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Late Friday night, Raul Castro announced that his brother Fidel Castro had died at age 90. He didn’t disclose the cause of death. Reuters’ article reporting Castro’s death read like a press release from the Cuban government. The opening paragraphs were particularly disgusting, saying “Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him, died on Friday, his younger brother announced to the nation. He was 90. A towering figure of the second half of the 20th Century, Castro had been in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006. He formally ceded power to his younger brother two years later.”

Let’s let the history be clear. Fidel Castro was a nasty murderous thug who ruled Cuba with an iron fist. The world is a much better place without him. This article gives us a clear-eyed description of Fidel Castro’s willingness to do whatever it took to maintain his iron-fisted grip on the nation:

The Cuban government maintains nationwide authority by controlling the national media coverage, by banning all forms of public dissidence, and (should all else fail) via aggressive imprisonment strategies to eliminate all persons who represent a threat to the communist state.

Cuba has utilized a systematic program of arbitrary detention and indefinite trials to maintain the second largest prison program in the modern world. The prisons are overcrowded and not meant to support the number of prisoners that they contain. Many of these prisons do not contain the amenities needed for basic human living, and these conditions are used as a form of punishment on the prisoners. Prisoners report being beaten by prison guards, deprived of light and heat, and starved during their prison sentence. Many of these prisoners are being held without a definite release date, and some prisoners do not have a set trial date to receive a proper sentencing.

What type of thug would do that? Rather than finish by saying RIP, I’ll finish by saying ‘Good riddance.’

The Totalitarian Left’s intimidation tactics might’ve reached criminal level. Glenn Reynolds explains in this USA Today special op-ed:

When Vladimir Putin sends government thugs to raid opposition offices, the world clucks its tongue. But, after all, Putin’s a corrupt dictator, so what do you expect?

But in Wisconsin, Democratic prosecutors were raiding political opponents’ homes and, in a worse-than-Putin twist, they were making sure the world didn’t even find out, by requiring their targets to keep quiet. As David French notes in National Review, “As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings. Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends. … This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform.”

Is this un-American? Yes, yes it is. And the prosecutors involved, who were attacking supporters of legislation that was intended to rein in unions’ power in the state, deserve to be punished. Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents, and to discourage contributions to political enemies, is a crime, and it should also be grounds for disbarment.

These thugs with law degrees haven’t earned the right to be called prosecutors. Just like I refuse to call Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Jeremiah Wright reverend, I refuse to call these thugs prosecutors. Prosecutors theoretically stand for justice. These thugs don’t even pretend to stand for justice.

Ed Morrissey’s post starts with the text of the Fourth and Fifth amendments:

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.

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 offense 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.

Ed’s commentary is pitch perfect:

The above comes from an old document, written over two centuries ago, that until very recently had legal force in this country. To a large extent it still does, but the actions of Wisconsin’s state government in reaction to a political reform effort, and for that matter, property confiscations in the war on drugs, indicate that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution have become passé. In its place, we have law enforcement raids that not only seize property while threatening violence against its owners, the targets are denied counsel and forbidden to speak of the seizures publicly.

Thugs with law enforcement badges that “seize property while threatening violence against its owners” are tyrants. Based on Dr. Reynolds’ statements, they’re apparently criminals, too. There’s no disputing that these thugs don’t respect or obey the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

They’re morally reprehensible in addition to being Democrats. The people conducting these sham investigations are Democrats who don’t care about the Constitution’s protections of individuals’ rights:

The basis for this was the campaign-finance reform movement, which sees money in politics as a greater evil than a government empowered to shut down political speech. The John Doe law in Wisconsin shows exactly why government intervention in political speech is worse than any corruption it attempts to prevent. The use of force in Wisconsin got applied to one side exclusively, and intended to shut down conservatives before they could exercise their legitimate political power. It’s even more egregious than the IRS targeting of conservatives between 2009-2013, but it’s the same kind of abuse of power, and it leverages the same kind of campaign-finance reform statutes that give government at state and federal levels entrée to control political speech.

It’s time to a) put these thugs in prison and b) legislate these sham investigations into oblivion.

Government gets its powers with “consent from the governed.” I’m totally certain Wisconsin citizens didn’t give these thugs permission to ruthlessly violate their constitutional protections.

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This video shows how little provocation it takes to get progressive totalitarians in a tizzy:

This week’s big flashpoint moment came from Indiana, when a progressive ‘reporter’ played into the storyline that Indiana’s RFRA law was horrible. John Hinderaker’s post is must reading on the subject:

Yesterday Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton, joined the chorus of denunciation: “‘I abhor the actions taken by the Legislature and governor of Indiana,’ Dayton told the Star Tribune.” Dayton, like a number of other governors, says he is considering a ban on official travel to Indiana. So Minnesota’s bureaucrats may no longer be able to take junkets to Terre Haute.

The hysterical reaction to Indiana’s law can only be described as insane. As we noted here, there is a federal RFRA that governs federal laws, 19 states have their own RFRAs, and ten other states have adopted the “strict scrutiny” standard of the Indiana statute by judicial opinion. Governor Dayton is perhaps unaware that Minnesota is one of those ten states. Hill-Murray Fed’n of Teachers v. Hill-Murray High School, 487 N.W.2d 857, 865 (Minn. 1992); State v. Hershberger, 462 N.W.2d 393, 398 (Minn. 1990).

Today, Michael Barone’s article offers this explanation for what’s at stake:

The Indiana law is substantially identical to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress by a near-unanimous vote in 1993 and signed with brio by Bill Clinton. It was a response to a Supreme Court decision upholding an Oregon drug law against members of the Native American Church who had claimed their religion requires drug use.

RFRA sets up a balancing test, to be employed by courts. Government cannot enforce a statute requiring people to violate their religious convictions unless it can demonstrate a compelling interest in doing so, and proceeds to do so by the least restrictive means possible.

This is in line with longstanding American tradition. The First Amendment, ratified in 1790, guaranteed Americans the “free exercise” of religion. The Framers knew that their new republic included Quakers, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, atheists, even perhaps a few Muslims. They wanted all to be free to live, not just worship, but live, according to their beliefs.

There’s little doubt that this week’s firestorm is purely political. These LGBT organizations know the laws on the books, though I can’t say the same about Gov. Dayton. As Barone says, RFRAs impose “a balancing test” for the judiciary to follow in determining whether the government can limit a person’s right to live out their religious beliefs. What RFRAs do, too, is tell government that they must use the least most intrusive remedy if they can demonstrate a “compelling interest” in limiting a person’s right to practice their religion.

This isn’t new. As Mr. Barone highlights, this “is in line with longstanding American tradition.” I’d hope that the judiciary wouldn’t take a sledgehammer to people’s religious rights. Apparently, that’s the remedy these LGBT activists want.

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