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Currently Browsing: Government

Was It Wrong When Your Guy Did It?

I agree that DJT’s EO ending birthright citizenship is unconstitutional. But I’m seeing a lot of this:

Unconstitutional Executive Orders? Where could he gave gotten that crazy idea from? I have an Uncle that loves to throw our the charge of “Whataboutism,” also known as pointing out hypocrisy. True Whataboutism is using someone else’s flaws to distract attention away from your own. There are certainly people out there who cheer their team, right or wrong. But a lot of people who do that wrap their cheerleading up in high-minded rhetoric and ideals. Pointing out “No, it’s just cheerleading,” is calling it for what it is. It’s no surprise the people who are having that pointed out to them don’t particularly like it. No one wants to think they are a sucker.

If it is high-minded ideals, can we all agree now that rule by EO, and specifically unconstitutional EO, is a bad thing? If yes, do we have a consensus on dismantling executive power and making the executive branch much weaker than it currently is? Or is it only bad when the other guy has the pen?

Kennedy Retiring

Can we put some teeth in Heller and McDonald now? I’ve said before that I’m not really sure Kennedy is the weak link, and have suspected it could be Roberts. It could also be the pro-Heller contingent of the Supreme Court didn’t want to roll the dice again between both Roberts’ and Kennedy’s tendency to go wonky when it’s a controversial issue.

We’ll know when we get a replacement. If we see some grants of cert on 2nd Amendment cases, it will be telling.

Privacy Policy

The European Union’s deadline for GDPR compliance are fast approaching. This is the regulation where they claim if you’re storing data about EU citizens, they get to dictate your policies, or else. So I decided it was time to ensure this web site had an appropriate privacy policy.

An Idea So Crazy, It Just Might Work

Glenn Reynolds in USA Today: “Looking for ‘solutions’ to mass killings? Start with punishing failure.“:

Since then, we’ve had a lot of what the father of genuine hero Borges, according to the family’s lawyer, calls “bubblegum hero stuff.” But there’s been no accountability for the adults whose incompetence, or worse, made this slaughter possible. And, as with the earlier examples above, that’s par for the course. Over and over again, when the government fails, there are no consequences for those overseeing the failing.

No. When they screw up, we pay. Accountability for thee but not for me. Glenn Reynolds has spoken out against qualified immunity repeatedly. I read this weekend about the idea that absent qualified immunity, officers would have to carry insurance, like doctors do. Or more likely their departments would carry insurance for them. This would give better incentives for agencies to weed out bad cops. Sounds feasible to me. But would it work in practice? Does malpractice insurance weed out bad doctors?

Indictment in Vegas Shooting

Dave Hardy has details on the indictment. A man is being charged with selling armor piercing ammunition without a license, and then selling it to the Vegas shooter. My guess on the reason they charged 922(a)(7) and (a)(8) rather than (a)(1)(B) is that for (a)(1)(B), which is the law that says if you engage in the business of selling ammunition, you must have an FFL that allows you to do so, is that they don’t have to prove “engaged in the business” for (a)(7) and (a)(8). All they have to prove is that you manufactured an “armor piercing” round or manufactured and sold one and you did not have a license to do so.

I’m speculating a second motivation based on Dave Hardy’s comments. We all know the whole “armor piercing” ammunition deal is a huge amount of bull. ATF has a great opportunity to cement its preferred interpretation of “armor piercing.” What better context to use than an awful shooting where neither juries nor judges will have any sympathy for the defendant. As I’ve noted before, the current laws and ATF’s interpretations about what armor piercing ammunition is are a great hinderance to adopting “green” bullets that do not contain lead, as many alternative metals are illegal. The shooting sports can be squeezed between two anvils:

  1. You may not use lead bullets or bullets containing lead because it is a menace to people, the environment, puppies and kittens; everything it touches.
  2. You may not replace lead with a host of other cheap metals, like steel, because then it magically becomes “armor piercing” and a menace to manhole covers and all else that is lightly armored.

Bad news if they win using the theory that bi-metal core bullets are armor piercing, a hostile administration could effectively end us with the squeeze I have just described.

Ouch

From David French at National Review:

In April 2014, America was transfixed by an armed standoff in the Nevada desert. On one side was a collection of dangerous, out-of-control armed men who were deliberately provocative, prone to saying unhinged things in a single-minded quest to destroy their enemies, and who lied time and again to cover their misdeeds.

On the other side was Cliven Bundy.

How bad did the feds get that National Review is dismissing armed resistance to the government? Pretty bad, if you read any of the whistleblower documents.

Dismissed with Prejudice

What does it say that the Bundys case was not only dismissed, but dismissed with prejudice, which means the government can’t reopen it. What does it say that it was an Obama appointed judge who did it? How bad was the government’s misconduct in the case, and if it was that bad, maybe the protesters had some justification for shaking their guns in the tyrant’s face?

“The government’s irresponsible and, at times, false proffers to this Court as well as its dismissiveness toward the defense inspires no confidence in the prospect of fairness,” they wrote. “A dismissal is necessary to remedy the constitutional violations, to preserve the integrity of this court’s processes, and to deter future misconduct. Anything short of a dismissal is tantamount to condoning the government’s behavior in this case.”

People can balk at an armed population being a check on bad behavior from the government all they want, but based on what I’ve read from this case, there were agents in the Bureau of Land Management who were itching for a fight, and when it looked like they might actually get one, decided that discretion was the better part of valor and backed down.

Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

– Thomas Jefferson

“Consent of the governed” doesn’t really have a whole lot of meaning if harsh language is your best defense. An armed society may be more messy, and more uncomfortable for some than one where everyone is at the mercy of government bureaucrats, but I much prefer a world where people have to think, and think hard, about whether or not to trample a minority interest under the public boot.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Some would probably be more comfortable if we were more like Germany or Sweden, but that’s not who we are, and like Jefferson, I hope we will never be.

Netflix Binge Watching: The Crown

We’ve been watching The Crown, the tales of the latest monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Windsor. It’s surprisingly good. The actress who plays Elizabeth II starts out kind of awkward, but after a few episodes starts to wear the role very well. The actor who plays Prince Philip really looks the part, and does very well in the role.

I don’t know how I’d feel about the Constitutional Monarchy if I were raised in the UK. I’m a bit of an insufferable republican. Monarchy is a really awful thing to do to people; especially the monarchs. It is interesting human drama to put people into that kind of position for no other reason than accident of birth. Probably why those of us in the US have such a fascination with British royalty. At least our leaders have to want it. But if they really want it, are they fit to have it?

Why All These Bundy Cases Ended up Jury Nullified

As Dave Hardy pointed out, this is a doozy. BLM agent accuses his superiors of numerous illegal abuses and misbehaviors in the Bundy Ranch case:

The investigation also indicated that on multiple occasions, former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Love specifically and purposely ignored U.S. Attorney’s Office and BLM civilian management direction and intent as well as Nevada State Official recommendations in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible. Additionally, this investigation also indicated excessive use of force, civil rights and policy violations. The investigation indicated that there was little doubt there was an improper cover-up in virtually every matter that a particular BLM SAC participated in, or oversaw and that the BLM SAC was immune from discipline and the consequences of his actions.

If BLM regularly deals with ranchers in this manner, it would explain why the Bundys were jury nullified even though they were guilty as hell.

All in all, it is my assessment, and the investigation showed that the 2014 Gold Butte Trespass Cattle Impound was in part a punitive and ego-driven expedition by Senior BLM Law Enforcement Supervisor (former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge Dan Love) that was only in part focused on the intent of the associated Federal Court Orders and the mission of our agency (to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the multiple use and enjoyment of present and future generations).

Retaliation against dissidents and whistleblowers is endemic in the “civil service.” The fact that everyone so up in arms over Trump doing the kinds of things that has been routinely done in the federal bureaucracy for years has been, for me, a source of laughter and frustration. How often do you find yourself thinking about something a friend, colleague, or family member wrote: “You didn’t give a shit about X until biased news site Y just told you that Trump did X and now it’s the worst. thing. ever. Even though Obama and everyone that came before him did X all the time.”

We have some real serious issues about how the federal government runs, but we all need to be operating in the same reality to do something about it. We all increasingly don’t operate in the same reality. I’ve heard concerns for the “deep state” being dismissed as right-wing paranoia. I don’t care what you call it, this is the truth: the federal bureaucracy is a branch of government onto itself, which has very little accountability to the elected officials that under our system are supposed to lead it.

“I’m From the Government, and I’m here to Kill You”

Dave Hardy’s latest book, “I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Kill you” is now available for preorder on Amazon. I’m told it should ship in a few weeks. I’d strongly recommend the introduction:

The proposition that a king, a government, can do wrong is central to the Declaration, America’s foundational document. So how did America get to a situation where government employees, “public servants,” can kill by sheer sloppiness and walk away? Where an agency can level a town and kill six hundred citizens and escape all responsibility? Where a federal agency can run guns to Mexican drug cartels, causing hundreds of deaths on both sides of the border, and wash its hands of the matter? Where veterans can die awaiting doctors’ appointments, and the hospital administrators can collect their bonuses and walk away?

Answering these questions requires a brief look at legal history. English common law developed the concept of “sovereign immunity,” commonly expressed as “the King can do no wrong.” But common-law sovereign immunity was actually a narrow concept. A subject could not sue or pros- ecute the king, but could take legal action against anyone carrying out the king’s orders. Americans could better hold their government accountable when they were ruled by George III than they can today!

Read the whole thing.

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