Clearly, the US Dept of Justice has become a political apparatus

FBI Director James Comey held a press conference on Tuesday morning, July 5, 2016, to reveal publicly what had become of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and computer server during her term in the office of Secretary of State.  Criminal charges are not forthcoming from the investigation, but Clinton was characterized as being “extremely careless” in her handling of classified communications in ways that violated federal statutes.  It is also clear that Clinton’s accounts of her own conduct on the matter are untruthful.  MSNBC’s Morning Joe has a clip highlighting excerpts from Comey’s speech juxtaposed with excerpts of Clinton’s false narrative of her handling of classified information via email and computer devices.  This clip is less than 2 minutes in length:

James Comey has a “straight shooter” reputation.  He has heretofore been considered highly ethical by politicians of both major political parties.  Some are now second-guessing his ethics, for liberal politicians are complaining that he overstepped by sharing investigation results when he shouldn’t have, for no criminal charges are forthcoming, while conservative politicians are complaining that Comey has overstepped by precluding the bringing of criminal charges by “reasonable” prosecutors.

I appreciate that Comey was forthcoming.

This CNN article points out that Comey’s press conference was not what the US Department of Justice had planned for Clinton’s “exoneration.”

As an aside, I have been severely disappointed by CNN coverage of Clinton this year.  They have played too much softball with her, which amounts to carrying water for her.  The fact that I can find more probing questions and scathing criticisms of Clinton on MSNBC signals how far off the track CNN has become from providing fair and balanced coverage.  Yes, CNN prepared a video clip similar to the one above from MSNBC; what is lacking is the harder hitting conversations such as shown in the 15-minute Morning Joe segment below:

Also, headlines favorable to Clinton are not only as easy to find as on MSNBC, the headlines unfavorable to Clinton are buried deeper on CNN than MSNBC.  Part of this is a function of MSNBC’s focus on politics over other types of news stories, but though CNN covers a broader range of news, I still call into question the newsworthiness of many of said headlines compared to the newsworthiness of the stories critical of Clinton.

But back to the center of the story:  The press conference the Obama administration envisioned for the wrapup of the FBI investigation of Clinton was to be a joint one, with a spokesperson (perhaps Attorney General Loretta Lynch, herself) or spokespersons from the US Department of Justice accompanying whoever the FBI provided as a spokesperson.  Comey decided to spring this press conference as a surprise, both as to the timing and as to the content, in order to avoid the appearance of the complicity of the US Department of Justice in letting Clinton off the hook.  In my view, this ironically underscores that the US Department of Justice is complicit.  I have no doubt that the US Department of Justice would have stage managed this press conference very differently and would have not shed nearly as much light into the investigation as Comey did in his solo appearance.  Though I, like other conservatives, wonder at Comey’s seemingly premature or misguided ruling out of prosecution, I find it easy to forgive him for it when I consider that the public would not be in possession of the truth were it not for Comey’s initiative in stepping to a microphone on short notice . . . such short notice that he effectively circumvented any other government entity from interfering with his message.

Loretta Lynch was coming up short in appearing to be above-board.  However, even before she had a private meeting last week with Bill Clinton, in fact, even during the term of her predecessor, the politicization of the Department of Justice was already becoming visible.  As I mentioned in my prior post, at some depositions, the Justice Department had dispatched its own lawyers to make sure that the scope of questions asked during investigations were narrow.  The Justice Department appears to have much to hide.  They have skin in the game.  As I wrote in the prior post, not only is Clinton susceptible to blackmail by our geopolitical foes, like Russia, so is the Obama administration.  This brings me to my next point: Clinton had to dodge prosecution in order to keep Obama’s flank protected.  It’s why Obama has been certain from the get-go that there would not be a prosecution of Clinton.  He couldn’t allow a prosecution because it would have exposed his own vulnerabilities and culpabilities.  The envisioned stage-managed joint press conference had apparently been discussed well in advance of the conclusion of the investigation, showing that a determination to not prosecute had already been made.  Comey’s preemption of that joint press conference by his own solo appearance is, I’m sure, more than a little bit worrisome to both Obama and Clinton.

We can expect to see Obama on the Clinton campaign trail a lot for the remainder of the election season.  His best protection is getting her elected.  Her best shot at election in light of these damaging revelations is to energize Obama voters.  Expect her campaign to be contacting all voters that were identified as supporters of the previous Obama campaigns.  Black voters are especially important to Obama and Clinton.  Black voters have held Obama in very high esteem and they absolutely would not want Obama’s legacy tarnished.  Any further erosion of confidence in Clinton leaves Obama that much closer to the possibility of being tarnished.  The two, Obama and Clinton, will likely meet the same fate:  They are triumphant together, or they are doomed together.  Do not marvel that former intraparty foes are now cooperating closely, for they both have much to lose if Clinton does not succeed.

Death sentence warranted for murderers when the killings continue in prison

I understand the well-intended notion that the government should not be in the business of executing people, but I cannot fully subscribe to it.  For murderers who have already been sentenced to life in prison, they deserve a death sentence if incarceration doesn’t stop them from continuing to murder.

I agree that it would be a travesty if the state executed a person who should never have been found guilty.  Despite the fact that jury verdicts must be unanimous, I believe that juries are not infallible in determining guilt.  This is part of the reason why I believe that executions should be rare, for slam-dunks are rare.  Juries may deliberate for hours and hours before rendering a verdict. When that much deliberation is needed, it would seem to suggest that the jury is doing more than just meticulously reviewing the evidence, for it would seem to suggest that there was a difference of opinion about guilt that had to be reconciled.  If such were the case, I would tend to think that such a case would not have been a good candidate for capital punishment.

I have heard the arguments and seen the numbers that appear to demonstrate that the death sentence is ineffective as a deterrent.  Personally, I am in general agreement with the sentiment that executions do not lead to lower murder rates, thus I do believe that executions are poor deterrents with one exception: An execution does deter the executed murderer from murdering ever again.

Supposedly, when a murderer receives a life sentence, where we “lock them up and throw away the key,” it is to remove that murderer from society so that the person lacks the capacity to murder again.  I read the story of a recent prison killing in California that reminds me that such life sentences are not foolproof.  What should be done with the prisoner already serving a life sentence who commits murder again while behind bars, and the evidence of guilt is incontrovertible?  Death is the appropriate sentence.

In this California case, the murder victim, himself, should have, himself, been executed a long time ago.  Perhaps the prisoners who killed him felt that they had to resort to being vigilantes in order to do the job that the state had not done.  Whether the killing was justifiable or not is a matter for a jury to decide.  Investigate and put the killers on trial.  If any convicted murderer is convicted once more in this case, death is the appropriate sentence.  Nonetheless, it was a mistake for the state to have let this murder victim live for so many years behind bars. Pinell was given a life sentence for rape in 1965.  He killed a guard at the Soledad prison in 1971 and received a second life sentence.  He slit the throats of two prison guards (who survived the attacks) in an attempt to escape the San Quentin prison in 1971 and was given a third life sentence.  If he had killed a fellow inmate while serving out his sentence for rape, perhaps some mitigating factor would have resulted in a manslaughter charge rather than a murder charge.  I find it hard to believe that Pinell’s killing of a prison guard falls short of murder.  I think it would have been appropriate to sentence him to death for that offense even though his prior conviction wasn’t for murder.  Slicing the throats of the two guards in the escape attempt were clearly two counts of attempted murder, so 2 life sentences were not deterring Pinell from committing murder, notwithstanding the guards’ survivals.  Even if he didn’t receive death for the murder of the Soledad guard, he should have been sentenced to death for the attempted murders of the San Quentin guards.  Why wouldn’t California be more protective of the lives of its prison guards?  Three life sentences make no sense.  Death makes sense. Might lesser sentences invite future prison riots?  These capital crimes were committed in 1971.  It is now 2015.  Pinell’s execution should have been in the rear-view mirror long before now.