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:

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_mj_intro_160706

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:

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_mj_toptalk1_160706

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.

Blast from the past: A 2009 Michael Spencer article featured in a 2010 Buckeye RINO post due for revisitation in the wake of SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage

At Buckeye RINO in 2010, I ruminated on an op-ed article titled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor that was penned by Michael Spencer.  In his article, he predicted that in the next ten years, the following conditions would materialize that would threaten evangelical Christianity:

The promotion of social causes in the political realm by evangelicals not well versed in the Gospel would boomerang.

1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

The youngest generation of adults would have little understanding of the Gospel, let alone its importance.

2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

Evangelism will wither.

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.

The educational institutions sponsored by evangelical churches will not have adequately prepared their students.

4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

Churches’ intent to do good will be characterized as bad.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

The Bible Belt will not be immune.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

Churches will become financially unsustainable.

7. The money will dry up.

Though Bible Belt states have had the rug pulled out from underneath them by the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage, the evangelical churches in the Bible Belt still exhibit signs of strength.  But, does anyone doubt that the youngest generation of adults have proven to be quite susceptible to secular reasoning?  Does that bode well for church attendance down the road?

Churches’ intent to do good has already been characterized as bad.  Though I think churches did the right thing by taking a stand on moral issues of the day, the inability to spread a well-articulated message throughout all of the American public in support of church stances has boomeranged, and now media censorship will further curtail the churches’ abilities to spread such messages.  Consider this new post, “What Actually Comes Next,” at Erick Erickson’s Red State blog.  In his post he predicts that opposition to same-sex marriage will be portrayed by the media as bigotry and that public pushback to the media position (in such forms as letters to the editor, for example) will be denied expression in the media.  The justification from the media will be that they are taking a principled stand against widespread dissemination of hate speech.   If this imposed silence materializes, the churches will find their efforts to evangelize hampered by a lower profile in American society.  If there is a renewed focus on in-depth schooling of the Gospel as the churches struggle to grow, will it have as much impact as it could have had if that focus had existed at the height of evangelism?

Though Michael Spencer had not articulated a specific source of the coming onslaught against Christianity other than amorphous secularism, in my own ruminations on this blog back in 2010, I did, in fact, predict that opposition to Christianity would very conceivably arise from the LGBT movement.  Consider this article, posted just this week, titled “Does Your Church Ban Gay Marriage? Then It Should Start Paying Taxes,” penned by Felix Salmon at Fusion.  Even moreso than the imposition of income taxes, Felix Salmon looks forward to the day when churches pay property taxes.  I would venture to say that facilities ancillary to the churches, such as church-sponsored universities, would be the first dominos to fall if this scenario were to materialize.  The churches, themselves, would survive a short time longer, I believe, before becoming subject to such a regime.  Also appearing this week, the online edition of Time magazine posted an article by Mark Oppenheimer titled “Now’s the time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”  As with Felix Salmon’s article, Mark Oppenheimer’s argument is couched in terms of the LGBT movement’s success at the Supreme Court.  Will these voices swell to a chorus of voices that call for the same?  If so, is it not easy to see that, as Michael Spencer predicted, the money would, in fact, dry up?

What I find further chilling about the Supreme Court decision is Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion that the 14th Amendment morphed the Constitution into a living document that can can be altered for the sake of compliance with contemporary public viewpoints.  Where is the rule of law?  Will we no longer be a republic?  Will governance be determined by ever-changing whim?  It is clear that such a stance can easily ignore precedents.  Furthermore, it is clear that the 14th Amendment will be used to interpret the Constitution anew even to the point that the 14th Amendment will prevail whenever Constitutional provisions collide with it.  The 10th Amendment was clearly a casualty in this case.  The 1st Amendment appears to be the next Constitutional provision that the LGBT community wants to have the courts reconsider.  If such an effort were to succeed, what else might be endangered?  I’ll leave you to chew on that thought for awhile.

RPCC press release: Judge Sara Harper, one of Cleveland’s own, to be honored by the Republican National Committee in DC

Editor’s note:  This event, the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon, is to be held today, Feb. 4th, in Washington DC.  I just received this press release yesterday, Feb. 3rd, from Doug Magill, doug@magillmedia.net or (216) 536-1564, of the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County (RPCC).  Despite the lateness of the press release in relation to the timing of the event, I thought this recognition was important enough to announce to as wide an audience as possible.–DJW

Judge Sara Harper to be Honored at the Black Republican
Trailblazer Award Luncheon
 

CLEVELAND – The Republican National Committee (RNC) is pleased to announce that Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame member Judge Sara Harper is to be honored at the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon.

Growing up in public housing on Cleveland’s East Side, she was the first black woman to graduate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  Judge Harper subsequently became Cleveland city prosecutor under Mayor Carl B. Stokes, and later a Municipal Court Judge as well as President of the Cleveland NAACP. One of the first black women to serve on the Ohio Court of Appeals, she also was the first black woman to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Judge Harper was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of the Marine Corps Reserve, and was a co-founder of the first victims’ rights organization in the country. A staunch believer in childhood education, she founded the Sara J. Harper Children’s Library on Cleveland’s East Side, in the housing project where she grew up.

The theme of this year’s award ceremony is “Honoring Our Past and Building the Future.”  The event will also honor Dr. Louis Sullivan of Georgia, and Michigan businessman William “Bill” Brooks.  Honorees are chosen for their significant contributions to the Party, their communities, and the country.  It will be hosted by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and will be held on Tuesday, February 4th at the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

For further information on the event please contact Brian Barnes with the Ohio Republican Party, bbarnes@ohiogop.org.