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 on: April 20, 2014, 10:54:01 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: April 20, 2014, 10:51:46 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: April 20, 2014, 10:43:29 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
 Bundy and the Rule of Law
By Andrew C. McCarthy
April 16, 2014 5:04 PM

I agree with David and Rich that John Hinderaker’s Bundy post is very strong. As a matter of law, Cliven Bundy is in the wrong. He is nevertheless a sympathetic figure, and the concerns raised by the standoff in Nevada transcend the illegality of his conduct.

Rich’s recollection of Lincoln’s exhortation that reverence for the law become “the political religion of the nation” triggered my recollection of a seemingly inconsistent speech Lincoln delivered as president nearly a quarter-century later. As the Civil War raged, the president very controversially suspended the writ of habeas corpus and imposed martial law in states where Confederate operatives and sympathizers were taking seditious action. Addressing Congress on July 4, 1861, Lincoln defended his suspension of the writ:

    Of course some consideration was given to the questions of power and propriety before this matter was acted upon. The whole of the laws which were required to be faithfully executed were being resisted and failing of execution in nearly one-third of the States. Must they be allowed to finally fail of execution, even had it been perfectly clear that by the use of the means necessary to their execution some single law, made in such extreme tenderness of the citizen’s liberty that practically it relieves more of the guilty than of the innocent, should to a very limited extent be violated? To state the question more directly, are all the laws but one to go unexecuted and the Government itself go to pieces lest that one be violated?

Now, it was only advisedly that I described this speech as “seemingly” inconsistent with the one Rich excerpted. For one thing, Lincoln did not believe his suspension of the writ violated the law, and he had a very colorable argument. The Constitution provides for the writ’s suspension in cases of rebellion or invasion; it does not say who may suspend it. The Supreme Court’s eventual conclusion (in the 1866 case of Ex Parte Milligan) that Congress must enact a suspension because the relevant clause is in Article I was sensible, but it was not indisputable. Lincoln was not without reason to believe that he had the necessary authority as long as a rebellion or invasion had occurred. Moreover, Lincoln’s passion for the rule of law was evident even in the act of arguably breaking it: He not only vigorously contended that his suspension was lawful; he also urged Congress to affirm the suspension by passing legislation (which Congress did in 1863).

But all that said, Lincoln’s speech does justify law-breaking in extraordinary circumstances. I’d construe his argument as follows: Even if what I have done is unlawful, it was necessary because it was done for the higher purpose of preserving the system that protects our liberties—under dire circumstances where violating the law was more faithful to the Constitution than obeying it would have been.

Many of us think Lincoln was right—I certainly do, and I even suspect the Supreme Court did (note that the suspension was invalidated only after the war was over). This informs our assessment of the situation in Nevada, and explains why Bundy gets our sympathetic consideration even if we cannot absolve his illegal conduct.

The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.

The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers. If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.

When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion.” And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.

 on: April 20, 2014, 10:31:54 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, Fearsome Boxer Wrongly Convicted of Murder, Dies at 76
Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, a star prizefighter whose career was cut short by a murder conviction in New Jersey and who became an international cause célèbre while imprisoned for 19 years before the charges against him were dismissed, died on Sunday morning at his home in Toronto, his friend and onetime co-defendant, John Artis, confirmed. He was 76.
The cause of death was prostate cancer, Mr. Artis said. Mr. Carter was being treated in Toronto, where he founded a nonprofit organization, Innocence International, to work to free prisoners it considered wrongly convicted.

 on: April 20, 2014, 01:11:23 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
HIDDEN LEGAL TRAP WARNING: Even if your state allows you to legally be prescribed medical marijuana, the feds haven't officially changed their position on this and you could be "fried like a chicken gizzard on a hot, sticky Sunday night in the Deep South (Pancho Vilos)" for possessing a firearm and marijuana at the same time or admitting to being a user of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. Never forget, BATF also stands for Ban All the Fun (also, by Pancho Vilos).

 on: April 20, 2014, 12:57:52 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: April 20, 2014, 12:56:05 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: April 20, 2014, 12:49:17 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: April 20, 2014, 12:35:58 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Several months old, but worth noting:

fghanistan: A Battleground for Iranian and Saudi Interests
Geopolitical Diary
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 19:34 Text Size Print

Many observers have overlooked some of the ancillary regional consequences of the U.S.-Iran deal. As the United States and Iran reached the agreement, Washington encountered trouble with Iran's eastern neighbor, Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai would not sign the bilateral security agreement that would authorize a residual American force in Afghanistan after 2014. The standoff will be short-lived, but in light of the U.S.-Iran deal, battles will continue to take place in Afghanistan between two historic rivals: Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is now poised to play an unprecedented role in the region.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice left Kabul on Tuesday after warning Karzai that if he did not sign the bilateral security agreement Washington would have to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. That probably will not come to pass; Karzai is simply posturing to get additional concessions from Washington, many of which involve Karzai trying to remain relevant once a successor takes office after presidential elections in April 2014. Considering that Afghanistan needs U.S. support to deal with the Taliban insurgency after NATO completes its drawdown next year, Karzai will sign the agreement sooner or later.

The bilateral security agreement aside, Afghanistan may have just become a key battleground between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival, Iran. This geopolitical struggle has played out along the northern rim of the Middle East and across Iran's western flank, but the U.S-Iran deal may have aggravated the situation. Saudi Arabia became wary of Iran's ascendance when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, and now Riyadh fears that Tehran will become even more powerful -- not as an unpredictable actor pursuing a radical foreign policy agenda, but as a rehabilitated member of the international community.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman explains.

No longer a pariah of the international community, Iran will be able to project power with greater ease than before, especially on its eastern frontier, where Afghanistan represents a potential security threat, because of long-standing Saudi influence. In fact, the Iranians believe that the recent surge of attacks by ethnic Sunni Islamist militants in southwestern Sistan and Baluchestan province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, is the work of Saudi proxies that were reactivated after the U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.

But Afghanistan could also provide an opportunity for Iran. Given its historic ethnic, linguistic and sectarian ties, Iran has a great deal of influence in the country. In recent years, Tehran has enhanced its influence in Afghanistan through the Persian-speaking minority communities, by supporting the Karzai regime and by developing ties to elements within the Taliban. As Washington moves toward a drawdown from Afghanistan and improves ties with Tehran, the Americans and Iranians are likely to coordinate on containing Sunni Islamist militancy in the southwest Asian nation.

Washington had hoped that Pakistan would help manage Afghanistan after 2014. However, Pakistan has been severely weakened by the war and is now struggling with its own domestic jihadist insurgency. Simply put, it has lost a lot of its leverage in Afghanistan.

However, the Pakistanis are unlikely to sit back and allow the Iranians to fill the void. The Saudis, who have an especially close relationship with the current government in Islamabad, will come in and exploit Pakistani vulnerabilities to further their own strategic imperative: countering a rising Iran. For its part, Pakistan, having been disaffected by a long history of supporting Islamist militants and having become a major battleground for anti-Shia violence, would want to avoid a firm alignment with Saudi Arabia.

But there is reason to believe Islamabad would cooperate somewhat. Economically, Pakistan is in dire straits, and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, a fellow Sunni state, keeps it within Riyadh's sphere of influence. Already, the Saudis are working closely with the Pakistanis to support Sunni rebels in Syria, especially after the United States backed away from the idea of regime change in Damascus. And because Saudi-Pakistani cooperation against Iran would very likely take place in Afghanistan, Sunni Islamist militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan could increase dramatically.

Such an outcome is unlikely to help Saudi Arabia undermine Iran. In fact, Washington and Tehran could become even closer if this threat ever materializes. The ensuing proxy war would lead to a greater rise in Islamist extremism and terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Read more: Afghanistan: A Battleground for Iranian and Saudi Interests | Stratfor

 on: April 19, 2014, 06:22:47 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by objectivist1
From the 'no good deed goes unpunished' department.  Hey, it's company policy.

Kroger manager fired after he slams a knife-wielding shoplifter to the ground
By Will Lerner5 hours agoOdd News

If you’re an employee of a chain store and you see a shoplifter, don’t confront them. It’s been proven again and againand again and again that no matter how noble your intentions are, you can be fired from your job. As KDFW FOX 4 Newsreports, this is exactly what happened to one Kroger grocery store manager in Arlington, Texas.

View gallery
The manager is seen here, after having slammed the suspected shoplifter to the ground. (KDFW)
A customer in the parking lot of the Kroger recorded the incident on their cellphone. In the video, you can see the unnamed manager approach the shoplifting suspect. The suspect appears to have a knife in his hand. The manager shoves him into a parked car and gets the knife out the suspect’s hand before eventually slamming him down to the ground.

View gallery
Claude Medlock (KDFW)
The alleged shoplifter is 51-year-old Claude Medlock. According to KDFW, Arlington Police say that Mr. Medlock has a, “lengthy criminal history that includes theft and robbery convictions.” They didn’t consider the manager’s actions a crime, but that didn’t matter to Kroger. Kroger sent a statement to KDFW, which read in part:

“The incident…is not a reflection of our company’s fraud prevention protocol, procedures or training…He is no longer employed by our company.”
The manager told the station that he had worked in loss prevention for 13 years, and “believed he handled the situation properly.”

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