World Affairs Brief, February 19, 2016 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
This Week’s Analysis:
Scalia Death a Major Setback for Liberty
Increased Manipulation in GOP Race
Russia Target of False Flag Bombing in Syria?
Legal Crackdown on Armed but Peaceful Dissent Begins
Kids Belong to the Government?
China’s Missiles in South China Sea
Apple Stands up to the Courts on Privacy
SCALIA DEATH A MAJOR SETBACK FOR LIBERTY
Before Antonin Scalia’s suspicious death in Texas this week, there was a somewhat tenuous but often conservative majority in the Supreme Court leading to many 5-4 decisions that blocked executive actions that threatened liberty. It wasn’t a solid majority by any means, as demonstrated by the actions of unreliable conservatives like John Roberts, who betrayed conservatives on Obamacare, and Anthony Kennedy, who betrayed religious traditions and rights on the issue of gay marriage. With Scalia gone, at best conservatives can only hope for a 4-4 tie on several key issues looming before the court (which ends up affirming bad appellate court rulings). This week, I’ll cover the strange circumstances surrounding Scalia’s death and his sudden release of his body to the family without any investigation whatsoever into the cause of death. His death could not be more perfectly timed for the PTB: not only does it eliminate a conservative justice who believed in the original intent of the constitution, it allows Obama to appoint another anti-conservative justice on the Court before he leaves office. When that happens, we will never win another legal battle before the court, and many key protections like the Second Amendment may be overturned forever.
Most of my readers will know the basic story: Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead in his resort hotel room last Saturday at Cibolo Creek Ranch in Texas. He was supposed to have been at the resort for a hunting trip that morning, so his absence did not go unnoticed.
The owner, John Poindexter (not the John M. Poindexter, former National Security advisor under Reagan who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal), knocked on Scalia’s door about 8:30 a.m. but no one answered. Three hours later, Poindexter returned from an outing and, finding that Scalia had still not appeared, had the door opened and found Scalia dead of what he assumed was a heart attack. What he described was somewhat contradictory:
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter. “He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap… His hands were sort of almost folded on top of the sheets, the sheets weren’t rumpled up at all.”
Even more strange is that Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara acknowledged that she pronounced Scalia dead by phone, without seeing his body. Apparently, unnamed “law enforcement officials” at the scene assured her “there were no signs of foul play.” Of course not, but that is hardly conclusive of the cause of death without an autopsy. He could have been suffocated with the pillow, or injected with a substance that could have poisoned him or caused a heart attack. A second justice of the peace, who was called but couldn’t get to Scalia’s body in time, said she would have ordered an autopsy. But conveniently it was too late, the body was already being moved to a mortuary for embalming. Gawker.com brought into question the issue of cremation:
“… members of Scalia’s family apparently told employees of the El Paso funeral home where his service was held on Sunday that they did not want the state to perform an autopsy. The same decision seems even more conspicuous in light of unconfirmed reports that Scalia requested the cremation of his remains in his written will. A cremation would, after all, likely destroy any evidence of foul play.
(If the reports about Scalia’s requested cremation are true—and, as of now, there’s nothing beyond a few joking tweets to suggest they are—then his understanding of religious doctrine was slightly more flexible than he let on. You may recall that the justice was a devout Catholic who disputed the validity of the Second Vatican Council, a sweeping set of changes enacted by Church officials in the 1960s. One of those changes consisted of lifting the Church’s centuries-long ban on cremation. Considering the show he made of rejecting Vatican II’s legitimacy, the idea that he would ask to be cremated in his will is, if not unbelievable, at least fairly odd.)
Judge Guevara said she talked to Scalia’s physician in Washington, who treats all Supreme Court justices. The doctor called her at 8 pm Saturday night. She said the physician told her that Scalia had a shoulder problem last week and underwent an MRI, showing several chronic ailments, including heart disease.“He was having health issues,” Guevara said, adding that she is awaiting a statement from Scalia’s doctor that will be added to his death certificate when it is issued later this week. That certificate says, myocardial infarction (heart attack), but the doctor cannot know that for sure without an autopsy.
This much I can confirm: The 79 year old justice was in very poor cardiovascular health and overweight. My brother Neil, an attorney, was at a legal conference a while ago where Scalia spoke. During an extended break he was picked out by Scalia to play some tennis, and my brother said he was very out of shape and deeply winded with the least exertion. So he certainly could have died by natural causes, but the world has been denied any trace of certainty by the expeditious way in which the body was disposed of—perhaps permanently so that no subsequent inquiry can determine the truth. Jon Rappaport had these key arguments that point to a political assassination and cover-up, with [my comments in brackets]:
“Scalia’s Federal Protection had been removed while he was at the Texas ranch.” [The owner said this was at Scalia’s request—which wasn’t unusual when Scalia figured he was at a remote, fairly secure location surrounded by the wealthy.]
Let’s jump right in with quotes from the Washington Post, 2/15, “Conspiracy theories swirl around the death of Antonin Scalia”. [Scalia’s son has decried all these conspiratorial accusations.] The Post published extraordinary statements from the Facebook page of “William O. Ritchie, former head of criminal investigations for D.C. police”:
“As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia… You have a Supreme Court Justice who died, not in attendance of a physician… You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed… You have a justice of the peace pronounce death while not being on the scene and without any medical training opining that the justice died of a heart attack.”
“What medical proof exists of a myocardial Infarction? Why not a cerebral hemorrhage?” “How can the Marshal say, without a thorough post mortem, that he was not injected with an illegal substance that would simulate a heart attack…” “Did the US Marshal check for petechial hemorrhage in his eyes or under his lips that would have suggested suffocation? Did the US Marshal smell his breath for any unusual odor that might suggest poisoning? My gut tells me there is something fishy going on in Texas.”
As long as no law-enforcement investigation of Scalia’s death is launched, the doctor is justified [in claiming his poor health caused death by natural causes]. Confidentiality applies, unless Scalia’s family lifts it [which they won’t]. But if such an investigation is opened, all bets are off. Confidentiality no longer applies. [Don’t get your hopes up. Without a body, there can be little investigation—unless you have a whistleblower come forth, as several did after the JFK assassination.]
As for a murder motive, try: upsetting the voting balance of the US Supreme Court, a push to appoint a new Justice now, thus ensuring the appointee’s political persuasion, regardless of the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, [or] attempting to shift the Court’s voting balance in upcoming cases on Guns, Abortion, Immigration and Obamacare.
Dismiss the comfortable notion that “this couldn’t happen.” JFK couldn’t have been murdered, but he was. High political figures don’t carry special immunity… We’re told Scalia [supposedly] didn’t want that protection. Maybe yes, maybe no.
Consider, as potentially relevant, the report that Scalia was found with a pillow over his head.
It is strange, but not as definitive as people think. Poindexter clarified yesterday that the pillow was “above his head” at “the headboard” not covering his face. The smooth sheets does not indicate a struggle which would have occurred with suffocation. Even if Poindexter is deliberately trying to alter his story, and the pillow was over his head, it is unlikely that a murderer, using suffocation, would have left the pillow in place when all efforts were made to make it appear as if no struggle had taken place.
Consider, as relevant, that Judge Guevara, deciding without seeing the body that Scalia died from natural causes, ruled against doing an autopsy – -and a counter-opinion, offered unofficially by another Texas judge, Bishop, that she would have wanted an autopsy. “This isn’t the first time Guevara has been the source of controversy.
In 2013, Melaney Parker Rayburn was found dead after being hit by a train in Marfa, Texas… Liz Parker, Melaney’s mom, questioned how Guevara handled the investigation of her daughter’s death, The Daily Kos reported. Melaney was hit by a Union Pacific Railroad train and, Liz [her mother] wrote, a Union Pacific representative told her that it appeared that her body had been placed on the tracks while she was unconscious.
Liz asked the Justice of the Peace and the Sheriff to open the case as a homicide investigation, but they would not. Guevara, who was a Justice of the Peace at the time, did not order a rape kit or an autopsy, Liz wrote, because a doctor at the scene said the cause of death was obvious.
As I have mentioned in past briefings, the PTB need controlled doctors and coroners to cover up for political killings and falsified suicides—and history is replete with corrupt doctors doing the bidding of the PTB, most notably the altered autopsy report of JFK done by Navy doctor James Hume. I’m not saying we know that happened with Scalia, but it’s not uncommon for doctors to be put under pressure by some high official.
As to Scalia’s legacy, It should also be noted that Scalia was the author of the ruling for the majority in the landmark Supreme Court case of Printz/Mack v. United States, where the court ruled that the local county Sheriff is the highest law enforcement official in that jurisdiction and that federal officers cannot invade his jurisdiction without his permission, even to enforce federal demands. Thus the court ruled that the interim provisions of the Brady Bill as applied to the states are unconstitutional.
Scalia wrote: The “States are not subject to federal direction” and that the US Congress only had “discreet and enumerated powers” and that federal impotency was “rendered express” by the Tenth Amendment, he also proclaimed that the States “retained an inviolable sovereignty.”
Those were powerful words which the establishment hates to this day. Scalia was also in part responsible for the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which held in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, not simply as part of a militia. These could all be overturned by an activist court of Obama’s making.
But on the negative side, there are no justices on the Supreme Court, including conservatives, that the establishment doesn’t control to one degree or another through blackmail. They allow them to vote the way they want on most occasions, but when crucial issues like Obamacare, or Obama’s phony birth certificate and lack of eligibility to be president come up, they make sure they toe the line, after the proverbial “phone call in the night.” Even justices who hinted that they would take up a challenge to Obama’s eligibility failed to follow through, including Scalia. Scalia also refused to take seriously the legal challenge to Vince Foster’s suicide, as documented here by DCDave.com. These are troubling aspects relative to the power of the dark side of government and its secret control over the various levers of power in government.
Obama will certainly try and get another activist judge on the bench before he leaves office, but Republican leaders have threatened to stall such an appointment until the next presidency, some 11 months away from taking office. Because of that threat, many wonder if Obama will take advantage of the “recess appointment” provisions that allow him to temporarily place someone on the bench if the Senate is in recess. Almost all previous temporary appointments have ended up being confirmed because it is difficult to deny someone the office once they have been serving for a significant amount of time. As the Washington Post pointed out,
There have been a dozen recess appointments to the Supreme Court, nine of which took place before the Civil War, and all but one were eventually confirmed by the Senate.– But Obama’s opportunity to make a recess appointment will probably disappear after Monday, when the Senate returns from its weeklong recess. Republicans, who control the Senate, are likely to keep the Senate officially in session continuously for the rest of Obama’s term.
In one note, McConnell made clear that he did not expect the president to try to resort to a recess appointment before the Senate comes back into session Monday, and the other included an attachment to a Wall Street Journal editorial critical of Schumer for a 2007 speech on Supreme Court nominations. Otherwise, the aide said, McConnell told his colleagues only that they would discuss the issue early next week.
I suspect that the only reason Sen. McConnell is so sure Obama won’t take advantage of the current recess is that Obama has been assured that McConnell will not hold true to his promise of delaying the appointment. McConnell is a true sellout artist. This issue surfaced strongly during the recent Republican debate in South Carolina, as Fox News reported:
“We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would undermine the religious liberty of millions of Americans,” said Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. “The Senate needs to stand strong and say, ‘We’re not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee.’ ”
On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested on Fox News that Judge Diane Sykes, in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Milwaukee, would be a “very good alternative.”
Trump also is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to not allow the appointment process to proceed until the country has a new president. He said during the debate that it’s up to Congress to “delay, delay, delay.”
McConnell, R-Ky., says the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next justice and that the appointment should not be filled until there is a new president.
Getting a conservative replacement is critical to the speed with which liberty will be lost. In fact, it may be all over much faster if Republicans fail in this crucial moment. The Washington Post even went so far as to threaten Republicans in control of the Senate with electoral defeat if they persist in trying to defer appointing a new justice. You never hear liberals cry so vociferously in behalf of “being true to the Constitution” as when they want to force Republicans to give them what they want.
Mitch McConnell has decided to wager the Republican majority in the Senate on blocking Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. It’s a bold and understandable gambit designed to prevent a leftward lurch in jurisprudence after Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death this weekend, but it could backfire badly.
Assuming the president picks a Hispanic, African American or Asian American – bonus points if she’s a woman – this could be exactly what Democrats need to re-activate the Obama coalition that fueled his victories in 2008 and 2012. Even if he does not go with a minority candidate, the cases on the docket will galvanize voters who are traditionally less likely to turn out.
Marco Rubio is against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. For women, the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned just became much more real. “When I’m president of the United States, I’ll nominate someone like Justice Scalia,” the Florida senator declared on the Sunday shows. [Still no guarantee that Roe v. Wade would be overturned—it never was with the supposed conservative majority, because the PTB always have at least one “conservative” justice they can pressure into betraying the movement on key issues.]
–– Ultimately, though, there is not really anything Democrats can do procedurally to force Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to hold a hearing on Obama’s nominee. The only lever they have is public pressure.
The most potent pressure points are the seven GOP incumbents who are up for reelection this year in states Obama carried in 2012. New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson publicly came out in favor of obstruction yesterday. The others are holding their cards close to the vest for right now: Ohio’s Rob Portman praised Scalia but would not address the core issue. Spokesmen for Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey declined to comment and Illinois’ Mark Kirk ignored inquiries, per CNN.
Conventional wisdom is that whichever party wins the White House in November will control the Senate. That’s obviously the primary factor, but we’re not convinced it will be determinative. Democrats need to pick up four seats to win the Senate, and it’s conceivable they could get those from states that Clinton would probably carry even if she loses the Electoral College. In 2014, it’s worth recalling, Democrats lost each of the seven seats they had to defend in states Mitt Romney had carried two years earlier.
And remember that this won’t be happening in a vacuum: If Obama knows for sure that his pick is not going to get formally considered, he can go with someone who gives his party maximum political leverage to bludgeon these Republican incumbents.
Yes, all of those political angles will come into play. If the PTB can elect a controlled Republican like Rubio or Bush, they will also try and engineer a loss of the Senate to the Democrats so the controlled Republican president will always have an excuse of why he can’t pass any conservative legislation, like the repeal of Obamacare.
In fact, the resistance to the delaying tactics among liberal Republicans is already coming out. I do not trust McConnell nor Judiciary Committee Chair Grassley, or Sen. Hatch to hold the line against an activist judge being confirmed.