We’ve recently seen how multiple jurisdictions openly ignoring the law resulted in circumstances that led in the death of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco last week. Why? Because, ideologically, they’re opposed to the law as it stands and are refusing to consider its validity, much less enforce it. The results are inevitable. Steinle’s death is just a symptom of a much more wide-spread threat to our nation. The left’s contempt for laws that don’t fit their ideology. Victor Davis Hanson says:
Ultimately, no nation can continue to thrive if its government refuses to enforce its own laws. Liberal “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco choose to ignore immigration laws. Imagine the outcry if a town in Utah or Montana arbitrarily declared that federal affirmative action or gay marriage laws were null and void within its municipal borders.
Once an immigrant has successfully broken the law by entering and residing in the U.S. illegally, there is little incentive for him to obey other laws. Increasing percentages of unnaturalized immigrants are not showing up for their immigration hearings — and those percentages are higher still for foreign nationals who have been charged with crimes.
The general public wonders why some are selectively exempt from following the law, but others are not. If federal immigration law does not apply to foreign nationals, why should building codes, zoning laws or traffic statutes apply to U.S. citizens?
And that’s the threat. That’s the danger. If our political leadership can ignore the laws at will or only enforce them when the whim strikes them or it is to their political advantage to do so, why should the ordinary citizen follow laws he or she doesn’t like?
If you can’t count on government enforcing the laws on its books, why should one obey those it disagrees with? As Hansen points out, there’s little incentive to do so. And, eventually, you end up with … Greece. Or Mexico. Or any of a number of third world countries who seem to be on the verge of collapse.
There is a process for changing laws one doesn’t like or think need improvement. The fact that the process takes time, leadership and energy doesn’t mean one can arbitrarily ignore laws that aren’t politically useful at the time. But that’s precisely what is happening with immigration laws in this country.
Then there’s the lack of accountability that runs rampant within government circles. Hillary Clinton knew perfectly well that setting up a private email server as Secretary of State was ethically wrong if not illegal. Yet she really had no fear of being held accountable. She merely shrugs the controversy away and cruises along as a potential presidential candidate. She is indicative of an outlaw government, that, we’re finding out, saw the IRS, FBI and other agencies actively meet with an eye to prosecuting political enemies. During the time of this investigation, the IRS has consistently obstructed the investigation, stonewalled and refused cooperation. Has anyone been yet held accountable? Will anyone? If I were a betting man, I’d lay long odds on it ever happening.
Hanson concludes by saying, “Civilizations unwind insidiously not with a loud, explosive bang, but with a lawless whimper.” He’s precisely right. And, given the propensity of this administration to enforce laws by whim or not at all, that’s exactly where we’re headed.
I pretty much agree with Andrew McCarthy:
Already, an ocean of ink has been spilled analyzing, lauding, and bemoaning the Supreme Court’s work this week: a second life line tossed to SCOTUScare in just three years; the location of a heretofore unknown constitutional right to same-sex marriage almost a century-and-a-half after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment; and the refashioning of Congress’s Fair Housing Act to embrace legal academe’s loopy “disparate impact” theory of inducing discrimination.
Yet, for all the non-stop commentary, one detail goes nearly unmentioned — the omission that best explains this week’s Fundamental Transformation trifecta. Did you notice that there was not an iota of speculation about how the four Progressive justices would vote?There was never a shadow of a doubt. In the plethora of opinions generated by these three cases, there is not a single one authored by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, or Sonia Sotomayor. There was no need. They are the Left’s voting bloc. There was a better chance that the sun would not rise this morning than that any of them would wander off the reservation.
Indeed, if there is any speculation it centers mostly around Justice Kennedy and now, of all people, Roberts. There’s not much of a doubt on any case that comes before the court as to how either the liberal bloc or the conservative bloc will vote. Up for grabs, apparently, are only two votes. And you can expect absolutely tortured verbiage and logic from those two (and others who believe in a “living Constitution”) in order to justify their vote.
Elizabeth Price Foley wants to lay it off on liberals:
But we all know why Thomas, Scalia, Alito and, oh yeah, Roberts, ended up on the Supreme Court. The conservatives believe “law is politics” just as much as the left – they just haven’t been as successful at it recently. There is a reason there are veritable political wars about who gets appointed to the highest bench in the land. This isn’t some sort of scoop.
It’s a pity though. You expect politics in Congress, which is why it’s reputation is so … low. You want a statesman in the presidency. And you expect justice and law from the judiciary.
Instead, we have nothing but politics from all three.
And they wonder why the people’s view of government is at a nadir?
We all know what “politics” means … and it has nothing to do with integrity, justice, the law, statesmanship or what is best for the citizenry.
Apparently they’re no longer a judicial body which weighs the arguments, compares them against the law and finds for the intent of the Constitution. Or said another way, the real Constitution is dead – long live the “living Constitution” that is full of goodies for which others pay.
How do I know this? Easy:
Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”
Or said another way, to hell with law and the Constitution, the 6 of us have decided this is a good thing and we’ll read it any way we want too. Pay up, suckers.
I saw where someone said the court finally moved left.
Folks the court moved left 10 years ago with Kelo.
It’s just taken a while for some people to realize that.
As the delegates left the building, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?”
With no hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Not a democracy, not a democratic republic. But “a republic, if you can keep it.”
And, we couldn’t.
There’s a lot going on but not much that needs a long and laborious explanation or rant.
The Clinton Foundation and our former Secretary of State are really starting to stink it up. And my guess is there’s a lot more to come. Years ago Terry Goodkind wrote a book called “Wizard’s first rule”. The Clinton’s operate by that rule. The rule? “People are stupid”. And there’s a Clinton corollary – “so is the media”. They’ve operated off of that rule and corollary for decades. They don’t see any reason to stop now.
The administration is claiming it has killed 10,000 ISIS members since it began its campaign of airstrikes. Most people in the know doubt that number is anywhere near the truth and that, in fact, it’s much, much lower. Here’s why:
Three out of every four times that Obama dispatches American warplanes over Iraq, they return to base without dropping any bombs or firing any missiles.
“Seventy-five percent of the sorties that we’re currently running with our attack aircraft come back without dropping bombs, mostly because they cannot acquire the target or properly identify the target,” said U.S. Army General (ret) Jack Keane in testimony before the U.S. Senate last week.
That’s why White House and Pentagon briefers usually talk about the number of sorties, not the number of air strikes. The number of missions flown is four times larger than the number of bombing runs.
There’s a simple fix, but it is politically unpalatable to the “lead from behind” crowd:
Gen. Keane offered a straightforward solution. “Forward air controllers fix that problem,” he said.
You know, “boots on the ground?” Doing what they’re doing is sort of like firing artillery without forward observers. Yeah, you’re likely to hit something every now and then, but is it really effective? Uh, no.
Apparently ISIS acted as our own forward air controllers:
“Defense Tech reports that at a Air Force Association breakfast meeting in Washington DC on Monday, General Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, shared a story of how a careless social media post directly led to an airstrike against ISIS.”
While that is all well and good and wonderful, my question is why we have a General out there sharing this intel?
“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL,” Carlisle said.
“And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”
He was careful not to share sensitive details about the location of the building and airstrike, but he noted how ISIS’ enthusiasm of social media was turned against them in this case.
“It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours,” he said. “Incredible work when you think about [it].”
He shared a timeframe for a mission to be put together and why they were successful. Who is the real “moron” here? Before ISIS may have been guessing why they were hit. Now they know.
This is going to disappoint the enviro-whacko crowd:
A decade into an energy boom led by hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded there is no evidence the practice has had a “widespread, systemic impact on drinking water.”
The report is the federal government’s most comprehensive examination of the issue of fracking and drinking water, and it bolsters the position staked out by the energy industry.
Yeah, fracking has only been around 66 years and been used on a million wells. One might think that if there were a drinking water problem it would have been discovered before now.
That won’t stop the narrative however. “Science” is only useful when it backs that narrative. When it doesn’t, it’s just to be ignored. See “climate change”.
Another liberal professor speaks out about the SJW “crisis” on campus:
The current student-teacher dynamic has been shaped by a large confluence of factors, and perhaps the most important of these is the manner in which cultural studies and social justice writers have comported themselves in popular media. I have a great deal of respect for both of these fields, but their manifestations online, their desire to democratize complex fields of study by making them as digestible as a TGIF sitcom, has led to adoption of a totalizing, simplistic, unworkable, and ultimately stifling conception of social justice. The simplicity and absolutism of this conception has combined with the precarity of academic jobs to create higher ed’s current climate of fear, a heavily policed discourse of semantic sensitivity in which safety and comfort have become the ends and the means of the college experience.
Hey, you created it. You get to live with it. Either that or you grow a pair and take academia back.
Finally, in the “out of control government” category, we have this little jewel:
IRS lawyers have ruled that once illegal immigrants get numbers, they can go back and re-file for up to three previous years’ taxes and claim refunds even for time they were working illegally.
The lawyers said since the EITC is a refundable credit, that’s allowed even when the illegal immigrants worked off-the-books and never paid taxes in the first place.
Now, these are “laws” the Obama administration is more than happy to follow. Pay up, sucker.
A win for the rule of law:
A federal appeals court upheld an injunction against President Obama’s new deportation in a ruling Tuesday that marks the second major legal setback for an administration that had insisted its actions were legal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Texas, which had sued to stop the amnesty, on all key points, finding that Mr. Obama’s amnesty likely broke the law governing how big policies are to be written.
“The public interest favors maintenance of the injunction,” the judges wrote in the majority opinion.
So, uh, “no” to rule by executive order seem pretty apparent. Also, the court noted those who opposed, or at least the one dissenting judge did:
“The political nature of this dispute is clear from the names on the briefs: hundreds of mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, attorneys general, governors, and state legislators—not to mention 185 members of Congress, 15 states and the District of Columbia on the one hand, and 113 members of Congress and 26 states on the other,” he wrote.
Or, just about everyone else in America.
The dissenting justice felt it should be left between the President and Congress.
Well, now it is.
Before it was decree by executive order. So, in essence, the dissenting justice got what he wanted, even though he apparently doesn’t realize it.
Has anyone been following this “raisin taking” case before SCOTUS? It has to do with the government literally taking a portion of a producers crop because they want to keep prices artificially high:
The forced transfer is part of a 1937 program that requires farmers to turn over a large portion of their raisin crop to the government so as to artificially reduce the amount of raisins on the market, and thereby increase the price. Essentially, the scheme is a government-enforced cartel under which producers restrict production so as to inflate prices.
And, of course, you know who loses – consumers. And producers. But note the program’s birthdate – yup, a New Deal bit of nonsense that should have long been trashed. Given how the oral arguments went yesterday before the SCOTUS, it may soon see the dumpster. The government first tried to argue that it really wasn’t a “taking”. That didn’t go well. So:
[Deputy Solicitor General Edwin] Kneedler put most of his emphasis on the argument that there is no taking because the Hornes and other raisin farmers actually benefit from the program that confiscates their raisins. In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, the government’s argument here is that the Hornes are actually “ingrates” who should be grateful for the government’s largesse. As several justices emphasized, even if the Hornes really do benefit from the confiscation of their property, that does not change the reality that a taking has occurred. The fact that property owners benefit in some way from the taking of their property may affect the level of compensation they are owed. But it does not change the reality that a taking has occurred in the first place. Justice Samuel Alito noted that the government’s logic leads to the conclusion that there is no taking in any situation where the government seizes personal property for purposes that might potentially benefit the owners in some way.
The most important argument, and the one usually overlooked or ignored, is as follows:
If private firms tried to establish a similar program on their own, the government would bust them for a blatant violation of antitrust law.
So why is our government doing it?
The Advice Goddess (Amy Alkon) takes on “trigger warnings” and does a very credible job explaining why they and those who would impose them should be ignored:
I’ve thought this for a while. They are yet another way for people who have done nothing noteworthy to get attention and have unearned power over others.
In fact, she entitles her piece “Trigger Warnings: A Form of Covert Narcissism.” She also quotes a Kent State professor who “gets it”:
Kent University’s professor of sociology Frank Furedi claims that calls for trigger warnings are a form of “narcissism,” with a student’s desire to assert their own importance acting as more of a factor than the content they are exposed to.
In other words, it’s a form of avoidance they can lay on the person who “triggers” them.
This brings me to my favorite line in the Alkon trigger warning piece:
And as I’ve noted before: If you are so emotionally traumatized by the normal college curriculum, you do belong in an institution, but not one of “higher learning.”
The Climate Change Nazis are just not happy with “liberal democracy” because, you know, it depends on the will of the people instead of the will of the all knowing elite. Some selected passages from a piece by Mark Triffitt (Lecturer, Public Policy at University of Melbourne), and Travers McLeod, Honorary Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at University of Melbourne:
… Specifically, the failure to tackle climate change speaks to an overall failure of our liberal democratic system…
… Successfully tackling climate change and other big policy challenges depends on making tangible the intangible crisis of liberal democracy.
It means understanding that liberal democracy’s governance machinery – and the static, siloed policy responses generated by such democracies – is no longer fit for purpose.
So, solution? (I bet you can guess):
[D]emocratic powers should be transferred to unelected bureaucrats, who would still somehow be “accountable” to parliament, despite having “staying power” beyond individual political cycles.
Or in their own words:
Granting more decision-making power to institutions independent of the government of the day, but still accountable to parliaments (such as the Parliamentary Budget Office or Infrastructure Australia). This would increase the capacity of policy planning and decision processes to have staying power beyond individual political cycles.
Yes, because when the party in power is the same party that wants whatever the bureaucracy wants, oversight is so exceptional and wonderful and our freedoms are protected to the nth degree – not! There are closet despots everywhere, and especially among the climate alarmist crowd.
And finally there is the Hill/Billy update, this one concerning a uranium deal with the Russians:
The latest installment in the ongoing saga of shady Clinton Foundation finances is a story involving a deal in which Russians took take greater control of a major U.S. uranium company, Uranium One.
The details are somewhat involved, but the gist is that because the takeover deal involved uranium, a strategic asset, it required approval from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Around the same time the deal was going through, the Clinton Foundation took millions of dollars in donations from a foundation run by the founder of Uranium One and did not disclose the transaction, in defiance of an arrangement made with the Obama administration to identify Clinton Foundation donors. In addition, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by a Russian financial firm linked to the Kremlin for a speech in Moscow as the deal was happening. The New York Times has an extensive report, building on work from Peter Schweizer’s book about the Clinton Foundation’s foreign funding, Clinton Cash, here.
The questions raised by the story are obvious: Did the millions in donations to the Clinton Foundation, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Bill Clinton for his speech, have any influence on Clinton’s decision as Secretary of State to approve the project?
Seriously? You have to ask that question?
The reaction to the story from team Clinton, meanwhile, does not exactly inspire confidence that the Clintons have been entirely transparent about what transpired.
For example, Fox News reporters, also drawing from Schweizer’s book, dug into various aspects of the story, and found evidence that officials from Kazakhstan’s state-owned energy company Kazatomprom visited with Bill Clinton at his home in New York to inquire about a possible deal with Westinghouse, which is also involved in the nuclear energy business. When contacted about the meeting by Fox News, a Clinton Foundation spokesperson denied that the meeting had ever happened. But when Fox News produced photos of the meeting, the Clinton spokesperson changed the story and said that it had happened.
In short, Clinton’s spokesperson flatly lied about a meeting Bill Clinton had with foreign officials, and admitted the truth only when presented with evidence to the contrary.
“Flatly lied”. Or as most would put it, “business as usual”.
From the inestimable Kevin Williamson:
When the law does not apply to the lawmakers and law-enforcers, you are not being governed: You are being ruled. And we are ruled by criminals. If you treat IRS rules the way the IRS treats IRS rules, you go to prison; if you treat federal law the way the secretary of state does, you go to prison. If you treat immigration controls the way our immigration authorities do, you go to prison. If you’re as careless in your handling of firearms as the ATF is, you go to prison. You cook your business’s books the way the federal government cooks its books, you go to prison.
If you believe that any of those who you’ve watched arrogantly refuse to follow the law are going to actually be prosecuted and pay the same penalty you would, you’ve not been paying close attention. When’s the last time you saw any politician or bureaucrat with any real power frog marched off to jail? When is the last time you actually saw one held accountable for their actions?
All of Williamson’s statements are true when applied to you and I. I’ve always used the example of a numbers racket. You run a numbers racket and you go to jail. The government runs one and they call it “the lottery” – and, of course, it’s proceeds are “for the children” – so its ok if they do it.
Until we see scofflaws like Hillary Clinton and others actually held accountable by law and suffer consequences for breaking it, there’s no downside for politicians and bureaucrats who break or ignore the law. And since there is no incentive right now for them to change and every incentive not too (in terms of increasing their control and power) we’re not going to see anything change. They’ll just continue to abuse and disobey the law and dare us to do anything about it. We’ll be treated to outrageous story after outrageous story (sort of what our fare has been for the last few years) and nothing will change. In fact, you can count on those stories becoming even more frequent.
But “rule of law”? That, apparently, is an old fashioned concept for our ruling elite and reserved only for the “little people”. And they hang us high when they get the chance to keep the fear of government alive and ensure their control doesn’t slip.
We have a ruling elite, folks, and we need to hold them accountable in the most basic way – if we want to see a return of the “rule of law” for all, bring government under control and again have the politicians and bureaucrats serve us instead of rule us.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered a huge blow to Obamacare this morning, ruling that the insurance subsidies granted through the federally run health exchange, which covered 36 states for the first open enrollment period, are not allowed by the law.
The highly anticipated opinion in the case of Jacqueline Halbig v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell reversed a lower court ruling finding that federally run exchanges did have the authority to disburse subsidies.
Today’s ruling vacates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation allowing the federal exchanges to give subsidies. The large majority of individuals, about 86 percent, in the federal exchange system received subsidies, and in those cases the subsidies covered about 76 percent of the premium on average.
The essence of the court’s ruling is that, according to the law, those subsidies are illegal. They were always illegal, and the administration never had the authority to offer them. (According to an administration official, however, the subsidies will continue to flow throughout the appeals process.)
Don’t get to excited about this yet. It was a 3 judge panel. And it will likely go to the Supreme Court. Finally, in a different Circuit (4th) a ruling says the subsidies are legal:
A different circuit court ruled today that subsidies offered through federally run exchanges are authorized on the law. This creates a circuit court split, which increases, but does not guarantee, the chances of an eventual hearing by the Supreme Court. It is also possible, and arguably even more likely, that the circuit split will be dealt with via en banc review.
Bottom line: a heavy shot across the bow of the sinking ship ObamaCare. If the DC Circuit finding survives the review and an appeal to the Supreme Court, then foundering ship will take the next shot below the water line. As for the law, it’s not going to get changed anytime soon with a Republican House.
As for the law, the DC Court said it was pretty clear to them:
“We conclude that appellants have the better of the argument: a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’ and [the relevant section of the law] does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges,” the decision says.
The law “plainly makes subsidies available only on Exchanges established by states,” the ruling says. “And in the absence of any contrary indications, that text is conclusive evidence of Congress’s intent. To hold otherwise would be to say that enacted legislation, on its own, does not command our respect—an utterly untenable proposition.”
Plain law, literally interpreted and applied. Certainly not what we’re used too. So let’s see how convoluted this gets moving up the line. My guess is it will be unrecognizable after the lawyers begin to redefine terms and words and make their arguments. By the end of it, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that “federal exchanges” now means whatever the IRS wants it to mean. But clearly, the way to kill this monstrosity is to starve it. And the way you starve it is to defund it … even if you have to do it bit by bit.
While the DOJ won’t even look into voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia in 2008, it certainly will move itself to check out what Nebraska Democrats claim is the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.”
Here’s a description of the float:
A Fourth of July parade float featured at the annual Independence Day parade in Norfolk sparked criticism when it depicted a zombie-like figure resembling Mr. Obama standing outside an outhouse, which was labeled the “Obama Presidential Library.”
It was a “zombie-like figure” of Obama? Now, as far as I know, zombies aren’t race specific. Anyone of any race can be a “zombie”, no? However, they are defined as an “animated corpse”. That a pretty fair description of the man who now holds the office of the Presidency. And my statement, I guess, is somehow a horrible show of disrespect for the office of the presidency.
Uh, no. No it’s not.
It is certainly a bit of disrespect for the man holding the office. And I have to wonder where Nebraska Democrats were when George W Bush was in office, if this is the “worst” they’ve ever seen. Frankly, I think it is exceedingly mild.
And, the outhouse? Precisely where I’d say this presidency belongs. The man in the White House is awful. He’s the worst president I’ve seen during my lifetime and I thought Jimmy Carter was hard to beat.
So an animated corpse outside an outhouse is a pretty good bit of political satire if you ask me.
But apparently our DOJ now tries intimidate those exercising their right to free speech (you know, the 1st Amendment? The one that prohibits government from trying to stifle it?). Not that the DOJ or this administration is in anyway worried about allowing the Constitution or Bill of Rights to get in their way of a political vendetta.
This should be interesting:
A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner.
The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them.
The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.
“In our view, there has been a cover-up that has been going on,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The Department of Justice, the IRS, had an obligation, an absolute obligation … to alert the court and alert Judicial Watch as soon as they knew when these records were supposedly lost.”
This isn’t Congress we’re talking about here. Dissembling “under oath” in a Federal Court has (or at least used to have) severe consequences. That ass that is the director of the IRS won’t be able to play his arrogant games this time. And, his agency will actually have to have a plausible explanation and proof instead of hand-waves and fake outrage at the questions asked and answers demanded.
As polls have demonstrated, almost no one in the country believes the IRS’s convenient explanations – convenient for them. And, as others have pointed out, they were in violation of the law when they didn’t archive all correspondence pending lawsuits they were involved in. This wasn’t just some “slip up”. The IRS knows what its legal responsibilities are and have exercised them in the past. Their legal department knew that they were required, under the law, to ensure all internal correspondence was available.
This isn’t about a couple of “rogue agents in Cincinnati”. This is about a rogue agency … period. Time to bring it under control again and for once, figuratively speaking, seeing some bureaucratic heads roll.