08/22/12

Crazy – Political Arrests in America

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

The FBI and Secret Service initiated the arrest of Brandon J. Raub after he posted politically incorrect comments on the internet. You wouldn’t know about this incident by watching the large news media outlets since it’s only being discussed on places like Facebook and within the blogging community; wonder why that is? I actually looked for a report from any large news outlet using “Marine Brandon Raub” as key search words and could find nothing on the first several pages of Google other than blogger entries; the Huffington Post being about the largest contributor, and I’m not a big fan of the “Huff.”

“Police – acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional – took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.”

From what I’ve read, and I’m not alone on this, Raub’s postings weren’t much different than many other concerned citizens who’ve been paying attention to the manner in which our government is being run into the ground at the expense of individual liberties and trampling God given rights supposedly protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. His arrest constitutes a form of tyranny usually associated with third world dictators trying to silence their opposition; being arrested for physiological reasons was a favorite tactic under Joseph Stalin, or more recently, 200,000 political prisoners held in North Korean gulags.

The late Kim Jong Il had an explanation, he said, “… punishing the enemies of the state, protects the North Korean people’s human rights.”

These are children of folks kept in “protective custody” because their parents didn’t like the way Kim Jong Il treated the people of North Korea; clearly they’re a threat just as Brandon Raub needed to be held under protective custody for voicing his political opinions on Facebook.

John Whitehead, a lawyer for The Rutherford Institute, represented Raub at a hearing held to determine Raub’s competency and mental state. Here is where Americans need to pay attention as Whitehead encapsulated a concern which affects everyone.

“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon,” Whitehead said.

{…}

“The big concern, Whitehead said, is whether government officials are monitoring citizens’ private Facebook pages and detaining people with whom they disagree.”

Most of us are familiar with the old black and white movie, Miracle on 34th Street. Kris Kringle challenged the abilities of Macy’s employee psychologist and was incarcerated in the local mental hospital under the charge he was a danger to himself and the general public simply because Kris believed himself to be Santa Claus.

His lawyer and friend went to the mental hospital to get him released; but since the State had determined Kris to be a danger to himself and others nothing could be done short of completing the court’s drawn out processes. It only took a neurotic self-absorbed psychologist, an obliging prosecutor and a compliant judge to have Santa Claus removed from society.

Kris tried to make sense of what had happened as he explained, “…but I’m in here and he’s out there;” hum, not much different than what Brandon Raub might be saying as he sits in a mental institution against his will.

It would seem our government is testing the waters, seeing just how far beyond constitutional restraints they can go before enough citizens call them on it; much the way TSA and Homeland Security have trampled on the 4th Amendment with unwarranted searches. We now have the FBI and Secret Service agents kidnapping law abiding individuals who speak their minds in opposition to a tyrannical government.

The drive by media is in the pocket of big government, so you won’t hear them clamoring for justice on behalf of Brandon Raub; that will be up to the blogging community and civic minded folks like The Rutherford Institute. I never thought I’d see the day when an American citizen was arrested for his/her political rantings; that’s just crazy!

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

08/22/12

Egypt’s New Democratic President is Indifferent to Genuine Democratic Reform

By: Ashraf Ramelah
Voice of the Copts

President Morsi is moving rapidly to create an Egyptian state of his own vision and that of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Less than 60 days ago in the presence of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Mr. Morsi swore an oath to uphold the Egyptian constitution. He has already broken that promise by illegally amending the constitution to extend the powers of the executive office. He is now unilaterally exercising his expanded authority to tighten his grip on Egypt’s media and military.

Two days before the presidential election in June, Egypt’s military Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) contemplated the powerful position of the presidency and sought to limit the authority of the executive office by amending Egypt’s constitution for the second time. This change was final with the law placing the authority to alter or rewrite Egypt’s constitution in the hands of the current Constitution Assembly, the one chosen by the former Parliament (now dissolved) and SCAF.

However, President Morsi ignored the law and conveniently added his own amendment to the existing constitution which voids SCAF’s amendment. Morsi effectively gave himself unlimited powers by reversing SCAF’s amendment which placed limits on the power of the executive office. Moreover, after only a few days in office, Mr. Morsi had already made himself an enemy of the court by defying the high court’s ruling to dissolve (due to a corrupted election) the MB-majority parliament. President Morsi decided to reinstate the Parliament and dismantle the Supreme Constitutional Court and is working now to accomplish this through his Attorney General.

Although officially no longer a member of the MB since the start of the presidential election bid, President Morsi has surrounded himself with MB aides and advisors. However, President Morsi recently appointed a member of the Salafi party, Mr. Hasham Kandel, to be his Prime Minister. If this is the kind of inclusivity Mr. Morsi pledged to the outside world, the world has much to fear for Egypt.

In the first stages of Egypt’s democratic transition, Mr. Morsi has taken steps to add a religious component to his government. His chief of staff is a transfer from the MB headquarters to the presidential office and has loyal ties to Mr. Badeeh, the spiritual guide and leader of the MB (el-morshid). It would appear that he is to serve as a liaison between the two offices with Mr. Morsi submitting his work to Mr. Badeeh for approval as he executes directives – similar to today’s Iran with head of state, Ahmadinejad, linked to religious head, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Lately, the man representing the Freedom and Justice Party who was elected to head Egypt’s secular government on a path to democracy has allowed the MB militia, the military wing of the MB, to police the streets and harass citizens into behavior compliant with Islamic law, religious law of the Muslim faith known as Sharia. Much scarier than Mubarak’s police system which the people resented and feared, the MB militia has been using force, fear tactics and threats, to control speech and dress. It is no surprise that Hamas, coming from outside the country with deep connections to Egypt’s MB, is able and willing to build the ranks of the MB militia, which was previously underground during the Mubarak presidency. Photos taken in 2010 showed the militia marching in military style on the campus of Cairo University – black shirts, black pants, and covered faces – and now Mr. Morsi presides over its expansion.

Pro-democracy liberals, including Copts, fear that human rights may vanish altogether and the new government will become a one-election “democracy.” Referring to Egypt’s aspirations in a speech on July 30 at the release of the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report, Mrs. Clinton described “real democracy” as “where no group or faction can impose their authority or their ideology or their religion on anyone else.” In all his recent decisions, Mr. Morsi has yet to show us a move toward genuine democratic reform.

After only one month in office at the end of July, President Morsi and his Secretary of Communications, Salah Abed El Maqsud, mounted an attack on the government-controlled (but privately run) national press and threatened to black out TV satellite channels and quit publishing newspapers. On August 9th, just ten days after their warning, the operations of Tawfik Okasha, the owner and talk-show host of a commercial satellite TV station, Al-Phareen, and the newspaper, Al-Destour, along with independent journalists, have been shut down. All are accused of insults and hate speech — defined by the Morsi government as criticism of Mr. Morsi, military personnel, or the new government — and waiting in jail indefinitely to face trial. Is President Morsi sowing seeds for a brand new democracy or war with his fellow Egyptians?

Egypt’s media returned to private ownership after the Nasser era, but always with government appointees in key positions — a system allowing the regime to filter incoming messaging and adapt outgoing messaging for propaganda purposes outside the country. In the history of modern Egypt, never has its regime overturned as many major media heads (50) at one time as Mr. Morsi has now done. By eliminating all his opposition, Mr. Morsi appears on a mission to protect his sovereignty and solidify his power at the expense of democratic principles — free speech and a free press. Is this Egypt’s path to a free and equal society for which its freedom fighters ousted Mubarak?

A few days later, on August 12th, Mr. Morsi uprooted the top tier of Egypt’s military establishment firing a long list of key personnel in high level positions. First he met with Field Marshal Tantawi and Colonel Annan, Tantawi’s chief of staff, and later that evening Tantawi learned from TV news reports that both he and his assistant were fired and replaced with MB sympathizers. Not surprisingly, Mr Morsi also terminated the newly-appointed Director of Egyptian Military Intelligence, Mr. Mufi, who has always solidly opposed entry of MB members to the Egyptian military academies. Is all this enough to fortify the President and his Islamist backers to avert the coming backlash by the people against his government anticipated on August 24th and 25th? It would indeed afford him unanimous support in a military strike against Israel if rumors should prove true.

In the absence of a legislative branch, the new president of Egypt acts alone in determining what’s best for Egypt. In line with MB goals, Arabs living in Gaza are now Egypt’s top priority. As the summer’s seething temperatures strain electricity consumption in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and all major Egyptian cities, electrical power is shutting down for six to eight hours a day around the clock — more sacrifice for suffering Egyptians who are weary from revolution, disorder, and economic turmoil. Lack of refrigeration is spoiling food, and patients are dying in hospitals as a result of Egypt’s diverting electricity to Gaza –- one more factor contributing to Egypt’s despair and instability.

As the world watches, we will see fully if President Morsi, an Islamist and former decision-maker in the MB, keeps his commitment to universal human rights and democratic principles, in particular religious freedom. If his initial days in office are any indication, there is a rough road ahead for the freedom seekers of Egypt as the country, in the words of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, “navigates its unprecedented democratic transition.”

Ashraf Ramelah is founder and president of Voice of the Copts, a human rights organization working to free the oppressed and persecuted Copts of Egypt. www.voiceofthecopts.org

08/22/12

Watcher’s Council Nominations – ‘Legitimate Rape’ Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Ah, the Democrat strategy… (A) Find a Senate race featuring an unpopular incumbent you’re almost certain to lose, with a contested Republican primary, especially in a state with an inexpensive media market, (B) pick the least likely GOP candidate to defeat your incumbent, especially if he or she has a history of being a loose cannon and shooting his or her mouth off, (C) stick big time money behind them so that they win the nomination or (D) set up a situation for the new GOP nominee to say something abysmally stupid and then use your media lackeys to make a nationwide media firestorm out of it.

That’s how you take an almost certain Senate takeover by Republicans and turn it back into a 50-50 horse race at worst. Even better, you turn the national focus away from the economy and an incumbent Democrat president’s execrable performance in office and put it back where you want it – on abortion and the so-called ‘Republican war on women’ meme. Especially when you can rely on the stupidity, shortsightedness and grubby ambition of the nominee in question to stay in the race and keep the game going until the November elections.

Talk about committing rape!

Not good for the country in the least, but good for Democrats and admirable in its deviousness. Give the Alinskyite devil his due.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

Council News:

I’m very proud to announce that Tom White over at VA Right! was named Blogger of the Month by the AFP news service… quite an honor, mais oui. Congrats, Tom!

This week, Right Truth, TinaTrent.com, Ask Marion and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status by sending in some killer pieces.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) anywhere in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category.

Then just return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s take a look and see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!