More fool me. This sclerotic court system can’t expedite nuttin’. The case has now been stalled for two years in an interlocutory appeal. If you don’t know what an “interlocutory appeal” is, consider yourself lucky. If you do know, you’ll be thrilled to learn that one of the questions at the heart of this interlocutory appeal is whether, under the relevant DC law, the interlocutory appeal is even interlocutorily appealable at all. Fascinating! Adding to the fun, as I noted in my recent testimony to the US Senate, one of the judges hearing the interlocutory appeal, Vanessa Ruiz, takes up to three years to issue an opinion.
In most court systems, that would get a judge removed. But not in the District of Columbia.
No free man should be expected to languish at a court’s convenience as the decade rolls by, so my attorneys have now filed a renewed request to the trial judge, Frederick Weisberg, to get the hell on with it – or, in legalese, a “Renewed Request for Expedited Hearing and to Lift Stay of Discovery”. In it we remind His Honor of his words way back when:
There has been too much procedural delay already in this case.
That was April 2014, since when there have been another two years and two months of procedural delay.
When it takes three years to get an interlocutory opinion, the issue is the court’s credibility. My legal chums at Popehat and the Volokh Conspiracy seem to think that, when I gripe about the dysfunctional DC courts, I’m somehow showing disrespect for the justice system. Au contraire, it’s because of my profound respect for justice that I would like this bizarre perversion thereof to return itself to the community of functioning Common Law jurisdictions. (While we’re at it, this judge in the Trump University case seems all too typical.)
Ah, but our “justice” system has precious little at all to do with justice, and it’s working as intended here: this column is the first peep we’ve heard from Steyn in a week, whereas before becoming ensnared in the Amerikan “justice” system he was able to manage two regular columns a week, a few books, and daily posts at the Corner as well. In other words, Mann and our failed court system has managed to effectively shut Steyn down, de facto suppressing his right to freedom of expression for the duration, without ever having to see a single thing actually adjudicated.
The “right” to a fair and speedy trial by a jury of your peers is just another one that no longer exists in the FUSA. If you don’t believe it, just ask Steyn. This is what I mean by “the liberal way of war,” and it’s of a piece with the rest of their nefarious tactics: sneaky, underhanded, dishonest, impenetrably opaque…and damned effective.
Hollywood is a famously brutal place to work. So many talented people are competing for so few spots; rejection — and the insecurity that comes with it — is the norm. It’s not just actresses who see their careers evaporate at 35, replaced by the latest crop of ingénues living at the Oakwood Apartments. It’s also successful editors and screenwriters and producers who suddenly find that their phones have stopped ringing for no apparent reason. Their careers have dried up and they don’t know why — that’s what’s so difficult to bear. Conservatives in the industry face an additional question with no clear answer: Have their political views stifled their careers?
Within Friends of Abe, there’s a fierce debate over whether a blacklist exists. “Anyone who denies it is intentionally misleading you or clueless,” says actor F. Lee Reynolds. “There is actual blacklisting. It does happen,” says actress Mell Flynn. Neither Reynolds nor Flynn nor anyone else I spoke to could offer proof that conservatives have been deliberately excluded from jobs. Most members say that the bias is more subtle: People hire those they know and like and, typically, those are people who think and act as they do.
Whether a blacklist exists will likely never be proven, but the fact that many members are convinced that it does speaks to the psychological need that Friends of Abe has served to fill — and never more so than at the new-member lunches. Every month or so, a few dozen initiates and their sponsors gather in the private room of the Bistro Garden restaurant in Studio City and introduce themselves and say why they want to join. On one occasion, a line producer described being dropped from a project after she expressed pro-life views. On another, a stuntman talked about how his colleagues said American troops are murderers. Grown men and women break down in tears as they reveal what they’ve gone through — and express relief in letting it all out. “It’s people who don’t have a tribe,” says John Sullivan, a documentary producer and director, “and when they find out they have a tribe, they’re so happy.” “You unburden your soul and say, ‘I have this secret that I’m not allowed to share with anybody,’” says the comedian Evan Sayet.
If this description sounds like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, that’s how Friends of Abe members talk about the lunches. The anonymity, the sponsors, the confiding, the emotional release, the lingo (“Hi, I’m John, and I’m a conservative”) come straight from AA. “They are very similar organizations,” says Rob Long, a former executive producer on Cheers and a columnist for National Review, “because it’s like, ‘Don’t talk about it. We don’t need any scrutiny here. We’re just here for fellowship.’ To this day, Friends of Abe is the only social group in Hollywood outside of AA where the budget classes mingle.”
NO ONE CAN remember how Andrew Breitbart found his way to Friends of Abe, but one day there he was at a meeting, pounding away on his laptop. A driving force behind the Drudge Report, he had become one of the most well-known conservative provocateurs on the internet. In many ways, he served as Sinise’s opposite. Apart from a short stint after college as a studio gofer, he’d never worked in the industry. He was pugnacious and irreverent. He was also prone to grandiosity — the first time he ever logged onto the internet, he wrote, “I was reborn.” Soon after he joined Friends of Abe, he declared it was “the most beautiful and clean thing” to come out of Hollywood in years.
The co-founders of Friends of Abe had succeeded in creating a community more quickly than they had imagined, but they hadn’t changed the content of what Hollywood produced. Sinise was always skeptical that this should be a goal of the organization. Breitbart, though, believed that Friends of Abe could be more than a fellowship — that it could be a place where conservatives joined forces to produce movies and TV shows that run counter to Hollywood’s liberal consensus. Breitbart boiled this notion into a rallying cry. “Culture,” he liked to say, “is upstream from politics.” What happened on a soundstage or on a studio lot had greater influence on the direction of the country than what transpired in a hearing room on Capitol Hill — an idea that he drilled into the heads of everyone he knew in Friends of Abe, at once instilling them with a sense of greater purpose and flattering them with a sense of their own importance.
Breitbart threw himself into the cause. He recruited new members, presided over luncheons, and built the group’s first website. When the founders rebuffed his idea to turn the site into a public platform for combating liberal prejudice within the business, Breitbart launched Big Hollywood in 2008. Written by industry friends, the site was a mix of pet peeves, thoughtful critiques, and rants — not unlike what could be heard at a Friends of Abe happy hour. Breitbart’s online operation soon grew from a single homepage to a network of websites. An early booster of the Tea Party, it drew millions of readers a month and turned Breitbart into a media star.
According to Dave Berg, the former Tonight Show producer, “In the story of Hollywood conservatives, Breitbart was like the Apostle Paul” — the messenger who carried the word to the outside world. And then he was gone. On the morning of March 1, 2012, Breitbart dropped dead of a heart attack while walking near his home.
Or so they say, anyway.
Still, by most other measures, Friends of Abe has been a success. Recently, Lionel Chetwynd and I met for breakfast at Art’s Delicatessen in Studio City, an industry hangout, and talked about the group’s influence on the business that had employed him for 40 years. Chetwynd is thought of as the intellectual leader of Friends of Abe, and he’d been thinking a lot about the organization and its future.
We had spoken a few weeks earlier, when he had told me how Friends of Abe started. But now Chetwynd told me he’d left something out. During that key meeting in Sinise’s trailer, as they debated what the group would become, he stepped out for a walk with a producer friend. As the two talked, he began to see the wisdom of Sinise’s quiet approach. One day, he realized, there would come a point when Hollywood conservatives wouldn’t need Friends of Abe to meet people like themselves. They would be everywhere, and they’d know who they were. I later asked him, was that why he decided to break the first rule of Friends of Abe and talk to me? Yes, he said. It had been 12 years since the organization had been founded, and he could now imagine a future — it is close at hand — when Friends of Abe no longer has to operate in secret.
Wow, imagine a country where people have the right to speak freely, without fear of persecution for expressing their beliefs! Wouldn’t THAT be something. You might even want to write blanket protection for such a natural right specifically into the founding documents of such a nation; you could call that document…oh, I don’t know, say, a constitution or something like that.
Nah, too far-fetched, too open-ended. It would never work.
OK folks, this has gotten serious. Understand that your class and ideological enemies now are floating the idea that you (and me, brother) are to be subject to some form of political tribunal and “rehabilitation” or adjudication, as the case may be. If you don’t think this is serious, might I remind you of what happens when your group falls into the hands of our class and ideological foe – as an example of the extreme ends of this ideological dipole, I present to you the Katyn Forest Massacre. If you have time, review the 400 page list of the dead. Imagine the format filled in with Americans and you will begin to see where this “progressive” idea has led to in the past.
Besides the well established pattern of liquidating class enemies, history is replete with examples where liquidation was just a step too far given the resources at hand. In such cases, “re-education” and “self criticism” were used to dehumanize and gradually eliminate the “other” through non kinetic means. Do you think that your “fellow” Americans will not do this to you? I ask you to reconsider. The clear indications state otherwise. One need only see what goes on within the University to see this process in full swing. Safe spaces, black propaganda and the relentless onslaught of covertly funded subversion all are rendering the ivory tower a bastion of 5th columnists, vanguardists and fellow travellers.
That the regime and its adherents are floating the idea throughout social media that you can be sent to a camp for the thoughtcrime of supporting Donald Trump is troubling and an indicator of the level of fear felt by the establishment facing a potential political upset. Even if you are an “independent” voter, or a “liberal” or “progressive”, this should deeply concern you. One must come to terms with the Rubicon that statements like that make. It is a statement of intent, an indicator of sentiment…signals are being sent that Trump supporters are to be seen as subhuman by the Regime and its adherents/beneficiaries of the existing political order. After dehumanization comes the horror of democide, genocide. If that comes to pass, are Trump supporters to be stripped of legal and Constitutional protections? The Regime has already taken toe-in-the-water test cases with the weaponization of the courts and the IRS against its ideological foes. LIEberals seem to think so, if this telegraphed intent is anything to go by. In the Intel world, we would call it an “indicator”. This one happens to be blinking neon in a dark political night.
Well, Kevin Williamson and Jim Geraghty would certainly seem to be okay with it, at the very least.
As WRSA says: “Just know that the aftermath of this Election Day may not be one of reconciliation and commitment to the peaceful change of governments.” I ain’t gonna lay any bets on that. But I ain’t gonna lay any against it, either.
Shocker, I know.
The US intelligence chief has acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.
As increasing numbers of devices connect to the internet and to one another, the so-called internet of things promises consumers increased convenience – the remotely operated thermostat from Google-owned Nest is a leading example. But as home computing migrates away from the laptop, the tablet and the smartphone, experts warn that the security features on the coming wave of automobiles, dishwashers and alarm systems lag far behind.
In an appearance at a Washington thinktank last month, the director of the National Security Agency, Adm Michael Rogers, said that it was time to consider making the home devices “more defensible”, but did not address the opportunities that increased numbers and even categories of connected devices provide to his surveillance agency.
However, James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, was more direct in testimony submitted to the Senate on Tuesday as part of an assessment of threats facing the United States.
“In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper said.
NO! Why, I’m incredibly, incredibly shocked. You could knock me over with a feather, I’m so shocked and just…just…well, shocked.
Here’s another safe bet: the people the “internet of things” will be used to spy on will NOT be Moslem terrorists. Not ever, not even once.
Noxious though it is; toxic, in fact. But here it is in all its tainted glory:
This video shows the moment dozens of students encircled a Yale University official and screamed at him for sending an email telling them to ignore people dressed in offensive Halloween costumes.
Nicholas Christakis, the master of Silliman College at Yale, was surrounded after telling students to allow others to exercise free speech by wearing what they wanted on Halloween.
One girl – seen in a video published by The Fire – launched into a expletive-ridden tirade at sociology professor Mr Christakis, who was trying to tell her why he felt the university should not censor what people wear.
She shouted: ‘Be quiet! In your position as master it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students that live in Silliman. You have not done that.
‘By sending out that email, that goes against your position as master, do you understand that?’
When Mr Christakis said he did not agree with her, she replied: ‘Then why the f*** did you accept the position?
‘Who the f*** are you? You should step down. If that is what you think about being a master you should step down. Do you understand? It is about creating a home here. You are not doing that.
‘These freshmen come here and they think this what Yale is? They’re going to leave. They’re going to transfer because you are a poor steward of the community.
‘You should not sleep at night. You are disgusting.’
And YOU, child, are pathetic. Miserable, whiny, cowardly, reflexively fascist, over-entitled, narcissistic, spoiled-rotten little brat that you are, you’re the perfect representation of “liberalism’s” potential for stunting human decency and growth–Progressivism in full despicable flower. You’re beyond reason and beneath contempt. Hinderaker has a few questions:
First, are college students wearing a lot of Halloween costumes these days? I don’t recall seeing a single costume on campus during my college years. Maybe that’s changed.
Second, is there an epidemic of offensive Halloween costumes going on? I don’t think I have ever seen one, with the possible exception of a zombie costume or two that were overly bloody. As a thought experiment, I tried to imagine a Halloween costume that would offend me. I couldn’t come up with one. Heck, as far as I am concerned someone can trick or treat dressed up as me. I wouldn’t get bent out of shape about it.
Third, what’s with the kids snapping their fingers? Weird.
Fourth, what happened to the girl who screamed at the professor? When I was in college this would have been unthinkable. But if someone had not only thought of it but done it, he surely would have been expelled from school. Somehow I suspect that won’t happen here.
Fifth, the controversy over offensive Halloween costumes is generally couched as a free speech issue. To me, it seems like more a question of mental health. The young woman in the video became hysterical and behaved bizarrely not because she had been offended by a Halloween costume, which would be bad enough, but because she imagined the hypothetical possibility that such a costume might someday exist. She needs help. It sounds like quite a few other Yalies do, too.
I guess the moral of the story is, for God’s sake don’t let your children go to Yale.
Yeah. That, and for God’s sake don’t let your society get infiltrated, infested, and emasculated by “liberalism.” Because this sort of thing is PRECISELY where you’ll wind up–and it won’t only be at Yale, it will be salted throughout every level and facet of life, with finger-wagging nannies and scolds in your face wielding their smug self-righteousness like clubs every minute of every day, seeking to punish anyone who dares step out of line with their grey, drone-like, dreary existence. They’ll slap helmets on your kids when they ride their bikes down the block; strap you into your car with mandatory harnesses; smack the cigarette out of your hand in the corner bar; sneer at you at the grocery store for using a plastic bag; shut down your backyard barbecue because of its unacceptable carbon footprint; make it impossible for you to afford to heat your home in winter and fine you if you try to burn wood in your fireplace; make it impossible for you to earn a living if you work in any non-PC-approved industry; perch with a raging, howling mob on your doorstep and hound you out of gainful employment if you harbor thoughts or opinions that differ from their own; and behead you if you express any discomfort about sharing a bathroom or a shower with a mentally unbalanced male who wishes to pretend to be a woman.
Okay, I exaggerated just a wee bit on that last. But I’d expect the beheadings to begin eventually; it’s in their nature. In fact, you might fairly call the whole PC phenomenon the liberal version of sharia law.
TRIGGER WARNING update! Tracinski hits the nail on the heads.
The universities have done this to themselves. They created the whole phenomenon of modern identity politics and Politically Correct rules to limit speech. They have fostered a totalitarian microculture in which conformity to those rules is considered natural and expected. Now that system is starting to eat them alive, from elite universities like Yale, all the way down to, er, less-than-elite ones like Mizzou.
They created this Frankenstein monster, and it’s up to them to kill it before it kills them.
And it’s up to us to point and laugh every step of the way, and to add fuel to the pyre and light the match whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Is whatever Obama and the Democrat Socialists say it is at any given time, changeable according to whatever sinister command-and-control goal they may be pimping for in that particular moment.
The Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare subsidies in states that did not set up their own health care exchanges, in a major win for the Obama administration.
The decision was 6-3, with turncoat “conservative” Roberts writing the majority opinion, according to NBC TeeWee News just now. So tell me yet again about how crucially vitally crucial it is to elect Republicans because SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS, YOU GUYS.
As many commenters on the Fox website are saying: the Constitution is dead. Also the plain meaning of the written language, the idea of representative government in America, and the right to self-determination. None of those things will be coming back. Modify your behavior accordingly, serfs.
I’ll just repeat an old quote of mine from the earliest days of this debate: in twenty years (probably less) the dwindling handful of people who continue to rail against government-controlled health care will be dismissed by the overwhelming majority as nothing more than lunatics and crackpots. That’s all folks, we’re done.
Enemy action. And–UNEXPECTED!–it’s the same old enemies it always was.
Back in 2008, Republican strategists were scared to death to be seen as inquiring into, much less attacking, Barack Obama’s radical background. No need to dwell on his ties to former terrorist Bill Ayers, we were told. As I (among others) protested at the time, while Ayers’s terrorist past was alarming, it was not the most troubling aspect of Obama’s association with him.
Ayers had remained a proud anti-American radical who openly argued that our country was incorrigibly racist and corrupt. Yet Obama had colluded with him on their joint left-wing passion: criminal-justice “reform.” They appeared on a panel together to argue for keeping even violent juvenile offenders out of the adult justice system. They worked together on boards of left-wing charities to direct funding to like-minded radicals. In 1997, Ayers wrote a book, A Kind and Just Parent: Children of the Juvenile Court, which (as Stanley Kurtz has observed) compares America’s juvenile-justice system to the mass detention of young blacks under South African apartheid. Obama, then a state lawmaker in Illinois, lavishly praised the book as a “searing and timely account.”
Understand then: For upwards of a quarter-century, we’ve enjoyed a staggering decrease in crime rates nationally, particularly in urban areas, because of engaged, intelligence-driven policing methods. During that time, Obama has been playing for the other team: academic and activist detractors who point to the overrepresentation of blacks in the offender population in a racially charged attack on policing — rather than emphasizing that the overrepresentation of blacks as crime victims is ameliorated by modern policing.
Locales under the control of progressive Democrats tend to invite the administration to come “fix” their police. Other cities and towns would like to fight but they cannot compete with the Justice Department’s $28 billion budget; agreeing to comply is their only realistic option. Holder lustily carried out the mission, but it is Obama’s policy.
Of course it is. Which is why the “fight” against Lynch’s nomination was, in the end, a futile waste of time: Obama was never going to nominate anybody better, and would probably have preferred somebody even worse.
Via Stanley Kurtz, who adds:
Obama’s old alliance with Ayers on crime policy is certainly relevant to his administration’s strategies today, but there’s another important connection as well. Obama pressed for so-called racial profiling legislation for years, and got it through the Illinois legislature just in time to make it a selling point in his run for the U.S. Senate.
Unfortunately, the whole effort was based on a false premise and likely did more to hamper the police and interfere with necessary crime enforcement than to protect civil rights. Obama pushed his racial profiling legislation by activating his alliance with radical clergy like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger. So the strategy that Andy lays out, in which Obama uses questionable civil rights accusations and demagoguery by the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton to effectively nationalize local police forces, was clearly prefigured during Obama’s Chicago years. You can read about Obama’s crime policy and the political strategy behind it toward the end of my 2008 piece, “Barack Obama’s Lost Years.”
As Andy points out, Obama laid the legal groundwork for his efforts to nationalize the police early on in his administration. Clearly, however, he’s waited until these last two years of his presidency to put that policy forcefully into action. And there’s nothing isolated about this pattern.
No, there certainly isn’t, on this issue as on all the others. Anyone complaining about the Obama junta’s “lack of transparency” is guilty at best of not being willing to open their eyes and look. And anybody who still thinks of Obama as a “failure” is simply delusional.
As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela’s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.
Wednesday night, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, stepped in with a critical letter to the bureau demanding it explain the surprise and abrupt bullet ban. The letter is shown below.
The National Rifle Association, which is working with Goodlatte to gather co-signers, told Secrets that 30 House members have already co-signed the letter and Goodlatte and the NRA are hoping to get a total of 100 fast.
Gonna take a good bit more than just that, I’m afraid. This reign of witches, pace Jefferson, is not gonna just pass over on its own. It’s gonna have to be pushed along.
“This round is amongst the most commonly used in the most popular rifle design in America, the AR-15…” said Goodlatte’s letter.
So? Why else do you think he’s going after them? He couldn’t get them banned by Constitutional means–not there ARE any Constitutional means for doing away with a natural right explicitly protected in the Constitution itself–so he’s doing what any omnipotent tyrant would do: issuing a decree. Now we’ll see who’s willing to stand up and fight, and how far they’re willing to take the battle.
I’ve said all along that if there’s ever to be a final spark put to the funeral pyre of liberty that will ignite the hearts of the liberty-minded and rouse them to direct action at last, it will be 2A issues that do it. The gun-rights folks are aware, awake, and deadly serious about their rights and beliefs; I never have expected them to just go gently into that good night, not by a long yard. King Hussein Obama just might have struck the match here that will end up burning not just him but the whole socialist edifice to smoking ruin.
The soapbox: in a cacophony of voices, all are mere babble. The ballot box: a rigged system, a false choice, a meaningless charade, a dog-and-pony show that changes absolutely nothing, bread and circuses for the marginally aware, life vest for a forlorn and fruitless hope. The cartridge box: now under direct attack, by the very government charged by our Founding documents to protect it. As our old friend MM says in this comment (NOTE: forgot the link before, fixed now): whatcha gonna do?
But frankly, I advise you to refrain from discussing your intentions here, or on any other website or blog. Because they’re coming for those too:
In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to radically overhaul the way Internet service is regulated. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the commission’s two Democratic commissioners voted to move forward with the rules. The agency’s two GOP-appointed commissioners opposed them.
Under the new rules, broadband providers, long classified by the agency as Title I information services, will now be regulated as Title II telecommunications services—essentially making them public utilities, like the phone system. The move is designed to allow the FCC to implement strict net neutrality rules limiting how much control Internet service providers (ISPs) can exert over what passes over their networks.
Today’s vote is the result of a lengthy process begun by Chairman Wheeler roughly a year ago, and that process came in the wake of two previous efforts in which the agency’s net neutrality rules were struck down in court. But the end result of the vote was largely set near the end of last year, when President Obama released a statement calling for the agency to implement the strongest possible net neutrality rules.
Obama’s statement, itself somewhat atypical in its attempt to publicly influence an independent regulatory agency, followed a long, secret effort inside the White House, in which administration staffers acted, as The Wall Street Journal reported, “like a parallel version of the FCC.” Wheeler had been considering less restrictive rules, but changed his course after the president’s statement.
They mean to control us–all of us, in every imaginable aspect. They will never, ever stop–they’ll keep coming, keep trying every way they can think of to slip the leash over our heads and around our necks one way or another–they will have to BE stopped. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
In the meantime, though, it means that the FCC has taken an unprecedented and fear-reaching step in order to make good on one of the Obama administration’s long-running political priorities—a step that solves no significant existing problem, but is instead designed largely to fend off hypothetical harms, and give the agency far more power over the Internet in the process.
As Commissioner Pai told ReasonTV, the move is a “solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.” It is a solution, however, that is now in place, and is sure to create some problems of its own.
It most certainly will at that, and maybe not in the way some people think. Hey, what’s that sad, withered, half-dead looking tree over there? Could be it just needs watering.
Hey, remember when the libtards were sniffily dismissing the very notion that the government was out to stop Sheryl Atkisson from reporting on Fast and Furious as just damned silly, if not downright-absurdly paranoid? You should, it was only a couple of weeks ago.
Judicial Watch reports that the Obama administration has turned over about 42,000 pages of documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. The administration was forced to turn the documents over to Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Judicial Watch is posting them on its web site. The administration turned them over on November 18, 2014.
One of the documents provides smoking gun proof that the Obama White House and the Eric Holder Justice Department colluded to get CBS News to block reporter Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream media reporters who paid any attention to the deadly gun-running scandal.
In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson.
Schultz replied, “Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”
Schultz also told Schmaler that he was working with reporter Susan Davis, then at the National Journal, to target Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA). Issa led the House investigation into Fast and Furious. Davis now works at USA Today. In the email chain, Schultz tells Schmaler that he would provide Davis with “leaks.”
Davis wrote a critical piece on Issa a few weeks later.
What a funny little coinkydink, eh? Hope Atkisson is watching her back very carefully indeed these days; courageous truth-tellers have been disappeared by banana-republic gangster-government thugs for way less than this. In fact, it’s how the word “disappeared” got into the language in the first place.
Fred runs it all down.
Here is a curious situation indeed. The government has become our enemy, out of control, and we have to depend on computer companies for any safety we may have.
NSA spies on us illegally and in detail, recording telephone conversations, reading email, recording our financial transactions, on and on. TSA makes air travel a nightmare, forcing us to hop about barefoot and confiscating toothpaste. The police kick in our doors at night on no-knock raids and shoot our dogs. In bus stations we are subject to search without probable cause. The feds track us through our cell phones. Laws make it a crime to photograph the police, an out-and-out totalitarian step: Cockroaches do not like light. The feds give police forces across the country weaponry normal to militaries. Whatever the intention, it is the hardware of control of dissent. Think Tian An Men Square in China.
And we have no recourse. If you resist, you go to jail, maybe not for long, not yet anyway, but jail is jail. Object to TSA and you miss your flight. They know it and use it. The courts do nothing about this. They too are feds.
Fools say, “If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.” This might be true, or partly true, or sometimes true, or occasionally plausible, if government were benevolent. It isn’t.
The feds—whatever the intention of individuals—are setting up the machinery of a totalitarianism beyond anything yet known on the earth. It falls rapidly into place. You can argue, if you are optimistic enough to make Pollyanna look like a Schopenhaurian gloom-monger, that they would never use such powers. They already do. The only question is how far they will push. What cannot be argued is that they have the powers.
We are in the cross-hairs and what happens in the next very few years will determine in what direction we go. And when we have to depend on commercial companies like Apple and Google to protect us from our government, things are bad.
Ahh, but it could be worse. Google and Apple could be working hand in glove with the tyrants and bureaucrats, and lying to us to cover up their collusion.
Not that that could ever happen under our present system of crony fascism, of course.
Update! Williamson fleshes it out:
Anti-snooping solutions are available at both ends of the market. Sophisticated criminals use military-grade encryption and complex communications and financial networks to evade detection; low-level drug dealers long ago discovered the virtues of anonymous, prepaid phones combined with a little operational discipline. In that regard, privacy is a little bit like tax evasion: Everybody knows that there are billionaire crime-syndicate potentates who evade taxes, and that there are struggling waiters and bartenders who are less than vigilant about reporting cash tips to the IRS; but from the Treasury’s point of view, neither one of those is a huge problem. The problem comes when ordinary Americans — the sort of people who buy iPhones — start getting froggy about their taxes, and you find that you don’t have enough agents to investigate them, courts to try them in, or jails to put them in. You get a reminder of what “government by consent” means in practice, as Connecticut demonstrated with its ill-considered gun registry, which Connecticut residents, including the police themselves, simply refused to comply with. There are many ways to reduce government’s practical power, and voting is only one of them.
That’s essentially what is happening with privacy right now. Americans reacting to the massive, invasive, illegal warrantless surveillance of the post-9/11 period are taking steps to protect themselves. And Americans know that it is not only armored vehicles and equipment that make their way from the national-security organizations to local law enforcement: attitudes and tactics have a way of being transmitted osmotically through the same permeable membrane separating military from police. The irony is that Americans’ reaction to warrantless surveillance is going to make it more difficult to execute warrants. You may have a piece of paper that says you can search my computer, but good luck doing so if you can’t defeat the encryption. One of the most important legal questions in the immediate future will be whether the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination means that suspects cannot be forced to hand over passwords or decryption keys.
But the current question does not involve criminals, or even criminal suspects; it involves ordinary Apple customers. And that’s why I’m suspicious of Holder et al. and their sky-is-falling chorus. Serious criminals have been doing this stuff forever; what’s got the attorney general and the FBI upset is the prospect that the rest of us — who are not criminals, for the most part — are starting to protect ourselves, too. The editors of the Washington Post, perfectly expressing D.C. officialdom’s conception of itself as an anointed caste, demanded the creation of a “golden key” that would give the right people — you know who they are — the ability to override whatever security measures the rest of us peons might be deploying, subject to the oversight of the proper authorities, of course, presumably including the fine chaps at Lois Lerner’s IRS and Eric Holder’s DOJ. Some bad news for the Washington Post, the rest of the federal clerisy, and the DOJ: You don’t get a golden key. You are not special. You are not in charge. We are in charge, and we’re having second thoughts about trusting you, just now. And until you give us a good reason to change our minds, we’re keeping our private information under wraps.
And THAT very attitude is what’s gonna piss off our would-be overlords more than anything. We’re transitioning from a worried discomfort and distrust into outright impudence and insolence; there’s a real danger that we might just cross the line into open resistance, and will have to be punished for it.
None but a purblind fool would trust the Amerikan federal government, on any level, for anything. The more of us wake up to that sad fact, the more difficult ruling over us is going to be for them. The balance just might end up tipped from the relative ease and efficiency of herding sheep…into herding cats instead. Doesn’t mean they won’t attempt it; doesn’t even mean they won’t ultimately succeed. But at least we can take some comfort from witnessing their self-inflicted troubles. And some amusing entertainment, too.
“Experts” and specialization=the death of the Republic.
Mark Twain once famously remarked, “Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.” Here in these presently united States, we expect the rule of Law, but what we are getting more and more often is rule by government, Constitutional guarantees of the rule of common Law notwithstanding. By ‘rule by government’ I mean that the rules are not objective and constant, but changeable by executive fiat, by nameless faceless bureaucrats who can’t be identified or held accountable. Rules ruthlessly enforced on the working class are…optional…for the ruling nomenklatura that inhabit Mordor-on-the-Potomac.
The vast majority of the legislation being passed today has no basis in the legitimate power delegated to the Federal authority by the States in the Constitution. I’ve already discussed the vast quantity of ‘regulation’ being promulgated by unelected bureaucrats. Further, regardless of the lack of legitimacy of these rules and regulations, it is not possible for any single individual to comprehend even a tenth part of the laws and regulations the government wants him to respect.
This is no accident; there are reasons for it, if not very good ones, one of which would be this:
Another change that empowers prosecutors is the proliferation of incomprehensible new laws. This gives prosecutors more room for interpretation and encourages them to overcharge defendants in order to bully them into plea deals, says Harvey Silverglate, a defence lawyer. Since the financial crisis, says Alex Kozinski, a judge, prosecutors have been more tempted to pore over statutes looking for ways to stretch them so that this or that activity can be construed as illegal. “That’s not how criminal law is supposed to work. It should be clear what is illegal,” he says.
Ahh, but that ain’t how proper police states are built, see. That last via Glenn, who also has a prequel, in case you haven’t seen it. The rule of thumb we used to live by, updated in my title, has now been officially superseded: everything not mandatory is forbidden.
As the title says: they are coming for your children. And they’ll get ’em, too.
Home-schoolers represent the only authentically radical social movement in the United States (Occupy Wall Street was a fashion statement) and so they must be suppressed, as a malevolent committee of leftist academics and union bosses under the direction of Governor Dannel Malloy is preparing to do in Connecticut, using the Sandy Hook massacre as a pretext. The ghouls invariably rush to the podium after every school massacre, issuing their insipid press releases before the bodies have even cooled, and normally they’re after your guns. But the Malloy gang is after your children.
Malloy’s committee on the Newtown shootings is recommending that Connecticut require home-schooling families to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction. For anybody even passingly familiar with contemporary government schools, which are themselves a peerless source of social and emotional dysfunction, this development is bitterly ironic.
Adam Lanza was the product of madness, but he also was very much a product of the public schools and their allied institutions. He was briefly — very briefly — homeschooled after his parents had exhausted every other option. His mental troubles began long before he was home-schooled and were in fact well known to and documented by the various credentialed authorities under whose management he spent his youth, from his kindergarten therapists to the scholars at Yale’s Child Study Center. Far from being removed from the public system, Lanza was still attending student club meetings at Newtown’s high school just before the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Perfectly typical of authoritarian Progressivists: the problems they cause are used as rationalizations for granting themselves even more illegitimate power. In fact, it’s their preferred MO.
If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living “on tarps in fields or parking lots” and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: “Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants.” The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling — that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state — is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel.
It reduces ALL of us to chattel–and that’s a feature, not a bug. It’s the whole point of liberal-fascism, actually. And it strongly suggests the question I’ve been asking of “moderate” collaborationists for years now: what part of the Constitution, your freedom, your right to run your own life, are you willing to surrender in order to “compromise” with them?
Be sure to read all of it. Williamson fleshes out the case against government-school totalitarianism quite nicely, including this grim and chilling line: “Contrary to all of the sanctimony surrounding them, the government schools are in fact the single most destructive institution in American public life, and they are the bedrock of the Left’s power, providing billions of dollars in campaign contributions and millions of man-hours for Democratic campaigns.” He is perfectly correct, but as he says, it’s far more and worse than just that. Kevin covers just about all the bases here; this is probably the most important article you’ll read all year, I’d say.
Update! I’ve gotta mention this bit, too:
Home-schooling isn’t for everybody, but every home-school student, like every firearm in private hands, is a quiet little declaration of independence. It’s no accident that the people who want to seize your guns are also the ones who want to seize your children.
No, it most certainly is not. In every instance, in every context, so-called “liberals” are the enemies of freedom and Constitutional governance. They abjure not even the smallest or least opportunity to wind their chains around the rapidly-expiring corpus of American self-determination. They cannot, must not be compromised with. They must be resisted to the last breath. And if true liberty is ever again to be anything more than a sad, bitter joke spoken around a mouthful of bile, they must ultimately be crushed.
Argue that Obama is the worst president we’ve ever had in terms of his corruption, competence, intelligence, and integrity, and I’m right there with ya every time. But in terms of the damage he’s done to the Republic and the progress towards total destruction of its Constitution as the law of the land, I still gotta go with FDR.
Gootkin also berated members of the proposed citizens’ grand jury for “bypassing” the criminal justice system. The real scandal here is the effective destruction of the grand jury, which was intended to be a citizens’ assembly rather than a government entity.
From the Founding era until the early 20th Century, grand juries were bodies that could carry out independent investigations of official corruption and deliver “presentments” to prosecutors in search of redress. Constitutional scholar Roger Roots observes that the grand jury, “in its primal, plenary sense…was a group of men who stood as a check on government, often in direct opposition to the desires of those in power.”
Writing in the Fordham Law Review, Kevin K. Washburn points out that the grand jury “came to us as an institution that was respected for its profound ability to protect local communities–indeed, possibly rebellious ones–from central government authority. It was, in essence, a local check on Crown authority.” In that capacity, grand juries not only conducted rigorous review of facts, but also “nullification of validly enacted laws,” Washburn continues.
During the reign of FDR, an executive branch Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure – an unaccountable body with no legislative mandate – imposed regulations intended to destroy the independence of grand juries. As a result, “the grand jury is the total captive of the prosecutor, who, if he is candid, will concede that he can indict anybody, at any time, for almost anything, before any grand jury,” wrote federal District Judge William J. Campbell, who urged the formal abolition of the institution in the interests of efficiency.
Judge Campbell offered those observations in 1973. Since that time, the US criminal “justice” system has reached almost Soviet levels of prosecutorial efficiency. Under the reign of Josef Stalin, Soviet procurators were ordered to achieve a 100 conviction rate. In the current federal system, notes Lew Rockwell, the defendant “wins once every 212 times.”
Once the grand jury was re-purposed as an arm of the state, prosecutors were free to commit routine due process violations and destroy what remained of the institution of trial by jury. “Waiving the Criminal Justice System,” a study recently published by the University of Texas School of Law, describes how the adversarial process through which the state must prove the guilt of a defendant has been supplanted with a system of administrative law in which prosecutors extract plea bargains in exchange for relatively lenient sentences. This is why federal prosecutors win well more than ninety percent of their cases through plea bargains, rather than jury trials.
In the American tradition, the purpose of a trial was to establish the truth of an accusation against a defendant who is presumed to be innocent. The purpose of our post-constitutional criminal system is to ratify the defendant’s guilt, irrespective of the facts or the law. This is not the doing of eccentrics and “extremists” like Ernie terTelgte, but rather of the respectable people who employ the exercise and the threat of violence to force others to submit to their will – and who can rely on the unconditional support of the SPLC and others of their contemptible ilk.
Roughly a week ago, while the SPLC was pretending that terTelgte and his supporters are a threat to the republic, the US Supreme Court put an end to the illusion that something worthy of being called a republic still exists, or that citizens have any reasonable expectation that, if accused of an offense, they have a right to a trial of some kind.
Or that they’re citizens at all in the first place, and not subjects of a rapacious tyranny. You’ll want to read all of it, but the upshot is this:
Ernie terTeglte’s view of sovereignty is that he has a right to feed himself and be left alone. Barack Obama’s view of sovereignty is that of Vladimir Lenin – the supposed right of the Dear Leader to exercise “power without limit, resting directly on force, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules.” Not surprisingly, the SPLC and its allies consider the first view unacceptable, and regard the second as mandatory.
As do all Leftists; it is, after all, the central tenet of their evil ideology.
Historian asks the big question:
According to the TRN article, Snowden has apparently made arrangements to have some or all of this information released if anything happens to him, and has also arranged for portions of this information to be released under other circumstances. I would not rely on TRN as a primary source of information, but that report in combination with PJ Tatler’s report and other reports on Snowden’s data download from various sources including Reuters dating to last November makes it likely that there was, in fact, such a briefing, and that Snowden did retrieve information about all of the organizations currently responsible for the present state of affairs in these presently united States.
If he did take this data, then this explains his continued survival. It also would explain why officials in Mordor-on-the-Potomac called him a traitor. The question is, assuming he in fact committed these acts, does that make him a traitor? Would publication of the personal data of those who would rule us constitute treason?
Not in a legitimate Republic run along the lines the Founders envisioned, no. The one we have is an entirely different matter.
So who are the traitors here? Snowden, who spoke out about violations of the Constitution and US Law, and who is threatening to simply publish the personal data of those responsible? Or are the traitors those presently in power, who either actively engage in or actively support these unConstitutional activities, or who passively accept these actions? While contemplating the answer to these questions, O gentle reader, think about the delicious irony of this situation. Those who have been busy violating the Constitution and the privacy of the citizenry are complaining that they are themselves subject to the same treatment!
So, who are the traitors, and who are the patriots here?
Oh, I think that ought to be clear enough by now. To be faithful to or supportive of the Constitution as written is to be a traitor to the US as currently, umm, constituted. And vice versa.
Dear America, I Saw You Naked
And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.
I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.
Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.
There I was, an aspiring satire writer, earnestly acting on orders straight out of Catch-22.
Most of my co-workers found humor in the I.O. room on a cruder level. Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible. Women who’d had mastectomies were easy to discern—their chests showed up on our screens as dull, pixelated regions. Hernias appeared as bulging, blistery growths in the crotch area. Passengers were often caught off-guard by the X-Ray scan and so materialized on-screen in ridiculous, blurred poses—mouths agape, à la Edvard Munch. One of us in the I.O. room would occasionally identify a passenger as female, only to have the officers out on the checkpoint floor radio back that it was actually a man. All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.
There were other types of bad behavior in the I.O. room—I personally witnessed quite a bit of fooling around, in every sense of the phrase. Officers who were dating often conspired to get assigned to the I.O. room at the same time, where they analyzed the nude images with one eye apiece, at best. Every now and then, a passenger would throw up two middle fingers during his or her scan, as though somehow aware of the transgressions going on.
But the only people who hated the body-scanners more than the public were TSA employees themselves.
Which is at least somewhat to their credit, I suppose. But they went along with it anyway, just like the rest of us did. And all of it for nothing, at least in terms of actual security, except the psychological advantage granted to the police state by yet another sheep-like capitulation: the inuring of the populace to another encroachment on their dignity, their self-respect, their self-determination. And each little bite leads inexorably to another one. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you need to wake the fuck up and start paying attention. The monstrous Superstate will never, ever have enough; its appetite for liberty is never sated.
Read on to find out just how well those vaunted full-body scanners and the other kabuki machinations work at stopping terrorists. No doubt this guy can look for a visit from some fully-militarized federal alphabet-soup goon squad or other real soon now. Bottom line:
My roommates told me I would be stupid to go. After all, if some government official was going to sit me down for questioning about my involvement with an anonymous whistleblower site, the exit interview would be the place it would happen.
I decided to show. I had committed no crime in daring to speak out; I had only provided information the public had a right to know. As I saw it, $40 million in taxpayer dollars had been wasted on ineffective anti-terrorism security measures at the expense of the public’s health, privacy and dignity.
And that’s a feature, not a bug. Via Ed, who wastes his time on futility:
Of course, one reason this story is so compelling is precisely because it confirms our previous assessments of TSA, both as travelers and in overall analysis of their function. It’s still one man’s perception of the environment, albeit one man who did go to some risk to publicize these issues while still at TSA. Harrington studied writing while working at TSA, and it shows; it’s an entertaining and compelling read, and tends to reduce the skepticism we would normally apply to tales from self-described disgruntled workers.
It’s compelling enough that Congress should invite Harrington to discuss these issues in hearings, and haul some of his former superiors and fellow agents to explain themselves. If Harrington is exaggerating or making the error of applying a local experience into a global rule, a fair hearing will bear that out. But given the experiences that Americans have had with this intrusive and perplexing TSA security regime, we are owed some accountability for its performance, and an answer to the issues that Harrington raises.
Yeah, that’s gonna take care of it. Another “blue-ribbon panel,” more useless, tail-chasing “hearings” and “investigations” that lead nowhere–seeking “answers” we already know but refuse to confront honestly, to questions that amount to nothing more than a way of shielding ourselves from the ugly truth. Hey, maybe some peon or other will resign in “disgrace,” going on to collect his full pension after the dust settles a la Lois Lerner. And somebody can set up a countdown website: Day 768 of the TSA scandal: can’t get no satisfaction edition!
Oh, please. Somebody put on some Lee Greenwood and crank it up, quick-like.
Umm, not so much. Let an old Chicago pro show you how it’s done.
Closing down a bridge to punish a mayor for not endorsing Gov. Chris Christie for re-election was an unambiguous abuse of power by individuals on the governor’s staff and was rather petty to boot. This kind of bullying is hardly unique to New Jersey, though. It goes on at the federal level, too. In fact, the now-former Christie associates are amateurs compared to President Obama’s team of pin-striped tough guys.
Consider the government shutdown last fall when the president authorized the needless closing of federal parks and museums in an attempt to smear Republicans. Obama’s team got so carried away that they even tried to close state-run parks in Wisconsin that weren’t dependent on federal funds. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had to defy federal orders to keep them open.
Then there were the Tea Party groups that challenged the Obama agenda and soon found themselves targeted and harassed by the IRS. Yes, the tax official who ran the program claimed her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a congressional hearing, but don’t expect any criminal charges to emerge from the IRS scandal. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department sees no evil in it, perhaps because the government attorney in charge of the investigation is a long-time Obama donor.
And these are only the examples we know about, too; of course there’s more, one of which is cited in the article. There’s always more when it’s Obama’s junta you’re talking about. When it comes to bullying and thuggery, a mere RINO like Krispie will always be a piker compared to the Left-wing goosesteppers.
Update! Glenn says:
I can’t help but feel that the press’s focus on Christie is not just the obvious political shilling, but also, in some sense, a displacement response. Bullied by Obama, but unwilling to go after him for it, they turn their attention to smaller-scale targets that are safe.
Well, that would certainly fit with their endless fellating of murderous Muslims who just might hack off their heads with a rusty butter knife in a fit of mad pique, while ostentatiously (and “courageously”) lamenting the risible prospect of “theocracy” imposed by Xtians who they know will never do any such thing.
The irony, it burns.
If Tom Perkins of San Francisco was trying to be provocative, he succeeded. In a letter to the editor that appeared in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Perkins, a founding partner of the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture-capital firm, drew a parallel between Nazi Germany’s “war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews,” and “the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’ ”
He described some of the local manifestations of “a rising tide of hatred of the successful” and concluded: “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
Today’s New York Times column from Paul Krugman, titled “Paranoia of the Plutocrats,” typifies the prig-left’s reaction. “You may say that this is just one crazy guy,” Krugman writes. “But Mr. Perkins isn’t that much of an outlier.” Rather, according to Krugman, Perkins belongs to “a class of people who are alarmingly detached from reality”…
Taranto goes on to lambaste the asshole Krugman for indulging himself in some of the self-same “paranoia” with far less justification than Perkins has for noting the incontrovertible historical fact of the Left’s reflexive penchant for putting people who disagree with them up against walls or sending them to death camps.
And make no mistake, it’s the Left’s beloved dictators who’ve been responsible for massacring dissidents in job lots, from Stalin to Mao to Hitler to Guevara to Pol Pot to a dozen more you could easily name; the far right’s body count in toto doesn’t begin to approach even one of their more industrious dictators, and the Left’s sum total is nothing short of staggering. I’d suggest FreeFor (Historian’s apt term) dispense with the entire notion of an awareness of history being somehow “paranoid.” It ain’t paranoia if they’re really out to kill you…and they are.
What we really need is a word for those whistlers past the mass graves who are in denial about the odds against yet another repeat performance–the “it couldn’t happen here” or the “it could never happen in the modern era” types. One other than “morons,” I mean. After all, that was the idea carefully maintained, against all the evidence to the contrary, by all too many European and German Jews, right up until they were loaded onto the trains and shoved into the ovens.
What was that old saying about those who refuse to learn from history again, now? Myself, I’d amend it: those who refuse to look Leftist jackals squarely in the eye and recognize them for what they truly are and always have been are doomed to be devoured by them.
Telling it true in the WSJ:
Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
Good thing he didn’t send this letter to the Chronicle. His shredded, smoking corpse would be swinging from a lamppost by now, left there by tolerant, open-minded, and compassionate Progressivists justly outraged at the unfair and ridiculous comparison to their ideological brethren as an example pour encourager les autres.
Coincidence: Hollywood’s only conservative group is getting close IRS nonprofit scrutiny
Another Coincidence: James O’Keefe Group Being Audited by NY. Again.
Yet Another Coincidence: Dinesh D’Souza Indicted For Election Fraud
Still Another Coincidence: IRS Proposes New 501(c)(4) Rules That Just Happen to Cover Most Tea Party Groups
Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin’s ‘John Doe’ Subpoenas
Secret investigations targeted coincidently at most prominent conservative groups in WI who can only now legally talk about their harassment. If you want to see what American fascism would look like, well this is it.
Pretty much, yeah. Click over for the links. And for God’s sake, don’t tell Lee Greenwood, as WRSA always says. Related, also from Maet’s ONT link above: here’s how California has finally cobbled together a stealth gun ban:
Ruger and Smith & Wesson have already announced they won’t be selling any new models in California and it looks like Glock may soon follow. Why?
Well CA requires all handgun models to be submitted for ‘safety testing’ to the CA DOJ and only approved models can be sold. Now technically once a model has been approved it stays on the list but make nearly any change to it (finish, grips, sights) and it has to be re-approved. And in May of last year CA Attorney General Kamala Harris declared micro-stamping of cartridges to be a ‘viable technology’ and started enforcing a 2007 law that added micro-stamping to the features required to be on the DOJ approved list.
And it’s not just trivial micro-stamping – the law requires that the gun’s make, model and serial number be stamped on the case in two places during firing. This isn’t a simple mod and would require re-designing and re-testing every pistol model to be sold in California as well as changes in manufacturing. Ruger and S&W apparently ran the numbers and decided the CA market simply wasn’t worth the hassle. And furthermore they won’t be renewing the existing DOJ approvals so come 2016 you won’t be able to buy a new semi-auto pistol from them at all in CA.
Don’t live in California? Well don’t be too content – this is an idea that will spread to other states if CA pulls it off.
It most certainly will; sooner or later, it (or something like it) is going to spread to all of them. As the old saw goes: when you think it’s time to start burying your guns, it’s actually time to start digging them up instead.
A while back, I shoveled a little bitterly ironic commentary at poor ol’ TaxProf’s sad IRS Scandal-O-Meter, bless his heart, wondering how we were all going to feel when he got up to Day Three Hundred and Summat and nothing whatever had changed. And, well, here we all are.
WASHINGTON—The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t plan to file criminal charges over the Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of conservative groups, according to law-enforcement officials, a move that likely will only intensify debate over the politically charged scandal.
The officials said investigators didn’t find the kind of political bias or “enemy hunting” that would amount to a violation of criminal law. Instead, what emerged during the probe was evidence of a mismanaged bureaucracy enforcing rules about tax-exemption applications it didn’t understand, according to the law-enforcement officials.
While the case is still being investigated and could remain open for months, officials familiar with its progress said it is increasingly unlikely any criminal charges will result.
Gee. Who coulda seen that coming–particularly with an Obama donor at the head of the sham “investigation” and all? But hey, never mind that; did you hear about the man-caused disaster involving–UNEXPECTED!–traffic problems in New Jersey? Now THERE’S a scandal for ya, not this phony one over one of the most omnipotent and untouchable government bureaucracies being used to suppress free speech and intimidate and harass dissenters and all.
Nothing to see here, folks. Well, except more of this sort of thing:
My father, who worked multiple jobs and faithfully and honestly paid his taxes for fifty years, had never heard a word from the IRS. In 2008, his daughter was tapped to run for vice president of the United States. Since that time, he has been, in his words “horribly harassed” six times by the agency. They’ve tried to dig up something on him but he’s always operated above board.
Government and politics are ugly. Kudos to the few that are trying to clean it up.
Kudos, sure, and God help ’em. They don’t stand a chance, and never did. Lifson says this:
Assuming that this is true, it represents either a remarkable coincidence, or (more likely) a pattern of political abuse by the most powerful and most feared arm of the federal government dealing directly with everyone who lives in or enjoys citizenship in the United States. This is frightening, to say the least.
It is time for an IRS Special Prosecutor.
No, actually, it isn’t; the time is long, long past when that could have done any good. What it’s time for instead is pitchforks, torches, and bureaucrats swinging from lamp-posts. The ballot box has failed, and so has the soapbox; the Constitution is a dead letter, and half the country is just fine with that, as long as their preferred miscreants remain in charge of the odious tyranny that replaced it.
We have but one of those proverbial boxes left to us now. But as usual throughout human history, it’s going to have to get a lot worse before most of us awaken to it.
Are you serious? Are you serious update! “Will IRS bully people to sign up for Obamacare?” No, no, of course not. Perish the thought. USA! USA! USA!!
Ein Reich, ein volk, ein Fuhrer. Here, and across the pond too.
Ronald Reagan electrified the world when he demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down. Barack Obama is helping to build a new one, even as the German government begins rounding up members of a despised religious minority.
The Romeike family was granted asylum in the United States because the German government was intent on wresting away the children and putting the parents in cages for the crime of homeschooling their children, which is verboten in Germany, a legacy of the country’s totalitarian past. The Obama administration, which in other notable areas of immigration law has enacted a policy of “discretion” regarding deportations, took the Romeike family to court to have its asylum protections revoked, and succeeded in doing so. The family has appealed to the Supreme Court, which has ordered the Obama administration to respond to the Romeikes’ petition, but the administration has so far refused to do so.
The Romeikes are not the only ones, of course. But these are details; let’s just get right down to the real nut of it, shall we?
The institutional Left hates homeschooling, hates it with a remarkable intensity, even though homeschooling recently has come into vogue with a certain subset of Park Slope–style progressives. Robin West of Georgetown’s law school has written admiringly of the suppression of homeschooling and regimes under which “parents who did so were criminals.” She writes that homeschoolers are dangerous precisely because of the fact that, far from being docile sheep, homeschoolers are as adults more likely to be politically engaged, which Professor West worries might “undermine, limit, or destroy state functions that interfere with family and parental rights.” For good measure, she notes that many homeschoolers were enthusiastic about George W. Bush in 2000 — quelle horreur. Many others on the left argue that homeschooling should be either banned outright or effectively regulated out of existence.
Homeschooling terrifies the Left because the Left is at its core totalitarian, seeking to bring political discipline to every aspect of life — and control of education is essential to that project. The public school is in miniature what the Left believes the world should look like: Everybody arranged in orderly rows and moving about on an orderly schedule punctuated by bells, being taught about diversity and climate change by nice union ladies who also lead them to their federally subsidized lunches. If you can say “no” to that, you can say no to any part of the Left’s vision. Homeschooling is an existential threat to the privileged position of the institutional Left. The schools are the factory in which it manufactures its future clients.
If that thought doesn’t chill you to the marrow, you’re most likely a Democrat-Socialist. It’s what’s been going on here for decades now; it’s why we find ourselves mired above the axles in the liberal-fascist morass. And it’s going to be every bit as difficult and expensive of both blood and treasure to fight off this latest crop of illiberal swine as it was the last ones…and every bit as crucial.
Why, you have to be insane, then.
The 1968 Gun Control Act bans guns for anyone who is “adjudicated as a mental defective or … committed to a mental institution.”
Unfortunately, under 2008 NICS Improvement Act, drafted by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and its regulations, that “adjudication” can be made by any “other lawful authority.” This means a diagnosis by a single psychiatrist in connection with a government program.
In the case of nearly 175,000 law-abiding veterans, the “lawful authority” has been a Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, who, generally, will take away a veteran’s guns by unilaterally declaring him incompetent and appointing a guardian over his financial affairs.
Certainly, the findings can be appealed, but most veterans don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars to hire lawyers and psychiatrists to do so.
In fact, that process of expanding gun bans has now begun:
One gun owner in a virulently anti-gun state was placed on the gun-ban blacklist because many years ago, police, without the approval of any court, put him in a mental facility overnight. The facility found nothing wrong with him, but that didn’t stop his state from recently turning him in to the FBI for a lifetime gun ban.
Gee, imagine my surprise. It must be noted that a “diagnosis” of mental illness was often used as a weapon for dealing with dissidents and other undesirables in the Soviet Union, which the USSSA is growing to resemble more with every passing day. As Herschel says:
To my readers who believe that this has anything to do with public safety, you need to be dissuaded from such foolishness. This has nothing to do with the decreased rate of forcible admissions to mental health facilities, and nothing to do with an increase in mental health problems, and nothing to do with the availability of guns. And it has nothing to do with turning out patients from the asylums, no matter what you’ve been told.
Crime is a moral choice. I know this is uncomfortable for some of my readers, because it forces you to think about things like value judgments and the roots of morality. It all has such a deontological ring to it, and it suggests that mankind may not just be the product of primordial slime – that there is someone to whom we must answer.
But I don’t care one iota about your discomfort. The mental health profession simply cannot sustain the weight of burden you wish to place on it. It cannot tell you who will do what, or give enough medications to fix what ails mankind. It cannot control individuals who are moral agents making their own choices.
And those who would rule us know this too. They know that the mental health profession cannot function in this role, and yet the sweep of the proposed rules keeps increasing, the dragnet keeps expanding, and the Senators keep going along to get along. So what does this tell you about why they want to expand the mental health dragnet?
It tells anyone paying attention, and who understands the true nature and purpose of governments generally and this one in particular, all they’ll ever need to know. The mental health profession indeed cannot sustain the burden gun-grabbing fascists wish to place on it, right enough–not and remain a profession truly focused on mental health. But the gun-grabbers are perfectly willing to use any tool available to get their boots on our necks. And it’s hardly the first time Progressivist control freaks have perverted noble intentions and basic human decency into something they can use as another instrument of oppression and tyranny.
The National Security Agency on Saturday released a statement in answer to questions from a senator about whether it “has spied, or is…currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials”, in which it did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress to whom it says it is accountable.
In a letter dated 3 January, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont defined “spying” as “gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business”.
In its statement, which comes as the NSA gears up for a make-or-break legislative battle over the scope of its surveillance powers, the agency pointed to “privacy protections” which it says it keeps on all Americans’ phone records.
The statement read: “NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of US persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all US persons.”
Ie, none whatsoever. But I have to say that it’s comforting to know that there’s one area–if only one–wherein Congressvermin are subject to the same depredations of their precious Leviathan state as all the rest of us are. Cold comfort to be sure, but what the heck, it’s better than nothing, right?
Unbelievable. And all too predictable with the government we now have.
While the Administration frantically looks for ways to spin the ongoing disaster of HealthCareDotGov as some sort of success – even though the system went down for a good 11 hours on the day we were promised it would be completely, totally fixed – it’s worth remembering that some government machinery works very well indeed, especially the parts that cause bad things to happen to Obama critics.
Remember Bill Elliott, the cancer patient who said he’d be more likely to “let nature take its course,” rather than pay his 900 percent premium increase under ObamaCare? The crestfallen Obama voter who said he voted to re-elect the President entirely because he believed the Big Lie about keeping your insurance and doctors if you liked them?
The funniest darn thing just happened: he’s getting audited by the IRS. Apparently his insurance broker is getting audited, too.
What a remarkable coincidence!
No, it isn’t, as the good Doc knows. Collegial, “civil” talking heads who have a vested interest in not openly acknowledging the truth, politicians who ditto, and assorted Pollyanna types might seriously try to argue that it is, but everybody else ought to know full well by now that it is nothing of the sort. What it is, is life in a Left-wing tyranny. Period.
I am disgusted that the IRS can pull numbers out of thin air, demand the money in a month’s time and that there is no statute of limitations. 2003? For God’s sake! Worse yet, my taxes are prepared each quarter by a professional CPA. I pay on time and I do not get ‘tax refunds’ and this is the thanks I get for doing the right thing each and every quarter year after year. And Bill worked for the government during the tax year in question so the government agency he worked for would assure that his IRS fillings were accurate. So this whole thing is a political witch hunt. There is a reason that Lois Lerner pleaded the 5th during congressional testimony and their is a reason that the IRS chief counsel repeated the phrase “I do not recall’ more than 80 times during his congressional testimony. This is tyranny. Plain and simple.
Yes, it surely is. Now, what shall we do about that, pray tell?