It’s Time To Stop The Practice Of Funding Government By Misdemeanor

As regular readers know, I have, over the last few years, become a critic of our criminal justice system.

It comes under the heading of ‘a conservative is a liberal who has just been mugged, and a liberal is a conservative who has just been charged.’ I did some work for a TV network back during the Abramoff “scandal” and, for the life of me, cannot figure out what Jack Abramoff did wrong except to piss some powerful people off. Yet he served time in a Federal prison at our expense.

Then came the Harvey Whittemore “scandal” in Nevada, where Whittemore was accused of raising the $140,000 Harry Reid asked him to raise, convicted of a felony, and nobody even suggested that Reid did anything wrong–much less criminal. In short, Harvey was convicted of pissing off powerful people and is now serving time in a Federal prison, while Harry is living at the Washington DC Ritz Carlton.

Now, there are powerful people and powerful people. To many people, some Justice of the Peace in rural Nevada is “powerful” in a way that he or she should not be–and it’s now time to change that.

As Eric Holder’s investigators correctly found in Ferguson, Missouri, the “criminal justice” system was being used to extract money in prodigious amounts from the citizens to fund the cops, the courts, and who knows what else.

That’s not a surprise to those of us who watch the system closely. I know that many see this as a racial issue, but the truth is that the system is busy screwing everybody all the time. It’s just that many times, middle class white folks in the suburbs are harder targets because we have lawyers. And the best justice is the justice you pay for.

A logical solution is to make it illegal to fund the system with fines, fees, and the like. If that makes some tin horn JP in Mineral County a part timer, so be it. And if that reduces the workload of the Las Vegas Justice Court, oh, well…

In Nevada, as an example, speeding is a criminal violation, not a civil violation.

That means that when you pay a speeding ticket to make it go away, you have a criminal record. You plead guilty to a misdemeanor. It also means the cops can show up at your house if you fail to pay the ticket and haul you to jail. And cops hauling people to jail over traffic tickets are NOT policing the streets for violent crime.

The whole system is a perversion of justice. Cops have an incentive to write tickets to bring in revenue to make judges happy. Legislators don’t have to worry about actually funding the court system because, assuming the cops write enough tickets, it takes care of itself. Taken to its ridiculous conclusion, you get Ferguson, Missouri, and plenty of other places.

It’s a hot potato that even the most conservative elements of our own state legislature are hesitant to deal with because, for some reason, they are afraid of small town justices of the so-called peace. What brings it to the forefront is an intelligent decision on the part of the Nevada Highway Patrol to focus their traffic enforcement efforts on things that actually cause crashes as opposed to writing a quota of tickets. This has reduced revenue so much that judges are crying aloud about funding.

That comes under the heading of a load of crap.

There is a way to solve this problem permanently.

Given the very small turn-out in the last general election, there has never been a better time to launch things like this as voter initiative constitutional amendments. Getting the relatively small number of signatures required and placing an initiative on the ballot making it illegal to fund the court system with fines and fees should pass with the kind of numbers that restricting tax increases did.

If the legislature doesn’t like that idea, they should do something themselves before the voters force their hands.

And if the judges don’t like it, they need to remember that they are elected, too.

Right now, we need to get our criminal justice system under control; and you can start by removing most traffic enforcement from its jurisdiction. Then, we’ll start looking at other things that come under the heading of revenue farming.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Some Police Treat Everyone The Same—Like Dirt

Forget race or ethnicity.

The truth is that if prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement don’t start respecting the people who put them there to do the jobs they are supposed to be doing, we ARE going to have an armed revolution in this country.

It appears that the new, PR approved word a Sheriff or Police Chief uses when shown a video of a officer-involved shooting or excessively violent take-down is “disturbing”.

And, so it is.

The problem, the real problem, is that there is a large component of our criminal justice system which sees the taxpayers as marks from who they extract money. For many years, it was always “us against them”. The “us” being cops and the “them” being the people they police.

Any defense attorney will tell you that cops routinely lie on the stand and justify it in their minds by telling themselves that the person they were testifying against was guilty anyway.

We have a judge in Reno, Nevada, who actually bound over a case at a preliminary hearing where a young man living in a third floor apartment effected a citizen’s arrest on someone who came over his balcony, called 911, and was arrested himself. Judge Patricia Lynch is not atypical of the human slugs in that part of the system.

We have a DA in Clark County, Nevada, the husband of the OJ Judge, who is urging the state legislature to allow hearsay testimony at the very same hearings that Judge Lynch sleeps through anyway.

These people never stop to think that they work for us, not the other way around.

They don’t care about justice. They care about winning and/or making their jobs easier.

The problem is that justice doesn’t come easily. It requires, as an example, a District Attorney to know when he’s got a crappy case. It requires a proportionate response from a beat cop. It requires a zealous defense.

If everybody’s guilty, and we keep creating more crimes for people to be guilty of, than the end result will be 1776 all over again. They dumped that tea in the harbor to make a point to a monarch in London. We have created a systematic arm of the Washington monarchy in the form of our constabulary, Federal, state, and local.

Republicans who want to go all ‘law and order’ on us need to think about the consequences of making everybody a criminal.

Democrats, who like to criminalize normal acts in the name of “social justice,” need to understand that Cliven Bundy’s supporters were just the tip of the iceberg.

What brings this to the fore these days is technology.

Perhaps inadvertently, we have put a video camera in virtually everyone’s hand.

Now, if you carry a badge and a gun, you don’t have to worry about lying to the Internal Affairs Bureau. You have to worry about telling the media, “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

If you think that the tip of the spear—police—just started what you are now seeing every day recently, you’re smoking crack.

And, by the way, it doesn’t take a big percentage of bad cops to deliver us a large number of these incidents.

I’ve heard from law enforcement that we have placed these people under unbearable pressure; and sometimes, they just snap.

That’s a load of crap, and you all know it.

The problem we have is sorting it all out. The race-baiting poverty pimps like Al Sharpton see every officer-involved shooting as a racial statement.

They are wrong.

There are enough bad ones we don’t need to add to the ones that were justified—like Michael Brown in Missouri—to get a big number.

I have two solutions. First, remove the near-unlimited immunity prosecutors and judges have for malfeasance. Second, stop passing new laws criminalizing everyday behavior.

Police behavior will suddenly stop being a problem.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Obama Was A Bad Affirmative Action Hire…Don’t Make The Same Mistake Twice, America

Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

The announcements from Ted Cruz and Rand Paul that they are running for President in 2016 is causing huge excitement amongst the Tea Party set and an equal amount of angst with the “my turn” Republicans who gave us John McCain and Mitt Romney.

I like and admire both of them as well as Marco Rubio, who has not yet but probably will announce.

But I would be completely remiss in not sounding a note of caution.

What do these guys have in common with our current President?

They are all first term Senators.

And, candidly, there’s a big difference between what a Senator gets paid to do and what the President gets paid to do.

If you need a cautionary tale as to the pitfalls of a young, first term Senator as President, look no further than Barack Obama.

I’m not talking about ideology.

I’m talking about executive competence.

Obama never even ran a community organizing office before he became the leader of the free world.

And, in the immortal words of Dr. Phil, how’s that working out for us?

Before they became Senators, Cruz, Paul, and Rubio simply have no executive resume.

I, for one, would be a lot more interested in their presidential prospects if they would all go back to their respective states and run for Governor. Then, come see us after a term or two.

Governors have to deal with legislatures, bureaucracies, crime, public safety, education, welfare, and all of the other things you take for granted from your government.

Senators talk. And talk. And then, they talk some more.

The Senate is not Presidential prep school. It gives its members the mistaken impression that talking solves real problems.

The GOP has a pretty deep bench of executive talent this time around. Much more so than the Democrats.

As much as we may like the ideology expressed by the three Senators, the truth is that is all it is. Hope and change. None of them has a track record to point to.

And, let’s be brutally honest about our current President.

He was an affirmative action hire. If Barack Obama were white, he wouldn’t even be a first-term Senator.

His resume was so thin, that is the only way he could have been elected. That and 4,000,000 GOP voters staying home.

If we as a nation haven’t learned from the debacle of the past six years—and I’m not talking about ideology—than we’d better learn before we make that mistake again.

I don’t think any first-term Senator is qualified to become President.

Ideology is important.

But executive talent is much more important.

If Obama were at least competent, we would be looking at the last six years completely differently.

And, if we have not yet learned, prepare yourself for another four years of White House follies.

Photo credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Friendly Memo To Apple CEO Tim Cook

Photo credit: The Climate Group (Flickr)

Dear Tim,

I caught your screed against a new Indiana law that prohibits government from penalizing bakers and photographers who, for religious reasons, do not wish to accommodate gay customers’ weddings.

Now, personally, I don’t know why any small business these days would turn down business; but I don’t see baking a cake and taking pictures as a public accommodation–and I don’t see why this is such an intrusion on your lifestyle.

There’s nothing in the law, after all, that says that you cannot practice sodomy in Indiana, although you’d think the NCAA, which once tried to do exactly that to the late Jerry Tarkanian, was being legislated out of existence by their ill-tempered screeching.

Tim, my concern with you getting involved here is more that of a customer and shareholder.

Did Indiana do anything that would make my iPhone work worse? Did you do anything that would make it work better?

Your job as Apple CEO is to not become AOL, taking $39.95 a month from fewer and fewer people for dial-up access while the carcass of your company shrivels and dies. As an iPhone, iPad, and AppleTV customer, I have to tell you that I have been less than impressed recently.

While you were bitching about Indiana’s new law, I was watching part of the Elite Eight on TBS using my Roku streaming stick and SlingTV. Where was Apple?

Tim, we’re all for treating everyone with dignity, valuing their contributions as human beings and giving everyone an equal chance at the brass ring.

But there should be no separate homosexual agenda that trumps everyone else’s rights, including who people wish to associate with. What you do and who you do it with behind closed doors is entirely your business. But you simply cannot force a wedding photographer, as an example, to cover a wedding that he or she does not wish to cover for religious reasons. It’s not like saying you can’t stay at a hotel or ride on a bus.

Tim, as long as I have your attention, one more thing…

That watch. I like a good watch. It’s a combination of jewelry and mechanical function. But you just made a fairly expensive watch that a) needs to be recharged every day, and b) needs an iPhone to talk to. C’mon. The iPhone is functional. So is the iPad. I use them every day. My Citizen Navihawk is a great watch.

Why don’t you spend more time on fixing that watch and less time on the gay agenda.

Your customers and shareholders will thank you.

Photo credit: The Climate Group (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Few Words About Harry Reid’s Recent Big Announcement

Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

So, Harry Reid has decided not to run for another term in the Senate in 2016.

I know what I am supposed to write. I’m supposed to write a loyal opposition lion in winter piece, praising Reid’s political acumen and supposed contributions to the great state of Nevada.

I cannot.

Because it wouldn’t be true.

Harry Reid may once have actually represented the people of Nevada; but, starting when he became the Minority Leader in 2006, he forgot where he came from and who he represented.

He became a caricature of everything people hate in politicians–and was darn proud of it.

His sycophants in the media marveled at his “political acumen,” which is shorthand for ruthlessly screwing people. Worse, despite never having held an actual job where he wasn’t sucking at the public teat, he became rich. How does a man in the House and Senate for over 30 years become rich? Shrewd investing?

When the final book on Reid is written, his career will amount to nothing of much import–but a whole lot of ruthlessly screwing people for very shallow political gains. Just the sort of thing most people want to be remembered for, right?

People were afraid to cross him because he could hurt you if your livelihood revolved around politics and government. He was Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards without the class, hair, and make-up. And Barack Obama—“a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one’”—wailing that Reid can’t be replaced? He’s right. Who wants to go out and find a Mike Tyson in his early days to represent a lame-duck President. Even Tyson has grown up.

The Nevada Reidites—and I must admit, I actually endorsed him once, long ago—used to think he was indispensable. That we needed him.

The fact is that Nevada is a donor state despite the fact that the Feds own more than 85 percent of our land mass. Reid’s pork was pathetic in nature and very costly to the taxpayers. But not his family.

He was big on alternative energy—as long as the company involved was represented by one of his sons or someone close to one of his sons—and Nevadans now pay through the nose to NVEnergy for buying such power.

The city of Ely, Nevada, now stands as a stark reminder that Reid is a hyper-partisan pimp.

Back in the day (pre 2006), Ely—a nice little town in eastern Nevada—was going to get two modern coal-fired power plants located on Federal land—along with a huge number of jobs—which would have powered Las Vegas and a lot of other places in the West. Those wouldn’t have been dirty plants. The technology was very impressive and expensive. And we are the Saudi Arabia of coal. Reid had signed off on those plants.

Then, he became Minority Leader and fell under the spell of Nancy Pelosi and her Envirowacko friends. Coal, bad. Alternative energy, good.

The power plants went away. Ely has a long history of voting Republican.

I defy Harry to walk down Aultman Avenue in Ely, unescorted.  I’d like to own the pay-per-view rights.

In Ely, their fondest hope is that Harry will somehow get caught doing something which violated state law and end up in the Ely State Prison. There would be people volunteering to become guards.

The sum total of Harry Reid is that he was nobody, did not do much, and will soon be forgotten just like any other greedy, grasping pol who may have been a bit more nasty than most but accomplished relatively little of lasting import.

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom