What literary categories define the Obama age? Christian Lorentzen unpacks autofiction, the new meritocracy novel, the retro novel, and the trauma novel
I then asked the question one is taught never to ask on cross—the last one. “So, you signed an affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury alleging probable cause to believe that Adam MacLeod committed a violation of traffic laws without any evidence that was so?”Without hesitating he answered, “Yes.” This surprised both of us. It also surprised the judge, who looked up from his desk for the first time. A police officer had just testified under oath that he perjured himself in service to a city government and a mysterious, far-away corporation whose officers probably earn many times his salary.The city then rested its case. I renewed my motion to dismiss, which the judge immediately granted.Vindication! Well, sort of. When I tried to recover my doubled appeal bond, I was told that the clerk was not authorized to give me my money. Naturally, the law contains no procedure for return of the bond and imposes on the court no duty to return it. I was advised to write a motion. Weeks later, when the court still had not ruled on my motion, I was told I could file a motion asking for a ruling on my earlier motion. Bowing to absurdity, I did so. Still nothing has happened now several months later.Why This MattersTraffic camera laws are popular in part because they appeal to a law-and-order impulse. If we are going to stop those nefarious evildoers who jeopardize the health of the republic by sliding through yellow lights when no one else is around and driving through empty streets at thirty miles per hour in twenty-five zones, then we need a way around such pesky impediments as a lack of eyewitnesses.Yet traffic cameras do not always produce probable cause that a particular person has committed a crime. To get around this “problem” (as a certain law-and-order president-elect might call it), several states have created an entirely novel phylum of law: the civil violation of a criminal prohibition. Using this nifty device, a city can charge you of a crime without any witnesses, without any probable cause determination, and without any civil due process.
Kay Bell, More tax whistleblowers were rewarded last year, but they got less money:
The Whistleblower Office awarded more than $61 million to 418 whistleblowers in the last fiscal year. That’s a 322 percent increase from fiscal 2015, in which only 99 total awards were paid.
But the $61 million paid out actually was less dollar-wise than in fiscal 2015. That prior year the Whistleblower Office handed $103 million to whistleblowers.
Consider the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, a leader in the civil rights movement, who years ago, was on the receiving end of repeated harassment by government officials, including state and local tax authorities. Inquiries into Dr. King’s finances were not new: he was investigated in two separate states (Georgia and Alabama) on numerous occasions. In 1960, he made news as the first person ever criminally charged in the state of Alabama on tax fraud.The complexity of the tax law and the ability of prosecutors to indict a ham sandwich are much of what makes political use of tax administration so disturbing.