The faux “liberal” who holds the White House was at it once again last night. As he’s accustomed to doing, he presented a radically undemocratic and unconstitutional practice as a common sense appeal to the American public to accept gun control. What I am referring to specifically is the following passage from last night’s speech:
To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.
Obama is not stupid. He knows exactly how shady the no fly list is, yet he’s pushing it on national television as a way to enact gun control. The effectiveness of his bullshit depends on an unbelievably ignorant voter base, as well as the cultish, thoughtless devotion from what’s left of his zombified supporters.
To explain what I mean, it’s important to understand what the “no-fly” list actually is. As relates to a lawsuit it filed against the government on behalf of veterans placed on the list without notice, the ACLU notes the following:
In a motion for partial summary judgment, the ACLU asked the court to rule that the inadequate redress process for people on the list violates the Constitution’s guarantee of due process. The court partially granted that motion in August 2013, holding that the Constitution applies when the government bans Americans from air travel. In June 2014, the court struck down the government’s redress process as unconstitutional, and it ordered the government to tell the ACLU’s clients why they are on the No Fly List and give them the opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the list before the court. In October 2014, the government finally informed seven of the 13 plaintiffs that they were not on the list, and it then provided the remaining six plaintiffs with unclassified “summaries” of the reasons for their placement on the list. However, the government still keeps its full reasons secret. It also withholds evidence and exculpatory information from our clients and refuses to give them a live hearing to establish their credibility or cross-examine witnesses. Because of these and other serious problems, the ACLU has challenged the revised process as unconstitutional.
Until the government fixes its unconstitutional new process, people on the No Fly List are barred from commercial air travel with no meaningful chance to clear their names, resulting in a vast and growing group of individuals whom the government deems too dangerous to fly but too harmless to arrest.
Just in case you still aren’t aware of how egregiously the “no-fly” list flies in the face of the Bill of Rights, here’s the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The “no-fly” list since inception has without question deprived American citizens of life and liberty without due process. In fact, the government made slight improvements only after being sued by the ACLU. Furthermore, were the San Bernardino shooters on the “no-fly” list? Were any of the other highly publicized mass shooters on it?
Meanwhile, as the Intercept noted last year, nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared Terrorist Screening Database from which the no-fly list names are selected, are not connected to any known terrorist group. In addition, it noted that:
Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.
So should we be at all surprised that President Obama is using one egregious violation of Constitutional rights to target another?
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