Freedoms and Liberties: Under Constant Attack
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”
Ladies and gentlemen, liberty is under attack – an attack that the Obama Administration has put into overdrive. It did not begin with Obama, but hopefully – come November – we can turn it around and alter our government to get it back in tune with our “unalienable Rights.” I am going to list several of these attacks, many of which are carefully disguised in Cass Sunstein’s favorite term, “Nudges.”
First lets take a look through some Executive Orders so we can analyze it straight from the top. One thing you’ll notice is that Big Government is key. Anytime he wants an area to be taken over by Big Government he forms a committee or new government office.
There is, established by Executive Order, an Office of Urban Affairs, a Council on Women and Girls, and even a Federal Leadership Committee ” established to oversee the development and coordination of programs and activities, including data management and reporting, of agencies participating in protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.”
These are just a few of the agencies and commitees Obama has created with more to come. What you can clearly see here is the pattern of the Obama’s Administration, to take over every aspect of American life from your city to your gender.
One “Nudge”, the use of Executive Orders:
Executive Order–President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to recognize that good nutrition goes hand in hand with fitness and sports participation, Executive Order 13265 of June 6, 2002, is hereby amended as follows:
Section 1. The title is revised to read as follows: “President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.”
Sec. 2. Sections 1 through 5 are revised to read as follows:
“Section 1. Purpose. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary), in carrying out the Secretary’s responsibilities for public health and human services, shall develop and coordinate a national program to enhance physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition. Through this program, the Secretary shall, in consultation with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Education, seek to:
(b) stimulate and enhance coordination of programs within and among the private and public sectors that promote physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition;
(c) expand availability of quality information and guidance regarding physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition; and
(d) target all Americans, with particular emphasis on children and adolescents, as well as populations or communities in which specific risks or disparities in participation in, access to, or knowledge about the benefits of physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition have been identified.
In implementing this order, the Secretary shall be guided by the science-based Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Additionally, the Secretary shall undertake nutrition related activities under this order in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture.
Sec. 2. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. (a) There is hereby established the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (Council).
(b) The Council shall be composed of up to 25 members appointed by the President. Members shall serve for a term of 2 years, shall be eligible for reappointment, and may continue to serve after the expiration of their terms until the appointment of a successor. The President may designate one or more members as Chair or Vice Chair.
Sec. 3. Functions of the Council. (a) The Council shall advise the President, through the Secretary, concerning progress made in carrying out the provisions of this order and shall recommend to the President, through the Secretary, actions to accelerate progress.
(b) The Council shall advise the Secretary on ways to promote regular physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition. Recommendations may address, but are not necessarily limited to, public awareness campaigns; Federal, State, and local physical activity; fitness, sports participation, and nutrition initiatives; and partnership opportunities between public- and private-sector health-promotion entities.
(c) The Council shall function as a liaison to relevant State, local, and private entities in order to advise the Secretary regarding opportunities to extend and improve physical activity, fitness, sports, and nutrition programs and services at the local, State, and national levels.
(d) The Council shall monitor the need to enhance programs and educational and promotional materials sponsored, overseen, or disseminated by the Council, and shall advise the Secretary as necessary concerning such need.
In performing its functions, the Council shall take into account the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Your fat, lazy, and too stupid to realize it, therefore Obama has formed this Council to rescue and make sure your choices are restricted to healthy choices. Will it be through propaganda campaigns, or selective taxes perhaps, maybe even the banning of certain foods because you little people just can’t control yourself. How do you think they will “target” all Americans for getting active in sports?
Another Nudge Executive Order:
Executive Order– Establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 4001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment. There is established within the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (Council).
Sec. 3. Purposes and Duties. The Council shall:
(a) provide coordination and leadership at the Federal level, and among all executive departments and agencies, with respect to prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices, the public health system, and integrative health care in the United States;
(b) develop, after obtaining input from relevant stakeholders, a national prevention, health promotion, public health, and integrative health-care strategy that incorporates the most effective and achievable means of improving the health status of Americans and reducing the incidence of preventable illness and disability in the United States, as further described in section 5 of this order;
(c) provide recommendations to the President and the Congress concerning the most pressing health issues confronting the United States and changes in Federal policy to achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition;
(d) consider and propose evidence-based models, policies, and innovative approaches for the promotion of transformative models of prevention, integrative health, and public health on individual and community levels across the United States;
(e) establish processes for continual public input, including input from State, regional, and local leadership communities and other relevant stakeholders, including Indian tribes and tribal organizations;
(f) submit the reports required by section 6 of this order; and
(g) carry out such other activities as are determined appropriate by the President.
Sec. 4. Advisory Group.
(a) There is established within the Department of Health and Human Services an Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health (Advisory Group), which shall report to the Chair of the Council.
(b) The Advisory Group shall be composed of not more than 25 members or representatives from outside the Federal Government appointed by the President and shall include a diverse group of licensed health professionals, including integrative health practitioners who are representative of or have expertise in:
(1) worksite health promotion;
(2) community services, including community health centers;
(3) preventive medicine;
(4) health coaching;
(5) public health education;
(6) geriatrics; and
(7) rehabilitation medicine.
(c) The Advisory Group shall develop policy and program recommendations and advise the Council on lifestyle-based chronic disease prevention and management, integrative health care practices, and health promotion.
Sec. 5. National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. Not later than March 23, 2011, the Chair, in consultation with the Council, shall develop and make public a national prevention, health promotion, and public health strategy (national strategy), and shall review and revise it periodically. The national strategy shall:
(a) set specific goals and objectives for improving the health of the United States through federally supported prevention, health promotion, and public health programs, consistent with ongoing goal setting efforts conducted by specific agencies;
(b) establish specific and measurable actions and timelines to carry out the strategy, and determine accountability for meeting those timelines, within and across Federal departments and agencies; and
(c) make recommendations to improve Federal efforts relating to prevention, health promotion, public health, and integrative health-care practices to ensure that Federal efforts are consistent with available standards and evidence.
Sec. 6. Reports. Not later than July 1, 2010, and annually thereafter until January 1, 2015, the Council shall submit to the President and the relevant committees of the Congress, a report that:
(a) describes the activities and efforts on prevention, health promotion, and public health and activities to develop the national strategy conducted by the Council during the period for which the report is prepared;
(b) describes the national progress in meeting specific prevention, health promotion, and public health goals defined in the national strategy and further describes corrective actions recommended by the Council and actions taken by relevant agencies and organizations to meet these goals;
(c) contains a list of national priorities on health promotion and disease prevention to address lifestyle behavior modification (including smoking cessation, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, mental health, behavioral health, substance-use disorder, and domestic violence screenings) and the prevention measures for the five leading disease killers in the United States;
(d) contains specific science-based initiatives to achieve the measurable goals of the Healthy People 2020 program of the Department of Health and Human Services regarding nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation, and targeting the five leading disease killers in the United States;
(e) contains specific plans for consolidating Federal health programs and centers that exist to promote healthy behavior and reduce disease risk (including eliminating programs and offices determined to be ineffective in meeting the priority goals of the Healthy People 2020 program of the Department of Health and Human Services);
(f) contains specific plans to ensure that all Federal health-care programs are fully coordinated with science-based prevention recommendations by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and
(g) contains specific plans to ensure that all prevention programs outside the Department of Health and Human Services are based on the science-based guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under subsection (d) of this section.
So here you have an Advisory Group looking for ways to, not only make you fat, lazy Americans exercise and eat right, but also stop killing yourselves. Your lifestyle is self destructive so we are going to come up with ways to make you stop smoking, make you stop giving yourselves heart attacks (attack on hamburgers? salt? trans fat? any number of foods). The Nanny state will decide how to remove your options either through propaganda and advertising, over taxation, or outright banning.
With cigarettes the attacks have not only been over taxation and demonization, but also restricting locations where you can exercise this liberty. It’s gone so far now that New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg, according to CBS News, “Is looking at a possible smoking ban for all city parks and public beaches.” You would no longer have that liberty in those outdoor locations at all or face criminal charges.
Now some pending Bills. Do you want to serve your country in a way the Government decides? Maybe, Well if this Bill passses you don’t have a choice:
H.R.5741 - Universal National Service Act
a) Obligation for Service- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this title unless exempted under the provisions of this title.
That’s right, you will be required to serve, regardless of your wishes. That’s not freedom, it’s tyranny.
Also we have the Livable Communities Bill where instead of city & state planning locally, Washington will decide for you. From CNS News:
Republicans Blast ‘Livable Communities’ Bill As Washington-Based Central Planning for Cities and Towns
The Senate Banking Committee passed the Livable Communities Act on Tuesday, moving the bill one step closer to final passage. The bill creates $4 billion in neighborhood planning grants for “sustainable” living projects and a new federal office to oversee them.
Similar legislation in the House has been criticized by Republicans on the House Budget Committee, who charge that “the program’s aim is to impose a Washington-based, central planning model on localities across the country.”
In the Senate version, written by outgoing Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the Livable Communities Act would designate $4 billion to aid local governments in planning high-density, walkable neighborhoods.
Premised on helping local governments to combat suburban sprawl and traffic congestion, the bill sets up two separate grant programs. One, known as Comprehensive Planning Grants, would go to cities and counties to assist them in carrying out such plans as the following:
— “(1) coordinate land use, housing, transportation, and infrastructure planning processes across jurisdictions and agencies” and
— “(3) conduct or update housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy, and environmental assessments to determine regional needs and promote sustainable development; [and]
— “… (5) implement local zoning and other code changes necessary to implement a comprehensive regional plan and promote sustainable development.”
The second grant type – Sustainability Challenge Grants – funds local efforts to:
–“(1) promote integrated transportation, housing, energy, and economic development activities carried out across policy and governmental jurisdictions;
— (2) promote sustainable and location-efficient development; and
— (3) implement projects identified in a comprehensive regional plan.”
To administer and regulate these new grants, the bill creates the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The legislation is designed to prod local communities toward high-density, public transit-oriented neighborhoods that concentrate large numbers of people into small geographic areas connected by train and bus networks.
These high-density neighborhoods would be combined with high-density commercial districts that – in theory – would reduce the need for daily driving and commuting.
In describing the Livable Communities Act, Dodd has said that “with sustainable development, our communities will cut traffic congestion; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and gasoline consumption; protect rural areas and green spaces; revitalize existing Main Streets and urban centers; and create more affordable housing.
”So what is this Bill really? An attempt for Washington to take control of local cities & towns and redesign in their Utopian green image. You will not have a say in how your city develops, that’s Washington’s job. They are going to phase out Liberties, force green options, and mass transit. You don’t need a car for yourself, here’s a train.
How about Free Speech? Still have it? That depends doesn’t it. Say you want to write a blog and express your views, sure you can do it, but not in Philadelphia unless you can afford it. Philadelphia has now decided to try and force all Blogs to purchase a $300 business license. From the Philadelphia City Paper:
For the past three years, Marilyn Bess has operated MS Philly Organic, a small, low-traffic blog that features occasional posts about green living, out of her Manayunk home. Between her blog and infrequent contributions to ehow.com, over the last few years she says she’s made about $50.
To Bess, her website is a hobby. To the city of Philadelphia, it’s a potential moneymaker, and the city wants its cut. In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license.
She’s not alone. After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.
Even if, as with Sean Barry(Another Blogger), that profit is $11 over two years. The city wants some people to pay more in taxes than they earn. “I definitely don’t want to see people paying more in taxes and fees than what [we] earn,” says Bess.
So how do you silence Free Speech? You make it expensive. How many times has Obama attacked bloggers and talk radio? Looks like Philadelphia took the hint and found a solution.
The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Free Speech for companies as well as individuals. However this ruling did not sit well with Obama at all. All the ruling does is permit companies to advertise for any political candidate they choose, but Obama can’t allow that. He demonized the Supreme Court for this ruling at his State of the Union Address and has been against ever since as you can see in this Weekly Address:
He is warning of “A corporate takeover of our Democracy” yet that is not the case. First of all the United States of America is a Constitutional Meritocratic Republic, not a Democracy. Second, An increase in candidate advertising cannot cause a takeover. Does not an individual have the presence of mind to watch political ads and look into it or decide for themselves? Not in Obama’s Nanny State. On a side not though, everything Obama and the Democratic Party have planned to counter this type of “Free Speech” exempts unions from running campaign ads. Way to double standard.
Do you have Free Speech on the internet? Quite possibly not for long. Though all previous Obama Administration power grabs to seize control of the internet have failed, the Net Neutrality effort is still ongoing, even though their coalition is weakening. From Hot Air:
The coalition pushing Congress to enact Net Neutrality legislation lost one of its key players after Red State questioned its judgment in selecting political bedfellows. Gun Owners of America announced their withdrawal from Save the Internet after it became clear that the group had strong ties to MoveOn, SEIU, and ACORN, among others. STI had bragged about GOA’s membership as a way to paint their coalition as broad based:
A bipartisan coalition in favor of net neutrality has lost a key conservative supporter amid signs that the issue is becoming divisive.
The Gun Owners of America (GOA) severed ties with the net-neutrality coalition Save the Internet after a conservative blog questioned the association with liberal organizations such as ACORN and the ACLU.
The blog RedState described Save The Internet as a “neo-Marxist Robert McChesney-FreePress/Save the Internet think tank” and questioned why GOA would participate in a coalition that includes liberal groups such as the ACLU, MoveOn.Org, SEIU, CREDO and ACORN.
Why now? GOA claims that the times have changed, and that the Net Neutrality movement has changed over the last four years:
“Back in 2006 we supported net neutrality, as we had been concerned that AOL and others might continue to block pro-second amendment issues,” said Erich Pratt, communications director for GOA.
“The issue has now become one of government control of the Internet, and we are 100 percent opposed to that,” Pratt said.
Er, what? The Net Neutrality movement has never been a grassroots effort aimed solely at private enterprise. It has always aimed at government intervention and regulation of Internet access and network management. That was as true in 2006 as it is today.
Arguably, the issue is free speech, but the problem with that is that NN advocates want government-imposed neutrality on content delivery, which makes sense for a monopoly — but the Internet isn’t a monopoly. (STI still has Parents Television Council and the Christian Coalition inside the tent, at least for now, two groups not known for their opposition to government intervention in speech.) The NN argument treats the Internet as a public utility, an argument that FCC chair Julius Genachowski explicitly made this year, but it’s not, and it’s not even close. Consumers can choose between several different providers, and content handling certainly can inform those choices.
So do you want the Federal Government to regulate the internet? I do not. I want freedom to choose for myself what content I view. But the Left Wing Net Neutrality coalition marches on pushing for government control and less freedom.
How about the Right to bear arms, the 2nd Amendment? Even after the landmark case McDonald V. Chicago, The 2nd amendment continues to be under attack. Instead of dropping Chicago’s handgun ban (which never reduced crime, but encouraged it, in my opinion), Mayor Daley has chosen to repeal the ban but add many hoops to jump through before you can own a gun. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Chicago to allow handgun ownership under revised gun law
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is asking the City Council to enact a revised handgun ordinance in the wake of Monday’s ruling by the US Supreme Court that jeopardized the city’s 28-year-old ban on handguns.
The mayor says the revised ordinance will stand up in federal court, should it face a challenge. Early reaction from gun rights advocates is that they are relatively pleased with Chicago’s latest proposal for regulating handgun ownership within city limits, with some caveats.
The Chicago handgun ban, the last of its kind in the nation, fell into a legal danger zone this week, after the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to every jurisdiction in the US. The ban now faces a review by the Seventh US Circuit Court that will test its validity in light of the high court’s decision, but legal experts, and Mayor Daley himself, expect that the ban cannot stand.
Daley wants the City Council “to move quickly to consider and enact” the redrafted ordinance, he told reporters Thursday. The council is expected to meet Friday to debate the measure and take a vote.
Gun rights advocates are “cautiously optimistic” about the proposal, says Alan Gura, a lawyer in Alexandria, Va., who was on the winning side in the latest Supreme Court case and in a 2008 case the resulted in the overturning of a handgun ban in Washington, D.C.
“This is a far more measured and careful response than what was rumored, and we appreciate that,” says Mr. Gura.
New rules of gun ownership
The new ordinance would establish a multitier process requiring gun owners to register their firearms with the Chicago Police Department, attend classroom and firing range training, and obtain both a special city permit and a state firearms identification card.
The fees associated with those requirements are not inconsequential, says Gura. The city permit, for instance, would cost $100 and would require renewal every three years. Each handgun would need to be reregistered every year at $15 each. Penalties for failing to register a firearm could cost owners up to $10,000 and jail time.
It is normal to charge fees for registering guns, says Gura. But “when fees are imposed on a recurring basis, then it becomes an annual tax on an exercise of a constitutional right,” he says. “We don’t think that’s appropriate, so that can be a sticking point with us.”
Rifle owners have long complained about Chicago’s annual registration process, which can take up to six months each year.
“It can take so long … no one can get through all the hoops,” says Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. Mr. Pearson says he is tracking what form of the ordinance the Chicago City Council approves on Friday, to determine if it needs to be challenged.
“I’m glad we’re seeing some movement on it. We’ll have to test the constitutionality of [what they] are proposing later,” he says.
The proposed ordinance also prohibits assault weapons and gun shops. Gura considers the latter ban “extreme” and says it is no different than if the government decided it wanted to ban the sale of books it determined were not in its favor.
“To say there can be no commerce in something that is explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution is troubling,” he says.
Daley says all aspects of the ban are constitutionally sound because they focus on gun ownership in the home, which is what the high court declared to be protected by the Second Amendment. Guns are “for self-defense and self-defense only,” he added, and if people were really committed to gun safety, they would start by not owning guns.
“Although people have a constitutional right to have a handgun in their home … the best way to avoid firearm-related injuries and deaths is to not have a gun in the home in the first place,” he says.
So, you can have a gun, but we will determine what kind and only if you can afford our massive fees. Oh, you can’t afford it? Oh well, sorry no gun for you but hey, at least we gave you the opportunity, even though we forbid them to be sold here.
How about Washington D.C. where a preacher was arrested for answering a security guards question about weapons, saying yes, he had two pistols under his seat. From Johnson City Press:
Pistol-packing preacher protests arrest; DC police confiscate guns
For the rest of his life Pastor William Duncan of Caldwell Springs Baptist Church will remember the Fourth of July as the day he lost his freedom.
“I learned our freedoms can be taken away in a heartbeat,” the 64-year-old Duncan said of the ordeal he encountered in Washington, D.C., when he was arrested in front of his shocked family and forced to spend last month’s Fourth of July weekend in the city’s jails.
The nightmare for the entire Duncan Family began with a trip to the nation’s capital to celebrate Independence Day and enjoy the spectacular fireworks show on the Mall.
Duncan had been to Washington a few times in the past but his wife, Carolyn, had never been there. Accompanying them were their daughter, son-in-law and his 4-year-old granddaughter and 9-month-old grandson. Duncan’s daughter is a police officer, and her husband is a federal agent.
The family’s ordeal began when they reached the hotel’s parking garage, which is shared with a Federal Emergency Management Agency building. A security guard at the parking garage entrance asked if Duncan had any weapons. Duncan said he carried two Smith and Wesson pistols under his seat.
Unaware that his Tennessee handgun carry permit was not valid in the District of Columbia, Duncan was surprised when police were called. He was even more surprised by the belligerent attitude of the officer in charge. Surprise became shock when federal agents and a Special Weapons and Tactics team arrived. The street in front of the hotel was blocked off.
“It looked like the middle of New York City and they had just arrested Osama bin Laden,” Duncan said.
Duncan’s federal agent son-in-law attempted to help him. He identified himself and explained the family was in town to celebrate Independence Day and that Duncan was a Baptist preacher and not a terrorist.
Soon the federal officers were satisfied there was no threat and left. The hotel security people said they did not have a problem and offered to store Duncan’s guns in the hotel safe during his stay. Most of the police also seemed satisfied that Duncan was not a threat. The one exception was the officer in charge.
“You know what you have done, you will have to go to jail,” the officer told him.
At the police station, the officer grilled Duncan about the reason for carrying two big guns.
“I told them I have arthritis and two bad shoulders. If someone attacked my family there was no other way I could protect them,” Duncan said.
The officer said he did not think it was likely anyone would attack him or his family. Duncan then told them the story of the Lillelid Family, who were traveling to a Jehovah’s Witness convention in Johnson City in 1997 when the four members of the family were shot at a rest stop. Only the 2-year-old son survived the shootings and he was left orphaned and permanently disabled.
“What would happen if someone like those thugs attack me and my family? The Lord said a man who won’t protect his family is worse than an infidel,” Duncan said.
After the questioning, Duncan was given his one call to his family. He told them he was being held without bond and he hoped to see them on Monday at his court hearing.
After a weekend in jail, Duncan took comfort when a public defender assured him his case would be dropped.
Duncan was quickly released on his own recognizance. He was allowed to return home and the case was dismissed three weeks later.
His problems are not yet over. Duncan wants the case expunged from his record and his guns returned.
Constitutionaly this man committed no crime. Locally however is another matter. His Right to bear arms did not carry over from Tennessee to Washington D.C. As our Rights come from God and not Government, Washington D.C is infringing on that Right and sent this man to jail for nothing. Notice the officer’s statement. It’s not likely anyone will attack you, you don’t need guns. How can anyone ever know if and when they will be attacked? Only prevention is preparedness, which is what this Pastor was arrested for. To add insult to injury they confiscated his weapons and have not returned them as of yet.
Do you have the freedom to work where you choose and get promoted based on Merit and Character? That depends on where you work and what type of job it is. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs, but went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process, according to previously undisclosed documents.
The Obama administration decided they didn’t trust the industry, and didn’t trust themselves, so you cannot work providing oil to the United States. Instead we will buy more from our enemies and complain about it. The Government decided for you that this industry is dangerous, regardless of how necessary it may be to energy production and the economy.
We also know now that General Motors used race and sex as factors in deciding which dealerships to close according to the Inspector General. And we recently learned that the Financial Reform Bill had within it diversity hiring quotas. From CNS News:
Financial Reform Bill Passed by House Would Create ‘Office of Minority and Women Inclusion’ in Every U.S. Financial Regulatory Agency
The financial regulations package recently passed by the House of Representatives would create a new diversity overseer at each of the major federal financial regulatory agencies, including the new ones created by the legislation itself.
It would also be responsible for making sure that each of the major federal financial regulators is hiring enough minorities and women, and contracting with enough minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
However, each individual diversity czar is responsible for defining exactly how many minorities, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses are satisfactory.
“[E]ach agency shall establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion that shall be responsible for all matters of the agency relating to diversity in management, employment, and business activities,” the legislation says. (The bill passed in the House on June 30; a Senate vote could occur as early as next week.)
In fact, each new diversity chief will be responsible for developing quota-like guidelines proscribing the ethnic and gender makeup of each regulator’s workforce, including upper management.
“Each Director shall develop standards for- (A) equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of the work-force and senior management of the agency,” it states.
These diversity offices will also be responsible for “assessing the diversity policies and practices of entities regulated by the agency.”
This means that in addition to monitoring every bank in the country, checking every financial institution in America to make sure they are not doing anything systemically risky, and trying to prevent another financial collapse, every federal financial regulator will also be counting the number of minority and female employees at banks and investment firms, big and small.
The proposed law would also mandate that federal financial regulators hire from certain types of minority- or women-only colleges and universities, advertise in minority- and women-focused publications, and partner with inner-city schools and other minority-focused organizations to hire or mentor more minorities and women.
The diversity offices will also be charged with enforcing the newly written diversity guidelines for each private sector company the regulator contracts with, meaning that they will be checking to ensure that each of the agency’s private contractors is following the agency’s diversity guidelines.
“The Director of each Office shall develop and implement standards and procedures to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency at all levels, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts,” the bill states.
This provision is significant because some of the same federal regulators who must establish these diversity offices – Treasury and Federal Reserve – make heavy use of the private sector on a regular basis. They have also relied heavily on the private financial sector in their responses to the financial crisis.
For example, the Fed’s Term Asset-Backed Lending Facility (TALF) program, which backstopped the securitization market during the height of the financial crisis, was actually run with the help of Bank of New York Mellon, an institution regulated by the New York Fed.
The TALF program, along with other Fed lending programs, had to maintain a strict level of secrecy to protect the banks using the program from irrational runs on their businesses. Because the securitization market had essentially collapsed, TALF’s customers had to remain anonymous if the government was to avoid setting an arbitrary – rather than market – price for securitized debt.
Had the markets learned which financial institutions were using Fed lending programs like TALF, they would have known which securities the Fed was taking as collateral for a particular loan amount. With such information in the public domain, the government would have essentially been fixing the price of asset-backed securities, rather than letting supply and demand set the price in the normal way.
The new diversity office at the Fed – and other financial regulators – apparently would be empowered to dig into such sensitive relationships under the guise of diversity enforcement, possibly endangering the programs and hamstringing their effectiveness.
If one of the new diversity czars thinks a financial firm is not being diverse enough, he potentially could recommend that the regulator terminate the contract(s) the regulator has with that firm.
So how does this translate? Your a white male, top of your class in accounting and economics and you can’t be hired. Maybe your a Black male and a genius, sorry no job for you, we need females. The position will go to the best candidate that fills the racial or sex based quota. It doent matter how qualified you are, it matters whether or not you are a man or a woman and what color your skin happens to be. A private firm might not meet the diversity quota, but can’t afford to hire anyone else, so what are it’s options? Lose the contract or fire and replace as many as necessary for diversity. That’s not equality.
How about the freedom to handle your own garbage? Depends on where you live now, but just might spread. Cleveland now has a special way of monitoring your garbage and how often you recycle. And Cleveland is not alone. From Cleveland.com:
High-tech carts will tell on Cleveland residents who don’t recycle … and they face $100 fine
It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling — and fine them $100 if they don’t.
The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.
The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.
Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard.
City Council on Wednesday approved spending $2.5 million on high-tech carts for 25,000 households across the city, expanding a pilot program that began in 2007 with 15,000 households.
The expansion will continue at 25,000 households a year until nearly all of the city’s 150,000 residences are included. Existing carts might be retrofitted with the microchips.
“We’re trying to automate our system to be a more efficient operation,” Owens said. “This chip will assist us in doing our job better.”
The chip-embedded carts are just starting to catch on elsewhere. The Washington, D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va., earlier this year announced it would issue carts to check whether people are recycling.
Some cities in England have used the high-tech trash carts for several years to weigh how much garbage people throw out. People are charged extra for exceeding allotted limits.
Your trash can will now decide if you are recycling enough or not and have you fined accordingly. You are being nudged right in your own home and monetarily punished if you do not comply.
How about the Right to Privacy? This right is being shredded. Apparently you no longer have the right to privacy of location. The Government is not wrong to track and follow anyone at anytime with or without a warrant. From Yahoo News/Time:
The Government’s New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.
That is the bizarre – and scary – rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants – with no need for a search warrant. (See a TIME photoessay on Cannabis Culture.)
It is a dangerous decision – one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.
This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle’s underside.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA’s actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.)
In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno’s privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the “curtilage,” a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government’s intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.
The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno’s driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited. (See the misadventures of the CIA.)
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month’s decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people’s. The court’s ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night.
Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. “There’s been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there’s one kind of diversity that doesn’t exist,” he wrote. “No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter.” The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of “cultural elitism.” (Read about one man’s efforts to escape the surveillance state.)
The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state - with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.
Fortunately, other courts are coming to a different conclusion from the Ninth Circuit’s – including the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court ruled, also this month, that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant. The issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
In these highly partisan times, GPS monitoring is a subject that has both conservatives and liberals worried. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s pro-privacy ruling was unanimous – decided by judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. (Comment on this story.)
Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. “1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last,” he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell’s totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: “Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we’re living in Oceania.”
So the Federal Government can,based on a whim or suspicion without any warrant, monitor where your personal location at all times with no justification necessary. Let us hope the Supreme Court overturns this one or we will be living 1984.
Are your Emails private? Uhoh, Maybe not. From the Electronic Fronteir Foundation:
Court Fails to Protect Privacy of Whistleblower’s Email
Today the Eleventh Circuit issued an unfortunate amended decision in Rehberg v. Hodges. The case arose from an egregious situation in which, among other misconduct, a prosecutor used a sham grand jury subpoena to obtain the private emails of whistleblower Charles Rehberg after he brought attention to systematic mismanagement of funds at a Georgia public hospital.
The Court held that Mr. Rehberg’s privacy interest in his emails held by his ISP was not “clearly established” and therefore his claim against the prosecutors could not proceed. The Court relied on a legal doctrine called qualified immunity, which holds that lawsuits against government officials for violations of constitutional rights cannot proceed unless those rights were “clearly established” at the time. The Court declined to rule on whether individuals have a privacy interest in the content of their emails.
We’re disappointed in this decision. Not only is it wrong for Mr. Rehberg, who had his emails turned over to a prosecutor based on a sham subpoena, but it’s troubling for the millions of individuals in the Eleventh Circuit who have their email stored with ISPs. Our most sensitive and private thoughts, ideas and correspondence are contained in our emails. The Fourth Amendment requires judicial supervision (usually a warrant) before the government can access your personal papers in order to protect against just the sort of abuse that Mr. Rehberg suffered — a rogue government official seeking to get your emails from your ISP with no court oversight and then turning it over to others who seek to harm you.
While the decision is very bad news for Mr. Rehberg, the Court did take the opportunity to correct some erroneous analysis in the panel’s previous decision. The earlier decision had held that the Fourth Amendment did not apply at all once an email was received by your ISP. The Court had written that a “person also loses a reasonable expectation of privacy in emails, at least after the email is sent to and received by a third party” and that “Rehberg’s voluntary delivery of emails to third parties constituted a voluntary relinquishment of the right to privacy in that information.” This is not the law, and the incorrect statements are no longer precedent. In other words, the Court did not rule out the possibility that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in your email. That is useful and will be important to other cases moving forward, as law professor Paul Ohm, who wrote an amicus brief in the case, has noted.
However, the Court did not rule that there was privacy protection for your emails either. Rather than embracing the obvious conclusion that our constitutional protections need to be recognized for email content, the court ducked the question, claiming that email is simply too new a technology for them to decide whether the Constitution applies. With all due respect, email is far too important to the daily lives of millions of Americans for its constitutional status to be unclear. Email content must be protected by the Fourth Amendment whether stored with an ISP or not. It’s long past time that the courts recognize that the constitutional privacy protections for our “papers” still apply when they are in digital form.
So two different Circuit Courts have voted against your Right to Privacy in two different ways, both of which are a blow to freedom. Makes this scenario all the more realistic:
These are not all the attacks ongoing on our freedoms, I cannot keep up with them all, but Big Government keeps growing, which means Rights, freedoms, and liberties will shrink and be infringed. The Principles of freedom cannot coexist with a Big Progressive Government. We can only hope for a significant victory in November to turn this tide around before we lose all of our Liberties.