Category Archives: Law

Why The National, Disproportionate Preoccupation With Two Perps?

Crime, IMMIGRATION, Justice, Law

It took hundreds of law-enforcement officers, aided by border patrol agents, to corner and catch two outlaws, on the lam in northern New York for three weeks. The manhunt for notorious killers Richard Matt and David Sweat is over (read the tedious details for yourself). As the law spares no effort in … praising itself, we can ponder the disproportionate obsession with these two criminals.

In particular, criminals of the Matt and Sweat caliber (or potential) cross the country’s Southwest, wide-open borders almost every day. They go on to integrate into drug cartels (yes, I’m pro-legalization; always have been), as drunk drivers and petty or not-so-petty criminals. No one stops them. No one is allowed to ask them for their pedigree.

So why the out-of-whack preoccupation with these two perps?


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Justice John Roberts Cements Position … On The DC Party Circuit

Healthcare, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, Law, The Courts

Did you expect anything different from Justice John G. Roberts Jr.? Why? This is the chief of the country’s legal politburo of proctologists, who had previously rewritten Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and then proceeded to provide the fifth vote to uphold the individual mandate undergirding the law, thereby undeniably and obscenely extending Congress’s taxing power.

What did this “conservative” jurist do NOW? Reports Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS Blog:

… a divided Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that subsidies to help lower-income Americans buy health insurance will remain available in all fifty states.

That, the Court concluded by a six-to-three vote, was what Congress intended when it passed the sweeping overhaul of the health insurance market five years ago. If the subsidies are not available across the nation, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote for the majority, that would bring about “the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.”

Had the ruling in King v. Burwell gone the other way, to eliminate subsidies in thirty-four states, at least 6.4 million Americans likely would have almost immediately lost the insurance coverage that many of them have for the first time. And, given the way Congress wrote an interlocking law, the cascading effect of the loss of subsidies for so many probably would have collapsed the whole arrangement — a point that Roberts embraced in foreseeing the potential for a “death spiral” for the ACA.

The Chief Justice’s twenty-one-page opinion was an often technical interpretation of many arcane provisions of the ACA, but it was clear that the outcome had been driven in considerable part because the majority had accepted the centrality of the subsidy scheme to the law as a whole, and had found persuasive the dire predictions of the impact of sharply paring down that scheme.

The decision closely tracked most of the arguments that the Obama administration had made in defending the nationwide availability of subsidies, in the form of tax credits. …

MORE.

“A Romp Down Memory Lane With Justice Roberts” will show that Roberts has always been about the moves. With his affirmation of the right of the state to compel the individual into a purchase, Justice Roberts moved into the DC party circuit. Roberts’ smooth moves, today, on behalf of The Powers will cement his position on this circuit.


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The ‘Ferguson Effect’

Crime, Law, Race

Like it or not, it is undeniable that “urban safety” is hampered when law enforcement is criminalized. In practice, that means that “law-abiding residents of poor communities” suffer. How much? Heather Mac Donald has the grim statistics:

… Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.

Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated. …

MORE.

This is what Ms. Mc Donald told Paul Gigot of the Journal Editorial Report (I love text; it’s becoming rare):

GIGOT: Heather MacDonald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at “City Journal.” And I’m happy to say, contributing writer for the “Wall Street Journal,” in a column last week … which had a big impact. Hundreds of thousands of readers called it the new American crime wave.

Is it really that bad? What are we really seeing here in terms of a change from the big decline in crime over the last 20, 30 years?

MACDONALD: Some cities, it is very, very bad. It’s not every city. Some are holding stable with a little bit of an increase. But in enough significant cities, the percentage increase is so large as to really demand attention.

GIGOT: And what’s behind it?

MACDONALD: I think what’s behind it is the last nine months of obsessive anti-cop hysteria that this country has lived through based on a few isolated and questionable shootings of black men that should be, if they are criminal, prosecuted and paid attention to. But by no means represent the norm of policing in America or the way most black men die today, which is at the hands of criminals, not the police.

GIGOT: But is this criticism leading to changes in police practices? For example, are the police saying we’re criticized so let’s not do the kinds of things that we were doing before. Don’t go into high-crime neighborhoods, for example? Let’s not pursue Stop and Frisk, which you can stop somebody, then see if they have a gun. And sometimes that gets guns off the street, or so that’s what the people who support it claim. Is it a change of police practices that’s going on?

MACDONALD: Police are still responding to 911 calls. If they get a violent felony calling in, they are responding. But it’s an informal change of officers that — if they have an option to respond or not, to undertake a discretionary stop, to ask a few questions, the very policing that is responsible for the two decades-long crime decline. Officers are hesitant to engage. They’re worried that they’ll be indicted for a good- faith mistake. They’re worried about the ubiquitous cell phone videos that rarely capture the resistance that led an officer to use force. And so officers having been told now, for the last nine months, that proactive policing, going out enforcing broken windows offenses, quality of life offenses against public drinking, that that is somehow a racist assault on minority communities, are understandably saying, well, then maybe we won’t be as aggressive and active.

GIGOT: Now, are you hearing that from — when you go — you talk to police across the country

MACDONALD: Yes.

GIGOT: When you do that, is that what you’re hearing them say privately?

MACDONALD: Absolutely.

GIGOT: They are telling you this?

MACDONALD: Oh, yes. They are very worried. They’re worried about losing their jobs. The arrest situation in places like Baltimore is unbelievably hostile. When the police are responding to a 911 call, crowds gather, jeer at them, sometimes throwing things at them for no reason. There was an incident in Baltimore recently where a man with a gun started running, the police had been called to the scene because of a 911 call saying a man with a gun. His own gun went off, he fell to the ground, started writhing and saying the police shot him. The police, who had never discharged their guns, were pelted with Clorox bottles, bricks, water bottles. This is happening not just in Baltimore but the tensions are rising elsewhere

GIGOT: What about Bill de Blasio’s argument that, look, there are — shootings are up, OK, but it’s gang-on-gang violence, and therefore it’s not something that the broader community in New York needs to worry about.

MACDONALD: Most shootings are always gang-on-gang violence. But if they get to a level, and even at any level, there are innocents inevitably taken as well.

GIGOT: Shootings, crossfire, that sort of thing?

MACDONALD: Of course. You know what kills me? We all know the names of Michael Brown, who was falsely turned into a martyr. The Justice Department itself discredited the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” shot —

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: In Ferguson.

MACDONALD: Marcus Johnson is a 6-year-old boy in St. Louis, who, on March 11th, when the protesters were converging on the Ferguson Police Department, again, demanding the resignation of the entire department, Marcus Johnson was killed by a stray bullet in a St. Louis park just a few miles away. America does not know his name. Why is that? Because the “Black Lives Matter” movement only applies to blacks who are killed by the police trying to do their jobs. The difference between most police shootings and gang shootings is the police do not have criminal intent. Training must work incessantly to make sure that they use force only as last resort. But they’re not the criminals we should be worrying about.

GIGOT: Heather MacDonald, thanks for being here.

MACDONALD: Thank you, Paul.

(Journal Editorial Report.)


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Feminist Onslaught On Silicon Valley

Affirmative Action, Business, Feminism, Gender, Law, Technology

Entire Human Resource departments are dedicated to dealing with women (and minorities) and their ongoing special needs and complaints in the private economy. In the high-tech industry, especially, nothing is as politically precious as a woman. There is no end to which a company will go to mentor a woman and help her succeed. But such things as “sucking it up” and soldiering on are often anathema to deluded distaff. (This generally means that “guys will do double duty.”) Heather Mac Donald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at “City Journal,” chronicles the manner in which one female repaid her professional benefactors. The tale of the litigious and troublesome Ellen Pao is hardly untypical:

A San Francisco jury late last week rejected a $16 million gender-discrimination lawsuit against a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. This triumph of common sense, though, represents merely a minor setback in the feminist crusade against America’s most vibrant economic sector. The chance that Silicon Valley can preserve its ruthlessly meritocratic culture under a continuing feminist onslaught is slim.

In 2005 plaintiff Ellen Pao got an MBA’s dream job: technical chief of staff to John Doerr, a renowned senior partner with the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Kleiner Perkins was a pioneer in high-tech entrepreneurship, making lucrative early investments in Google and Amazon, among other giants of the Internet age. Mr. Doerr mentored Ms. Pao, treating her, as Ms. Pao put it in an email to him, as a “surrogate daughter.”

He recommended her for a prestigious fellowship at the Aspen Institute and advised Ms. Pao about her performance at Kleiner Perkins. But after she was promoted into the direct-investing track, her reviews from other senior partners worsened. She was difficult to work with, they said, and wasn’t succeeding as a junior partner. By 2011, Mr. Doerr was the only senior partner who believed that she should stay on at the firm. …

MORE.

The author, Ms. Mac Donald, does paint with too broad a brush when she mouths the mantra all conservatives are wont to mouth: “the market is the best antidote to discrimination. It rewards talent and penalizes prejudice.”

That’s a half-truth. The whole truth is that the market will reflect a bias toward productivity, explained in “Apartheid South Africa: Reality Vs. Libertarian Fantasy,” which in turn excerpts this from Into The Cannibal’s Pot:

THOSE HALF-TRUTHS AGAIN

“Free market economists (the only kind worth consulting) have long since insisted that the rational, self-interest of individuals in private enterprise is always not to discriminate. Arguably, however, the good economists, while certainly not wholesale liars as are their Keynesian counterparts, are still offering up a half-truth. Rational self-interest does indeed propel people, however prejudiced, to set aside bias and put their scarce resources to the best use. But to state simply that ‘discrimination is bad for business’ is to present an incomplete picture of reality. This solecism stems from the taint the word ‘discriminate’ has acquired. The market, by which we mean the trillions of capitalist acts between consenting adults, is discriminating as in discerning—it is biased toward productivity. Hiring people on the basis of criteria other than productivity hurts the proprietor’s pocket.” (P. 127.)

“Thus, we can be fairly certain that, absent racist affirmative-action laws, the market would reflect a bias toward productivity.

In other words, what the good economists are loath to let on is that a free market is a market in which groups and individuals are differently represented. Parity in prosperity and performance between differently able individuals and groups can be achieved only by playing socialist leveler.” (P. 128.)


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Unruly Kids Trespass At A Pool Party

Crime, Etiquette, Law, Private Property

As CNN reports , “Craig Ranch is a planned community,” in McKinney, Texas. It imposes “strict homeowners’ association rules.” These “prohibit bringing more than two guests to the pool.”

According to the reports,

… crowds of teenagers showed up, huddling by the gate and shouting to let them in, things got out of hand. Some kids jumped over the fence, … A security guard tried to get them to leave but was outnumbered, so the guard called police.

Other than the one officer, the cops generally acted the way you want them to act when strangers swarm private property. You do not want the US becoming like the UK, where politicians and police chiefs side with the criminals.

The officer in question is “seen … cursing at several black teenagers, yanking a 14-year-old girl wearing only a bikini to the ground and kneeling on her back. He also unholstered his firearm and chased teenage boys as they approached him while he was trying to control the girl. ”

The practice of  sitting on the spine of a person must cease. We don’t want more Freddie Grays.

Otherwise, move along. There’s nothing here to see, except police doing their thankless jobs in a society without mores.

UPDATED: “Unruly Kids Trespass At A Pool Party” would have been a better title.


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UPDATED: Dennis Hastert, Hoisted On His Own Petard, Or Patriot Act

Criminal Injustice, Homeland Security, Law, Regulation

To pep-up the subject of Dennis Hastert, consider a flash from the past in the form of “Entertainment Interruptus,” a column published in November of 2001: “The film Spy Games reached a crescendo as retiring CIA officer Robert Redford transfers $282,000 of his life’s savings to an account in the Cayman Islands. The money is supposed to help pay for the rescue of Redford’s bureau protégé Brad Pitt, who has been ‘burned’ by his employers at the CIA for going solo.”

Only Redford would be unable to complete such a transaction now, not with the new anti-terrorism laws, approved in 2001. Brad Pitt, as the column observed, would have been “burned” by the Patriot Act, which prohibited “suspicious financial transaction”: Move around more than 10,000 of your own dollars, and you’ll likely be the object of a federal investigation.

Dennis Hastert, who approved the Patriot Act, is being hoisted on his own petard.

Via The Huffington Post:

On Oct. 24, 2001, then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) shepherded the Patriot Act through the House of Representatives. It passed 357 to 66, advancing to the Senate and then-President George W. Bush’s desk for signing.

Hastert took credit for House passage in a 2011 interview, claiming it “wasn’t popular, and there was a lot of fight in the Congress” over it.

Little did Hastert know at the time that the law he helped pass would give federal law enforcement the tools to indict him on charges of violating banking-related reporting requirements more than a decade later. …

MORE.

UPDATE (6/10): “The Thin Gruel of the Hastert Prosecution”: We should all be concerned about Dennis Hastert’s strange indictment By SCOTT HORTON.


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