09/16/20

White House Historic Abraham Accords Declaration Signing

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Yes indeed, a new dawn beginning in the Middle East as stated by President Trump. The signing of the Abraham Declaration by the United States, Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates is now official. Discussions with other countries in the region includes: Oman, Morocco, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and possibly Lebanon.

WATCH: ‘Six more Arab states ready to make peace’ as ...

The text is as follows:

We, the undersigned, recognize the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East and around the world based on mutual understanding and coexistence, as well as respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom.

We encourage efforts to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace among the three Abrahamic religions and all humanity.

We believe that the best way to address challenges is through cooperation and dialogue and that developing friendly relations among States advances the interests of lasting peace in the Middle East and around the world.

We seek tolerance and respect for every person in order to make this world a place where all can enjoy a life of dignity and hope, no matter their race, faith or ethnicity.

We support science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire humankind, maximize human potential and bring nations closer together.

We seek to end radicalization and conflict to provide all children a better future.

The peace treaty text reads as follows:

The Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the State of Israel (hereinafter, the “Parties”)

Aspiring to realize the vision of a Middle East region that is stable, peaceful and prosperous, for the benefit of all States and peoples in the region;

Desiring to establish peace, diplomatic and friendly relations, co-operation and full normalization of ties between them and their peoples, in accordance with this Treaty, and to chart together a new path to unlock the vast potential of their countries and of the region;

Reaffirming the “Joint Statement of the United States, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates” (the “Abraham Accords”), dated 13 August 2020;

Believing that the further development of friendly relations meets the interests of lasting peace in the Middle East and that challenges can only be effectively addressed by cooperation and not by conflict;

Determined to ensure lasting peace, stability, security and prosperity for both their States and to develop and enhance their dynamic and innovative economies;

Reaffirming their shared commitment to normalize relations and promote stability through diplomatic engagement, increased economic cooperation and other close coordination;

Reaffirming also their shared belief that the establishment of peace and full normalization between them can help transform the Middle East by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations;

Recognizing that the Arab and Jewish peoples are descendants of a common ancestor, Abraham, and inspired, in that spirit, to foster in the Middle East a reality in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and peoples of all faiths, denominations, beliefs and nationalities live in, and are committed to, a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding and mutual respect;

Recalling the reception held on January 28, 2020, at which President Trump presented his Vision for Peace, and committing to continuing their efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, realistic and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

Recalling the Treaties of Peace between the State of Israel and the Arab Republic of Egypt and between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and committed to working together to realize a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both peoples, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity;

Emphasizing the belief that the normalization of Israeli and Emirati relations is in the interest of both peoples and contributes to the cause of peace in the Middle East and the world;

Expressing deep appreciation to the United States for its profound contribution to this historic achievement;

Have agreed as follows:

1, Establishment of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Normalization: Peace, diplomatic relations and full normalization of bilateral ties are hereby established between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel.

  1. General Principles: The Parties shall be guided in their relations by the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law governing relations among States. In particular, they shall recognize and respect each other’s sovereignty and right to live in peace and security, develop friendly relations of cooperation between them and their peoples, and settle all disputes between them by peaceful means.
  2. Establishment of Embassies: The Parties shall exchange resident ambassadors as soon as practicable after the signing of this Treaty, and shall conduct diplomatic and consular relations in accordance with the applicable rules of international law.
  3. Peace and Stability: The Parties shall attach profound importance to mutual understanding, cooperation and coordination between them in the spheres of peace and stability, as a fundamental pillar of their relations and as a means for enhancing those spheres in the Middle East as a whole.

They undertake to take the necessary steps to prevent any terrorist or hostile activities against each other on or from their respective territories, as well as deny any support for such activities abroad or allowing such support on or from their respective territories. Recognizing the new era of peace and friendly relations between them, as well as the centrality of stability to the well-being of their respective peoples and of the region, the Parties undertake to consider and discuss these matters regularly, and to conclude detailed agreements and arrangements on coordination and cooperation.

  1. Cooperation and Agreements in Other Spheres: As an integral part of their commitment to peace, prosperity, diplomatic and friendly relations, cooperation and full normalization, the Parties shall work to advance the cause of peace, stability and prosperity throughout the Middle East, and to unlock the great potential of their countries and of the region. For such purposes, the Parties shall conclude bilateral agreements in the following spheres at the earliest practicable date, as well as in other spheres of mutual interest as may be agreed:- Finance and Investment- Civil Aviation- Visas and Consular Services- Innovation, Trade and Economic Relations

– Healthcare

– Science, Technology and Peaceful Uses of Outer-Space

– Tourism, Culture and Sport

– Energy

– Environment

– Education

– Maritime Arrangements

– Telecommunications and Post

– Agriculture and Food Security

– Water

– Legal Cooperation

Any such agreements concluded before the entry into force of this Treaty shall enter into effect with the entry into force of this Treaty unless otherwise stipulated therein. Agreed principles for cooperation in specific spheres are annexed to this Treaty and form an integral part thereof.

  1. Mutual Understanding and Co-existence: The Parties undertake to foster mutual understanding, respect, co-existence and a culture of peace between their societies in the spirit of their common ancestor, Abraham, and the new era of peace and friendly relations ushered in by this Treaty, including by cultivating people-to-people programs, interfaith dialogue and cultural, academic, youth, scientific, and other exchanges between their peoples. They shall conclude and implement the necessary visa and consular services agreements and arrangements so as to facilitate efficient and secure travel for their respective nationals to the territory of each other. The Parties shall work together to counter extremism, which promotes hatred and division, and terrorism and its justifications, including by preventing radicalization and recruitment and by combating incitement and discrimination. They shall work towards establishing a High-Level Joint Forum for Peace and Co-Existence dedicated to advancing these goals.
  2. Strategic Agenda for the Middle East: Further to the Abraham Accords, the Parties stand ready to join with the United States to develop and launch a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East” in order to expand regional diplomatic, trade, stability and other cooperation. They are committed to work together, and with the United States and others, as appropriate, in order to advance the cause of peace, stability and prosperity in the relations between them and for the Middle East as a whole, including by seeking to advance regional security and stability; pursue regional economic opportunities; promote a culture of peace across the region; and consider joint aid and development programs.
  3. Other Rights and Obligations: This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting, in any way, the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations. The Parties shall take all necessary measures for the application in their bilateral relations of the provisions of the multilateral conventions of which they are both parties, including the submission of appropriate notification to the depositaries of such conventions.
  4. Respect for Obligations: The Parties undertake to fulfill in good faith their obligations under this Treaty, without regard to action or inaction of any other party and independently of any instrument inconsistent with this Treaty. For the purposes of this paragraph each Party represents to the other that in its opinion and interpretation there is no inconsistency between their existing treaty obligations and this Treaty. The Parties undertake not to enter into any obligation in conflict with this Treaty.

Subject to Article 103 of the Charter of the United Nations, in the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Parties under the present Treaty and any of their other obligations, the obligations under this Treaty shall be binding and implemented. The Parties further undertake to adopt any legislation or other internal legal procedure necessary in order to implement this Treaty, and to repeal any national legislation or official publications inconsistent with this Treaty.

  1. Ratification and Entry into Force: This Treaty shall be ratified by both Parties as soon as practicable in conformity with their respective national procedures and will enter into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification.
  2. Settlement of Disputes: Disputes arising out of the application or interpretation of this Treaty shall be resolved by negotiation. Any such dispute which cannot be settled by negotiation may be referred to conciliation or arbitration subject to the agreement of the Parties.
  3. Registration: This Treaty shall be transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration in accordance with the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Done at Washington, DC, this day Elul 26th, 5780, Muharram 27th, 1442, which corresponds to 15 September 2020, in the Hebrew, Arabic and English languages, all texts being equally authentic. In case of divergence of interpretation, the English text shall prevail.

For the State of Israel: H.E. Benjamin, Netanyahu, Prime Minister

For the United Arab Emirates: H.H. Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Witnessed by: H.E. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America

ANNEX

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel, the Parties shall conclude bilateral agreements in spheres of mutual interest, in furtherance of which they have agreed to the following provisions. Such provisions are annexed to the Treaty and form an integral part thereof.

Finance and Investment

Further to the Agreed Protocol signed between the Parties on September 1, 2020, in Abu Dhabi, the Parties shall cooperate to expeditiously deepen and broaden bilateral investment relations, and give high priority to concluding agreements in the sphere of finance and investment, recognizing the key role of these agreements in the economic development of the Parties and the Middle East as a whole. The Parties reaffirm their commitment to protecting investors, consumers, market integrity and financial stability, as well as maintaining all applicable regulatory standards. Recognizing also their shared goal to advance regional economic development and the flow of goods and services, the Parties shall endeavor to promote collaborations on strategic regional infrastructure projects and shall explore the establishment of a multilateral working group for the “Tracks for Regional Peace” project.

Civil Aviation

The Parties acknowledge the importance of ensuring regular direct flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, for passengers and cargo, as an essential means for developing and promoting their relations. They recognize as applicable to each other the rights, privileges and obligations provided for by the multilateral aviation agreements to which they are both a party, their annexes and any amendments thereof applicable to both Parties, particularly the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, opened for signature at Chicago on the seventh day of December 1944, and the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement. Accordingly, the Parties shall as soon as practicable conclude all the necessary agreements and arrangements governing civil aviation, and consequently work towards establishing an international air corridor between their two States in accordance with international law. They shall also reach and implement the necessary agreements and arrangements with respect to visas and consular services to facilitate travel for the citizens of both States.

Tourism

The Parties affirm their mutual desire to promote tourism cooperation between them as a key component of economic development and of developing closer people-to-people and cultural ties. To this end, the Parties shall facilitate the exchange of information through advertisement spots, published and audiovisual promotional materials, and participation in tourist fairs. They shall also work together to promote joint tourism projects and packages between tourist operators so as to enhance tourism from third States. They shall work towards carrying out reciprocal study tours in order to increase knowledge in the development, management and marketing of heritage, cultural and rural tourism with a view to diversifying and deepening touristic links between them; and endeavor to utilize national marketing budgets to promote mutual tourism between the States.

Innovation, Trade and Economic Relations

The Parties shall enhance and expand their cooperation in innovation, trade and economic relations, so that the dividends of peace are felt across their societies. Recognizing that the principle of the free and unimpeded flow of goods and services should guide their relations, as well as the potential for diversification of bilateral trade opportunities, the Parties shall cooperate in order to enable favorable conditions for trade, and the reduction of trade barriers.

Science, Technology and Peaceful Uses of Outer-Space

The Parties acknowledge the important role of science, technology and innovation in the growth of multiple key sectors and shall strengthen joint action and mutual cooperation in scientific and technological advancement.

This shall include furthering scientific cooperation and exchange, including between scientists, research and academic institutions, pursuing the establishment of joint research and development centers, and exploring the possibility of joint funding of research and scientific projects in select fields of mutual interest.

The Parties further express their common interest in establishing and developing mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, in a manner consistent with each Party’s respective applicable national laws and international obligations.

Such cooperation may include implementation of joint programs, projects and activities in the fields of science, space exploration, space related technologies and education, exchange of experts, information and best practices, and the promotion of cooperation between their respective space industries.

Environment

The Parties acknowledge the importance of protecting, preserving and improving the environment, and shall promote environmental innovation for the sustainable development of the region and beyond. The Parties shall endeavor to cooperate to develop environmental protection strategies on priority issues, including on biodiversity conservation, marine environment protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation, and on the possible establishment of a center for developing pioneering solutions to climate challenges in arid and semi-arid environments.

Telecommunications and Post

The Parties recognize the necessity of mutually beneficial cooperation for the continued development of telecommunications, information technologies and postal services. They take note of the establishment between them of direct communications services, including telephone lines, and agree to promote, in accordance with relevant international conventions and regulations, direct postal exchange, submarine cables and e-commerce solutions, as well as utilize available satellite systems, fiber optical communication, and broadcasting services. The Parties will strive to develop frameworks for innovation in ICT, including advanced fixed and wireless communications, collaboration on 5G networks, smart cities, and use of ICT solutions to foster innovation and the creation of best services.

Healthcare

The Parties welcome progress made in cooperation between them regarding the treatment of, and the development of a vaccine for, the Covid-19 virus, as a sign of the tremendous potential for cooperation between them in the healthcare sphere. Recognizing the importance of building ties in the fields of health and medicine, the Parties shall cooperate, inter alia, on: medical education, training and simulations, digital health and artificial intelligence innovation in the health sector, and emergency management and preparedness.

Agriculture and Food Security

The Parties recognize the great importance of sustainable agricultural development, recognizing its vital role in addressing food security concerns, as well as in the preservation of the environment. They shall cooperate to harness and maximize existing technologies, actively facilitate new collaborations, and share and develop knowledge, technologies and innovative approaches in the field of arid agriculture, irrigation technologies, mariculture techniques in shallow sea water, sustainable nutritious fish feed production, and seed enhancement in hot and humid climates.

Water

The Parties recognize the critical importance of sustainable water use and shall cooperate for their mutual benefit to address issues of water supply, water treatment and management, water security, efficiency, wastewater management and re-use, as well as water conservation and desalination.

Energy

The Parties take note of the strategic importance of the energy sector and in particular of their need to promote renewable energy, cooperation in the natural gas field, regional grids, alternative energy and energy security.

They shall advance and develop mutual cooperation in energy projects, share best practices and discuss policies in energy forums that will help to promote and unlock the energy potential of the region, coordinating where appropriate with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), headquartered in Abu Dhabi.

Maritime Arrangements

Each Party shall recognize the right of vessels of the other Party to innocent passage through its territorial waters in accordance with international law. Each Party will grant normal access to its ports for vessels and cargoes of the other Party, as well as vessels and cargoes destined for or coming from the other Party. Such access shall be granted on the same terms as generally applicable to vessels and cargoes of other nations. The Parties shall conclude agreements and arrangements in maritime affairs, as may be required.

Legal Cooperation

Recognizing the importance of a supporting legal framework for the movement of people and goods and for fostering a continuous business friendly environment between them, the Parties shall make best efforts to grant each other the widest measure of legal cooperation, including, inter alia, in respect of mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters, in accordance with their national laws and shall endeavor to conclude specific agreements and arrangements in this sphere.

We pursue a vision of peace, security, and prosperity in the Middle East and around the world.

In this spirit, we warmly welcome and are encouraged by the progress already made in establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and its neighbors in the region under the principles of the Abraham Accords.  We are encouraged by the ongoing efforts to consolidate and expand such friendly relations based on shared interests and a shared commitment to a better future.

09/16/20

Pennsylvania Court Agrees There Is No Pandemic Exception To Constitution

By: Daniel John Sobieski

Does the Wuhan virus, which arguably escaped from a Chinese virology lab, supersede the rights guaranteed to American citizens under the U.S. Constitution? U.S. Federal District Judge William Stickman IV has ruled in a case brought before him that there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and that the Bill of Rights cannot be trampled with impunity whenever there is a health emergency leftist ideologues try to exploit to impose their desired control over every aspect of our daily lives.  As Reason Magazine reports:

A federal judge on Monday has ruled that lockdown restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), including a ban on large gatherings and the closure of “non-life sustaining businesses,” are unconstitutional.

While those restrictions were “well-intentioned,” wrote U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, “good intentions toward a laudable end are not alone enough to uphold governmental action against a constitutional challenge. Indeed, the greatest threats to our system of constitutional liberties may arise when the ends are laudable and the intent is good—especially in time of emergency.”

In May, Wolf and Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine were sued by a coalition of counties, federal and state elected representatives, and several small businesses over the state’s coronavirus restrictions. The restrictions included a shelter-in-place order requiring people to stay in their homes, a closure of all “non-life-sustaining” businesses, and bans on gatherings of more than 25 people indoors, or 250 people for outdoor gatherings….

In regards to restrictions on gatherings, Stickman ruled that these were not “narrowly tailored” but “rather, they place substantially more burdens on gatherings than needed to achieve their stated purpose” of controlling the transmission of the virus….

Stickman similarly ruled that Wolf’s order closing non-life sustaining businesses was also overly broad and arbitrary, and deprived Pennsylvanians of their right to earn a living under the 14th Amendment. Stickman also wrote that population-wide lockdowns are “such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional.”

Judge Stickman agrees with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s observation in a tweet on Constitution Day about the government taking away our freedoms under the stalking horse of protecting our health:

Happy #ConstitutionDay. We should never forget the Constitution wasn’t written to restrain citizen’s behavior it was written to restrain the government’s behavior. Protecting the Constitution protects our liberties.

Again, does the Wuhan virus which arguably escaped from a Chinese virology lab supersede the rights guaranteed to American citizens under the U.S. Constitution? The owners of a New Jersey gym think not. They want to earn a living and pursue their American dream and like most business owners and their customers, they are not stupid, suicidal, or children. They are American citizens who are watching their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness being ripped away by dime-store Napoleons and tyrants who see this pandemic as a chance to pursue the liberal progressive dream of controlling every aspect of our lives:

Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey reopened on Monday morning in defiance of Governor Phil Murphy’s Coronavirus lockdown order.

“We think so far, this has been just a gross violation of constitutional rights,” said Atilis Gym co-owner Ian Smith in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “The 14th Amendment states that no state shall pass any law that infringes upon our rights as citizens, and we’ve been forced into our homes. Enough is enough.”

As some states, mostly red states, open up and people begin to regain their lives and their liberty, it is clear this toothpaste is out of its tube. American citizens are as mad as hell and clearly aren’t going to take it anymore. Many, like the Texas salon owner who risked incarceration to feed her children, are not going to wait for an official green light from governors and mayors they feel have no right to usurp their rights or politicians who insist imposing a police state is for our own good, our health, and safety. The owners of the New Jersey gym have found out that the price of liberty is indeed eternal vigilance – and resistance to government tyranny:

A New Jersey gym reopened again Tuesday in defiance of the state’s orders against workout facilities reopening during the coronavirus outbreak and again police arrived to issue tickets to the owners. At least one patron was also arrested leaving the gym after refusing to give his name.

Police also warned supporters gathered outside to leave or they could also face summonses.

“This gathering is a violation of the governor’s order,” Bellmawr Lt. Mike Draham said. “You are directed to immediately and peaceably disperse. If you do not disperse you can be charged. You can protest from your vehicle…That’s all we have right now.”

They also have the frightening words of the Democrat Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy in a recent interview with Tucker Carlson of Foz News:

Carlson asked Murphy about the arrests in Ocean County, N.J., of 15 men who were congregating for a rabbi’s funeral at a Lakewood synagogue in early April. “

The Bill of Rights, as you well know, protects Americans’ rights — enshrines their right to practice their religion as they see fit and to congregate together to assemble peacefully,” Carlson said. “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?”

“That’s above my pay grade, Tucker,” Murphy replied. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. … We looked at all the data and the science and it says people have to stay away from each other. That is the best thing we can do to break the back of the curve of this virus, that leads to lower hospitalization and ultimately fatalities.”

The very Constitution you took an oath to protect and defend is above your pay grade, Governor? This is the attitude Americans are starting to rebel against. Democrats accused Trump of being a dictator. Governors such as Murphy and many mayors too are little dictators, little Napoleons whose true colors are being revealed, who believe in data and science but not liberty and freedom and not an American people who tamed a continent, split the atom, went to the moon, beat Nazism, Fascism, and Communism.

Thankfully, some courts are beginning to wake up and pay attention to these arbitrary and unconstitutional assaults on our liberties as free Americans unite and pursue legal action. In North Carolina, a District Court judge actually wondered what happened to the concept of equal protection under the law:

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s restrictions on indoor religious services show a distrust of those who are worshipping, according to a ruling from a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III temporarily blocked Cooper’s restrictions on indoor services in a Saturday ruling, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reported.

Dever said that Cooper’s stay-at-home order presents a double standard by only allowing up to 10 people at a religious service while letting businesses accommodate up to 50 people at a time….

“The record, at this admittedly early stage of the case, reveals that the Governor appears to trust citizens to perform non-religious activities indoors (such as shopping or working or selling merchandise) but does not trust them to do the same when they worship together indoors,” the judge’s ruling said.

The judge did not mention that under Cooper’s order the Last Supper would be illegal – an indoor gathering of more than 10 people. Freedom of religion is just one of our liberties under assault and preempted by authoritarians like Cooper. Business owners are being effectively deprived of their property without real due process of law, Executive orders are not due process. Our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is under assault as “non-essential” gun and ammo shops are shuttered and felons are released to protect them from the virus as we are denied self-protection against them.  We have lost our right to move freely, even speak freely, at least on social media that censors coronavirus response criticisms, or to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances.

In Oregon, another judge similarly ruled the state was exceeding its legal authority by infringing on the freedom of religion:

An Oregon judge ruled today that Gov. Kate Brown’s pandemic-related executive orders exceeded her authority. The case was filed by numerous churches and people of faith who were represented by the Pacific Justice Institute.

The orders resulted in church, business, and school closings and required the citizens in Oregon to remain under virtual house arrest. The Oregon law gives the Governor broad authority in emergency situations; however, that authority is of limited duration. The Governor did not go to the legislature to seek additional time as required by law.

Circuit Judge Matthew B. Shirtcliff granted a preliminary injunction to 10 churches that had sued, finding they had shown “irreparable harm” from the deprivation of the right to freely exercise their religions.  

Not overruled at this point is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who shut down Windy City businesses and put citizens under house arrest while the “public face of the city,” as she calls herself, went to her hairstylist. Lightfoot has cornered the market on tyrannical hypocrisy:

Churchgoers defying stay-at-home initiatives amid the coronavirus pandemic could receive citations in the Chicago area.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week the city was preparing to enforce restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus against houses of worship holding in-person services.

After churchgoers decided to attend services anyway on Sunday, Lightfoot said in a statement that city officials are working with law enforcement to monitor large gatherings, including ones of faith, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“The local districts are reviewing reports of large gatherings that took place today at various establishments not abiding by the stay-at-home order,” the statement said. “Following that review, the Department will issue and mail citations where necessary.”

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court recently struck down that state’s stay-at-home order as an unlawful order that exceeded the state’s authority:

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the state’s stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic as “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable” after finding that the state’s health secretary exceeded her authority.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court called Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm’s directive, known as Emergency Order 28, a “vast seizure of power.”

The order directed all people in the state to stay at home or at their places of residence, subject only to exceptions allowed by Palm, the ruling says. The order, which had been set to run until May 26, also restricted travel and business, along with threatening jail time or fines for those who don’t comply.

So far such rulings and redress of grievances are limited in scope and temporary. The assault on our Constitution and our rights is deep and broad and will only be stopped by a Supreme Court ruling that our freedoms cannot be erased by an edict from a governor, mayor, or even a state health secretary. These orders are not laws passed by a legislature and even then such laws should and must pass constitutional muster. As George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley observes:

“Pandemic is not a magic word that instantly negates all individual constitutional rights,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University.

“A pandemic gives states a compelling state purpose in the imposition of restrictions. But when the state denies or restricts constitutional rights, it must satisfy a balancing test.”

The orders can be challenged on the basis that they’re overly broad, he said, or that they don’t properly weigh the individual restrictions against public health threats. 

Or that lockdowns have health costs themselves that constitute a compelling interest to not have them. Simply put, Americans cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law and, again, executive orders do not constitute due process. There is no pandemic exception clause in the U.S. Constitution.

* Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

09/16/20

Fed Judge Rules Pennsylvania’s Shutdown Order Unconstitutional

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: This decision has far-reaching consequences including other states with the same shutdown orders. Further, it makes those states vulnerable to class action lawsuits by business owners, churches, schools, and public gatherings of various sorts over revenue/economic loss.

***

Source:

In today’s decision in County of Butler v. Wolf (W.D. Pa.), Judge William S. Stickman IV broadly struck down the Pennsylvania shutdown orders, reasoning:

[1.] The court held that Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), which ruled in favor of broad government power in an epidemic, should not be applied, and instead the government’s heightened interests in public health should be considered within the normal framework of constitutional scrutiny (e.g., in deciding whether a law is narrowly tailored to an important government interest):

Jacobson was decided over a century ago. Since that time, there has been substantial development of federal constitutional law in the area of civil liberties. As a general matter, this development has seen a jurisprudential shift whereby federal courts have given greater deference to considerations of individual liberties, as weighed against the exercise of state police powers. That century of development has seen the creation of tiered levels of scrutiny for constitutional claims. They did not exist when Jacobson was decided. While Jacobson has been cited by some modern courts as ongoing support for a broad, hands-off deference to state authorities in matters of health and safety, other courts and commentators have questioned whether it remains instructive in light of the intervening jurisprudential developments….

The Court has reviewed {Lindsay F. Wiley & Stephen I. Vladeck, Coronavirus, Civil Liberties, and the Courts: the Case Against “Suspending“ Judicial Review, 133 Harv. L. Rev. F. 179 (2020)} … and finds it both instructive and persuasive. There, the learned professors argue that Jacobson should not be interpreted as permitting the “suspension” of traditional levels of constitutional scrutiny in reviewing challenges to COVID- 19 mitigation measures…. The Court shares [these concerns] …. The Court will apply “regular” constitutional scrutiny to the issues in this case. Two considerations inform this decision—the ongoing and open-ended nature of the restrictions and the need for an independent judiciary to serve as a check on the exercise of emergency government power….

The Court closes this Opinion as it began, by recognizing that Defendants’ actions at issue here were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency. But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered. The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms—in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble.

There is no question that this Country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment. The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a “new normal” where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures. Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency. Actions taken by Defendants crossed those lines. It is the duty of the Court to declare those actions unconstitutional. Thus, consistent with the reasons set forth above, the Court will enter judgment in favor of Plaintiffs.

[2.] The court then concluded that the limits on nonreligious gatherings (“25 persons for indoor gatherings and 250 persons for outdoor gatherings,” “specifically exempt[ing] religious gatherings and certain commercial operations”) violate the Assembly Clause. The court concluded the restrictions were content-neutral, and therefore applied intermediate scrutiny—but held that the restrictions failed this scrutiny:

Defendants’ congregate limits are not narrowly tailored. Rather, they place substantially more burdens on gatherings than needed to achieve their own stated purpose. This is not a mere supposition of the Court, but rather, is highlighted by Defendants’ own actions. While permitting commercial gatherings at a percentage of occupancy may not render the restrictions on other gatherings content-based, they do highlight the lack of narrow tailoring.

Indeed, hundreds of people may congregate in stores, malls, large restaurants and other businesses based only on the occupancy limit of the building. Up to 20,000 people may attend the gathering in Carlisle (almost 100 times the approved outdoor limit!)- with Defendants’ blessing. Ostensibly, the occupancy restriction limits in Defendants’ orders for those commercial purposes operate to the same end as the congregate gathering limits-to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, they do so in a manner that is far less restrictive of the First Amendment right of assembly than the orders permit for activities that are more traditionally covered within the ambit of the Amendment­ political, social, cultural, educational and other expressive gatherings.

Moreover, the record in this case failed to establish any evidence that the specific numeric congregate limits were necessary to achieve Defendants’ ends, much less that “[they] target and eliminate no more than the exact source of the ‘ evil’ [they] seek to remedy.” [Sam Robinson, a Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor] testified that the congregate limits were designed to prevent “mega-spreading events.” However, when asked whether, for example, the large protests—often featuring numbers far in excess of the outdoor limit and without social distancing or masks—led to any known mega-spreading event, he was unable to point to a single mega-spreading instance. (ECF No. 75, p. 155) (“I am not aware specifically. I have not seen any sort of press coverage or, you know, CDC information about that. I have not seen information linking a spread to protests.”).

Further, the limitations are not narrowly tailored in that they do not address the specific experience of the virus across the Commonwealth. Because all of Pennsylvania’ s counties are currently in the “green phase,” the same restrictions apply to all. Pennsylvania has nearly fourteen million residents across sixty-seven counties. Pennsylvania has dense urban areas, commuter communities servicing the New York metropolitan area, small towns and vast expanses of rural communities. The virus’ s prevalence varies greatly over the vast diversity of the Commonwealth—as do the resources of the various regions to combat a population proportionate outbreak. Despite this diversity, Defendants’ orders take a one-size fits all approach. The same limits apply in counties with a history of hundreds or thousands of cases as those with only a handful. The statewide approach is broadly, rather than narrowly, tailored.

The imposition of a cap on the number of people that may gather for political, social, cultural, educational and other expressive gatherings, while permitting a larger number for commercial gatherings limited only by a percentage of the occupancy capacity of the facility is not narrowly tailored and does not pass constitutional muster. Moreover, it creates a topsy-turvy world where Plaintiffs are more restricted in areas traditionally protected by the First Amendment than in areas which usually receive far less, if any, protection. This inconsistency has been aptly noted in other COVID-19 cases….

This is a plausible argument, given that the law seems to treat constitutionally protected activity worse than other activity. But I’m far from certain that it will be upheld on appeal, given courts’ general (and likely correct) tendency to give the government considerable latitude in trying to contain the disease while minimizing the economic devastation of the shutdowns.

I also think a stronger argument would have been that the restrictions don’t leave open “ample alternative channels” for expression—a separate prong of the content-neutral restriction test—especially given that the First Amendment singles out peaceable assembly as a separately protected right: other channels would be more expensive, or wouldn’t reach the same audience, or wouldn’t convey the same message. (See City of Ladue v. Gilleo (1994).) I expect the challengers will make that argument on appeal, as they are entitled to do: A judgment can be defended on appeal on any basis fairly presented by the record, including one on which the trial court didn’t rely.

09/16/20

When We Had a CIA That Worked for America

By: Cliff Kincaid

The left-wing Soros-funded National Security Archive has released some documents about the CIA’s good old days when the agency had anti-communists on its staff and they responded to the orders of a duly elected resident. The documents concern the overthrow of the communist president of Chile in 1973.

Chile was once run by an associate of Fidel Castro. Today, there is a narco-terrorist communist regime in Venezuela and the CIA can’t seem to do anything about it.

The National Security Archive is outraged, of course, by the documents it highlighted on the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s September 15, 1970, order to overthrow the communist Chilean President Salvador Allende. But I find this document refreshing. “1 in 10 chance, perhaps, but save Chile,” ordered Nixon.

In this case, officials did the right thing, carrying out the president’s orders to thwart the communist advance in South America.  “Not concerned [about] risks involved,” wrote CIA director Richard Helms about the president’s orders and policy. It was successful.

The National Security Archive receives millions of dollars from left-wing foundations, including the Soros-funded Open Society Institute, but also gets money from Dow Jones and the New York Times. It frets that Nixon had “demanded regime change in the South American nation that had become the first in the world to freely elect a Socialist candidate.”

Socialist? He was a Castro puppet. And he seized power with only 36 percent of the vote.

It’s a “Full-time job — best men we have,” Nixon had said, arguing for a sustained effort to stop communism in Chile. “Make the economy scream.”  The CIA didn’t have to work too hard. The people didn’t want communism and turned out in the streets to protest. The military responded with a coup against Allende and General Augusto Pinochet took power.

Faced with a popular rebellion against his communist policies, Allende shot himself with an AK-47 assault rifle given to him by Castro.

Pinochet saved Chile from communism and presided over a transition to a free-market economy that produced the greatest prosperity in Chilean history. He led a revolution in Chile that by communist standards was virtually bloodless. Some 3,000 people were killed by the military when they overthrew Salvador Allende. By contrast, in Russia and China, millions were slaughtered.

Pinochet stepped down from power voluntarily and preserved freedom in Chile.

But the Communists and their friends could not forgive Pinochet for saving Chile from communism. A renegade left-wing Spanish prosecutor tried to have Pinochet prosecuted for human rights violations when he visited London for medical treatment.

Consider the CIA today, in regard to Venezuela’s Allende, the late Hugo Chavez, who was succeeded by Nicolás Maduro. President Trump’s proposed replacement, Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido, is another socialist. His Popular Will party is a “progressive” party and a member of the Socialist International. He doesn’t inspire much confidence.

With years to plan Maduro’s demise, but crippled under Barack Hussein Obama, the CIA is in such bad shape they can’t or won’t replace one socialist with another. Guaido, the speaker of the National Assembly, is still on the outside looking in, wondering why the CIA is so incompetent and clamoring for more economic sanctions on the regime. But they haven’t been enough to generate “regime change.”

If any country was ripe for an anti-communist revolution, it is Venezuela. But the CIA can’t pull it off. President Trump should find out why.

Venezuela was once a major oil-exporting nation but became an economic basket case under Chavez and Maduro. The regime is more of a national security problem than Iran and is believed to be running guns to terrorists and trafficking cocaine. Indeed,  the Department of Justice in March indicted Maduro and other officials, along with two Colombia terrorist leaders, on drug and other charges.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Maduro and the other defendants “expressly intended to flood the United States with cocaine in order to undermine the health and wellbeing of our nation.”

It’s great for President Trump to be presiding over peace in the Middle East, but what about the security threat a few thousand miles south of our border in Venezuela?

Former CIA officer Brian Latell, the author of Castro’s Secrets, once revealed that Hugo Chavez and/or his brother Adan were likely recruited by Castro’s intelligence service and that the Venezuelan intelligence service operates as an “adjunct” of the Cuban DGI.

Yet, current and former CIA officials seem more concerned about Trump. Former CIA officials Michael Morell, Michael Hayden, and Philip Mudd all denounced Trump before he took office. Former CIA operations officer Evan McMullin ran against him as an independent presidential candidate.

Obama’s director of the CIA was John Brennan, who voted for the Communist Party (CPUSA) ticket when he was in college but was hired by the CIA anyway and quickly rose through the ranks. He is implicated in the Deep State effort to destroy the Trump presidency.

The disclosures from the National Security Archive remind us of the days when the CIA destabilized communist regimes. Our own anti-communist Trump presidency seems to be their number one target these days. They seem to want to install a socialist regime in Washington, D.C.

*Cliff Kincaid is president of America’s Survival, Inc. www.usasurvival.org.