The Edmond Sun


August 16, 2013

HEY HINK: Administration’s law-bending ways must cease

EDMOND — More than 2,500 years ago, Heraclitus of Ephesus made the following observation: “The people should fight for their law as for their city wall.” The reason for this admonition is clear. In Heraclitus’ day, the strength of the wall was the guarantor of the people’s freedom. Should that wall fail before an invading enemy, the city’s inhabitants would become the slaves of the invader. By the same token, if the city’s citizens or rulers decided to ignore the laws set up to preserve public freedom, the same outcome could be expected. Destruction of the legal system leads to slavery as surely as destruction of the city wall.

Many years later, noted American political thinker, Walter Lippman, offered this addition to Heraclitus’ point: “The first principle of a civilized state is that power is legitimate only when it is under contract.” This means, of course, that those in authority must exercise that authority within formalized legal bounds. Otherwise, their decisions, good or bad, are not lawful.

These great thinkers, and hundreds of others through history have recognized a truism. Disdain for law coupled with the exercise of power is a sure recipe for tyranny.

With these words of wisdom in mind, let’s take stock of some recent developments in the integrity of America’s legal system.

Early in his administration, President Obama decided, on his own authority, to discontinue defending the “Defense of Marriage Act,” even though this was a duly enacted federal law. Later he decided, again on his own authority, to “rewrite” America’s immigration statutes in order to install a regime of selective enforcement that essentially amended federal legislation on the subject.

Since then, we have seen government functionaries in high positions engage in a widespread and clearly illegal scheme to employ the Internal Revenue Service as an instrument to intimidate, inhibit and interfere with the lawful exercise of political groups.

More recently, the Attorney General announced that the Justice Department, on its own initiative, has rewritten, without congressional input or approval America’s federal penal code. Even though Congress has established definitions of crime and consequent punishments, the Attorney General has decided to substitute a system more in line with his personal opinions.

But there’s more. We all remember how Obamacare was oiled up with procedural gimmickry and greased through the legislative process. We recall the unseemly backroom wheeling and dealing that tainted the entire disgraceful farce. Now, the President and his minions have decided they are unsatisfied with the deal they unilaterally rammed through. So they decided, on their own initiative, to rewrite the statute. Once again, they see no need to solicit congressional approval or even make a pretense of observing constitutional safeguards concerning federal checks and balances. The president has decided to insert super legislative timelines in his bill. Congress and the American people can either “like it or lump it.”

Meanwhile, the Attorney General remains in contempt of Congress for failing to provide subpoenaed documents relative to the “Fast and Furious” scheme that placed lethal weapons in the hands of known drug dealers. No doubt, behavior like this committed by anyone else in the United States would constitute a felony. But the Attorney General and his Justice Department evidently don’t feel bound by laws that must be obeyed by the rest of us. And now, an Aug. 15 story appearing in the New York Post informs us there are more deaths traceable to weapons placed in the hands of drug dealers with the knowledge and approval of the Department of Justice.

We remember that border patrol agent Brian Terry was a casualty of the “Fast and Furious” program. We’ve now learned that other weapons allowed to “walk” into the hands of violent drug dealers have been associated with other murders and located at violent crime scenes.

Blatant disdain for the law once or twice might be explainable. But the roster of unapologetic defiance displayed by this administration only can be explained by a single word. Corruption. This administration has allowed and encouraged its functionaries to permit their power to go to their heads. Evidently they are convinced that legal impediments standing between them and their desired results are mere inconveniences that may be ignored or subverted.

The danger, of course, is dangerously clear. Once this precedent is established, it is almost inevitable that it will be repeated. We are reminded of a quote by Diderot, the French philosopher. “Anyone who takes it upon himself, on his private authority, to break a bad law, thereby authorizes everyone else to break the good ones.” Unless we do something, our city walls are crumbling. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.

Text Only
  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results