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Lest We Forget

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MemorialDayCubSoldier.jpg
Let us all take a moment today to remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to the cause of freedom.

Celebrating Murder

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Seth Barron writes in the City Journal:

The announcement that the 2017 Puerto Rican Day Parade would honor seditionist and Puerto Rican independentista Oscar López Rivera as a "National Freedom Hero" has led several sponsors of the parade to withdraw their endorsements. López Rivera was a leader of FALN, which conducted a campaign of deadly bombings around New York City and Chicago in the 1970s, and he was recently released from prison after having his 75-year sentence commuted by President Obama. Goya Foods, a significant backer of the parade for its entire 60-year history, has backed out, as have the NYPD Hispanic Society, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, and the other police unions representing the NYPD senior ranks. NYPD commissioner James O'Neill announced this afternoon that he will not march in the parade because he deems Lopez Rivera a "terrorist."

In response, city council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today held a "rally to defend the parade," though the parade itself is not in need of defense, its only sticking point being the inclusion of a convicted terrorist as guest of honor. About 50 ardent supporters of Rivera assembled in a meeting hall at the headquarters of 32BJ, the building-service workers local of labor powerhouse SEIU, where they displayed banners and chanted, "We stand with the Puerto Rican Parade/Oscar López is our hero today!"

Right Man, Wrong Job

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There are news reports that the President is considering former Sen. Joe Lieberman as the next FBI Director.

Lieberman is a person of integrity and high character, schooled in the ways of Washington, and he has respect in Congress.  All are valuable qualities.  But he is not the man for this job.

The head of the FBI needs extensive experience in law enforcement, preferably federal law enforcement.  Sen. Lieberman has none.  He was at one point, many years ago, Attorney General of Connecticut, but that's it.  He is a respected political figure, but at this moment, the FBI needs someone who is not a political figure in any way at all.

People of equally high integrity and no political valence are available.  I have named two, Judge Julie Carnes of the Eleventh Circuit and former DEA Administrator Karen Tandy.  I hope the President will look in their direction.

Editorials Impersonating News

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The New York Times, more unabashedly than perhaps any other MSM outlet, is a cheerleader for less accountability for criminals.  It is, more specifically, a reliable shill for "sentencing reform"  --  which, it says (quoting only its usual stable of True Believers), continues to have "momentum" notwithstanding its wipe-out in Congress followed by Trump's election. 

The Times' "news" article is here. Actually, it's a poorly disguised editorial trying to sell itself as news.  (This apart from the fact that it isn't even new  --  it's a re-tread of exactly the same sentencing reform rah-rah we've been hearing for months).

I could do my same-old rebuttals to its same-old bolstering, but it would be tiring. Instead, I'll take just one paragraph and see how it might be re-cast by someone who'd like to see something closer to the truth.
It's being reported that the President has narrowed his list for head of the FBI.  I have previously suggested Judge Julie Carnes of the Eleventh Circuit.  I now want to add a second name  --  Karen Tandy.

Karen and I started off as Assistant US Attorneys.  I was immediately impressed with her diligence, concentration and fearlessness.  She went on to become an Associate Deputy Attorney General for George W. Bush who, in 2003, nominated her to be Administrator of the DEA.  I joined her there as her Counselor, and my working with her only impressed me more with her qualities.  She is a shrewd, decisive leader whose moral compass guides her every moment of the day.

About a year ago, she joined the National Security Advisory Council (see this news story, which also outlines her career).  She could make a zillion bucks, and did when she was Vice President of Motorola, but she's a patriot and would give it up to render further service to the country.

The President would do well indeed to give her serious consideration.

The Comey Firing

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I have some first impressions of the big news this afternoon, the firing of Jim Comey as FBI Director.

How Many Lies Can You Spot?

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The ACLU put out a press release today that contains the following paragraph:

Although the mandate of prosecutors is to advance justice, many district attorneys have focused on punishment at any cost.  This approach has increased the jail and prison population; led to sentences that are too severe for the offenses; produced more wrongful convictions and more death sentences; and sent people with addictions, disabilities, and mental health conditions into jails and prisons who should receive treatment or other social services instead. These consequences of unchecked prosecutorial power burden people of color and the poor disproportionately.

Hence the title of this entry:  How many lies can you spot?

An Astonishingly Asinine Prosecution

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PowerLine brings us the story of what is probably the most stupid federal prosecution I ever heard of.  Its account starts:

A U.S. District Court in California has declared 75-year-old veteran Robert Rosebrock not guilty of violating federal law in a prosecution for allegedly displaying two four-by-six inch American flags above a Veterans Affairs fence on Memorial Day 2016. Rosebrock had been charged with hanging the two napkin-sized American flags on a section of the fence adjacent to the entrance to the VA facility in violation of a VA regulation prohibiting the displaying of "placards" or posting "materials" on VA property without authorization. 

This mind-blowing episode is not a case for allowing the judicial branch to intrude into charging decisions.  It is, however, a case for hiring Assistant United States Attorneys with an IQ above 60.
Today, the California Supreme Court decided a case of interest to all of our friends who work for the government, City of San Jose v. Superior Court, S218066:

Here, we hold that when a city employee uses a personal account to communicate about the conduct of public business, the writings may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA or Act).  We overturn the contrary judgment of the Court of Appeal.
CPRA (Govt. Code §§ 6250 et seq.) is California's version of the Freedom of Information Act.  Many states have similar laws.

No big surprise here.  You can't evade the FOIA-type laws by using a private server.

Alabama Senator and Attorney General

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Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, as we all know, resigned his Senate seat to take the helm at the U.S. Deparment of Justice.  Gov. Robert Bentley promptly appointed Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate seat.

Now AP reports:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Longtime district attorney Steve Marshall has been appointed as Alabama attorney general.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced the appointment Friday. It came a day after Bentley named former AG Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate seat that Jeff Sessions left to become U.S. attorney general.

Bentley in a statement said Marshall is a "well-respected district attorney with impeccable credentials and strong conservative values."

Marshall has been a Marshall County district attorney since 2001.

Spinning the Bad News on Crime

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Sentencing Law and Policy has this entry up today:  "New report details stability of California crime rates during period of huge sentencing reform."  

That must be good news, right?  Much more leniency and no crime increase?  Here's the key paragraph:

The statewide urban crime rate stabilized from 2010 to 2016, after decades of decline.

Urban crime rates in California declined precipitously through the 1990s and 2000s (See Appendix A).  Since 2010, crime in California has stabilized, hovering near historically low levels. Comparing the first six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2010, total crime rates experienced no net change, while property crime declined by 1 percent and violent crime increased by 3 percent.

For a more clear-eyed look at what's going on, here's the translation:

After dropping massively for twenty years due in large part to more and more aggressive policing and greater use of incarceration, crime rates are no longer falling.  Instead, in its period of "reform," in which those policies have been left behind, California has thrown away six years of progress against crime, and is now back to 2010 levels  --  with the momentum of change in exactly the wrong direction.

CJLF Website Maintenance

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CJLF's main website, www.cjlf.org, may be inaccessible at times this evening and weekend due to a system configuration change.  It should be fully accessible by Monday morning.

Sessions Advances to the Senate Floor

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The full Senate voted today to bring to the floor the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General. The recorded vote was 53-45.  Sessions himself did not vote. Sen. Carper (D-DE) was absent, but has been thought to be a possible vote for Sessions.  Two relatively moderate Democrats from states that voted heavily for Trump, Sens. Manchin from West Virginia and Donnelly from Indiana, also voted for Sessions.

So 53-45 looks to be very close to the final vote for the blessed relief of replacing Loretta Lynch with Jeff Sessions. If this happens in the next five minutes, it won't be too soon.

Spending on Prisons vs. Spending on Schools

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One of the most misleading narratives of pro-criminal advocacy is that America has gone on a prison spending binge while squeezing education.  Consider, we are told, what could happen if we took all that money we spend "putting human beings in cages" and instead sent them to Stanford?

What indeed.

Usually, I just dismiss this as so much apples-and-oranges sloganeering, but today I came across a graph (courtesy of the Cato Institute) that illuminates what would happen if we spent a lot more on schools.  The light came on for me when I realized that, as the graph shows, we have already spent a lot more on schools, and done so at roughly the same time we have considerably increased our spending on incarceration.

Behold the results.

The Bloody Scandal of Criminal Justice Reform

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Every day, I count my blessings that Jeff Sessions, the Senate's leading battler against "criminal justice reform," will be our next Attorney General.  But when I read today's Washington Post story, I counted them with extra vigor.

Let's say it out loud:  Criminal justice reform is a con job.  It's a scandal and a bloody scandal to boot.  We know because every one of its central ideas  -- enthusiasm for rehabilitation, avoidance of "punitive" attitudes, and the giving of second chances  -- is practiced right here in the nation's capital, and has been for years.  We don't have to guess what's going to happen.  We know.

The results show up in the hospital when they don't show up in the morgue.  That Congress should ever contemplate a similar criminal justice policy on a national scale is not merely curious; it's irrational.  And inexcusable. 

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