Keep an eye on this one. Because from a legal perspective, this is a no-brainer: what we had in Wisconsin were Soviet-style investigations, intimidation, and prosecution, with the targets forcibly gagged under penalty of punishment. The question is, how will the courts ultimately resolve what is, in fact, an actual civil rights suit — not of the kind brought by racial charlatans like Al Sharpton or La Raza or the more radical factions of the pro-Gay rights and establishment feminist movements (which aren’t about civil rights at all, but rather about legalizing special dispensation and enforcing social conformity, essentially, anti-civil rights causes hijacking the language of civil rights), but one that indeed speaks to the First Amendment and the individual.
From legal insurrection:
Right Wisconsin reports that the motions to dismiss were denied, so the lawsuit moves foward:
Eric O’Keefe’s civil rights lawsuit against prosecutors in a Democrat-driven John Doe probe into conservative targets will go on after a federal judge on Tuesday thoroughly denied a motion to dismiss the litigation.
Judge Rudolph Randa of the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, pushed aside the argument by the prosecutors-turned-defendants that federal courts generally must abstain from taking up federal constitutional claims that involve or call into question ongoing state proceedings.
The John Doe investigation, a multi-county secret probe into dozens of conservative groups, including conservative political activist O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for Growth, “does not fit into any of the categories” for abstention, the judge wrote in his decision.
“It is an investigatory process, not an ongoing criminal prosecution case,” Randa said.
O’Keefe and the Club are suing Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, his assistant DAs, Bruce Landgraf and David Robles, the probe’s special prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, shadowy investigator, Dean Nickel, and retired appeals court Judge Gregory A. Peterson, the presiding Judge in the John Doe.
The complainants charge that the investigation is nothing more than a partisan witch hunt bent on punishing Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his allies for his political successes, such as public-sector collective bargaining reform, despised by the left. More so, the investigation featuring what have been described as “paramilitary-style predawn raids” on the homes and properties of conservatives, has deprived the targets of their fundamental constitutional rights, particularly abridging the First, Fourth and Fourteen amendments.
Essentially the judge ruled that the star chamber “John Doe” investigation is just a fishing expedition, not an actual prosecution, and therefore does not have the protections from suit that an actual prosecution might have.
In this part of the decision, the Judge explains just how this star chamber acts:
Wisconsin?s John Doe procedure is an investigatory device, similar to a grand jury proceeding, but lacking the oversight of a jury. It is “not so much a procedure for the determination of probable cause as it is an inquest for the discovery of crime in which the judge has significant powers.” State v. Washington, 266 N.W.2d 597, 604 (Wis. 1978). “By invoking the formal John Doe investigative proceeding, law enforcement officers are able to obtain the benefit of powers not otherwise available to them, i.e., the power to subpoena witnesses, to take testimony under oath, and to compel the testimony of a reluctant witness.” Id.
It’s not like a Grand Jury, where prosecutors present evidence of a crime, or even an investigative grand jury, where there has to be some reasonable basis for believing a specific crime was committed by a specific person.
Rather, John Doe is a secret proceeding in search of a crime and criminals.
Which, let’s be frank, sounds like the entirety of our (increasingly armed) administrative state, who go after cows and puddles and toilets and even spilled milk — ironic, that last, because I grew up being told that there was no use in crying over such a thing.
– Though to be fair, nobody said don’t litigate against it in order to harass family farmers and maybe put them out of business, so Soros front groups can buy up and control US farmland.
That would have made for a rather long and awkward homily.
People participating in the food stamp program outnumbered the women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 2012, according to data from the Department of Agriculture and the Census Bureau.
In the average month of 2012, according to the Department of Agriculture, there were 46,609,000 people participating in the food stamp program (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). That contrasts with the 44,059,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in 2012, according to the Census Bureau’s report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.
For each woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2012, there was slightly more than 1 other person collecting food stamps.
In 2013, the average number of people on food stamps increased to 47,636,000. The Census Bureau will not publish its report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage for 2013, which includes the data on women working full-time, until September.
The Department of Agriculture’s website lists the annual average number of food stamps participants going back to 1969. That year, there were only 2,878,000 people on food stamps. Since then, food stamps participants have increased by 44,758,000—or about 1,552 percent.
Since 1969, there have been three years when the number of Americans taking food stamps outnumbered the women who worked full time, year-round. In 1976, there were 18,549,000 food stamps participants, and only 18,372,000 women working full-time. Then, in 2011, there were 44,709,000 food stamp participants and 43,702,000 women who worked full-time. (The Census Bureau has not published data for the number of women who worked full-time, year-round in 1974.)
So far, 2011 and 2012 are the only back-to-back years on record when the number of Americans taking food stamps outnumbered the women working full-time year-round.
For those into trivia, those three years (and 2013 is likely to join them as the fourth) took place under the Carter and Obama Administrations.
As did the ruthless arrogance of Muslim extremists and Communist Russians.
Again, probably just a coincidence — and even if it’s not, Obama’s reelection proves that women and minorities love them some other people’s shit, and don’t much care if that turns them, effectively, into slaves of the state. Because they’ve been empowered by “self-esteem,” which allows them to justify and rationalize away their own near-permanent state of being.
The Republicans, bless them, want to help their big business cronies exacerbate the situation by allowing for amnesty, creating a new pool of largely unassimilated, low-skill Americans who are eligible for entitlements (some already are, despite their illegal status), while the left is looking for a new ethnic group to exploit and turn into permanent clients to their party.
Making both establishment political parties essentially enemies to US federal law.
The power of gerrymandering and incumbency make it very difficult to affect major legislative change at the federal level. As has been now famously noted, our House of Representatives has a lower turnover rate than the House of Lords.
So the answer lies with the states, who have a constitutional duty to take back the power that allowed for the ratification of the Constitution in the first place — the 9th and 10th Amendments, and the insistence that federal government has limited and specific enumerated powers, among which are NOT to use federal bureaucracies as extralegislative bodies to effectively and perpetually harass private industry and the individual.
Time to nut up and turn this thing around using the Constitution’s provision for a convention of the states to force the hand of career and professional politicians who benefit from any and every growth of government.
The government belongs to we, the people. It’s time we took it back and made clear that we won’t be subjects, no matter how much pablum is shoveled our way in order to justify just such a condition.
Wait, is this a trick question? Because my gut says, “uh, of course they don’t. Or rather, they don’t much care, as long as they can continue to write the tax laws that keep them flush — and then claim they’ve helped solve “income inequality,” as if all incomes should be the same, despite the amount of work, the kind of work, or the desire of the good or service.
Going forward, progressive economist and inequality researcher Thomas Piketty recommends a top rate of 80% in his new book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” a work much praised on the left. Clearly, then, tax rates could go a lot higher both to reduce income inequality and raise more dough for government spending programs, right?
Actually, it’s far from clear that we’re not already at Peak Tax, or at least near the summit. First, fiscal austerity last year was offset by monetary stimulus as the Federal Reserve embarked upon its bond-buying program.
Second, the top effective tax rate in the 1950s was closer to 50% because of tax loopholes in an economy experiencing some amazing one-off, postwar tailwinds. High-tax advocates like Piketty want to raise rates and get rid of loopholes, creating sky-high effective rates never before experienced in an advanced economy.
Third, high rates in states like California and New York mean “we might be pretty close to the revenue-maximizing tax rate,” Alan Auerbach, a center-left tax economist at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Wall Street Journal.
Fourth, estimates that sharply raising tax rates has little to no impact on taxpayer behavior completely ignore possible longer-term effects. What about all those folks who take risks and make career choices in hopes of striking it rich? “Significantly reducing that possibility by hitting those individuals with extremely high income taxes is of first-order importance in determining the optimal top tax rate,” AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Sita Slavov, and Michael Strain argued in a paper last year.
Fifth, it’s not the just the 1% bearing a large share of the income tax burden. Citing the CBO, the WSJ notes that “the increase in the individual income tax burden borne by the top 20%—such as couples with two children making more than $150,000—has gone from 65% in 1980 to more than 90% as of 2010.”
Given an aging society, the US in the future will need to collect more revenue than the postwar average of 17.4% of GDP. How much? Maybe at least a quarter more, and even that’s assuming smart entitlement reform. To do that without crippling growth, the US will need to shift from a progressive income tax to a progressive consumption tax. The US tax burden may be headed higher, but top income tax rates shouldn’t be.
Again, Pethokoukis makes his argument from the baseline assumption that the progressive left really wants a vibrant free-market economy. They don’t. They are radical egalitarians, which explains why they wish to remove loopholes, take from high wage earners, redistribute that money to their political clients — all while tearing down our energy grid, which in turn will stifle productivity in other ways and cause products and services to increase in price.
This, in turn, will lead to more layoffs, and so more clients for the welfare-pushing left.
It’s the road to serfdom that they’re after. Because without serfs, you can’t really get to be part of an aristocracy that lords over them.
When we reach North Korean standards, they’ll be happy. Because then they can, like, kill dissidents with flamethrowers and the like, or at least lock them away in gulags. Like Bill Ayers wanted to do. Back before he was just some guy from Obama’s neighborhood, who launched his political career.
Purely coincidentally, of course.
Federalism is dead. Sure, it’s there in the Constitution, but since marriage (and just about every other “noble cause”) has been re-defined as a civil right, the entirety of the 10th amendment is now effectively and functionally moot. Washington Examiner:
A federal judge has ordered Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of gay couples performed in other states.
Judge Timothy Black’s ruling on Monday criticized the state’s “ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Allow me to interject and add a partial list of other arbitrary discrimination involved with marriage laws: age of consent; number of partners; blood relationship; species of partner; etc. All ongoing. All discriminatory. None unconstitutional. Until now, when the door is opened to turning the institution of marriage, which doesn’t prevent coupling or cohabitation or prohibit relationships, into a civil right.
Judges like this, who play philosopher king rather than stick to the authority granted them under the Constitution, should be summarily recalled. Period. End of story.
[Black] says the state’s marriage recognition bans are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Black’s order doesn’t force Ohio to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.
The state plans to appeal Black’s ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage, which voters did overwhelmingly in 2004.
Black delayed deciding whether to stay his ruling pending appeal until attorneys on both sides present their arguments on the issue by the end of Tuesday.
The left has learned how to form shop for judges as part of its overarching strategy to make government the agent of “progress” — often, with a single American citizen on the bench determining if the will of the rest of the plebes, who elect state representatives who in turn represent their wishes, is worthy of consideration. Activist judges, using the Living Constitution strategy that has robbed the 14th Amendment, eg, of its original intent, are now free to bastardize that intent, rewrite the amendment, and overrule the will of the individual citizen in individual states. We’ve seen this with proposition 8 in California. And we’re seeing it again here.
When New Yorkers passed their same-sex marriage laws, I disagreed with their decision but was supportive of the measure: they went via the ballot box and won in the state. Therefore, those who wish to marry a partner of the same sex in New York are legally free to do so. But in states where such laws haven’t been passed, the right of the state to refuse recognition of another state’s electorate is precisely an attack on federalism of the kind those who warned against same sex marriage laws foresaw.
This is not about same sex unions per se. It is about creating a new paradigm of “civil rights” that flow from “social justice” measures and give agents of the government a template over which to map their overreach.
And the left judicial activists are an integral part of the “fundamental transformation” we hear so much about.
Yet, here’s the thing: what if Ohio tells the court to go fuck itself, that — regardless of what any appeals court, or ultimately the Supreme Court, rules, they are not required to surrender their own state sovereignty and be compelled to follow the laws of other states, whose citizens don’t reflect the same values or policy wishes of the autonomous state being forced to follow out-of-state law?
That is, what if they just say no?
Is Obama prepared to send National Guard troops into, say, Little Rock, and force some pastry shop to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple? And how is this anything but tyranny and a “benevolent” police state?
Answer: it isn’t. But pointing it out? Makes you a Visigoth. Or, you know, like Obama himself 2-years ago: a homophobic HATER.
Best response to Eric Holder’s unconscionable attempt to cry ‘racism’ when questioned by Congress [Darleen Click]
… and drinks his milkshake, too.
It was really an unfair fight, Greta was having too much fun there with the Larry Flynt lackey.
And, the unctuous Dickinson has been so busy trolling Conservatives, he forgot to file his papers to run for the Democratic nomination.
In all his glorious fraudhood, Obama, in the White House for five years, still stumps as if he and the rest of the Democrat authoritarians are Washington outsiders.
Speaking at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention on Friday in New York City, President Barack Obama revealed that he believes voter fraud does not exist, everyone who wants to should be able to vote, even if they cannot provide identifying documentation, and Republicans are plotting to take the franchise away from minorities. [...]
He made the accusation that there is a “well-organized effort” to undo gains the Civil Rights Movement has made in the last 50 years, and he said voting rights are “under particular assault.”
“Voters who want to vote should be able to vote,” Obama said. “Period.”
He told the activists to stay vigilant and always be on alert for shenanigans designed to strip the right to vote away from seniors, minorities, and women by requiring them to provide identification at the polls. [...]
Obama said there is a reason the agency Holder runs is called the Department of Justice, without mentioning that nobody has yet been indicted for the IRS’s role in the targeting of conservative groups like True the Vote, an organization that focuses on election integrity.
Via The Week comes a second look at a rather toe-sucking cover piece on Obama’s execrable press secretary, Jay Carney, and his family from Washingtonian Mom. The article includes photos staged in the Carney home, and leads off with this:
Now the over-the-top spread of food on the counters does point to a cheekiness on the part of the photographers (the rest of the photos in the piece confirm it). However it’s unclear whether the photographers would have also been replacing the wall art, and that’s where some “keen observers may notice the kitchen decor in the photo: Soviet propaganda posters.”
Now, whether these are the decorator choice of the Carneys or of Washingtonian Mom editorial staff in a subtle troll move directed at their non-Left readers (which probably numbers in the tens of twenties), the disturbing mindset here is that no one sees anything disturbing about putting up propaganda posters from the most blood-thirsty, genocidal movement of the 20th Century.
It’s all just a joke. Everybody just have a hearty belly laugh and just enjoy the nice colors.
Would anyone — well, let’s be clear, would anyone of the Left, from media to academia to The State — find any “joke” if a non-Leftist had decorated their home with fascist kitsch?
Or displayed this Americana kitsch?
Why ever should Carney be allowed a pass on this?
But hey, more data mining, more consolidation of erstwhile private information by the state, more centralization of society through federal agencies and a runaway, post-Constitutional federal government = Utopia.
Because they say so, is why.
Consider this another one of those minor bumps in the road to leftist paradise. Which, if you use stimulus money wisely, can pave right over the bones of dead liberty without even leaving a trace.
– Though prepare for that job to go over-time and over budget. Still, think of the Greater Good. And shut up.
Honestly. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry:
Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius officially announced her resignation Friday, but just like the glitches that plagued the federal website for Obamacare – healthcare.gov – which she was responsible for, Sebelius experienced a glitch of her own when the last page of her speech went missing.
“So the personal reward for me at the end of the day are the folks who approach me, the strangers who approach me at a meeting or pass me a note on a plane or hand me a phone with someone on the other end saying thank you. Their stories are so heartening about finally feeling secure and knowing they can take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, a page is missing,” she said after a long pause.
Sadly, over 2000 pages of the ObamaCare monstrosity remain accounted for, and their numbers will continue to grow and spread like Canada Thistle, which the delicate manicured hands of our elected officials won’t be pulling them out any time soon.
– Though now that I think about it, maybe that’s why even the GOP is clamoring for amnesty: to do the hard work American politicians won’t do!
Anyway, the irony of Sebelius screwing up another “rollout” of sorts is, I think, worth pointing out. If only to torture ourselves by reminding ourselves that we’ve entrusted these people to run the government for us.