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Of Lawfare and Battering Rams

You have got to read this National Review piece by David French about the Wisconsin "John Doe" investigations that targeted conservative individuals and groups for harassment, intimidation, and state terror.

Yes, this is happening in America today -- now.

“IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH.”

That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name). Someone was pounding at her front door. It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble. “It was so hard. I’d never heard anything like it. I thought someone was dying outside.”

She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos. “People came pouring in. For a second I thought it was a home invasion. It was terrifying. They were yelling and running, into every room in the house. One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.” It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers.

Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television. In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals.

They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

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.

The backstory, as told by French, involves a hyper-partisan, runaway prosecutor whose wife was a teachers' union shop steward opposed to the public union reforms of Governor Scott Walker. The "investigations" eventually encompassed five counties in Wisconsin, with a partisan, rubber-stamp judge signing off on the targeting subpoenas and search warrants.

Dozens of conservatives experienced almost exactly the same terror as Anne. Many conservative groups were destroyed by investigations that appropriated their donor lists and advocacy files. Funding sources dried up as no one wanted to be associated with people whose lives were destroyed by minions of the state in league with a politically motivated prosecutor.

This is "domestic lawfare" as French points out. It is increasingly being used by liberals in government in league with left-wing legal advocacy groups to target conservatives in order to silence them and criminalize dissent.

It's an incredible story told with dispassionate clarity by French. Share with your friends. The time for silence on this matter is over.