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Tag: opinion

Fox News: FBI’s ‘Blatant Malfeasance’ Behind Decision Not to Charge Clinton

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Tom Fitton
Fox News

There is the bipartisan pretense that the FBI is the only government agency in Washington that is above reproach. Yet, this is the agency that collaborated with Lois Lerner and the IRS in an effort to criminally prosecute opponents of Barack Obama. Then, unsurprisingly, this same FBI (and Justice Department) found nothing worth prosecuting in their own blatant malfeasance.

Again, this is the same FBI whose Keystone Cops approach to counter-terrorism failed to prevent eminently preventable terrorist acts ranging from the Boston Marathon bombing to the Orlando massacre. In fact, we now know that an FBI supervisor actually told one Florida police department investigating Omar Mateen, “We do NOT believe he is a terrorist” [Emphasis in original]

How does an agency with this sort of record escape accountability? Quite simply, by doing favors for the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It is to politicians like Clinton and Obama that men such as Comey owe their jobs – and agencies such as the FBI owe their budgets. And so, they are subservient.

According to Comey’s testimony before the House Thursday, the Hillary Clinton lies, subterfuge, document destruction and national security violations that would, for starters, get you or any other non-political elitist drummed out of the FBI, shouldn’t even be considered for prosecution by a “reasonable prosecutor.” Well, not if that “reasonable prosecutor” owes his meal ticket and position of power to the likes (and dislikes) of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

To read more click here. 

Post-Dispatch: Social Justice Movement in Ferguson Gets Off Track

Ferguson protest.

Ferguson protest.

By Blake Ashby
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Something has gone terribly wrong with the social justice movement. The heavy lifting of making things better is being consumed by a free-floating anger that has little connection to what is actually happening in our country.

Think I’m exaggerating? Some of the angrier members of the social justice community are calling for the recall of Ferguson Councilwoman Ella Jones. She is a very clever political operator who worked her way up, built relationships, accumulated allies and got elected. She is also African-American, as are most of her constituents.

So why are they trying to get Jones kicked out? Because the Department of Justice wants Ferguson to spend an extra $2 million implementing community policing, and Jones and every other council member pushed back and said we can only afford to spend a million. Basically, Jones was voting to spare her constituents $1 million in extra taxes. Activists have concluded that not increasing taxes on the African-Americans who actually vote for her makes Jones a traitor to African-Americans in the rest of the country.

And of course the DOJ sued the city of Ferguson on Feb. 10; the night before, the council had unanimously voted to accept the consent decree the city’s attorneys had negotiated, with a small number of cost-saving modifications. The DOJ used some fairly dramatic language to suggest that Ferguson was somehow fighting progress and clinging to its racist past.

But … did the DOJ even read the proposed changes? Basically, the City Council asked the DOJ to delay implementation for three months while the city looked for a police chief and not require Ferguson give all of its police officers substantial raises. These two changes, along with hiring a local instead of Washington monitor, took the first-year costs down from about $2 million to about $1 million.

The DOJ wants Ferguson to give its mostly white police force a very large raise in hopes the city will be able to recruit more African-American officers. Once the consent decree was publicly released and scrutinized, the city realized the very high cost of the raises.

To read more click here. 

Washington Post: President Obama’s Actions on Gun Control Have No Teeth

atf-gunsBy Jonathan H. Adler
Washington Post

Today the White House announced a series of executive branch actions(not executive orders) that are supposed to reduce the threat of gun violence. Chief among these measures is a new guidance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concerning when those who sell guns are required to obtain a federal license and perform background checks of prospective gun purchasers. The ATF is also finalizing a regulation that would prevent prospective gun purchasers from avoiding background checks by acquiring guns through a trust or corporation, but this is a separate measure.

According to the White House, the new ATF guidance is intended “to ensure that anyone who is ‘engaged in the business’ of selling firearms is licensed and conducts background checks on their customers.” The ATF is achieving this not by issuing new regulations (re)defining what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling guns under federal law. Instead, the ATF issued a guidance document that simply explicates what this legal requirement means, providing examples of the sorts of things that would indicate that a given individual is in the gun business, rather than conducting the occasional personal sale as a hobbyist or as part of an estate liquidation, or something of that sort. According to both the White House release and the ATF guidance, the various indicia identified in the guidance are, in turn, based upon what federal courts have found in relevant cases. (The relevant court decisions are not cited or otherwise identified in the document, and I have asked both ATF and the White House for more information on this point.)

Taken at face value, the new ATF guidance is thus nothing more than a restatement of existing legal requirements. Put another way, it merely identifies those who are already subject to the relevant federal requirements and does not in any way expand the universe of those gun sellers who are required to obtain a license and perform background checks. In other words, it is — as the document says — a guidance, and not a substantive rule. It has no legal effect.

If the ATF guidelines are nothing more than a guidance — an indication of the sorts of things that might trigger a federal investigation or prosecution, but not a tightening of the relevant legal standard — why would the administration do this? There are several potential answers. First, guidance documents are often useful insofar as they explicate relevant legal standards and (as the name implies) provide guidance to the regulated community. Such documents can help people know when they are subject to specific legal requirements. Further, if there are a significant number of people who should have federal gun licenses but have neglected to obtain them, the guidance document might encourage greater compliance with federal law.

For more information click here.

Other Stories of Interest

CNN Opinion: Cure for So-Called ‘Affluenza’ Is Nothing Short of Prison

Ethan Couch.

Ethan Couch.

CNN

American lawyers have never been accused of lacking creativity in seeking to justify the nefarious deeds of their clients. Texas defense attorney Scott Brown, however, appears to have raised the bar to a new level by asserting the newly minted defense of “affluenza” to obtain leniency in a tragic vehicular homicide case arising out of the reckless driving of his very drunk and very rich 16-year-old client, Ethan Couch.

Affluenza may be a contender for a collection of odd and unlikely defenses that can trace their lineage back to the infamous (and some even say apocryphal) “Twinkie defense.” The notorious junk food defense was asserted in psychiatric testimony as part of a broad claim of diminished capacity caused by depression with at least some success in the 1979 trial of Supervisor Dan White for the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Although White was charged with murder, the jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

he current claim in Fort Worth, Texas, is that the condition of affluenza, a combination of the words “affluence” and “influenza” should immunize Ethan Couch from full responsibility for his actions in killing four people and critically injuring two others.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the condition as “a psychological malaise supposedly affecting young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.” Defense attorney Brown apparently succeeded in convincing soon-to-be retired juvenile Judge Jean Boyd that this spoiled rich kid syndrome diminished Ethan Couch’s capacity to distinguish right from wrong.

n the face of prosecution demands for 20 years in the slammer, the judge responded with a sentence of 10 years of probation and rehabilitation. Couch’s rich daddy proposes to fund a trip to a $450,000 a year California rehab facility that offers treatment to those with way too much cash and free time on their manicured hands. I wish I was kidding about this, but I am not.

Defense psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller testified that poor Ethan Couch was never properly disciplined by his wealthy parents, eventually driving at age 13, abusing alcohol, and coming to believe that money could buy him out of pretty much any situation where he hurt someone. Affluenza, the shrink suggests, diminished Ethan’s capacity to obey the law and tragic consequences followed.

Miller’s offensive analysis fails to explain why this strange condition is not mentioned in the diagnostic bible of the psychiatric profession, the DSM-5 and its predecessor volumes. Rich kid syndrome, or the more succinct label affluenza, seems to be made of the same empty calories that made the Twinkie defense so offensive to the public at the time it was served up in a 1970s San Francisco courtroom.

To read more click here. 

Market Watch: Don’t Believe Hype of DOJ Crackdown on White-Collar Crime

wall-streetBy Russell Mokhiber
Market Watch

If you ask, corporate criminal defense attorneys will tell you — as they have told me — the one thing their corporate clients want to avoid when facing off against the federal government is an admission of wrongdoing — to have to plead guilty to the crimes they have committed.

Everything else is possible.

Pay huge fines? No problem.

Accept a monitor to report back to the government? Bring it on, especially if the company gets to approve the monitor.

Turn over executives responsible for the crimes? Under the bus they go.

But no guilty pleas for the corporate parent.

That’s why people who follow corporate crime prosecutions closely are taking the release of a memo from the Justice Department that will implement new policies to go after individual corporate executives with a grain of salt.

To read more click here. 

San Diego Union-Tribune: Advocates of Marijuana Legalization Miss Mark

marijuana-istockBy David W. Murray & John P. Walters
The San Diego Union-Tribune

A recent example of the logical abandon of today’s backers of legal marijuana is the plan to defund the Drug Enforcement Administration’s program to eradicate illegal marijuana (DEA/CESP), an $18 million program that eliminates millions of plants a year and arrests thousands of criminals, many of whom were brought here to labor for Mexican drug cartels controlling the marijuana black market.

Yet Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) wants to end the effort as a “ridiculous waste” of federal resources, when multiple states “have already legalized marijuana,” use of which should “no longer be a federal crime.” Clearly, the congressman has not thought this through. He is, in fact, arguing against his own legal marijuana case.

A central tenet of the legalization movement is that criminal marijuana was to be supplanted by “safe, regulated and taxed” marijuana under careful control. It is a contradiction of that principle to foster, by cutting the DEA program, the proliferation of unregulated, untaxed and “unsafe” marijuana plants controlled by violent criminals, thereby corrupting the entire point of a “legalized” marijuana market.

While a “regulated and taxed market” was the position sold to legislators, the real objective seems to be a dope-growing paradise, unregulated and unopposed. Congressman Lieu doesn’t even try to explain how this is supposed to advance America’s well-being.

For years now, Americans have been subjected to efforts by advocates for legalized marijuana to make their case. Today, the arguments often come from legalization lobbyists, often with legal or political training, seeking to legitimize what they hope will become a billion-dollar business in addictive toxins – repeat customers guaranteed.

Or consider the argument that marijuana is “safer to use” than alcohol. That alcohol is dangerous all acknowledge, costing the health of thousands. But the proper argument is that each intoxicant presents its own unique threats. It is not productive medically to “rank” them. But what is the logical implication of the alcohol talking point?

The regulation of alcohol is precisely the idealized model that lobbyists put forth for legal drugs. Hence, every time they insist that alcohol is the more damaging substance, what they are actually showing is that the model of legal, regulated sales of addictive substances produces widespread harm to adults and adolescents.

To read more click here. 

 

Border Remains Open Despite Border Patrol’s Best Efforts

Bob Casimiro of Bridgton is former executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform.
 
By Bob Casimiro 
Bangor Daily News.

It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and the mouse is still winning. In spite of the best efforts of our Border Patrol agents, drugs and humans keep coming across our border with Mexico.

I recently returned from my seventh trip to the border. Our Border Patrol agents are trying to do their job, but they are being hampered by bureaucrats and “open border” initiatives put in place by President Barack Obama’s administration.

On this trip, I went out with two local groups, the Arizona Border Defenders and Arizona Border Recon, both comprising activist citizens who want to help us secure our borders by augmenting what the Border Patrol does.

The Arizona Border Defenders are from Tucson. Their members come down on weekends to service cameras they have placed in the desert that transmit live video images when the camera’s sensors detect movement, which may be cattle, illegal aliens or Border Patrol agents. They see the video images on their cellphones, wherever they may be, and alert the Border Patrol if they see anything suspicious.

Arizona Border Recon is a veteran-based organization. Tim Foley, the field operations director, and his communications director, “Spartan,” recently moved permanently to Sasabe, Arizona, less than a half mile from the Sasabe Port of Entry. Foley is a slender, chain-smoking, U.S. Army 82nd Airborne veteran who roams the smuggler trails with a shotgun in one hand and his dog, Rocko, complete with ABR K-9 jacket, close behind. “Spartan” handles communications with law enforcement.

On our second day we caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure disappearing down the back of a mountain inside the U.S. border; it was a cartel “scout.” The “scouts” operate on the mountains and monitor the movement of the Border Patrol and let the smugglers know when it is safe to bring across drugs and human cargo. Keep in my mind they operate in the mountains on U.S. soil as far as 100 miles inside our border.

Sasabe is in the Tucson Sector, which extends 262 miles from the New Mexico border in the east to the Yuma (Arizona) County line in the west. The Border Patrolapprehended 87,915 illegal aliens in fiscal year 2014 in this sector. In the same fiscal year, 479,371 illegal aliens were apprehended across the whole 1,954-mile length of the Southwest Border.

So, how many get through? Chris Cabrera, vice president of National Border Patrol Council #3307, estimates in a recent video that only 30 percent of illegal aliens coming across the border are apprehended.

In the time I was there, I noted the whole array of devices used at the border: Border Patrol and Arizona National Guard helicopters, an inspection station on Highway 286, “virtual fence” towers with radar and cameras sweeping the horizon, Border Patrol trucks racing up and down Highway 286 from their base in Tucson, quads on trailers used to go in the desert where other vehicles can’t, drones, sensors.

I was thinking about all this on my last day as Foley and I stood beside the 13-foot fence separating the United States from Mexico.

I asked him, in exasperation: “Why the hell aren’t we stopping everyone coming across the border?”

His answer: “We are waging a war with a shift mentality.”

He was referring to the fact that the cartels operate 24/7 while the Border Patrol, with shift changes, have gaps in their coverage. Border Patrol agents are further hampered by the Obama administration’s “open border” policy, such as theacceptance of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children last year; the suspension of the Secure Communities program in November 2014, the use of “prosecutorial discretion,” and the sharp decline in Interior Deportations from 236,000 in 2009 to 102,000 in 2014.

To read more click here.  

Washington Post: Justice Department Report Proves Racial Bias in Ferguson

Michael Brown

By Washington Post
Editorial Board

The Justice Department said two things about Ferguson, Mo., last week, both of which should make Americans uncomfortable. First, federal officials announced that they did not have evidence showing that police officer Darren Wilson used unreasonable force when he shot African American teenager Michael Brown. Second, the department found that there is a lot of rotten policing with racist overtones in Ferguson. Mr. Wilson may have been exonerated, but that does not excuse the primed powder keg of community anger that Ferguson authorities had set in place before the incident occurred.

On the Michael Brown shooting, federal investigators pored through the local authorities’ evidence and gathered their own. After an exhaustive inquiry, they determined that they didn’t have a case against Mr. Wilson. They even punctured the widely circulated claim that Mr. Brown had his hands raised in surrender when Mr. Wilson shot him.This is the independent review of the event that Ferguson and the country needed, and it should serve as a warning to those who would rush to judgment in such sensitive policing cases before the facts are in order.

That is not to say that the protesters who filled Ferguson’s streets after the Brown shooting didn’t have a reason to be angry. The Justice Department found that they live under an official system consciously designed to suck money out of vulnerable people. The system combines high fines for all sorts of violations — such as $77 to $102 for having weeds or tall grass — and enforcement that too often is well beyond reason. Investigators found one instance in which a man sitting in a parked car was searched on bogus grounds, arrested for complaining about it, then ticketed for eight municipal code violations. The man claims the charges cost him his job.

Ferguson’s municipal court attaches more fees for missing a payment or a court date, and it regularly hands out jail time for failing to pay. One woman ended up owing more than $1,000 and spending six days in jail over parking tickets, and the court refused to accept the partial payments she attempted to make.

When Ferguson police go in search of revenue, the evidence the Justice Department found suggests that they target minority communities. Police and courts punish African Americans far out of proportion to their share of the town population. Add these numbers to the documented racial bias of certain city officials, the department concludes, “and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”

To read more click here.