Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
With only days left before Election Day, the FBI has taken the unprecedented step of announcing it is opening an investigation into and incident that happened when GOP candidate Mike Rounds was governor of South Dakota. This is based on an incident that is three years old and has already been investigated by other authorities.
The announcement by the FBI seems calculated to cast doubt on Rounds’ character in what looks to be an election that is much closer than anyone anticipated. While the FBI has announced the investigation, they have pointedly declined to say what, exactly they are investigating, or who is the target.
There is no way an FBI apparatchik is going to confirm an investigation is underway, one that potentially involves a candidate for Senate who will more likely than not win, shortly before election day without approval from the highest levels in the administration. No functionary in any agency is ballsy enough to do that especially when they are under no legal obligation to say anything.
This is just another of the cheap, political tricks we’ve learned to expect from an administration that holds both the truth and the law in contempt. One of the first orders of business in a new Congress has to be gaining control of a regulatory and bureaucratic apparatus that Obama has placed in the service of the Democrat party.
Democrats are using racial ads intended to stoke racial strife with images of Ferguson and Trayvon Martin
Eric Holder knew the “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot” meme was false on the day the scheme team was selling it. Eric Holder and President Obama knew the “execution style” shot to the head was false, on the day the scheme team was selling it.
Obama/Holder knew about the TWO SHOTS in the car, the Mike Brown blood on Officer Wilson, the injuries to Wilson, the gunshot wound to Big Mike’s hand, and Obama/Holder knew of the eight African American corroborating witness statements which supported Officer Wilson.
They knew all of this on 8/18/14 as they watched the Scheme Team on TV.
Yet what did they do to stop Ferguson Missouri from burning, looting and chaos?
Now ask yourself…. “WHY” ?
What was the benefit to Obama by watching events spiral out of control – yet knowing there is no factual basis for the underlying anger and outrage?
Seeing the DNC specifically use the manufactured Ferguson outrage as a political tool for the 2014 election – the motive behind the Obama strategic decision not to diminish the rage is crystal clear.
The Department of Justice and its underlings (the FBI and nearyl every law enforcement agency in the nation) have turned the ideal of asset forfeiture (defund drug dealers; return money to the defrauded, etc.) into a free-roaming, many-tentacled opportunistic beast, one that “liberates” any amount of “suspicious” cash from tourists, legitimate business owners or anyone else who just happens to have “too much” cash in their possession.
The IRS is in on this as well. The agency doesn’t need to prove anyone is guilty of anything before seizing assets. It just needs to feel that things aren’t quite right.
For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.
The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.
The person whose money has been seized isn’t necessarily guilty of anything. Hinders hasn’t been arrested, nor does there appear to be any sort of ongoing investigation. The IRS hasn’t hit Hinders with tax liens for unpaid taxes or subjected her to an audit. All it did was look at records for her deposits and decide that because none of them surpassed the $10,000 mark (which triggers automatic reporting), everything in the account must be somehow illegal.
Civil forfeiture is an in rem proceeding against the property itself, not the owner of property. Civil forfeiture is a process that is separated from, and not dependent on, a criminal prosecution. Civil forfeiture can proceed administratively or judicially.
Hinders never needs to be charged. In fact, she never needs to be heard from again. The IRS can seize and hold this money indefinitely and decide whether or not the $33,000 is “guilty” without any input from Hinders. To opportunistic agents, any sub-$10,000 deposit is “evidence” that the depositer is deliberately avoiding reporting requirements, rather doing so for any number of more mundane, less criminal reasons.
Anyone nailed by an IRS seizure can fight for the return of their money, but there’s nothing resembling due process here. Those choosing to do so would have to file a lawsuit intervening in the IRS’s forfeiture case. In other words, the situation must be forced. Simply showing up and defending money from accusations of wrongdoing isn’t enough. In fact, it isn’t even a possibility, at least not in this case. Prosecutors for the Dehko case offered the them a “deal:” an implicit admission of guilt via a plea bargain (presumably on behalf of the guilty money) and the return of 20% of the seized funds.
You Can’t Vote Out National Security Bureaucrats: And They, Not Elected Officials, Really Run The Show
A year ago, we noted a rather odd statement from President Obama, concerning some of the Snowden leaks. He more or less admitted that with each new report in the press, he then had to go ask the NSA what it was up to. That seemed somewhat concerning to us — suggesting that the administration wasn’t actually aware of what the NSA was up to until after it leaked to the press. Combine that with our more recent story of how James Clapper is basically ignoring the substance of President Obama’s called for surveillance reforms, and you might begin to wonder who really runs the show when it comes to surveillance. And, indeed, according to a guy who knows quite well, the national security bureaucracy basically calls the shots, and the President has little to no power. That’s the basic summary of an interview with Michael Glennon under the title Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change in the Boston Globe.
Glennon is the author of a new book called National Security and Double Government, as summarized by the Boston Globe:
Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.
Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.
Republican leaders with jurisdiction over immigration policy are expressing shock at an Obama administration memo detailing plans to bring non-citizen Ebola patients to the United States for treatment.
“It’s alarming that senior Obama Administration officials so vehemently denied the existence of any plans to transport non-U.S. citizens infected with Ebola to the United States for treatment when a leaked State Department document shows that such a proposal indeed exists and was approved by Obama Administration officials,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, this lack of transparency is just another example of the Obama Administration trying to hide its actions from the American people,” he added.
Earlier in the week Fox News obtained an internal Obama administration memo revealing plans to “[c]ome to an agreed State Department position on the extent to which non-U.S. citizens will be admitted to the United States for treatment of Ebola Virus Disease.”
Prior to the revelation of the memo Goodlatte wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asking about possible plans to bring Ebola non-citizen patients to the U.S. for treatment.
“Secretaries Kerry and Johnson still have not responded to my letter inquiring about this proposal,” Goodlatte said. “The Obama Administration must be forthcoming with both Congress and the American people about its proposed plans to bring non-U.S. citizens infected with this deadly disease to the United States for medical care.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee also stressed that the Ebola non-citizens patients should not be brought to the U.S. for treatment.
“Federal government health professionals have stated that the best way to fight the Ebola virus from coming to the United States is to stop it at the source. That means in West Africa, not here in U.S. communities,” Grassley said Wednesday. “The Obama administration memo describing possible efforts to skirt the immigration laws and fast track the admission of people with Ebola fails to consider the risk to Americans and adds to the absurd refusal of the President to institute common sense travel restrictions that would better protect the homeland.”
Despite the concerns, the State Department attempted to brush the matter aside Wednesday by claiming that the memo is “weeks old.”
“The leader of Syria who slaughtered 150,000 people was not awarded the name “chickens**t,” Bennett wrote on Facebook. “Neither was the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and homosexuals or the leader of Iran who murders freedom protesters.”
“The prime minister of Israel is not a private person. He is the leader of the Jewish state and the entire Jewish people. Cursing the prime minister and calling him names is an insult not just to him but to the millions of Israeli citizens and Jews across the globe,” Bennett wrote.
An official in the prime minister’s office told Israel Radio Wednesday in response to the criticism that Netanyahu “will continue to stand for Israeli interests, and no pressure will change this.”
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel’s NRG news site, “It’s ridiculous and even sad that senior Obama administration officials vilify and curse the prime minister with sayings that they never used against mass murderers like Assad and others. Expressions like these play into the hands of Islamic extremism which draws strength from them.”
Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in the piece that, “Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’ (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)”
The chicken reference related to Netanyahu’s perceived unwillingness to reach a peace accommodation with Palestinians and that he never launched a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Goldberg wrote.
“He’s got no guts,” the unnamed senior official said.
Describing Netanyahu as cowardly prompted conservative commentators and others to unflatteringly compare the Israeli leader — a former Israeli Defense Forces commando — with President Barack Obama.
Roger L. Simon of P.J. Media observed, “Never mind for a moment the absurdity of an (of course anonymous) Obama official calling the Israeli PM a coward when Netanyahu has been personally under fire in two wars, volunteering for the second after having been wounded by a gun shot in the first (his brother, as many will remember, was killed during the raid on Entebbe — both Netanyahus were in Sayeret Matkal [IDF counterterrorism unit]) at approximately the time the official’s boss Barry was lulling on a balmy Hawaiian beach smoking ‘choom’ with his gang.”
Others pointed out the very different treatment given by the White House to Islamist rulers accused of supporting terrorism.
The left’s operational concept of freedom is that you are allowed to do and say what you like—so long as you stay within a certain proscribed window of socially acceptable deviation. The purpose of the gay marriage campaign is simply to change the parameters of that window, extending it to include the gay, the queer, the transgendered—and to exclude anyone who thinks that homosexuality is a sin or who wants to preserve the traditional concept of marriage. Those people are declared outside the protection of the law and in fact will have the full weight of the law bear down upon them until they recant their socially unacceptable views.
The point is not whether you agree about which views are or should be socially acceptable. The point is that this is not a concept of freedom. It’s a regime of state-controlled ideas, softened by an amorphous zone of official tolerance.
That’s the only reason I’m interested in this controversy. My own stance on gay marriage can be summed as: “whatever.” I would feel no need to say anything about it, if not for the insistence on the part of gay marriage advocates that any dissenters must be forced to submit.
My interest is in protecting the freedom to say and do things that the mainstream finds repugnant. I’ve got a few of my own out-of-the-mainstream views, and I hope you do, too. I would not want to live in a society where all such dissenters are forced to conform.
When you think about it, there is something twisted, something deeply illiberal, about using the occasion of your own wedding to force someone else to comply with your social orthodoxy. For advocates of gay rights, I think I understand the source of this compulsion. As someone on Facebook put it to me, “Forcing ministers to marry you is the end zone dance of the culture wars.” That just about sums it up. It’s not enough to get the courts to recognize gay marriage. You also have to coerce the very opponents of gay marriage into going through the motions of supporting it. It’s even more delicious when you can do it in Coeur D’Alene, in Idaho for crying out loud. Take that, you knuckle-dragging redneck bigots!
This is a barbaric concept of victory. They’ve won the battle, and now the defeated enemy must be paraded in chains through the streets and forced to kneel before the emperor.
The fans poured into the bleachers on a Friday night, erupting in “Let’s go, Redskins!” chants that echoed across a new field of artificial turf, glowing green against a vast dun-colored landscape.
Inside the Red Mesa High School locker room, Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” blared on the stereo as players hurried to strap on their helmets and gather for a pregame prayer and pep talk.
“This is your time, right?” the team’s assistant coach demanded.
“Yes, sir!” the players shouted. “Redskins on three! Redskins on three! One, two, three, Redskins!”
The scene at this tiny, remote high school was as boisterous as it was remarkable: Nearly everyone on the field and in the bleachers belongs to the Navajo Nation. Most of the people in Red Mesa not only reject claims that their team’s nickname is a slur, they have emerged as a potent symbol in the heated debate over the name of the more widely known Redskins — Washington’s NFL team. More than half the school’s 220 students eagerly accepted free tickets from the team for an Oct. 12 game near Phoenix, where they confronted Native American protesters who were there to condemn Washington’s moniker.
None of that mattered to the Red Mesa Redskins as they marched onto the field for their game against the Lobos of Many Farms High School. It was homecoming, and the players knew they needed to keep winning if they wanted to make their first appearance in the state playoffs in five years.
Red Mesa students, parents and alumni stamped the bleachers, clutching signs that read “Fear the Spear” and “Redskin Nation.”
In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.
Democratic FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel announced plans to begin the process to win regulations on Internet-based campaigns and videos, currently free from most of the FEC’s rules. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” she said.
The power play followed a deadlocked 3-3 vote on whether an Ohio anti-President Obama Internet campaign featuring two videos violated FEC rules when it did not report its finances or offer a disclosure on the ads. The ads were placed for free on YouTube and were not paid advertising.
Under a 2006 FEC rule, free political videos and advocacy sites have been free of regulation in a bid to boost voter participation in politics. Only Internet videos that are placed for a fee on websites, such as the Washington Examiner, are regulated just like normal TV ads.
Ravel’s statement suggests that she would regulate right-leaning groups like America Rising that posts anti-Democrat YouTube videos on its website.
FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. He added that funny internet campaigns like “Obama Girl,” and “Jib Jab” would also face regulations.
“I told you this was coming,” he told Secrets. Earlier this year he warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative Internet sites like the Drudge Report.
A top Department of Veterans Affairs official involved in the falsification of patient wait times was fired Friday, the first to be ousted under a new law meant to speed the removal of agency executives for misconduct or poor performance.
James Talton, former director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, was officially removed for neglect of duty, according to a press release from the agency.
Talton is no longer being paid. He has one week to appeal the termination to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which will then have 21 days to uphold or reverse the decision.
Talton is the first to be fired under a law signed in August giving the VA secretary greater discretion to fire or discipline members of the Senior Executive Service, the top tier of agency management. The law was passed in the wake of a national scandal over falsified waiting lists used to hide long delays in care.