aging, antiquated and inadequate industry has now become a part of our government, is now run largely by our government, and faces certain government intermeddling well into the future. Indeed, this is only one sign of our new central government. This central government, as with other examples in the past, will supplant decisions of the marketplace with its own decisions. It will and has directed our economy on what to do and where to go. It has decided it can determine what our consumer demands should be.
Small vehicles, alternative energy, rebuilding unnecessary infrastructure, retention of jobs in areas that have been rejected, forcing rust into new systems. The impact of Obama's restructuring of our economy and consumer demand has already resulted in a grave loss of the independent decision-making that has marked our robust economy for centuries.
The heavy hand of government has already decided our future. And no one objects.
Obama's central government will make many more decisions for our most significant industries. Already "czars" of various forms have assumed their role in the central government, deciding what is best for entire segments of our economies just as the five year plans of controlled economies have done in Russia for almost a hundred years. We have "czars" of our financial world, of our automotive world, and soon of our technology infrastructure world, all working directly under Obama.
Obama has not only exercised macro economic control. He is controlling our enterprises down to who should be a chief executive and sit on the board of directors of "public" companies. Obama believes his own "business" decisions are superior to those of independent companies. He claims that government knows far better how to manage our entire economy than those entrusted to manage our country's most valuable resources.
Foreswearing free enterprise, Obama now controls vast portions of the United States. He tells US companies how much of the US government's largess they must take, analyzes these companies needs, and refuses to allow companies to free themselves from the reigns of government power. He turns major companies over to new ownership in ways entirely outside our court systems and in violation of the Constitution. He ignores laws designed to inform the public.
The public, intoxicated by promises far beyond their dreams, revel in the wash of money and assets unlike any time before in history. Why force a company to shut down under the law when it can be completely restructured by a man who has no business training to whom the public has handed the keys to our country's vaults? A man who thought nothing of directing record sums of money into his campaign to gain this incomparable price.
What Obama has wrought with Chrysler and GM is more extreme and sinister in many ways than what he has done with our banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Chrysler, a company already resurrected once by the US government, is worked over in ways well beyond our Constitutional guarantees as recently noted in the Wall Street Journal.
The close relationship between the rule of law and the enforceability of contracts, especially credit contracts, was well understood by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution. A primary reason they wanted it was the desire to escape the economic chaos spawned by debtor-friendly state laws during the period of the Articles of Confederation. Hence the Contracts Clause of Article V of the Constitution, which prohibited states from interfering with the obligation to pay debts. Hence also the Bankruptcy Clause of Article I, Section 8, which delegated to the federal government the sole authority to enact "uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies." The Obama administration's behavior in the Chrysler bankruptcy is a profound challenge to the rule of law. Secured creditors -- entitled to first priority payment under the "absolute priority rule" -- have been browbeaten by an American president into accepting only 30 cents on the dollar of their claims. Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers union, holding junior creditor claims, will get about 50 cents on the dollar.
And this may be just the tip of the iceberg where commerce is concerned. We already are being told that our economy will be better off with a variety of energy companies developing alternative fuels. Our automobile companies are being told what to produce. And our financial institutions are told what and to whom they should lend money.
Obama's Discussion of Legal Prosecutions
Obama is now directing legal policy and prosecutorial discretion in unprecedented ways that defy and challenge our legal systems. These more than any other could dramatically change our systems in dramatic and dangerous ways.
Since when did a president pronounce conduct unlawful and threaten prosecution? Since Obama took office. Before, at almost every juncture when the opportunity arose, presidents have stated no more than a matter is under investigation, or that the matter is subject to legal process which will have to play itself out.
Not this president. When speaking of the acts of those who were involved in torture as he defines it, Obama declared that the acts of those involved would not be prosecuted even if they had broken the law. He failed to tell the public about any legal review or analysis other than his own, usurped our Department of Justice and determined for himself what is lawful.
Domestic Spying and the New "Willful Disclosure" Doctrine
Obama's new country includes not only the view that domestic spying is acceptable on everyone, but also a new form of executive privilege and "national security" that puts government action into complete darkness. The new policy advocated by Obama puts the Bush secrecy policy on steroids.
Obama plans not just to conceal, but also to make public disclosure impossible unless he allows it to happen. In the absence of "willful disclosure" by Obama, anything he does cannot be examined according to his latest filing in federal court. Never has a more scary proposition been made with respect to government action.
But late Friday afternoon, the Obama DOJ filed the government's first response to EFF's lawsuit (.pdf), the first of its kind to seek damages against government officials under FISA, the Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bush's NSA program. But the Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on (1) its Bush-mimicking claim that the "state secrets" privilege bars any lawsuits against the Bush administration for illegal spying, and (2) a brand new "sovereign immunity" claim of breathtaking scope -- never before advanced even by the Bush administration -- that the Patriot Act bars any lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance unless there is "willful disclosure" of the illegally intercepted communications. In other words, . . . , the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and -- even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal -- you are barred from suing them unless they "willfully disclose" to the public what they have learned.
While "willful disclosure" began with wiretapping, Obama's legal position allows him to monitor and review every aspect of any citizen's life, from her home to every other aspect of her friends and community. From classrooms to our local and state governments, our lives can be (and we believe are being) reorganized without any judicial review or approval and in the absence of any check or balance. All that is needed is the claim of "national security" under existing law, but the right to intrude without review can be extended everywhere.
Obama declared our entire computerized infrastructure essential to our "national security." The impact of this declaration is not fully appreciated because the media has failed to connect the dots with this and other matters falling under Obama's new "willful disclosure" doctrine. Under this doctrine, the US government's actions regarding our entire technology infrastructure can be completely hidden from view and barred from legal review.
Every aspect of our lives, now driven by our computer systems, are now subject to Obama's "willful disclosure" standard. If he does not willingly disclose any information, Obama's actions are not subject to any review whatsoever.
Out of the light and into the night.
It is therefore no surprise that the wiretapping power Obama admitted he wanted to retain but promised he would "lawfully administer" have become a black hole into which any suspect of any kind can disappear.
Military Tribunals and Indefinite Detention
Military tribunals will also continue, as will the unconstitutional and extremely dangerous concept of "indefinite detention." After all, what more could one ask from a man who already has set himself up as judge and prosecutor, claiming to be the ultimate Constitutional scholar who can and will part the seas. When our lives are combined with the "willful disclosure" doctine, the government goes out of the light and into the night. A complete blackout of Obama's actions even as to Congress and its laws.
Attacks on Lawyers and Legal Opinions
Obama has also threatened legal analyses with public disclosure if he determines it is in some way faulty. Any US government lawyer who writes a legal opinion with which Obama disagrees can be subject to public ridicule. She can also find herself prosecuted for acting unlawfully by giving what he sees as infirm advice.
No act is as pernicious and inappropriate as this one. None can have as much impact on the rule of law. No act of any other president has ever come close to this concept. The threat of potential prosecution is as powerful an in terrorem measure as any ever devised to frighten and silence lawyers and attack legal philosophy in order to ensure that there is only one way: the Obama way. It forecloses views, prevents advocates for legal change, and threatens our entire legal structure.
Interference with Prosecutions
Many more events are happening today that have an impact on the rule of law. Perhaps the most obvious and potentially insidious comes from the Obama Administration's prosecution record. Among the more blatant actions are the following.
1. The threat of prosecutions against those faithfully performing government functions. These include the threats against Bush Administration lawyers and those against the CIA.
2. The dropping of a spying prosecution involving Israel for reasons that are at best unclear.
3. The apparent refusal to consider prosecutions for the actions apparently agreed upon during one or more taped conversations between a US Representative from California including an attempt to quash this same prosecution.
4. The prosecution of the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. The Obama Administration dropped this prosecution this week despite the fact that the intimidation of voters in Philadelphia has therefore been tossed aside by the Obama Administration despite the fact that these individuals were involved in "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" a well-known 1960s civil rights lawyer had ever seen.
"A poll watcher who provided an affidavit to prosecutors in the case noted that Bartle Bull, who worked as a civil rights lawyer in the south in the 1960's and is a former campaign manager for Robert Kennedy, said it was the most blatant form of voter intimidation he had ever seen. In his affidavit, obtained by FOX News, Bull wrote "I watched the two uniformed men confront voters and attempt to intimidate voters. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters." He also said they tried to "interfere with the work of other poll observers ... whom the uniformed men apparently believed did not share their preferences politically," noting that one of the panthers turned toward the white poll observers and said "you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."
The reasoning behind the decision to cease the prosecution was as follows.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice told FOX News, "The Justice Department was successful in obtaining an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place from doing so again. Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law. The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote."
Using ACORN during his campaign, Obama relied on this system of voter registration that has been widely criticized as fraudulent and is the subject of voter fraud investigations in at least twelve states. Obama provided huge amounts of dollars to ACORN in one of his first acts as president. Its defense is constantly grounded in claims that opponents are racists.
Beck told listeners after the break that Levenson was expelled from the studio after he accused the host of being racist. Levenson appeared on the "Glenn Beck" show to respond to criminal charges filed against ACORN employees in Nevada on Monday. The non-profit organization, formally known as the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, is under investigation nationwide for voter fraud in at least 12 different states.
The combination of ACORN and the voter intimidation condoned by the Obama Administration makes for a powerful combination of legal barriers to fair elections. Critics should have a field day with the Obama Administration stance on voter fraud and intimidation. Yet little is said any more about these actions going to the very heart of a system President Carter has claimed is worse than many countries we have assisted in conducting elections.
Obama has nominated a woman who claims her Latino heritage makes her a better judge than white men. She calls "white men" out by name in a manner no one would have allowed from any Supreme Court nominee in the past.
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," she said in the speech, explaining how she thinks life experiences can influence judicial rulings.
However, Obama's selection process and vetting requirements were based on this very difference. According to Obama, Sotomayor's life experiences are why he chose Sotomayor. Obama claims that these life experiences are essential for the Court, and should be the guidepost by which this and future nominees should be required to meet.
In the address, the president described Sotomayor's legal background as a prosecutor and a judge. He also talked about her personal story -- something he said in announcing her was a key part of why he chose her. Obama has talked about the need for "empathy" in a justice. He has said her experiences and life story will help inform her decisions as a justice.
In making this background a key to his choice, he effectively eliminated the vast majority of those qualifed to be a Supreme Court justice. Is this the type of selection process we should admire? Does this not serve as a reminder that the administration of law under Obama includes a requirement for lawyers never before imposed on our jurists?
Intimidation and Efforts against Opponents and their Opinions
Whoever writes against Obama makes herself a target, making it difficult to publish anything against this president. The actions of so many who fought against Obama opponents continues with several proposals that have already begun. With the renewed interest in the "fairness doctrine," the use of supporters on almost every blog and news source, and the discussion of new "hate" legislation, the potential for limiting free speech and opposition continues apace. From direct attacks from Obama himself against Rush Limbaugh and others to more subtle efforts, we stand on the brink of a new kind of intimidation and preclusion that is potentially more frightening than any other.
The Need to Speak Out
There is little doubt but that this catalog will be considered controversial by many. Some point to other times in our Nation's history when freedom has been curtailed. Others claim that the use of government controls is commonplace in US history. Yet these were done in times of war, when the enemy was defined and our systems were less intrusive and more difficult to control.
Today, our systems are more easily monitored and controlled. These systems make it more easy to lose sight of the truth, to avoid cataloging potential difficulties.
We are also more polarized today than ever before. Those who support a free and open economy that is not government directed are branded right wing and worse. It is increasingly difficult to publish opposing viewpoints, with editors and others in organizations whose purpose in being seems to be to support our government in ways never before seen.
Liberty is hard to come by and easy to lose. We must speak out if we believe that this march against our country's past is a great danger to our future. Speak out now or risk being unable to do so in the future.