Friday, October 01, 2010
A criminal Justice Dept.
While commentators have sought to downplay the scandal over DOJ’s dismissal of the New Black Panther party voter-intimidation case, even the liberal media is becoming too embarrassed not to take notice of this injustice. That owes to last week’s explosive testimony by Christopher Coates, a decorated veteran lawyer and supervisor in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Defying attorney general Eric Holder — and thus at great professional risk to himself — Coates testified before the Civil Rights Commission last week. It is now abundantly clear why Holder and his minions have been so keen on blocking Coates’s compliance with the commission’s lawful subpoenas.
In hair-raising testimony that named names, Coates described the Obama-Holder Justice Department’s policy of racially biased civil-rights enforcement. In so doing, he corroborated the prior account of his fellow whistleblower, J. Christian Adams , who resigned from the department in order to comply with a commission subpoena. (Holder’s subordinates stopped him from cooperating with the investigation while he was under their thumb.) Both Coates and Adams assert that they came forward because the Obama administration’s policy flagrantly violates civil-rights law and the Constitution. Both also said that public statements and testimony by high-ranking DOJ officials about the Panthers and DOJ policy case have been false.
The department dismissed the Panthers case despite the fact that the government had already won it, due to the defendants’ contemptuous default. The dismissal occurred despite the fact that career prosecutors judged the case to be exceedingly strong. Nevertheless, Holder’s top staffers have maintained for months that the rationale for the dismissal was a good-faith disagreement between low-ranking civil servants (i.e., career prosecutors) about the correct construction of the Voting Rights Act.
To the contrary, it is now clear from the testimony of Coates and Adams, as well as from documents DOJ was compelled to disclose in a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, that Obama political appointees were heavily involved in ordering the dismissal and that they were being lobbied by left-wing activist groups. Indeed, Obama political appointee Steven Rosenbaum, the deputy assistant attorney general who is nominally responsible for the decision to dismiss the case, is said to have admitted to Coates that he never even read the case team’s memorandum about the legal and factual support for taking legal action against the Panthers.
A chain of communications finally pried from DOJ by Judicial Watch links Rosenbaum with even higher ranking political appointees. These include deputy associate attorney general Sam Hirsch (a former Obama campaign operative who has pushed for the race-based Balkanization of Hawaii); Hirsch’s boss, Thomas Perez, the associate attorney general (DOJ’s No. 3 official); and David Ogden, who was deputy attorney general (the No. 2 post at Justice) when the front office, contrary to its repeated claims, was deliberating over the Panthers case. Also almost certainly in the loop is Holder himself. Besides the fact that the Panthers controversy inside his department was something he’d naturally have been interested in and briefed on, the Judicial Watch disclosures indicate that talking points about the Panthers dismissal were prepared for the attorney general at some unspecified point.
The dismissal of the Panthers case and the dissembling over it are damning, but they pale in importance when compared with evidence that DOJ hews to a policy of racially discriminatory enforcement of the civil-rights laws. In short, the policy holds that if the victims are white and the offenders are from minority groups, the department refuses to bring cases.
This is beyond outrageous. If there were evidence that a Republican-controlled Justice Department were engaged in the kind of abuses that appear to be going on here, the media would long ago have demanded a full accounting from the White House that proclaims itself “the most transparent administration in history.” Democrats would already be preparing impeachment hearings.
The Constitution guarantees all Americans equal protection under the law. The civil-rights laws, moreover, make it a crime for government officials to deprive “any person” — not any black or minority person, but any person, period — of “any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” It is a grave violation of law for the Justice Department to practice racial discrimination in deciding which cases it will bring, to determine that Americans of one race or class are not entitled to the same protection as all Americans.
That’s not just politicization of the Justice Department. It is criminalization of the Justice Department. Under the Constitution, it is Congress’s obligation to stop it. The current Congress obviously won’t do its duty. Americans will strongly support congressional candidates who pledge to right that wrong.
A Warning to America from the Future
Sometimes it takes an outsider to put everything clearly into perspective. Daniel Hannan, a British member of the European Parliament, has a warning for America. Appearing on FOX News, Hannan asked Sean Hannity if he was familiar with the work of H.G. Wells’ Time Machine. Channeling the classic, Hannan said, “There’s a moment where a guy comes from the future, and he comes running out and he says, ‘Don’t do it! You’re making a terrible mistake. Don’t follow me!’ Well, think of me as that man.”
Hannan continued, warning all Americans, “I’ve been 11 years in the European Parliament, so I’ve seen it firsthand the kind of model towards which your current administration is taking you: European health care, European day care, European social security, European welfare, European unemployment, and believe me, you’re not going to like it.”
George Santayana once wrote that “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, it appears that Europe’s experiment in socialism has escaped the attention of policymakers in Washington. Hannan says that he hopes the Obama Administration “will look at the European model and learn from our mistakes.”
But he’s not hopeful. “The bits of Europe that are most obviously failing — the welfare system, the high spending — are the bits that you’re copying.” He’s right. ObamaCare. “Stimulus.” State bailouts. The centralization of the financial sector. Crippling entitlement obligations. High unemployment.
America is beginning to live through the European experience. And it’s not pretty. That’s why Hannan authored The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America, just released on September 28th. Inspired by F.A. Hayek’s classic, The Road to Serfdom, Hannan is hoping to catch the American people’s attention — before it is too late.
Speaking on Hannity, the author diagnoses the basic problem facing Western civilization: “We are deeply indebted… We have both been pursuing the option of trying to inflate away our debt. And that matters more than almost anything else.”
Hannan is spot on. The nation’s $13.4 trillion debt, coupled with efforts to print money to pay it off, threatens to bury the future prosperity of all Americans. The annual sale of treasuries represents a tremendous misallocation of resources away from other productive sectors of the economy. Instead of investing in new businesses and creating jobs, over $1 trillion is being put into government debt every year.
Making matters worse, the U.S. is on the wrong side of the debt curve. Whereas Keynesian thinkers believe that deficit-spending can help a nation during a time of recession, it appears the U.S. has reached the limits of that principle. A recent study by Carmen M. Reinhart of the University of Maryland and Kenneth S. Rogoff of Harvard University found that “median growth rates for countries with public debt over 90 percent of GDP are roughly one percent lower than otherwise; average (mean) growth rates are several percent lower.”
That’s important because the 90 percent threshold of debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is exactly where the current U.S. national debt is. As noted the House Ways & Means Committee Republicans, “the total debt for Fiscal Year 2010 will reach $13.6 trillion, or 93.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product.” By 2012, the International Monetary Fund reports the U.S. national debt will reach 100 percent of the GDP.
But it’s even worse than that. Not only is public debt crowding out the private sector, it threatens to increase the cost of government in just a few short years. Moody’s has warned that when interest owed reaches 18 to 20 percent of revenue, the nation would be in line for a credit downgrade. We’re pretty much there, and will reach that range by 2018. According to the Congressional Budget Office, interest owed on the debt will rise from $244 billion in 2011 to $755 billion in 2018.
Hannan is concerned about these trends, and worries about its global implications. “The U.S. isn’t just a nation unlike any other, it is the embodiment of an ideal. We’re all involved in the success of America. And if we see the U.S. becoming poorer, less democratic, less free, then that’s everybody’s problem.”
He’s right. Hannan has seen firsthand what too much spending has done to nations like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Spain. The impact has been devastating. And still U.S. politicians have said almost nothing about the same thing happening here, nor have they presented any plan to prevent it from occurring.
What will the implications be for liberty around the world should the U.S. fail to meet its financial obligations? The consequences could be devastating unless action is taken now.
Hopefully, Hannan’s warning will be heard by the American people, who will in turn demand leaders of both political parties to address the unbridled expansion of government into every facet of life — before it’s too late. As Hannan warned all Americans, “Until you get sanity and order back to your public finances, everything else is secondary.”
Tea-Party Movement Gathers Strength
The tea party has emerged as a potent force in American politics and a center of gravity within the Republican Party, with a large majority of Republicans showing an affinity for the movement that has repeatedly bucked the GOP leadership this year, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found.
In the survey, 71% of Republicans described themselves as tea-party supporters, saying they had a favorable image of the movement or hoped tea- party candidates would do well in the Nov. 2 elections.
Already, the tea-party movement has helped to oust a number of incumbents and candidates backed by party leaders in this year's GOP primaries amid complaints that they lacked commitment to small-government principles. The poll findings suggest that the rising influence of the movement, with its push to cut spending and oppose the Democratic agenda, will drive the GOP to become more conservative and less willing to seek common ground on policy.
"These are essentially conservative Republicans who are very ticked-off people," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.
The poll found that tea-party supporters make up one-third of the voters most likely to cast ballots in November's midterm elections. This showed the movement "isn't a small little segment, but it is a huge part of what's driving 2010," Mr. Hart said.
The GOP now holds a three-point edge, 46% to 43%, when likely voters are asked which party they would prefer to control Congress. That is down from a nine-point Republican lead a month ago.
Still, Republicans retain major advantages, including a fired-up base. Two-thirds of GOP voters say they are intensely interested in the election, compared with about half of Democrats, suggesting that Republican voters are more likely to turn out at the polls.
The tea party is a major driver of the so-called enthusiasm gap, with three-quarters of supporters saying they are intensely interested in the election.
President Barack Obama's ratings remain low, with 46% of Americans approving of his job performance. Half of Americans have a negative view of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, compared with 22% taking a positive view.
The findings show how the tea-party movement has grown over the past two years from a loose confederation of activist groups into a marquee brand within the GOP that has upended a number of primaries in recent months.
The survey showed that tea-party supporters are interested in protesting "business as usual" in Washington. The most popular issue motivating them is cutting government spending and debt, followed by reducing the size of government.
Report: Marriage rate at new low: "The recession seems to be socking Americans in the heart as well as the wallet: Marriages have hit an all-time low while pleas for food stamps have reached a record high and the gap between rich and poor has grown to its widest ever. The long recession technically ended in mid-2009, economists say, but US Census data released yesterday show the painful, lingering effects. The annual survey covers all of last year, when unemployment skyrocketed to 10 percent, and the jobless rate is still a stubbornly high 9.6 percent. The figures also show that Americans on average have been spending 36 fewer minutes in the office per week and are stuck in traffic a bit less. But that is hardly good news, either. The reason is largely that people have lost jobs or are scraping by with part-time work.”
GOP pledge beats Democrats’ delays: "The House Republicans’ ‘Pledge to America’ calls for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all; a rollback of government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels; ’strict budget caps;’ an end to the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the rest of the Obama stimulus package. What’s not to like? Having been asked what they would do differently if they ran the House, the Republicans came up with an answer. Meanwhile, the Democrats run the House, but they are not acting as if they are in charge. They haven’t passed a budget. They’re putting off a vote to extend all or some of the Bush tax cuts until after the Nov. 2 election. They’re acting like lame ducks before they become lame ducks. They can’t seem to get much of anything done, except deflect attention from their fecklessness to gaps in the GOP pledge.”
Viva Colombia!: "When Juan Manuel Santos came into office as Colombia’s president and emphasized economic issues over the fight against terrorist guerrillas, he was suspected of going soft on those he had combated as minister of defense under the previous administration. Little did his critics know that he was planning the ‘coup de grace’ against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The devastating Sept. 22 attack on FARC headquarters in Colombia’s central Meta province all but signifies the end of the five-decade-old conflict.”
Time as a price: "Canadian emergency rooms are infamous for their long wait times. A recent study has shown that in most of them the average wait time exceeds 6 hours and sometimes reaches up to 23 hours. While some call for action in reducing these extremely high figures by increasing the supply of healthcare services, others try to present the situation as, in principle, an unavoidable fact of life. Both of these arguments are missing the target.”
Absurd prosecution in Florida: "A Miami federal prosecutor was arrested Sunday afternoon at a local bar after a young girl and her mother accused him of being indecent when he went swimming in his boxers at the establishment’s pool overlooking the Miami River and downtown. Sean Cronin, 35, was charged with two misdemeanors — lewd and lascivious exhibition and nonviolent obstruction of justice — by a Miami police officer as he tried to leave Finnegan’s River, 401 SW Third Ave., according to an arrest affidavit. Cronin, a Boston native who was watching the New England Patriots game on the big-screen TV at the outdoor bar, decided to go swimming in his boxer shorts. The girl and her mother were at the pool.”
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Posted by JR at 12:55 AM