A Banana Republic, If We Choose to Keep It
Here’s what Americans have learned in the last two weeks alone.
The 2016 presidential election is about many things. But first and foremost it is a contest between the status quo and some sort of change, much of which remains undefined. Unfortunately what is defined is that we are currently a banana republic. No doubt many Americans consider that term overwrought. Recent developments suggest otherwise — in spades. Here’s what Americans have learned in the last two weeks alone.
As revealed by The Wall Street Journal, in 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials “persuaded police officers to scan license plates to gather information about gun-show customers, government emails show, raising questions about how officials monitor constitutionally protected activity.”
How they do it? They use license plate readers. Why they do it is far more germane. Under the auspices of “fighting crime,” government is taking down the license plate numbers of innocent Americans and putting them in a database. A database that can be used for detailed surveillance of peoples’ daily activity.
But it’s all on the up and up, right? When the Journal received documentation after filing an FOIA request they noted that “[M]ore than half of the pages provided by the agency were completely redacted, or blacked out; others have large sections redacted, apparently to keep secret how the surveillance was undertaken.”
Hillary Clinton, along with countless other leftists, wants to overturn the Supreme Court verdict in DC v. Heller that affirmed an individual American’s right to own firearms. In the meantime, leftist governments, highlighted by efforts in Seattle and Chicago, are imposing taxes on bullets and guns in a transparent effort to make both as unaffordable as possible.
Voting for the status quo will keep all of these efforts ongoing.
Further highlighting the nation’s downward spiral, the Washington Free Beacon revealed the Obama administration ordered the Pentagon to spend taxpayer funds on finding domestic locations, such as Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Charleston, South Carolina, and Florence, Colorado, that could be used to relocate Guantanamo Bay terrorists. Congress has sent a letter to the administration demanding to know who authorized the site surveys and participated in them, when they took place, and how the taxpayer funds were spent.
Expecting an answer is probably naïve. Expecting one before the election is delusional. And if the status quo prevails, there will be no answer at all.
Moving on, Americans learned that Yahoo built a secret software system designed to search every customer email for the purpose of providing specific information demanded by U.S. intelligence officials. Both Yahoo and the NSA refused to comment on the matter. Reuters reported, “Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand.”
Then there’s the story currently front and center in the campaign, namely the New York Times revealing Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns. The paper learned that he took a $916 million loss that may have allowed him to avoid paying taxes “for up to 18 years.” In a true testament to the utter corruption that informs our mainstream media, virtually every subsequent story has focused political permutations that attend this revelation.
Except that’s not the real story. The real story is the possibility someone in the federal government violated federal law — the violation of which “shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.”
The Times itself might be off the hook, due to a Supreme Court decision that allows the media to disseminate information illegally obtained so long as they didn’t participate in illegalities. Yet it is revealing that Times executive editor Dean Baquet stated at a Harvard panel discussion last month he would be willing to risk jail time to publish such material.
In a better country he might be accommodated. In this one, the Left will assure us there’s no bias, or lack of ethics, in the mainstream media.
And if someone at the IRS is involved, no accountability whatsoever.
In court documents made public in 2002, an IRS official admitted that legal opponents of former President Bill Clinton were singled out for tax audits, including more than 20 conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and American Spectator magazine, as well as a number of individual Clinton accusers, like Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers.
If Hillary wins, she brings Bill with her to the White House.
That Hillary remains in the running at all is the most concrete affirmation of our descent into lawlessness. Not only did the FBI grant immunity to key witnesses in the Clinton email scandal, many of whom promptly returned the favor by asserting their Fifth Amendment right not to testify before Congress — when they weren’t completely ignoring a congressional subpoena — but the Bureau agreed to destroy the laptops of former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson.
Just as revealing, the FBI agents limited their search to documents authored before January 2015, relinquishing “any opportunity to find evidence related to the destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice related to Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State,” stated a letter sent to the Attorney General Loretta Lynch by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
It gets worse. This side deal was made despite the reality the laptops could have been obtained via a subpoena with no conditions attached. And when classified government documents are found on a computer, that computer legally becomes government property.
Furthermore, Mills — despite being the subject of a criminal investigation — was allowed to participate as one of Clinton’s lawyers, with the concomitant assertion of attorney-client privilege, during Clinton’s holiday weekend “interview” with the FBI. “This unheard-of accommodation was made in violation not only of rudimentary investigative protocols and attorney-ethics rules, but also of the federal criminal law,” explains former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.
In a banana republic, the law is irrelevant.
“After seven years, the president has created a Hugo Chávez–like deterrent landscape, intended to remind friends and enemies alike that he is perfectly willing to use the federal government’s vast power to go after those he finds politically inconvenient, while exempting those he understands to be sympathetic to his agendas,” summarizes historian Victor Davis Hanson.
That is the status quo. And as truly terrible as the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is, it comes down to electing an egotist with a big mouth who will be reined in by both parties in a hostile Congress and a mainstream media that will suddenly re-discover its primary mission as government watchdog — or electing a criminally congenital liar with zero regard for Rule of Law and national security. One who will open the floodgates to Third World-ism and terror, and appoint constitutionally contemptuous Supreme Court justices, while an equally triumphant “Ministry of Truth” protects her every move.
In short, Americans can reject those who would maintain a banana republic, or further entrench it — possibly permanently.
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