I have what my wife interprets as a strange affliction. I, however, have decided to view it as a charming affectation. Aside from writing, both fiction and non-fiction, I am an avid reader. However, I’ll only concede my reading habits may not be what you’d call traditional.
I routinely have about five books going at any time. Usually, a 3:2 non-fiction to fiction ratio. I also have a stack of books on deck waiting to enter the rotation. If you ask me, my wife is the strange one. Get this: She reads a book, finishes it, and then starts a new one. Talk about strange.
Anyway, every once in a while, a book comes along that leaps over those already in my queue. While this column is not meant to be a book review, per se, Greg Jarrett’s new book, The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump is one of those books that cut ahead of the line.
Jarrett sets out such clear timelines, illuminates a trove of alleged crimes committed, and illustrates the elusiveness of James Comey, John Brennan, Hillary Clinton, her posse of slithery sycophants, and the arrogant band of FBI and DOJ dissidents.
Once again, for me, a retired law enforcer, it brought to the fore the sad lack of trust in America’s criminal justice system. Not in achieving equity for poor vs. rich defendants, which is also worth a discussion, but equity for certain political elites vs. the rest of us.
We keep learning more about top-level government officials suspected of significant criminality, and we see the mounds of evidence put forth, but nothing seems to happen to those people. In Russia, Venezuela, or Cuba this might happen, sure, but in the United States of America it’s not supposed to happen.
And when we find out it is happening, we need to stop it and fix it. Otherwise, the legal system will collapse. If we don’t hold every American responsible for their criminal actions, why would anyone respect any laws—why should anyone respect the law?
The current multi-tiered justice system (tiers for the rich and powerful, the homeless, certain social justice protected classes, etc.) is frustrating to the point I’ve given up watching almost all cable news and absolutely all mainstream news outlets because they’ve become so nakedly biased, even hostile, toward…well, me and people like me.
The mainstream media refuse to cover legitimate news stories about political and criminal wrongdoing if a Democrat is the accused. Think about it. You’re the editor-in-chief of a newspaper or magazine, or the president of a major TV news network. A reporter brings you a story, which includes a ton of evidence showing a presidential candidate, with the help of the heads of the CIA, DOJ, and FBI, paid for a fake opposition research dossier and then apparently fooled FISA court judges so they could use it against her opponent.
And if that’s not enough, your reporter further tells you it looks like that Democrat candidate’s highly placed government allies, the heads of the CIA, DOJ, and FBI, and also possibly including the former President of the United States, used that dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Republican presidential candidate and his campaign. And then, after the Republican is elected, this subversive cabal attempts to frame the new President of the United States, and you decline the story as not news?
However, picture yourself as that same editor-in-chief or network news president. Despite ignoring the first story, you will spin up in a split-second to provide overflowing coverage of a 2005 tax evasion trial of a man who was the new President’s campaign manager for a minute.
Looking at this disparity objectively, from a journalistic perspective, does this double-standard make any professional sense at all? It only makes sense if the publishers, editors, and network presidents are partisan, political hacks. Bingo!
Having spent a career upholding the law, it twists my gut to see so many political elites, and those obsequious remoras latched on to them, eluding responsibility for their alleged crimes. How are these people able to avoid legal consequences on such serious matters?
One way to avoid responsibility is by being who they are—special. Another way is by who they are connected to—someone special. And another way is by the beliefs they hold—special—leftist. A combination of these factors would work, too. And don’t think this doesn’t happen at the state level, too.
Washington State provides a great example of how the law works for you but only if you’re a leftist. For example, the law is on your side—or ignored—if you are an anti-gun activist in a state dominated by a cobalt blue, far-leftist city and county, and its subservient politicians and voters.
Here’s what I mean: Anti-gun activists in Washington State recently, preliminarily, “qualified” a “gun safety” initiative for the state ballot despite breaking several rules regarding legally qualifying an initiative.
I-1639 would require gun owners, among other onerous requirements that would make it increasingly difficult for law-abiding people to buy and own firearms, to secure their weapons in a fashion that, well…makes the guns virtually useless for self-defense.
It would also make gun owners criminally liable when they become crime victims after a thief has stolen their government-defined, “improperly” stored guns. How do gun owners know the state won’t treat any stolen gun as de facto “improperly stored?” You know, because it was stolen.
A violation can incur a $10,000 fine and who knows what other criminal and civil liabilities. And yet, state prosecutors consistently plead down those charged with gun crimes. Wanna bet they’d throw the book at an I-1639 violator?
The measure failed to meet the qualifications for approval for several reasons. The first reason is easy. The citizens’ initiative statute requires each initiative have only one subject. I-1639 has multiple subjects. In fact, the other day I heard a radio talk show host count 17 separate subjects. You can count for yourself here.
Another violation was the size of the text of the initiative, which the law requires to be printed on the back of the petition and must be “readable.” The text was so small it appeared as if the entire document had been written in fine print. Sponsors also failed to strike-through the current law passages that would be deleted or emphasize the text that would be added to current law if the measure passes.
John Carlson, KVI 570 radio host, interviewed Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R) about the flawed initiative. She confirmed the sponsors of the initiative didn’t follow several of the rules to qualify the ballot initiative properly. However, she also told Carlson the legislature provided no mechanism for her office to enforce those rules. She said there’s nothing she can do even though the initiative sponsors failed to meet the legal requirements.
Carlson asked Wyman if she could just use common sense, bring the matter to a judge, and challenge the initiative in state court. I wonder if a judge could find the initiative de facto flawed due to the lack of an enforcement mechanism and determine the legislature must insert an enforcement clause into the law before any initiative can be deemed valid? That seems fair, doesn’t it? The left is always interested in fair, right?
Wyman said she could only invalidate an initiative if sponsors hadn’t gotten the required number of valid signatures. Wait… Why is the number of signatures rule the only rule she is able to enforce? What is it about the current law that allows for disqualification of an initiative for insufficient signatures but not for violating other qualification rules?
After saying she was concerned about the flawed initiative setting a precedent if she ignores it and lets it go to the November ballot, Wyman said she would not bring the matter to court because she is concerned about her office’s appearance as neutral.
Neutrality can be a valid concern, but here is, as they say, the rub. If Wyman doesn’t do anything about this injustice, no one else can. The state Supreme Court’s commissioner rejected a Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit, finding the group has no legal standing to bring a suit. The commissioner said the Secretary of State’s office, Kim Wyman, has exclusive legal standing to challenge an initiative qualification process in court.
If the secretary of state, the one person who has standing, refuses to challenge the tainted initiative in court, then where does that leave concerned Washingtonian I-1639 opponents? How can they compete when their opposition doesn’t have to follow the rules?
Doesn’t the opposition have a First Amendment right of petition to redress their grievances? If not individually, then through a representative in government? Like, perhaps, Secretary of State Wyman? After all, she wouldn’t be taking sides on the issue; she’d be taking the side of complying with the initiative process laws she’s mandated to enforce.
So, gun rights groups, who represent citizens’ interests, have no standing to challenge I-1639 in court. Only Kim Wyman has that authority. But Secretary of State Wyman has so far refused to take any court action on behalf of citizens with a legitimate concern. It seems her claim of wanting to remain neutral may be as flawed as the initiative.
She’s a smart woman, but I wonder if she’s outsmarting herself straining to be seen as unbiased. And what’s the use of people specifically voting in a Republican, a partisan by definition, if it works against them? They may as well have voted for a Democrat.
Still, I can understand a secretary of state wanting to be neutral between the two parties: pro-gun and anti-gun. But should she stay neutral about people, no matter how “well-intentioned,” who apparently broke the rules to qualify an initiative for the ballot? Again, Wyman argues the legislature gives her the power only to disqualify an initiative if the supporters fail to gather the required signatures. Does this make sense?
Isn’t the state Supreme Court’s commissioner essentially inviting the Secretary of State to challenge the rules violations? She wouldn’t be challenging the initiative’s primary subject, or the initiative’s sponsors, but the failures of the initiative’s supporters to meet the legal requirements of the process.
Shouldn’t other rules such as single-subject restrictions be as valid as the number of signatures required? I mean if there were not enough signatures, Wyman says she would have invalidated the initiative. Why? That’s just one of a number of rules. In fact, it seems like one of the only rules the sponsors complied with. Why does she feel she can enforce that rule but not others? There may be legitimate answers to these questions, but I haven’t heard them yet.
The court is telling Wyman she is the only one with standing, yet she’s rejecting her own “standing” in this case. She’s showing deference to doing nothing and letting a flawed initiative go to the ballot and, if it passes, become a law affecting all those citizens who had no standing and depended on her to keep the system fair. Again, why vote for a Republican if she won’t stand up for the party’s pro-Second Amendment platform plank.
So, like left-wing federal officials, left-wing state supporters of this initiative may get away with breaking the law. Law-abiding gun owners may have to bear the brunt of another stupid law that will do nothing to stop bad guys with guns but will be pretty darned effective in stopping good guys with guns.
Whether it’s Democrats at the federal level or a well-meaning Republican who feels she’s just trying to be fair, at the state level, the left continues to evade consequences for violating the law, policy, or breaking the rules. Administrative, civil, or criminal doesn’t seem to matter. If ignoring laws the left doesn’t like doesn’t work, it seems the law will ignore them.