Extortion: Radical Democrat activist groups stand to collect millions from Attorney General Eric Holder’s record $17 billion deal to settle alleged mortgage abuse charges against Bank of America.
Buried in the fine print of the deal, which includes $7 billion in soft-dollar consumer relief, are a raft of political payoffs to Obama constituency groups. In effect, the government has ordered the nation’s largest bank to create a massive slush fund for Democrat special interests.
Besides requiring billions in debt forgiveness payments to delinquent borrowers in Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago and other Democrat strongholds — and up to $500 million to cover personal taxes owed on those checks — the deal requires BofA to make billions in new loans, while also building affordable low-income rental housing in those areas.
In effect, lenders are bankrolling the same parasites that bled them for the risky loans that caused the mortgage crisis. With new cash, they can ramp back up their shakedown campaign, repeating the cycle of dangerous political lending that wrecked the economy.
These settlements have little, if anything, to do with “justice” or restitution for innocent victims. In its 30-page “statement of facts,” Justice couldn’t provide a single shred of evidence of fraud against BofA. Nor could it ID a single “victim” by name.
The attorney general is actually perverting justice by extorting billions of dollars from the largest banks in the country and giving it away to the president’s political friends and favorite political causes.
“Mark Zuckerberg is a techie wiz who got lucky one day” — they say while using for free a remarkable achievement created by Zuckerberg (and his talented team).
This is the same parasitical mentality the pirates music and movies, that loots corporations to support third-world dungeons, that agitates for a “living wage,” that compels those who make money to pay fo…r their “free” education, that credits God (but not the doctors) for a successful operation, that announces to the world: “You didn’t build that.”
What surprises me is the good people who remain silent in the face of such spiritual shoplifting. The formula is simple: If you want Creators in your midst, then defend them — give them the credits and rewards they have earned. — Voltaire Press
“Life in Gaza is miserable now, but if Israel is permitted to prevail, circumstances can improve markedly. U.S.- and Canadian-trained security forces of the Palestinian Authority can take over key crossings and patrol Gaza’s porous border with Egypt. Rather than be funneled into Hamas’s war chest, international aid can be transferred directly to the civilian population to repair war damage and stimulate economic growth. Terrorist groups and their state patrons …can be put on notice: The game has changed unalterably.
And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza — with all the pain it entails — the United States and its allies will be safeguarding their own. Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.”
Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011. Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.
“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries. There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.
“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents. It appears now that was an empty promise. Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies. Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone. This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner. The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials. It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) added, “In the course of the Committee’s investigation, the Administration repeatedly claimed we were getting access to all relevant IRS documents. Only now - thirteen months into the investigation – the IRS reveals that key emails from the time of the targeting have been lost. And they bury that fact deep in an unrelated letter on a Friday afternoon. In that same letter, they urge Congress to end the investigations into IRS wrongdoing. This is not the transparency promised to the American people. If there is no smidgeon of corruption what is the Administration hiding?”
More like deleted.
I wonder what would happen if a citizen told the IRS that all their records were lost in a computer crash? Shame the IRS never heard of making backups. Perhaps they used the computer consultants in charge of running the Obamacare website. Or, perhaps the NSA will have them!
The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.
The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.
Eric Stahl, who recently retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force, served as commander and pilot of the C-17 aircraft that was used to transport the corpses of the four casualties from the Benghazi attacks – then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – as well as the assault’s survivors from Tripoli to the safety of an American military base in Ramstein, Germany.
In an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack…who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”
Stahl also contended that given his crew’s alert status and location, they could have reached Benghazi in time to have played a role in rescuing the victims of the assault, and ferrying them to safety in Germany, had they been asked to do so. “We were on a 45-day deployment to Ramstein air base,” he told Fox News. “And we were there basically to pick up priority missions, last-minute missions that needed to be accomplished.”
“You would’ve thought that we would have had a little bit more of an alert posture on 9/11,” Stahl added. “A hurried-up timeline probably would take us [an] hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could’ve gone down there and gotten them easily.”
As Snowden told Brian Williams on NBC later that night and Snowden’s lawyer told me the next morning, he would have no chance whatsoever to come home and make his case – in public or in court.
Snowden would come back home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden’s chance of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment).
More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they’re saying.
John Kerry’s challenge to Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy. Either way, nothing excuses Kerry’s slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Bill Frezza revives the Gibson Guitars case in a piece published in Forbes. The whole affair stands as an appalling example of the law run amok. The owners believe they suffered heavy-handed treatment from the feds due to the “protectionist” interests of labor unions and environmentalists. But when the law can be warped to satisfy the whim of any bureaucrat or power-holder, that’s not protectionism, that’s tyranny. More specifically, the Gibson Guitars case epitomizes the tyranny of non-objective law.
While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.
Up until that point Gibson had not received so much as a postcard telling the company it might be doing something wrong. Thus began a five-year saga, extensively covered by the press, with reputation-destroying leaks and shady allegations that Gibson was illegally importing wood from endangered tree species. In the end, formal charges were never filed, but the disruption to Gibson’s business and the mounting legal fees and threat of imprisonment induced Juszkiewicz to settle for $250,000—with an additional $50,000 “donation” piled on to pay off an environmental activist group.
You can read the rest here.
Cliven Bundy is in the wrong. He is nevertheless a sympathetic figure, and the concerns raised by the standoff in Nevada transcend the illegality of his conduct.
Lincoln’s speech [addressing Congress on July 4, 1861, Lincoln defended his suspension of the writ] does justify law-breaking in extraordinary circumstances. I’d construe his argument as follows: Even if what I have done is unlawful, it was necessary because it was done for the higher purpose of preserving the system that protects our liberties—under dire circumstances where violating the law was more faithful to the Constitution than obeying it would have been.
The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.
The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers.If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.
When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion.” And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.
After blocking a Google bus and protesting outside the company’s head of e-discovery in San Francisco’s Mission district this morning – but before rallying 300 people in a planned protest outside the sites of attempted evictions — organizer Fred Sherburn-Zimmer sat down at Borderlands Cafe for a cinnamon roll.
Sherburn-Zimmer — who works at the Housing Rights Committee, is a member of the Heart of the City art and politics collective and regularly speaks at the rallies she organizes — said the past couple of weeks marked a turning point.
“You’re going to see fewer Google bus protests,” she said. “We’ll be doing other actions. We’ll be more targeted. We’ll take it to [housing speculators'] offices. We’ll take it to their homes. There are times when we’ll physically blockade people inside a building [if the sheriff is coming to evict tenants].”
Will there be violence?
“I can’t predict where the movement will go, but we’ll do whatever tenants need to do to win,” she said.
“These people are dangerous and must be stopped. Will the police uphold law & order? Or—misinterpreting the First Amendment—will they allow mob violence? What will it take to make sure they protect people who are under attack? We need to discuss and debate it like civilized people. Threats and intimidation tactics must be stopped, and everyone should recognize that anyone who employs those tactics is thereby removed from the discussion.” — J. Crawford
You’ve compared loyalty to a political party to recreational drug use. You’ve been sober for several years now, so what did you mean by that? I find them both highly overrated. Each day another state makes it O.K. for my 18-year-old — any 18-year-old — to go and buy pot like he’s buying a Pepsi-Cola, and so let’s face it: In the United States, recreational drug use is sort of acceptable. Belonging to one party is acceptable. But my days of just ticking the party box are long over. I judge the candidates for who they are.
So what do you believe? My thing is personal freedoms, freedoms for the individual to love whom they want, do with what they want. In fact, I want the government out of almost everything.
Daniel Greenfield commenting on the Mozilla (makers of the Firefox browser) CEO who was fired in The Left Isn’t Pro-Gay — It’s Pro-Power | FrontPage Magazine:
The left does not care about gay marriage. In most left-wing regimes, homosexuality was persecuted. It was illegal in the USSR. Gay men were locked up in Cuba and are still targeted in China. Nicolas Maduro, the current hero of the left, openly uses homophobic language without any criticism from his Western admirers. It goes without saying that homosexuality is criminalized throughout the Muslim world.
Engels viewed homosexuality as a perversion born out of the bourgeois way of life that would be eliminated under socialism. The Revolutionary Communist Party of the United States stated that homosexuality “is a product of the decay of capitalism” and vowed that once the revolution took place, a “struggle will be waged to eliminate it and reform homosexuals.”
The left’s shift on this issue, as on many issues, was purely tactical. The left’s leading lights were racists who jumped into civil rights. They were sexists who became feminists. They were advocates for the working class who despised the idea of working for a living.
The culture war does not emerge from the left’s deeply held beliefs. Its leaders could care less about the things that they pretend to care about. It emerges instead from the need to maintain a constant state of domestic conflict.
Every gang needs to hurt and terrorize people in order to feel its power. [...] The purpose of these purges is not to make the country more tolerant, but to make it more afraid. The message of the Eich purge is not, “accept gay marriage,” it’s “don’t question us.” As many have pointed out, Eich had the same view of gay marriage at the time he made that donation as Obama and Hillary.[...]
The left is a totalitarian movement that inverts everything it touches. It fights against poverty by making more men poor. It helps black people by keeping them down, and it promotes tolerance through displays of intolerance. Its endgame is simply raw power. It wants as much of it as it can get its hands on.
The left constantly takes stands, but it believes in nothing. Like all totalitarian movements, it worships at the feet of the bronze bull of power. It believes in the virtue of its outrage, the might of its rhetoric and the pleasure of trampling an enemy underfoot. Every one of its beliefs are baseless and expendable in the name of its true god of power.
The right has sold its moral birthright in the hopes of being tolerated by a movement with no morals or beliefs except in the virtue of its own intolerance. It strategically embraces the left’s ideas and hopes that this process will eventually lead to a truce.
It can’t and it won’t.
The left does not hate the right because of gay marriage. It does not hate the right because it thinks that the right is racist, sexist, transphobic, semaphoric or plasmatic. It hates the right because it is not of the left. The right stands in the way of its absolute power. These two things are enough to be hated.
Writes Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries in I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society – WSJ.com:
[...] The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.
More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. “The natural progress of things,” Jefferson wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) [...]
Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:
Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.
Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.
If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.