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Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

This week President Barack Obama ordered the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The Obama government has “linked” al-Awlaki to Ft. Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hasan and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and considers him an “imminent threat to national security”. Al-Awlaki is believed to be hiding in Yemen.

Pay attention here, people. A very important line has been crossed. Not even King George W. Bush ever ordered the assassination of an American citizen. Not even FDR, when putting thousands of Japanese-Americans in prison camps, publicly proclaimed that one of them be speedily executed without a trial. With this order, Barack Obama has chosen not only to violate the Ford/Carter/Reagan ban on political assassinations, but also the 5th and 6th amendments to the United States Constitution. In case you don’t recall those, I’ll post them here:

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

[The “time of war or public danger” argument won’t work here; the United States Congress has not declared war on any one, nor have they declared us to be in a time of public danger.]

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

We have crossed over into uncharted territory. From this point forward, American citizenship no longer protects said citizens from assassination by their own government. The Constitution has again been reduced to so much toilet paper, and all in the name of “keeping us safe”. Do you feel safer?

I don’t.

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guntreatyIt seems that President Obama is pushing hard for ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, or CIFTA treaty. CIFTA is 12 years old and was initially imported in 1997 by then President Bill Clinton. Clinton signed CIFTA but it was never ratified by the Senate. According to the Constitution (Article 2, section 2):

He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.

With the recent flip of Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party and the imminently probable seating of Al Franken in Minnesota, Obama will have a filibuster proof 60 votes in the Senate with which to push CIFTA through.

Most proponents of gun control, like this one, tout CIFTA as “a multilateral attempt to stop the flood of illegal weapons into Mexico and beyond.” They also state that “most of the organizing around CIFTA to date has been staged by right-wing zealots unreasonably up in arms over this treaty.” If that’s the case, consider me another zealot who is up in arms.

In my view, CIFTA, if ratified, would do three things that would be extremely detrimental to the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:

1. It redefines what is illegal. Under section 1 of CIFTA, the following definition is given:

1. “Illicit manufacturing”: the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:
a. from components or parts illicitly trafficked; or
b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place; or
c. without marking the firearms that require marking at the time of manufacturing.

Point b is the major problem here. It states that any assembly of firearms or ammunition without a state issued license is illegal, thus the building of firearms or reloading of ammunition by private unlicensed citizens would be considered “illicit”. Pay attention to the word “illicit”; remember what the treaty defines as “illicit”. This will be important in points 2 and 3.

2. It requires the creates a national firearm database and requires that this information be available for international use. Articles 11 and 13 outline these requirements (pay special attention to article 13:1(a)):

Recordkeeping
States Parties shall assure the maintenance for a reasonable time of the information necessary to trace and identify illicitly manufactured and illicitly trafficked firearms to enable them to comply with their obligations under Articles XIII and XVII.

Exchange of Information
1. States Parties shall exchange among themselves, in conformity with their respective domestic laws and applicable treaties, relevant information on matters such as:
a. authorized producers, dealers, importers, exporters, and, whenever possible, carriers of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.
2. States Parties shall provide to and share with each other, as appropriate, relevant scientific and technological information useful to law enforcement, so as to enhance one another’s ability to prevent, detect, and investigate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials and prosecute those involved therein.
3. States Parties shall cooperate in the tracing of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials which may have been illicitly manufactured or trafficked. Such cooperation shall include accurate and prompt responses to trace requests.

Did you notice something? Both “illicit” and “authorized” producers, dealers, and carriers of firearms would be tracked by the government. That’s everybody who makes, buys, sells, owns, or carries a firearm.

3. It requires extradition. Individuals who violate CIFTA can be extradited to other nations for trial and punishment. Article 19 states:

Each of the offenses to which this article applies shall be deemed to be included as an extraditable offense in any extradition treaty in force between or among the States Parties. The States Parties undertake to include such offenses as extraditable offenses in every extradition treaty to be concluded between or among them.

So conceivably, if CIFTA is ratified, a home re-loader or rifle building hobbyist could be tracked in a international database, arrested, charged with “illicit firearm or ammunition manufacturing without a license” and sent off to Mexico for trial and imprisonment, all under the smiling approval of the U.S. government. Kind of gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?

Remember that under the Constitution, legitimately ratified treaties are considered part of the “supreme law of the land” (Article 6). However, no treaty that violates the Constitution can be legitimately ratified, so it begs the question: does President Obama, in pushing for the ratification of CIFTA, claim that the acts of banning of gun kits and ammo reloading, creation of a national firearm database, and extradition of Americans to other nations for “firearm treaty violations” do not violate the Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment? If this is the case, he should state it clearly because violation of his sworn oath of office is perjury, and a felony, and an impeachable offense.

We do not need CIFTA. Obama is simply trying to slip his anti-gun policies around the Constitutionally established system and into law without debate. In my opinion, any senator who votes to ratify CIFTA and any president who signs it is in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic and bear true faith and allegiance to the same and should be impeached. Amen and amen.

Read the CIFTA treaty here.

Analysis of CIFTA by Gun Owners of America can be found here.

Analysis of CIFTA by Gunlaws.com can be found here.

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100daysA lot of weight is placed on a president’s first 100 days in office, as if the other 1361 days of his term are not just as important. Still, the initial three months of a presidency can tell us a great deal about the chief executive’s priorities for the next four years.

For President Obama, this may be even more the case than with past presidents. Half way in, the ultra-liberal website Daily Kos crowed that:

After running the most efficient transition operation in history, President Obama has now done more in 46 days as President than many presidents do in a full term in office.

So let’s take a look at what President Obama, with the help of the Congress, has done during his first 100 days. I will discuss this not as a Republican or a Democrat, since I am neither, but as an independently thinking, liberty-oriented American.

I have divided the major policy decisions and legislation up into three broad categories for easy sorting. The three categories are UNDOING Bush, OUTDOING Bush, and BLAMING Bush.

1. UNDOING Bush–These decisions began within hours of the inauguration, aiming to sweepingly overturn the policies and practices of George W. Bush. On day 1 (January 21), Obama signed an executive order banning “revolving door politics” and prohibiting lobbyists from holding high ranking administration jobs. This was apparently one of Obama’s major beefs with the Bush Administration, but within 2 days President Obama had violated his own order by installing William Lynn, a Raytheon lobbyist, to the #2 post at the Pentagon. Three more executive orders followed on January 22 that overturned Bush policies on “terror suspect” treatment, namely the closure of Guantanamo Bay, the housing of enemy combatants, and the prohibition of torture. As a libertarian I applaud these decisions, especially the banning of torture. However, in a hurried attempt to look good by overturning his predecessor’s bad policies, Obama may have bitten off more than he can chew. To this day he has no clear plan as to what to do with the remaining enemy combatants at the soon-to-be-defunct Guantanamo Bay and his administration is caught in a quagmire about whether or not to prosecute Bush officials over the torture issue. In addition, Barack Obama has signed an executive order rolling back the Bush ban on using tax dollars to fund stem cell research and an official proclamation lifting the Regan ban on using federal funds to pay for overseas abortions. All of these policies are intended to show the American people that the Obama White House is committed to moving in a different direction than we were headed under George W. Bush. Unfortunately for us, these are not really the most pressing issues of our time. On the policies that urgently matter, Obama is proceeding even more rapidly down the path that Bush began to blaze. And that leads us to…

2. OUTDOING Bush–Many libertarians (excluding myself) voted for Barack Obama in the wild hope that he would undo some of the damage the Bush administration did to natural and civil rights in America. They made a ideological swap, knowing that Obama would be ultra-left in his big government economic policy but hoping that he would redeem himself with a less hawkish foreign policy. They have been thus far sorely disappointed on all counts. Obama, despite campaign promises to the contrary, has instructed his legal team to greatly expand the government’s power to perform illegal warrantless wiretaps on the phone lines of law-abiding American citizens. Up till now, Americans arrested for alleged crimes have a right to an attorney before being interrogated by police. The Obama administration wants to change that. Just this week the Obama legal team asked the Supreme Court to overturn a 23 year-old decision requiring that a defendant (who is innocent until proven guilty) have an attorney present before being questioned. In a flagrant attempt to redraw the political boundaries in the United States, Obama announced in February that operational control of the 2010 census (or as I like to call it, the Q 10 peepshow) will be moved from the Commerce Department to the White House, specifically into the hands of Rahm Emanuel. I’m sure that will make the process very fair and bipartisan. Far from restoring rights to Americans, Obama has selected a bigger pick-axe than his predecessor with which to chip them away.

Foreign policy is not much better. During the campaign Obama promised to bring our troops home from Iraq by August 2010. In reality 35,000 to 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq until the end of 2011, one year before Obama will stand for re-election. And while very slowly winding down the war in Iraq, President Obama is quickly revving up the war in Afghanistan, pledging to send at least 17,000 additional combat troops to that country by the end of the summer. Many National Guardsmen (who, incidentally, are supposed to be under state control) and Reservists will be embarking upon their 3rd, 4th, and 5th tours of duty away from their families. So much for liberty and peace. In his first 100 days, Obama is out-Bushing Bush.

3. BLAMING Bush–Obama’s economic policy within the first 100 days of his presidency has been one big finger pointing exercise, and it has exceeded libertarians’ worst fears. The blatant irresponsibility of the $787 billion “stimulus package”, the bank and auto bailouts, and the massive 2010 budget proposal are all excused by the Obama folks on the grounds that they inherited a financial disaster from the Bush administration. Since Bush drained the government coffers, there was no money left for expensive liberal playthings like the SCHIP law, which will be payed for in part by a 61 cent per pack cigarette tax. I seem to remember candidate Obama pledging not to raise the taxes of Americans who make less than $250,000 per year; I guess the President thinks that only really rich people smoke. The Obama crowd blames Bush for more than the tattered economy. As a big business insider (they say), President Bush was clearly in the pocket of the fat cats and stinking rich corporate CEO’s. Thus we desperately needed and now have the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which will throw more money down the drain and clog the system by making it much easier for employees to sue their employers. So, despite the accolades for achieving more change more quickly than any president in history, Barack Obama continues to avoid ownership by covering his more unsavory policies with the Bush blame game.

President Obama has “accomplished” a lot more in his first 100 days than I have room or time here to describe, so if I missed your favorite executive order, memorandum, or Congressional edict, please feel free to insert it and expound upon it in the comments section. In addition, there are many more “changes” in the works that just didn’t seem to make it into the first 100 days. Chief among them are the Employee Free Choice Act, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act, and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. None of these are good bills and they will make even worse laws. So, as an independent non-Republicrat, I give the new President failing marks on just about every front for his first 100 days. The only consolation I can find is this: the first 100 days will almost certainly turn out to have been better than the next 100. It’s going to be a long 4 ( or 8 ) years.

By the way, if you want to avoid reading my longwindedness, the following short video sums up the above commentary nicely:

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argentinaflagAs a follow up to yesterday’s post, here is a video of prominent Argentinian analyst and economist Adrian Salbuchi explaining how the current U.S. economy resembles the economy of Argentina in 2001 and how we are headed for a similar outcome.

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argentinaIf you want to see a full blown economic collapse up close, look no further than Argentina in 2001. A quick Google search will turn up many detailed comparisons between Argentina’s economic situation then and the boondoggle in the United States now. If President Obama and the American Congress continue on their wild spending spree, many economists fear the U.S. will soon face severe hyperinflation, much like Argentina did.

The following excellent documentary shows the progression and extent of the Argentine crisis in 2001. Let us not be so arrogant as to believe that something similar can’t happen to us. Of course, unlike in Argentina, citizens of the United States are still allowed to own firearms. That means, if such an inflationary crisis arrives, there will be a lot more noise than banging pans in the streets.

If you prefer to watch the film in several shorter segments, here are the links for parts 1-12.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

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g20As the week comes to a close, there are several interesting liberty-related developments to report. First off, the G20 meeting has been officially wrapped up, complete with an official G20 draft communiqué. It’s mostly “we agree blah, blah, blah” and “we pledge blah, blah, blah” but there are a couple of very interesting items here. Take a look at point number 19:

We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250 billion into the world economy and increase global liquidity, and urgent ratification of the Fourth Amendment.

SDR stands for Special Drawing Rights. SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the International Monetary Fund, that consists of a basket of various currencies, currently the euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling, and U.S. dollar. Until now the use of SDR has been very limited; its main function has been to serve as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations. According to point 19 above, however, this soon will change by the ratification of the Fourth Amendment, which would increase the supply of SDR enough for all IMF participant countries to use as a reserve currency. According to the IMF SDR fact sheet:

A proposal for a special one-time allocation of SDRs was approved by the IMF’s Board of Governors in September 1997 through the proposed Fourth Amendment of the Articles of Agreement. This allocation would double cumulative SDR allocations to SDR 42.8 billion. Its intent is to enable all members of the IMF to participate in the SDR system on an equitable basis and correct for the fact that countries that joined the Fund after 1981—more than one fifth of the current IMF membership—have never received an SDR allocation. The Fourth Amendment will become effective when three fifths of the IMF membership (111 members) with 85 percent of the total voting power accept it. Currently, 131 members with 77.68 percent of total voting power had accepted the proposed amendment. Approval by the United States, with 16.75 percent of total votes, would put the amendment into effect.

So, according to this, if Barack Obama’s United States concedes to the Fourth Amendment, we will have the beginnings of a new world currency known as Special Drawing Rights. This is not being reported much, but some folks are catching on.

Point 15 is also very interesting. It reads, in part:

To this end we are implementing the Action Plan agreed at our last meeting, as set out in the attached progress report. We have today also issued a Declaration, Strengthening the Financial System. In particular we agree:
to establish a new Financial Stability Board (FSB) with a strengthened mandate, as a successor to the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), including all G20 countries, FSF members, Spain, and the European Commission; to extend regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments and markets. This will include, for the first time, systemically important hedge funds; to endorse and implement the FSF’s tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms; to take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens. We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information.

As you can see, the G20 has initiated a new international regulatory board, called the FSB, to oversee the world’s financial system. The IMF conceivably will have complete regulatory control over monitoring the G20 nations’ economies. This has led to yelping from the press about a new world order. I don’t know about that, but it definitely reduces the sovereignty of the United States with regard to its fiscal and financial policy.

Mike at Don’t Panic! has done an outstanding video review of the G20 meeting. Take a few minutes to watch it if you really want to know what is going on.

nkoreaIn other news, North Korea finally fired it’s missile. Supposedly carrying a satellite into orbit around the earth, the rocket traveled directly over Japan. If it was indeed a satellite launch, North Korea had a legitimate right to proceed under international space law. However, in a style we can only call “change we can believe is exactly like the prior administration”, Barack Obama went begging to the United Nations for punishment sanctions. Good luck with that. If I weren’t an American, I would be rolling on the floor in laughter at how a little bitty third world communist country that can’t even feed its own people is leading the United States around by the nose.

Incidentally, just before the launch, Barack Obama made a speech in which he pledged that the United States will “lead the way” in getting rid of all nuclear weapons on earth. That, my friends, is a truly stupid idea. I am 100% in favor or international peace, and the only way we can maintain that peace is through equal or superior firepower. Nuclear balance is the only realistic path: the United States is “safe” from nuclear attack only because we have the ability to launch one ourselves. Even if we did lead the way in disarmament, who can guarantee everybody else is doing the same? Sooner or later some rogue state will re-develop the bomb, or Russia might just find 5 or 10 nukes that they “forgot to destroy” shoved in a closet somewhere. Obama can’t be realistically even contemplating this; I have a feeling it’s just feel-good headline material for the press and the Greenies. Pandora’s nuclear box is wide open and we ain’t shutting it.

And in today’s stupid people news, I would like to remind all patriots and others out there that gunning down three police officers is not an acceptable way to protect our 2nd Amendment rights.

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sickelephantRepublicans met this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference to discuss the future of the GOP. Rush Limbaugh headlined the conference’s final day, proclaiming to Republicans that, “We can take this country back. All we need is to nominate the right candidate.” In that vein, the conference held a straw poll to examine the following question:

“Thinking ahead to the 2012 Presidential election, who would you vote for as the next Republican nominee for President?”

Here are the results:

Out of 1,757 ballots cast, 20% favor former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 14% favor Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and 12% favor Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Following behind the top three were Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Rudy Giuliani.

I know I risk the wrath of some of you conservatives out there, but I have to say that I agree with Marko Kloos‘s astute (albeit a bit profane) assessment of this development: ARE THEY CRAZY?

Mitt Romney just got severely drummed in the Republican primaries. Bobby Jindal, the popular ultra-right Governor of Louisiana, just thoroughly embarrassed himself on national TV (seriously, I couldn’t even bear to finish watching his speech. Stop waving your hand! Stop it! Stop it!). Ron Paul is the only choice that makes any sense, and he has publicly stated that he will probably not run in 2012.

What is the GOP to do? In my opinion, in order to be in any way competitive in 2012, they have to achieve the following objectives:

1. Stop focusing on personality. The Republicans just saw Barack Obama (all personality and no substance) handily defeat John McCain in the 2008 election. As a result, they have adopted the Democrats’ strategy and are completely zoned in on “finding the right guy”. Most GOP hopefuls out there currently think Bobby Jindal is “that guy”. He’s young, energetic, good-looking, and a minority. He is everything Barack Obama is (except a great teleprompter reader, if his recent speech is any guide), only conservative. The problem is, Jindal toes the party line; on a policy level he isn’t original or unique. He’s McCain, Romney, and/or Palin with a different face. The GOP has to find a new (or preferably old) platform, not just a pretty face to say the same old stuff. The American people will see right through that. First find a new message, then work on finding the messenger. And that leads us to…

2. Rediscover their economic roots. Once upon a time the Republican Party was the party of limited government. Once upon a time they preached and delivered fiscal responsibility. The GOP used to be the party of Robert Taft and Ron Paul, now it’s the party of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They spend like there’s no tomorrow. They grow government like it’s an endangered species. They stand firmly behind the Federal Reserve Bank and its make believe fiat currency. In a word, they have become economic Democrats; there really isn’t much difference between the two camps. The Republicans have to remember that they used to be different and they have to become now what they were then.

3. Adopt a new foreign policy. The GOP has gone global. They are attempting to rebuild the world in their own image, and in so doing, are weaving us into the tattered tapestry of one world government, under the oversight of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank. We are currently in greater danger of losing our national sovereignty than at any time in our short history. I don’t think most Americans want this to happen. The Republicans have a golden opportunity to become the party of America, one nation, under God. If they can manage to remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none,” then they might just have the chance to lead us out of the nightmare we are headed into.

I think things will get so bad in the next two years that the Republicans will pick up seats in Congress in 2010 by default. If we still recognize the government of our sovereign United States in 2012 the Presidency may be theirs to lose. But they will lose it if they remain today’s GOP. There is a better way. It’s time for them to take their medicine and cure the elephant.

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