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Tag: opinion

Washington Post Writer: Time to Remove J. Edgar Hoover’s Name from FBI Headquarters

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s time to remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

So argues Washington Post opinion writer Richard Cohen, who called the bureau’s first director a “racist, anti-communist zealot, who, in the name of God and the American flag, set out to destroy Martin Luther King Jr.” 

Cohen points out that other monuments bearing the names of offensive historic figures, like Robert E. Lee, are being removed.

Much of Hoover’s legacy is odious, and it is repellent to honor it anywhere,” Cohen wrote, noting that Washington D.C. is 48% black.

“Yet Hoover reigns unnoticed and unprotested, as if his attempts to destroy King did not matter.”

The Hill: Secret Service Needs Protection from President Trump

secret-servic-via-secret-serviceBy Mike Purdy
Opinion Contributor

The United States spends a lot of money protecting the life of the president. As the most powerful man in the nation and the leader of the free world, the investment is entirely appropriate. He is constantly at risk from those who would do him harm.

Regardless of whether we agree with a president’s political positions or style, the president’s life matters and should be protected. Our nation should provide sufficient resources to guard and protect the president, and treat with respect the Secret Service agents who daily put their own lives at risk to keep the president from harm.

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, he was guarded by a single Washington policeman of questionable integrity with a less than stellar history of job performance. John Parker left his post outside of Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theater shortly after intermission to go drinking at the saloon next door. Thus, when John Wilkes Booth approached Lincoln’s box from behind, the door to the box was guarded by only an empty chair, allowing Booth to fire the fatal shot without any resistance.

Ironically, Lincoln signed a bill on the day of his assassination creating the Secret Service, but their function then was limited to detecting counterfeiting of currency.

It wasn’t until the third American president tragically fell victim to assassination (William McKinley in 1901 – after James Garfield in 1881) that the role of the Secret Service was expanded to include protecting the president.

Since then, while there have been assassination attempts (Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan), and countless threats against presidents, John F. Kennedy remains the only president assassinated while under Secret Service protection.

We live in a very different world from 1865 when a sole policeman was charged with protecting the president. And since Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, the risks to the president have monumentally increased and requires a larger and more sophisticated Secret Service to protect the life of the president.

President Trump’s lifestyle has stretched the capacity of the Secret Service to protect him and his large family. His travels to multiple vacation getaways spots he owns, visits to foreign countries and regular re-election campaign rallies have resulted in constant travel and many overtime hours by agents assigned to protect him.

This stressful environment has taken its toll on some agents who have left the Secret Service for positions offering a better work/life balance. The attrition has required the remaining agents to work even more overtime. A 2014 investigation found that agents worked “an unsustainable number of hours.”

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

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.