The Day The Rule of Law Died

nixon-vsign

by Andrew C. McCarthy
There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services. Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States. Get Free Exclusive NR Content In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence. I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed. It is a common tactic of defense lawyers in criminal trials to set up a straw-man for the jury: a crime the defendant has not committed. The idea is that by knocking down a crime the prosecution does not allege and cannot prove, the defense may confuse the jury into believing the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Judges generally do not allow such sleight-of-hand because innocence on an uncharged crime is irrelevant to the consideration of the crimes that actually have been charged. It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today. It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information. I think highly of Jim Comey personally and professionally, but this makes no sense to me. Finally, I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence? The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.
David_Petraeus

The Audacity of Dishonesty

1. Announcing a massive $26 billion mortgage deal with “abusive” banks, the president blamed everybody for record foreclosures except the party most culpable: government.

Speaking Thursday from the White House, Obama scolded “irresponsible” and “reckless” lenders, who “sold homes to people who couldn’t afford them.”

Yeah, they dragged people into it, held them down and forced them to do it!

And the people came in and demanded it first!

Back in 2003, as the Examiner’s Philip Klein points out, <Barney> Frank said that the government-sponsored entities were not in any sort of crisis. “The more people exaggerate these problems,” Frank told the New York Times, “the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

For the most part, private firms such as Countrywide Financial were issuing “nontraditional” mortgages in order to package them off to Wall Street and make money, not to please Barney Frank. Like most policymakers, Frank didn’t appear to see the housing bubble or looming subprime crisis before it was too late. (WP)

He <Obama> also cited buyers who bought homes bigger than their budgets, and Wall Street bankers who packaged the shaky mortgages and traded them for “profit.”

“It was wrong,” he asserted. And now the nation’s “biggest banks will be required to right these wrongs.”

Obama acts as if the private sector bears all the responsibility for the mortgage mess. But he and his attorney general know it’s merely a scapegoat for the reckless government housing policies they and their ilk drafted and enforced in the run-up to the crisis.

Starting in the mid-1990s — in a historic first — it became federal regulatory policy to force all U.S. lenders to scrap traditional lending standards for home loans on the grounds they were “racially discriminatory.”

President Clinton fretted that blacks and other minorities could not qualify for mortgages at nearly the same rates as whites and Asians. So Clinton codified more “flexible” underwriting standards in a “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending,” and entered it into the Federal Register.

At the same time, he set up a little-known federal body made up of 10 regulatory agencies — the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending — to enforce the looser standards. It threatened lenders to either ease credit for low-income borrowers or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related bad publicity. It also threatened to deny them expansion plans and access to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“The agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form,” the 20-page document warned financial institutions. The task force enforced these policies throughout the Bush administration.

According to Peter Ferrara, senior fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy:

“This overregulation reached the point of forcing lenders to discount bad credit history, no credit history, no savings, lack of steady employment, a high ratio of mortgage obligations to income, undocumented income, and inability to finance down payment and closing costs, while counting unemployment benefits and even welfare as income in qualifying for a mortgage.

“This” he said, “turned into government-sanctioned looting of the banks.”

The Justice Department — along with HUD, which regulated Fannie and Freddie — proved the most aggressive members of the fair-lending task force. Eric Holder, then acting as deputy AG, ordered lenders to actually “target” African-Americans for home mortgages they couldn’t otherwise afford. Obama cheered Holder on as an inner-city community organizer who also pressured banks to ease credit for home borrowers.

In other words, the same two officials now leading the charge to punish “abusive” lenders had egged them on before the crisis.(IBD)

2. The Obama administration is now telling liberals that it is not backing down on its new health-care mandate, even as it coos of compromise to religious groups appalled by it. These messages may seem to be contradictory, but actually the administration has been quite consistent: Nothing it has ever said on this issue has been trustworthy.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has been the leading misleader. The administration, recall, has decided that almost all employers must cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients in their employees’ insurance plans — even if those employers are religious universities, hospitals, and charities that reject those practices.

So she has tried to make the mandate seem more moderate than it is. In USA Today, she writes that “in the rule we put forward, we specifically carved out from the policy religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith.” Taken at face value, this statement would seem to imply that Notre Dame could escape the mandate if it fired its non-Catholic employees. That policy would be outrageous: What gives the federal government the legitimate authority to tell a religious institution how it should structure its mission? But in fact the administration would make the university jump through several more hoops. It would also have to expel its non-Catholic students. And even these changes would not be enough, since the university would continue to do much more than attempt to inculcate religious beliefs in its students — which is another test the administration requires for the exemption to apply.

Sebelius says that three states have religious exemptions as narrow as the one the federal government has adopted. The notion that the federal government is imposing the model of three very liberal states — New York, Oregon, and Vermont — on the entire country is not comforting. But even in those states, some employers have been able to sidestep the mandates by, for example, organizing their insurance under federal regulation, which until now has not overridden conscience. The new mandate eliminates that escape route.

Joel Hunter, one of Obama’s pet pastors, says “this policy can be nuanced.” (“I have come to bring nuance,” as Matthew 10:34 does not say.) He is wrong. Either the administration will back off, and allow religious organizations to follow their consciences, or it will not. If it chooses the former course, it may still find a way to increase access to contraception — which is not especially scarce, by the way — but it will have to replace its current policy, not just “nuance” it. (NR)

“Nuance” is the new Orwellian phrase for LYING. 🙂

It’s “complicated” 🙂

But the assurances were greeted Tuesday with skepticism from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been leading the opposition to the new requirement.

“So far, ‘work this thing through’ is just the sugar-coated version of ‘force you to comply,’ ” Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel for the conference, said in an e-mail.

Remember, compromise with a Liberal means that you compromise your principles to do what THEY want you to do.

3. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked to respond to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comment that the lack of a budget creates “uncertainty” which is “negative for growth.”

Carney responded: “I have no opinion; the White House has no opinion on Chairman Bernanke’s assessment of how the Senate ought to do its business.”

1,017 Days and Counting!

4. EPIC <The Electronic Privacy Information Center >director Ginger McCall notes that monitoring what people are saying about government policies goes too far and has a chilling effect on free speech.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.

“The language in the documents makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly,” said McCall. “This is entirely outside of the bounds of the agency’s statutory duties.”

DHS officials have admitted that monitoring of social networks for negative opinion was undertaken by the agency, but claim that the operation was a one off test and was quickly dropped as it did not meet “operational requirements or privacy standards,” which “expressly prohibit reporting on individuals’ First Amendment activities.”

EPIC argues otherwise and has presented evidence that suggests the practice is being held up by the DHS an an example that should be emulated.

“They are completely out of bounds here,” McCall said. “The idea that the government is constantly peering over your shoulder and listening to what you are saying creates a very chilling effect to legitimate dissent.(Info Wars)

5. Mexican cartel suspects targeted in the troubled gun-trafficking probe known as Operation Fast and Furious were actually working as FBI informants at the time, according to a congressional memo that describes the case’s mission as a “failure.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has acknowledged that guns were allowed into the hands of Mexican criminals for more than a year in the hope of catching “big fish.”

The memorandum from staffers with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform says the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration were investigating a drug-trafficking organization and had identified cartel associates a year before the ATF even learned who they were. At some point before the ATF’s Fast and Furious investigation progressed — congressional investigators don’t know when — the cartel members became FBI informants.

“These were the ‘big fish,’ ” says the memo, written on behalf of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “DEA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had jointly opened a separate investigation targeting these two cartel associates. … Yet, ATF spent the next year engaging in the reckless tactics of Fast and Furious in attempting to identify them.”

According to Issa and Grassley, the cartel suspects, whose names were not released, were regarded by FBI as “national-security assets.” One pleaded guilty to a minor offense. The other was not charged. “Both became FBI informants and are now considered unindictable,” the memo says. “This means that the entire goal of Fast and Furious — to target these two individuals and bring them to justice — was a failure.”

Representatives with the Justice Department and its subagencies declined to comment.

6. Deputy Attorney General James Cole had informed the committee in a letter last week that it would be “impossible” to comply with the document request by Issa’s deadline.

At issue are thousands of pages of internal Justice Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) documents from last year which the Justice Department has provided to the investigating Justice Inspector General, but which the Justice Department initially indicated are not subject to congressional review because of the constitutional separation of powers.

7. Last Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer questions about his role in the deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal. However, instead of answers, Congress got more defiance, more arrogance, and more wasted time with an attorney general who clearly feels no sense of obligation to the American people or our rule of law. …

In a rash attempt to deflect attention away from himself and his own irresponsibility, Holder let Congress know that the Obama administration is still working toward the day when it can reinstate former President Bill Clinton’s so-called “assault weapons” ban. According to Holder:

“This administration has consistently favored the reinstitution of the assault weapons ban. It is something that we think was useful in the past with regard to the reduction that we’ve seen in crime, and certainly would have a positive impact on our relationship and the crime situation in Mexico.”

It’s difficult to follow Holder’s logic here, but it goes something like this …

The Obama administration — particularly Eric Holder’s Justice Department — oversaw an epic scandal whereby our own federal government illegally funneled thousands of firearms into the hands of Mexican drug lords. This contributed to the death of one U.S. Border Patrol agent and hundreds of Mexicans.

Despite being head of the Justice Department and our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Eric Holder claims he doesn’t know how or why this scandal occurred, or even who under his charge may have authorized it. He also refuses to turn over critical documents to congressional investigators that could help prevent something this tragic and corrupt from ever happening again.

Therefore, Obama and Holder are confident that if they can ban a large number of the legal firearms that law-abiding Americans use every day for self-defense, hunting, and recreational and competitive target shooting, it will help solve Mexico’s crime problem.

Now don’t you feel better… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

More Justice & Freedom For All And To All a Good Night

More “Justice” from the Justice Department.

Four years after the banking system nearly collapsed from reckless mortgage lending, federal prosecutors have stayed on the sidelines, even as judges around the country are pointing fingers at possible wrongdoing.

The federal government, as has been widely noted, has pressed few criminal cases against major lenders or senior executives for the events that led to the meltdown of 2007. Finding hard evidence has proved difficult, the Justice Department has said.

The government also hasn’t brought any prosecutions for dubious foreclosure practices deployed since 2007 by big banks and other mortgage-servicing companies.

Banks in the past two years have foreclosed on the houses of thousands of active-duty U.S. soldiers who are legally eligible to have foreclosures halted. Refusing to grant foreclosure stays is a misdemeanor under federal law.

The U.S. Treasury confirmed in November that it is conducting a civil investigation of 4,500 such foreclosures. Attorneys representing service members estimate banks have foreclosed on up to 30,000 military personnel in potential violation of the law.

And in thousands of cases, documents required to transfer ownership of mortgages have been falsified. Lacking originals needed to foreclose, mortgage servicers drew up new ones, falsely signed by their own staff as employees of the original lenders – many of which no longer exist.

But the mortgage-foreclosure mess has yet to yield any federal prosecution against the big banks that are the major servicers of home loans.

The Justice Department doesn’t disclose pending investigations, making it impossible to say if criminal inquiries are underway. Officials in state attorneys’ general offices and lawyers in foreclosure cases say they have seen no signs of any other federal criminal investigation.

I’m sure it’s all politics, everything else at this Justice Department is.

It’s a massive new assault on Christmas across U.S.

If you thought attacks easing up, think again

a) In November this year, the Air Force Academy apologized for an email promoting Operation Christmas Child– a Christian-based charity and relief program providing more than 8 million holiday gifts to impoverished children in 100 countries around the world – after it was accused of religious intolerance.

God Bless us, everyone…Even poor kids. 🙂

“This is a proselytizing entity of Franklin Graham,” said Military Religious Freedom Foundation President Mikey Weinstein.

According to the report, Weinstein filed a grievance on behalf of 132 Academy personnel, including two sets of Muslim-American parents.

Bet you won’t here about poor kids getting the screw on the Ministry of Truth Media…

b) Across the country, Christmas lights, Christmas trees  and menorahs are banned in public areas.

Atheists and “free-thinkers” sue cities into submission, forcing removal of all things “Christ” on public property during the Christian holiday.

“I think people mistake tolerance for muzzling,” Andrew Walther, vice president of communications for Knights of Columbus, a group that has been at the forefront of the campaign to “Keep Christ in Christmas” for more than five decades, told WND. “The entire point of the First Amendment, to have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, is that we can practice our faith and we can speak publicly about things that matter to us.”

According to a new survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans agree and want to “keep Christ in Christmas.” A Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll of 1,026 adults found 64 percent of Americans favor a greeting of “Merry Christmas – an increase of three percent over last year – while 31 percent prefer “Happy Holidays and four percent are unsure.

And to be politically correct you wait until the other person says something so you know what is acceptable to say. 🙂

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have been banned from wishing constituents a “Merry Christmas” in official mailings paid for by tax dollars, according to a Dec. 12 memo. One Hill staffer told the Washington Examiner, “I called the commission to ask for clarification and was told no ‘Merry Christmas.'” , Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., have written a letter asking both Republican and Democrat members to insist that the rule be overturned.

“We are not celebrating winter this December,” the letter reads in part. “We are celebrating significant moments in two religions that have fundamentally shaped our nation – and as Members of Congress who represent thousands of constituents celebrating these holidays, we ask you to reconsider these outdated and restrictive rules.” Walsh told the paper the rule is an example of “political correctness run amok”: “It is outrageous that members can’t wish our constituents Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.”

“A group of Christmas carolers was thrown out of a U.S. Post Office in Silver Spring, MD, after the post office manager told them they were not allowed to sing Christmas carols on government property.”

“They were only a few notes into their carol when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a scowling postal manager rushing to confront the carolers,” JP Duffy, who was standing in a line with his wife and two-year-old daughter, told Fox News.

According to the report, the customers standing in line began to boo the postal worker as he ordered the carolers to leave.

In other parts of the world …

In Australia, three-year-old children at the Inner Sydney Montessori School in Sydney have been banned from singing about Jesus at their end-of-year sing-along. All references to the birth of Jesus Christ have been removed from their song sheets, according to London’s Daily Telegraph.

A London resident claims an inspector ordered him to remove Christmas decorations outside his family’s home, then demanded his birth certificate and photographed him. According to the London Evening Standard, the inspector said the lighted Christmas wreath on the front door was a fire hazard.

In a case of ultimate “war on Christmas” irony, the mayor of the Israeli town of Nazareth Illit has banned Christmas trees. At Christmas time last year, Mayor Shimon Gapso dubbed public display of the Christian symbol provocative and banned the trees from public areas. “Nazareth Illit is a Jewish city and it will not happen – not this year and not next year, so long as I am a mayor,” he told the AFP.

“I don’t really understand where the anti-Christmas fervor comes from, and I don’t think it’s a nod in the direction of tolerance to be quiet in the face of people who are calling for the banning of something most Americans celebrate,” Walther said. “Tolerance demands that we get to celebrate our holy day and talk about it and we don’t have to take that out of the public square or be quiet about it because it’s our constitutional right to do that.”

But Liberal “tolerance” is like Liberal “civility” just shut up and do as you are told by them and nothing else. Don’t even think about it.

Unnamed residents in Pittman, N.J., contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation – a group that boasts of dozens of legal “successes” in blocking school prayer and other Christian-oriented events and traditions – and complained about a Knights of Columbus banner hanging over a street that reads, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution. The foundation said it has asked the town to remove the sign. “It’s a group endorsing religion over a public right of way,” Andrew Seidel, the group’s constitutional consultant, told CBS.

Mayor Michael Batten said, “I think it’s a sad state of affairs that our country, we kowtow to the minority and not the majority of people who like that sort of thing to stay.”

 ‘Reason for the Season’

Because of the Christian implication, a flashing sign with the words “Remember the Reason for the Season” was removed from an electronic marquee outside Lincoln Southeast High School in Nebraska, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, contacted Principal Patrick Hunter-Pirtle, who instructed staff to remove the message.

“What ‘reason for the season’ leaps to your mind?” ACLU-Nebraska Executive Director Laurel Marsh asked a World-Herald reporter. “It would be very difficult to read that and not take it as a reference to Christianity. It’s a kind reference, a gentle reference, but nonetheless a reference.”

Atheists attack nativity

In Santa Monica, Calif., atheists complained about a 58-year tradition of displaying life-size paintings of the Nativity story at Palisades Park, the Los Angeles Times reported. They argued that the scene was a religious display in a public park, so they applied for space to share their anti-religion message.

Of the 21 park plots for displays, the atheists won 18 in a lottery overseen by the Santa Monica city attorney. The Nativity story typically spreads across 14 displays, but it had to be shortened to only three and crammed into two plots this year.

Patrick Elliott, a lawyer for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, told the Times a 58-year tradition is no justification for violating the limitations between church and state.

“Just because they’re long-standing doesn’t mean they’re right,” he said

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, called the Nativity scene a “territorial attempt by Christians to impose their beliefs in this season.”

But them imposing their “territorial attempt” is complete correct and righteous because after all, they are Liberals and they are so much better than the rest of us peasants and you should learn to bow down to your masters and do what they want when they want because they want without question.

“Nobody is out there preaching like these guys. They’re out there in a blatant attempt to try to stamp out religion and ruin people’s Christmas,” Loudon Country Supervisor Kenneth Reid said. “The atheist groups over the past two years have used it as an opportunity to try to ban everything. It’s no longer sufficient to be an atheist, they have to go out there and proactively try to deny and make sure other people don’t believe in God.”

And secularism is a main tenant of Communism and many Leftists these days.

“The whole thing is a separation of church and state issue,” Rick Wingrove, Virginia state director for American Atheists told ABCNews.com. “We’ve been accused of trying to destroy Christmas, and that could not be further from the truth. There’s no war on Christmas. If there were a war on Christmas, I would have gotten a memo.”

These numskulls have no idea what “separation of Church and State actually means” but then again, they did go to Liberal Socialist indoctrinating public schools most likely.

Like These:

Claudia Landeen School, a K-8 school in the Lincoln Unified School District, is prohibiting those items as a proactive step. According to the report, the school has received no complaints about the Christmas decorations.

Superintendent Tom Uslan told the TV station there are a “myriad of religious affiliations (at the school). We don’t want a pervasive theme of a class to represent one religious affiliation.”

A memo to teachers said they are still allowed to decorate with snowflakes and snowmen, which, according to the message, is “safe.” (aka politically correct)

In upstate New York, the Batavia City School District has declared that “Christmas and Hanukkah will no longer be celebrated in classrooms.”

According to WROC-TV, the district refused to allow holiday to be displayed in classrooms and teachers are discouraged from writing or saying “Merry Christmas.”

The Tyranny of The Minority and the Small minded Control freaky Left.

“I think it is punishing the majority to possibly help a very few,” said David Logan, a parent of a child at Molin Upper Elementary School. “I was raised by a Jewish mom, and I see no reason to ban the practice. Why hurt the majority for a few? Don’t you think they’ll understand?”
NO, THEY WON’T. They are Liberals. They want to control everyone and everything. So NO, they aren’t capable of understanding.
And besides, it’s not “fair”!! 🙂
So happy Winter everyone. It’s all you’ll have left (pun intended). 🙂
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

SEXIST! 🙂
And discriminatory against the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered!!!
And he’s probably a White guy too… 🙂
Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler
Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok