We extracted these paragraphs from an article we liked in the Washington Post by Professor Jonathan Turley, who, though reputed to be a liberal, does actually seem to have a taste for liberty:
The greatest threat to liberty in France has come not from the terrorists who committed such horrific acts this past week but from the French themselves, who have been leading the Western world in a crackdown on free speech.
Indeed, if the French want to memorialize those killed at Charlie Hebdo, they could start by rescinding their laws criminalizing speech that insults, defames or incites hatred, discrimination or violence on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sex or sexual orientation. These laws have been used to harass the satirical newspaper and threaten its staff for years.
Speech has been conditioned on being used “responsibly” in France, suggesting that it is more of privilege than a right for those who hold controversial views.
In 2006, after Charlie Hebdo reprinted controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that first appeared in a Danish newspaper, French President Jacques Chirac condemned the publication and warned against such “obvious provocations”.
“Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided,” he said. “Freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility”.
The Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of French Islamic Organizations sued the newspaper for insulting Muslims — a crime that carries a fine of up to 22,500 euros or six months’ imprisonment. French courts ultimately ruled in Charlie Hebdo’s favor. But France’s appetite for speech control has only grown since then. …
Charbonnier [one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists] died, as he pledged, standing up rather than yielding. The question is how many of those rallying in the Place de la Republique are truly willing to stand with him. They need only to look more closely at those three statues. In the name of equality and fraternity, liberty has been curtailed in France. The terrible truth is that it takes only a single gunman to kill a journalist, but it takes a nation to kill a right.
While we agree with what Professor Turley’s point, we would put it a little differently. We always prefer to speak of freedom rather than of rights: as in “I am free to ….” rather than “I have a right to …”, because ideally we are free to do anything that a law does not proscribe, and ideally all laws protect freedom.
This is a good place for us to declare another of our long-held convictions. That it is impossible to have both liberty and equality. (Fraternity is a superfluous sentimentality that we’ll simply overlook.)
This seems to us so obvious that we can only wonder why everyone, even the French, can’t see it.
Equality – other than in the eyes of the law – can only be created and maintained by force, so there goes liberty. Leave people free and they will not match each other in accomplishment or anything else.
Where the people are free they are not equal, and where they are equal they are not free.
The Left wants equality. We want liberty.
“Islamism”, “radical Islam”, “Islamic extremism”? They don’t exist. There is only Islam. All Muslims believe that sharia law and its punishments – limb amputations for theft, death for adultery, apostasy, and homosexuality – are the best of all possible punishments. How could any be better, when these have been prescribed by Allah himself?
So says this Norwegian. And almost all the Norwegians in his audience agree with him.
President Obama and New York Mayor de Blasio are guilty of encouraging lawless mobs in Ferguson and New York (see here and here). So they both have a share in the events leading up to the murder of two New York police officers, Winjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, last Saturday, December 20, 2014.
More deeply guilty of creating conditions in which those murders could happen, is the outgoing attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, who has been working for racial injustice for years.
This is from PJ Media by J. Christian Adams:
Wickedness has darkened this season of lights in Brooklyn. It is no surprise or accident that a ghoul like Ismaaiyl Brinsley bathed himself in messages of hate, racial division and anger and then chose to destroy lives. But Brinsley wasn’t alone in his racially soaked hatred of the police.
For starters, a mob has Brinsley’s back. This seemingly disconnected mob has been on the prowl in the months since America learned of Ferguson, Missouri. They’ve smashed up windows of banks in Berkeley, burned up bakeries in Ferguson, and looted, burned, shot, robbed and killed across the nation. But such mobs are really never disconnected, are they?
When a mob led by Al Sharpton chants on the streets of New York City they want “dead cops,” people should expect dead cops.
The clapping and laughing at the crime scene in Brooklyn as well as the happy-it-happened racialist venom on Twitter leave no doubt that the mob has Brinsley’s back. …
The culture of the West has largely distinguished itself by elevating the dignity of the individual, by treating others as they wish to be treated.
But ideas alone aren’t enough to turn back barbarians. Sir Winston Churchill understood that leaders must lead civilized people against barbarism. “Civilization will not last,” he said at the University of Bristol in 1938, “freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless a very large majority of mankind unite together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a constabulary power before which barbaric and atavistic forces will stand in awe.”
Without men in power and police on the streets who share these values, history trends toward barbarism.
All of which brings us to Eric Holder and his swarm of lawyers at the Justice Department. Holder, rather than opposing the lawless, says things to make the mob’s fury seem more justified.
Holder went to Ferguson and complained that the police even treated him in a racially unfair manner. His stories are always thin on detail and merit closer media scrutiny. …
After visiting Ferguson, Holder sent swarms of federal officials into town and made it clear the federal government was on the side of the protesters. The “constabulary powers” which Churchill spoke of had crossed over.
For those who haven’t paid attention to Holder’s anti-police policies, now is a good time to start paying attention. And it isn’t just Holder. He’s hired swarms of other lawyers and put them in important positions where their anti-police attitudes have become federal government policy.
Hans von Spakovsky covered the rabidly leftist backgrounds of the lawyers hired by Holder who police the police. For example, Christy Lopez was hired as a deputy chief of the section. Prior to working at DOJ, Lopez helped an illegal alien support group called Casa de Maryland teach aliens how to avoid speaking with police officers. Even worse, von Spakovsky notes:
On her resume, Ms. Lopez proudly references the paper she authored for the liberal American Constitution Society, entitled The Problem with “Contempt of Cop” Arrests. She also highlights the presentation she gave on “Flying While Brown” at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s annual convention. She has made numerous media appearances alleging post 9/11 ethnic profiling. She is also a founding partner of “Independent Assessment and Monitoring,” which provided oversight of police departments and prisons.
Lopez had the perfect qualifications to work for Eric Holder. She was a crusader against cops. … [And] Lopez isn’t alone.
Every single one of her coworkers hired by Holder is a radical leftist, more often taking the side of the lawless than the law-abiding citizen. The professional background of attorney after attorney in Holder’s Special Litigation Section reads like a farce. They’ve worked for Islamic terrorists, black nationalist groups and even an organization called the Junta for Progressive Action. …
These lawyers are not fans of “constabulary powers.” You cannot fully understand what the Justice Department’s policies are toward police officers without understanding the outlandish personal and professional backgrounds of the lawyers enforcing those policies.
To oversee these dozens of new radical lawyers, President Obama appointed a radical’s radical to lead them — Debo Adegbile. Adegbile was Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division at Justice. Adegbile’s anti-police history is what eventually sunk his nomination.
In response, Obama and Holder have tapped Vanita Gupta to run the Civil Rights Division as acting assistant attorney general, and eventual nominee. Gupta is no different than Adegbile … [She] came from the ACLU, where she spent most of her time waging a war against the police. …
After filling government jobs with anti-police radicals, Holder’s Justice Department got busy attacking police departments and law enforcement across the United States. Actions against police departments have been launched in Seattle, Portland, Cleveland, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Miami, and, naturally, New York City.
In Ferguson, Holder even leveraged federal power to agitate against police officers wearing bracelets of solidarity with Officer Darren Wilson. In a letter signed by Christy Lopez of the Special Litigation Section, the Justice Department says such bracelets “upset and agitated people.”
The mob was offended, and thus Holder acted. Holder used his power to attack “constabulary powers,” over jewelry.
To “train” police officers how to behave, Holder’s Justice Department has hired an outfit which has been affiliated with Angela Davis. That would be the same Angela Davis who was a Black Panther radical. That’s the same Angela Davis who went on trial for the murder of a judge presiding over another murder trial of race radicals who killed a prison guard. Davis is still a racially venomous anti-police radical. That Holder’s DOJ goes within a country mile of her is a disgrace.
Holder’s lawyers aren’t beyond using lies, deceit and illegal conduct to frame cops either. Take the Justice Department’s prosecution of New Orleans police officers on civil rights charges. In that trial, Justice Department lawyers illegally and unethically set up fake blogging accounts. The DOJ lawyers ran a sock-puppet campaign against the cops on trial by posting comments to newspapers. They commented on evidence and attacked witnesses helpful to the police.
[You must] know who Karla Dobinski is … to understand Holder’s tolerance of any means necessary to convict cops.
Dobinski was one of the lawyer puppeteers in the campaign against cops. Federal Judge Kurt Engelhardt called the DOJ misconduct “grotesque” in a 129-page order that must be read to fully understand the anti-cop rot inside Holder’s Justice Department.
But Dobinski acted even more unethically than her fellow DOJ sock puppets. … It was Dobinski’s job to guard against any information obtained in the internal affairs investigation conducted by the New Orleans Police Department from being used against the police on trial. Dobinski’s job was to protect the rights of the defendant cops. Instead, [she] joined in the anonymous DOJ campaign posting [hostile] comments about the cops at newspaper sites.
When national and local government encourages violence against the very enforcers of law and order that it employs to carry out its prime duty of protecting the life, person and property of every individual, government is betraying the people. Obama, de Blasio and Holder can best be likened to generals who encourage the enemy to attack the troops they command, in hope of the enemy’s victory.
When looting, burning mobs, screaming for “dead cops”, are not only exonerated but actively encouraged by the President, the Mayor of New York, and the head of the Department of Justice, the country has descended into anarchy. First anarchy and then tyranny is what happens whenever and wherever the far Left acquires unconstrained power.
Is it too late to restore the free republic of America that the Founders tried to establish forever on the rock of the Constitution?
From our Facebook page:
When the President of the United States, the Attorney General, and the Mayor of New York all line up with the criminals of Ferguson and New York against the police, what should we expect but the murder of policemen?
In Brooklyn, an “anti-police activist” walked up to a police car and shot two policemen who were sitting inside it. One was pronounced dead at the scene while the second died shortly after at a hospital. The gunman ran to a nearby subway station, pursued by other policemen, where he shot himself. Many, many liberals celebrated on Twitter. The murderer has been identified as Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, a Muslim, and a gang member from Baltimore. On Instagram, he announced his intention to murder two policemen in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner. Many of the anti-police demonstrations have explicitly called for policemen to be murdered. Marchers in New York last week chanted, “What do we want? Dead cops!” Today they got them.
(Note: We took most of our information from a PowerLine post found here. In our one-paragraph Facebook summaries of articles, we use mostly, but not entirely, the original wording.)
Today we dare to go further than we ventured a few days ago when we wrote about the systematic weakening of America by its elected leader. (The taking down of America, December 1, 2014.)
We declare that Obama and his gang, and the greater part of the political party that put him in power, and the international Left, in alliance with Islam, are deliberately destroying America. That is to say, destroying America as the embodiment in a free republic of the idea of liberty under the rule of law. And are close to succeeding.
It is dumbfounding, gobsmacking, how blatant they are about it. How large their plan is writ across their term in power. How openly they do their dirty deeds. They hardly take any pains to disguise their ugly intentions. And yet how the people of America and the world beyond it have managed not to notice, or fully comprehend, what is happening!
David Solway, writing at PJ Media, assembles the evidence that the general public seems unable or unwilling to see, and ponders the horrible work in progress towards the destruction of America.
In [his book] Marked for Death, Geert Wilders argues that Islam has marked not only him but ultimately every freedom-loving individual and so-called “Islamophobe” for death because of the supremacist nature of its doctrines. What outrages Wilders, in addition to the Islamic threat and the demographic inroads the religion of war is carving into the European urban landscape, is the scandalous complicity of Europe’s governing elites, leading to the eventual subversion of the continent. Although Wilders does not address American vulnerability in any detailed way, what must surely strike a disinterested observer is the equal complicity with which the commander in chief of the United States is pursuing a program of American decline. On the domestic, economic, military, and foreign policy fronts, Obama is energetically and probably irretrievably weakening the country he has sworn to defend, with surprisingly little concerted opposition, or even awareness, from many politicians or from the still-infatuated members of his constituency.
We think the infatuated members of his constituency, or most of them, are aware – and applaud him for it. They want what he wants.
To start with Islam, it is mind-boggling to observe an American president vigorously facilitating the Islamic imperial agenda in a number of different but equally effective ways. He could not do better — or worse — if he were a transplanted Qatari sheikh. One notes the infamous Cairo address with its bloat of lies and factoids. The UN speeches, such as “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The elevation of Muslim Brotherhood operatives into sensitive posts in his administration. Islamic outreach through official institutions such as NASA, once designed for space exploration, now, apparently, for Muslim apologetics. Iftar dinners at the White House. Congratulatory letters to mosques and his designation of terror attacks as “workplace violence”, “man-caused disasters” and “traffic incidents”. His concessionary engaging in a secret correspondence with Iran’s anti-American and anti-Semitic Ayatollah Khamenei. The withdrawing of troops from Iraq, thus opening the way for the establishment of the Islamic State. The purging of FBI training manuals of all reference to jihad. And the interviews in which Obama claims that the U.S. is “one of the biggest Muslim nations”. (In actuality, professing Muslims count for 1.5% of the American people, in comparison, for example, to Muslims amounting to 13% of India’s census.)
But it doesn’t stop there. Obama is not only manifestly pro-Islam; he is demonstrably anti-American. His policies across the board are all of a piece. Domestically, his economic projects have been calamitous. Obama has pied-pipered the nation to the brink of fiscal ruin … His racial interventions have set race relations back a generation or more — most recently his urging the Ferguson rioters to “stay on course“. His attack on the Constitution is systematically undermining the republican nature of the US. Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey cites the president for violating the Constitution 24 times with regard to Obamacare alone. …
Obama’s refusal to secure the permeable southwestern border is an open invitation to a veritable invasion of illegals and jihadists. His executive order to issue a temporary reprieve on the grounds of prosecutorial discretion, to delay deportation, and to provide work permits for millions of illegals is certain to create dismay, resentment and confrontation on a national scale … His mishandling of the Ebola crisis is only another example of anti-colonial politicking, placing American citizens at risk by allowing flights from infected West African countries into the U.S. The list goes on.
In terms of foreign policy, all of Obama’s actions seem dedicated to weakening American strength and resolve in a hostile world. His innumerable blunders — if that is what they are — whether the result of incompetence or, more likely, intention, …
Intention – we see no reason seriously to doubt it.
… have been scrupulously and abundantly documented in scores of books and hundreds of articles. (As an audience member at a recent Freedom Center symposium joked, Obama is “the most competent president we’ve ever had” — most competent, that is, as a malevolent and destructive force whose blunders are not accidents.) It might almost seem as if Obama’s “crimes and misdemeanors” are acquiring encyclopedic dimensions. Here we need only mention his clear bias against international allies, in particular Israel, his funding of the terrorist organization Hamas, his inability or unwillingness to deal effectively with ISIS, which he notoriously regarded as a jayvee outfit, and, most worrisomely, his pampering of the Iranian mullocracy in its determined march toward nuclear status.
His campaign against the American military is perhaps the most telling if under-the-radar sign of his animus toward his own country. His aim to reduce the military to pre-WWII levels and his sacking of ranking military personnel are especially troubling instances of a malign agenda. As retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, an original member of Delta Force and currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, has argued, “our military is being devastated at the same time that all of our enemies, all of our potential adversaries are ramping up.” It is time, he insists on Twitter, that “top military MUST stand up to President + reckless policies.” It is hard to understand how a powerful military establishment could allow itself to be serially gutted, unless it is helmed by hand-picked Obama supporters.
For there is no evident, top-brass pushback against a president who has signaled to the enemy a timetable for withdrawal; who has shackled his forces in Afghanistan with so-called “rules of engagement,” putting their lives in jeopardy; whose concept of military propriety is a latte salute and whose concept of diplomatic propriety is chewing gum in the face of a prestigious welcoming delegation of a formidable power. This is a president under whose watch veterans were neglected and abused; who has exchanged an alleged deserter for five mid-to-high tier Taliban terrorists; and who has blithely abandoned servicemen under fire or held in captivity. The American armed forces find themselves in a position analogous to the Turkish military, once the guarantor of the country’s Kemalist experiment, now decimated under the authoritarian stewardship of Obama’s good friend, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose example Obama appears to be emulating.
As a result of Erdogan’s actions, a secular Muslim state has been transformed into an Islamic theopolitical nightmare. What the future augurs for America under Obama’s cataclysmic leadership is equally distressing.
Equally? While we agree with Solway’s argument, and value the useful list of proofs that he has gathered, at this point we murmur a respectful correction: What happens to America is immeasurably more important than what happens to Turkey.
And is he too pessimistic in this next passage? Is America “no longer the world’s only superpower” – or even not a superpower at all any more?
In the conclusion of his seminal book, Geert Wilders warned that the Islamic incursion into the body politic and social matrix of the U.S. is well underway; in the course of time, the nation will have lost itself in the Wilderness. But the gradual emirization of the U.S. is merely one among a host of premonitory indices. The nation’s spirit appears increasingly stagnant. It is drowning in a Noah’s flood of debt, it is coming apart at the racial seams, it is riven by a red/blue ideological conflict that appears unbridgeable, it is no longer the world’s only superpower — indeed, it is moot whether it is still a superpower, and it is considered either a hindrance or an irrelevance on the global proscenium. It is debatable whether the rot has gone too deep to be scoured, or if the recent change in party representation in Congress or a future Republican presidency would amount to anything more than a temporary hiatus. … The rot is not only political but has eaten deep into the culture as well, with growing levels of violence, welfare dependence, historical ignorance and general cynicism. In any event, once a nation has forfeited its pre-eminence, history shows it unlikely to reclaim its former position of authority and grandeur.
Finally he gives more reasons to be pessimistic, and they are all cogent:
Many have pointed out, as has Dinesh D’Souza to persuasive effect in America: Imagine a World without Her, that Obama’s main endeavor is to promote national enfeeblement, an enterprise which the American left, via its political, media, intellectual and academic elites, has been advancing for the last fifty years. When the fundraiser-in-chief is pastured out to the golf course or the United Nations and should the Democrats be returned to power, someone else will replace him to carry on his work. Certainly, should Alinsky-friendly Hillary Clinton or populist fraud and gentrified socialist Elizabeth Warren succeed to the presidency, one could write an early finis to the great American adventure in republican governance.
The question remains partially open. Can the country slip out from under the withering curse laid upon it by a runaway president, his subversive administration and the radically corrupt Democratic Party? Can the Augean Stables of a decaying political, intellectual and media culture be cleansed and fumigated? Can the Republicans connect with their staunchly conservative base to eventually form a credible, unified and revitalized governing party?
In the meantime, with the help of his compliant accomplices, Obama has, both as effect and cause, probably done more damage to American interests, security and patriotic fervor than any single president before him. Indeed, he has done more than any of his predecessors to ensure that America as we once knew her is marked for death.
Beyond hope? Not quite:
One can only hope against hope that the American spirit is still at least subliminally resilient.
THE LAW is the roof and the walls and the floor of the House in which we live.
Americans were given freedom under the law by the Constitution.
Without the law we would be unsheltered and our lives would become, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, “poor, nasty, brutish and short”. (He also said that such a savage life would be “solitary”, but solitariness in a lawless world would be an improbable luxury.)
The worst thing that President Obama is doing to America, the very worst thing of all the bad things he is doing, is taking the law away from the people by disregarding it himself – he who swore to preserve it for all of us when he took his oath of office:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
He has broken his oath. He has set himself above the law.
As a result, first, it is applied arbitrarily by his complicit Department of Justice.
Second, he has given license to millions of Americans to break it.
Third and therefore, we cannot expect justice. We will have to fall back on our own defenses.
Victor Davis Hanson writes about this at PJ Media:
In the Ferguson disaster, the law was the greatest casualty. Civilization cannot long work if youths strong-arm shop owners and take what they want. Or walk down the middle of highways high on illicit drugs. Or attack police officers and seek to grab their weapons. Or fail to obey an officer’s command to halt. Or deliberately give false testimonies to authorities. Or riot, burn, and loot. Or, in the more abstract sense, simply ignore the legal findings of a grand jury; or, in critical legal theory fashion, seek to dismiss the authority of the law because it is not deemed useful to some preconceived theory of social justice. Do that and society crumbles.
In our cynicism we accept, to avoid further unrest, that no government agency will in six months prosecute the looters and burners, or charge with perjury those who brazenly lied in their depositions to authorities, or charge the companion of Michael Brown with an accessory role in strong-arm robbery, or charge the stepfather of Michael Brown for using a bullhorn to incite a crowd to riot and loot and burn. We accept that because legality is becoming an abstraction, as it is in most parts of the world outside the U.S. where politics makes the law fluid and transient.
Nor can a government maintain legitimacy when it presides over lawlessness.
The president of the United States on over 20 occasions insisted that it would be illegal, dictatorial, and unconstitutional to contravene federal immigration law — at least when to do so was politically inexpedient. When it was not, he did just that. Now we enter the Orwellian world of a videotaped president repeatedly warning that what he would soon do would be in fact illegal. Has a U.S. president ever so frequently and fervently warned the country about the likes of himself?
What is forgotten about amnesty is that entering the U.S. illegally is not the end, but often the beginning of lawlessness. Out here in rural central California we accept a world where thousands drive without insurance, licenses, and registration. Fleeing the scenes of traffic accidents earns snoozes. There is no such thing as the felony of providing false information on government affidavits or creating made-up Social Security numbers. Selling things without paying taxes and working off the books while on assistance are no longer illegal. The normative culture is lawlessness.
Amnesty, granted through a lawless presidential act, will not stop but only encourage further lawlessness. If someone has become used to ignoring a multitude of laws without consequences, there is no reason why he should suddenly cease, given that punishment for breaking the law is still considered a politically-incorrect rather than a legal act — and that even with amnesties it will still be far easier and cheaper to break than obey the law. Who will deport an illegal alien beneficiary of amnesty when he again breaks the law? Amnesty will be seen as both reactive and prophylactic, a waiver for both past and future behavior.
More disturbingly, we have engendered a strange culture of justifiable lawlessness: those who are deemed exploited in some ways are exempt from following the law; those without such victim status are subject even more to it. Executive authorities compensate for their impotence in not enforcing statutes for some by excessively enforcing them on others.
I accept that if I burn a single old grape stake that has been treated with a copper-based preservative, I will be facing huge fines by environmental protection agencies, whose zeal will not extend to nearby residents who have created illegal compounds of rental Winnebagos with jerry-rigged wiring and stop-gap sewage or who dump wet garbage along the side of the road. In the old days the dumpers at least used to sift out incriminating documents with names on them; now they leave them in, without worry over the consequences.
Our bureaucrats thirst for the single infraction by the law-biding citizen who can pay — to compensate for their impotence amid endless crimes by the law-breaking who are deemed unable to pay. That idea of redistributive enforcement permeates the entire federal government. …
Instead of being able to look to law enforcement to protect us, we now have to fear it as one of the unpredictable dangers that can assail us at any moment.
The problem with the Obama administration is that the government’s own bureaucracies — the IRS, VA, Secret Service, GSA, EPA, Justice and State Departments — have so serially broken their own statutes and lied about their misconduct, that it is now almost impossible to reassure Americans that they, too, cannot do what their own government sees as some sort of birthright.
The fuel of lawlessness is untruth. What amazes about President Obama is not that he occasionally misstates facts — every president has done that — but that he so serially says things that are untrue and yet he must know are so easily exposed as untrue. When the president on over 20 occasions swears he cannot legally grant amnesty and then does so, or when he swears he cannot comment on an ongoing criminal case when he habitually has done just that, or when he insists that Obamacare will not result in higher premiums and deductibles or loss of doctors and health plans when it does precisely that, or when he asserts to the world that a mere demonstration over a video caused an attack on our consulate in Benghazi when he knew that it did not, or when he utters iron-clad red lines, deadlines, and step-over-lines that he knows are mythical or denies he has done just that — when he does all this, then almost everything he asserts must be doubted.
We now live in an era when we expect a federal bureaucrat — whether the attorney general or the secretary of Defense or the secretary of Labor — to illegally jet on family or political business at the public expense, or the president of the United States to pick and choose which elements of the law he finds useable and therefore are to be enforced and which bothersome and therefore ignored.
For this administration, the law is a drag.
What separated the United States from a Peru or Nigeria or Mexico or Laos or Russia was the sanctity of the law, or the idea that from the highest elected officials to the least influential citizen, all were obligated to follow, according to their stations, the law. Under Obama, that sacred idea has been eroded. We live in a world of illegal immigration and amnesties, Ferguson mythologies, and alphabet government scandals, presided over by a president who not only does not tell the truth, but also seems to be saying to the public, “I say whatever I want, so get over it.”
And “do whatever I want”.
Let him streak his face with mud, beat on a primitive drum and dance naked round the fire. He is the lord of the flies.
Sheriff Scott Jones of Sacramento County, California, sends a sensible, temperate, but urgently important video message to President Obama about immigration reform:
Under Attorney General Eric Holder the Department of Justice became an agency for enforcing discrimination against whites and patronizing blacks.
His probable successor is Loretta Lynch. Will she perpetuate Holder’s outrageously unjust policies, or will she try to use it for the purpose it was established for?
The nomination of Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general is a deft political decision by President Obama. Lynch’s nomination satisfies the racial interest groups yet doesn’t carry the toxic record that other possible nominees carried. … [and so] provides the false promise [that] the Justice Department may improve once Holder is gone.
That hope ignores the fact that Holder, while lawless as can be, was the symptom of an institutional problem when progressives wield power at the most powerful federal department. Holder may go, but hundreds who think just like him will still be managing affairs …
It’s worth noting one good thing about Lynch. She is coming from a United States attorney’s office. … [Her] most beneficial qualification is being an outsider in an era where the DOJ insiders have turned the department into a plaything to appease the most extreme elements of the Democratic Party. Her experience as a two-time U.S. attorney is the one bright spot in her nomination.
That’s where the good news about Lynch ends.
Most notably, she seems to be a devotee of the fable that Jim Crow is coming back, and that laws designed to ensure election integrity are really a plot to disenfranchise minorities. She specifically attacked voter identification laws. She called them an effort “to take back” what Martin Luther King had won.
Opposition to voter ID is designed to scare minority voters and help Democrats win turnout wars.
Her misplaced opposition to voter ID portends a broader problem. The department under Holder has undertaken racially selective law enforcement. While DOJ officials bluster about criminal civil rights cases that never happen, such as against George Zimmerman and in Ferguson, they brazenly refuse to prosecute civil rights cases when white victims are subject to racially motivated violence. Incident after incident after incident has occurred in the last few years, and Matt Drudge routinely catalogs them at the Drudge Report.
A single prosecution of these cases, nay, even an investigation, would deflate Holder’s critics, myself included. But these cases have not been prosecuted under Holder because the prosecutors oppose using civil rights laws to protect white victims of hate crimes. Holder even said so himself in congressional testimony – saying that hate crime laws are designed to protect traditional racial minorities.
That’s code for, if you aren’t one of “his people” the law won’t protect you. …
Will Lynch commit to keeping quiet about DOJ investigations, or will she stoke racial division, as Eric Holder did in Ferguson?
The Senate should bore into Lynch’s views on the same, and hard. There are plenty of skilled questioners on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Armed with the list of racially motivated attacks over the last few years, they should extract a commitment from her that she will break with Holder’s racially selective law enforcement.
Exhibit One can be the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department Civil Rights Division which documents the pervasive opposition at all levels to racially neutral enforcement of civil rights laws. Ask Lynch if she will implement the changes to hiring practices that former Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez refused to implement – namely hiring people other than ideological progressives to serve as lawyers.
Senators might also ask Lynch if she thinks blacks are less sophisticated voters than whites. After all, that’s what a paid Justice Department expert testified to in the attack on Texas voter identification laws. Does Lynch think it is appropriate for hundreds of thousands of dollars to line the pockets of hired DOJ experts who espouse such segregationist-style nonsense?
Senators might also ask Lynch if she has the spine to tell a president that he can’t simply suspend immigration laws by fiat. Or, does she believe he can?
Will Lynch’s on-the-ground understanding of the threats of Islamic terror in New York cause her to reassess the department’s queer biases? For example, will the department continue to employ lawyers in sensitive national security positions advising on terror policy when they represented Islamic terrorists at GITMO before coming to DOJ?
Some might rejoice at Holder’s departure, assuming a clean slate means a new approach. Beware. The Justice Department has suffered the same type of fundamental transformation the president promised for the country. Without stiff and sophisticated congressional oversight, Lynch may be Eric Holder 2.0.
Here is Geert Wilders delivering a great speech recently at the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, to mark the 10th anniversary of the murder by a Muslim terrorist of Theo van Gogh, November 2, 2004.
Please listen to it. It is nothing less than a rousing call to Europe to rise up against its colonization by Islam. (We posted it yesterday as part of a piece on fighting for liberty in the US. But on second thoughts we think it deserves a place to itself.)
Play it loudly. It’s that sort of speech. You won’t hear such things said loud and clear in many places anywhere in the world these days.
He dares to declare a burning truth – that the enemy of liberty, the enemy of the West, the enemy of civilization, is Islam. Not “Islamism”, not “Islamic extremism”, not “radicalized Islam”, but ISLAM.
The discussion following the speech is also inspiring to listen to. Though at moments a little hard to hear, the answers Wilders gives to the questions are very much to the point.
We dearly love an article we can enjoy examining critically. Best of all we like an opinion that we partly agree with and partly do not.
This article is by Star Parker, whose columns at Townhall on political issues we generally like. And here again we have no quarrel with her political views. It is her conviction that religion is necessary and good that sparks our opposition.
A new Pew Research Center survey of opinion about the importance of religion in American life shows an interesting picture.
Over the last 12 years, the percentage of Americans that think religion is losing influence in American life has increased dramatically. In 2002, 52 percent of those surveyed said religion is losing influence. In 2014, 72 percent of Americans said religion is losing influence.
To us, of course, that’s good news.
However, while increasing numbers of Americans feel religion is losing influence, most feel this is a bad thing.
Fifty-six percent say that the waning influence of religion is a bad thing compared to 12 percent that say it is a good thing.
In a survey done by Pew in 2012, 58 percent of Americans said religion is “very important” and only 18 percent said it is not “too important” or “not important at all”.
This raises some interesting questions.
One clear one is why, when Americans think religion is very important, has the percentage of Americans who think religion is losing influence in American life increased almost 40 percent over the last 14 years?
Another one is what are the political implications? Certainly, in the Republican Party, there is an increasingly vocal libertarian leaning faction that sees religion as costly political baggage.
Yes – and that is one of the libertarian views with which we are in strong sympathy.
I attribute why almost three fourths of Americans feel that religion is losing influence in American life, while most feel this is a bad thing, to the law of unintended consequences.
She goes on to describe the disaster of welfare policies. We too think they have been – and continue to be – disastrous.
Many Americans have been unwittingly supporting policies for more than a half-century that they thought were good ideas and consistent with their values which have been neither. Now more Americans are beginning to appreciate the damage that has been done and how far the nation has strayed from their own sense of right and wrong.
Take the example of welfare.
When Aid to Families with Dependent Children program was dramatically expanded in the 1960s, it seemed morally correct for government to get more aggressive in the lives of the poor, particularly poor black women. … Massive increases of government in the lives of low-income black families were accompanied by a tripling of single parent households and out-of wedlock births, laying the groundwork for intergenerational poverty.
Right. Those have been and are the causes of “intergenerational poverty”.
But we omitted a sentence. It was this:
Who appreciated that the program would undermine the very religious, traditional values that keep families intact, essential for the work ethic that leads people out poverty?
It may well have been the case that Church-taught values contributed to a belief that children should be born to married parents. Many held that belief also because it is plainly best for children to be raised by a mother and a father. The principle is good whether endorsed or not by a religion.
We contend that it is because the state took over the responsibility of providing for children that men could so easily opt out of the traditional role of bread-winner to their families. It was government incursion into private life that did the damage to believers and non-believers alike. Their religion or lack of it had nothing to do with the “unintended consequences” of welfarism.
Now it’s happening in the whole country. As we’ve gotten more government telling Americans how to save for retirement, how to deal with their health care, how to educate their children – American families have been damaged and out-of-wedlock births have increased six-fold from 1960 to 42 percent today. Government has displaced family.
Some say today we have competing views about the role of government.
Conservatives and progressives do have different views about the role of government. That is not a matter of opinion, but a fact.
I would say we have competing views about what life is about.
Yes. We think life can be “about” anything that free individuals want to make it. Star Parker thinks that life was created, and the creator had a purpose, and that purpose, though impossible to define, is somehow helped along by this or that set of religious doctrines. About which set of doctrines in particular, there are “competing views” among the multitude of religions, each of which claims to teach “the truth”.
One view – a decidedly secular, materialistic view – sees no mystery in life.
We have a decidedly secular view – materialistic too in that we see the need to sustain our physical existence as well and as pleasantly as we possibly can. But we do not think there is no mystery. On the contrary, we are aware that humankind knows very little. To learn more, to explore what we do not know about our universe and ourselves is the most exciting adventure of our conscious lives, and discovery is the engine of all progress.
Pretending to know that there is a purpose to life known only to a supernatural being who created it but chooses to keep his purpose secret, is to opt out of the great adventure.
The left wing version, which dominates the Democratic Party, says government can solve all of life’s problems.
Or most of them. And it’s a wrong and dangerous belief.
The hard-core libertarian version, found among some Republicans — says just leave everybody alone — you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you — and everything will work out for the best.
That is an absurd encapsulation of the libertarian view. No intelligent libertarian thinks that if people are left to make their own choices, if they are self-reliant, “everything will work out for the best”. Every individual will make his own successes and failures – and take responsibility for them. He knows that government cannot solve “all life’s problems” – and, what’s more, does a pretty poor job of solving the one problem it exists to solve: how best to protect liberty.
The other view maintains that you can’t have a free society that is not also a virtuous society.
A free society starts off with the virtue of being a free society. Freedom needs to be protected by law, and, if it is, crime will be punished, foreign enemies will be kept away, and the people can prosper. How good they are in their private lives remains forever dependent on individual character and choice.
It was what George Washington meant when he said in his farewell address that “of all the dispensations and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports”.
We are sorry we can only partially agree with George Washington on this. Morality, yes. Religion? What religion has a history that can withstand moral criticism? Some – Christianity and Islam in particular – have a history of carnage and cruelty. That Christianity preaches against both make its actual record all the worse.
It is my sense that more Americans are beginning to wake up to the unintended, damaging consequences of the often well-intended government policies they have been supporting for many years.
More Americans are beginning to appreciate that we can’t separate our fiscal and economic problems from our moral problems and that if we want to recapture our freedom and prosperity, we must recapture our virtue.
Certainly. But we won’t do that by returning into the mental darkness of religion. We can do it by limiting the powers of government and recovering the idea of liberty as the highest value. That is political and moral virtue.