Ann Ashford, wife and apparent biggest fan of NE-02 Democrat Congressional candidate Brad Ashford, was tweeting out snippets last night of a blog post written by Amanda Gailey – yes, the same Amanda Gailey who gained notoriety as part of the anti-Turning Point protests at UNL, the same Amanda Gailey who founded Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, and the same Amanda Gailey that once wrote “F**k police” and “F**k the law” on a Facebook post (before being invited to meet then-President Obama).
In her blog post, Gailey went on a rant against NE-02 Congressman Don Bacon for his Martin Luther King, Jr. Day message. She mainly takes issue with Bacon’s statement on civility below, ignoring Dr. King’s message of CIVIL disobedience:
“At a time of great unrest, [King] showed a calm and powerful restraint. While people on both sides of a battle hurled insults (and weapons) at each other, he remained civil and kind. I have long admired the content of Dr. King’s character. He showed courage and character when defending the values he held dear, but he also taught America how to bring civility into political discourse – something we could use more of today. He inspired real change in America in a way few others have. As Dr. King said, ‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history.'”
Gailey’s blog post itself is full of self-serving and virtue-signaling drivel, unworthy of copying onto these hallowed pages, but here’s a summary: Bacon and Republicans are bad, Democrats are good, people should be divided into groups based on victim status because racism!!!!
The real issue is Ann Ashford’s apparent endorsement of the thoughts contained in Gailey’s post. Is it irony that Bacon complimented the civility of Dr. King and was uncivilly told that civility doesn’t matter? Or is it a view into the mindset of the modern left that in order to position a candidate to win a primary, the candidate must veer as far-left as possible?
To many Nebraskans, Brad Ashford has a reputation as a “flip-flopper,” but he has worked hard over the years to portray himself as a moderate. Some may have bought into this, but his 2018 campaign has tarnished this perception – maybe permanently. Ann Ashford is rumored to be aligned with the far-left “resistance” group Indivisible, and now she is quoting an English professor who once wrote, “F**k police officers who undertook a job that carries inherent risk…”
The Ashfords have discarded their tenuous veneer of moderation in order to win a primary against an opponent to their left. From a man who was once caught on video telling a constituent, “I’ll be whatever you want me to be,” what else could we expect?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are getting ready for a very exciting year for politics in Nebraska! With NE02 receiving national media attention and the promise of vast sums of outside money pouring in to help Democrats in the district, this race is likely to be a good one to follow.
As noted elsewhere today, career politician Brad Ashford seemingly has some trouble staying current on his bills. I wonder how confused Bacon’s office was when they were contacted by bill collectors. I also wonder:
Why was a bill in the Ashford campaign’s name being paid for by his Congressional office? That’s a pretty big (and possibly illegal) oops.
Why did Ashford think he could leave unpaid bills after voters removed him from office?
If not purposeful, then was this Ashford’s own incompetence, or was it his Chief of Staff Jeremy Nordquist’s failure?
How can voters trust Ashford to legislate and vote on appropriations if he can’t stay on top of an internet bill?
Will Ashford’s primary opponent Kara Eastman use this as an opportunity? Heck of a contrast.
Sure seems as though paying bills to avoid these SNAFUs is something a responsible person would endeavor to do. Then again, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong… How rich could we all be if we just shifted responsibility for our bills onto others? I know what I’m doing this afternoon!
speaking of ethics…
Jeremy Nordquist, former Chief of Staff to Brad Ashford (among other things), now serves in the same role to Rep. O’Halleran down in Arizona’s 1st.
Nordquist no longer lives in Nebraska, but he sure seems to be interested in our politics. From calling out Senator Fischer to trolling Rep. Bacon, he apparently just can’t keep his focus on the district – or even the state – he works for.
Maybe he just can’t stop himself. Maybe he deeply cares about bashing Nebraska’s Republicans. Or, maybe he just wants his old job back should Ashford somehow win. Regardless, if I lived in AZ-1, I’d be pretty upset that my Congressman’s Chief of Staff isn’t focused on my district.
In other news
Two weeks til Christmas and no measureable snow in sight. Bummer for the kids. Anyone ever tried to make a snowman out of flour? I’ll let you know how it goes.
A new poll was released this week showing Don Bacon down by 9 points to Brad Ashford, among other things.
Don’t fret – the sky isn’t falling. The Democrat-aligned pollster, Public Policy Polling, has earned a reputation… and not a good one. This particular poll was an automated 20-question survey of 535 voters in NE-02 over November 8-9. Oh, did I mention the poll was commissioned by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC? Yes, the same Nancy Pelosi who gave Brad Ashford’s campaign thousands of dollars last quarter. PPP didn’t even release the list of questions or demographics of who was polled. Furthering their reputation, apparently.
Did you get polled for this? If so, leave a comment.
National publications such as Roll Call are releasing their lists of vulnerable House incumbents for 2018. Fewer and fewer are mentioning Don Bacon. You might think they know something the Democrats haven’t figured out yet, but Democrats are well-aware that Bacon has strong support. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has released their “Red to Blue” list of their top 11 target districts, and NE-02’s Bacon isn’t on it. National Democrats are still supporting their chosen one, Brad Ashford. But it doesn’t look like he should expect the cavalry to come riding in to save him, either.
In all of the hubbub about the polling and targeted districts/candidates, one thing is clear: The national Democrats aren’t even considering Kara Eastman as a factor in this race. Maybe she doesn’t need them. After all, she has this guy on her side, and he REALLY doesn’t like Brad Ashford. He gets bonus points for a great list of Brad’s flip-flops.
Somehow, Brad Ashford is upset with the new GOP tax plan because Nebraska has such high taxes. So, Brad served in the Legislature for 16 years and allowed our state taxes to climb this high, yet now he complains they’re too high? Certainly one of you fine readers can explain this reasoning. Probably not, though.
It is widely known that General Don Bacon was the only Republican challenger to defeat an incumbent Democrat in a House race last year. This was no small feat.
Now, despite organized “resistance” movements on the left claiming NE-02 will be moving into the blue column in 2018, Roll Call has released their Top 10 Most Vulnerable list… and Rep Bacon isn’t on it. In fact, Roll Call and other national publications now have this district as “leaning Republican.”
The 2016 race, characterized as a toss-up by most pollsters, was clear evidence of how Brad Ashford’s constituents felt about him. If that lesson wasn’t clear enough after the loss, it should be now based on Ashford’s dismal fundraising efforts – when your fundraising is compared to Omaha’s panhandling, you know there’s a problem.
Now, voters are starting to get a realistic view of the 2018 race, and it does not bode well for Democrats: Ashford’s constant pandering and flip-flopping on positions, his inability to raise money, and the result of the Mayor’s race earlier this year mean the Democrat Establishment’s favored candidate is going to have a rough time. As a former member of Congress, Brad should have easily been able to reach $225k in Q3, and coming in at a paltry $125k says more about his support and chances than he likely realizes.
Other issues from Ashford’s past are in the news again lately… The streetcar project that forced out Ashford now seems to be gaining momentum; Brad’s past support of cutting corporate tax rates and eliminating the estate tax are a stark contrast to the views of many Democrats; and for his 68th birthday (Nov 10), his devoted wife Ann has been running a social media blitz in an apparent attempt to “humanize” him to the district and ask for money.
One possible bright spot for the Democrats this cycle is Kara Eastman, who has done relatively well with grassroots support thus far. While the national party has seemingly abandoned her in favor of Ashford (Bernie all over again), she claims to have the backing of local Democrats, unions, and other groups that could propel her past Ashford’s PAC money. It remains unknown whether she is truly ready for a Congressional campaign, but by remaining true to her principles she offers Democrats something Ashford seemingly does not.
Regardless, Rep Bacon’s “energizer bunny” style of governing is earning him strong support in the community, especially among veterans and college-aged political newcomers. With one year to go until election day, it is becoming abundantly clear why national publications are removing Bacon and NE02 from their list of vulnerable incumbents.
Still no word on any Democrat candidates for constitutional offices — including Governor. Despite Jane Kleeb’s stardom and supposed focus on recruitment, there are still no Democrat candidates for statewide representation in Lincoln.
And ICYMI, Independent candidate for governor, i.e. de facto Democrat candidate, Bob Krist found his way out of Omaha in a fly around across the state. Don Walton’s column this week mentioned Krist’s uphill battle in fundraising. Getting on the ballot seems like a more immediate problem.
Last Friday and Saturday, Republican leaders from across the state came together for the fall NEGOP State Central Committee meeting in Kearney. Governor Pete Ricketts, Senator Deb Fischer, Secretary of State candidate Bob Evnen, Senator Mike Groene, Senator John Lowe, and others were in attendance.
Senator John Murante, who has been on the trail for State Treasurer for months, was there — as expected. But the meeting also turned out his primary opponent Taylor Royal, hardly a regular at these functions.
Ricketts and Fischer rallied the crowd, speaking of the importance of electing conservative leaders up and down the ballot, from their races to state legislative races. The committee also passed a resolution supporting Fischer’s re-election.
The rest of the federal fundraising numbers are out and Republicans continue to lead.
In the US Senate race, Fischer handily outraised her Democrat opponent Jane Raybould. Fischer raised $585k with more than $2.1 million cash on hand to Raybould’s $140k raised and $117k cash on hand. Raybould’s number includes $25k she loaned herself. Rough start for what should be a big first quarter in the race.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry raised $107k and finished with an astounding $1.7 million cash on hand. His Democrat opponents ran far behind – Dennis Crawford raised $1,700 and has just $8k cash on hand. Jessica McClure raised $2,700 and had just $859 cash on hand at the end. There’s just no comparison with the Fort.
Congressman Adrian Smith raised $175k and ended Q3 with $1.1 million cash on hand.
Taylor Royal is back – this time, for State Treasurer. After spending a small portion of the Royal family fortune on his failed Omaha mayoral race to unseat Jean Stothert, the young man in a hurry is now contesting John Murante for State Treasurer.
To be sure, Murante has a head start endorsements locked up across the state. Governor Pete Ricketts, Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley, Former Governor Kay Orr, Senator Mike Hilgers, Senator Suzanne Geist, Former Senator Colby Coash, Regent Tim Clare, Lincoln City Council Members, Roy Christensen, Jon Camp, and Cyndi Lamm, make the list. All of the Republican members of City Council – Aimee Melton, Brinker Harding, and Rich Pahls – have also already endorsed Murante.
For his part, Taylor Royal can count on Jean Stothert – an alliance forged through necessity.
Speaking of endorsements…
Senator Deb Fischer’s campaign rolled out an impressive list of 500 endorsements last week, ranging from elected officials to party activists and even some Democrats (also noteworthy: Brad Ashford’s father-in-law, Dr. Randy Ferlic joined the list).
While the beltway talking-heads are salivating at the thought of Republican-on-Republican action here in the heartland, Fischer is solid with her conservative base, has strong support in the state party, and has a formidable infrastructure already in place. As Omaha World-Herald columnist Brad Dickinson wrote, “Steve Bannon would reportedly like to find someone to the right of Sen. Deb Fischer to run against her. How would you find someone to the right of Deb Fischer? Exhume Barry Goldwater?”
With friends like these…
Last month, Democrat Senate candidate Jane Raybould scheduled a “big” fundraiser with former Senator Ben Nelson (i.e. the deciding vote on ObamaCare and the father of the Cornhusker Kickback). Raybould’s campaign promoted it through email solicitations and social media, touting it as a marquee event…
Well as it turns, Leavenworth Street has learned fewer than two dozen folks showed up…and to boot, even Senator Nelson didn’t end up making it. Sounds like Raybould’s fundraising is off to a great start. We’ll all be watching carefully to see what her first FEC report looks like.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
The beloved Unicameral
Has anyone checked out the Legislature’s schedule for next session? The legislative calendar includes 16 days off, meaning of the 60 days in session, they’re really just working 44.
Our state senators are part-part time legislators and hold real jobs outside of the Unicameral, so you’d think they’d look to make the most of session. Apparently, they’re fine cashing in that $1,000 a month for 44 days of work a year, that is, if they show up.
It used to be that all Senators were present for almost every vote, especially to vote up or down on the Final Reading. Somehow, this current group of legislators also gets a free pass on voting “present” instead of making tough decisions. Isn’t that what they are sent to Lincoln to do? So much for accountability.
That’s not the Nebraska way, that’s a play out of State Senator Obama’s handbook.
Race to the bottom in CD-2
And finally, numbers posted for the Q3 FEC deadline over the weekend in the CD-2 race. Congressman Don Bacon raised a strong $250k for the quarter, setting him up for a solid war chest in the general.
Meanwhile, it seems Brad Ashford and Kara Eastman are competing for third place. Ashford raised just $125k to Eastman’s $70k in Q3. Where’s Brad’s legendary support from the Omaha business community? Not there yet.
Either way, enthusiasm is low on the Democrats’ side in that race.
Maybe Jane Kleeb will be able to rally the troops… She’s done a great job in the Governor’s race so far!
Of note: Ashford took a $2k check from everyone’s favorite legislator: Nancy Pelosi.
ICYMI, Jonah Goldberg debuted his new podcast The Remnant with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. The senator covers a number of issues, including Alabama Judge Roy Moore, creedal minorities, and urinating in a corn field.
Speaking of corn fields, Sasse is scheduled to speak in Iowa (again).
CNN reports: “On the right: SASSE TO IOWA AGAIN: Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a strident conservative but also a Donald Trump critic, will make his second trip of the year to Iowa on November 18 to speak at a fundraising dinner hosted by Bob Vander Plaats’ socially conservative organization The Family Leader.”
Sasse continues to have an aggressive national media presence and travel footprint, but has been relatively quiet in the Senate (and here at home in Nebraska).
Has the famed Trump critic been tamed?
What does he do all day?
Today’s edition of the Omaha World-Herald reports that Sasse was a no-show at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on DACA.
OWH reporter Joe Morton writes, “Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a member of the committee, hasn’t commented publicly on DACA since Trump’s decision and did not attend Tuesday’s hearing. Sasse spokesman James Wegmann said Sasse would be submitting questions to witnesses in writing.”
Recall, Sasse left the Agriculture Committee for this Judiciary perch. Apparently, this hearing wasn’t a priority for the senator.
To be fair, senators often have competing hearings scheduled at the same time in different locations.
For example, there was also a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday, where members had the chance to quiz Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford on the president’s strategy in Afghanistan – big witnesses, big topic.
Yet, my search for Sasse’s questions in the hearing came up short. I realize I am nothing but a lowly C-SPAN viewer, but it does not appear the senator even showed up to listen to the testimony on this critical topic.
Well, what about Nebraska’s senior senator, also a member of the Armed Services Committee?
Apparently, she showed up – and even asked questions.
Don Walton with the Lincoln Journal Star covered Senator Fischer’s questioning: “Fischer queries top military officials about Afghanistan strategy.”
The word on the street was that Sasse is a fountain of intellectual curiosity. After sixteen years at war, one would think Sasse could come up with a single decent question.
I don’t doubt that he can, I just wonder why he won’t.
Is Sasse ducking the hot topics to avoid taking positions on tough issues? And if so, why?
Eye on the Oval?
Or, maybe there’s another book in the works… Good news for the struggling parents of the world.
If anyone figures it out, please let us know. Inquiring minds are wondering.
I wanted to give this time to simmer over the weekend before making any comment, but now that it has, let’s look at the statement of Sen. Ben Sasse with regard to how some people, “don’t get America“.
On both the far-left side and the far-right of the argument, you have the guardians of thought. A minority of social justice warriors who see people as groups rather than individuals. To them, they use schemas of near-sighted reasoning to categorize everyone in accordance with prejudicial notions that are compounded by congenital ignorance. The Haves and the Have-nots, this race or that race, this religion or that religion, et cetera. They use identity politics and emotionally charged rhetoric as a means to garner support for (and justify) their absolute bigotry (e.g. neo-Nazis, ANTIFA, BLM, CAIR, KKK).
Sen. Sasse hit the nail on the head when he referred to universal dignity as being the fundamental principle and keystone component that made America the greatest nation history has ever known. Our tolerance and acceptance are what makes us exceptional. While revisionist historians knit-pick and try to deracinate “American Exceptionalism”, or race-baiting activists spew forth their vile divisive propaganda, our senator aptly labels it for what it is… “un-American poison”.
As Midwesterners, we place a lot of value on integrity, humility, honesty, tradition, and general courtesy towards everyone we meet. Perhaps that is because we live in the sparsely populated hinterland of the United States far from the megaregions, or perhaps it is rooted in our general non-secularism. Whatever the reason, I think it is safe to say that Midwestern values illustrate an example of what it means to be American. While we may not always agree with one another, and while we are far from perfect, I think Sen. Sasse makes a compelling argument that we will not be dragged down by benighted ne’er-do-wells who know absolutely nothing about “western heritage.”
 Hart, J. (2017, September 30). Ben Sasse’s Brilliant Takedown of “Pajama-Boy Nazi” White Nationalism. Retrieved October 02, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhart/2017/09/30/ben-sasses-brilliant-takedown-of-pajama-boy-nazi-white-nationalism/#6977d8ff40a4
Let me dial down the national, polarized political brouhaha for a moment and focus on a small-town mayoral race here in the Omaha Metro. Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders has confirmed that she will not be seeking re-election in 2018. For those that live in Bellevue, there is a certain anticipation as to what that means for the future.
Bellevue City Councilman, Pat Shannon, has announced his candidacy, which carries with it worries of whether or not he will even be eligible to run considering he has an outstanding fine of just under $17,000 to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. For most Nebraskans, we clearly understand the shortfalls when it comes to “State Integrity Investigations” – vis-à-vis Ethics Enforcement and Executive Accountability – so is it a wonder why some in the Bellevue community might be worried about continuing status quo with regard to their elected officials? Anyone who reads my social media posts or this blog know that I am a huge proponent of “due process” under the law, but the fact remains that this mayoral candidate has some questionable baggage that Bellevue citizens will have to weigh and measure before casting their votes next year. While it may be difficult to control the integrity of elected officials at the national or even state levels, Mr. Shannon has a lot to overcome as he vies for a mayoral position.
Next, we have Rusty Hike, a small business owner who has long and well-established roots in the community and is recently known for his tenacity when it comes to holding Bellevue Public Schools accountable for their less-than-transparent, unilateral decision-making. Whether at city council meetings or working hard with the Chamber of Commerce to attract businesses to the Bellevue Community, he is most widely known for his commitment to small-town values and always having a “buy local first” mentality.
Importance of This Election
So why should this race matter? The answer is quite simple. Bellevue, when compared to other communities within the Omaha Metro, has become sort of “the land that time forgot.” Most passersby see the strip malls and town centers along Cornhusker and HWY 370, and think Bellevue is doing just fine. But to locals, that is a different story altogether. They are continuously reminded of just how aggressive the local government has not been when they look at the lack of progress on Fort Crook Road and throughout Olde Towne Bellevue. Those two areas have been quite stagnant in terms of attracting new businesses and young entrepreneurs, and local elected officials seem to have all but given up on trying to transform them into areas that can compete with other burgeoning communities throughout the metro.
This 2018 Mayoral Race comes down to two options: 1). maintaining status quo, or 2). looking at the future for growth and opportunity. I, for one, am tired of seeing varying echelons of feckless local governments maintain status quo at the expense of the taxpayers. Too many are rooted in, “well, that’s just how it’s always been”, rather than looking at new and creative ways to bolster their local economies that don’t revolve around increasing their already overtaxed constituents.
It is widely known political fact that if you want to affect change in the political direction of a nation, you start at the local level first. Based on the merits of his vision for economic growth, entrepreneurial tenacity, staunch business ethics, and integrity…
If you have any local elections you would like to see on this forum, or any political discussion for that matter, please email Joshua Lively at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Curtin, E. (2017, September 20). Shannon, Hike say they want to be Bellevue’s next mayor. Bellevue Leader. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/sarpy/bellevue/shannon-hike-say-they-want-to-be-bellevue-s-next/article_5f1ffaf4-5ad5-5e60-8b97-ab8547c469f8.html
 Nitcher, E. (2017, September 26). Bellevue mayor says she will not seek re-election. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/bellevue-mayor-says-she-will-not-seek-re-election/article_aada59be-a312-11e7-b873-1fcaeefda56e.html
 Nitcher, E. (2017, September 26). Bellevue City Councilman Pat Shannon is running for mayor. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/bellevue-city-councilman-pat-shannon-is-running-for-mayor/article_fd98c958-2fa5-509c-bd33-d4c85bb026c3.html
 Eugene Curtin / Leader Associate Editor. (2017, September 27). Fine could prevent Shannon mayoral run. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/sarpy/bellevue/fine-could-prevent-shannon-mayoral-run/article_6c495e23-8379-5afa-9f05-43d7dfea8136.html
 Moser, D. (2015, December 01). Nebraska gets D grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from https://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/11/09/18452/nebraska-gets-d-grade-2015-state-integrity-investigation
 Nitcher, E. (2017, July 22). Pat Shannon tells fellow Bellevue officials car wash ‘is none of your business’. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/pat-shannon-tells-fellow-bellevue-officials-car-wash-is-none/article_08b7e56e-f273-5f66-8089-8e325b99e0fb.html
 Nitcher, E. (2017, January 26). Bellevue Councilman Pat Shannon charged with a misdemeanor. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/bellevue-councilman-pat-shannon-charged-with-a-misdemeanor/article_78963bc1-434f-594d-ae2c-952916693cb7.html
 Donley, L. S. (2016, February 29). 16-R-106; Bellevue Public Schools; Leo Rusty Hike, Petitioner [Letter written February 29, 2016 to Leo Rusty Hike]. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from https://ago.nebraska.gov/sites/ago.nebraska.gov/files/doc/16-R-106%3B%20Bellevue%20Public%20Schools%3B%20Leo%20Rusty%20Hike%2C%20Petitioner.pdf
First and foremost, I do not support “mob rule” or any other type of anarchist behavior under the guise of “first amendment rights”. Secondly, let me say, I simply do not have an adequate solution to the pandemic rise of the police state or the counter-movement against it. However, the first step to recovery is to at least admit there is a problem. Lastly, and most important, law enforcement officers often have thankless jobs and insurmountable tasks in front of them. The old catch 22, “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”, but that does not negate their responsibility to the constitution and the people they “serve” – regardless of out-of-control courts.
My friends and family know that I am not an “activist”, I am a constitutionalist. From that perspective, which is purely constitutional, I can say these are dangerous times wherein law-abiding citizens have no reprieve or sanctuary – from criminals or police alike. I know that statement is not popular and will upset a lot of people, but I assure you, if you have an open mind, continue reading and you may see my point. Please, read this in its entirety before going off half-cocked with “thin blue line” or “blue lives matter” rhetoric. I get that. In fact, I have met some great cops over the years, but there comes a point when the mounting evidence outweighs the possibility of mere coincidence or sporadic isolated incidents. When you finish reading this post, you will actually see that I am not attacking police officers, but rather the broken judiciary that has allowed them to overstep their Constitutional authority. Point blank, the rise of the “Police State” has caused irreparable collateral damage to our civil liberties – black, white, brown… it no longer matters, because we no longer matter in the mouth of the leviathan called the “Deep State”.
Now, I have stayed silent, more-or-less, about the Philando Castile case because I had hoped that the courts would have brought his killer to justice – it failed to do that. Sure, his grieving mother may have a huge settlement to “ease her pain and suffering”, but her son’s killer, Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, walked out of court a free man. Where is the justice there? He murdered a civilian, there is no ambiguity there, and walked away free… but we still wonder why communities riot in the face of injustice like this. I’m sorry, but the official body cam footage, in my opinion, shows the only criminal in the case was the police officer, who incidentally brandished his weapon like a scared coward as far as I am concerned. At no point did Philando Castile make any sudden movements, and he even told the coward who shot him that he had a gun for which he also had a valid license. So, let’s fast forward a few months and our scene opens in St. Louis – a city enflamed in rage over the death of Anthony Lamar Smith and the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley. In this case, I see that Officer Stockley was more than justified in shooting the suspect given the circumstances and the fact that he reached for a weapon. So, the “mob rule” looting and attempts to burn the city in effigy, I will side with Law Enforcement. However, I do not agree with the police allegedly chanting, “whose streets, our streets” while arresting protesters.
I am citing these cases to emphatically show that I see both sides of the argument and that I take each incident on a case-by-case basis. But, when I see a pattern of behavior, on one side or the other, I cannot simply hold one side (Law Enforcement) faultless – especially when weighed against the constitutional parameters under which they should be operating. Is it the fault of Law Enforcement? No, not directly, they are simply “enforcers” of the constitutional failings of the Judiciary.
As I said before, we first need to admit to ourselves that there is a problem before we can find a solution, so take this as my intervention America. Point blank, there is a “law and order of the Judiciary” problem, which has been pulling at the very fabric of our Constitution for quite some time, and it is the direct cause of the problems we are seeing throughout the Law Enforcement community – as a whole. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said, “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
Moreover, in 1949, George Orwell published a book entitled “Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)” wherein there was a dystopian society oppressed underneath the iron fists of an oligarchical plutocracy (in summation). Now, before we go any further, let’s set the basic premise that we are in fact living in a post-constitutional United States, which is based on the corollary that our highest courts have become political mechanisms that no longer uphold our inalienable rights afforded by the constitution.
For example, let’s look at the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments – really three of the most powerful that should, theoretically, hold our government within the confines of civility so much that we don’t even need to invoke the intent and parameters of the 2nd amendment. If you get my drift.
1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
5th Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
So how have these amendments been eroded? In the police state being erected around us, the police and other government agents can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts. There have been well-documented instances of abuses, which are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution. In essence, we are treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens. You know, the “bosses” of the people that are abusing our rights.
Point blank, the Fourth Amendment—which protects us from being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government agents—is being disemboweled. Take a look at these fifteen (15) court cases that prove my point to the letter.
Police can stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. (Utah v. Strieff)
2). Police officers can stop cars based on “anonymous” tips or for “suspicious” behavior such as having a “reclined car seat” or “driving too carefully”. (Navarette v. California)
Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits. (Plumhoff v. Rickard)
Police can “steal” from Americans who are innocent of any wrongdoing. (Texas’ asset forfeiture law)
Americans have no protection against mandatory breathalyzer tests at a police checkpoint, although mandatory blood draws violate the Fourth Amendment (Birchfield v. North Dakota).
Police can also conduct sobriety and “information-seeking” checkpoints (Illinois v. Lidster and Mich. Dep’t of State Police v. Sitz).
Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime. (Maryland v. King)
Police can use the “fear for my life” rationale as an excuse for shooting unarmed individuals. (Alabama Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals)
Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes.” (Florida v. Harris and Rodriguez v. United States).
Police can subject Americans to strip searches, no matter the “offense.” (Florence v. Burlington)
Police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home. (Kentucky v. King)
Police can interrogate minors without their parents being present. (Camreta v. Greene)
It’s a crime to not identify yourself when a policeman asks your name. (Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada)
Police can carry out no-knock raids if they believe announcing themselves would be dangerous. (Quinn v. Texas)
The military can arrest and detain American citizens. (Hedges v. Obama)
When you look at these rulings, it is clear-as-day that the U.S. Constitution no longer matters. When the police can simply arrest people for exercising their rights, that is life in a post-constitutional era. When we are no longer protected from unwarranted searches and seizures, that is life in a post-constitutional era. When we are forced to incriminate ourselves without legal representation, even when we are innocent, that is life in a post-constitutional era. When we are arrested for “not answering questions” without legal representation, even when we are innocent, that is life in a post-constitutional era. When law enforcement can detain, arrest, and even kill us without fear of reprisal, that is life in a post-constitutional era. And this is not something that is happening in a large metropolitan city far away, this is happening in our local towns. Recently, the “Bellevue Police Officer’s Association said … it no longer has confidence in Police Chief Mark Elbert’s ability to lead the department.” As Nebraskans, we need to pull our heads out of the sand and see the problems writ large across the nation.
Folks, tyranny has become the status quo, and due process has been replaced with the absolutism of the state (Deep or otherwise). So, when I read about the usurpation of “due process”. I become angry. When I hear that the judiciary upholds lawless acts of government agents at the expense of our constitutional civil liberties, I become angry. When I hear murderers and lawbreakers, with or without a badge, I become angry. And this my friends is precisely why we need the 2nd amendment. We need to protect ourselves from criminals, especially when those criminals are wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing. When we become the prey of our protectors, and there is no justice to be had, that is the type of tyranny that eventually leads to an outburst of violence and civil unrest. I am in no way condoning the “war on police”, and I am certainly not condoning violence or destruction of public and private property; but, LAW AND ORDER must apply to the government (and its agents) as much as it does to citizens.
Overall, we need strong leadership in Congress that does not flip-flop or waffle when it comes to the constitution. But on the other side, we also need citizens to remain civil and lawful when exercising their first amendment rights. Once a protest turns violent or an uncontrollable mob that is destroying property, I firmly believe Law Enforcement should use all means necessary to protect life and property. And when I say, “all means”, there should be no ambiguity…that includes the use of deadly force as far as I am concerned.