Waco and the Problem of the Police

I watched the Netflix documentary on Waco last night and, first off, definitely worth watching. It doesn’t judge at all: it presents the sequence of events interspersed with interviews with participants on both sides. It lets you make up you own mind about what happened. It all pretty much confirmed the views I formed at the time.

Koresh was a religious lunatic leading a group of suckers. Dime a dozen as far as that goes. It did bring to mind why, once upon a time, the Catholic Church burned heretics…when one female Davidian was talking about how she had been chosen by Koresh to have sex with him it clearly showed that her burning desire for personal union with God – which is supposed to be provided to us in the Eucharist – was warped by Koresh into him getting sexual favors. People do yearn for God: mountebanks are clever at providing something which seems like it. The show did get into the accusations of sexual abuse by Koresh towards minors but, at the end of the day, there never emerged much evidence of it – there’s a chance that it happened, but we’ll never know for certain. The accusation of physical abuse (beatings and the like) was pretty much disproved.

It was the accusation of sexual abuse of minors which brought Koresh to the attention of the authorities. They investigated but couldn’t find enough to bring charges. But now Koresh and his Davidian’s were on the radar. The next thing looked into was the fact that they had lots of guns. Even by Texas standards lots of guns. Apparently, the local Sheriff notified ATF of reports of illegal guns in the Davidian’s compound. Whether or not this was a good idea by the Sheriff is a prudential judgement – you’ll just have to think on it and make up your own mind. But once the ATF got involved, that’s where everything went bad.

They inserted an informant into the compound and it was this informant who provided the affidavit which underpinned the warrant. From what I can tell, it had a lot of suppositions…they could have been doing this or that illegal thing with weapons. As per usual these days, getting a judge to sign off on a warrant is easy…and the cops know which judges are most willing to approve a warrant even on flimsy evidence. Be that as it may, they had their warrant: it was what they did with it that caused the problem. The ATF claims they opted for the massive raid because they had been told that Koresh rarely left the compound – which is a ridiculous assertion as their own informant must have seen that Koresh regularly left the compound. He could have been picked up at the next grocery run. Here’s the key which, to me, tells the tale: the media was tipped off on the impending raid. This shows that what the ATF wanted was a flashy raid…you know, the kind where they’d then line up all the seized guns for a photo op. The bad news was that the MSMers tipped off to be there got lost and asked a postman where the Davidian compound was: the postman was a Davidian. Now they were alerted before ATF arrived.

So, who fired first? Cops say Davidians. Davidians say cops. We’ll never know. Especially as the prime evidence of the first shot – one of the two front doors of the compound – came up missing. Huge shock on that. I mean, the compound was completely surrounded by cops and they were fully in control of the site after it was all over and the debris was being cleared away but the one piece of physical evidence which might have shown who pulled the first trigger comes up missing. The other door, which was part of the double door entrance, was intact (being made of metal), but door which was a key piece of evidence that every cop in the world knows needs to be preserved gets mislaid. Weird. Go figure, huh? I actually go with the story that the ATF started shooting the Davidian’s dogs and that got a Davidian to shoot in a panic, as untrained people are wont to do in a stress situation.

Be that as it may, it became a massive firefight with an untold number of shots fired, only coming to an end when the ATF ran out of bullets and had to withdraw. This kinda lets me know that the ATF, at least on that day, was a bunch of untrained clowns cosplaying as SWAT. They only hit six people with thousands of rounds fired. From video you’re mostly wondering what they’re shooting at. This does lead to the possibility that it was ATF being the untrained people panicking in a stress situation. But, no matter really: it happened. And now the ATF had a catastrophe on their hands instead of a sexy raid. What to do?

Gear up the propaganda machine!

You might recall how we were all told what a hideous person Koresh was. Every last story and rumor, even third hand, was spread about. In this, the MSM was just being the MSM: mindlessly repeating what they were told. But the key here is that the FBI cut the Davidian’s phone line – the only people the Davidian’s could talk to was the FBI. When you’re running a propaganda op it is very important to be in full control of the type and flow of information. And it is clear, especially in hindsight, that the primary goal of the FBI in their statements was to cover up the fact that the raid likely never should have taken place – we were to concentrate on the “brave men and women of law enforcement” and the (allegedly) suffering children…no questions about the warrant, the manner and timing of the raid and no second-guessing on who shot first. By and large, this worked: public opinion at the time was largely on the side of the cops.

And here we get to why I think it ended as it did. As the documentary makes clear, Koresh was still talking to the FBI and people were still dribbling out of the compound. There was every indication that Koresh would eventually come out. But the FBI clearly hated the fact that they had to wait on him to make up his mind. This is why they started doing things like crushing the Davidian’s cars with tanks, cutting off water and power, and doing psy-ops with sounds blared into the compound. This, as was reasonably pointed out by a Davidian in the documentary, was senseless. Allegedly, Koresh was a completely insane man and the FBI’s plan was…to drive him more insane via sleep deprivation? This was supposed to produce a good outcome?

What went wrong, and wrong from the start, is that law enforcement viewed Koresh and his people as perpetrators. Suspects. Bad guys. They never once went into the situation with the concept that Koresh and his people were, well, people. Citizens. Endowed with certain, unalienable rights. If you ever watched the Breaking Bad series there’s this part of it towards the climax where White’s brother-in-law, a DEA agent, is trying to take out White and his monumental contempt for White’s confederate, now willing to help, shines through. This, in the show, leads to a fatal error and the brother-in-law gets killed. Pure dramatic presentation, of course, but I do believe that the attitude of contempt rings true. That is, I think our law enforcement people, especially federal law enforcement, hold their targets in contempt. And who is the target? Anyone who comes up on the radar: if they notice you, then you must be lower than dirt. And so can and should be treated like dirt. That’s why Waco ended as it did – the FBI didn’t think of the Davidian’s as human beings and citizens the FBI was sworn to serve and protect (yes, the cops are supposed to serve and protect even the worst criminals as far as practical) but as sh** stains to be disposed of at the convenience of the FBI.

Keep in mind that the guy in charge of the FBI’s HRT at Waco was also involved in Ruby Ridge a short while before. Of all the people interviewed in the documentary, he’s the only one I came off entirely disliking and figuring to be a liar. He’d probably deny it to my face, but I’ll say he likes killing people. He gets a kick out of being the bad ass. And to him being a man means being ruthless. This does have its place in the world – but it is supposed to be confined to the battlefield…not a compound in Texas. Americans are not supposed to be treated as you would treat, say, a band of Taliban fighters.

What Waco showed us, had we been paying real attention, is that our law enforcement is out of whack. No longer consistent with a Republic. There is, as I’ve said, a certain point to the BLM assertion that the police are an occupying force. Leaving aside the lies and corruption of the BLM leadership, the fact of the matter is that the police all too often view the public as the problem. There is a disconnect between law enforcement and the citizens. There are lots of reasons for this, and some of them do involve the people being jerks – in some urban areas of the USA, the people are only barely civilized and are only partially capable of assessing risk/reward in actions. This does lead the police to dealing with people who are simply doing enormously stupid things which are lethal to the police if not swiftly controlled. And the police can’t tell if they’ve got a lunatic who will try to kill them even after, say, being shot or tased or someone who will understand that the game is up and its time to accept the cuffs and the ride to the station.

But even with that said, the internal attitude of too many police – and, as I’ve said, especially federal police – is contempt towards their targets. This must be brought to an end and it is a matter of training. This is something we can fix. We can train our law enforcement to be defenders rather than occupiers. People who’s first care is the rights of the citizens rather than the collaring of the “dirtbag”. This is not to say that criminals should get off easy: I’ve made it clear over the years that people who commit crimes – especially against lives – need to really feel it in their hearts and on their bodies. But even if we sentence a man to 20 years of hard labor and make him work 12 hours a day, six days a week…he’s still a citizen. He’s still a human being. God created him and we dare not ignore God. He’s still to be treated as well as we can consistent with total security…and never to be thought of in degrading terms. You start thinking of people like animals or lower, you’ll soon start treating them as animals or lower. Much better, in my view, that in terms of human dignity, that we treat people better than they deserve. After all, treat each man as he deserves, and who would ‘scape whipping?

The Need to Punish

Just a little while ago I finished watching the movie Narvik. Highly recommend. Five stars. It is a dramatization of the German attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik in 1940 – the Germans invading Norway primary to gain control of Narvik because, during winter, that was the port where a huge portion of Germany’s iron ore came from. Lose that port, lose the war: that was the point for the Germans. It is a Norwegian movie so it is in subtitles for the most part, but it is well done so that you hardly notice that you’re reading the dialogue.

While a war movie, it isn’t centered on war, as such. Certainly there are battle scenes but the story is really about what do you do? Who is right? Who is wrong? What is moral? What is immoral? Collaboration or resistance? Fight on when its hopeless or just quit? The Germans, naturally, are the bad guys – mostly because they really were. But the British are not portrayed very favorably either. Neither are the neutral Swedes. The French (who really did come to fight for Narvik) are given a dose of glory. As I said, definitely recommend. But aside from offering you a couple hours of interesting and moving entertainment, there was something that struck me in the movie.

There is this scene where Gunnar – a young, Norwegian soldier; he, his young wife and child are central elements of the story – finally gets really into the fight and is able to pay out the Germans in their own coin. He shoots two Germans manning a machine gun nest. As he’s turns to leave, he notices that one of them has started moving. He quickly goes over to the man and turns him over: he’s just a kid (like Gunnar) but he’s also no threat: he’s dying and the lad’s dying eyes plead with Gunnar, “help me!”. But all Gunnar does is shove him a bit and, as the kid dies, ask “why are you here?”. No answer is provided: and for Gunnar and his dead enemy, no answer is ever going to really be provided.

The scene bore in on me the crime that is war. Don’t get me wrong: if you’re fighting to defend yourself, you commit no crime – but to start a war is a crime. There is never a justification to start shooting, or set up a situation where the other side feels it must start shooting or die. That player in the movie dying at his post represents millions – and even though, in this case, it was a young German, we do feel the sadness; the loss. The pointless waste of a life. But as we really consider it, we must never forget that it was a crime – and the attacker from the youngest little soldier in the ranks to the top military and political leaders are guilty.

Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. – Romans 2:1

Any 18 year old Fritz in the German army, if asked, would say that it would be wrong if a foreign army suddenly descended on his home town and started confiscating, ordering about, oppressing and such. And so, the Germans who landed at Narvik knew they weren’t supposed to do that. No citizen of Narvik or Norway had in any way offended any German in the least. You have no excuse. You may obtain forgiveness, but you have no excuse.

And that thought, in turn, brought me to think about our larger crisis, domestic and foreign. The way the world is really in bad shape. And it occurred to me this is because, after more than a century of incredible evil done by nations and ideologies, nobody was ever sufficiently punished for their transgressions. Justice must always be tempered by mercy, but it still must be justice. Because we must apply mercy, after WWII we wouldn’t line the Germans up and shove them into gas chambers…but hanging a few Nazi leaders hardly atoned for the crime. And this leaves aside the fact that nothing was done about the Soviets, who were only marginally less bad than the Germans.

It is said – and generally accepted – that after WWI the punishment of the Germans was too harsh. The reality is that it was too light. Remember: they attacked France, Belgium and Luxembourg without the slightest provocation. And this led to four years of miserable, slogging warfare where untold numbers of young men died when, with just an ounce of decency on the part of the Germans, they would have lived. All the Germans had to do to save the lives of millions was…not attack people who offered no offense in any way. Quite honestly, for a century after that, the Germans should have been de-jure shackled to plows to pay back those they attacked. And WWII was even worse…and all we did was hang a few Nazis and then let the Germans get rich building cars and then we sat there, slack jawed, as they complained about what we did during the war. And, remember: no excuse. Any German asked in 1939 would have answered “no” to the question “should Nation X attack Germany unprovoked?”. They knew what they were doing was wrong. And they gloried in it…and only rejected it when it was all over. Germans want to complain about Dresden? They should feel lucky that every city and town in Germany wasn’t razed to the ground.

And I do think that this unwillingness to punish on the larger scale has led to our unwillingness on the lower scale. We’re forever finding excuses. Letting the guilty off. Figuring out how we can turn a blind eye to it. Easier that way, don’t you know? To punish is to take responsibility…and to assert a standard that you, too, must he held to. It is almost as if by letting Nazis and Communists off we then gave ourselves permission to bomb mud huts in Vietnam and drone wedding parties in Yemen. That if we let the mugger and armed robber off in our streets, we can then excuse the politician taking bribes. That if we all smear a bit of sh** all over ourselves, none of us will notice we stink.

It is high time that we got ourselves cleaned up. That we start to punish the guilty. Yes, yes, yes: always tempered with mercy. But mercy is to reduce the punishment either in scope or duration…but there must be punishment. The guilty must feel at least some of the pain they inflicted. And nobody has an excuse – the dictator plotting war and the punk plotting robbery already know they shouldn’t – and they know they shouldn’t because they know they wouldn’t want themselves to be the victim of an unprovoked attack or a robbery. When we think of all those who have been victimized by war and crime over the past century because our failure to punish encouraged the next war or crime, then really no amount of harshness meted out to the guilty is excessive. If the Germans in 1939 had been shackled and working merely to feed themselves and pay back those they attacked, then there would have been no WWII. In Europe, 60 million people would not have died. Try to sell me that brutally humiliating the Germans for, say, 50 years after WWI would have been worse than WWII. And how many in our cities have been robbed, raped and murdered by people who had previously robbed, raped or murdered? You tell me that punishment doesn’t deter crime? Maybe – but I know what a guy breaking rocks in the hot sun for 10 years won’t do for 10 years: rob. That’s at least some people not robbed; and that makes the punishment of the robber just and merciful. And as merciful to the robber as to any potential future victims – by punishing, we are at least for a time preventing the miscreant from sinning, and that’s a good thing.

RBG Absent

Justice Ginsburg is not hearing arguments before the Supreme Court today…and doesn’t that mean she can’t vote on the outcome of the case? Someone more up on legal stuff will have to advise, but I think this is the case. Which means, for these cases, there is a 5-3 Conservative majority…unless Chief Justice Roberts really is going Full Souter, as some suspect.

It is absurd the way she keeps clinging to office and even more absurd the way the MSM publishes stories about how animal healthy she is. The stories are very akin to the old communist press stories about how Dear Leader at 90 was still virile and handsome. The reality is she’ll be 86 in March. She’s old. Very, very old. And if she were a decent person, she’d have quit a couple years ago. The only excuse for staying on which would not look bad, in my view, would be senility.

Firing Comey: Start of the Swamp Draining?

The firing of Comey shouldn’t have really surprised us – as Byron York points out:

…the more institutionally-minded members of the Trump team wanted to see a process observed. In the case of removing Comey, that involved going through the chain of command.

The structure was this: The FBI director reported to the deputy attorney general, who reported to the attorney general, who reported to the president. When Trump fired Comey Tuesday afternoon, that chain of command had been in place for all of 14 days.

First, it took a long time to get an attorney general in office. Facing Democratic opposition, Jeff Sessions, one of the president’s first nominees, was not confirmed by the Senate until Feb. 8. Then, it took a long time to get a deputy attorney general in place. Rod Rosenstein, the deputy — and the man who wrote the rationale for axing Comey — faced similar Democratic delays and was not sworn in until April 26.

Only after Rosenstein was in place did the Trump team move ahead…

The most ardent “Drain the Swamp” guys wanted Comey out the second Trump’s hand came off the bible…but (and I think this is a better way to do it), the more experienced people had their way…regular order was to be done. It just took a long time, thanks to Democrat obstruction, to get regular order in place.

On thing I’d like to point out – some of you might remember “Pardongate”. This was where President Clinton issued a raft of pardons on his last day in office, most notably in the case of Marc Rich. Rich was indicted for massive tax and racketeering fraud (by Rudy Giuliani, as it turns out) and fled the country as he was looking at up to 300 years in jail if convicted. Rich’s wife had donated a bucket of money to the Democrat Party, to Clinton’s Presidential library and to Hillary’s 2000 Senate campaign…so, yeah, to a lot of people it looked like a quid pro quo (a President can, of course, pardon anyone he likes for any reason – but if it could ever be proved a President issued a pardon for corrupt reason, that President could be sent to jail). An investigation was launched and eventually dropped. The federal prosecutor who dropped it was Comey. So, Comey has a lot of long-term experience in explaining away questionable Clinton activities. Does this mean Comey is crooked? I have no idea – but he doesn’t appear to be ardent in making certain that the powerful come under close scrutiny in a court of law. At the end of the day, he was probably the very last person who should have had any say in the investigation of Hillary’s e mail mess.

This is also an illustration of how massive the swamp is…how interconnected all the corruption is on a lot of levels. And how it just goes on and on and on…because no one really ever does anything about it. Oh, sure, every now and again some low-level person will be caught stealing beyond his station and will get sent to jail…but the big boys and girls always manage to skate, don’t they? Ten years ago, Matt and I published Caucus of Corruption, detailing how corruption is endemic in the Democrat Party. One of the complaints launched against it was that we didn’t go into Republican corruption. Our answer to that was simple: sure, there are plenty of Republican crooks, but the Republican crooks are made to pay the price for their corruption. Democrat crooks are usually let off, if anyone ever bothers to look into the matter to begin with.

You might recall how Trump was saying that he wanted to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Hillary’s dealings – and how he hasn’t said a whisper about it since taking office. Has he just dropped it? Was it just campaign rhetoric? Maybe. Or, perhaps, he’s just biding his time…and making certain that those who would protect Hillary are no longer in a position to do so? Time will tell. But one thing I’ll say: if we ever launch a full-scale investigation into foreign influence and general corruption, a very large number of public officials are going to jail. Sure, a lot of them will be Republicans…but most will be Democrats. And here’s something to think on: Trump owes nothing to these people. If, in fact, he could enter the 2020 campaign with a dozen Republican officeholders in jail due to his Justice Department, it’d make him a hero to the Republican rank and file (especially as that would mean at least three dozen Democrats sharing their cells).

We’ll see how this comes out – but I do hope that the firing of Comey is only an opening shot in a larger, anti-corruption process.

Who Killed Walter Scott?

Immediately, of course, the police officer – who has now been charged with murder. None of us know all the facts, of course, so there is still room for reasonable doubt to emerge but for the present, things seem weighted heavily against the officer. I don’t know what was going through his mind, but it appears that he did very wrong. Now, we’ll have a trial which will sort out the facts – unless, that is, the facts are so overwhelming against the officer that he pleads out. Time will tell. But in the larger sense, what do we know – so far – about this case?

First off putting out the caveat – this is stuff which is emerging as the case unfolds, and some of it may not be true. Having said that:

Scott appears to have been pulled over because of a broken tail light on his car. He may have attempted to flee the scene due to fears of being sent to jail over unpaid child support. Scott was the father of four children (some of whom, presumptively, he owed child support for). He was engaged to be married. Former Coastguardsman (some say an officer, but the picture I saw appears to be in an enlisted man’s uniform). Scott has ten arrests in his record: this is being downplayed, but I’m 50 and I’ve only got one arrest in my record (and not really in my record – me and some buddies were rounded up for drunk and disorderly in Norfolk, VA back in my Navy days and we were just dropped off at the base): having ten arrests seems a bit much.

So, a man is pulled over for a busted tail light and winds up dead – because he ran, and he ran because he feared going to jail over unpaid child support. Anyone see a problem here?

Why are our over-whelmed police forces pulling people over for busted tail lights? Was there nothing else the officer could have been concerning himself with during that time? Why is a man facing jail time for unpaid child support? I agree – a man who doesn’t support his children is a bum…but so is a man who cheats on his wife. We going to send him to jail? Along with all the adulterers in the world? In addition to, say, everyone who fails to hold down a steady job? Boozes it up too much? Not standing up and being a man is a wrong thing – but it isn’t a crime worthy of being sent to jail over.

In a rational society, no person would fear going to jail for unpaid debts – and so no one having unpaid debts would worry so much about a traffic stop that he’d run away from it. In a rational society, no one would care if someone has a busted tail light (or expired plates, or no insurance) and so the only time an officer of the law would take notice is if it were in connection to some other incident (ie, now that you’ve rear-ended another car, we do care a bit more that you’re driving with a busted tail light…here’s an extra ticket for you). In a rational society, there would have been no traffic stop – and if by some chance there was a traffic stop, there would be no cause impelling the detainee to run…wouldn’t really matter how bad the cop was, no one would be dead.

Here’s the real kicker – the reason police are avid to write up tickets for trivialities like busted tail lights is because our cities are strapped for cash. Our cities are strapped for cash, most of the time, because they are run by liberals who have driven the cities into something close to bankruptcy. The reason we send men to jail because of unpaid child support is because we went into a fit against “dead beat dads” (with no mention of the moms who shacked up with dead beats) and wanted to really punish those lousy guys…this was done because our liberals wanted us to. In short, because of a bunch of liberals, we’ve set up a system where trivial laws grind up people – and set up situations where a bad cop can come into contact with a poor fool and the poor fool winds up dead.

Who killed Walter Scott? An insane system killed him. We tell people – go ahead; have sex outside marriage. Produce children willy-nilly. We won’t censure you or, indeed, even mention that you might not be living a decent life. But when you do this, if you don’t pay the money we prescribe via the courts, watch out! We’re coming for you. We don’t expect you to be responsible and marry the girl you’re having kids with – but failure to pay her some cash after the passion has cooled? We’re sending you to jail for that one, buddy. So, no social opprobrium for being a cad – but there is a warrant out for your arrest. After all, we all know how guys who have four kids and are behind on their child support are otherwise upstanding citizens who hold down steady jobs… So, keep looking over your shoulder. There’s a cop out there, somewhere, and he’s just waiting for his chance to pull you over so he can write some revenue-generating tickets to ensure that the city employee pension fund is in good shape. And when you get pulled over, that warrant will pop up. Now, what do you do? Just go to jail, or run?

Pick one boys and girls – either an immoral society with no rules at all, or a moral society. Right now we’ve got a lunatic mish-mash of the two and it is killing people…and not just by having them shot by a cop. Think of all the young people who wind up dead because they grow up in fatherless households where no one teaches them decent behavior? And then these kids get a bit older and out in the streets and they don’t know how to act – and often act badly.

We don’t have to eradicate racism – worthy as that goal is. We don’t need to tolerate diversity – though tolerance of diversity is often a good thing. We don’t need more studies and programs – though at least such things keep psuedo-intellectual pinheads occupied. What we need is to stop being insane. We need to be rational – reasonable – people. Rational people don’t send people to jail for unpaid debts – and they don’t tolerate men who don’t step up to the plate and do their duty. Just as soon as we start being sane, we’ll stop this sort of thing from happening.

A Lesson from Ferguson: Our Criminal Justice is Broken

This is just astounding:

Ferguson is a city located in northern St. Louis County with 21,203 residents living in 8,192 households. The majority (67%) of residents are African-American…22% of residents live below the poverty level.

…Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400. In 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.

Was Brown stopped just so the police could write a revenue-generating ticket?  That is something we need to determine as the investigation goes on – regardless of how the shooting is ruled or what happens to the police officer.

It has been growing on me for years now that we are massively over-law’d in the United States. There are too many laws, too many fines – and the police and prosecutors have too much discretion in deciding whom will enter the meat grinder of our criminal justice system.  Of course, as long as you have money, you’re going to be ok – OJ Simpson, after all, got away with double murder because he had the scratch to hire an all-star defense team. But for some poor body in the inner city who gets pulled over for a traffic violation or gets picked up for minor drug possession?  Forget it: he’s screwed…and once the criminal justice system gets hold of him, it won’t let him go.  Remember, if you don’t appear in court (and maybe you don’t because you have a job you can’t get out of – or have children you can’t find a sitter for and the judge won’t let you bring them into court), you get a warrant for your arrest…and if arrested, you’ll get more fines on top of the original fine.  And if you can’t pay, then you just get in more trouble.

Things like this really make me wonder – do murders go unsolved because there’s no revenue upside for the city?  Are high crime areas ill policed because the cops are out writing tickets? Last time I got a ticket (figured that STOP meant Short Tap On Pedal) the officer was about 20 minutes writing me up.  Twenty minutes he wasn’t out patrolling the streets. He writes 10 tickets per shift and how much time does that leave for the actual job of the police?  Additionally – when we hear someone has a criminal record, does that mean he’s a murderer, or just someone who got busted for pot?

We really need to rethink this – most importantly, the fact that the revenues from fines goes to the municipality which issued the ticket. There’s just too much incentive for cash-strapped cities and counties to see fines as a means to revenue rather than a tool for law enforcement. Maybe make fewer fines and more community service, instead?  I don’t know, but we need to think about this – and I think we might have a situation where the poor, especially the urban poor, are caught in a bind.

Progressives Were For Religious Freedom Before They Were Against It!

Of course, this comes as no surprise – the flip flopping of Progressive (pRegressive) politicians who will say anything for political expediency. pRegressive politicians and their Praetorian Guard in the mainstream media have their panties in a bunch over the correct Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. Driven by either agenda or ignorance, they don’t even remember that at one time they were all champions of the same religious freedom they are now against.

The SCOTUS ruling is NOT about contraception. Instead, it affirms a law dating back to 1993 – The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This law, “to protect the free exercise of religion,” according to the U.S. Senate. Specifically, the purpose of the law is “to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is burdened by government.” That is the crux of the Hobby Lobby claim. Congress passed this law almost unanimously.

The RFRA was introduced following an unpopular SCOTUS decision curbing the religious freedom of Native Americans to use peyote. Congressman Charles Schumer introduced the bill in March 1993, a time when liberals were strongly in favor of religious freedom. The bill was cosponsored by many of the same pRegressives screeching the loudest about the SCOTUS decision, including Rosa DeLorio, Luis Gutierrez, Nancy Pelosi, and Maxine Waters. The Senate passed this bill by a vote of 97-3.

I am sure you will recognize some of the names:

What a difference a new pResident and a new agenda make (despite the fact that the Constitution has remained the same)! Senate Weasel Harry Reid was in favor of religious freedom before he was against it. Voting FOR the RFRA in 1993, he is now indignant that the SCOTUS upheld the same law he voted for. Ditto for Nancy Pelosi, who is fussing about “a gross violation of workers’ religious rights.” What religious rights are being violated (must be the fact that progressivism and intrusive government is a religion to these people)? Are the Hobby Lobby employees members of a religion with a commandment, “Thou shall be provided abortifacients paid for by someone else”? Or is it the employer whose religious rights are being violated – “Thou shalt not kill” – by making him or her purchase these drugs for the employees?

Hillary Clinton also found the Hobby Lobby decision “deeply disturbing.” How ironic that her co-president husband, in November 1993, signed the RFRA into law, and when upheld 20 years later, she finds it “disturbing”. At the signing, then-President Bill Clinton remarked, “We all have a shared desire here to protect perhaps the most precious of all American liberties, religious freedom.” He also noted that “our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties.” Commenting on the Founders, he observed that they “knew that there needed to be a space of freedom between Government and people of faith that otherwise Government might usurp.”

Protecting “religious freedom” was politically expedient 20 years ago. But now the dumbed down talking point is the “war on women”. It serves its purposes for speeches and fund-raising, especially when you have a captive audience of mindless drones. The RFRA passed almost unanimously, while obamacare barely passed along party lines in the House and was rammed through the Senate using budget procedural methods rather than proper voting procedures.

Don’t expect the Praetorian Guard (media) to acknowledge the flip-flops by our pRegressive politicians – after all it is an election year. The must mindlessly continue the propaganda.

A Retired Admiral’s Take on Benghazi

The following is a letter that was re-printed in a military newsletter I get from a retired navy admiral to Bill O’Reilly regarding the entire Benghazi affair.  I originally posted this at the end of the recent Benghazi thread.

Mr. O’Reilly,

I am mad as hell because the truth about how combatant commanders and the department of state can and should protect embassies is not being clearly explained. The fact is that there are policies, precedent, resources and procedures that could and should have prevented the embassy in Benghazi from coming under attack, or defended it if it did come under attack, or vacated it if the threat was too high. The ongoing discussion on your show and elsewhere that centers on the video and subsequent cover up is necessary as is the discussion about whether or not we should have responded during the attack. But those discussions have not brought to light the fact that none of this should have happened in the first place.

Fact: The combatant commanders, in this case AFRICOM, have access to our national inventory of intelligence community resources as well as international resources in order to thoroughly understand the risks and threats in any part of their Area of Responsibility (AOR). The complete picture of what was happening in Libya should have been known by AFRICOM leaders and this should have been briefed up the chain daily.

Fact: The first two cornerstones of AFRICOM’s mission are (1) Deter and defeat transnational threats posed by al-Qa’ida and other extremist organizations and (2) Protect U.S. security interests by ensuring the safety of Americans and American interests from transnational threats… In other words it is the mission of AFRICOM to prevent exactly what happened at the embassy in Benghazi.

Fact: The policy is for AFRICOM leaders to work in-conjunction with the state department’s Regional Security Officer (RSO) to establish the threat and then work with the Joint Staff and inter-agency to quickly provide plans and resources to deny that threat.

Fact: There are units specifically designed to bolster security in embassies. The USMC has three companies of Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST) and one of these companies (or units from it) could have been deployed to FASTEUR in Rota, Spain, as the risk materialized. Each company has six platoons of 50 men each.

Fact: In July 2003 when I was the J3 at European command (AFRICOM had not been created yet) we had a similar situation develop in Liberia whereby two warring factions were threatening the embassy in Monrovia. The EUCOM team began planning for embassy support PRIOR to Ambassador Blaney’s request. When he did ask for help, we responded immediately, worked with his staff and received SECDEF approval to deploy a single FAST team platoon from Rota to the embassy to provide security. We worked with the Joint Staff and created the mission and structure for Joint Task Force Liberia, an anti-terrorism force based upon USS Iwo Jima and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

Fact: Elements from the MEU arrived and relieved the FAST platoon. The warring parties signed a cease fire, the embassy in Monrovia was secured, no Americans were hurt.

So, the questions are:

1. What was the assessed level of threat in Libya prior to the September attack?

2. If it was not considered high then what were the intelligence failures that lead to that wrong conclusion?

3. If the threat was considered high then why wasn’t a FAST team or other resource deployed?

4. What did Ambassador Stephen’s see as his threat and what did he ask for? If he asked for help and was not provided it, that is inconceivable to me. My two bosses at EUCOM, General Chuck Wald (USAF) and General James L. Jones (USMC) would have bent over backwards to provide anything the ambassador asked for and more. They would have leaned on the Joint Staff to provide the authority to deploy and, in fact, during the Liberian situation described above, they were pushing me every day to provide solutions for the Joint Staff to approve. And should anyone forget, this was July of 2003. We were already in Afghanistan and had invaded Iraq just four months before. We were busy but not preoccupied.

Very Respectfully,
Hamlin Tallent
RADM, USN, retired

The admiral raises a lot of good points.  I guess we’ll see where this goes.  At least the right guy is chairing the select committee.  If Congressman Goudy doesn’t have the cajones to get to the whole truth in this matter, then I doubt that anyone can.




Too Big to Punish

Ever heard of HSBC?  I’ll bet most haven’t, but it is one of the largest banks in the world.  Founded in the 1860’s in Hong Kong (“HSBC” stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) in part to finance the growing opium trade with China, the bank is currently headquartered in London (the bank fled Hong Kong when the Japanese arrived in 1941) and has offices and branches pretty much everywhere in the world.

It turns out that HSBC decided it could turn a tidy profit by money laundering for drug cartels and terrorist States/groups.  The actions taken by HSBC in these efforts were pretty brazen and eventually they came to the attention of the United States government and legal action was started.  And HSBC faced what amounted to a “death penalty”.  The criminal activity was so pervasive that the criminal penalties would have demanded an end to HSBC’s activities in the United States and probably a bunch of other nations where it is alleged the “rule of law”is prevalent.

But, in the end, all HSBC got hit with was a $1.9 billion fine.  Don’t get me wrong, that is a pretty hefty chunk of change, but with a market capitalization of nearly $196 billion, it is the merest chump change as  far as HSBC is concerned.  They’ll probably make it up by moving their money laundering operations to some backwater where US writ doesn’t run and just add a surcharge to the drug lord’s monthly fees.   No directors of the firm were arrested or charged, nothing else is going to happen.  A gigantic criminal enterprise which makes the mafia pale in comparison and all that happens is a fine.  The likely reason they got off with a wrist slap?  Taking down HSBC would have roiled the financial system with incalculable effects:  it might have been something like a Lehman Brothers.

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