Half Baked

Petit Tyrants

Oklahoma lawmaker favors Hitler-styled treatment of Christian businesses

In the 1930’s, Nazi Germany required Jewish-owned businesses to register with the German government in order to identify them for a takeover by the Nazis. This eventually led to a series of anti-Jewish regulations and decrees depriving Jews of their property rights. Of course, we know how that ended. Based on her recent actions, I’m thinking that this story is a favorite of Oklahoma state Rep. Emily Virgin (D). In a move that sounds a bit like Nazi Germany, she wants to pass a law that requires Christian businesses to post a public notice of discrimination if they intend to refuse service to lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgendered people for religious reasons. After state Rep. Chuck Strohm (R) introduced the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act (HB1371), which would allow businesses like wedding cake bakers and photographers to deny services due to personal religious beliefs—state Senator Joseph Silk (R) introduced a similar bill in the Oklahoma Senate—Virgin proposed an amendment that would make even Houston Mayor Annise Parker proud: Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible […]

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New poll: Voters prefer dictator to the Constitution

Actually, there are a few Republicans and unaffiliated voters who would be OK with it too, but I’ll get to that later. It’s no secret that Obama couldn’t get away with his dictatorial approach to immigration and health care if the Democrats didn’t have his back, but a new poll seems to indicate that they are willing to take things to a whole new level. While Obama has limited his unconstitutional overreach to ignoring or rewriting federal statutes—such as immigration and Obamacare mandates—Democrats are starting to wonder: Hey! Why don’t we rewrite some federal court rulings too? According to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, 1-in-4 (26%) likely U.S. voters think the president should have the right to ignore the courts if they stand in the way of actions he feels are important to the country. Here’s the breakdown: 43% of Democrats favor such action / only 35% of Democrats disagreed 81% of Republicans oppose it 67% of unaffiliated voters oppose it Republicans and Democrats are in general agreement on the importance of the three branches, but unaffiliated voters are more likely to feel that all three are of equal importance. Yet while 72% of GOP voters and 63% of […]

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Obama’s latest Big Brother assault on the Constitution

Obama took America one step closer to George Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother when he signed an executive order that gives private sector companies permission to spy on anyone they feel like spying on, while providing legal cover for them to share any information they gather amongst themselves and with the federal government. Staying true to the “never let a serious crisis go to waste” approach he has always taken with his job, Obama cited the recent Sony hacking attack as an example for why he issued the order: “The North Korean cyber-attack on Sony Pictures destroyed data and disabled thousands of computers, and exposed the personal information of Sony employees,” Obama said. “And these attacks are hurting American companies and costing American jobs.” Wait a minute. I thought Obamacare was responsible for hurting companies and costing jobs. But I digress. He went on to say: “So much of our computer networks and critical infrastructure are in the private sector, which means government cannot do this alone,” Obama stated. “But the fact is that the private sector can’t do it alone either, because it’s government that often has the latest information on new threats.” Translation? The private sector has the private […]

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Operation Choke Point: Choking the life out of the Constitution?

Operation Choke Point is an initiative launched by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice in 2013 meant to use banks and financial institutions to track down companies suspected of illegal activities. However, it does so without due process—a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure—an idea favored by Republicans. Besides the Fourth Amendment violation, OCP also poses a direct threat to the Second Amendment because it gives the federal government the power to shut down legal guns and ammo dealers, a concern that recently became a reality. Breitbart News recently reported about the owner of a gun store in Hawkins, WI. who received word from the credit union that handled his banking that they would be shutting down his accounts. The reason? Because “they do not service businesses that deal in guns.” This episode was confirmed in a series of audiotapes published by the US Consumer Coalition, in which a bank teller was recorded telling a gun dealer why his account was being shut down. Serious stuff! But it gets worse. We have now learned that the Obama administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is threatening banks, demanding their silence about the new programs it is using to supervise and investigate private bank account holders. And it’s legal! […]

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DEA delivers the latest hit to the Constitution

Last week, in an I wrote an article about the assault on the Fourth Amendment by local law enforcement, I noted the intensity of various attacks on our constitutional rights from politicians, the media, and even the Pope. I also showed how a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans favored surrendering the right to privacy to the government in order to be safe from terrorism. Since the November elections, I’ve documented how the Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation giving power to Obama to usurp the 4th Amendments‘ right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. In addition: I covered the Alabama state senator who wants to license the media, the federal judge who said the right to privacy was “overvalued” when he favored the NSA’s right to spy on Americans without a warrant, and how judicial tyranny has become the new normal. Now the latest attack on the Constitution, this time from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the government has created a huge database of the license plates and driving habits of Americans using a system originally formed to combat drugs, but has grown in size and scope. Now it’s being used […]

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Police Snatching Property: A Conflict of Interest While American Federalism Sleeps

The U.S. Justice Department halted its adopted-forfeitures program in early 2015 out of a sense that state and local law-enforcement agencies had been using the federal program to retain a greater portion of seized property, including cash, than state laws permit. Asset forfeiture had grown since the 1980s largely as a strategy in combatting drug traffickers, yet the agencies themselves benefited in being able to spend the cash. Besides this conflict of interest, the federal-state dynamic here demonstrates federalism in action, though perhaps not as strongly as the system of government allows.

The full essay is at “Police Snatching Property.”

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