Archive for the 'Law Enforcement' Category
Posted by Trent Telenko on 21st May 2013 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
Over the week end of May 18-19 2013 the Obama Administration official Dan Pfeiffer went out and spun the IRS scandal saying “The law is irrelevant”. On the contrary, the law is very much relevant to the IRS scandal, including prohibitions against specific acts by IRS personnel and more general laws of which the ones to watch concern private civil actions for damages under the federal Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (18 USC 1961, et seq.) and Civil Rights Act (42 USC 1983, et seq.). There is every possibility that the victims of the IRS’s suppression of Obama political opponent free speech rights will sue the IRS and individual IRS employees under the civil rights and civil RICO laws for a $150-to-$650 million legal payday.
Remember, _THE IRS CONFESSED_. There is no argument that it admitted some of its actions concerning Tea Party organization tax-exempt applications were unlawful, i.e.., illegal. It is obvious that the IRS and its staff engaged in an organized multi-work unit, multi-state, plus Washington DC Headquarters, wide conspiracy to suppress the Tea Party. The IRS unlawfully applied special rules to Tea Party applicants that it did not to others and that conspiracy prevented them from exercising their free speech rights for the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.
It also is very clear that the IRS — via the questions it was asking the Tea Party and other religious non-profits — was busy creating a quite extensive Nixonian/Ailinskyite ENEMIES LIST for future use in intimidation and the depriving Obama Administration political opponents of their Constitutional Rights.
Those are classic CONSPIRACY AGAINST RIGHTS (18 USC 241) and DEPRIVATION RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW (18 USC 242) violations.
See these criminal federal civil rights statutes, whose violation gives rise to civil liability for damages too:
“Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC 241)
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
“Deprivation Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC 242)
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;
and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
That is the criminal side of things.
The problem AG Holder is going to suffer obstructing discovery in civil rights and civil RICO lawsuits against the IRS is that criminal prosecutions and civil suits for damages proceed in tandem. The civil suits aren’t stayed by criminal prosecutions on the same subject, let alone by criminal “investigations” short of prosecutions.
The IRS “Special Group’s” delay of tax exempt status prevented Tea Party NGO’s from fund raising and participating in two political cycles (2010 and 2012) by educating “low information voters” as to the political issues of the day, like the National Rifle Association does. The NGO’s whose applications for tax-exempt status were slow-rolled can claim “trade and business” damages under Civil RICO provisions of Federal law. And the Supreme Court of the USA decided decades ago that criminal acts by the Federal government “under the color of law” do not qualify for sovereign immunity under the Federal supremacy clause of the constitution.
To quote a lawyer I know –
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Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Elections, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Obama, Politics, Tea Party, The Press, Uncategorized | 22 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 23rd April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
One of the episodes that I am having a hard time making sense of in the chase for the Boston bombers is the shootout in Watertown. This website, if it is to be believed, seems to have photos of the shootout. I am sure that more photos and video will come out. But we aren’t at the point yet where I can actually put together the events of that shootout and compare them to what I think is an enormous amount of b.s. coming from the Watertown Police Chief.
The more important question I have for you is this – can you go to jail for shooting known terrorists (or anyone) that are taking shots at the cops? In photo number one, that appears to be an extremely easy shot – I am certain I could have put one through at least one of their heads* at their distance, and since all you really need is a .22 to get it done (low flash/report), I am also fairly certain that the bad guys would have no real idea where the shot came from.
If I were to take these bad guys out, would I be sitting in a jail cell today? I am guessing yes. Would I beat the rap? Hard to say.
*with a .22 long gun, that has a decent scope
Posted in Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 39 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
Just a quick question for those who certainly know more about this subject than me. Are our fourth and fifth amendment rights suspended during a situation like in Boston when they are doing a door to door search? Personally, I would not have let the cops into my house unless they had a warrant. Nor do I answer questions from cops without representation present.
Posted in Law, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 21 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
Lots will be written about the Boston bombings in the coming months but what I have to say about it will be relatively short and sweet.
From my outpost here in rural Wisconsin, it appears that the people of Boston are a bunch of babies. They follow orders from “professionals” very well though, that I will admit.
There is zero chance that a “stay in your house” order would be obeyed out here in the sticks – I have talked to many of my farmer neighbors already on the subject. In fact, there is also zero chance that those murderers would survive long out here in the rural areas – they would have gotten shot between the eyes, plain and simple, by any of a number of citizens. On that subject, what is up with the lack of marksmanship with the “professionals”? Hundreds and hundreds of rounds volleyed, and one guy lives to tell the tale? Houses shot full of holes that weren’t even in the line of fire? Really? These guys get paid to do this?
There were thousands of cops on the scene in Boston, and the surviving jerk still somehow got outside of the cordon. I would think this to be embarrasing to the “professionals”. It was clear, at least from where I was sitting, that the “professionals” didn’t have a great grasp on the situation. I laughed when I saw the state troopers marching in formation or the swat guys parading through the neighborhood riding on the running boards of the Hummer. The show of force does not impress the terrorists, or basically anyone – besides perhaps the cowering citizens of Boston and the associated suburbs.
Can you imagine how bad this would have been if the bombers were actually smart?
Sorry to have to take this tack in the wake of these murders, but it really, really looks bad on tv from where I am sitting, at least.
People of Boston: get some guns, band together, and do something. When we had a horrible blizzard here a few months ago we had lives on the line but we all worked together, checked in on each other and helped where needed. You didn’t hear about it because we took care of it ourselves with no help from anyone including the “professionals”. People and livestock were in serious danger, but we worked hard and made things happen while the “professionals” told us to stay inside.
The “professionals” obviously didn’t bring their “a game” to this event, nor should be counted on to do so in the future. Always remember: you are the first responder. Take action.
Posted in Big Government, Current Events, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 48 Comments »
Posted by Carl from Chicago on 10th March 2013 (All posts by Carl from Chicago)
Recently I was reading how a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago was arrested for bringing an unloaded handgun to work, and that it made the news media. I reflected briefly on the fact that you can bring a loaded, concealed gun with you in most places in many states in the US and it wouldn’t be news, it would in fact be normal activity, for instance in the adjacent state of Indiana.
Meanwhile, in California, it is common for people to smoke marijuana openly as is discussed here. Needless to say, this behavior would get you immediately arrested in many states particularly in the south and midwest.
Taxation is also highly variable on a state and city basis. New York and California have some of the highest taxes, particularly on income beyond a particular level (progressive taxes). On the other hand, states like Florida and Texas have a much lower level of taxation and a much freer business climate in terms of regulation.
Without getting into the hottest of hot-button issues, clearly there are differences in the types of marriages and reproduction rights / right to life on a state by state basis. These differences are narrowing in some areas and getting wider in others.
Some states have “right to work” laws which massively limit union power, and have flourishing and expanding manufacturing economies as a result. Visit Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas to see where all the former manufacturing might in the midwest and Northeast and West Coast migrated to (if it didn’t go to China or overseas). The enacting of “right to work” laws obviously sends an important signal to business leaders whether or not a state is a friendly place to do business for incremental investment (along with taxation).
The “fracking” revolution has unleashed vast wealth in some states, and in other states it has been banned or severely curtailed. Meanwhile, California is going in on its own with carbon regulations and highly aggressive “green” energy targets, while other states are heavily reliant on traditional (and cost effective) technologies.
The differences on a state-by-state level on these different dimensions seem large and growing. They are much more subtle (though often correlated) with the Red / Blue analysis. An attempt to classify these vectors could be done as follows:
Energy Freedom – the ability to extract and use cost effective technologies (like natural gas, fracking, and coal) and a state’s willingness to invest more for reliability or the requirement to use expensive (green) technologies and curtail energy use even at the expense of industry competitiveness and reliability. California is likely on one end and Texas is on the other side, although many others have large freedom including Pennsylvania.
Safety Freedom – the right to defend yourself at home, in transit, at work and during study or whether that is assumed by the state. Sadly the most restrictive is Illinois and there are many candidates on the other side throughout the south and midwest (Indiana).
Personal Substance Freedom – the right to smoke, the right to drink, and the right to use various drugs or stimulants. Some odd states (like Colorado) are leading the way on this, it isn’t always the traditional Red / Blue divide.
Freedom to Work & Hire – the right to work and not be forced to join a union, and this is also tied with local laws and practices that limit the ability to hire and fire and direct hiring or limit firing in various dimensions.
Freedom to Build / Live / Rent – Houston is famous for having very limited zoning while other states and municipalities have highly restricted zoning practices. The New York co-op concept also severely limits new entrants along with rent control. These laws can also include whether you can work or have a business in your home. While subtle, these practices can have a large impact on prices and how the region functions.
Freedom From Excessive Taxation – Some level of taxation is necessary for government to function but high tax levels have severe intended and unintended consequences of under investment and evasion. Taxation includes state, local, city, sales, estate, property, and “sin” taxes. These vary significantly by area but are highest in California and the East Coast and likely the lowest in the South.
Freedom of Marriage Choice – A larger portion of states are recognizing marriages beyond the traditional marriage, and this varies by state
Freedom of Reproductive Rights – There are a wide variety of approaches and trends on a state level and then there are practical impacts, as well. This is highly variable by state in practice
Freedom on Medical Rights – an emerging model will be how each state approaches new medical practices and funding methodologies, along with the practical availability of doctors that subscribe to the state’s controls and funding methods. This area will grow exponentially in the near future
I believe that these sorts of analyses on a state by state level are much more useful than the traditional Red / Blue view (although they are often correlated) and when you start to dig in to the differences on a state and municipal level they are staggering, particularly when you view the extremes.
It would be interesting and useful to begin to put together the various data sets to analyze states and municipalities along these continuums, and others that I’ve likely missed.
Cross posted at LITGM
Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Business, Civil Liberties, Economics & Finance, Energy & Power Generation, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Real Estate, RKBA | 9 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 23rd February 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
1) The Drug Enforcement Administration is attempting to seize a $1.5 million building owned as a retirement-investment property by a dentist and an engineer. Grounds are a $37 sale of pot ..to an undercover agent..by one of the building’s tenants, a medical-marijuana dispensary.
As the judge in the case notes, the Obama administration (in 2009) sent a memo instructing federal prosecutors to not target medical-marijuana patients..before deciding to crack down and sending threatening letters to landlords. He even wondered aloud if President Obama would change his mind about marijuana again, after the building had already been seized.
This, in a country whose current President pretty clearly was himself a marijuana user, not to mention former President Bill Clinton, who “didn’t inhale.” Neither Obama nor Clinton are in any danger of having their property seized, however.
2) When financial questions arose regarding the Mountain Pure Water Company, Washington did not send a few staffers to inspect documents. Instead, last spring, some 50 armed Treasury agents breached the company’s headquarters in Little Rock, Ark. They seized 82 boxes of records, herded employees into the cafeteria, snatched their cell phones, and..according to reports..refused to let them consult attorneys.
“We’re the federal government,” Mountain Pure’s comptroller, Jerry Miller, says one pistol-packing fed told him. “We can do what we want, when we want, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
3) In Alexandria, Virginia, a 10-year-old was suspended and arrested for bringing a toy gun to school
4) In Tennessee, an Ohio couple was pulled over by pair of black police SUVs. “They were very serious,” said the woman who was driving. “They had the body armor and the guns.”
On the back of the couple’s car was a Buckeye leaf decal, similar to the one Ohio State players have on their helmets.
“What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” asked one of the cops, who had apparently never heard of the First Amendment.
5) In 2005, an Iowa couple purchased a small lot. When they began to lay gravel on the land, which is located in a residential neighborhood, they were hit by an order from the Environmental Protection Administration informing them that the property had been designated a wetland under the Clean Water Act. They were ordered to stop grading their property and were told that they would face fines of up to $75,000 per day if they did not return the parcel to its original state. When the Sacketts attempted to contest the order, the agency denied their request for a hearing.
Last March, the Supreme Court overruled the EPA and stated that the Sacketts are entitled to appeal the EPA order, rejecting the agency’s claims to the contrary.
“The EPA used bullying and threats of terrifying fines, and has made our life hell for the past five years,” said Mr. Sackett. See my post A Defensive Victory Against Administrative Tyranny.
6) Bob Wallace and Marjorie Ottenberg, California residents in their 80s, started a business to make water purification devices for backpackers. Their enterprise has been crippled by the Drug Enforcement Administration and state officials, on grounds that iodine crystals–a key ingredient in their product–can also be used for methamphetamine production.
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Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Law, Law Enforcement, Political Philosophy, USA | 28 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 11th February 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
I was a teenager when the Manson murders went down, in the autumn of 1969 – of course, the cruel and inexplicable murder of a movie star and several of her friends made all the headlines, and had lots of law-abiding citizens looking over their shoulders and being very careful about locking the doors and windows of their homes at night. It wasn’t until some time later that the associated murders of an elderly retired couple also hit the headlines of the LA Times, and other national newspapers. A blood-drenched, hippy cult with a weirdly charismatic leader had committed those murders in order – so they claimed – to trigger a devastating racial war, which they termed ‘helter-skelter’ from a Beatles song moderately popular at the time. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, History, Law Enforcement, Predictions, Society, Terrorism, Urban Issues | 9 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 28th January 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
As the old Billy Joel song goes; that is, a fair portion of a civil society is built on trust. Or at least – a large portion of the citizens in that society not only trust each other, but they generally also trust the civil institutions, too. There is an assumption, albeit slightly frayed around some edges that our institutions are generally benign and have the well-being of the larger public at heart. We assume, or did in the past, that laws are passed for our benefit, that rules are instituted for the same reason, that our elected leaders did, or at least mostly made a convincing pretense of representing the interests of their constituents, and not those of lobbyists bearing large favors. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Deep Thoughts, Health Care, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Medicine, North America | 26 Comments »
Posted by Zenpundit on 26th January 2013 (All posts by Zenpundit)
Cross-posted from Zenpundit.com
The Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point released a report on domestic terrorism that raised hackles for a number of reasons. Despite the dismissals of liberal political pundits, the reasons for objections to the CTC report are legitimate but they did not need to arise in the first place and might have been avoided with a slightly different editorial approach or appropriate caveats (I just finished reading the report, which is primarily focused on the usual suspects). Here’s why I think the normally well-regarded CTC stumbled into a hornet’s nest:
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Posted in Academia, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Law Enforcement, Libertarianism, Military Affairs, National Security, North America, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, Terrorism, USA | 12 Comments »
Posted by Carl from Chicago on 21st January 2013 (All posts by Carl from Chicago)
This article is from our good friend Gerry over at LITGM, who works on the “front lines” of gun control.
While a good portion of the rifle display is vacant, while half the handgun case is empty and the ammo aisles are barren we still see a lot of customer traffic. A lot. One veteran employee coworker told me earlier in the season that after Christmas the store would be empty and part-timer hours would be cut. Some may be laid off. Didn’t happen. After five years of working there, Ed is surprised.
Ed claims four years ago, after his first election and due to his past history Obummer frightened the masses enough they began stocking up, causing a mad rush for ammo but not so much for firearms. After the ammo was gone (most popular was handgun ammo at the time I recall as a customer) the crowds subsided after a few weeks. Not this time. Customers flock in during certain hours interrupted by more moderate, what we now call rest periods. The worst times are early mornings, after 5pm and on weekends all day long. We are at the point where customers are buying anything in stock and will make compromises. Definitely a seller’s market.
They come in and comment on the barren shelves. Without a prompt they comment on politics and politicians. Military veterans and law enforcement officers seem to be the most vocal in opposition to potential new laws and bans. Do not believe the liberal media propaganda machine.
Some customers will stand and stare, some just gape, slack-jawed at what little ammo selection is left, as if miraculously more will appear or the price will suddenly drop. If you are reading this and like to shoot and/or hunt you had better buy any ammo available. Prices have already gone up and will not, in my opinion, be going down again anytime soon.
Last Friday an older retired gent pushing a cart wearing a hearing aid needed assistance. He and his wife were standing in front of a free-standing display that holds buckshot and slugs. Because of his hearing loss the wife acted as translator and at times repeated what I said very loudly. He explained that his WInchester pump shotgun was nearly fifty years old and he has had it in a closet, unused for the past twenty. His question was, is it safe for him to use 00Buck in such an old weapon? My response at first was to ask what was the fixed barrel choke (knowing that an older shotgun such as his was without changeable screw-in choke tubes) set at? He claimed that it was a full choke since he used it for goose hunting. We never recommend anything regarding firearms unless the customer is very specific in a request or I can visually inspect the firearm for which they want to buy ammo, scope mounts, scope rings, etc..
Here is where you may have a few problems sir. First you should have your shotgun inspected by a professional gunsmith. Second, a constricted full choke creates a potentially dangerous situation when firing 00Buck no matter how new a shotgun may be. when firing, the muzzle may splinter or the barrel may bulge by being over pressured. At that point his wife jumped in and loudly said, “That would be ironic, here we’re trying to protect ourselves and we could end up being the ones getting hurt.” In this situation something I often do is suggest they get a second opinion. There are two others who work in my area with much greater knowledge in firearms than I so I will call for one on the 2-way when the need arises. Roger came over and confirmed my advice. We then set the gent and his wife up with a box of #4 lead shot. It’s not 00Buck but #4 should get the job done. Larger lead shot for wing shooting such as #4 is always hard to find but we had a few boxes.
This couple is no different than many of the customers who have come in lately. They are either first time buyers or aged owners who put away their firearms long ago for whatever reason and now want to have them back in good working condition. These folks are taking what they believe could be their final chance to possess personal firearm protection legally.
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Posted in Big Government, Law Enforcement, RKBA | 13 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 18th January 2013 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
We are swiftly coming up on another “mugged by reality moment” regards firearms similar to the one that was created with the Clinton era gun magazine ban.
Few remember today that the “next big thing” in civilian pistol market in the early 1990′s was how many bullets a pistol magazine could handle. Post Clinton magazine ban, the civilian shooter market wanted the _smallest_ semi-automatic pistol that could hold 10-rounds. And the gun manufacturers responded to the market demand with a host of pistol makes and models that effectively replaced the “.38 Special” as the little hide out gun of choice. Now police across America are under greater threat, from much wider base of stolen, small, concealable, semi-autos in criminal hands, than they ever were prior to the Clinton magazine ban.
We are again in much the same situation with the Obama gun control executive orders.
See this July 28, 2012 Forbes piece titled “The End of Gun Control?” on the arrival of metal material vat 3-D printers that are capable of making functional AR-15 receivers. Now consider the implications of the much more widely installed base of plastic material vat 3-D printers for making _gun magazines_. In a few months we are going to see lots of designs for plastic gun magazines, of many sorts, with maybe a spring and a cheap stamped metal lip to fit available firearms. People will soon be selling spring and lip kits for 3-D printed plastic magazines at gun shows and “off the books” person to person gun trading networks. Hell, manufacturers will be redesigning guns to more effectively use 3-D printed magazines before the year is out.
In the end we will have a much larger base of high capacity magazines in this country, because the price of them is about to drop an order of magnitude, all thanks to Obama’s E.O. Regulations creating a market opportunity for a disruptive technology.
All of this is easily foreseeable and the people about to cause this turn of events just don’t care. This is not about the safety of ordinary people. The answer to the violent mentally unstable is to identify them by their pattern of behavior and involuntarily drug them to non-violence.
The fact that gun control is on the table as “The Solution” is because the people in favor of it, these “2nd Prohibitionists”, would rather have the power to oppress ordinary people than the authority to medicate the violent mentally unstable. They get more ego boo from oppressing ordinary people — just like the original Alcohol Prohibitionists — with the added bonus of leaving the violent mentally ill on the streets to give them the chance to go there again and again.
Posted in Americas, Civil Liberties, Entrepreneurship, Human Behavior, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Uncategorized, USA | 10 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 27th December 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
Cynic that I am, I am deriving a great deal of amusement from some of the media-political-general public storms whipped up in the wake of the horribly tragic Newtown shootings, and the deaths of two firefighters in an ambush set by an ex-convict in upstate New York. As if the shootings weren’t horrible and tragic enough in themselves, now we get to enjoy the reflexive Kabuki dance of ‘we must ban those horrid gun-things!’ being played out – especially since some of the very loudest voices in this chorus are politicians and celebrities who live with a very high degree of security at their workplaces and homes, and whose children attend rather well-protected schools. Such choruses appear to be completely oblivious to the fact that for many of the ordinary rest of us, poor and middle-class alike, the forces of law and order are not johnny-on-the-spot in the event of an attempted robbery, rape, break-in or home invasion. To rely on the oft-used cliché, when moments count, the police are minutes away. In the case of rural areas in the thinly-populated flyover states law enforcement aid and assistance might be closer to being hours away.
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Posted in Americas, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Just Unbelievable, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Media, RKBA, Urban Issues, USA | 60 Comments »
Posted by leifsmith on 24th December 2012 (All posts by leifsmith)
When a law bans exchanges wanted by everyone directly involved a number of things happen:
1) The exchanges continue;
2) Prices of the banned items rise and wars to control turf begin;
3) New criminals are created, including many people who are ordinary good people (like colored margarine seekers);
4) New enforcement agencies and staff are created;
5) New jails are built and new jailers are trained;
6) Laws, lawyers and lawsuits proliferate;
7) A new branch of law and its practitioners prosper and support further extension and complexification of regulations;
8) A portion of the entire apparatus of enforcement and punishment is progressively corrupted;
9) New agencies and staff are created to discover, eliminate or suppress the corruption;
10) Many begin to support ever more drastic suppression and punishment;
11) A profitable subliminal partnership emerges unifying the interests of violators and enforcers as the profits from the illegal trade are negotiated and distributed among them;
12) The business engages all of the following: bad people buying and selling, good people buying and selling, police, judges, academics, enforcement trainers and suppliers, prison builders and suppliers, staff to support all of this, journalists to cover it, media organizations to sell the coverage;
13) Completely uninvolved people are caught in crossfires, including taxpayers;
14) The costs of controlling the new flourishing evil continue to grow seemingly without limit;
15) The vast network of beneficiaries of the law applaud and lobby for its continuation, vilifying all opposition;
16) Everyone gets more and more discouraged and inclined to hate all humanity. This list is probably too short.
However all of these bad things may be balanced by the fact that creative people are engaged in producing media based on the things that happen because of the prohibition, and by watching and reading we all learn delightful new things about how the world works. (channeling Voltaire).
It is not enough to simply ban exchanges that have consequences we don’t like. The costs of doing it should be compared with the costs of not doing it. Those costs usually dwarf the costs that would arise from unhindered transactions.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Crime and Punishment, Law, Law Enforcement, Media, Political Philosophy, Society, Tradeoffs | 25 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 20th June 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
This morning, moments before a House vote on Contempt of Congress by Eric Holder, the Attorney General, the White House announced that President Obama is invoking executive privilege. Holder requested the action in a letter to Obama.
He said making the documents public “would have significant, damaging consequences,” but he did not disclose whether Obama has been briefed or had another supervisory role in Fast and Furious.
This raises the question of whether there are Obama fingerprints on the policy. Some documents have been released and some others, including incriminating e-mails, have been leaked to the committee. So far, Obama’s name has not been found in the documents. His action will now raise suspicion and will force news media, that have minimized the scandal, to inform incredulous readers that it is a big deal after all.
Richard Nixon could have ignored the burglary of the DNC offices in 1972. We now know that nothing was found that would have tarnished his reputation. It was the coverup that damaged him fatally. The election is coming in 5 months. The Watergate story did not really break until after the 1972 election. This seems to be breaking much sooner and its effect on Obama’s chances are hard to predict. The coming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare may overshadow this story.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked how Obama could assert executive privilege “if there is no White House involvement?”
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s move “implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed.”
“The administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” Brendan Buck said.
It doesn’t sound like it is going to subside anytime soon. It will be interesting to see if more leaks appear. The White House leaks like a sieve and not all are Obama fans, it seems.
Powerline writes that It won’t prevent Holder form being held in contempt.
Whether these consequences and concerns form the basis for a valid assertion of executive privilege is another matter. I’m no expert on the subject, nor do I know all of the ins-and-outs of the dispute between Holder and Issa’s Committee. However, when Congress has a sound basis for believing that the Executive branch lied to it over material matters as part of a coverup in the course of a legitimate congressional oversight investigation, regard for a proper balance in the relationship between Congress and the Executive argues strongly in favor of enabling Congress to obtain all documents relevant to the coverup, including those generated during the process through which the cover-up is reasonably believed to have occurred.
It will be interesting and may affect the election.
National Review Online has a piece that may explain the program.
an e-mail sent on July 14, 2010. After the operation, former ATF field operations assistant director Mark Chait e-mailed Bill Newell, then ATF’s Phoenix special agent in charge of Fast and Furious, to suggest a possible way to use Fast and Furious:
Bill — can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.
This “demand letter” refers to the push for a policy that would require U.S. gun shops in southwestern states to report the sale of several rifles or shotguns to a single buyer. According to CBS, “Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.”
This may have begun as an attempt to require licenses for long guns.
Posted in Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Elections, Law Enforcement, North America, Obama, The Press | 9 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 16th June 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
On Friday, as is often the case, Obama announced a new executive policy to impose a two year moratorium on deportation of young illegals if they can show they were brought here as children and have finished high school with no encounters with the law. They must be under 30 and were brought here before age 16. He promised that citizenship was not included and did not mention if family members were affected. Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security announced that this was the new policy but there has been no confirmation of an executive order.
I don’t have a real problem with this policy but it avoids Congress and legislation, a problem that even Obama acknowledged last year. It is a transparent ploy to appeal for Latino votes. Everyone knows that.
It also will close an opening for compromise.
Obama’s decision probably reduces the likelihood that the scenarios of greatest concern to me will come to pass, especially if Obama is re-elected. Irate Republicans are even less likely than before to cooperate with the administration on this issue now that it has acted so high-handedly and in such a patently political manner. As Marco Rubio, who is planning to sponsor some sort of DREAM Act, said today, by imposing a new policy by executive order, Obama has made it harder in the long run to reach consensus on “comprehensive policy,” i.e., one that gives illegal immigrants additional benefits and a path to citizenship.
The attraction of the action taken by Obama may have been that it would trump a possible Republican compromise on this topic. Now, suspicion has grown that amnesty and voting rights are the next step. The use of executive order for such a change in policy has been attacked as illegal.
So what we have here is a president who is refusing to carry out federal law simply because he disagrees with Congress’s policy choices. That is an exercise of executive power that even the most stalwart defenders of an energetic executive — not to mention the Framers — cannot support.
Even Obama said the same a few months ago in explaining his then inaction. “I wish I could wave my magic wand,” Mr. Obama said. “Until Nancy Pelosi is speaker again… At the end of the day, I can’t do this all by myself. We’re going to have to get Congress to act. I know Nancy Pelosi’s ready to act. It’s time to stop playing politics.”
Well, playing politics is the order of the day and the Republicans should focus on the illegality of doing it by executive order and not on the policy, itself. With proper safeguards, the policy is a good idea although there may be backlash from semi-skilled unemployed who just got a million new competitors. Certainly the unemployment figures should now be adjusted for all the new legal job seekers.
The distraction of the Daily Caller reporter interrupting the president was an amusing sidelight. Had Obama demonstrated humor and a benign manner, it might have been a good moment for him. Instead, he showed anger and the incident will probably lead to more interruptions as it seems to be the only way to ask this president a question.
Posted in Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Cuba, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Politics, Speeches | 26 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 14th June 2012 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit -- Farrall and McCants, debate and discourse]
There’s a whole lot to be learned about jihad, counter-terrorism, scholarship, civil discourse, online discourse, and social media, and I mean each and every one of those, in a debate that took place recently, primarily between Leah Farrall and Will McCants.
Indeed, Leah still has a final comment to make — and when she makes it, that may be just the end of round one, if I may borrow a metaphor from a tweet I’ll quote later.
Briefly, the biographies of the two main agonists (they can’t both be protagonists, now, can they? I believe agonist is the right word):
Dr. Leah Farrall (left, above) is a Research Associate at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre (USSC). She was formerly a senior Counter Terrorism Intelligence Analyst with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the AFP’s al Qaeda subject matter specialist. She was also senior Intelligence Analyst in the AFP’s Jakarta Regional Cooperation Team (JRCT) in Indonesia and at the AFP’s Forward Operating Post in response to the second Bali bombings. Leah has provided national & international counter terrorism training & curriculum development. She recently changed the name of her respected blog. Her work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and elsewhere.
Dr. William McCants, (right) is a research analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies at CNA, and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University. He has served as Senior Adviser for Countering Violent Extremism at the U.S. Department of State, program manager of the Minerva Initiative at the Department of Defense, and fellow at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. He edited the Militant Ideology Atlas, co-authored Stealing Al Qa’ida’s Playbook, and translated Abu Bakr Naji‘s Management of Savagery. Will has designed curricula on jihadi-inspired terrorism for the FBI. He is the founder and co-editor of the noted blog, Jihadica. He too has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic and elsewhere.
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Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Blogging, Internet, Law Enforcement, National Security, Rhetoric, Terrorism | 14 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 2nd May 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
I recently expressed my opinion about the shameful treatment of John Derbyshire by National Review, his former employer, which dropped him as a writer because of a piece he wrote in another online magazine. One of his statements which seemed to be the most objectionable to NRO was “(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
Two weeks ago, an incident in Virginia validated a couple of Derbyshire’s bits of advice to his kids (the premise of the piece).
There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.
Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.
“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.”
Tonight, Bill O’Reilly played tape made at the scene. There were several young black men interviewed who had not participated in the attack. What they said was “If you go into a neighborhood you don’t know (and are white), you had better be careful.”
Apparently the young man driving the car got out of the car after a rock was thrown at it. He said, “That was a big mistake.” He and the young woman in the car were attacked by about 20 to 40 men from the crowd on the sidewalk. One of the young black men interviewed on O’Reilly’s program mentioned the Trayvon Martin case. Their injuries were not life threatening but kept them from work for a week.
How does this differ from what Derbyshire warned about ?
Another issue is the delay in reporting the attack by the local paper.
It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”
The Virginia Pilot did not mention the attack on its own employees for two weeks. Why ?
Could this be related ?
That is the Pilot’s publisher and he was just confirmed as Obama’s new Deputy HUD Secretary.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the appointment of Maurice Jones, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
No, it couldn’t be related.
Posted in Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Obama, The Press | 39 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 23rd April 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
I thought that, since I described my daughter as beautiful, I should provide some evidence.
Here she is with her mother.
That’s Arizona behind them.
Lest I slight my other daughter, here is Claire with the Rosetta stone a few years ago.
I have one more but no recent photo. She’s the FBI agent and doesn’t like photos. She has been trying to recruit Claire, who speaks Arabic, for years.
Posted in Law Enforcement, Personal Narrative | 9 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 11th April 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
So – the blog kerfuffle du jour is John Derbyshire and the internet essay that he wrote for another obscure blog-magazine, the topic of which has raised such a general ruckus among the right-thinking side of the blogosphere, that it got him dumped over Easter weekend from the National Review and has the Breitbart conglomerate all in a twitter, and many of the rest of us on the libertarian/conservative/free-thinking side of the spectrum seeming to be thinking thoughts pretty much split three ways; cringing and thinking ‘oh, s**t’ or ‘about damn time’ and ‘ ‘OK then – if representatives of the capital ‘B’ Black community can witter all over the print media and the intertubules about their worries about their children running afoul of the 21st century version of the KKK – can those of us from the race of pallor worry frankly and openly about getting lost in certain neighborhoods, the odds on survival when taking the wrong exit off particular interstates in big urban areas, or the wisdom of going to certain sports venues without being armed to the teeth?’
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Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Human Behavior, Law, Law Enforcement, Media, The Press, Urban Issues, USA | 16 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 6th April 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
So, I’ve watched the media-puffed Trayvon Martin meme go sailing by – and crash upon the iceberg of reality. Now it’s holed below the waterline, sinking fast, and a fair number of people who bought into it for one reason or another have quietly ducked into the nearest lifeboat and paddled away. They’re the most sensible element, of course: the rest are lined up on the boat deck, singing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’. Like a number of particularly deluded specimens at Open Salon, whose theme seems to be ‘Now we see the violence inherent in the system!’ alternating with choruses of ‘It’s all white people’s fault’. And for the record, no I haven’t gone around the OS threads arguing with any of these nimrods, or attempting to put them straight. Life is too short, and I have too much on my plate at this time to try and apply logic and good sense talking them out of a position that logic and good sense never had a hand in putting them into. As an old Air Force mentor of mine was wont to observe, ‘Sometimes ya just gotta stan’ back an’ let them fall on their sword. If ya wanna, afterwards ya can pull out the sword, wipe off the blood an’ ‘splain to them where where they went wrong…”
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Posted in Conservatism, Crime and Punishment, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Media, North America | 4 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 24th March 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
There was a shooting in Florida this week that has now accumulated all the “usual suspects” for a racial extravaganza. The bare details are that a Florida neighborhood had had a high number of burglaries in the previous year. The neighbors had instituted a “neighborhood watch.” The watch member on duty saw a black teenager in a “hoodie” sweatshirt acting in a way that he thought was suspicious. He called 911. The 911 call was recorded but the record may not be clear. A new eyewitness has said that the shooting victim was attacking the shooter and was on top of him as the shooter called for help. The shooter was not arrested and now the local police chief has removed himself from the case. The shooter is in hiding, afraid for his life. Was this a terrible mistake ? Surely the shooting was not done in malice. The shooter is Hispanic and a local resident. Local neighborhood watches are common in Florida, which has a “stand your ground” law. Self defense does not require retreat but this was on a public street, not the shooter’s home. I suspect neighborhood watches are about to be disarmed in Florida.
The usual suspects have all appeared, including Barack Obama, who seems to insert himself into every racial incident. Of course, Al Sharpton (MSNBC commentator) is heavily involved. Hopefully, the body count will not reach previous levels in Sharpton’s activities. Sharpton did manage to convince some suckers (sorry, supporters) to pay his debts in the Tawana Brawley hoax I guess that means he can go back to New York for his MSNBC gig.
This may be the substitute for the failed contraception ploy the Democrats attempted. Maybe there really was a crime committed by an excited neighborhood watch member. If so, the magnitude would be voluntary manslaughter, hardly a reason for the attempted lynching now going on in Florida and Washington. It is ironic that the group, which suffered 100 years ago from lynching, now seems to promote it. I think the Republicans would do well to stay away from this case with the exception of the usual sympathy for the victim. It is getting ugly and the facts are far from established.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Media, Obama, Politics, Urban Issues | 31 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 20th March 2012 (All posts by Jonathan)
An excellent post by Mark Draughn that reminds how we get the behavior we incentivize. In this case the NYC govt incentivized its police to ignore violent crimes and to make bogus arrests to boost their cleared-case stats:
This is a standard recipe for disaster in quality control — and CompStat is at heart a statistical quality control program. Take a bunch of people doing a job, make them report quality control data, and put pressure on them to produce good numbers. If there is little oversight and lots of pressure, then good numbers is exactly what they’ll give you. Even if they’re not true.
Worth reading in full.
Posted in Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Management, Systems Analysis | 15 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 8th February 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
The shooting of James King – political murder disguised as a justifiable response to a personal insult – inflamed the city of San Francisco immediately. King, shot in the chest but still clinging to life was taken to his house. Meanwhile, an enormous mob gathered at the police station, and the police realized almost at once that the accused James Casey could not be kept secure. He was removed under guard to the county jail. The indignant mob was not appeased, not even when the mayor of San Francisco attempted to address the crowd, pleading for them to disperse and assuring them that the law would run its proper course and justice would be done. The crowd jeered, “What about Richardson? Where is the law in Cora’s case?” The mayor hastily retreated, as the square – already guarded by armed marshals, soon filled with armed soldiers. The angry mob dispersed, still frustrated and furious. No doubt everyone in authority in the city breathed a sigh of relief, confident that this matter would blow over. After all, they controlled the political apparatus of the city, at least one newspaper, as well as the adjudicators and enforcers of the law … little comprehending that this shooting represented the last, the very last straw.
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Posted in Americas, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, History, Law Enforcement, Miscellaneous, North America, Politics | 9 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 6th February 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
When gold was discovered in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in 1848, it seemed as if most of the world rushed in to California – which, until then had been a sparsely-settled outpost of Mexico, dreaming the decades away. The climate was enchantingly mild, Mediterranean – warm enough for groves of olive trees and citrus to thrive, and the old missions crumbled away as if nothing had or would ever change. The old, proud Californio families with names like Verdugo, Vasquez, Pico and Vallejo kept vast cattle herds and lived in extensive but rather Spartan-plain estates. There were a few handfuls of American settlers who had come overland, or by sea; they tended to what little trade there was, and an energetic and slightly shady Swiss entrepreneur named Johann Sutter had a vast agricultural and establishment centered around a fortified holding in present-day Sacramento. It was on his property, and in the course of building a saw-mill that gold was discovered. And change came upon the enchanted land – and the place called Yerba Buena turned almost overnight from a hamlet of eight hundred souls on the shore of San Francisco Bay into a ramshackle metropolis of 25,000 and more in the space of two years.
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Posted in Americas, Anglosphere, History, Human Behavior, Law, Law Enforcement, North America, Uncategorized | 9 Comments »
Posted by onparkstreet on 26th January 2012 (All posts by onparkstreet)
Some private security firms around Chicago are looking to beef up their ranks with Iraq and Afghanistan war vets ahead of two world summits that are expected to bring multitudes of protesters to the city this spring.
The article states that the security firms are interested in hiring veterans because they are likely to show “better restraint” if the protests turn violent. Interesting.
And I really hope any protests don’t turn violent.
Update: Thanks to Carl Prine’s Line of Departure for highlighting the above article/ad and mentioning this blog-within-a-blog. Second City Cop has a post on the topic and lots on the upcoming summit, too. Just keep scrolling.
Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Announcements, Business, Chicagoania, Law, Law Enforcement, Military Affairs, National Security, North America | 3 Comments »