One of the recurring themes of right-wing bloggers for lo these many years has been a constant concern that we are one election away from tyranny. We see this reflected most plainly in the claims every four years that the sitting president "may not allow the next election!" Yet, somehow, the election comes and goes on schedule; no tyranny this time either, eh?
Wrong. We are already well along the road to tyranny, and this election is merely another milepost.
This doesn't mean we expect to see a Hitler or Stalin-type total police state. America is still a long way from concentration camps and midnight knocks. It is likely that most ordinary Americans who are alive today will be able to live out their lives more or less as they always have, undisturbed by any un-American personal violation.
Likely, that is, on average. Because un-American, tyrannical violations happen every day, as we've regularly documented in the pages of Scragged, from personal property being confiscated by greedy police to innocents being prosecuted on trumped-up charges based on preposterous laws - and, yes, the occasional obviously innocent victim of incompetent or rogue police. These acts of tyranny aren't particularly common, so, like being struck by lightning, you can readily believe "It'll never happen to me!" because, odds are, it won't.
No, we aren't in serious imminent danger of a Gestapo-style tyranny. But that's not the only form tyranny takes.
We think we'd recognize a tyranny by uniformed goons goose-stepping around everywhere and normal people skulking in the shadows. But it never starts that way: a soft tyranny generally begins with the law being evaded on high until eventually it becomes plain that there are two separate judicial systems: one for the powerful and a quite different system for everyone else.
Consider a true full-fledged tyranny, Nazi Germany. We rightly remember the Third Reich as being a murderous regime. For the first few years of Hitler's rule, though, if you were an ordinary German with no particular political interests, Hitler's Germany could be quite a pleasant place to live. It was extremely law-abiding - ordinary criminals were rounded up with dispatch which made the streets safer.
The problem was that these strict criminal laws, most of which we'd approve of, didn't apply to Nazi Party Bonzen - the influential, and their retainers. They committed thefts, frauds, and murders that would get any lesser person thrown into prison or worse, if you happened to cross them. This wasn't terribly likely at first, but happened more and more frequently as it became clear that Nazi elites really were above the law.
Our America hasn't reached the point where the powerful can actually kill people with impunity, at least not on an open basis. They can and do steal from us shamelessly, though, as Scragged has reported time after time. Rep. Charlie Rangel, "Turbo-Tax Timmy" Geithner, Gov. Corzine, and the infamous nameless banksters fleeced the American people for billions of dollars. When a small-time conman is caught, he's looking at an orange jumpsuit, but none of these far grander crooks have even seen the inside of a courtroom - at least not as a defendant.
It's not just politicians on the take, either: When Wells Fargo cheats its customers out of millions of dollars via a multi-year scheme involving thousands of employees, the CEO honorably retires with a large chunk of a billion dollars for himself. When complaints get too loud, he's replaced by his deputy, who was in charge of the division where fraud was committed. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is spot-on when she condemns this naked corruption, and we wholeheartedly agree with her that
The only way that Wall Street will change is if executives face jail time when they preside over massive frauds.
We wish she'd say the same of the many crimes committed in the political realm, but half a loaf is better than none.
Bernie Sanders was another Democrat who rightly condemned the crony capitalism that infests both parties. This is why we like and trust him personally even though we disagree profoundly with him on many other issues.
It's increasingly clear that Hillary Clinton stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders through a combination of electoral chicanery and overwhelming bias and collusion by the supposedly-neutral Democratic National Committee under Hillary's close friend and fellow corruptocrat, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. None of this would have come to light without someone committing an actual act of journalism by hacking into the DNC email system.
The secrecy the Democrat crooksters counted on and which Hillary tried to achieve through her illegal server is the first step in tyranny. They seem to have lost the cover of darkness, thanks to unknown persons - but it doesn't seem to matter! It's clear that nobody will ever be prosecuted for these crimes even when they're caught confessing on tape live and in living color.
Immunity from prosecution misuses, abuses, and ultimately destroys the judicial system. This end of the first step to tyranny is apparent when it's no longer possible to maintain secrecy, but it doesn't matter anymore.
Hillary didn't plan on FBI Director Comey having to give her a "get out of jail free" card on public TV; that was needed only because her secret server became known. We started having two sets of laws many decades ago and now it's almost expected that big-time Democrats will never be prosecuted save for the most outlandish of offenses, but for decades it was important for crimes to be covered up. Now, perhaps even to Hillary's surprise, it's not necessary.
An even worse sign is that Bernie Sanders is now supporting Hillary in spite of his knowing that she cheated him. We wonder what kind of an "offer he can't refuse" was made, and if we'll ever find out - or whether, once this election is in the bag, the already somewhat aged Sen. Sanders will pass on to his reward, lamented most loudly of all by the Presidents Clinton.
For the powerful to be above the law is obviously unhealthy to democracy. It doesn't necessarily destroy the nation, however.
In fact, throughout most of human civilization the powerful have been openly above the law and everybody assumed that was the natural way of things. After all, the main reason to want to become powerful is so that you don't have to follow laws made for peasants. From the Senators of ancient Rome to the knights and nobles of medieval times to European aristocracy in the Gilded Age, there are plenty of examples of places that weren't police states and weren't entirely lawless, but where Lady Justice certainly didn't wear a blindfold.
In a way, it can be reassuring for the law to reflect different rights and responsibilities of different social classes. As the old English village prayer went,
God bless the Squire and his relations.
And keep us in our proper stations.
There's a comfort in knowing exactly who and what you are, what you'll always be, and recognizing that a whole host of concerns are Someone Else's Problem.
That's not the way America has ever been, though; nobody in America expects to be a peasant or to be treated as one. The problem encountered in this second step of tyranny is when the law is used, not to maintain the class system in an unfair but predictable way, but on the basis of political differences as a means of applying pressure to the politically incorrect.
We saw a crystal clear example of this with the ongoing scandal of the IRS' treatment of Tea Party groups. Our laws allow nonprofit groups to file for tax exemptions; conservative, liberal, and nonpartisan groups should all have this right equally. However, Mr. Obama's IRS intentionally slow-rolled approval of groups with conservative names, denying them their ability to exercise their Constitutional right to participate in our electoral process on an equal basis.
There's no debate about the facts of this case. Regardless, Mr. Obama's Department of "Justice" claims to have found no evidence of wrongdoing, even though several Tea Party applications are still stuck in limbo.
Judicial Watch is suing for ven more documents, as if any more proof were needed. Yet nobody will be prosecuted unless Mr. Trump becomes President, and perhaps not convicted even then thanks to bogus Fifth Amendment pleas. To this day, leftist groups whiz through the tax exemption process even when actively under investigation for fraud.
Another clear case is Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative filmmaker who boldly documents the evils of Hillary Clinton and other leftists. Of course, Michael Moore and Al Gore have become enormously wealthy producing "documentaries" condemning conservative views. When Mr. D'Souza attempted the same thing from the opposite point of view, though, he was abruptly prosecuted for violating campaign financing law with an unduly large donation to - yes - a Republican.
Was Mr. D'Souza guilty? By the letter of the law - yes, he was.
Mr. D'Souza arranged for others to donate $20,000 to the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in New York of Wendy Long, a personal friend. By reimbursing them, they allege, he circumvented the $5,000 legal limit.
We could argue over whether this law makes any sense, or is in keeping with American liberties, but nevertheless it is a valid law, duly passed. So in principle there is nothing wrong with him being prosecuted for breaking it.
Except - when was the last time this happened to anybody else, particularly to a Democrat?
Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was itself fined $375,000 in 2013 for failing to disclose millions of dollars in contributions and missing deadlines for refunding millions in excess contributions. No one was threatened with prison for that.
In the event, Mr. D'Souza escaped jail and is still making conservative flicks. The point has been made, however: you can steal millions if you donate to Democrats, but if you are a notorious conservative and fail to cross even one T or not dot one I of the 81,000 pages in the Federal Register, you're staring into Club Fed.
Many nervous people may mutter, "Well, people like Dinesh D'Souza are asking for trouble by pissing off powerful Democrats. I just go to work every day; they don't know or care about me, so it's no problem."
No doubt that's what Aaron and Melissa Klein thought when they founded Sweet Cakes Bakery - what's political about baking cakes? Well, it becomes political if leftists demand that you anoint cakes with messages you find abhorrent, as an organized group of lesbians did. After multiple lawsuits, the Kleins gave up and lost their business - but not their personal freedom. They now enjoy all the liberty of the unemployed, for what that's worth.
This sort of political targeting of a nobody is still relatively rare in America, but not too long ago would have been instantly quashed by an outraged public and an incensed judiciary. Now, legal action merely provides the cover of law for oppression. Hillary Clinton has made it plain that, as President, she would take special care to anoint judges who would carry on this crusade against religious Americans, particularly Catholics.
We've already seen the IRS get away with targeting conservative organizations. How long will be it before it starts targeting conservative individuals?
Actually, it looks very much like they've already been doing this, using donor lists submitted by conservative organizations as part of their tax returns to target conservatives for "high scrutiny." Republican nominee Donald Trump is undergoing an audit right now by a prosecutor who happens to be a Clinton donor. When were George Soros, Rachel Maddow, or (dare we say) Hillary Clinton's foundation last audited? Ever?
A government which will strip you of your income or livelihood because you hold differing political views is a tyranny pure and simple. No, it may not be a murderous tyranny, or a police state, or totalitarian, but it's a tyranny nonetheless, and lots of Americans find this more and more disturbing. That's the main reason Hillary wants to abolish the private right to own guns - crooked politicians, like all criminals, prefer unarmed victims.
Is that what America was meant to be? Is that what we want America to become? We'll find out soon enough.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.