The Sedition Act: The Bad Penny Returns
Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
In much of what was formerly known as “the free world”, freedom is being dramatically curtailed by governments. Nowhere is this truer than in the US. I discussed the future of freedom of speech with an American recently. She postulated that it could never be taken from her, as she was assured freedom of speech under the Constitution. She’s correct in the latter part of her statement. Her Constitution clearly states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech.”
But as to the former part of her statement, that she could never have her freedom of speech removed is, I believe, entirely incorrect. Not only is her freedom of speech currently at risk, but this is nothing new in the US. The first suspension of this constitutional right came as early as 1798.
The Sedition Act of 1798 was passed by John Adams’ federalist government. It criminalised the making of statements that criticised the federal government. The Act was used by the Adams government to prosecute newspaper owners if they favoured the views of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party.
One person who was attacked was David Brown, who was fined and imprisoned for publishing the words, “No Stamp Act, No Sedition Act, No Alien Bills, No Land Tax, downfall to the Tyrants of America.” Another was James Callender, who accused the president as a “repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite and an unprincipled oppressor".
Those who opposed the passage of the Act stated that it violated the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right to free speech. They were quite correct.
The Act was repealed when Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801. He pardoned those who had been imprisoned and repaid their fines. But the silencing of citizens did not end there. It returned a mere 60 years later.
The Civil War
In 1861, President Lincoln unilaterally suspended the writ of habeas corpus (the right to appear before a judge when accused of a crime). In essence, he ordered that persons could be arrested and held without bringing formal charges against them. The claimed purpose was to allow the government the ability to hold prisoners of war, but it was subsequently used to muzzle the press. Newspapers that criticised the president were closed for seditious behaviour and their editors arrested and imprisoned.
Over 14,000 civilians were arrested by the Lincoln administration. After the war, the suspension of the right to free speech was ended, but only until the next war.
World War One
The Sedition Act of 1918 made illegal “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the US government, the national flag or the military. Sentences ranged from five to twenty years.
Magazines that spoke out against the war were banned. In addition, many people were investigated and/or imprisoned. (As an example, a Connecticut clothing salesman was sentenced to six months in prison for saying that Vladimir Lenin was smart.)
The Sedition Act was purported to be needed only “when the United States is in war”, and it was repealed just two years after World War One (although the Supreme Court upheld the Sedition Act constitutionally in 1919 – Abrams v. United States).
Since then, the punishment for sedition has become more general. In 1950, McCarthyism began sedition persecution outside of wartime, paving the way for persecution under the claim of “domestic terrorism”.
As shown above, the stated reason for such punishment is rarely the true intent. The people of a nation will readily accept legislation that sounds as though it will protect them in time of war, but it has regularly been used to limit free speech, generally.
The Patriot Act of 2001 allowed for the arrest and detainment (without a hearing and without charges being made) if the person is “suspected” of being a terrorist. The key word here is “suspected”. (I may suspect my Aunt Tillie of being a Martian, but, hopefully, that does not give me the right to imprison her.)
This time around, the act was not repealed a few years later. In fact, the Patriot Act was extended in 2011, followed closely by the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Together, these laws eclipsed all previous sedition acts in their breadth and have made possible a permanent and growing police state in the US.
Above, we can see that the suspension of freedom of speech during wartime is not a new idea. In fact, it’s been the norm. But what about the present day, when Congress no longer declares wars, but the US invades countries continually, by presidential edict alone? The US is now waging the “forever war” – the war on terrorism. Does that mean permanent suspension of the right to free speech? Well, actually, yes, and an entire department has been created to enforce it – the Department of Homeland Security.
Today, the US has a far greater ability to keep its people silent and cooperative than ever before. The numerous “terrorist attacks”, whether they be genuine or false-flag attacks, have succeeded in creating subservience amongst the American people. As Joseph Stalin said:
“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened.”
This concept was later echoed by Hermann Goering:
“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
And, of course, television news programmes in the US are rife with “experts” (politicians and retired generals) stating endlessly that the US must guard against domestic terrorism by reporting any “suspicious” actions or conversation that may not be supportive of the government. For those who still believe in the concept of individual freedom, Adolf Hitler had this to say:
“Society’s needs come before the individual’s needs.”
This concept has been thoroughly supported by modern day American politicians of both parties. Hillary Clinton echoes the Fuehrer’s view as follows:
“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for our society.”
The Sedition Act has now become a permanent condition in the US, and Europe is not far behind. Still, when such removals of freedom took place in the Soviet Union and Germany in the last century, most people remained there, hopeful that they could live with the outcome. As it turned out, that was a fatal mistake for literally millions of people.
For those who presently reside in a country where basic freedoms are disappearing, it’s instructive to note that there are many other countries in the world where this is not so. For many, the wise move is to vote with their feet and internationalise themselves.
* * *
Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare…
The coming economic and political collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.
That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/18/2016 4:29:05 PM
Sell Gold Now - Time To Liquidate Gold ETF, Pooled and Digital Gold
Sell Gold Now - A Note from GoldCore CEO Stephen Flood
It has never been more important to own gold as part of a diversified portfolio. The form your gold investment takes is just as important as owning it in the first place. ETFs and pooled gold may not be functional in extreme markets and may themselves be subject to systemic risk events.
- Fifty gram gold bars sit across a one kilo gold bar at bullion dealers Goldcore, in London, U.K., on Thursday, March 11, 2010. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
We are living in extraordinary times and key to any investment plan that can weather the coming global financial storm is access to all important - liquidity.
Traditional market liquidity is drying up. Increasingly dark pools are hoovering up equity and FX volumes. Markets are becoming disjointed and prone to large wild swings. Central banks are entering the market on political mandates as opposed to a search for yield, algorithmic investors are untested in bear markets and likely unprepared. The table is set for significant disruption and systemic damage. Your gold investment may not be accessible nor liquid in times extremis.
When you buy gold as a systemic hedge you do so hoping that it will never be needed. You may even hope it falls in value, because if it is falling all your other productive assets are hopefully appreciating. This is the key, gold is valuable as a systemic hedge, if the system is working then gold should fall in value. If gold is rising then the system is not healthy and you need to take stock, literally.
At GoldCore we have long advocated a 5 - 10% allocation of gold into your portfolio. Today given the increasing risks, we believe there is a justification for allocating as much as 20% to 25% of a portfolio to physical gold. Your gold should be held in allocated, segregated and most importantly physical form, with serial numbers, in a non bank vault, in a safe jurisdiction.
Gold owners should be able to take physical delivery of their gold whenever they wish, without entering into a transaction to sell. We believe that gold should have as little legal separation from our clients as possible and that is how we have designed GoldCore Secure Storage - with clients having maximum and outright legal ownership of actual, individual bullion coins and bars.
Beware of e-gold masquerading as allocated gold
Buying gold through an electronic platform can be very convenient and very fast. You can buy significant sums and pay low spreads and low fees, your storage costs for such investments can be extremely cheap too.
These electronic platforms spend a lot of money advertising, and some even claim to give you allocated gold. We do not consider a part ownership of a large 400 oz bar of gold as being allocated. You are in fact a pooled gold investor and one who has no idea of what particular part of a gold bar you own. You can not, unlike GoldCore Secure Storage, drive to a vault in Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai or London and take delivery of your gold, without entering into a sale transaction.
In addition many such platforms force you to only buy and sell through their market board and their online platform and website. Digital gold platforms are "closed loop systems" where liquidity and pricing are dependent on a single platform, website and company. A buyer can only buy and sell through that one online platform. An investor is in effect "captive". This is very different to owning individual Canadian Maple Leaf gold bullion coins or gold kilo bars and the huge level of liquidity and pricing one has when one owns coins and bars in a segregated and allocated manner.
Yes you may be able to sell your gold in the future but at what cost? Yes you may be able to take delivery in the future, but at what cost? The fact is that if you can't hold it you may not truly own it.
Stephen Flood, CEO of GoldCore Limited
US +1 (302)635 1160
UK +44 (0)203 086 9200
IRL +353 1 632 5010
Open an account with GoldCore today
Gold and Silver Bullion - News and Commentary
Increasingly shambolic U.S. election could support gold said GoldCore (MarketWatch)
Greenspan: Worried about 1970s Style 'Stagflation' (CNBC)
Gold prices up in early Asia despite rising chances of Fed hike (Investing)
Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf Quits in Fallout From Fake Accounts (Bloomberg)
Fed Says Several FOMC Members Saw Rate Rise ‘Relatively Soon’ (Bloomberg)
The Demise Of The EU (ZeroHedge)
Doug Casey on “Quitaly” and the Collapse of the EU (CaseyResearch)
Major Silver Bottom Reached; Dramatically Higher Levels Ahead (Investing)
WikiLeaks Bombshell: Emails Show Citigroup Had Major Role in Shaping and Staffing Obama’s First Term (WallStreetOnParade)
If Europe insists on a hard Brexit, so be it (Telegraph)
Gold Prices (LBMA AM)
13 Oct: USD 1,258.00, GBP 1,029.93 & EUR 1,141.76 per ounce
12 Oct: USD 1,255.70, GBP 1,024.53 & EUR 1,139.05 per ounce
11 Oct: USD 1,256.40, GBP 1,021.58 & EUR 1,130.76 per ounce
10 Oct: USD 1,262.10, GBP 1,016.62 & EUR 1,129.71 per ounce
07 Oct: USD 1,255.00, GBP 1,012.91 & EUR 1,127.62 per ounce
06 Oct: USD 1,265.50, GBP 994.30 & EUR 1,131.23 per ounce
05 Oct: USD 1,274.00, GBP 1,001.11 & EUR 1,134.37 per ounce
Silver Prices (LBMA)
13 Oct: USD 17.59, GBP 14.40 & EUR 15.95 per ounce
12 Oct: USD 17.44, GBP 14.23 & EUR 15.83 per ounce
11 Oct: USD 17.48, GBP 14.26 & EUR 15.78 per ounce
10 Oct: USD 17.78, GBP 14.31 & EUR 15.92 per ounce
07 Oct: USD 17.33, GBP 14.01 & EUR 15.55 per ounce
06 Oct: USD 17.76, GBP 13.98 & EUR 15.88 per ounce
05 Oct: USD 17.80, GBP 13.99 & EUR 15.86 per ounce
Recent Market Updates
- Gold In GBP Up 43% YTD – “Massive Twin Deficits” To Impact UK Assets
Published:10/13/2016 7:38:55 AM
- Ron Paul Says “Gold Going Up” Whether Trump Or Clinton Elected
- Gold Trading COT Report “Means Lower – Then Much Higher – Prices Coming”
- Currency Shock Sees Sterling Gold Surges 5% In One Minute “Flash Crash”
- Top Gold Forecaster: “As Quickly As Gold Fell” May “Rally Back” on Global Risks
- Gold Buying ‘Opportunity’ After Surprise 3.4% Drop
- Deutsche Bank “Is Probably Insolvent”
- GBP Gold Rises 1.3% as Sterling Slumps On ‘Hard Brexit’ Concerns, Up 36% YTD
- Why Krugman, Roubini, Rogoff And Buffett Hate Gold
- ECB Refused “To Answer Questions” – Deutsche Bank “Systemic Threat” Is “Not ECB Fault”
- Euro “Might Start To Unravel” If Collapse Of Deutsche Bank
- Do You Really Own Your Gold?
- “Gold Will Likely Soar To A Record Within Five Years”
Doug Casey On "Quitaly" & The Collapse Of The EU
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Nick Giambruno: Doug, you predicted the fall of the European Union a few years ago. What has changed since then?
Doug Casey: Well, what's changed is that the entire situation has gotten much worse. The inevitable has now become the imminent.
The European Union evolved, devolved actually, from basically a free trade pact among a few countries to a giant, dysfunctional, overreaching bureaucracy. Free trade is an excellent idea. However, you don't need to legislate free trade; that’s almost a contradiction in terms. A free trade pact between different governments is unnecessary for free trade. An individual country interested in prosperity and freedom only needs to eliminate all import and export duties, and all import and export quotas. When a country has duties or quotas, it’s essentially putting itself under embargo, shooting its economy in the foot. Businesses should trade with whoever they want for their own advantage.
But that wasn't the way the Europeans did it. The Eurocrats, instead, created a treaty the size of a New York telephone book, regulating everything. This is the problem with the European Union. They say it is about free trade, but really it’s about somebody’s arbitrary idea of “fair trade,” which amounts to regulating everything. In addition to its disastrous economic consequences, it creates misunderstandings and confusion in the mind of the average person. Brussels has become another layer of bureaucracy on top of all the national layers and local layers for the average European to deal with.
The European Union in Brussels is composed of a class of bureaucrats that are extremely well paid, have tremendous benefits, and have their own self-referencing little culture. They’re exactly the same kind of people that live within the Washington, D.C. beltway.
The EU was built upon a foundation of sand, doomed to failure from the very start. The idea was ill-fated because the Swedes and the Sicilians are as different from each other as the Poles and the Irish. There are linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and big differences in the standard of living. Artificial political constructs never last. The EU is great for the “elites” in Brussels; not so much for the average citizen.
Meanwhile, there’s a centrifugal force even within these European countries. In Spain, the Basques and the Catalans want to split off, and in the UK, the Scots want to make the United Kingdom quite a bit less united. You've got to remember that before Garibaldi, Italy was scores of little dukedoms and principalities that all spoke their own variations of the Italian language. And the same was true in what’s now Germany before Bismarck in 1871.
In Italy 89% of the Venetians voted to separate a couple of years ago. The Italian South Tyrol region, where 70% of the people speak German, has a strong independence movement. There are movements in Corsica and a half dozen other departments in France. Even in Belgium, the home of the EU, the chances are excellent that Flanders will separate at some point.
The chances are better in the future that the remaining countries in Europe are going to fall apart as opposed to being compressed together artificially.
And from strictly a philosophical point of view, the ideal should not be one world government, which the “elite” would prefer, but about seven billion small individual governments. That would be much better from the point of view of freedom and prosperity.
Nick Giambruno: How does the recent Brexit vote affect the future of the European Union?
Doug Casey: Well, it's the beginning of the end. The inevitable has now become the imminent. Britain has always been perhaps the most different culture of all of those in the European Union. They entered reluctantly and late, and never seriously considered losing the pound for the euro.
You're going to see other countries leaving the EU. The next one might be Italy. All of the Italian banks are truly and totally bankrupt at this point. Who's going to kiss that and make it better? Is the rest of the European Union going to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to make the average Italian depositor well again? I don't think so. There’s an excellent chance that Italy is going to get rid of the euro and leave the EU.
Nick Giambruno: Why should Americans care about this?
Doug Casey: Well, just as the breakup of the Soviet Union had a good effect for both the world at large and for Americans, the breakup of the EU should be viewed in the same light. Freeing an economy anywhere increases prosperity and opportunity everywhere. And it sets a good example. So Americans ought to look forward to the breakup of the EU almost as much as the Europeans themselves. Unfortunately, most Americans are quite insular. And Europeans are so used to socialism that they have even less grasp of economics than Americans. But it’s going to happen anyway.
Nick Giambruno: What are some investment implications?
Doug Casey: Initially there's going to be some chaos, and some inconvenience. Conventional investors don’t like wild markets, but turbulence is actually a good thing from the point of view of a speculator. It’s a question of your psychological attitude. Understanding psychology is as important as economics. They’re the two things that make the markets what they are. Volatility is actually your friend in the investment world.
People are naturally afraid of upsets. They're afraid of any kind of a crisis. This is natural. But it's only during a crisis that you can get a real bargain. You have to look at the bright side and take a different attitude than most people have.
Nick Giambruno: If you position yourself on the right side of this thing, do you think you'll be able to make some big profits on the collapse of the EU?
Doug Casey: Yes. Once the EU falls apart, there are going to be huge investment opportunities. People forget how cheap markets can become. I remember in the mid 1980s, there were three markets in the world in particular I was very interested in: Hong Kong, Belgium, and Spain. All three of those markets had similar characteristics. You could buy stocks in those markets for about half of book value, about three or four times earnings, and average dividend yields of their indices were 12–15%—individual stocks were sometimes much more—and of course since then, those dividends have gone way up. The stock prices have soared.
So I expect that that's going to happen in the future. In one, several, many, or most of the world’s approximately 40 investable markets. Right now, however, we're involved in a worldwide bubble in equities. It can go the opposite direction. People forget how cheap stocks can get.
I think we're headed into very bad times. Chances are excellent you're going to see tremendous bargains. People are chasing after stocks right now with 1% dividend yields and 30 times earnings, and they want to buy them. At some point in the future these stocks are going to be selling for three times earnings and they’re going to be yielding five, maybe ten percent in dividends. But at that point most people will be afraid to buy them. In fact, they won't even want to know they exist at that point.
I’m not a believer in market timing. But, that said, I think it makes sense to hold fire when the market is anomalously high.
The chaos that’s building up right now in Europe can be a good thing—if you're well positioned. You don't want to go down with the sinking Titanic. You want to survive so you can get on the next boat taking you to a tropical paradise. But right now you're entering the stormy North Atlantic.
A few months after the stunning Brexit vote, there’s even more turmoil ahead for the European Union… with potentially severe consequences in the currency and stock markets.
Doug Casey and his team just released a new video that reveals how a financial shock far greater than 2008 could strike America on December 4, 2016, as Italian voters decide the fate of the European Union itself. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/13/2016 3:35:37 AM
One Giant Powder Keg... And The Fuse Is Already Lit
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Their mission was to capture—or more likely—kill.
Dozens of renegade commandos in three Blackhawk helicopters swooped in on the holiday residence of the president.
Immediately, they engaged in a fierce gun battle with the president’s bodyguards and killed a number of them.
Tourists in a nearby five-star resort fled for their lives. Their idyllic vacations had turned into a warzone in the blink of an eye.
The president, however, was nowhere to be found.
He had been tipped off about the plot and made it to the safety of his private jet. He had cheated death by mere minutes.
The renegade soldiers got wind of the escape. They commandeered a couple of F16 fighter jets and sent them to the skies to shoot down the presidential jet.
Aware the rebel F16s were hunting them, the president’s pilots were able to obfuscate the identity of their aircraft by altering the jet’s transponder signal.
The transponder is an electronic signal that shows an aircraft’s identity. It’s used by air traffic controllers to keep track of planes in the air.
Somehow, the pilots of the presidential jet were able to set their transponder signal to make it appear as if they were instead a civilian passenger jet.
The confused rebel fighter jets ran out of fuel and had to return to base before they figured out what happened.
The president had cheated death for the second time that day.
This story sounds like something out of a Tom Clancy novel or a Hollywood blockbuster. But it’s not…
It happened in real life earlier this summer. In Turkey.
The country is one giant powder keg… and the fuse is already lit.
When the next global crisis explodes, there’s a good chance Turkey will be involved somehow.
Turkey was founded from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. It’s where Europe meets Asia.
Today, it’s at the epicenter of many crises that are destabilizing the world… the migrant disaster in Europe, the ongoing carnage in Iraq and Syria, the battle with ISIS, a conflict with the Kurds, and the new Cold War with Russia. It could soon also play a big role in the collapse of the world’s largest economy, the European Union (EU)…
It’s hard to think of another place that has more tripwires for a global meltdown.
In light of all these potential triggers—as well as the recent failed military coup d’état that killed over 290 people—I thought it was time to take a closer look at Turkey.
Doug Casey and I just returned from the crisis-stricken country, the latest destination we visited with (literal) blood in the streets.
We put our boots on the ground in the same area where that hit squad of rebel soldiers nearly assassinated Recep Tayyip Erdogan—the Turkish president.
(In addition to all of the crises listed above, the Turkish military had invaded northern Syria just before our arrival.)
Perhaps most importantly, Turkey is at the heart of the migrant crisis that is tearing Europe apart. The migrant crisis will be one of the main issues on the minds of Italians as they vote in the upcoming referendum, which could very well decide the fate of the EU and the euro currency. That’s why I’ve spent weeks on the ground in Italy, watching these events unfold.
The Financial Times commented on what would happen if the Italian referendum fails:
It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.
Like with the Brexit vote, the migrant issue—and by extension Turkey—may determine the outcome of the Italian referendum on December 4, 2016…
Turkey Holds the Keys to the EU’s Future
Parroting U.S. concerns about democracy and human rights, the EU has also harshly criticized Turkey’s response to the failed coup.
This hasn’t endeared them to the Turkish government. It’s actually incredibly stupid for the Europeans.
And by stupid I mean exactly that… an unwitting tendency toward self-destruction. The Europeans fail to see the indirect and delayed consequences of their decision to antagonize the Turkish government.
That’s because the Turkish government holds the trump card on what is perhaps the most explosive political issue on the continent right now: the migrant crisis.
Concerns about the unprecedented flow of migrants into Europe over the past couple of years played a key role in the Brexit vote. It’s also acting as a political accelerant to the rise of anti-EU parties all over Europe.
It’s a simple relationship. The more migrants come to Europe, the more popular anti-EU political parties become, and the weaker the EU itself becomes.
This is where Turkey holds the keys to the future political landscape of Europe.
Turkey is a major transit point migrants use on their way to Europe. The Turkish government doesn’t want the migrants to stay in Turkey, so they haven’t really had much of a reason to stop them from leaving for Europe. They even enjoyed the situation because it gave them negotiating leverage with Brussels.
The Turks essentially said “give us what we want or we’ll open the floodgates.”
What the Turks want is lots of money and to join the Schengen visa-free zone, which allows unfettered access to most of Europe.
Brussels partially gave in to the blackmail. They started giving the Turks money—to the tune of $6 billion—and agreed to hold talks about getting visa-free access to the continent. In return, the Turks would cut off the flow of migrants.
For a while this arrangement worked.
But after the attempted coup… and then the purge of suspected putschists, the EU cried foul. They deemed the purges to be an erosion of democracy and the rule of law.
They basically told the Erdogan government it can forget about joining the Schengen zone.
Unsurprisingly, the Turkish government not-so-subtly warned that if the EU walks away from its part of the deal, so will it. Specifically, the Turkish government has threatened to open the migrant floodgates… just in time for the Italian referendum and other key European elections.
The Italian referendum could very well lead to the end of the euro and the EU itself, while triggering a global financial meltdown of historical proportions.
Turkey sending a new wave of migrants into Europe just before this key vote will help seal its fate.
There are potentially severe consequences in the currency and stock markets.
That’s exactly why I recently visited Turkey and spent weeks on the ground in Italy.
New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released an urgent video with all the details. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/12/2016 3:27:33 AM
Can Chicago Fire's Dawson and Casey Finally Live Happily Ever After?
Tired of the back and forth between Dawson (Monica Raymund) and Casey (Jesse Spencer)? Heading into season five of Chicago Fire, the couple is recommitted to their relationship and potentially...
Published:10/11/2016 3:22:04 PM
[2016 Election News]
LIVE Stream: Donald Trump Holds Rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA 10/10/16 6pm ET
Monday, October 5, 2016: Live stream coverage of the Donald J. Trump for President rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Live coverage begin at 6:00 PM ET. My team of deplorables will be taking over my Twitter account for tonight's #debate#MakeAmericaGreatAgain — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
Published:10/10/2016 2:42:02 PM
‘The Exorcist’ Recap 1×03: Take Back the Nightmare
Previously on The Exorcist: teenage homework-enthusiast Casey Rance is possessed by a demon, and is occasionally counseled by a malevolent old man whom only she can see. The death of a friend has rendered Casey's sister, Kat, relatably pouty. Their father, played by Cameron from Ferris Bueller, may or may not be pulling a Cameron and feigning some kind of mental break. The mother, Angela, played by Geena Davis, is seeking help with her demon problems from dreamboat priest Father Tomas, who teams up with UNHINGED BADASS PRIEST Father Marcus, WHO CARES MORE ABOUT JUSTICE THAN ABOUT SOCIAL NICETIES! Meanwhile, every homeless person in Chicago is also possessed and doing the devil's work-- specifically murdering people and harvesting their organs-- but no one in Chicago seems to find this unusual. Also, the Pope is coming.
Published:10/9/2016 9:32:31 PM
Nike finally made those auto-lacing shoes from ‘Back to the Future’ and Casey Neistat got to try them [video]
Remember those cool auto-lacing Nike’s in Back to the Future II? Well, Nike spent 10 years to create shoes that actually do that and one of the most entertaining vloggers, Casey Neistat got to try them. First, here’s the scene from the movie where we’re shown that some day our shoes might lace themselves: Then, Casey shows ...
Published:10/9/2016 9:09:12 PM
How To Solve The Migrant Crisis (In 2 'Easy' Steps)
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Nick Giambruno: The migrant crisis is tearing Europe apart. What’s your take Doug?
Doug Casey: I'm all for immigration and completely open borders to enable opportunity seekers from anyplace to move anyplace else.
With two big, critically important, caveats:
1) there can be no welfare or free government services, so everyone has to pay his own way, and no freeloaders are attracted; and
2) all property is privately owned, to minimize the possibility of squatter camps full of beggars.
In the absence of welfare benefits, immigrants are usually the best of people because you get mobile, aggressive, and opportunity-seeking people that want to leave a dead old culture for a vibrant new one. The millions of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had zero in the way of state support.
But what is going on in Europe today is entirely different. The migrants coming to Europe aren’t being attracted by opportunity in the new land so much as the welfare benefits and the soft life. For the most part they are unskilled and poorly educated.
What we’re talking about here is the migration of millions of people of different language, different race, different religion, different culture, different mode of living. If you're an alien and you're 1 out of 10,000, or 1,000, or 100, you're a curiosity, an interesting outsider. But an influx of millions of migrants is only going to destroy the old culture, and guarantee antagonism—especially when the locals have to pay for it. In many ways, what’s happening now isn’t just comparable to what happened 2,000 years ago with the migration of the Germanic northern barbarians into the Roman Empire. It’s potentially much more serious.
Nick Giambruno: I think pretty much anywhere in the world, whenever there’s an influx of foreigners to the degree that it changes the demographics or upsets the local economic applecart, it’s obviously going to cause problems.
For example, the Chinese are wearing out their welcome in many parts of Africa.
We saw this ourselves when we went to Zimbabwe earlier this year. Their numbers have grown so much that there are numerous Chinese mini cities within Zim.
Many people in Zim aren’t too happy with the Chinese dumping cheap products and upsetting the local economy. When we asked our driver to take us through a rough neighborhood, all we saw was a seemingly endless market, as far as I can tell, completely filled with Chinese products.
Doug Casey: Incidentally, it’s supposed to be official Chinese policy to migrate about 300 million Chinese to Africa in the years to come. They’re employed in building roads, mines, railroads, and other infrastructure. The Africans like the goodies, but don’t like the Chinese. It has the makings of a race war a generation or so in the future.
Nick Giambruno: Getting back to the crisis in Europe…
It’s well known the gigantic bureaucracy in Brussels produces ridiculous regulations and dictates. The EU has reduced the standard of living of the average European.
Of course this is related to the migrant issue too. The EU has a quota system which is supposed to distribute migrants across the union. Not all EU countries are happy with this.
For example, Hungary doesn’t believe it should have to accept any migrants if it doesn’t want to. Brussels disagrees and says Hungary is obligated to take in its “fair share” of migrants.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently said:
“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future…
…This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy – whoever needs migrants can take them, but don't force them on us, we don't need them…
…For us migration is not a solution but a problem… not medicine but a poison, we don't need it and won't swallow it.”
The Eurocrats are furious with Orban. Luxembourg has called for Hungary to be expelled from the EU.
It’s clear the migrant issue is fueling resentment to the EU. It was a major factor in the Brexit vote. The unprecedented inflow of migrants has also helped anti-EU political parties grow in popularity.
This whole mess looks to me to be a self-inflicted wound. What do you think?
Doug Casey: The EU is a huge aggravating factor with the migrant problem. Brussels is full of globalists and doctrinaire socialists who not only promote bad policies, but make the whole continent pay for the mistakes of its most misguided members.
All Western European governments are massive welfare states that provide free food, housing, medical care, schooling, and living expenses for citizens. And even for residents who aren’t citizens. Benefits like these will naturally draw in poor people from poor countries.
Millions of Africans will want to emigrate, especially to the homelands of their ex-colonial masters in Europe. The colonizers are now themselves being colonized. If I was an African from south of the Sahara, I'd absolutely try to get to Italy or Greece or France or Spain or on my way to Sweden to cash in on the largesse of these stupid Europeans.
I’m a fan of what’s left of Western Civilization. I hate to see it washed away. But that’s what will happen if the floodgate is opened.
Nick Giambruno: I really don’t feel that sorry for the Europeans either. They largely brought this mess upon themselves.
It’s no coincidence that migrants are flowing to the countries with the most generous welfare benefits. If there weren’t so many freebies in these countries, there wouldn’t be so many migrants showing up to collect them.
It’s obvious the welfare state plays a major role in this crisis.
It’s also obvious that idiotic military interventions are a major factor.
The Europeans were and are enthusiastic supporters of the U.S. military interventions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan—and perhaps most consequentially for them—Libya.
Before his overthrow by NATO, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had an agreement with Italy, which is directly to Libya’s north, across the Mediterranean Sea.
Gaddafi agreed to prevent migrants heading for Europe from using Libya’s 1,100 miles of coastline as a transit point. It was an arrangement that worked.
So it’s no shocker that when NATO helped overthrow the Gaddafi government in 2011, the migrant floodgates opened.
Doug Casey: Unless the Europeans get in front of this situation, it’s not just some refugees from the Near East they’ll have to deal with. Especially with the economic chaos of The Greater Depression, it’s going to be millions from Africa, and then perhaps millions more from Central Asia, and even India and Bangladesh. The world is becoming a very small place. What will happen when scores of thousands of migrants set up a squatter camp someplace—with no food, shelter, or sanitary facilities. The situation is likely to be most stressful…
Some will say, “But you have to be charitable, you can’t just let them starve because they’ve had some bad luck.” To that I’d say an individual, or a family, can have some bad luck. But the places these people come from have had “bad luck” for centuries. Their bad luck is the consequence of their political, economic, and social systems. It makes no sense, it’s idiotic, to import—at huge expense—masses of people that have a culture of “bad luck.”
At the most, if someone wants to help them, they should help them with their own money.
Nick Giambruno: Then there are the so-called economists and think tanks that say bringing in a bunch of migrants will “stimulate” the economy…
Doug Casey: There are hundreds of think tanks in the U.S. alone, most located within the Washington Beltway who appear to believe that. They’re populated by partisan academics, ex-politicos, retired generals, and others circulating through the revolving doors of the military/industrial/political/academic complex. They’re really just propaganda outlets, funded by foundations and donors who want to give an intellectual patina to their views.
Think tanks, and their cousins, the lobbyists and the NGOs, are mostly what I like to call Running Dogs, who act as a support system for the Top Dogs in the Deep State. Their product is “policy recommendations,” which influence how much tax you have to pay and how many new regulations you have to obey. Think tanks are populated almost exclusively by what have been called “useless mouths.” They’re no friends of the common man.
The migration policies they’re promoting are creating chaos.
Nick Giambruno: I just spent weeks on the ground in Italy, a frontline state in the migrant crisis. I was investigating the upcoming referendum and how it could be the first domino to fall in the collapse of the EU.
I can say for sure that the migrant issue is one of the largest on the mind of the average Italian voter.
Each day on average, a couple thousand migrants—sometimes many more—arrive in Italy. They’re mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, but also a large number are from the Indian subcontinent.
While I was in Rome I saw many. Lots of them aggressively beg and hawk trinkets. People now lock their doors to their homes when before they might not have.
I witnessed, a number of times, young male migrants sitting in the handicap spot on trams, buses, and other public transportation, refusing to give up their seats for elderly Italian women.
It’s anecdotal, but it's hard to think of a way to wear out your welcome faster than for regular Italians to see an elderly woman have to struggle to stand on a bus while a migrant, perfectly capable of standing, comfortably sits.
While at the Milan train station I witnessed migrants shoving aside a clerk at the ticket check to forcibly board a train. I could see the look on the faces of the other Italian passengers. They were dumbfounded at how the migrants were blatantly choosing to not live by the rules of society and nobody was doing anything about it.
Then in Como—one of the swankiest places in Italy and where George Clooney maintains a residence—I saw how many hundreds of migrants have turned the train station into a filthy makeshift camp. It was a bizarre blend of extreme poverty and extreme wealth.
To say Italians are fed up is a gross understatement.
Most feel Italy has enough problems without trying to solve the problems of the world. They wonder why they are forced to subsidize the migrants—who receive over $80 a month from the state, far more than their annual income in their home countries—while they are suffering under extreme economic hardship.
Italians largely blame the EU and pro-EU politicians for this mess.
So Doug, what should be done about this mess that doesn’t, at the same time, feed the growth of the State?
Doug Casey: Immigration across political borders doesn't have to be a problem. It’s simply a matter of maintaining the property rights of all concerned.
Let me repeat, and re-emphasize, what I said earlier. The free-market solution to the migrant situation is quite simple. If all the property of a country is privately owned, anyone can come and stay as long as he can pay for his accommodations. When even the streets and parks are privately owned, trespassers, beggars, squatters, migrants, vagrants, and the like have a problem. A country with 100% private property, and zero welfare, would only attract people who like those conditions. And they’d undoubtedly be welcome as individuals. But “migration” would be impossible.
So, again, I'm all for open borders. Anybody should be able to go anywhere if they can support themselves. In a free market society, however, nobody's going to give you money just for existing. You have to produce goods and services in order to be able to buy food, shelter, and clothing.
This is how the migration problem could be solved. You don't need the government. You don't need the army. You don't need visas or quotas. You don't need laws. You don't need treaties to solve the migration problem. All you need is privately owned property and the lack of welfare benefits.
Nick Giambruno: I agree, but I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, except in our dreams. What do you think are some likely outcomes?
Doug Casey: Well, I agree; they’ll come up with some cockamamie political solution. But the good news is that it will speed up the disintegration of the EU. It never made sense from the beginning to try to get Swedes to live by the same rules as Sicilians, or Germans by the same rules as Portuguese. Not to mention that the rules are entirely arbitrary. Worse, almost all the rules result in economic transfers, with legislated winners and losers. Deals like that always lead to resentment, among both the winners and the losers.
The euro, meanwhile, will approach its intrinsic value at an accelerating rate and eventually cease to exist. The Esperanto currency was doomed from the beginning. It was not just an “IOU nothing,” like the U.S. dollar, but a “Who owes you nothing” since it’s not even backed by a specific government’s taxing power.
My prediction that the Continent will one day just be a giant petting zoo for the Chinese is intact—assuming the current wave of migrants approve.
On the bright side, the collapse of the EU will accelerate the disintegration of nation-states everywhere. There are about 200 nation-states in the world. The international “elite,” the “intelligentsia,” the members of the Deep State everywhere, and organizations like the EU in Brussels, would like to see a much smaller number of more powerful states. Orwell anticipated just three mega-states in his dystopia, 1984. But the actual trend is in the opposite direction.
It’s not just the UK seceding from the EU, but Scotland from the UK. The Basques and Catalans may eventually secede from Spain. Belgium, a totally artificial country, will eventually break up into Flemish-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. France has half a dozen secession movements. Italy was only unified into its present form from scores of principalities, duchies, and baronies in 1861. It was the same with Germany until Bismarck in 1871. The break-up of the USSR in 1990 into 13 smaller states was a good start, but Russia itself is a small empire with dozens of distinct ethnic and linguistic groups. You will rarely hear about this in the mass media, but there are dozens of secession movements throughout Europe.
There will be an exodus of capital and people from Europe to parts of Latin America, plus to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This is, obviously, bad for Europe and good for the recipient countries, since the emigrants will be educated and affluent. In recent years, I might not have included Latin America, but things have changed. Argentina and Colombia are liberalizing economically. The continent isn’t involved in any entangling alliances, isn’t on the migration highway, and has low costs. Why a wealthy European would stay in that stagnant and unstable continent when he could live better, and mostly tax-free, at a fraction of the cost in Argentina is a mystery to me. If I was a European, I would be leaving Europe at this point.
Published:10/7/2016 1:39:40 AM
Original Scandal: Federal Judge Denies Release Of Draft Hillary Whitewater Indictment
A federal judge has officially denied a FOIA request from Judicial Watch seeking a draft of a criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton prepared by prosecutors back in the mid-90s related to her involvement in the Whitewater scandal. According to Politico, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, a Bush appointee, ruled that Clinton's "substantial privacy interest" outweighed any public interest in disclosure and that the material was protected from disclosure by a court rule enforcing grand jury secrecy. The 30-page opinion from Walton (attached in its entirety below) argues that the draft indictment would not "shed light on any agency's performance of its statutory duties, but potentially shed light solely on the character of Mrs. Clinton, independent to her position as a public official, which is not the objective of the FOIA."
"The fact that information about the independent counsel’s investigation and potential indictment of Mrs. Clinton is readily available to the public does not extinguish Mrs. Clinton’s privacy interest," Walton wrote. "Although an individual’s interests in privacy fade when the information involved already appears on the public record'...'the fact that an event is not wholly private does not mean that an individual has no interest in limiting disclosure or dissemination of [the requested] information."
"While Mrs. Clinton was first lady of the United States at the time of the investigation, she was neither part of a government agency nor a government official when the events that were the subject of the independent counsel’s investigation occurred, which led to the drafting of the proposed indictments," the judge wrote. "Disclosure of the drafts of the proposed indictment would not shed light on any agency’s performance of its statutory duties, but potentially shed light solely on the character of Mrs. Clinton, independent to her position as a public official, which is not the objective of the FOIA."
The issue of the Hillary indictments first surfaced in October 2015 when Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration after they failed to produce the documents pursuant to a FOIA request. While acknowledging only a "scintilla of public interest in these documents" the National Archives denied the request asserting that "disclosure of the draft indictments would not shed light on what the government is up to."
"While there may be a scintilla of public interest in these documents since Mrs. Clinton is presently a Democratic presidential candidate, that fact alone is not a cognizable public interest under FOIA, as disclosure of the draft indictments would not shed light on what the government is up to."
As background, the draft indictments related to allegations that Clinton provided false information and withheld evidence from federal investigators to conceal her involvement with the defunct Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, the collapse of which lead to multiple criminal convictions. Clinton provided legal representation to Madison Guaranty as an attorney at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton’s Rose Law Firm billing records, long sought by prosecutors, were found in the private quarters of the White House shortly after an important statute of limitations had expired.
Judicial Watch argued that a D.C. Circuit court ruled that Hillary was an "officer of the United States" while serving in her capacity as First Lady. Therefore, they argued that "making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators bears on Mrs. Clinton’s honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness" while serving in an official capacity.
[A]t the time Mrs. Clinton was being investigated by the independent counsel for making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators, she was First Lady of the United States. The alleged false statements and withholding of evidence also allegedly occurred while Mrs. Clinton was First Lady of the United States. The D.C. Circuit has found that, as First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Clinton was an officer of the United States, at least for purposes of the Federal Advisory Committee Act….
Obviously, making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators bears on Mrs. Clinton’s honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, not only as First Lady, but also in her subsequent government service as a U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State and for the position she currently seeks … The Archives’ assertions to the contrary are neither serious nor credible.
Obviously, like FBI Director Comey, Walton concluded that less transparency regarding the 20 year old case was in the public's "best interest". Likely just more "plumes of smoke" anyway...it was probably nothing.
* * *
For those of you not as familiar with the Whitewater scandal, below is an excellent, detailed recap from the Washington Post. It is an amazing tale complete with all the twists and turns of a modern-day Clinton scandal including shady real estate deals, insider dealings, document destruction, obstruction of justice, perjury, wrongful deaths, etc.
Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton join with James B. and Susan McDougal to borrow $203,000 to buy 220 acres of land in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains. They soon form the Whitewater Development Corp., intending to build vacation homes.
Clinton is elected governor.
Clinton loses his reelection bid and enters private legal practice.
James McDougal, who served briefly as Gov. Clinton's economic development director, quits government to buy a small bank in Kingston, Ark. He loans $30,000 to Hillary Clinton to build a model house on a Whitewater lot.
McDougal buys a small savings and loan and names it Madison Guaranty.
After two years as a private citizen, Clinton is once again elected governor.
Federal regulators begin to question the financial stability and lending practices of Madison Guaranty, criticizing Madison's speculative land deals, insider-lending and hefty commissions paid to the McDougals and others.
Clinton is reelected.
James McDougal holds a fund-raising event at Madison Guaranty to help pay off a $50,000 Clinton campaign debt. Investigators later determine some of the money was improperly withdrawn from depositor funds.
McDougal hires the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary Clinton is a partner, to do legal work for the ailing savings and loan.
Hillary Clinton and another Rose lawyer seek state regulatory approval for recapitalization plan for Madison.
McDougal borrows $300,000 from a company owned by David Hale, a former Little Rock judge. Hale's company receives federal funds from the Small Business Administration to lend to disadvantaged business owners, but an investigation 10 years later alleges that he lent up to $3 million to political figures instead.
Citing improper practices, federal regulators remove McDougal as Madison Guaranty's president, but he retains ownership.
Witnesses from the Rose Law Firm say Hillary Clinton requested the destruction of Madison land contract files.
Hillary Clinton writes James McDougal to ask for power of attorney to sell off remaining Whitewater lots and clear up bank obligations.
Madison Guaranty collapses after a series of bad loans and a change in government accounting procedures. The federal government shuts it down and spends $60 million bailing it out.
James McDougal is indicted on federal fraud charges related to his management of a Madison real estate subsidiary.
McDougal is acquitted.
The Clinton presidential campaign gathers information on Whitewater and Madison Guaranty. A report commissioned by the campaign claims the Clintons lost $68,000 on Whitewater, an estimate later adjusted down to somewhat over $40,000.
The Federal Resolution Trust Corp., investigating causes of Madison's failure, sends a referral to the Justice Department that names the Clintons as "potential beneficiaries" of illegal activities at Madison.
Clinton's first term as president begins.
White House fires seven employees in the travel office, possibly to make room for Clinton friends. An FBI investigation of the office ensues, allegedly opened under pressure from the White House to justify the firings.
Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster files three years of delinquent Whitewater corporate tax returns.
Foster is found dead in a Washington area park. Police rule the death a suicide. Federal investigators are not allowed access to Foster's office immediately after the discovery, but White House aides enter Foster's office shortly after his death, giving rise to speculation that files were removed from his office.
First of three meetings in which Treasury Department officials tip off Clinton aides about the progress of the RTC investigation.
RTC's criminal referral is rejected by Paula Casey, U.S. attorney in Little Rock and former law student of Bill Clinton.
The White House agrees to turn over Whitewater documents to the Justice Department, which had been preparing to subpoena them. These documents include files found in Foster's office.
Attorney General Janet Reno names New York lawyer and former U.S. attorney Robert B. Fiske Jr. as special counsel to investigate the Clintons' involvement in Whitewater. Fiske announces he will also explore a potential link between Foster's suicide and his intimate knowledge of the developing Whitewater scandal.
Republican attorney Jay Stephens is appointed to head the Resolution Trust Corp.'s investigation of the failure of Madison Guaranty.
Webster L. Hubbell abruptly resigns as associate attorney general after allegations are raised about his conduct at the Rose Law Firm. Two of Clinton's top political advisers call business friends and line up more than $500,000 for Hubbell, including $100,000 from the Lippo Group. Hubbell is later convicted of fraud and serves 18 months in jail.
The House and Senate Banking committees begin hearings on Whitewater. Twenty-nine Clinton administration officials are subpoenaed or testify at congressional hearings. All are cleared of any wrongdoing.
August 5, 1994:
A U.S. Court of Appeals panel refuses to re-appoint Fiske as special counsel, citing a possible conflict of interest because he was appointed by Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. Kenneth W. Starr, a former federal appeals court judge and U.S. solicitor who worked in the Reagan and Bush administrations, succeeds Fiske as the independent counsel to investigate Whitewater-Madison matters. He reissues subpoenas for documents, such as the Rose billing records of Hillary Clinton.
Jan. 3, 1995:
The Democratic majority on the Senate Banking Committee releases a report finding no laws were broken in the Whitewater matter.
April 22, 1995:
Starr interviews the Clintons privately.
July 18, 1995:
The Senate Special Whitewater Committee, chaired by Republican Alfonse D'Amato, begins hearings on Whitewater and on Foster's suicide. D'Amato is also a chairman of Republican Bob Dole's presidential campaign. The hearings last 11 months.
Aug. 10, 1995:
The House Banking Committee, chaired by Republican Jim Leach of Iowa, finishes its examination and finds no illegalities.
Aug. 17, 1995:
A grand jury charges James and Susan McDougal and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker with bank fraud relating to questionable loans.
Oct. 26, 1995:
The Senate Whitewater committee issues 49 subpoenas to federal agencies and others involved in the affair.
Dec. 12, 1995:
White House associate counsel William H. Kennedy III, who worked at the Rose Law Firm, refuses to release subpoenaed notes of a 1993 meeting between administration officials and the president's lawyers about Whitewater.
Dec. 20, 1995:
The Senate votes along party lines to enforce the subpoena. The next day, the White House drops its claim to attorney-client privilege and releases the notes. They prove vague and do not reveal any illegality, but contain the phrase "Vacuum Rose law files WWDC Docs – subpoena."
Jan. 4, 1996:
Hillary Clinton's billing records from the Rose Law Firm are found on a table in the White House residence book room after two years. Clinton aide Carolyn Huber says she found the bills in August 1995 but didn't realize their significance until coming across them again. The documents include copies of bills for Hillary Clinton's legal work, showing she performed 60 hours of legal work for Madison in 1985 and 1986.
Jan. 8, 1996:
In a commentary titled "Blizzard of Lies," New York Times columnist William Safire describes Hillary Clinton as "a congenital liar." White House press secretary Michael McCurry said if Clinton were not president he "would have delivered a more forceful response to that [column] on the bridge of Mr. Safire's nose."
Jan. 15, 1996:
Republicans suggest billing documents may have been withheld from their investigation to disguise how much work Hillary Clinton had done for Madison Guaranty. The White House issues a denial.
Jan. 22, 1996:
Kenneth Starr subpoenas Hillary Clinton in a criminal probe to determine if records were intentionally withheld. This is the first time a wife of a sitting president has been subpoenaed.
Jan. 26, 1996:
Hillary Clinton testifies before a grand jury about the discovery and content of the billing records.
March 4, 1996:
Whitewater trial of Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D) and the McDougals begins in Little Rock.
April 22, 1996:
David Hale, the former owner of a government-funded lending company who has pleaded guilty to two felonies, testifies at Whitewater trial that in early 1985 then governor Bill Clinton pressured him to make a fraudulent $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal and asked that his name be kept out of the transaction.
April 28, 1996:
Clinton testifies on videotape as a defense witness for just over four hours. He denies Hale's charge. The tape is played to the Whitewater trial jury on May 9.
May 26, 1996:
Gov. Tucker and the McDougals are convicted of nearly all the fraud and conspiracy charges Starr lodged against them 10 months earlier.
May 28, 1996:
The White House acknowledges that during four months in late 1993 it wrongly collected FBI background reports on hundreds, including prominent Republicans. Director of personnel security, Craig Livingstone, later takes responsibility.
June 17, 1996:
"Second" Whitewater trial begins. Arkansas bankers Herby Branscum Jr. and Robert Hill are accused of illegally using bank funds to reimburse themselves for political contributions, including contributions to Clinton's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.
June 18, 1996:
The Senate Whitewater committee finishes its investigation. Republicans and Democrats remain divided in their respective reports on whether the Clintons committed any ethical breaches.
July 7, 1996:
President Clinton testifies on tape for the second Whitewater trial.
July 15, 1996:
Jim Guy Tucker resigns as governor of Arkansas.
July 16 & 17, 1996:
Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey, named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Branscum-Hill trial, testifies about his role as the treasurer of Clinton's gubernatorial reelection effort in 1990. He says he never sought to conceal from regulators two large cash withdrawals he ordered.
July 18, 1996:
President Clinton's videotaped testimony from July 7 is aired at the trial. In it, Clinton denies naming the two defendants to unsalaried state posts in exchange for contributions to his 1990 gubernatorial campaign.
Aug. 1, 1996:
In a major setback for Starr's investigation, Branscum and Hill are cleared on four counts of bank fraud by a federal jury, which deadlocks on seven other charges.
Aug. 19, 1996:
Former governor Tucker receives a suspended four-year sentence after his doctor testifies that he would likely die of liver disease if imprisoned. Tucker is placed under home detention and fined $319,000.
Aug. 20, 1996:
Susan McDougal is sentenced to two years in prison for her role in obtaining an illegal loan for the Whitewater venture.
Sept. 4, 1996:
Susan McDougal, who had considered cooperating with prosecutors, says she doesn't trust them. She enters jail for contempt of court rather than testify in front of a grand jury.
Sept. 23, 1996:
An FDIC inspector general's report concludes Hillary Clinton drafted a real estate document that Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan used to "deceive" federal regulators in 1986.
Sept. 30, 1996:
The General Accounting Office reports that independent counsels investigating President Clinton and his administration have spent more than $25 million. Starr alone has spent more than $17 million.
Nov. 24, 1996:
Clinton's former campaign strategist for the 1992 election, James Carville, announces plans to attack Starr as a partisan hatchet man with a right-wing agenda.
Feb. 17, 1997:
Starr unexpectedly announces he will leave his post as independent counsel in August to become the dean of Pepperdine University Law School in California. After much criticism, Starr reverses his decision four days later and resolves to keep his post until after the investigation is completed.
April 10, 1997:
On a radio talk show, Hillary Clinton denies that hush money was arranged for former law partner Webster L. Hubbell. She says Whitewater reminds her "of some people's obsession with UFOs and the Hale-Bopp comet some days."
April 14, 1997:
James B. McDougal is sentenced to three years in prison for his conviction on 18 fraud and conspiracy charges. Starr requested a reduced sentence for McDougal for assisting the prosecution.
April 22, 1997:
The U.S. District Court extends the Whitewater grand jury's term six more months, until Nov. 7, after Starr says he has "extensive evidence" of possible obstruction of justice.
April 25, 1997:
8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, overruling a lower court, says the White House must turn over subpoenaed notes to Starr. The notes, for which the White House claimed attorney-client privilege, were taken by White House lawyers when investigators questioned the First Lady.
May 2, 1997:
The White House announces that it will appeal the decision on the subpoenaed notes to the Supreme Court.
June 23, 1997:
The Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, and the White House turns over the notes.
June 25, 1997:
The Washington Post reports that Whitewater prosecutors have been questioning Arkansas state troopers about President Clinton's personal life, including possible extramarital affairs he may have had while Arkansas governor.
July 15, 1997:
Starr's office concludes that Vincent Foster's death in 1993 was a suicide.
July 30, 1997:
Susan McDougal, being detained for contempt of court, is moved into a federal detention facility after seven months in two Los Angeles jails, much of which she spent locked in a windowless cell 23 hours a day. The move comes a week after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit alleging that McDougal was being held, at Starr's request, in "barbaric" conditions in an attempt to coerce her to testify.
Sept. 30, 1997:
The General Accounting Office announces that Starr had spent over $25 million on his investigation as of March 1997.
January 16, 1998:
Starr receives permission to expand his investigation into whether Clinton and his close friend Vernon E. Jordan Jr. encouraged a 24-year-old former White House intern to lie under oath about her alleged affair with the president.
March 8, 1998:
James McDougal dies just months before he hoped to be released from prison.
April 1, 1998:
The General Accounting Office announces that Starr had spent nearly $30 million on his investigation as of September 1997.
April 16, 1998:
Starr says there is no end in sight to his investigation, and officially declines the Pepperdine job, which was being held open for him.
April 23, 1998:
Susan McDougal, finally serving her two-year fraud sentence after completing her 18-month contempt of court sentence, refuses yet again to testify before Starr's Little Rock grand jury.
April 25, 1998:
Starr and deputies question Hillary Rodham Clinton about Whitewater for nearly five hours at the White House. The testimony is videotaped for the Little Rock grand jury.
April 30, 1998:
A new set of tax evasion and fraud charges is brought against Webster Hubbell.
May 4, 1998:
Susan McDougal is indicted on charges of criminal contempt and obstruction.
April 30, 1998:
A federal judge dismisses the tax and fraud charges against Hubbell and criticizes Starr for going on "the quintessential fishing expedition."
Nov. 13, 1998:
Starr brings a third indictment against Hubbell, this one alleging lies to Congress and federal banking regulators.
Nov. 19, 1998:
During the first day of impeachment hearings, Starr clears Clinton in relation to the firing of White House travel office workers in 1993 and the improper collection of FBI files revealed in 1996. He also says his office drafted an impeachment referral stemming from Whitewater in 1997, but decided not to send it because the evidence was insufficient.
The full opinion of U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton can be reviewed below:
Published:10/4/2016 5:21:28 PM
MOVES-Hedge fund lobby group names Simon Lorne chairman
Sept 27 (Reuters) - Global hedge fund lobby group
Alternative Investment Management Association named Simon Lorne
as its chairman, replacing former U.S. SEC Commissioner Kathleen
Published:9/27/2016 1:45:38 PM
[Bank of England]
Frontrunning: August 1
- Global stocks hit highest in a year but banks take shine off Europe (Reuters)
- Fed’s Dudley Warns It Is Premature to Rule Out an Interest-Rate Increase This Year (WSJ)
- Fed’s Kaplan Says September ‘On the Table’ If Data Support (BBG)
- Europe's stress tests fail to ease investors' bank sector worries (Reuters)
- Trump’s Attacks on Khan Family Roil Race But May Not Alter It (BBG)
- Father of Slain Soldier Volleys Back at Donald Trump (WSJ)
- Clinton says Russia behind DNC hacking, draws line to Trump (Reuters)
- Russia says accusations it was behind DNC email hack are insulting (Reuters)
- Islamic State calls on members to carry out jihad in Russia (Reuters)
- Celgene Accused of Using Charities in ‘Scheme to Gain Billions' (BBG)
- Hunt for Returns Reaches Pakistan (WSJ)
- A $400 Billion Influx Squeezes U.S. Bond Market’s Safest Asset (BBG)
- Abe's Japan Spending Package Likely to Come Up Light (WSJ)
- More Companies Are Choosing a Sale Over an IPO (WSJ)
- The Fragile U.S. Economy Now Facing a Slowdown in Building Boom (BBG)
- China stakes a strong claim in the Greek electricity landscape (Kathimerini)
- Goldman Bond Deals With 1MDB Under Singapore Central Bank Review (BBG)
- U.S. judge to weigh halt to North Carolina transgender bathroom law (Reuters)
- Britain’s scientists are freaking out over Brexit (WaPo)
- Turkey captures 11 involved in bid to seize Erdogan during coup attempt (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley argued for continued caution over the path of U.S. interest rates, given uncertainty over the global outlook, but warned that traders who have been ruling out an interest-rate increase later this year are growing too complacent. http://on.wsj.com/2ar4Y5E
- China's homegrown ride-hailing champion, Didi Chuxing Technology Co, has reached a deal to acquire Uber Technologies Inc's China operations, people familiar with the deal said, marking an end to their bruising competition for passengers. http://on.wsj.com/2ar5O2o
- Pope Francis said the inspiration for terrorism wasn't Islam but a world economy that worshiped the "god of money" and drove the disenfranchised to violence. "Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person, "the pope told reporters late Sunday as he returned to the Vatican from a five-day visit in Poland. "This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity." http://on.wsj.com/2akIL7H
- A hot-air balloon hit at least one electrical transmission line before all 16 people on board died in a fiery crash in Central Texas on Saturday, prompting accident experts to delve into weather conditions, pilot actions and equipment issues, according to the first official release of information by federal investigators. At a Sunday press conference in the middle of a rural pasture bisected by power lines and towers about 30 miles south of Austin, Robert Sumwalt, the on-scene member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said preliminary indications pointed to some type of collision between a portion of the balloon and part of that electrical grid. http://on.wsj.com/2aVmihm
* High-profile British Treasury Minister Jim O'Neill, a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, could quit his post over Prime Minister Theresa May's new approach to Chinese investment, the Financial Times reported, citing a friend of O'Neill.
* Ride-hailing service Uber will invest $500 million in an ambitious global mapping project to wean itself off dependence on Google Maps and pave the way for driverless cars, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
* U.S. bank Goldman Sachs was asked to provide details of any paid work it has done for Tina Green, the wife of retail tycoon Philip Green, as British Members of Parliament continue to evaluate the banks involvement in Green's decision to sell BHS for 1 pound.
- Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing service in China, plans to buy Uber China, the Chinese arm of the American ride-sharing giant, in a deal that values the new company at about $35 billion. http://nyti.ms/2aBWKH9
- HBO's new president of programming Casey Bloys said that "Game of Thrones" would conclude after its eighth season, and he acknowledged that next season's summer premiere date would mean the show would not be eligible for the 2017 Emmys. http://nyti.ms/2aBXZq3
- A consortium of Chinese investors led by the game company Shanghai Giant Network Technology said it would pay $4.4 billion to Caesars Interactive Entertainment for Playtika, its social and mobile games unit. http://nyti.ms/2aBYgck
British taxpayers could bear the burden of 2.5 billion pounds ($3.30 billion) even if the Hinkley Point bill is dropped. EDF, the French energy giant, has already invested 2.5 billion pounds in developing the site for the nuclear plant. (http://bit.ly/2aUwzdM)
A three-member International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel will have the final say on which Russian athletes can compete at the Rio Games, reviewing all decisions taken by the international federations. The IOC earlier this month set criteria for Russians to be eligible to compete in Rio after revelations of state-backed doping in the country. (http://bit.ly/2aUx5ID)
The Bank of England is almost certain to cut benchmark borrowing costs when it sets policy on Aug. 4. This kind of quantitative easing could be used by policymakers to give an extra boost to the economy after the Brexit vote. (http://bit.ly/2aUxpaj)
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said Britain is well-equipped to prevent terror attacks, but it remained a question of 'when, not if' there would be an attack. His comment came in light of the recent Islamic State attacks on European countries. (http://bit.ly/2aUyiQt)
A large number of workers could be denied flexible access to their final salary pension funds if a bill to allow companies to ditch their pension promises is passed by the government.(http://bit.ly/2aUyPSl)
British Prime Minister Theresa May's first important order of business was meeting the bosses of four companies subject to inquiry by the Serious Fraud Office. She met with the chiefs of Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls Royce and Tesco - each of which is being investigated for alleged wrongdoing. (http://bit.ly/2aUyQpu)
The deal worth 79 billion pounds ($104.32 billion) between SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev remains to be voted on by shareholders of SABMiller. The board of SABMiller intends to persuade shareholders to approve the terms of the deal. (http://bit.ly/2aUzNxM)
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron has reportedly offered knighthoods and other such titles to prominent campaigners from the Remain camp. Four cabinet members - Michael Fallon, David Lidington, Philip Hammond and Patrick McLoughlin - could be awarded knighthoods as well. (http://ind.pn/2aUCEXK)
The recent surge in anti-immigration hate crimes in Britain after the Brexit vote has occurred mostly in areas that strongly voted to leave the European Union. Statistics show hate crimes are on the rise in Eurosceptic areas of Britain. (http://ind.pn/2aUDaVr)
Published:8/1/2016 7:11:27 AM
Hillary Clinton's Top VP Pick Lets Big Banks Know He's In Their Corner
Submitted by Deirdre Fulton via CommonDreams.org,
Sounding another alarm for progressives wary of the Democratic establishment's support for Wall Street, the man said to be leading the pack of potential Hillary Clinton running mates - Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine - has just this week sent a clear message to big banks: He's in their corner.
Kaine, who is reportedly Bill Clinton's favorite for the vice presidential slot, signed onto two letters on Monday pushing for financial deregulation - letters that show the Clinton camp "how Kaine could be an asset with banking interests on the fundraising trail," according to David Dayen at The Intercept on Wednesday.
"Let's be really clear: It should be disqualifying for any potential Democratic vice presidential candidate to be part of a lobbyist-driven effort to help banks dodge consumer protection standards and regulations designed to prevent banks from destroying our economy."
—Charles Chamberlain, Democracy for America
The news should "disqualify" Kaine from the ticket, one prominent progressive group declared Thursday.
The first missive, signed by 16 Democrats and every Republican senator, calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to exempt community banks and credit unions from certain regulations.
As Dayen explains:
While this seems benign, tailoring rules that exempt large classes of financial institutions leaves consumers vulnerable to deceptive practices. A rule of this type could allow community banks and credit unions to sell high-risk mortgages or personal loans without the disclosure and ability to pay rules in place across the industry.
The second letter (pdf) deals with even bigger regional institutions, as it is aimed at helping "major firms including Capital One, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank, all of which control hundreds of billions of dollars in assets," according to the Huffington Post.
Signed by Kaine and three other Democratic senators—Mark Warner (Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.), and Bob Casey (Pa.)—the letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Martin Gruenberg "argues that it is unfair for these large banks to be required to calculate and report their liquidity?a critical measure of risk?on a daily basis," HuffPo's Zach Carter continues.
"This distinction is applied unevenly across regional institutions despite similar risk profiles, simply by virtue of an asset threshold," the letter reads.
Or, as Carter puts it, translating the senators' bottom line: "just because they're big, doesn't mean they should be regulated more closely."
Kaine for VP provides "a perfect example of why the party needs to create policies and pick candidates who reflect the will of the voters, not the will of elites and special interests that the superdelegate system has come to embody."
—Diane Russell, Maine State Representative
But in fact, Dayen points out, "[i]n an interconnected financial system, a large regional bank that gets into trouble has as much chance of creating ripple effects as a mega-bank. It's unclear why they should be exempted from regulations deemed appropriate for all facets of the financial sector."
On top of these salvos on behalf of the banking industry, the Huffington Post notes that Kaine did not sign onto a third letter sent Wednesday from 28 senators urging the CFPB to crack down on abusive payday lenders and in turn, protect consumers.
That all this took place while Kaine is presumably being vetted for VP "could show potential financial industry donors that he is willing to serve as an ally on their regulatory issues," Dayen wrote, especially because Clinton has been pushed to the left by Bernie Sanders on Wall Street.
Given existing concerns around Kaine's support for the Trans Pacific Partnership and other so-called "free trade" deals, plus his mixed record on reproductive rights and now new proof of his bending to bankers, it's no wonder RootsAction co-founder and Bernie Sanders delegate Norman Solomon told Common Dreams on Wednesday that choosing the Virginia senator or someone like him "would be a very pronounced middle finger to the 13 million people who voted for Bernie."
Indeed, in a press statement on Thursday, critics of the Democratic Party's superdelegate system said Kaine's position at the top of the VP list provides "a perfect example of why the party needs to create policies and pick candidates who reflect the will of the voters, not the will of elites and special interests that the superdelegate system has come to embody."
"Superdelegates are the embodiment of a system that is rigged in favor of the powerful at the expense of the powerless," said Maine state representative Diane Russell, who originated an amendment to abolish superdelegates that will be taken up by the DNC Rules Committee on Saturday, "and there isn't a more powerful industry in America than the big banks."
And Democracy for America executive director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement Thursday:
Published:7/22/2016 1:26:18 AM
"Let's be really clear: It should be disqualifying for any potential Democratic vice presidential candidate to be part of a lobbyist-driven effort to help banks dodge consumer protection standards and regulations designed to prevent banks from destroying our economy."
"Our presidential ticket cannot beat the billionaire bigot by simply being not-Donald Trump," he added. "To win in November, our ticket needs to have an unquestionably strong record in the fight against income inequality, one of the defining issues of the 2016 election."
Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay McKesson Arrested In Baton Rouge
For the third consecutive day, protests against police violence (and less so the deadly retaliation by Micah Johnson) continued on Saturday night across America and shut down key roadways and transportation arteries in a number of U.S. cities on Saturday, resulting in mass arrests. The protests stretched into early Sunday morning in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, where tensions are most raw after the deaths of Alton Sterling in the Louisiana city and of Philando Castile in a St. Paul suburb.
While thousands of mostly peaceful demonstrators flooded the streets of major U.S. cities again Saturday night, a protest in St. Paul took a particularly violent turn, with participants hurling Molotov cocktails, fireworks, rocks, glass bottles, concrete slabs, and bricks at riot gear-wearing police officers. Police said on Twitter that people on an overpass were "throwing objects at officers, dumping liquid on officers" and others were throwing rocks and rebar. Police were heard telling the crowd, "leave the interstate now or you'll be subject to a use of force" shortly after 10:30 p.m. Police blamed "aggressors" for throwing objects at officers, and said police were using "marking rounds." Five officers were injured, and two were taken to the hospital. All are expected to be okay.
Authorities used smoke bombs when 200 protesters refused to leave the roadway just after midnight. By 12:45 a.m. Sunday, police said they were clearing debris from the road in order to reopen the highway.
Between the demonstrations in Baton Rouge and St. Paul alone, there were more than 200 arrests.
But the most notable overnight arrest was that of DeRay McKesson, one of the leaders and most prominent activists of the Black Lives Matter protest movement, who as WaPo reports, was arrested in Baton Rouge, where he traveled earlier Saturday "to demonstrate in solidarity with residents angered by the recent death of Alton Sterling after an officer-involved shooting that was captured on video." McKesson was taken into custody around 11 p.m.
Activist DeRay McKesson is taken into police custody during a protest along
Airline Highway in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters
“The officers won’t give their names,” said Brittany Packnett, a co-founder with McKesson of the group Campaign Zero, a prominent activist collective. “He was clearly targeted.” She later tweeted that 100 people were arrested in Baton Rouge. There was no immediate official confirmation of that figure.
Packnett said McKesson was using his smartphone to live-stream the ongoing protests when police began forcibly dispersing the crowds. As McKesson and a group of about eight people walked down the street, an officer approached him and told him that he had been “flagged” and that if he left the sidewalk again he would be arrested. Moments later, she said, two officers forcefully arrested McKesson.
“They tackled him. One officer hit the top of his body and another officer the bottom,” Packnett said. The altercation knocked the phone from McKesson’s hand, ending his live broadcast of the demonstration, she said.
Blurry video of the moments before McKesson was taken into custody provided to The Washington Post captures his verbal exchange with the officers.
“The police continue to just provoke people,” McKesson said after an officer yells to a group of people that if they step on the roadway they will be arrested. Then an officer says the man in the “loud shoes” has been “flagged”: “You in them loud shoes, if I see you in the road, if I get close to you, you’re going to jail,” an officer can be heard saying on the video. In response, Packnett says, “We’re on the shoulder. There is no sidewalk, sir.”
McKesson is known for wearing a pair of red Nike sneakers and a blue vest to all protests he attends.
Activists continued to talk as they walked up the side of the street. Moments later, an officer’s voice is heard. “City police, you’re under arrest.” “What?!” McKesson exclaims. “I’m under arrest y’all.” Then the video and audio feed cuts out.
In a text message from police custody, McKesson said he and 33 others were in custody together, wrists tied, and being taken to a police precinct.
The reaction was quick: news of McKesson’s arrest exploded on social media, with more than 100,000 tweets before dawn using the hashtag #FreeDeray. Many urged people to call Baton Rouge police and demand his release.
As CNN's Brian Stetler noted after the arrest, "when you have someone that is relatively well-known and now trending on twitter, it does create more attention both for the protests and for the arrests."
A police spokesman confirmed his arrest to The Advocate newspaper, but did not elaborate on potential charges and did not return a request for comment from The Post. As Saturday night became Sunday morning, there was no word on what charges McKesson might be facing. But a website for a local jail showed that McKesson was an inmate there as of Sunday. McKesson called a friend in Baltimore around 5:30 a.m. and told her he was in okay physical condition but did not know when he would be released, the friend told The Post.
* * *
Meanwhile, protests continued around major US cities.
The St. Paul protesters, who kicked off the night at 8 p.m. from the governor's mansion, forced the closure of Interstate 94. Some threw objects and dropped liquids from overpasses on officers below. Others directed laser pointers at officers. Police responded shortly after midnight with inert, glass balls and smoke to clear about 200 demonstrators who were blocking the interstate, which opened early Sunday morning. Pepper spray was also used on some protesters.
Protester Mike Martin told The Associated Press he was pepper sprayed by a police officer on a pedestrian bridge overlooking the interstate. He claimed he was trying to move the crowd along and keep the peace. "I guess I wasn't moving fast enough for him," Martin said. "He just got it out and bam, I saw a cloud. It's burning pretty bad."
In Baton Rouge masses of people also took to the streets. Demonstrators gathered at the convenience store where Sterling was shot before making their way to the Baton Rouge police department and the state Capitol. Baton Rouge resident Marie Flowers, who lives in the same neighborhood where Sterling was killed, came to the protest with her three children. "Black boys are being killed and this is just the culmination of what has been going on for decades," she told The AP. According to East Baton Rouge Sheriff public information officer Casey Hicks, there 101 arrests overnight related to the protest.
About 1,000 protesters faced off against riot gear-wearing police officers, while shouting "No justice! No peace!" Members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense were also present, shouting "Black Power" and raising their fists. The protests died down a little after midnight.
Two weapons were confiscated, according to a police spokesman.
It was during this protest that McKesson was arrested.
Other cities where demonstrators took to the streets per ABC:
New York, N.Y.: Hundreds of people descended upon Union Square and marched uptown, chanting "Black lives matter" and "No justice, no peace." By the end of the demonstration, about 1,000 people had taken part. An NYPD spokesman said there were 20 arrests. The charges were unknown.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Hundreds of people took part in a six-hour march to two police precincts, shouting slogans while facing off with officers.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Several hundred people, some of whom were affiliated with Black Lives Matter, broke off from the city's 200th anniversary parade to march from Point State Park to the county courthouse.
Newport, Rhode Island: More than 150 people gathered in downtown Newport to listen to Black Lives Matter speakers.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Hundreds of Black Lives Matter supporters marched throughout the city, stopping outside a Broward County jail, where prisoners banged on windows in support. Other demonstrations were held in neighboring West Palm Beach and Miami.
San Antonio, Texas: Shortly before 10 p.m. local time, someone had shot at the San Antonio Police Department headquarters, leaving no one injured, but police leaders anxious given the slayings of five officers in Dallas on Thursday.
Salt Lake City, Utah: Black Lives Matters supporters gathered in the city's downtown, where speakers addressed racial inequality and police violence.
San Francisco, California: Several roads and ramps to get on and off the Bay Bridge were blocked by demonstrators, who kicked off their march from the city's Hall of Justice. And in central California, hundreds of people blocked intersection in Fresno.
Published:7/10/2016 7:17:54 AM
Confirmation Chaos and Constitutional Corruption
Within hours of hearing the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that his caucus would not be holding any hearings or votes on a replacement nominee until after the election. “Let the people decide” became the rallying cry of the Republican majority, and all of the party’s members on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter pledging fidelity to the #NoHearingsNoVotes plan.
When President Obama announced the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland a month later, nothing really changed: this wasn’t about the nominee’s qualifications, but an argument from the political principle that the gaping hole left by a jurisprudential giant shouldn’t be filled until the voters in a polarized nation — who reelected Obama in 2012 but then handed the Senate to the GOP in 2014 — could have their say.
This seemed like unprecedented obstructionism, though historically plenty of judicial nominees have never gotten hearings or votes, and the last time that a Senate confirmed a nomination made by a president of the opposing party to a high-court vacancy arising during a presidential election year was in 1888. Indeed, under recent Republican presidents, Democratic senators ranging from Joe Biden to Chuck Schumer to Harry Reid announced that they wouldn’t consider any new nominees until after the election.
That’s literally their prerogative: Just like the Senate can decline to take up a bill passed by the House, or a treaty signed by the president, it can surely decide how to exercise its constitutional power to “advice and consent” on judicial nominations. This is purely a political matter, with the Senate staking out how it wants to exercise its power and the voters being the ultimate judges, as it were, of that tactic. Indeed, if the Senate decided not to confirm any nomine to any position, it could do so — and likely pay a high political price unless the president were so compromised as to lack any popular legitimacy whatsoever.
Why the Push to Fill the Vacancy?
Why has it come to this? Why all the focus on one office, however high it might be? Sure, it’s an election year, but that doesn’t mean that governance grinds to a halt. If Secretary of State John Kerry died or resigned, it would certainly be a big deal — with Republicans grilling his would-be successor on President Obama’s foreign-policy record — but there’s no doubt that the slot would be filled if someone with generally appropriate credentials were nominated. Even a vacancy in the vice-presidency wouldn’t last unduly long, though Republicans would jockey to extract concessions for not having Speaker Paul Ryan be President Obama’s designated successor (even if for mere months).
But of course executive appointments expire at the end of the presidential term, while judicial appointments long outlast any president. To take an extreme example, an important ruling on donor-list disclosures was made this past April by a district judge appointed by Lyndon Johnson. Justice Scalia himself served nearly 30 years, giving President Reagan legal-policy agenda a bridge well into the 21st century. And let’s not forget that the Scalia-less Supreme Court stands starkly split 4-4 on so many controversial issues: campaign-finance law, the Second Amendment, religious liberty, executive and regulatory power, to name just a few. In this already bizarre 2016 election, legal pundits have finally gotten their wish that judicial nominations are firmly among the top campaign issues.
If we want to have the rule of law, we need judges to interpret the Constitution faithfully and strike down laws when government is exceeding its authority.
Moreover, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the bitter confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas. HBO aired a reenactment called “Confirmation,” which itself was controversial, reopening old political wounds regarding its portrayal of what Thomas referred to as a “high-tech lynching.” Justice Thomas received the narrowest Supreme Court confirmation in more than a century, 52-48 — and this less than four years after the failed nomination that ushered in the poisonous modern era of confirmation battles, that of Judge Robert Bork in 1987.
Senate Democrats had warned that nominating Bork would provoke a fight unlike any President Reagan had faced over judges — after Scalia’s unanimous confirmation the previous year. And so, the very day that Reagan nevertheless announced this pick, Ted Kennedy went to the floor of the Senate to denounce “Robert Bork’s America,” which is a place “in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.” It went downhill from there, as the irascible Bork — with an irascible beard — refused to adopt the now well-worn strategy of talking a lot without saying anything. A few years later, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would refine that tactic into a “pincer movement,” refusing to comment on specific fact patterns because they might come before the Court, and then refusing to discuss general principles because “a judge could deal in specifics only.”
History of Confirming Justices
Confirmation processes weren’t always like this. The Senate didn’t even hold public hearings on Supreme Court nominations until 1916 — and that innovation was driven by the unusual circumstances of (1) the resignation of a justice (Charles Evans Hughes) to run against a sitting president (Woodrow Wilson) and (2) the first Jewish nominee (Louis Brandeis). It wouldn’t be until 1938, with (also-Jewish) Felix Frankfurter, that a judicial nominee actually testified at his own hearing. In 1962, the part of Byron White’s hearing where the nominee himself testified lasted less than 15 minutes and consisted of a handful of questions, mostly about the Heisman-runner-up’s football-playing days.
What’s changed? Is it TV and social media, the 24-hour news cycle and the viral video? Is it that legal issues have become more ideologically divisive? No, it isn’t that there’s been a perversion of the confirmation process, increasingly demagogic political rhetoric, or even the use of filibusters. Those are symptoms of the underlying problem, a relatively new development but one that’s part and parcel of a much larger problem: constitutional corruption.
As government has grown, so have the laws and regulations over which the Court has power. All of a sudden, judges are declaring what Congress can do with its great powers, what kind of law the executive branch can write into the Federal Register, and what kinds of new rights will be recognized. As we’ve gone down the wrong jurisprudential track since the New Deal, the judiciary now has the opportunity to change the direction of public policy more than it ever did. So of course judicial nominations and confirmations are going to be more fraught with partisan considerations.
This wasn’t always a problem — in the sense that partisanship didn’t really mean that much other than rewarding your cronies. It’s a modern phenomenon for our two political parties to be so ideologically polarized, and therefore for judges nominated by presidents from different parties to have notably different views on constitutional interpretation.
Under the Founders’ Constitution, under which the country lived under for its first 150 years, the Supreme Court hardly ever had to strike down a law. If you read the Congressional Record of the 18th and 19th centuries, Congress debated whether legislation was constitutional, much more than whether it was a good idea. Debates focused on whether something was genuinely for the general welfare or whether it only served, for example, the state of Georgia. “Do we have the power to do this?” was the central issue with any aspect of public policy.
In 1887, Grover Cleveland vetoed an appropriation of $10,000 for seeds to drought-stricken Texas farmers because he could find no constitutional warrant for such action. In 1907, in the case of Kansas vs. Colorado, the Supreme Court said that “the proposition that there are legislative powers affecting the nation as a whole although not expressed in the specific grant of powers is in direct conflict with the doctrine that this is a government of enumerated powers.”
The Changing Role of Judges
We also had a stable system of unenumerated rights that went beyond those listed in the Bill of Rights to those retained by the people per the Ninth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment was similarly redundant of the whole structure: the idea is that we have a government of delegated and enumerated — and therefore limited — powers.
Judges play much larger roles today. The idea that the General Welfare Clause says that the government can essentially regulate any issue as long as the legislation fits someone’s conception of what’s good — meaning, that you get a majority in Congress — emerged in the Progressive Era and was codified during the New Deal. After 1937’s so-called “switch in time that saved nine” — when the Supreme Court began approving grandiose legislation of the sort it had previously rejected — no federal legislation would be struck down until 1995. The New Deal Court is the one that politicized the Constitution, and therefore too the confirmation process, by laying the foundation for judicial mischief of every stripe — be it letting laws sail through that should be struck down or striking down laws that should be upheld.
This is not about the tired old debate about “activism” versus “restraint.” So long as we accept that judicial review is constitutional and appropriate in the first place — how a judiciary is supposed to ensure that the government stays within its limited powers without it is beyond me — then we should only be concerned that a court “get it right,” regardless of whether that correct interpretation leads to the challenged law being upheld or overturned. For that matter, an honest court watcher shouldn’t care whether one party wins or another. To paraphrase John Roberts at his confirmation hearings, the “little guy” should win when he’s in the right, and the big corporation should win when it’s in the right. The dividing line, then, is not between judicial activism and judicial restraint (passivism?), but between legitimate and vigorous judicial engagement and illegitimate judicial imperialism.
In that light, the recent confirmation battles — whether you look at Bork, Thomas, the filibustering of George W. Bush’s lower-court nominees, or the scrutiny of Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment — are all a logical response to political incentives. When judges act as super-legislators, senators, the media, and the public want to scrutinize their ideology and treat them as if they’re confirming lifetime super-politicians — and rightfully so.
Judges as Super-legislators
Sure we can tinker around the edges of the appointment process with bipartisan commissions, or have set terms or fixed retirement ages — or we could have scheduling requirements for when hearings and votes have to occur after a nomination — but all that is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And the Titanic is not the judicial-nominations process, but rather the ship of government. The fundamental problem is the politicization not of the process but of the product, of the role of government, which began with the Progressive Era politically and was institutionalized during the New Deal.
Justice Scalia described this phenomenon in his dissent from the 1992 abortion ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:
[T]he American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here — reading texts and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text — the public pretty much left us alone. Text and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text … then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school — maybe better.
Enforcing the Founding Document
Ultimately judicial power is not a means to an end, be that liberal, conservative or anything else, but instead an enforcement mechanism for the strictures of the founding document. We have a republic, with a constitutional structure intended just as much to curtail the excesses of democracy as it was to empower its exercise. In a country ruled by law and not men, the proper response to an unpopular legal decision is not to call out the justices at a State of the Union address but to change the law or amend the Constitution.
Any other method leads to a sort of judicial abdication and the loss of those very rights and liberties that can only be vindicated through the judicial process — which by definition is counter-majoritarian. Or it could lead to government by black-robed philosopher kings. Even if that’s what you want, why would you hire nine lawyers for the job?!
So if we want to have the rule of law, we need judges to interpret the Constitution faithfully and strike down laws when government is exceeding its authority. Depoliticizing the judiciary is a laudable goal, but that’ll happen only when judges go back to judging rather than merely ratifying the excesses of the other branches while allowing infinite intrusions into economic liberties and property rights. Until that time, it’s absolutely appropriate to question judicial philosophies and theories of constitutional interpretation — and to vote accordingly.
Regardless of what happens to the Garland nomination or who’s president come January 2017, the battle for control of the third branch of government will continue — as will the attention paid to the resulting confirmation battles.
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.
Published:6/28/2016 8:50:36 AM
NPR + NYT: A Recipe for Cluelessness
(John Hinderaker) What happens when a National Public Radio host interviews a New York Times reporter on the subject of Venezuela’s economic collapse? You get a perfect storm of cluelessness. The host is Terry Gross, the guest is New York Times reporter Nicholas Casey, and the program is Fresh Air. Gross asks Casey about the utter disaster that Venezuela has become. Casey understands the depth to which Venezuela has fallen–he lives in
Published:6/11/2016 7:46:24 PM