Archive for Justice and Law

Terrifying: Just how far does this go?

Bryan Preston describes The Terrifying Implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ Connection. It appears Judicial Watch finally got some traction on an FOIA request and the results are indeed terrifying.

“Lois Lerner intended to use her position atop the IRS’ tax exempt approval office to coordinate the prosecution of political speech. The Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder had at least tentatively bought into that. The Federal Elections Commission was being roped in as well. Lerner’s emails prove that beyond doubt.”

Complaining about others who express their views is one thing. Attempting to suppress such expression via laws such as campaign finance restrictions is another. A rogue government employee using the color of office to harass free speech raises the stakes. But now it becoming rather clear that is has been raised from a rogue individual to an agency to multiple agencies to political party leaders. That escalation of involvement and collusion in the effort is indeed terrifying.

Preston describes a well established tactic: select a target to set an example and then use that example to get the rest in line. 

Now, take that effort to go after nonprofit organizations and think about the southern Nevada Rancher episode. The feds spent millions to go after an individual delinquent in government payment of thousands and used paramilitary operations to do it. In the process, they trashed personal property and showed contempt and incompetence for the lifestyle and craft of the rancher in honoring the land.

worried, yet?

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The false delimma

One of the rationales used to excuse the BLM in the Bundy case is provided by Walter Olson On the Bundy Ranch confrontation quoting Tom Frank. “I hate to see how many on my side who are upset at Obama’s violation of the Rule of Law cheer the Bundys’ criminal contempt of a court order.” The article links to a Breitbart Big Government story that provides a rundown on the legal history. The non-legal, non-conspiratorial background needs Dana Loesch’s view on The Real Story Behind The Bundy Ranch Harassment for balance on the larger picture.

The rationale in the dilemma depends upon the fact that officers in the executive branch (e.g. president, attorney general) take an oath to faithfully enforce the law. A citizen’s role is not so explicit but rather an implicit responsibility to follow and honor the law. To try to hold Bundy to the same status as Obama in regards to the law is a dishonest comparison. The fact that Obama and his party are not setting a very good example in regards to following may make no excuse for others but it also doesn’t set a standard.

There are many issues in the Bundy case that tend towards an interpretation of appropriate civil disobedience rather than criminal lawbreaking. One is in the area of government taking and the property rights of the individual. That goes deep in this case involving homesteading of western lands, water rights, and urban development. It is the property rights issue that has lead to conspiracy theories regarding the Senate majority leader, Chinese interests, and corruption.

The excessive and irrational regulation issue is a factor here as well. One of the primary rationales used by the government for action against Bundy was in regards to an endangered species. That rationale falls flat on several fronts. Cattle and the endangered species have co-existed at the Bundy ranch for generations. The BLM itself is assassinating thousands of members of that species as their recovery facility has been closed. ‘Green’ projects that do have disastrous impact on the species’ habitat have been approved. All of these facts indicate a problem with the government’s basic rational for a taking.

Other issues involve state control and ownership over lands within their borders and appropriate response of law enforcement. The courts have not done themselves proud, either. They have allowed the government’s case to stand despite history, irrational rationale, and competing interests. One cannot also ignore the fact that the Bundy case is not one that appeals to the left which means media inspection and evaluation is rather lacking and poor.

Civil disobedience has an honored history with many ugly spots. The citizens who arrived from all over the U.S. to support Bundy indicate that something is not right with government in this case. That indication tells the rest of us that we need to pay attention and take a look beyond the shallow ‘didn’t pay the rent so is a criminal’ argument to fully understand what our government is doing and whether that is the sort of thing it should be doing – to Bundy or to each of us. 

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The frog is boiling – and it appears he may be noticing

There is that old story about selling something unpleasant using an analogy about how to boil a frog: set the frog in cool water and raise the heat gradually so he won’t notice until it’s too late. The same idea seems to be underway when it comes to oppressive government. There are some indications, though, that the frog isn’t too happy.

First up is Alan Prendergast on You don’t want to go there, okay?. The AG is showing everyone just what the government, at least the executive branch, thinks of itself.

“Eric Holder – “You don’t want to go there buddy”.

That covers it doesn’t it? A nice summary of the attitude of this administration acting like ‘gentlemen’ from Chicago. Covers 6 years really. Budgets, Fast and Furious, Gun control (but, as Mr. Twain observed, I repeat myself, and so will they), Benghazi, IRS Scandal, Obamacare and “If you like your health plan…”, Government spying, Immigration.”

“Don’t go there buddy? That sounds, as they say here in Texas, like fighting words, certainly the prelude to fighting words. So what was that other than the opening of a threat. Why not complete the sentence Eric? “Or…”.”

“He sort of threatens a member of Congress while treating Congress with continued contempt over his contempt of Congress charge; and for flair manages some high dudgeon about it for publicity sake.”

Then there’s the case of the Woman Loses Tax Refund Over 37 Year Old Debt to Social Security. “Marc Fisher of the Washington Post reported this week…” that the IRS is trying to recover decades old disability payments provided to parents of taxpayers by confiscating their withholding.

Finally, the BLM, which is part and parcel of the NFS high handed closing of public lands during the budget brouhaha. In this one, a ranch homesteaded in 1870 was under assault in a typical Nevada land grab story. The immediate predicate was a ‘save the desert tortoise’ effort despite the fact that managed cattle grazing improved tortoise habitat. Underlying issues involve federal land grabs for developers to obtain water rights in southern Nevada and even rumors of a Senator colluding with Chinese special interests to use the land for a solar farm. After going through the courts to get permission, the BLM mounted a small army to roust the rancher from his land. That sparked a protest that caused a traffic jam on nearby Interstate 15. John Hawkings provides a report about how the Bureau of Land Management Thugs Prepare To Flee Conflict With Nevada Rancher.

“What probably happened was that someone on the scene at the BLM sent written communication saying that someone could be hurt. Because it was in writing, they decided to pull out. Unfortunately, because these government thugs ended up with egg on their face, they’ll be twice as determined to destroy Cliven Bundy now. My guess is that they’ll probably try to do it legally. Next thing you know, he’ll be face a dozen charges that could put him in prison, millions in fines and they’ll do everything possible to destroy his business. It’s not as showy, but it’s just as tyrannical because it means there’s always some weasel in DC who can ruin you any time they take a notion.”

The cynicism illustrated here is growing, maybe. The number of people showing up at the Bundy ranch does indicate that perhaps, just perhaps, there is a growing concern about attitudes such as the AG demonstrated towards Congress and the IRS towards common citizens. Fortunately, this time – for now – the conflict is ameliorating – for a while. Back off the heat and hope the frog gets complacent so you can then proceed with the cooking.

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Contempt and collusion

One of the more frightful things these days is the contempt and collusion amongst the powerful for transparency and accountability. Tammy Bruce describes one example in Eric Holder’s contempt for the American people – Wherever Team Obama is taking the nation, ‘you don’t want to go there’

Many of us are not big fans of Congress, but when the attorney general, while speaking at an official congressional hearing, decides to speak in a manner worthy of a gang leader, we see how serious the problem of an unchecked executive can be.

This was after one of the people who report to Holder was found in contempt of Congress and the minority leader in the committee was shown to be in collusion with IRS misbehavior. It was also after much foot dragging on information requests and other cover-up type antics in regards to the Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals among others.

What is happening here is that all the foot dragging, obfuscation, perjury, and similar tactics drag the hearings and investigations out. That tenure of the investigation is then being used as proof that there is nothing there and that the committee chair is an incompetent boob (as per Bob Beckel).

In previous scandals of this weight, members of both parties – and the MSM – were after the evidence. Not this time. Again, the fact that the investigation is partisan is being used as an upside down excuse. The party doing the obstruction, the party with members involved in collusion, is using partisanship to condemn the investigation and to cover over transparency and accountability.

Worried, yet?

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Police, teachers, and others ‘above’ criticism: what’s changed?

Timothy Birdnow takes a look at The Police and Progressive Law

“Traffic laws were a huge part of the problem; because communities could make money from ridiculous things like 20 mph speed limits or whatnot; they started using the police as a revenue collection agency, and to do that they had to make the police more callous to the people they protect. And, of course, these laws gave the public regular interaction with the legal system, thus prepping them (consciously or not) for ever intrusive laws.”

“Police were intended to SERVE, to come when the need arose. They were not supposed to be our nannies. But as with everything, the Left has perverted their purpose, co-opting them from protection and service to enforcer of their Will. And in doing this the police have grown increasingly despotic.”

Toss in the SWAT squads and their suppression of family pets and so on and you have a real problem brewing.

Then there’s David Post wondering How Many Constitutional Violations Does It Take to Keep Our Planes Safe?

Worried yet?

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If your hero is a criminal: payback?

“There is a growing toxic movement in some corners of the country that are perfectly willing to accept criminal acts in the election and furtherance of a broader progressive agenda,” former Justice Department Voting Section attorney J. Christian Adams said during a March 25 interview on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

One of the arguments often offered against voter ID laws is that there isn’t any voter fraud so there’s no need for laws to prevent it. Then there are cases like that of Melowese Richardson. KNIGHT: Vote fraud as ‘payback time’ Ballot abuse strikes at the heart of self-government takes up the reality.

“A criminal investigation in Iowa turned up 80 cases of potential voter fraud. Many recent legislative races in Iowa were decided by fewer than 100 votes, including 10 decided by fewer than 50 votes.

“A similar report by a Philadelphia city commissioner in 2012 chronicled multiple instances of voter fraud through impersonation, double voting and voting by noncitizens.

“To all of this, the left’s election think tank, the George Soros-funded Brennan Center at New York University, has a uniform answer: There are so few prosecuted cases of vote fraud out of millions of ballots cast that it makes no difference.”

“When someone like poll worker Melowese Richardson is feted after being convicted of fraud, it strikes at the heart of election integrity — and self-government.

“She’ll probably turn up next in Chicago, where she could go beyond poll work and get herself elected to something or other.”.

The list of heroes for the left is long and sordid. The spilling of blood and a lack of integrity seem to be honored rather than despised.  What would happen if society went this way?

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Lawfare: the war on weapons cites Five gun rights cases to watch. NRA v. BATFE is about who can legally obtain guns. Drake v. Jerejian is about where you can have and use your gun. Cooke v. Hickenlooper is about the size of magazine you can legally insert into your gun. Wilson v. Cook County is about the kinds of weapons you can own. New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York demonstrates the picayune restrictions on a core constitutional right that localities still indulge in after Heller—even when the laws in question will reduce the safety of citizen gun ownership,

The breadth and scope of these lawsuits indicates the creativity and denial of reality behind the efforts to force a fantasy on others no matter the harm. It is no insignificant phenomena.

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IRS behavior and the Lerner problem

“Lerner apparently believed the Obama administration needed to do something to undermine the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, that wonderful pro-First Amendment ruling that drives left-wingers into fits of apoplexy by opening the door to corporate campaign contributions.”

Famously, President Nixon tried to use the IRS as a political tool but the IRS wouldn’t go along. Things have changed. Lois Lerner’s Lies and Cover-Up Revealed describes a Congressional report on IRS behavior about targeting right of center 501c4 nonprofit advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycle.

The defense against proper action on such evidence is awsome, unified, and horrific. Consider, as one instance, Elijah Cummings well publicized stunt after Lerner plead the fifth, again. Massive corruption, the abuse of political power, and other threats to proper governance are on display. The effectiveness of the defense will be seen and the prognosis is questionable.

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There’s more free-speech defending to do

In Wisconsin, the politics got ugly. The WSJ has an update on judge who stopped one effort at trolling the opposition for something to label as criminal.

“John Doe probes operate much like grand juries, allowing prosecutors to issue subpoenas and conduct searches while gag orders require the targets to keep quiet. We wrote about the kitchen-sink subpoenas and morning raids by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz that targeted dozens of conservative groups that participated in the battle to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker (“Wisconsin Political Speech Raid,” Nov. 16, 2013).

“Now we learn that Judge Gregory A. Peterson ruled on Friday that at least some of those subpoenas were improper. They “do not show probable cause that the moving parties committed any violations of the campaign finance laws,” he wrote. His opinion remains under seal but we obtained a copy.”

“Democrats would love to intimidate and muzzle the local activists who rallied to Mr. Walker’s recall defense. And the subpoenas all but shut down these activists, forcing them to hire lawyers and defend themselves rather than contribute to the political debate in an election year.”

“The John Doe process has become a political weapon intended to serve partisan ends regardless of the law. Kudos to a judge who was brave enough to read the law and stop it, but there’s more free-speech defending to do.”

The Christie Traffic Jam is being compared to the NPS shutdown’s in October. Those activities are mild stuff when compared to political prosecutions and prosecutorial abuse. The use of the legal system to harass, intimidate, and distract seems to have no end. Even McD’s is being sued — again — for having coffee that is too hot. The long term implications for the legal system are not good.

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One way to measure the quality of legislation

Ed Morrissey describes how the NYT notices hot new trend among sheriffs: ignore gun-control laws.

“What happens when legislatures pass unworkable or just plain stupid laws? Thanks to the innovators at the White House, who love to ignore laws in their own signature legislation when they become inconvenient (like employer mandates in ObamaCare), other executive-branch enforcement agencies have begun to follow suit.”

“If this imperial-executive model is good enough for the federal government, don’t expect the states to eschew it for very long for their own priorities.”

The executive may find a law difficult to understand or difficult to enforce or just plain stupid. All such results measure the quality of the law and present society of a dilemma when enforcement is misdirected, confused, or absent. An even more ominous outcome is when ideology comes up to practical reality and the executive starts to try to adjust enforcement to fit with ad hoc and random efforts.

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Race war hidden by propaganda for political correctness

The “Knockout Game” has finally surfaced in the news. It has been popular for a while. SOWELL: Media is playing a very dangerous game — Suppression of news about racial attacks allows the violence to fester describes the phenomena and its history. It appears that this is another racial violence thing that the top of the political heap is trying to sweep under the rug.

“What is politically expedient is to do what Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is doing — launching campaigns against schools that discipline a “disproportionate” number of black male students. New York City’s newly elected liberal mayor is expected to put a stop to police “stop and frisk” policies that have reduced the murder rate to one-fourth of what it was under liberal mayors of the past.

Apparently, political correctness trumps human lives.

Providing cover for hoodlums is a disservice to everybody, including members of every race, and even the hoodlums themselves. Better that they should be suppressed and punished now rather than continue on a path that is likely to lead to prison, or even to the execution chamber.”

People do get tired of being beaten and their patience tends to wear thin after a while. “The way to prevent a race war, though, is by stopping these attacks, not trying to sanitize them.” Sanitizing is what you see in the Martin/Zimmerman case as well that netted the parents of the mugger a nice reward. It is what you see on commentary and interview shows when someone comes up with the ‘bored teen’ meme or other rationalizations. It is a very dangerous game trying to hide a race war with psychological denial functioning as propaganda.

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The secret police

This story is about The Persecution of Wisconsin Conservatives and falls into the idea that the left knows, absolutely, that all voter fraud is by conservatives.

“Conservative political entities who supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are being subjected to a secret investigation. Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz has issued a series of subpoenas to 29 conservative groups, demanding that they submit all documentation related to the recall campaigns mounted by unions and their supporters against Walker in 2011 and 2012. The investigation is being conducted under the auspices of the state’s John Doe law, which forbids the targets of subpoenas from revealing the contents of those subpoenas to anyone other than their lawyers.”

After the Attorney General’s dropping of the Black Panther case, the IRS scandals, and other revelations about policital use of the government, this sort of behavior should stimulate fear in all. Couldn’t happen here? Only if you are blind to what has already happened and is still in progress.

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Careful thought before taking your property

The fortieth anniversary of the Endangered Species Act is the occasion for Theodore Hadzi-Antich to describe why he thinks Bureaucrats run free.

“The extent of government intrusion is exacerbated by the government’s misinterpretation of the Endangered Species Act. For example, the act requires that, before critical habitat can be designated, economic impacts must be considered. How did the federal government “consider” economic impacts before designating critical habitat for the green sturgeon? Based on a legal opinion issued by a federal lawyer in Washington, the federal government decided that all it had to do was to “carefully think” about economic impacts, and that it could do so without quantifying those impacts. In other words, staring out the window and musing constitutes a sufficient economic analysis under the act. Could there be a competent economist on Earth who seriously thinks that economic impacts can be analyzed without using numbers?”

And the news this morning is that the administration is convening a task force of (mostly) Democrat governors to handle human caused catastrophic global warming effects. Those effects, too, are interpreted such as to fit the agenda of the ideology rather than the facts of the matter.

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Railroading, the BGI, and the Treepers

Thomas Lifson’s book review of Jack Cashill’s If I Had a Son concludes that it “is an important work that deserves a large audience”. The book is about the Black Grievance Industry (BGI) propaganda campaign to railroad a mugging victim acting in self defense and the impact of a blogging group that dug up the facts to counter the propaganda campaign to railroad justice.

“But the most surprising heroes comprise a group of 8 previously unheralded bloggers, working at the website Conservative Treehouse, who made history. Although they scrupulously avoided any contact with the defense team, their work, relentlessly exploring and testing information related to the case, freely available online to anyone, provided invaluable support to the defense. Cashill believes that they may have made the difference in Zimmerman’s acquittal. The prosecution, despite having the resources of the state of Florida at its disposal, did not have an outside group X-raying information, and utilizing open source investigating techniques, dedicated to uncovering the truth.

The Treepers, as they are known, have ushered in a new era in not just the media coverage of important trials, but in the conduct of such trials. Historians of media and legal historians would do well to read this book and grasp the fact that the internet and citizen journalists have created a new era of justice.”

The saga has entered the collective and you can see its effect every now and then when it is used as an example in a way that takes the BGI narrative as axiomatic. The problem with a book exposing the problems with such presumptions is that it takes the path of reason and that is not in the same realm as those who espouse the grievances.

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Whose property is it, anyway?

“Private property owners can go bankrupt litigating to defend and protect their property rights, and government bureaucrats and lawyers rely on that as part of their strategy to push their extortive agendas. Property owners have skin in the game; government bureaucrats and lawyers do not.”

Mark J. Fitzgibbons describes how a Virginia Farmer Starts Property Rights Legal Revolution.

“When Virginia’s Fauquier County cited farmer Martha Boneta last year for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls because she did not have a permit and site plan, little did county officials think they would set off a revolution for legal remedies against such abuses.”

What is troubling is that there are groups that believe your property is their property. This includes groups like the Virginia Association of Counties and environmentalist NPO’s. The problems and issues involved include the presumption that legislation is constitutional even if it is very local and created by, say, three of five county commissioners. This is compounded by the fact that those who think society has primacy are often activists and quite agressive in promoting their ideas about the idea that their view of social needs surmounts and surpasses your rights as a property holder.

“For normal Americans, it’s “follow the law or face the consequences.” It’s time to hold overweening bureaucrats to the same standard. Hopefully Boneta Bill 2.0 will be the next of many steps toward stopping the legal loopholes for government, and toward consequences for government bureaucrats who don’t play by the rules.”

This idea is showing up in many debates. It was one of the sticking points in the budget confrontation recently in regards to health care legislation and subject to an idea for a Constitutional ammendment as well. Those in the government, the bureaucrat class, must abide by the same laws and the citizen. A part of this is responsibility and accountability for actions taken.

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With a straight face, even?

Monte Frank provides a good illustration of just why modern debate is so debased. The column is Stand against stand-your-ground laws — “Many states empower ordinary citizens to act as vigilantes using lethal force. Do we really want to be a nation of Dirty Harrys?

“Welcome to America in 2013, where the culture of violence has taken over – so much so that Senate hearings on gun violence cannot proceed unimpeded by another mass shooting and the resulting senseless deaths of ordinary citizens who merely got up and went to work in the country’s capital city.”

This contrasts with

“Fortunately, my state, Connecticut, is not a stand-your-ground state. Connecticut adheres to the traditional common law “castle doctrine”, which provides that an individual does not have a duty to retreat when in his or her home, or “castle”, and may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend his or her property, person, or another. In certain circumstances, the law permits one to attack an intruder and use a firearm instead of first retreating. Forty-six states currently follow the castle doctrine.”

The obsession with Dirty Harry is perhaps one of the first clues that the argument is lacking in intellectual integrity. The created dichomoty between the “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” doctrines is another. The false idea that “stand your ground” legalizes vigilantes is another. Labeling a victim of an assault as a “vigilante” and then pretending this is a “stand your ground” issue rather than a self defense issue just illustrates how loose and free Frank is when it comes to reality.

The fact is that “culture of violence” is another falsehood — violent crime with guns has been decreasing in recent decades. Stand your ground laws are simply supporting the idea that you can defend yourself if you have no other option. They do not allow you to go after anyone who you might think is after you. The only difference with castle doctrine laws is that you can defend yourself out of the home as well as within it.

The column is a good lesson in constructing a straw man in order to wail away at a perceived injustice with absolutely no regard for intellectual integrity. The real question is why such dishonesty gets placement in anything pretending to be a news source.

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Only following orders?

“The illegitimate orders that government workers followed during the shutdown might seem like minor infractions, but those who committed them should think about where they would draw the line. Authoritarian regimes often start by demanding that their staffs make minor infringements of civil liberties, but these tend to grow quickly until the people are cowed. Soon, government workers who are doing what they know to be wrong become too frightened of the monster they helped create to stop.”

RAHN: When shutdown orders overrule the Constitution.

After WWII, the excuse of “just following orders” was considered an invalid defense. That was military. What about civilian? The boundaries are being explored and the consequences might be significant.

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Whose country is this?

John Hinderaker says Obama’s Shutdown Theater Reaches New Low describes the case of Chris Cox and concludes

“I have always been an optimist, but no more. I no longer live in the United States of America. This is some other country I don’t recognize.”

Then there’s the Coyote Blog with three reasons to take the legal route about having his business closed in answering the question “Should I Resort to Civil Disobedience And Re-Open Our Privately-Funded Parks?

“The real question here is whether they have proper justification for doing so, or whether their suspension is arbitrary.  In another post I discuss why this action is arbitrary and unjustified … The Administrative Procedure Act makes it illegal for a government agency to make a decision that is arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion. … The decision that developed campgrounds run by private companies must close, but undeveloped camping can continue, makes no sense and is arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.”

If he went the civil disobedience route, it is his employers and customers who would be at risk and he doesn’t think this proper. His last reason is that he is all in with a company that does about half its business with the Forest service and cannot risk losing it.

There are many who are beginning to wonder just what happened to the country. Maybe they will wake up and take it back. A first step is to get past the propaganda feeding misinformation and ignorance that is a fog on the land.

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Shields, diversions, and ideologic defense

Getting to the core problem and trying to find realistic and effective solutions can be difficult with nontrivial problems. Adding ideological barriers to solutions can add significantly to the difficulty in creating effective solutions. J.R. Dunn talks about Liberalism and Mass Shootings. He looks at gun-free zones, criminal background checks, affirmative action, and mental health reforms to show how each has contributed and how ideology has inhibited solution.

“Clearly, liberalism is far more deeply implicated in the problem of gun crime, including mass shootings, than anyone is willing to admit. There’s no point in sitting around grumbling about this — it’s all of piece with the liberal culture of denial inculcated since preschool. Instead, use this information. Too often 2nd Amendment advocates merely defend gun ownership. The best defense is a good offense. Make them explain why these atrocities always seem to occur in their bailiwicks, under the protection of their rules and laws, and by the hands of their protected classes — lunatics or select social or religious oddities. That will be enough to throw them off their stride before they can erupt into their customary tantrums. They might even forget to mention the mighty AR-15.”

Another indicator is the ruckus about the Senate web site explanation of the 2nd ammendment and how it ignores SCOTUS decisions. It is like an alcoholic who hasn’t yet come to grips he has a problem with booze. That is why suggestions to have the left ‘explain’ or to try to use facts and reality are rather useless. Confrontation with reality has its place but the alcoholic still has to accept his problem before any progress can be made.

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If the government can get away with it, why not me?

Going all the way back to Waco and Janet Reno, Bob Bar shows that Uncle Sam Sucker Punched By Lois Lerner is an insidious cancer on society.

“The message thus transmitted to other federal employees who might in the future consider improperly injecting politics into their official duties is: You may have to suffer a degree of public humiliation, but in the end, you’ll be paid everything due you and no adverse action will befall you. Just clam up, wait out the storm, and things will be fine.”

“Ironically, the federal government is a victim in all this. As an institution, our government relies on the citizens’ perception that it operates fairly and transparency in upholding the laws of the land. When that credibility is eroded – as it assuredly has been in recent months – so too is the willingness of citizens to respect and obey the laws of the land. Citizens fairly will ask – as did many when former President Clinton escaped punishment in the Senate – “Why should we obey the law when the government and our leaders do not have to?”

When a political party blocks justice for partisan reasons, the harm done is to what the party exists to do. If there is no government or no opposition then there is no reason for a party. Partisan efforts to inhibit investigation or even to avoid final judgment of wrongdoing, as Barr describes, is self destructive. The only problem for the rest of us is that of just how long it will take. From watching socialist and communist countries we know it can take a long time of growing misery, suffering, and death before it comes to a head.

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