Category Archives: Law

Politicos Put Graft Before Progress

While this is a good general topic, nowhere is it more true than in human spaceflight:

Sometimes the new competition wins anyway. Uber has been good at generating a large base of mobile customers, then using them to pressure politicians: When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went after Uber, Uber used its app to let its users pressure de Blasio.

Happy Uber customer Kate Upton weighed in, producing more pushback than de Blasio could withstand — especially when it turned out he’d gotten over $550,000 in donations from taxicab interests.

Other services aren’t so lucky, and the ability to do an end run around regulators, though welcome, isn’t universal. And if, on top of setting up your lemonade stand, you need licenses, permits, lobbyists and subsidies to make it, not many new lemonade stands will get started. That’s good news for existing lemonade stands, and for the politicians they support, but it’s bad news for everyone else.

Including people who actually want to affordably accomplish things in space.

Hillary’s Email Plot Thickens

Yes, they never should have been sent on a private system. And despite her deepening troubles, she continues to obfuscate and lie:

“We all have a responsibility to get this right, I have released 55,000 pages of emails, I have said repeatedly that I will answer questions in front of the House committee,” Clinton said at her address in New York, where she outlined a tax plan and endorsed New York’s move toward a $15 minimum wage.

“We are all accountable to the American people to get their facts right, and I will do my part, but I will also stay focused on the issues,” added Clinton, who let her frustration with the stories show.

Even ignoring the fact that (for no good reason whatsoever) she didn’t turn over the emails, but printed pages (making them difficult to search), whenever someone (and particularly a Democrat, and even more particularly a Clinton or a Clinton defender) tells you how many “thousands” of documents they’ve “turned over,” it is to deflect from the number of the documents that haven’t been turned over, and that in many cases have been deliberately destroyed. They think we’re stupid, and sadly, in many cases, too many are. And right on cue:

Democrats rallied to Clinton’s defense, characterizing the referral from the federal watchdogs as routine.

This would be hilarious if it weren’t so criminally corrupt, and this unqualified liar wasn’t still in a position to become president. Matt Welch (no Republican he) calls it like it is:

In sum, the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential frontrunner brazenly violated government transparency policy, made a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act, placed her sensitive communications above the law, and then just lied about it, again and again. Now comes word that, unsurprisingly, two inspectors general are recommending that the Department of Justice open a criminal inquiry into the matter. One of their findings was that the private server, contrary to Clinton’s repeated claims, contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”*

So how much do Democrats value basic transparency, accountability, and honesty in their presidential candidates? Not bloody much, if you go by the handy polls over at RealClearPolitics. The six national polls taken this January and February, before the email scandal first broke, averaged out to a whopping 43 percentage-point lead for Hillary Clinton. How about the next six, in March and April? Plus 50. The 11 polls in May and June, when Berniementum first started sweeping the country, came in at +48, and the most recent five in July stand at +41.

Do Democrats have any aversion left to Nixonian non-transparency, which had been so anathema to them during the presidency of George W. Bush? Here’s a possible bellwether: Key Nixon-administration turncoat John W. Dean, who wrote a 2004 book entitled Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, reacted to the latest Clinton story by tweeting “Leaking This Makes It Pure Politics,” and “GOP Behind False Charges In NYT. It’s gonna be a long 16 months.

They don’t care about honesty, they don’t care about transparency, they don’t care about integrity. They care about nothing but continuing their power over our lives. At some point, we will rebel, and it won’t be pretty for them, or for the country.

[Update a few minutes later]

Parsing Clinton: What is she hiding?

Clinton has put herself in a box. She can either hand the server over to an independent third party, who would protect her private email and our government’s working email. Or she can stonewall.

The latter course gives every voter the right—and every self-respecting journalist the responsibility—to ask, “What were you hiding, Hillary?”

What are you hiding?

While it’s nice to see that Ron Fournier has finally turned, the Republic continues to have a paucity of “self-respecting journalists.”

[Update a few minutes later]

Andrea Mitchell: “The media underestimated the impact of the Clinton email scandal.” No, as is pointed out, hacks like Andrea Mitchell overestimated their ability to make it go away by pretending it didn’t exist. As with the IRS scandal.

Hillary’s Email Crimes And Lies

When you’ve lost Ron Fournier

Here’s all you need to know: The Clinton campaign doesn’t—and can’t—deny the nut of this story. Two Obama administration inspectors general want a criminal investigation into whether her personal email system contributed to the release of classified information.

A rogue email system that:

—violated clear White House policy.

—shielded her work from congressional oversight, media inquiries, or any accountability.

—contributed to a conspiracy of secrecy worthy of criminal inquiry.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for the (In)Justice Department to do anything about it.

Hillary’s Emails

The question she didn’t answer:

…it seems beyond dispute that Clinton withheld Benghazi-related information from Congress beginning September 20, 2012. There are laws that govern such behavior. To give two examples: 18 U.S. Code 1505 says that anyone who “obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House, or any joint committee of the Congress” could face a five-year prison term, while 18 U.S. Code 1001 states that anyone who “falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact” in the course of “any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress” could face a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Laws are for the little people.

The Fascist Abuse Of Prosecutory Power In Wisconsin

The state supreme court has finally brought it to a decisive end.

There should be sanctions and lawsuits, but that probably won’t happen.

[Early-evening update]

More here:

The breadth of the documents gathered pursuant to subpoenas and seized pursuant to search warrants is amazing. Millions of documents, both in digital and paper copy, were subpoenaed and/or seized. Deputies seized business papers, computer equipment, phones, and other devices, while their targets were restrained under police supervision and denied the ability to contact their attorneys. The special prosecutor obtained virtually every document possessed by the Unnamed Movants relating to every aspect of their lives, both personal and professional, over a five-year span (from 2009 to 2013). Such documents were subpoenaed and/or seized without regard to content or relevance to the alleged violations of Ch. 11. As part of this dragnet, the special prosecutor also had seized wholly irrelevant information, such as retirement income statements, personal financial account information, personal letters, and family photos.

The court was not impressed.

Social Justice Warriors

You can’t compromise with them:

I very much doubt we’ll get a constitutional right for teams of people to get “married,” but I have every confidence the drumbeat will grow louder. Social justice – forever ill-defined so as to maximize the power of its champions – has become not just an industry but also a permanent psychological orientation among journalists, lawyers, educators, and other members of the new class of eternal reformers.

By no means are social-justice warriors always wrong. But they are untrustworthy, because they aren’t driven by a philosophy so much as an insatiable appetite that cannot take yes for an answer. No cookie will ever satisfy them. Our politics will only get uglier, as those who resist this agenda realize that compromise is just another word for appeasement.

Related: You cannot accommodate the Left.

Because they’re totalitarian. Glenn is right:

I recommend operant conditioning instead. Complaining and crusading is what they do, but even a flatworm is smart enough to turn away from pain. Make it painful for them to mess with things that you consider important, and they’ll likely turn their attentions elsewhere.

Yup. As someone said, punch back twice as hard.

[Thursday-morning update]

Related thoughts from Mark Steyn:

I find the idea that tens of millions of American “traditionalist” conservatives are going to lead their own lives immune to the broader culture somewhat unlikely. Were the same-sex marriage decision, for example, merely a judicial ruling, Barack Obama would not have lit up the White House in LGBT rainbow colors. It is after all “the people’s house” and half the people aren’t entirely on board with this. But he chose to see this not as a mere judge’s ruling but as an ideological victory – and to celebrate it as such. And he’s thereby telling you that this shift is an official one, backed by the state, and state power, and it won’t stop here.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in an actual bit of jurisprudential footnoting in the midst of his Hallmark greeting card on the raptures of gay love, said that organizations would still be free to teach and promote the old form of restrictive straights-only marriage. That’s awfully sporting of him, but the Boy Scouts of America provide a clue as to how it’s likely to work out. In the late Nineties, the BSA said no to gay scoutmasters. I was on the floor of the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles in 2000 when they had some Eagle scouts as an honor guard – and in my section of the crowd everyone booed. And I remember thinking, “Man, these Dems are nuts. Booing boy scouts?”

But the booers won. Over the next decade, gay-friendly churches (Episcopalian, Congregational, and the other post-Christian ones) booted the scouts from church halls where they’d met for decades; Disney cut them off the list of approved charities to which their employees were permitted to donate their “Ears To You” fundraising proceeds; other corporate benefactors from the US soccer league to Lockheed Martin severed their ties …and the number of new recruits to scouting dwindled remorselessly, and so did their finances. And in the end the boy scouts’ leader caved – but too late. In the blink of an eye, the boy scouts had been, as my friend Ezra Levant likes to say, “de-normalized”, and banished to the fringe, and nice soccer mommies don’t want l’il Jimmy playing on the extremist fringe.

That’s quite an accomplishment. After all, until Democrats figured it was safe to boo them, boy scouts were so mainstream that their very name is a synonym for someone kindly and pure and good-hearted. Take litigious lunatic and Nobel Prize appropriator Michael E Mann, who says here that the argument between the global warming crowd and us deniers has been “likened at times to a fight between a boy scout and a terrorist – and you know, we are the boy scouts”. Which would make me the terrorist. When Mann calls himself a “boy scout”, he doesn’t mean he’s a homophobic hater – although I’m certainly happy to advance that line in court if it helps. Mann is using “boy scouts” as a synonym for “the good guys”.

That’s how effective Big Gay is: They took “the good guys”, and made ’em the bad guys, in nothing flat.

How many other groups are willing to be boy-scouted in the years ahead? How much faith is there in “faith-based institutions”?


[Update a few minutes later]

The coming wedding between social conservatives and libertarians:

as the dust settles on the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, it’s becoming clearer that the debate over the issue is going to shift to one of religious freedom. And on that issue, there’s much more of an opening for libertarians and social conservatives to get along.

At the core of libertarianism is the believe that people should be able to do whatever they want short of using force or coercion on somebody else. It makes sense why libertarians wouldn’t oppose gay marriage, for the reason that two men or women getting married doesn’t injure anybody else.

But with gay marriage legal, the cultural debate has been moving to issues such as: Should a religiously observant baker or photographer be forced to participate in gay weddings? Or, should a Catholic Church be forced to perform gay marriages?

Whatever their differences on the underlying issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, it will be hard for many libertarians to justify any sort of government coercion forcing individuals to violate their deeply held beliefs. As a result, they’ll find themselves increasingly — and begrudgingly — on the same side as social conservatives on many of the looming debates.


Legal Polygamy

Not that I care that much, but it’s probably inevitable now. But as noted there, Richard Epstein makes a great point:

In particular, Kennedy never explains why his notions of dignity and autonomy do not require the Supreme Court to revisit its 1878 decision in Reynolds upholding criminal punishment for polygamy, which is still on the books. Nor does he ask whether the dignity of workers could, and should, be used as a reason to strike down the full range of labor regulations on both wages and hours that make it flatly illegal for two individuals to enter into a simple employment contract on mutually agreeable terms.

That would require them to rule consistently, rather than just making it up as they go along based on stuff they like.