Sunday, 31 July 2011


Toward a government of men...

"Discretionary” "Justice”  Dept
In response to last weekend’s Wall Street Journal article As Criminal Laws Proliferate, More Ensnared, a law professor writes:
...You suggest that it is "increasingly easy for Americans to end up on the wrong side” of a "balloon[ing]” body of federal criminal law.  What you fail to discuss is the prosecutorial discretion imbedded in our criminal justice system.  Not every violation of criminal law brought to the attention of law enforcement authorities results in an indictment...  I suspect that in each of the cases [cited in the article] the prosecutors had reasons beyond the surface elements of the crimes... for commencing the particular prosecution.  I also suspect that in each of their jurisdictions many more instances of similar conduct were resolved civilly or not pursued at all.

The real question, in my view, isn’t wheher Congress has criminalized innocent behaviour, but whether prosecutors are exercising their discretion properly...
Prof. R. Michael Cassidy
Boston College Law School
Newton, Mass.
Prof. Cassidy writes as if the "many more instances” being "not pursued” is a good thing.  He’s wrong.  Every violation of the law "brought to the attention of law enforcement authorities” that does not lead to prosecution takes us one step closer to a "government of men, not laws,” in which there will be one law for the elite and connected, and another law for the targeted (and the rest of us).   The only barrier:  The good behaviour of men who, after all, are not only lawyers but also politicians.

That Cassidy sees the question of "whether Congress has criminalized innocent behaviour” as less important than whether prosecutorial discretion is being "properly” exercised may stem from confidence that a J.D. (Harvard) "Masonic handshake” will protect him from the "ballooning law + prosecutorial malice” mousetraps that lie in wait for the rest of us.  But circumstances have a way of changing; just ask Martha Stewart.

Outside reading (HT for some: Instapundit):

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Friday, 15 July 2011


The Establishment is heard from

Megan McArdle, concern troll:

Jonathan Podhoretz reads a Quinnipiac poll showing that by a margin of 48-34, the public is going to blame Republicans and not Obama if we don't raise the debt ceiling, and joins the ranks of the Washington sellouts:
At some point, those who believe it will be acceptable to go to August 3 without an increase in the debt limit, as well as those who believe the politics favor the Republicans, are going to have to reckon with the fact that there are no data points supporting their beliefs.
Wrongo, Jonny Boy.  I’ll see your poll, and raise you one.  Here’s Gallup:
Despite agreement among leaders of both sides of the political aisle in Washington that raising the U.S. debt ceiling is necessary, more Americans want their member of Congress to vote against such a bill than for it, 42% vs. 22%, while one-third are unsure.
A follow-up question finds Americans more sympathetic to the Republicans’ argument than Obama’s.  Specifically, when asked to say which is their greater concern, 51% say raising the debt ceiling without plans for major future spending cuts concerns them more, while 32% are more concerned with the risk of a major economic crisis if Congress does not take action.
...and here’s Gallup, again:
Registered voters by a significant margin now say they are more likely to vote for the "Republican Party’s candidate for president” than for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, 47% to 39%.  Preferences had been fairly evenly divided [earlier] this year...

Oh well, back to Megan:
I know I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but I continue to be mystified by what the base, the activists, and the politicians who are pushing the "no new revenue” stance hope to accomplish.
Stop the spending, maybe?  Get the budget under control?  Save the country?
Let’s start by pointing out the obvious: the Democrats do not show any signs of caving.
Therefore, Republicans are supposed to roll over?
They have offered what seem...
(note that word) be very attractive deals, and been turned down.  Think you’re going to get a more attractive deal?  Every time another poll like this comes out, your bargaining position gets worse.
According to...?

Anyway, Megan goes on to explain (at great length) why every last item in the current federal budget is absolutely untouchable, and that, regardless of what they do, Republicans will be "blamed" for whatever happens:
Voters are telling pollsters they’re going to blame the Republicans for the shutdown. And the spending cuts you're going to do won't even be that popular with the tea party, who aren’t much more enthusiastic about Medicare/Medicaid cuts than the rest of the country.
Winding up with the Horrible Conclusion;
To me that sounds like "huge Democratic victory in 2012".
Oh dear.  Its hopeless.  Why, if only those Republicans understood what is possible, if only they knew their place.  The whole situation is unsolvable, so might as well give it up.

Sound familiar?

It should.  What’s going on here is that we’re starting to hear (indirectly) from what used to be called the "Eastern Establishment:” all those individuals and groups whose income or existence leeches off an ever-expanding federal government.  You know: The beltway lobbyists and their clients, the "independent" groups that trade government grants for agitation for more government power,[1] the corporations protected by a webs of regulations... those guys.  They’re worried that any move toward a smaller, less intrusive federal government could mean loss of their perks, bennies, and power[2] and right now protecting those perks, bennies, and power means convincing the Republicans to - again- forget their principles and cut another good old Standard D.C. Compromise, i.e., Give the Democrats What They Want.  So they’re calling on their beltway-press buddies to help.  And so we’re seeing pieces like Megan’s.

The perennial question of why on earth the Republican party should be taking advice from a press that is increasingly an arm of the Democrat party is above my pay grade (for today), but from my seat out here in the heartland it sure looks like "Republican intransigence” is excactly what the public is asking for, and the presidential polling is reflecting it.

Now if only the Republicans can figure that out...


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Wednesday, 13 July 2011


When they come looking for contributions, better hang on to your wallet...

Republican FAIL, cont’d.  Dept
NRSC Press Release:
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today announced that businesswoman and civic leader Carly Fiorina will join the organization as a Vice Chair for the 2012 election cycle.

Serving alongside Cornyn and NRSC Vice Chairman U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Fiorina will amplify Senate Republicans’ focus on healing America’s troubled economy, and assist with the NRSC’s crucial fundraising efforts in support of a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.
Cornyn, Fiorina, and Hatch(Oh hell, here’s a link for both Cornyn and Hatch!)  Hey, what could go wrong?

Via R.S.McCain, who notes Fiorina’s astounding record of success:
In 2010, a year when Republicans were winning a nationwide landslide, Carly Fiorina pissed away $21.5 million — including more than $5 million of her own money — and lost to Barbara Boxer by a 10% margin.
Can you say, "sinecure for another failed Gentry RINO”?  I thought you could.

Now try "Republicans take Senate in 2012”?  With this crew (could we call ’em "The Three Stooges”?) in charge, that’s a bit harder, isn’t it?

UPDATE (110715 17:00):  Welcome Daily Pundit readers!


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Thursday, 07 July 2011


Here comes the cave

The Hill:

House Republicans on Wednesday showed a new willingness to talk about closing tax loopholes
caving in to the Democrats ( FIFY)
in the context of negotiations to raise the nation’s $14.3 billion debt ceiling.

The signal was made by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the man who left debt talks led by Vice President Biden two weeks ago...
...and is a proud member of The 92 (which is all you need to know, really).
The GOP’s move was seen as a positive sign...
by Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself)
that a deal will be reached
taxes will be increased, while the deficit remains untouched ( FTFY,T)
"If the president wants to talk loopholes, we’ll talk loopholes,” Cantor said, with one caveat: Any revenue gained from ending a tax break should be used to lower other taxes, the second-ranking House Republican said...
Yah, yah, yah... more RINO promises.  BTW, how’s that light bulb ban repeal goin’, Mister Majority Leader, hmmm?
That drew a sharp response from Democrats, who said the demand would prevent them from winning any deficit cuts through the elimination of tax loopholes.
To which, Bill Quick:
...Never, not once, not one single time have... tax increases ever resulted in those taxes being used to decrease the national debt.
But unlike elephants, RINOs never remember.

UPDATE: Bend over:
Hot Air:  Boehner: 50-50 shot at debt-ceiling deal in next 48 hours
Fox News:  Kyl: Republicans Agree to Revenue Increases in Deficit Talks
Red State:
The one thing I can guarantee is that any deal John Boehner cuts is going to punt the ball.
Big Journalism:  Reuters fabricates GOP compromise on tax hikes
Memo to Sen. Kyl:
...If it walks like a tax, and quacks like a tax, I don’t care if you call it a user fee all day long, it is a tax, and I say the hell with it.
(Hey look-a here: Recent.Kyl-isms!)

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