Wisconsin: where the Left brings out its inner-Fascist

April 20, 2015
Himmler

Likes “John Doe” investigations

 

Yeah, I went there. Try telling me your reaction was any different after reading this:

“IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH.”

That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name). Someone was pounding at her front door. It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble.

“It was so hard. I’d never heard anything like it. I thought someone was dying outside.”

She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos. “People came pouring in. For a second I thought it was a home invasion. It was terrifying. They were yelling and running, into every room in the house. One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.”

It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers. Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.

In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

Don’t call your lawyer.

Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

The entire neighborhood could see the police around their house, but they had to remain silent. This was not the “right to remain silent” as uttered by every cop on every legal drama on television — the right against self-incrimination. They couldn’t mount a public defense if they wanted — or even offer an explanation to family and friends.

If you didn’t know this happened in Wisconsin, you’d be excused for thinking this was something out of the 1930s, a raid by the German Gestapo or the Soviet NKVD against political opponents. You would be half-right: this and other atrocities against the Rule of Law were perpetrated against political opponents of a bunch of rogue prosecutors in Wisconsin. Recently. In the United States.

How the Hell could this happen here?

David French’s article goes into the details, but here’s a quick summary: Starting in 2009, the Milwaukee County prosecutor initiated what are called “John Doe” investigations (1) against newly-elected Governor Scott Walker and his political allies, who were working to reform Wisconsin’s collective bargaining rules for public employees. Under the “John Doe” rules, the entire investigation was secret: warrants were kept under wraps, no one could talk to the press, and those under investigation couldn’t even seek help from a lawyer. (Hello? Right to counsel? Sixth Amendment?) The prosecutor, enabled by a potted plant masquerading as a judge, went on a years-long fishing expedition looking for anything he could find, but always centered around supporters of Act 10, the reform bill in question. (And, what a coincidence, his wife was an official of the teachers union that was desperately opposed to this bill.) And not just individuals were persecuted: the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a free-market, low tax advocacy group, was for all intents and purposes put out of business just as crucial elections were approaching, a hammer-blow to its members’ First Amendment rights.

In the end, Act 10 was passed and the Left lost all those elections, and the John Doe investigations have been halted while state and federal courts get involved, but the harm done to its victims is real and isn’t over. These people live in fear now, insecure in their own homes, parents and children traumatized, humiliated, and tarred as suspect before their neighbors, never knowing if the power of the State will kick in their doors again for daring to participate in politics…

In America.

This is an absolute outrage. This prosecutor and his buddies abused their power in ways that Kim Jong Un would approve of.  Each one of them should –at a minimum– face disbarment and, if applicable, criminal charges. We entrust prosecutors with immense power and discretion; when they abuse it, they should have the book thrown at them.

So, what are you waiting for? Go read the article and get angry.

Afterthought: I think it’s a fair question to ask Scott Walker why he hasn’t gone after this guy hammer and tongs, now that the investigation against him has fallen apart. And why on Earth hasn’t the legislature (as far as I know) hauled in everyone in question under subpoena and under oath for a very public –indeed, televised– grilling? The prosecutors, police, and judge at the heart of this trampled the federal and state constitutions under foot and terrorized innocent people. They should be held accountable.

Footnote:
(1) As I understand it, these were created to protect the identities of those under investigation. The irony is overwhelming.


There Are some Bad Cops, but the Real Problem Is Bad Laws

January 8, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

I think it was the Roman writer Tacitus who said “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

It’s probably not a fun time to be a police officer. The deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York have led some – including the Mayor of New York City – to explicitly or implicitly accuse cops of systemic racism.

And then you have folks like me, who grouse about cops for reprehensible abuse of citizens as part of the drug war, as well as disgusting examples of theft using civil asset forfeiture.

Heck, any decent person should get upset about some of the ways law enforcement officials abuse their powers. Consider these excerpts from a nightmarish story out of Houston.

Chad Chadwick has something many citizens can only covet – a spotless record. …But on the night of September 27th, 2011 Chadwick’s commitment to living within the law did him no good at all. It started when a friend concerned for Chadwick’s emotional well-being…

View original 1,670 more words


The death of free speech in Scotland: “Cultures rot from the bottom up”

January 4, 2015

liberal tolerance

That’s the assessment of Charles Cooke, who also saw that “Big Brother” tweet from Police Scotland about which I wrote a few days ago. He notes that, while the police statement was offensive enough, the fact that 20,000 Scots signed a petition demanding a columnist be investigated for her annoying comments was downright disturbing. In Cooke’s view, it’s a sign of serious rot in the culture of liberty, itself:

In situations such as these, it is easy and tempting to blame the police for their excesses, and to contend with irritation that they should know better. And so, of course, they should. It is easy, too, to slam the British parliament for continuing to permit such behavior. And, of course, it should be so slammed. Nevertheless, the ugly truth here is that, like the Canadians and the Australians and the New Zealanders and pretty much every people in the world apart from the Americans, there is a significant contingent within the British electorate that believes that the state should punish people who utter words and sentiments that the majority dislikes. Of course the police are looking into the rude and the eccentric. Their employers want them to do exactly that, and there are no constitutional prohibitions to prevent them from doing so.

Cultures rot from the bottom up. In a democracy, the authorities come to reflect societal trends — both good and ill. How sad to see Adam Smith’s body decaying in the streets.

(Emphasis added)

Cooke is right to remark on the difference between the political culture of the United States and its Anglospheric cousins when it comes to free speech, and it’s a fair observation to say we almost fetishize it. But alone among the UK and the it descendants, we assume that the right to speak one’s mind is a natural, unalienable right that is inherent in humans and preexists government. In that regard, we went beyond the 1689 English Bill of Rights, which grants rights via statute, and declared “life, liberty, and happiness,” to be rights superior to the law; that laws, indeed, are instituted to protect those rights. In Scotland and in the UK overall, the beliefs that gave rise to these rights seem to be fading in favor of a “right not to be offended.” (See also Australia, where a lesser commitment to free speech lead the prior government to try to use punitive fines to silence critics of a carbon tax.)

But I think Charles is too sanguine when he writes:

…like the Canadians and the Australians and the New Zealanders and pretty much every people in the world apart from the Americans, there is a significant contingent within the British electorate that believes that the state should punish people who utter words and sentiments that the majority dislikes.

Sadly, we have Speech Police, too; they generally, but not wholly, reside on the political Left. And it’s true that here, especially in an age of alternative media, they experience serious push-back from from defenders of the right to free speech. But they regularly try to punish “wrong” thought and words. Recall, for example the howling mob that went after Brendan Eich, then head of Mozilla, just because, years before, he had exercised his right to free speech to quietly donate to a group supporting traditional heterosexual marriage. Or the feminist banshees who attacked an astrophysicist for wearing a slightly tacky shirt, until he had to issue a tearful apology for his wardrobe.

“Ah,” you say. “It’s true their behavior was reprehensible, but surely the authorities wouldn’t themselves stoop to the level of the Scottish police!” Oh, no? Well, consider this:

Dig around, and you’ll find plenty more.

Our politicians would have been far less likely to attempt these and other speech-suppressing measures, if they didn’t think there was a significant number of people in favor of such things.

It may not be as advanced as in the UK, but the “cultural rot” Cooke wrote of is a danger here, too, and we need to always be on guard against it.

RELATED: Mark Steyn on the death of free speech. Jazz Shaw on how the UK is now less free than the US.

Footnote:
(1) Remember when I said it was “mostly” on the Left?


Free to speak your mind in Scotland, as long as the police approve

December 30, 2014

This from the land of Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment, which informed so much of our own political thinking, from before the Revolution to the present day:

Most of the replies were what one would expect from stiff-necked Scotsmen, along the lines of “Go bugger yourself!” Quite apart from the police having almost no business monitoring what anyone says on the Internet, one has to wonder at the resources being diverted from solving real crimes — you know, against life and property.

Of course, this isn’t the first instance of criminalizing thought in the UK in recent years. Just last year, a minor politician was arrested for reading from a work by Winston Churchill, on the grounds it might have been offensive to Muslims. Before that, another man was hauled in for posting online a couple of mildly tasteless jokes about Nelson Mandela when the former South African president was dying. Do some searching and you’ll quickly find more.

Freedom of thought and speech isn’t quite dead in the nation that gave birth to it, but it’s clearly on life support.

PS: In case they pull the tweet, here’s a graphic:

Scotland police

Carry on, Citizen.

 


Illinois state legislator: “Maybe the police are killing some of these kids”

July 21, 2013

The stupid, it burns:

Illinois State Representative Monique Davis is blaming the Chicago Police Department for the high number of killings in the Windy City. She is not just blaming the CPD for bad policing, though. She wonders if the police are doing some of the killing.

Davis, a House member from Chicago’s South Side district, uttered the accusation on Detroit’s WCHB-AM radio on July 16.

“I’m going to tell you what some suspicions have been, and people have whispered to me: they’re not sure that black people are shooting all of these children,” Davis told the Detroit radio audience.

She continued saying, “There’s some suspicion — and I don’t want to spread this, but I’m just going to tell you what I’ve been hearing — they suspect maybe the police are killing some of these kids.”

She doesn’t want to spread rumors, but she’s “just sayin’, you know?”

People are suspicious because so few have been arrested and prosecuted for these crimes.  Couldn’t have anything to do with an overwhelming case load and city budgetary woes. Nope. It has to be a “death squad.”

And Representative Davis is right there to happily demagogue it.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Operation Fast and Furious: “walked” weapon used to kill Mexican police chief

July 7, 2013

Remember “Operation Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker?” That was the “felony stupid” inter-agency investigation lead by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and “overseen” Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder. The bright idea was to allow straw-buyers working as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels to buy illegally heavy-duty firearms at gun shops in southwestern states and walk them across the border into the waiting arms of the crazed psychos of the Sinaloa and other cartels. The goal was to then trace the weapons to the cartel heads, who could then be arrested and their organizations broken up.

Left unexplained, of course, was how these weapons would be connected to the cartel bosses, since there was no way to trace them once they left the shop. Almost the only way any of these guns would ever show up again was at a crime scene, often with dead bodies present:

Those are just the ones we know about. And now it’s happened again:

A high-powered rifle lost in the ATF’s Fast and Furious controversy was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year, according to internal Department of Justice records, suggesting that weapons from the failed gun-tracking operation have now made it into the hands of violent drug cartels deep inside Mexico.

Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. Also killed was one of his bodyguards. His wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region.

A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.”

Naturally, the ATF refused comment. I guess they haven’t heard that the preferred excuse of the Obama administration is “We’re not evil, just stupid.”

A lot of innocent people are going to be paying a price in blood for the ATF’s bright idea, for years to come. I know this has slipped out of the limelight for now, given all the other scandals swirling around the Chicago thugocracy, but, other than Benghazi, this is the only scandal in which people have died. And it is absolutely inconceivable that the Attorney General had no idea was what going on, not when Fast and Furious has been designated an OCDETF case.

So far, Eric Holder and Barack Obama have successfully stonewalled Congress and the American people about the truth regarding Fast and Furious, but we have to keep after them to get to that truth.

The dead, now including Chief Rosales-Astorga, deserve no less.

via Yid With Lid

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. Investigative journalist Katie Pavlich wrote a must-read book on the scandal.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Survey says! Police oppose new #guncontrol regulations

April 10, 2013

Pretty significant, I’d say, since the cops have to deal regularly with violent criminals and the aftermath of violent crime. If a majority of them say new gun regulations won’t do any good and might do harm, then why pass them? (1)

An authoritative new poll of more than 15,000 cops released on the eve of this week’s Senate anti-gun debate shows that a sweeping majority of officers don’t believe gun control will work or keep them safer, and nearly nine in 10 believe having more armed citizens would curb gun violence.

According to the lengthy survey of law enforcement professionals, one of the largest ever of street cops, 85 percent believe that President Obama’s gun control plan to ban assault weapons, limit the size of ammo magazines and expand background checks won’t improve their safety, with just over 10 percent believing it will have a “positive effect.”

The poll from PoliceOne.com, a site dedicated to police policy and news, also found surprising support for arming citizens. The poll found that 86 percent of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of a shooting. Another 81 percent backed arming teachers, as the National Rifle Association has called for.

I’m willing to bet this doesn’t include LAPD Chief Charlie Beck

Read the rest for more intriguing results, including broad support for police organizations that have stated they will refuse to enforce new gun control legislation.

PS: This morning a “compromise” bill featuring increased background checks, sponsored by Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Toomey (R-PA) is being introduced. I’m withholding final judgement until more details are known, but my gut feeling is that this is a bill that will fail to prevent more mass shootings, but will further burden our Second and Fourth Amendment rights. In other words, a bill written to be seen to be “doing something, anything.” Very disappointed in Senator Toomey, if this is the case.

Footnote:
(1) But we know why, don’t we? So does Dan Bongino.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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