A laugh at a graveside 3

Janet Reno has died. President Bill Clinton’s attorney-general.

Her obituary in the Washington Post provides comic relief in a time of acute anxiety on the eve of the presidential election that will decide the suicide or survival of Western civilization.

Now as we discuss the obit, please don’t let’s lose sight of what the Democratic Party claims it is all about. Compassion, isn’ it? Championing underdogs – they being Women (poor pathetic creatures), Blacks (picture the victims of the KKK – Oh no, wait! the KKK were all Democrats), illegal immigrants and convicted criminals (both of which classes of persons are universally assumed to be staunch supporters of the Democrats without this being considered any cause for embarrassment).

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Janet Reno, the strong-minded Florida prosecutor tapped by Bill Clinton to become the country’s first female U.S. attorney general, and who shaped the U.S. government’s responses to the largest legal crises of the 1990s, died Nov. 7 at her home in Miami. She was 78.

“Strong-minded”? That’s nice. (I’m strong-minded; you have to get your way; she’s an obstinate martinet.)

Ms. Reno brought a fierce independence to her job.

Have you noticed how people described as “independent” are always said to be “fiercely” so by sloppy writers? Well, in the case of Reno, it may be the right adverb after all.

Now it starts getting rich.

Her supporters believed she brought a heightened level of integrity and professionalism to the attorney general’s office. They admired her insistence on legal exactitude from her employees and praised her caution in prosecutions.

For these alleged qualities, then, she is praised: integrity, legal exactitude, and caution.

“She was a very powerful force for lawfulness,” said Walter E. Dellinger III, a Duke University law professor who served as solicitor general during Ms. Reno’s tenure. “She was always challenging to make sure there was a sound legal basis for what people were doing. And she was adamant about separating the department from politics.”

Was she then universally admired? No.

Business leaders criticized her lengthy prosecution of Microsoft on charges of anti-competitive violations — a case that ultimately ended in a settlement under the George W. Bush administration.

Reno’s DOJ hounded Microsoft as envious competitors tried to bring government in to hobble the company. (See here and here. And this is from the Conclusion of an article in The Independent Review: “It appears that once again the Justice Department is using the antitrust laws to thwart competition by a highly successful American firm. To protect unsuccessful competitors, it is squelching competition.”)  The final settlement, reached after an appeal, did not concede the punitive demands of Reno’s DOJ.

That was a case that may illustrate her fierceness, but is integrity demonstrated by relentlessness?  

What of her “legal exactitude”.

Civil libertarians took Ms. Reno to task for her handling of the espionage case against former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Wen Ho Lee, who was held in solitary confinement for nine months after being charged with mishandling nuclear secrets, only to be released on a lesser charge. Even Clinton said he was troubled by the case; Ms. Reno refused to apologize.

It’s beginning to look as if “integrity” as applied to Janet Reno is a euphemism for “obstinacy”, and “legal exactitude” for “authoritarian”.     

Republicans criticized her bitterly for pandering to the Clinton White House — she refused, for instance, to launch an independent investigation into whether Vice President Al Gore illegally fundraised from the White House during the 1996 Clinton-Gore reelection campaign. …

Ms. Reno remained in office longer than any other attorney general of the 20th century, and won high marks outside the capital for her plain-spoken manner and folksiness: her preference for kayaking on the Potomac River to hobnobbing on Washington’s cocktail circuit; her oft-told childhood stories from the Everglades, with a mother who wrestled alligators; and her home in Florida with a family of peacocks, all named Horace.

More euphemisms? “Plain-spoken manner” for “aggressive tactlessness”? “Oft-told … ” meaning she was a bore?

A self-described “awkward old maid” who stood nearly 6-foot-2, Ms. Reno  … had no children …

But –

… drew praise from Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund and a friend of Hillary Clinton. Edelman reportedly admired Ms. Reno’s aggressive prosecution of child abusers and child-support cases. …

Protecting children would remain a focus of Ms. Reno’s career. …

Let’s keep that in mind. Also that the obituarist notes her “reaching out to black and Latino residents”.

All in line with Democratic Party ideology.

But now we come to the hub of the story of Janet Reno.

Within a month of her appointment, Ms. Reno confronted a case that colleagues said would define the rest of her career: the standoff with followers of self-proclaimed prophet David Koresh at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex.

Incautiously, indeed for no good reason whatsoever – some false rumors of illegal guns, some bad-mouthing by a former member, some sensationalist fiction passing as investigation by a couple of prurient journalists in a local paper – Janet Reno sent some 70 armed bullies of her Schutzstaffel unit (aka the Bureau of Arms, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to besiege a compound occupied by harmless religious nuts. The siege lasted from February 28 to April 19, 1993. Fifty-one days. Then the shooting began. Koresh’s followers fired back in self-defense and killed 4 of the SS men. Then came the gassing – tear gas introduced through holes drilled in the walls of the compound houses – and finally the burning down of the whole compound with everyone inside it. The burning to death of harmless sectarians. Seventy-six of them died in the fire. Five were shot and killed at the start of the raid, one after it.  The dead included 20 children, 8 of them babies and toddlers. Most were white, but there were some Jamaicans and other Blacks.

Eighty-two people who had done no wrong were hideously murdered by order of Janet Reno. 

Koresh had already killed four federal officers and had withstood a weeks-long standoff with the FBI when agents asked Ms. Reno to authorize a raid of the compound.

“I made the decision,” Ms. Reno said. “I’m accountable. The buck stops with me.”

They say that sort of thing, Democratic officials do. They say, “I take full responsibility for …” this or that outrageous action. But there are no consequences. Their Party does nothing to punish them. Nor do they punish themselves. None of them ever resigns.

She later stood her ground during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, when Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) told her she was right to offer her resignation, saying, “I’d like you to know that there is at least one member of Congress that isn’t going to rationalize the death of two dozen children.”

“I haven’t tried to rationalize the death of children, Congressman,” she responded, glaring, her voice quavering. “I feel more strongly about it than you will ever know. But I have neither tried to rationalize the death of four agents, and I will not walk away from a compound where ATF agents had been killed by people who knew they were agents and leave them unsurrounded. . . . Most of all, Congressman, I will not engage in recrimination.”

What a heroine!

For the rest of Ms. Reno’s career, fringe groups pointed to Waco as evidence of the deadly misuse of federal force.

Timothy McVeigh, responsible for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people and injured scores more, reportedly saw Waco as inspiration for his terrorism.

Although personally opposed to capital punishment, Ms. Reno authorized her prosecutors to seek the death penalty against McVeigh. He was killed by lethal injection in June 2001, the first federal execution since 1963.

That was a death thoroughly deserved. But why did Reno make him an exception to her own principle? Could it have been because he justified his own atrocity by referring to hers? 

The Washington Post’s obituarist continues with a straight face to show just how she “reached out to Latinos”.  How this protector of children did that.

Late in her term as attorney general, Ms. Reno faced similar questions about federal force. The Miami relatives of young Elian Gonzalez, whose mother had drowned as the pair attempted to flee Cuba to the United States, refused to return the child to his father, who wanted to take him back to Cuba.

The saga of Elian held the country’s attention for much of early 2000, with Miami’s Cuban expatriate community adamant that the boy stay in the United States, a federal judge ordering that they return him to his father and Ms. Reno flying to Florida herself to negotiate.

After the Miami family members ignored Ms. Reno’s deadline for them to comply with the judge’s order, she authorized federal agents to enter their home and seize the 6-year-old. A photo of a SWAT-equipped border-patrol agent appearing to point a gun at the young Gonzales in a closet became a much-reproduced image — a visceral symbol of the passions felt on all sides of the debate.

No; an image that vividly illustrates Janet Reno’s fascist authoritarianism. That time she used the SWAT unit of her SS brigades.

After stepping down from the attorney general’s office in 2001, Ms. Reno returned to Florida and the next year ran for governor. …

Ms. Reno narrowly lost the nomination …

Over the next decade, Ms. Reno gave speeches about criminal-justice issues, particularly as they related to children.

She served on the board of the Innocence Project, the nonprofit organization that works to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA evidence.

Do not the ironies in this obit abound? Remember “the scientist Wen Ho Lee, who was held in solitary confinement for nine months after being charged with mishandling nuclear secrets, only to be released on a lesser charge“?

During her time in the attorney general’s office, she often said that hers had been an exciting, interesting, lucky life.

“I’ve had a thoroughly good time,” she told the Miami Herald in 1998. “I have the opportunity to serve my country, and it’s been extraordinary, and if I go home, I go home.”

A life not so lucky, a time not so thoroughly good for the victims of her integrity, legal exactitude, and caution.

She has “gone home”. She has died.

Her death has immediately produced one good thing. For connoisseurs of irony, her Washington Post obituary is a curiosity not to be missed.

The man who’d break the banks of America 2

Obama took a leading role in causing the subprime housing crisis which triggered the recession, but he blames it on the financial institutions which he forced to provide the bad loans.

This is an editorial from Investor’s Business Daily:

Obama pushed thousands of credit-poor blacks into homes they couldn’t afford. As a civil-rights attorney, he sued banks to rubberstamp mortgages for urban residents.

Many are now in foreclosure. …

Obama focused on “housing rights” when he worked as a lawyer-activist and community organizer in South Side Chicago. His mentor — the man who placed him in his first job there — wasthe father of the anti-redlining movement: John McKnight. He coined the term “redlining” to describe the mapping off of minority neighborhoods from home loans.

McKnight wrote a letter for Obama that helped him get into Harvard. After he graduated, [Obama] worked for a Chicago civil-rights law firm that worked closely with McKnight’s radical Gamaliel Foundation and National People’s Action, as well as Acorn, to solicit lending-discrimination cases.

At the time, NPA and Acorn were lobbying the Clinton administration to tighten enforcement of anti-redlining laws.

They also dispatched bus loads of goons trained by Obama to the doorsteps of bankers to demand more home loans for minorities. Acorn even crashed the lobby of Citibank’s headquarters in New York and accused it of discriminating against blacks.

The pressure worked. In 1994, Clinton’s top bank regulators signed a landmark anti-redlining policy that declared traditional mortgage underwriting standards racist and mandated banks apply easier lending rules for minorities.

Also that year, Attorney General Janet Reno and her aide Eric Holder filed a mortgage discrimination case against a Washington-area bank that forced it to target minority neighborhoods for subprime loans. Reno and Holder also encouraged civil-rights lawyers like Obama to file local lending-bias cases against banks.

The next year, Obama led a class-action suit against Citibank on behalf of several Chicago minorities who claimed they were rejected for home loans because of the color of their skin. …

Which was untrue. Would-be borrowers, whatever their race, who can provide no deposit and have no job are  – obviously, you may think – not eligible for loans.

But Citibank eventually settled, despite the weak case. Under the 1998 settlement, Citibank vowed to pay the alleged victims $1.4 million and launch a program to boost home lending to poor blacks in the metro area.

Citibank underwrote thousands of shaky subprime mortgages to satisfy the court in Obama’s case. Defaults were common. When home prices collapsed, most of the loans went bust.

By putting them on the hook for loans they couldn’t pay, Obama did them no favors. Blacks have been hit hardest by foreclosures. But what does Obama care …  he pocketed at least $23,000 from the Citibank case.

Today, he blames the devastating wealth drain in black communities on [the very] subprime mortgages [he insisted upon]. He says “greedy,” “predatory” lenders tricked poor minorities into paying higher fees and interest rates.

His closest economic advisers also promoted subprime lending. … [His] Chicago pal Austan Goolsbee, who later became his top economist, sang the praises of subprime loans in a New York Times column. He argued they allowed poor blacks “access to mortgages.”

One of Obama’s top bank regulators, Gary Gensler, once bragged that thanks to subprime mortgages, banks made home loans to minorities at “twice the rate” they made to other borrowers … “A subprime loan is a good option when the alternative is no access to credit,” he said years before the crisis.

Obama hasn’t learned from his mistakes.

Far from it … The mammoth credit watchdog agency he created (with input from NPA radicals) will dust off Clinton’s 1994 minority lending guidelines to crack down on stingy lenders. And he’s ordered Holder, now acting as his attorney general, to prosecute banks that don’t open branches in blighted urban areas.

Not only has Obama scapegoated banks for the crisis he helped cause, he’s exploited minority suffering to continue reckless policies that hurt those he claims to champion.

But the bankers do have a share in the blame. Only it is their weakness, not their economic might, that should be held against them.

Now, against their better judgment and common sense, they are letting themselves be forced by Obama into yet another money-squandering scheme. While he has learnt nothing from the subprime disaster, they have failed to acquire a spine.

His new demand is that the banks throw masses of moola down the gullet of Gaia, the Goddess of the Green religion.

And again, though it couldn’t be more obvious that Obama’s demands are a recipe for bankruptcy, they meekly comply!

Obama’s goal is to wreck the capitalist system. Can the bankers not see this? Or have they decided it’s a jolly good idea?

This also comes from from IBD:

First the affordable housing crowd shook down banks for mortgage payola for the poor. Now the environmental lobby is shaking them down for cash to underwrite President Obama’s risky green agenda.

Risky? More like a dead cert loser.

In a strange announcement, Bank of America this week pledged an eye-popping $50 billion in loans for “renewable energy” projects — windmills, solar panels and hybrids — over the next 10 years.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank joins a number of other large banks making green commitments amid complaints from environmental groups that they finance coal extraction, the new bugaboo of the left.

Wells Fargo has already committed $30 billion in green payola. JPMorgan Chase has pumped nearly $7 billion into renewable energy projects.

Just as they bowed to bullying by Obama-supported NPA and ACORN into giving loans to borrowers who could not possibly repay them, they are now bowing to the same tactics used by greenies.

BofA upped the ante just one month after five radical greenies climbed Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, N.C., and unfurled a 70-foot-wide banner rebranding the stadium the “Bank of Coal.”

A group called Rainforest Action Network took credit for the stunt. A San Francisco-based green version of ACORN, founded by an anti-capitalist Obama donor [who no doubt became rich enough to be a donor through capitalist enterprise], RAN wanted to highlight BofA’s funding of coal plants, which it claims cause global warming. …

RAN sent its goons to BofA’s annual meeting. They demanded the bank stop funding coal mining — specifically mountaintop clearing — and “expand investments in renewable energy.”

BofA … agreed to stop funding mountaintop mining and start funding windmills, even though coal is a more cost-efficient energy source — and far more profitable than alternatives.

What mysterious perversion of their minds drives the beneficiaries of capitalism to wreck it?

Why would the nation’s largest bank let tree huggers dictate its investments? The same reason it agreed to underwrite billions in risky mortgages in response to threats from ACORN and other housing shakedown groups: to protect its corporate brand.

Is that why? How is its corporate brand protected by its heading for bankruptcy?

Just like banks didn’t want to be labeled “racists” then, they don’t want to be branded “polluters” now.

And extortionists like RAN, who play dirty, attacking bankers on vacation and at graduation speeches, prey on that fear. Their subversive tactics work. They know CEOs will pay them off if they apply enough pressure.

Only, BofA, Wells Fargo, Citibank and other banking giants already paid off housing-rights groups literally trillions of dollars in mortgage commitments in the run-up to the housing crisis. Yet, they’re all being sued now for lending discrimination.

Now they’re falling into the next trap. Obama and his pals are using the banking system to finance their illusory Green Economy. …

Put plainly, these are socialists trying to destroy our free enterprise system.

These Giants of Finance are not evil as Obama and the “Occupy” revolutionaries like to pretend, they are merely fools and cowards. But if many of those who have their hands on the levers of power are foolish and cowardly, they can ruin a nation.

The IBD advises them to “unapologetically defend your business and the capitalist system, make it clear your obligation is to customers and shareholders — not radical activists.”

We doubt they’ll take such sensible advice.

Did he, and does he, feel his shame? 1

This article discusses the revelation made by Dick Morris that Bill Clinton himself, not his attorney general Janet Reno, was primarily responsible for the Waco massacre:

It looks like somebody is going to have to update the Waco Siege page on Wikipedia. Apparently the whitewashed history that former President Bill Clinton would like us to believe regarding the 1993 federal assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, is missing important details regarding his own personal involvement.

In response to Bill Clinton’s highly publicized linking of the Tea Party movement to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in an op-ed piece for the New York Times, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris disclosed on Monday that it was Clinton himself, and not Attorney General Janet Reno, as Americans have been led to believe for the past 17 years, who called the shots during the 1993 botched invasion that led to the death of seventy-six people.

Speaking on the Hannity program on the Fox News Network, Morris criticized Clinton for his Oklahoma City comments: “Let’s understand what was Timothy McVeigh’s motivation …he himself had said that it was the reaction to the Waco takeover. Bill Clinton orchestrated that takeover.”

Morris went on to say, “Clinton in fact was so ashamed about what he did in Waco that he was not going to appoint Janet Reno to a second four-year term. She told him in a meeting right before the inauguration day … ‘If you don’t appoint me I’m going to tell the truth about Waco.’ And that forced Clinton’s hand … It’s never been said (publicly) before.”

For years, Clinton has been criticized for his leadership of the federal government during the Waco crisis, but he has managed to escape personal responsibility for the tragedy. With Morris’s statements, it appears this may no longer be possible. It would seem that Clinton was far more intimately involved with the government response at Waco than previously reported. …

For Clinton to associate such a horrible act of violence with freedom loving [Tea Party] Americans, especially given the fact that he must be fully aware that it was his decisions that led to the Waco catastrophe which in turn inspired Timothy McVeigh, is remarkably shameless.

Civil war? Or revolution? 0

By Andrew Walden:

Earlier this month, the Obama administration moved to transfer alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed from the military justice system at Guantanamo Bay to the jurisdiction of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Behind this move away from the military tribunal system, which delivered justice so effectively at Nuremburg, is an $8.5 million lobbying effort by the so-called “John Adams Project” launched in April, 2008 by the American Civil Liberties Union.

With the endorsement of Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno, former boss of Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as former President Jimmy Carter, FBI and CIA chief William Webster, and others from both Republican and Democratic administrations, the ACLU‘s victory on behalf of the man sometimes described as “al Qaeda’s CEO” is also a defeat in the U.S.-led war on terror. Thanks to the ACLU, a terrorist like KSM will now enjoy the constitutional rights reserved for American citizens.

The civilian trial of a leading terrorist is the culmination of a years-long campaign by the ACLU to handicap U.S. efforts in the war on terror. The ACLU responded to the 9/11 attacks with the formation of its so-called National Security Project. Under the leadership of the ACLU and its ideological affiliate, the so-called Center for Constitutional Rights, hundreds of lawyers from top law firms have worked without pay to “serve the caged prisoners,” as they call the terrorist detainees in American custody. Their assault on the courts, combined with Democratic electoral gains in 2006 and 2008, has seriously undermined the military commission system. …

Their excuse is that they are safeguarding civil and constitutional rights. But as such rights do not extend to alien attackers, it’s  a thin and feeble pretext for doing what they are so passionately engaged upon that they do it free of charge. Their real aim is deeply malign: to damage America.

To the ALCU and its liberal allies, the al-Qaeda defendants are merely pawns in a larger game aimed at shackling the American and international forces who have been fighting al-Qaeda since 9/11.

Many of the ACLU’s campaigns have taken place under the “National Security Project.” Led by its CAIR-affiliated director, Jameel Jaffer, it reveals a broader picture of ACLU’s ongoing sabotage of American national security. …

Walden gives a number of examples to back up what he’s saying, including –

ACLU v. DOD –the ACLU seeks to … to go after individual US and international military and intelligence personnel — and after defense contractors if the right kind of precedent is created in Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc . John Adams Project operatives are also photographing CIA agents and giving the photos to Guantanamo detainees in order to generate torture allegations.

In Amnesty v. McConnell, the ACLU seeks to eliminate the right of the US government to spy without warrant on international telecommunication traffic. This is a right exercised by Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush and now by Obama–as well as many Presidents before them. An ACLU victory in this case could subject numerous US military and intelligence personnel telephone companies and military contractors to criminal or civil prosecution by or on behalf of jihadists in US or foreign courts.

The ACLU is seeking to extend constitutional rights to hostile foreign nationals living outside the US and to protect armed activities conducted partly or wholly outside the US. As the KSM trials suggest, it also has a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration.

For instance, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was a senior partner in the Covington & Burling law firm, which currently represents 16 Guantanamo detainees. Holder’s C&B law partner David Remes stripped to his underwear at a July 14, 2008 Yemeni news conference to demonstrate the strip-searches he claims are the most serious “torture” inflicted on detainees. Strip searches are a daily standard procedure in US and international prisons housing common criminals. But in the eyes of Holder’s former partner, this procedure is too debasing to be applied to jihadists. Remes soon left the firm to work on so-called “human rights” cases full time. …

The ACLU … wants to see all the Guantanamo detainees given civilian trials. The ACLU strategy has the potential to create a web of interlocking decisions and precedents that would serve to establish a basis for criminal prosecutions and more civil lawsuits by al Qaeda members against the US military personnel, contractors, Bush administration officials, and intelligence officers who have pursued them since 9/11.

If the ACLU is even partially successful, Americans and foreign allies who have risked their lives to pursue al Qaeda may find themselves in court answering to charges brought by the jihadists. With the civilian trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the ACLU is one step closer to that destructive goal.

Is this not civil war being fought by lawyers through the law courts? Or is it revolution?

Free market not to blame for economic crisis 0

 Thomas Sowell puts blame where it belongs: 

It was liberal Democrats, led by Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, who for years– including the present year– denied that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taking big risks that could lead to a financial crisis.

It was Senator Dodd, Congressman Frank and other liberal Democrats who for years refused requests from the Bush administration to set up an agency to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was liberal Democrats, again led by Dodd and Frank, who for years pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans, which are at the heart of today’s financial crisis.

Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury, five years ago.

Yet, today, what are we hearing? That it was the Bush administration "right-wing ideology" of "de-regulation" that set the stage for the financial crisis. Do facts matter?

We also hear that it is the free market that is to blame. But the facts show that it was the government that pressured financial institutions in general to lend to subprime borrowers, with such things as the Community Reinvestment Act and, later, threats of legal action by then Attorney General Janet Reno if the feds did not like the statistics on who was getting loans and who wasn’t.

Is that the free market? Or do facts not matter?

His article also deals with how Obama benefited from Fannie Mae. He concludes: 

The country does not deserve to be put in the hands of a glib and cocky know-it-all, who has accomplished absolutely nothing beyond the advancement of his own career with rhetoric, and who has for years allied himself with a succession of people who have openly expressed their hatred of America.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 4, 2008

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