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 Lautenberg wants to ban more from possessing guns. 
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 Post subject: Lautenberg wants to ban more from possessing guns.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:11 am 
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Your rights are an "odd divergence from federal law"

In an incident which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called "embarrassing" last year, bumbling bureaucrats (if that isn't too much of a redundancy) placed the elderly and venerated South African leader Nelson Mandela on the infamous "terrorist watch list":

WASHINGTON -- Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

At the time, Homeland Security Director Michael Certoff observed that the incident raised a "troubling and difficult debate" about who gets placed on the list, and why:

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says "common sense" suggests Mandela should be removed. He says the issue "raises a troubling and difficult debate about what groups are considered terrorists and which are not."

When ANC members apply for visas to the USA, they are flagged for questioning and need a waiver to be allowed in the country. In 2002, former ANC chairman Tokyo Sexwale was denied a visa. In 2007, Barbara Masekela, South Africa's ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2006, was denied a visa to visit her ailing cousin and didn't get a waiver until after the cousin had died, Berman's legislation says.

Moving forward a year, the debate became more troubling when the DHS (under Chertoff's replacement Janet Napolitano) suggested that right wing groups (such as anti-abortion protesters, certain veterans, and people overly concerned with the loss of their Second Amendment rights) should be watched.

...Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Whether these people were (like Nelson Mandela) added to the no-fly" list, who knows? The list is kept "confidential" --which means government employees, airline security people, police, and no doubt "private investigators" for a fee, can access it. The ACLU estimates that there are a million Americans on the list, and there have been complaints that even credit scores are factored in:

Among the complaints about the No Fly List is the use of credit reports in calculating the risk score. In response to the controversy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said in 2005 that they would not use credit scores to determine passengers' risk score and that they would comply with all rights guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments.

Somehow I don't find any of this reassuring. (The Wiki piece has a long list of false positives, including many children and people with common names.) However, it has to be recognized that this list was generated for use during the war on terror, and that there is no constitutional right to fly on a plane. It's an extraordinary measure passed for an extraordinary time. As I keep saying about the extraordinary measures adopted during the war on terror, it would have been one thing if their use had been limited strictly. The abuses are out of control and in light of recent news, things are getting worse.

In that regard, Glenn Reynolds linked a most recent development I consider very ominous, in the form of a New York Times article which reads more like an anti-Second Amendment infomercial than a news story. Author Eric Lichtblau (who seems to have jettisoned his normal concern with civil liberties) seems unpleasantly startled over the fact that the many people who managed to get on this list have not had an important constitutional right taken away:

WASHINGTON -- People on the government's terrorist watch list tried to buy guns nearly 1,000 times in the last five years, and federal authorities cleared the purchases 9 times out of 10 because they had no legal way to stop them, according to a new government report.

In one case, a person on the list was able to buy more than 50 pounds of explosives.

The new statistics, compiled in a report from the Government Accountability Office that is scheduled for public release next week, draw attention to an odd divergence in federal law: people placed on the government's terrorist watch list can be stopped from getting on a plane or getting a visa, but they cannot be stopped from buying a gun.

Odd divergence?

Has a fundamental constitutional right now become an odd divergence?

What is an odd divergence from the American tradition of freedom is the watch list itself, but the reason people have acquesiced to it is because of its emergency nature and the fact that it is not supposed to take away fundamental constitutional rights. Like the right to keep and bear arms.

Or free speech.

Would the Times consider it an "odd divergence" that "people placed on the government's terrorist watch list can be stopped from getting on a plane or getting a visa, but they cannot be stopped from writing or speaking"?

There's an elderly liberal senator who may think so, for he believes that the failure of the no-fly list to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights is a "glaring omission"

"This is a glaring omission, and it's a security issue," Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who requested the study, said in an interview.

Mr. Lautenberg plans to introduce legislation on Monday that would give the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales to people on terror watch lists.

There's a serious problem with this. People on the no-fly list are placed there for an infinite variety of reasons, and there is no due process, nor is there any right to due process. (I know a man who told me he was placed on the list simply for arguing with airport security.)

I realize that liberals like Lautenberg hate the Second Amendment, and believe that the more people who aren't allowed to buy guns, the better. But this is a grotesque constitutional abuse. With the one hand, they want to expand the no fly list to include right wing political dissidents -- including, in a Kafkaesque twist, Americans who buy guns in fear that their rights will be taken away. And now with the other hand, they want to expand its use to deprive citizens (who haven't even been accused, much less charged with or convicted of crimes) of their Second Amendment rights. (If you're so paranoid that you think we're going to take your guns away, then we should take your guns away!)

I won't mince words here. For even threatening to introduce such a bill, I think Frank Lautenberg has violated his oath of office and disgraced the Senate.

I realize that at 85 he's still a young chap, but he's the best argument for term limits to come along since Robert Byrd.


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 Post subject: Re: Lautenberg wants to ban more from possessing guns.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:45 pm 
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My uncle gets stopped every time he flies. It's a pain. His name? William Allen. I bet that are a thousand Bill Allens in the US. You get a shiny nickle if you can figure out which one allegedly did something that screwed it up for the rest of them.

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