(Video) Police State of Wisconsin: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion’

April 22, 2015

Following up on my earlier post about the Left’s fascist abuse of the law to intimidate and terrorize political opponents, here’s an interview Dana Loesch of The Blaze TV conducted with David French, the author of the National Review exposé, and the head of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the victims in this:

Someone needs to be fired over this, at the least.


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.


To the surprise of no one, Crimea is not happy under Russian rule

April 13, 2015
x

“And then I told them they could have free elections!”

I know, I know. You’re as shocked as I. Imagine the ingratitude for all the efforts Vladimir Putin made to rejoin Crimea with Mother Russia. Writing in National Review, Leona Amosah recounts all the benefits Russian governance has brought: a crashing tourism industry, inflation second only to Venezuela’s,  and food prices through the roof. Whiners.

I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate ethnic oppression and political arrests?

In particular, Crimea’s Tatar Muslim minority is suffering levels of persecution not seen since the Soviet era. This pressure includes “disappearances, sadistic murders . . . attacks on media, and arrests on trumped-up charges,” according to one informed observer. So pervasive has this discrimination been that, back in February, the United Nations took the unprecedented step of publicly condemning Russia’s treatment of the Crimean Tatars.

Political opponents of the Kremlin, too, have found themselves in the official crosshairs. To date, several Crimean lawmakers have been arrested and even exiled because of their opposition to and condemnation of Russia’s takeover of Crimea. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has equated Russia’s conduct in its newest holding to a “reign of terror” designed to both subjugate and pacify the region’s population.

A wrecked economy and political persecution: what’s not to like? Look, if Crimeans have trouble appreciating the benefits of life under Moscow, they could always ask Boris Nemtsov.

Oh, wait.


Another call to arrest climate “deniers”

April 7, 2015

The “authoritarian Left,” Gaea Division, strikes again. One may only dissent on approved topics and with approved thoughts. Failure to comply will lead to punishment.

Watts Up With That?

They believe people should be punished for being climate skeptics They believe people should be punished for being climate skeptics.

Adam Weinstein, of the Gawker, has added his voice to the growing list of greens, who demand a brutal authoritarian response to the vexing problem of people who have a different opinion.

According to Weinstein;

Man-made climate change happens. Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars.

This is an argument that’s just being discussed seriously in some circles. It was laid out earlier this month, with all the appropriate caveats, by Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Read More: http://gawker.com/arrest-climate-change-deniers-1553719888

Weinstein bases his claim that man made climate change “kills a lot of people” on a WHO page, which estimates that 150,000 people…

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The National Archives “lives in fear” of the White House

March 17, 2015
The President who would be King

“Fear my Royal Wrath!”

Not my words; theirs:

Associated Press president Gary Pruitt reported in an op-ed on government transparency that, during the course of an AP investigation into Michelle Obama’s dresses, NARA used a privacy exemption to redact a line in an email that was actually about the agency’s fear of the White House:

“As the president said, the United States should not withhold or censor government files merely because they might be embarrassing.

But it happens anyway.

In government emails that AP obtained in reporting about who pays for Michelle Obama’s expensive dresses, the National Archives and Records Administration blacked out one sentence repeatedly, citing a part of the law intended to shield personal information such as Social Security numbers or home addresses.

The blacked-out sentence? The government slipped and let it through on one page of the redacted documents: ‘We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House).‘”

What are they afraid of, I wonder? Being yelled at? The DoJ fishing through their private records? A midnight knock at the door? Nah, couldn’t happen.

This is what we get when “the Chicago Way” goes national.

via Power Line


What the hell is wrong with New Jersey prosecutors? #2A

February 18, 2015
Citizen! Have I got a job for you!

Good job, New Jersey!

Here’s the situation in brief: Gordon van Gilder is a 72-year old retired English teacher who lives in New Jersey. He also happens to have a hobby collecting 18th century memorabilia: coins, furniture, etc. Along came the opportunity to buy an antique 18th-century pistol. No bullets or powder, just the pistol. He and a friend drove to Pennsylvania to get it and then, on the way back, they were stopped by New Jersey police. Mr. Van Gilder cooperatively told the officer of the weapon in the glove box, and the officer promptly wanted to arrest him for violating New Jersey gun laws — for an antique pistol that wasn’t working. A superior talked some sense into the officer and told him to return the firearm and let the two men go. You’d think that would be the end of it, right?

Per Charles Cooke, think again:

The officer did as he was told, and gave the pistol back. The next morning, however, he came back — “with three cars and three or four sheriffs.” Van Gilders says, “He told me, ‘I should have arrested you last night.’” So he did. “They led me away in handcuffs” and, at the station, “chained me by my hands and feet to a cold stainless-steel bench.”

“I’ve never been handcuffed in my life — or arrested, even,” Van Gilder explains. “I was embarrassed and ashamed. The only prisoner there was myself: a 72-year-old English teacher. I was really ashamed.”

Before long, Van Gilder had been charged and the gun had been taken away for “ballistics testing,” almost certainly never to be returned. (That the department believes that a ballistics test on a flintlock pistol can be useful should give you some indication of who we’re dealing with here.) “They’ve angered me,” Van Gilder concedes. “But technically, by New Jersey’s law, the officer was probably right.”

The officer may have been right, but the law that officious jerk was enforcing is an ass. Now Mr. Van Gilder is facing a possible ten-year sentence with a minimum of 3.5 years without parole.

Remember the Obama administration’s risible claim that it had “prosecutorial discretion” to not enforce immigration law over a whole class of people? That was bunk, but here is a case where discretion should have been applied by by New Jersey authorities to refuse to prosecute a case that was clearly never contemplated under the state’s gun laws. Leave aside the fact that those laws violate Mr. Van Gilder’s Second Amendment rights, the very idea of humiliating him and then facing him with mandatory jail time over an antique pistol the federal government doesn’t even regard as a weapon is infuriating.

More Cooke:

Earlier this week, the lawyers’ group blog Popehat noted caustically that “none of the New Jersey founders who ratified the Constitution when this pistol was crafted would have questioned the man’s right to keep it.” This is indisputably true. Indeed, the news that an arthritic septuagenarian retiree had been tied to a bench for a non-violent crime would presumably have shocked them to the core. But, for all that their words live on, those leaders are dead, and we must look now to the ones that we have today. Where the hell are they? Where are the voices crying out for a change in the rules, and for a restoration of basic American liberties? And above all, where is the fearless Chris Christie — a man who seems to want to be president of the United States — when one of his constituents is being harassed by the state?

That’s a darned fine question, and I’d be very interested in would-be President Christie’s answer.

PS: As Cooke’s editors point out, you can help out with Mr. Van Gilder’s defense here.

PPS: And this isn’t the first time New Jersey prosecutors have tried to curb-stomp the Second Amendment.


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?


“A Criminal Organization Masquerading As A Political Party” Part 7,692

November 2, 2014

Your right to a secret ballot is sacred, and the New York Democratic Party will be watching you to make sure you use it. Or else? Yeesh.

Nice Deb

The Democrat party has been accused of being “a criminal organization masquerading as a political party”but the New York Democrat party in recent days has taken the party’s mob-like tendencies to a new extreme.

Via the New York Post:

Democrats are telling voters that they had better head to the polls — or else.

The New York State Democratic Committee is bullying people into voting next week with intimidating letters warning that it can easily find out which slackers fail to cast a ballot next Tuesday.

“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter says.

“We will be reviewing voting records . . . to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.”

It ends with a line better suited to a mob movie than…

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Did the government hack Sharyl Attkisson’s computers and set her up for a frame job?

October 27, 2014

sharyl attkisson

That’s the explosive accusation in the former CBS investigative reporter’s forthcoming memoir, previewed in the New York Post:

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

And if that’s not bad enough:

But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

The logical conclusion is that those documents were planted to serve as a reason to prosecute Attkisson, should she ever prove too troublesome. And she has been a thorn in the paw of the administration for several years, digging deeply and doggedly both into the Benghazi and Fast and Furious scandals. Fortunately (from the government’s point of view), CBS was willing to run interference, until it got to the point that Attkisson felt she had no choice but to resign.

Like I said, these are explosive allegations if true, and Attkisson is putting her reputation on the line by making them. (One should note that her source remains unidentified.) At the very least, this calls for a congressional investigation into the administration’s possible persecution of some in the media. (Let’s not forget how they went after FOX News’ James Rosen and the AP.) Sadly, one cannot trust the current Justice Department to investigate the matter fairly.

“Nixonian” doesn’t begin to describe the White House under Obama.

RELATED: Power Line calls this potentially one of the biggest scandals in US history and suggests Ms. Attkisson hire a top lawyer.


Bookshelf update — Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department

June 17, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.”

book cover obamas enforcer fund spakovsky

 

I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but it looks to be a good discussion of Holder’s abuse of power and dereliction of the duties of his office, much of it rooted in his radical racialism. And the authors, John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, are top-notch. The book is available in both Kindle(1) and hardback formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


Did Obama threaten state governors?

March 10, 2014
Not likely to be bullied.

Not likely to be bullied.

Via Moe Lane, that’s sure what it sounds like in the video below. Rick Perry of Texas was speaking as part of a panel at the Republican Governors Association late last February; the group had had a meeting (1) with President Obama, and what he told them left Governor Perry disturbed. Here’s the video, followed by a transcript.

“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.


Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.

“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”

Obama takes everything personally, doesn’t he? Criticize him or oppose his policies as part of the normal give and take of politics, and to him it’s a personal affront. And, if you offend him, perhaps by speaking out on behalf of the people of your state, by God you’re going to hear from Obama, himself!

That is the mark of a thin-skinned, petty personality. A punk. And weren’t the Democrats supposed to be against “bullying?”

It’s also telling about how he sees the governors: not as fellow heads of state and government, with their own experiences and perspectives to draw on (2), but as errand boys. It’s how someone who grew up in the Chicago thugocracy works. “Federalism? Just shut up and do what you’re told — or else.”

Perry’s remarks about the threat to the state national guards are well-taken, too; not only do the guard units provide invaluable reserves of skills, knowledge, and talent to fill out the military in wartime, but governors rely on their guard units to deal with all sorts of emergencies, from riots to disaster relief.

Seems to me Governor Perry and his colleagues were right to be perturbed.

Footnotes:
(1) I think this was the same meeting after which Louisiana Governor Jindal and Connecticut Governor Malloy went after each other a bit.
(2) Many of whom had far more executive experience prior to taking office and far better records of accomplishment in office than a certain president I can think of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Schumer calls for Obama to use IRS as weapon against Tea Party. UPDATE: Et tu, Booker?

January 24, 2014
"And an upgrade to the Lido Deck. Because it's your right, baby!"

A shark has a more sincere smile

Wait, didn’t we just have a national stink over the IRS harassing conservative and libertarian groups for their political beliefs? Yet now, not at all hiding his lack of understanding of or even his disdain for the principles that underlie our political system, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a speech at the progressive Center for American Progress, has called on President Obama to use the IRS to limit the activities of these same groups.

Arguing that Tea Party groups have a financial advantage after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, Schumer said the Obama administration should bypass Congress and institute new campaign finance rules through the IRS.

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies—we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.

“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” Schumer said. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

What really upsets Chuck is free speech and that these groups are effective at getting their message out and that people respond to it. Citizens United merely respected the First Amendment and, in the process, somewhat leveled the playing field against liberal donor groups and the liberal MSM that gives the Democrats arguably illegal in-kind aid. Can’t have that.

Note also his acknowledgement that no further restrictions on political speech would pass the House. Smart man, that Chuck. What escapes him, or really what he refuses to admit, is that the massacre his party suffered in the 2010 midterms in the House was due to popular reaction against his party and its policies. Quite literally, the Republican Party, the majority party in the House –the People’s House–  represents the will of most of the American people.

His solution? Rule by decree via administrative rule-making, in defiance of that will. Use the power of big government to silence the proponents of limited government.

Admit it, Chuck: What you really want is an Enabling Act, not a Constitution.

It seems Chuckie also hates competition. Would-be tyrants usually do.

Schumer also proposed electoral reform in his speech. “Our very electoral structure has been rigged to favor Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries,” he said.

He argued that this is due to the political makeup of primary voters and gerrymandering by Republicans who “draw districts where a Democrat could never be elected.”

Schumer recommended a primary system “where all voters, members of every party, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a run-off.”

Whining against gerrymandering is rich, since Democrats have long benefited from the creation of safe seats. I don’t like it; I’d like to get rid of it. But those are the rules we have now, so, tough, Senator.Try enacting policies that don’t lead to a wipe out in state-level elections, and maybe on day your allies will control the process. And I’ll bet you’ll suddenly be a fan of the system, too.

The leaders of the Democratic Party sure have a problem with democracy, don’t they?

PS: Anyone else get a weird vibe from Schumer, like he’s sworn an oath to Don Corleone? The guy just oozes “made man.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz sends a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an independent prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal. Worth reading.

UPDATE: Just an hour ago on Twitter, Senator Cory “Imaginary Friend” Booker (D-NJ) had this to say about Senator Schumer’s call for restrictions on free speech:

via Katnandu

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sure it’s a coincidence: two critics of #Obamacare audited by IRS

December 1, 2013
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Your Obamacare attitude adjuster”

Hey, remember when President Obama told his followers to punch back against their enemies “twice as hard?” Or when he joked about setting the IRS on his critics?

Maybe it’s not such a joke. Via Mark Steyn:

A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.

Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.

You’d think, after the public uproar over the revelations about the IRS harassing Americans for their political beliefs, that the agency and the administration would be wary of anything that resembled using the tax service as political weapon.

But that isn’t the Chicago Way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


But of course: Access to open air Flight 93 Memorial in rural Pennsylvania blocked off

October 15, 2013

If we had an honest press, instead of lapdog media courtiers, the White House pulling crap like this –turning the Park Service into a partisan police– would be headline national news.


#Shutdown follies: Park Service uses “Gestapo tactics” to harass, detain visitors to Yellowstone

October 8, 2013
"Klink! What are these tourists doing here??"

“Klink! What are these tourists doing here??”

That’s not me being hyperbolic; that’s the very description used by a tour guide who was taking a group of senior citizens, including visitors from overseas, to see one of our great natural resources. When they got there, they were instead treated to something out of a bad episode of Hogan’s Heroes:

Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.

Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

The capos …er… park rangers were under orders, they said, to keep people people from “recreating,” which apparently included a prohibition against merely stopping to take pictures of bison, or even using available restrooms at a private business on the way out. (The owner of the business was threatened with the loss of his business if he let the old folks use his facilities.) At the hotel, at which they were allowed to stay only two days, regardless of their reservations, some tourists justifiably began to wonder if they were prisoners:

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

When they left, some of the tourists said they’d never come back to the United States, and, frankly, I don’t blame them. This was an utterly disgusting, disgraceful, and outrageous way to treat guests at our national parks, whether American or foreign. Instead of showing our country at its best, Barack Obama’s Smokey the Stormtroopers made us look like something out of Eastern Europe under the Soviets.

This is the face of punitive liberalism, a feature of the American Left since the 1960s, but never shown as openly as under Obama. As Mark Steyn wrote in reference to the shutdown of the World War II Memorial and the attempt to bar WWII veterans from it:

The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations – plus $15 million or so from Washington: In other words, the feds paid for the grass. But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades. The Barrycades are such a perfect embodiment of what James Piereson calls “punitive liberalism” they should be tied round Obama’s neck forever, in the way that “ketchup is a vegetable” got hung around Reagan-era Republicans. Alas, the court eunuchs of the Obama media cannot rouse themselves even on behalf of the nation’s elderly warriors.

And so, because of a policy dispute in D.C. in which the House majority is properly acting in its role as the opposition to press its policies and block or amend the administration’s, the administration Royal Court has decided to use the Park Service to harass and intimidate innocent Americans and their guests in the hope that they’ll then take their anger out on those darned upstart Republicans. And that means keeping us out of the parks and memorials we paid for, even if it means ruined businesses and lost jobs.

What this calls for is some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. A lot more signs like these, please:

via Brian Faughnan

UPDATE: William Jacobson is nicer to the Park Service than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: Let’s evict the President’s mother-in-law

October 7, 2013
"Hit the road, Mrs. Robinson"

“Hit the road, Mrs. Robinson”

Since the administration has deemed it important to evict the elderly from their privately owned homes on federal land, perhaps we should kick nonessential personnel out of the federally-owned White House, too. Not Obama, of course; for all I dislike him, he is, sadly, essential.

His wife’s mother, however, is another matter:

Michelle Obama has referred to her mom in a stump speech, talking about her residence in the South Side of Chicago. Perhaps it’s time to head back. Maybe it would be asking too much for the president and his immediate family to vacate his federally-provided residence for the duration of the shutdown, but if Obama is willing to interpret the law to evict the aging and elderly from private buildings and businesses which may sit on federal land but which do not require federal services, then it’s well past time to end the hypocrisy and send Robinson to a nearby hotel. Presumably Obama can afford it, far more than those he seems intent on having the government harass under a tendentious and mendacious reading of the law.

If it’s good enough for 78-years old Joyce Spencer and her 80-years old husband, Ralph, it’s good enough for Marian Robinson (1), who, I’m quite sure, is living there at public expense. (2)

Footnote:
(1) Petty and vindictive? Nah. I’m just demanding equal treatment for all. I leave the mean-spirited bit to Obama. He’s a natural.
(2) Please. With the nouveau riche pretensions of the Obamas, do you really expect them to be reimbursing the government for the cost of her room and board?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: the petty, petulant tyrannies of Barack Obama

October 6, 2013
"My will is enough!"

“Defy me, will you?”

While I’m not a fan of the shutdown strategy the Republicans employed in battling Obamacare, it has accomplished one thing, so far: showing what a small man President Obama is. Oppose Obamacare? Legitimately use the powers of the House, which most closely represents the people of the nation, to try to make changes to it? Dare to keep trying after he and his mean-spirited allies with shriveled souls have told you to stop? Then he’ll make sure the American people feel the pain.

We’ve already heard about the unconscionable harassment of elderly veterans who traveled to Washington to see their own monument, and then there was the bizarre news of threats to arrest priests who come to military bases to minister to servicemen, even if on a volunteer basis. Let’s take a few more.

At Mt. Pisgah, North Carolina, Bruce O’Connell runs an inn, which has been in his family for 35 years, on land leased from the federal government. Like any such business, it’s highly dependent on seasonal income. So, when, at the height of the tourist season, the Park Service told O’Connell to shutter his business, he said no. Then the Park Service decided to shut it down for him:

[O’Connell’s] family has operated the inn on the parkway about 25 miles from Asheville, N.C., for 35 years. It the only spot for many miles along the 469.1-mile mountain route to sleep or grab a meal and go to the bathroom.

A handful of guests had lunch before Park Service patrol cars blocked the driveways, turning on their orange flashing lights. Rangers turned customers away, saying the government was closed.

The 51-room inn was booked solid for October. O’Connell said he plans to send refunds to customers who already paid though many planned vacations to see the fall colors months in advance.

His 100 employees are idled; 35 live on the property.

“It’s conscience and conviction that have taken over me, and I just can’t roll over any more,” he said.

While this example is bad enough, a truly infuriating one comes from Lake Mead, where the Park Service, Obama’s chosen enforcers, are keeping people from the homes they own — including the elderly:

Joyce Spencer is 77-years-old and her husband Ralph is 80. They’ve been spending most of their time in the family ice cream store since going home isn’t an option.

The Spencers never expected to be forced out of their Lake Mead home, which they’ve owned since the 70s, but on Thursday, a park ranger said they had 24 hours to get out.

“I had to go to town today and buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told Action News.

The Stewart’s Point home sits on federal land, so even though the Spencers own their cabin outright, they’re not allowed in until the government reopens.

In other words, your home, your property (1), but that doesn’t matter because Barack Obama wants you to feel the pain in the belief that you’ll then blame the Republicans. Joyce and Ralph Spencer are just tools to be used, peasants living on his demesne at his sufferance. As are we all, apparently.

But many Americans just aren’t putting up with it. Not just veterans visiting monuments, but everyday Americans who simply want to enjoy scenery by driving through, or just within view. But the Park Service has tried to block that, too, by putting up road cones to prevent people from stopping to snap a picture:

Blocking access to trails and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction was one thing, but state officials didn’t expect Congress’ budget stalemate to shut down a view of Mount Rushmore.

The National Park Service placed cones along highway viewing areas outside Mount Rushmore this week, barring visitors from pulling over and taking pictures of the famed monument.

But, just as the WWII veterans shoved their way through the “Barrycades” at their memorial in D.C., American families like this one are letting Washington know what they think of being kept out of parks their money paid for:

I think we need a lot more of this, all across the nation. There’s more at Twitchy.

Finally, in a move that reminds one of King Cnut, the administration has decided that the ocean, itself, is shut down:

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was “closed” due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban… of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

Of course, the King commanded the waves in order to give his courtiers a lesson in the limits of power. Obama, on the other hand, is trying to teach us a lesson about his power.

The question remains, though, of why Obama is acting like tinhorn tyrant, stamping his feet and lashing out in a tantrum? Jonah Goldberg thinks it shows a vindictive streak on his part and an inability to see those who disagree with him as reasonable people. He’s right, I’m sure, but I also believe there’s more. Obama learned how to be a politician in the corrupt environment of Chicago, a place where political “boss-ism” is the norm and “da Mayor” is “da Boss of Bosses.” Go against the mayor, and suddenly your garbage isn’t getting picked up, or health inspectors are “finding” rats in your restaurant’s spotless kitchen. Oppose Obama, and suddenly things go wrong. Play along, and everything’s nice again. “Nice place you have here. It’d be a shame if…”

That’s how Obama sees the presidency: as the Boss of Chicago, writ large.

via lots of people on Twitter

Footnote:
(1) I have to wonder if the Spencers and other residents there have a case based on the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment. There’s no denying that they’re being denied the use of their property, the use of which has been taken from them without compensation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unreal: Park Service threatens to arrest WWII vets who try to visit their memorial

October 1, 2013
"You're not welcome."

“Unwelcome.”

So, you’ve heard the story today about the group of World War II veterans who had to break through barriers deliberately placed there by the Obama administration as part of its game-playing over the Democrat-forced government shutdown. It’s bad enough that they were deliberately inconveniencing 80-90 year old men who honorably served their country. I thought that was pretty low. And I was right, but I didn’t think they could sink any lower.

Well, they did. A group of veterans scheduled for an Honor Flight next week have been threatened with arrest if they try to visit the memorial that was erected in their honor:

Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has a trip scheduled to depart from Toledo next Wednesday, October 9.

“We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule,” Armstrong explains.

He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.

Armstrong says, “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.'”

When he asked for her name, he says she did not give it to him and then promptly hung up the phone.

Think about this for a moment: these men and their buddies crossed the Atlantic to fight their way from Morocco to Italy. They stormed the beaches of Normandy, liberated France, and and invaded Germany to grind the Nazis into the dirt. They crossed the Pacific and fought the Japanese island by bloody island and in some of the greatest naval battles of human history, and stood ready to invade Japan, itself. They, along with our British and Russian allies, saved the world. Let me repeat that.

They. Saved. The. World.

They did more good in those three years of war than Barack Obama, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi will ever do — in their lives.

And now they’re threatened with arrest if they dare to roll their wheelchairs onto the grounds of their memorial?

Someone needs some sense slapped into them.

Moe Lane at Red State:

…the WWII Memorial does not have a permanent security presence, which means that there is actually no valid, ethical reason why the Obama administration could presume to shut it down for the public. Not that the administration actually needs one. So they proactively locked down a previously-open national monument, and then presumed to tell the men whose sacrifice it honored that those men were not welcome at that place.

Never forget this moment. This is how Barack Obama acts, when challenged or resisted. He acts ugly, and mean-spirited, and shabby.

In other words, once a punk, always a punk.

“Disgusted” doesn’t half-cover how I feel right now.

via Stephen Hayes

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Arbitrary Diktats of Generalissimo Obama

August 16, 2013

Dan may think this isn’t a joke, but, from another perspective, it is: a big honking joke on us.

International Liberty

There’s an old joke that the definition of quandary is when your mother-in-law drives off a cliff in your new car.

But since I’m not married, I can’t use that joke.

Besides, I’m a policy wonk, so the type of quandary that catches my attention is when the Obama Administration delays big parts of Obamacare (hooray!), but does so by cavalierly deciding to disregard the law (boo!).

Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.

I wrote about this topic last month and asserted that one of “the defining characteristics of a civilized government is adherence to the rule of law.”

Why is this important? Here’s some of George Will’s analysis of how Obama is subverting the law.

President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. …at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality. …Serving as props in the scripted charade…

View original post 996 more words


There’s being a jerk, and then there’s being a swine. This is swinish.

August 1, 2013

Picketing a child’s funeral? Does no one in the Teamsters have any sense of decency?

Don’t bother; I already know the answer:

SCI Illinois Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest funeral home chains, asked a district court to intervene after striking funeral directors and drivers with Teamsters Local 727 allegedly harassed grieving families.

“We are grateful that the court agreed to issue this temporary restraining order, and we are hopeful that it will help protect grieving families who are experiencing the most difficult times of their lives,” Larry Michael, managing director for SCI Illinois Services, Inc., said in a release. “While we recognize and respect the Teamsters’ right to lawfully picket, we have been shocked and saddened by their attempts to make grieving families the target of the cruel and outrageous attacks.”

The company testified in its filing that union members blocked grieving family members from leaving its parking lot, used bullhorns to shout obscenities at workers and mourners, and unleashed a German Shepard on a dead woman’s daughter and husband.

The funeral home was eventually forced to call the police when picketers allegedly disrupted a child’s funeral with laughter. The officer asked the Teamsters to leave, but protesters returned when he drove away.

“We will be here for the visitation; we will be here for your funeral,” Teamster driver Lester Plewa allegedly shouted into a bullhorn as a funeral director met with a dying man planning his arrangements with family members.

They pull crap like this, and then they wonder why they have a reputation for being thugs and leg-breakers.

Disgusting.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)