“Anti-bullying” law nonsense

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While Uncle Sam is busy busting legitimate American companies like Gibson Guitars for allegedly using the wrong kind of wood, and local police are obsessed with closing down childrens’ lemonade stands, state governments are feverishly overreacting to schoolyard “bullying.”

In a misguided effort to identify and punish school bullies, state governments from New Jersey to Georgia are enforcing so-called “anti-bullying” laws that actually do more harm than good. These nanny-state laws teach kids to snitch on each other and to interject themselves into situations that may wind up getting themselves injured. The broad reach of these laws extend far beyond the jurisdiction of the schools.

Last year, for example, the Georgia legislature enacted a law to combat bullying in school systems across the state. The GOP-backed measure, led by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta), extends to students’ use of e-mail and other social media …

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Gibson Guitar to Uncle Sam – “From my cold, dead hands”

Are you a guitar owner? More important, do you own a guitar made by Gibson, one of the most well-known American guitar manufacturers? If so, listen up; you may be in Uncle Sam’s cross hairs – as a criminal.

Just ask Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitars.

Last week, heavily armed federal agents raided two guitar manufacturing facilities in Tennessee owned by Gibson — one in Nashville, another in Memphis. The feds were not acting on a tip that an al Qaeda cell was holed up in the buildings; or that Mexican drug cartel gangs were lurking inside. It was actually something far more serious; far more serious, that is, to a bunch of federal bureaucrats with nothing better to do.

The raids were carried out because the Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim that parts of the iconic guitars manufactured in the plants contained the wrong kind of imported wood. And, although the feds have not made clear to Gibson just what it has done …

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Immigration Dispute Has Constitutional Undertones

Differences between the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush on economic policies are profound.  However, when it comes to ignoring constitutional provisions mandating separation of powers, the two presidents are more alike than distinct.  This phenomenon can be seen clearly in the latest maneuver by President Obama to implement a more lenient immigration policy; one in direct violation of current federal deportation law.  

Dealing with illegal immigration always has been a thorny problem for presidents and members of Congress.  Republicans generally favor a more restrictive policy; their Democratic counterparts a more lenient approach.  This ideological gulf has stymied immigration reform legislation for years. 

Facing a difficult reelection climate, and frustrated by the inability of his party to move immigration reform legislation through the Congress, Obama has decided to simply ignore existing federal law requiring deportation of illegal aliens in custody.  …

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Let’s Not “Nation Build” in Libya

Since late March, when the United States – along with several of its NATO allies — decided to become militarily involved in internal Libyan political affairs, our government has spent more than $1.0 billion trying to remove strongman Muammar Qaddafi from power. Although Libya remains in turmoil, it appears the Army Colonel who had ruled this oil-rich, north African nation for more than four decades, no longer controls the levers of power. 

Before Washington and its European allies pop too many bottles of champagne, one might ask legitimately just what our efforts and tax dollars have really accomplished. 

The potential gains for some of those European countries, especially Italy which has roots in Libya going back a century, are clearer than for the U.S.  Oil is the key.  Of Libya’s pre-conflict daily production of some 1.8 million barrels of oil, almost all flowed to Europe.  Italy’s scandal-plagued President, Silvio Berlusconi, reportedly is already negotiating with the …

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Strauss-Kahn dismissal is right thing to do

Sometimes, the “system” does work.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. moved this week to drop all charges pending against Dominique Strauss-Kahn (“DSK” for short) arising out of his arrest May 14th on charges of allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid at the Sofitel Hotel. The trial judge granted the prosecutor’s request, but the formal dismissal was stayed temporarily because the maid’s attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, angered by the District Attorney’s decision, had simultaneously filed a motion to have a special prosecutor appointed in Vance’s stead. That specious motion was then quickly denied.

In this case, the prosecutor is right and the defense attorney is wrong.

A prosecutor has a clear duty not to prosecute a case simply because an alleged victim and his or her attorney want to see a case prosecuted. A local district attorney – just as a United States Attorney – has a legal and ethical duty to prosecute cases based on his or her professional opinion …

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Big Brother’s Cell Phone “Kill Switch”

After roundly criticizing other governments for using technology to disable cell phone usage at certain times and in certain areas in order to limit and control public demonstrations, governments from San Francisco to London are warming to the practice themselves. 

During mass protests earlier this year against the dictatorial regimes of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, those government took actions to stop the flow of information over the Internet and social websites.  The United States was among the first and most vocal critics o such moves. 

Unfortunately, the temptation to use such a tool in the democratized world to control the populace is proving too strong to ignore, despite impediments to such practices in our Constitution. 

In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron recently threatened to block access to social networking sites – including Facebook and Twitter – and Blackberry Messenger that were being used to organize riots. 

This Orwellian tactic …

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Does “Top Texan” Rick Perry Have Staying Power?

The field of Republican presidential candidates is finally starting to sort itself out — thankfully.

Last weekend, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann came away the winner of the Iowa Straw Poll, an event that, while officially meaningless, nonetheless provides an opportunity for campaigns to demonstrate their organizational abilities and grassroots support. If nothing else, it does offer at least the start of a preliminary winnowing-out process.

In this case, the straw poll triggered the first official casualty of the primary competition – former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. His performances in debates and speeches tended to put all but close family friends and relatives asleep.

Bachmann, who campaigned tirelessly in the Hawkeye State, gained bragging rights as the winner of the straw poll. Retiring Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has largely been dismissed by the media because of his anti-establishment views and libertarian leanings, finished just behind Bachmann. Some …

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Costly Rail Project Boondoggles Still Fascinate Politicians

It’s been more than a century since the legend of railroad engineer Casey Jones became a ragtime music hit. Now, in this second decade of the 21st Century, railroads are hardly the stuff of legends; yet they continue to hold a strange fascination for political leaders searching for ever more creative ways to spend taxpayers’ dollars.

In recent years, advocates of taxpayer-funded transit projects, including one of its biggest cheerleaders, President Barack Obama, have told Americans that “investing” in rail projects around the country would “get the nation moving again.” The rhetoric may be intriguing and the sentiments laudable; but the price tag for such nostalgia is staggeringly high.

Take for instance California’s planned high-speed line. The original cost estimate for just the first section of the line running 178 miles from Merced to Bakersfield, was $7.1 billion – nearly $40 million per passenger mile. But wait – there’s more. The Associated Press reported last week …

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“Random Violence” a sign of things to come

Over the last year we have watched violent protests in Greece and the United Kingdom over cuts to public benefits, as those nations are being forced to come to grips with the reality of gross over-spending and over-promising by their governments. Whether this reactive violence will spread to our shores is not yet clear, but the danger signs already are appearing.

Earlier this year, for example, union activists in Wisconsin staged protests that, while not overtly violent, bordered on deteriorating into such. These protests centered around measures proposed by the Badger State’s new governor to reduce benefits and collective bargaining rights enjoyed by public-sector workers, to help close a multi-billion dollar budget gap.

The reactions by beneficiaries of Wisconsin voters’ largesse were typical of people who have become dependent on government in one manner or another, and who view such benefits as “entitlements” to which they enjoy a fundamental and irrevocable right. …

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Educating TSA can land you in jail

Educating Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel as to the language of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution can be hazardous to your freedom; even if done peacefully but while being subjected to the agency’s invasive airport security measures.

Aaron Tobey, a student at the University of Cincinnati, learned this the hard way as he was attempting to depart from Richmond (VA) International Airport for a family funeral last December 30th.

Tobey already had passed through the metal detector at the TSA security check point, but was directed by an officer to one of the naked full-body scanners. Just before he was to be scanned, Tobey protested his treatment by removing his pants and shirt (thankfully, leaving his boxers on), and revealing a writing on his chest, “Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”

For thus displaying a sentence appearing in our country’s Constitution, Tobey was …

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