A Politicized Administration Punishes Dissenters With ‘the Process’

October 8, 2021 Updated: October 10, 2021

Commentary

As I mentioned in this space last July, the politicization of the United States’ armed forces, already underway under President Barack Obama, has been kicked into a higher gear by the Biden administration and its tame general, Mark Milley, by using the Capitol incursion of last Jan. 6 as pretext.

By repeatedly and consistently mischaracterizing it as an “insurrection,” the media have turned a protest that got out of hand into the bombardment of Fort Sumter, which launched the American Civil War in 1861.

That the Biden administration was complicit with the media in transforming a rag-tag bunch of protesters into a supposed proto-army of rebellion became apparent in President Biden’s address to Congress last April 28.

There, clearly with the Jan. 6 protesters in mind, he spoke of “what our intelligence agency has determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today: white supremacy’s terrorism.”

The logic of “our” intelligence agency which is said to have produced such a bizarre and improbable point of view seems to have been as follows: Donald Trump is a white supremacist; his Jan. 6 supporters were terrorists; therefore, all 74 million Trump voters in 2020 (there are probably more by now) are at least potential white supremacist terrorists.

That’s quite a threat all right. Or it would be if any of it had an iota of truth in it.

Such paranoia obviously had a political motivation and must have been adopted for cynical reasons, as a stick with which to beat any opposition to the radical Biden agenda from the right.

But now, not quite six months later, it appears to have become a habit with this administration to confuse any opposition to any part of its agenda with “terrorism.”

In response to a letter from the National School Boards Association to President Biden complaining of an “imminent threat” from parents who are allegedly sending “threatening letters and cyberbullying” said to amount to “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” Attorney General Merrick Garland has sent a memo to the FBI—the extent of whose corruption is even now being revealed by John Durham—expressing his concern over an alleged “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

He provides not a single example of such harassment, intimidation or threats of violence, nor any constitutional warrant for such Federal interference in state and local education matters and public order-keeping, even if there were any of either.

“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution,” he writes, “that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.”

Andrew McCarthy at National Review, who calls this “dangerous nonsense,” reminds us that “the First Amendment protects speech unless it unambiguously calls for the use of force that the speaker clearly intends, under circumstances in which the likelihood of violence is real and imminent. Even actual ‘threats of violence’ are not actionable unless they meet this high threshold.”

And this is not to mention the fact that, as more than one commentator has pointed out, we have in the last year and a half seen numerous left-wing examples of “threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” which have been perfectly OK with the Justice department and the FBI.

What, in fact, is Garland himself doing with such a memo as this if not warning of the FBI’s coming “efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views”?

This looks a lot like a recurrence to President Nixon’s famous formulation: “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.” As in so many other ways throughout the Obama-Biden years, there is one rule for the ruling class, another for everybody else.

This politicization of the Justice Department continues a process which seems to have begun under President Obama and then continued on unabated, though surreptitiously, under President Trump, whose administration it sought, as we now know, continuously to undermine.

Interestingly, another case of an effort to intimidate an individual based on her views had taken place only days earlier, when protestors pursued Senator Kyrsten Sinema into a ladies’ room at Arizona State University, objecting to her view that the government headed by Biden and her fellow Democrats’ shouldn’t be spending $3.5 trillion that it doesn’t have.

In that case, however, neither the president nor Attorney General Garland nor anyone else in the administration seemed to mind, and “the big guy” himself dismissed the incident as nothing but a “part of the process.”

I thought of this remark when I read the opinion of “a lawyer friend” of the excellent Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine blog that the Garland letter was just “huffing and puffing done to scratch a political itch” with no real legal force behind it. Mirengoff himself opines that “anyone prosecuted by the DOJ for non-violent conduct as a result of this memo will very likely find pro bono legal representation and beat the rap.”

This is true—at least until the entire judiciary has been Bidenized. But in the meantime, such a person may only “beat the rap” the way General Michael Flynn did: after years of expensive litigation that all but ruined him and his family financially.

As he knows only too well, under the politicized Obama-Biden Justice Department, the punishment reserved for dissenters is, precisely, “the process.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

James Bowman
James Bowman is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The author of “Honor: A History,” he is a movie critic for The American Spectator and the media critic for The New Criterion.