The Pronk Pops Show 913, June 16, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Reverses Obama’s Cuba Policies — Videos — Story 2: Political Elitist Establishment vs. The American People — Three Sticks Mueller Hires Clinton and Obama Donors and Lawyers For Elite Political Hit Squad Targeting President Trump For Fake Obstruction of Justice —  Trump Should Fire Mueller and Initiate A Justice Department and FBI Criminal Investigation of Barack Obama,Valery Jarrett, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, James Comey and Their Staffs For Massive Criminal Activity Including Miss Handling Of Classified Documents and Destruction of Government Records, Public Corruption, Misconduct in Office, Obstruction of Justice, Perjury and Conspiracy to commit perjury and Using Intelligence Community To Spy on American People Including Republican Candidates and Trump For Political Purposes — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

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Story 1: President Trump Reverses Obama’s Cuba Policies — Videos —

Image result for president trump speech 16 june 2017 florida on cuba Image result for trump speech on cuba in florida June 16, 2017

Trump’s new Cuba policy, explained

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President Trump cancels Obama-era policy on Cuba, restores embargo

FULL SPEECH: President Donald Trump: “I am cancelling” Obama’s deal with Cuba! MAGA MUST SHARE 6/16

Watch Marco Rubio Slam Obama And Praise President Donald Trump For Support Of Cuba 6/16/2017

President Donald Trump Cuba Policy Change Speech Full

Cuba

Trump ‘canceling’ Obama’s Cuba policy but leaves much in place

Ramon Espinosa/AP
WATCHTrump ‘canceling’ Obama Cuba policy but leaves much in place

After nearly three years of warming relations between the United States and Cuba, President Donald Trump has announced that his administration will unravel many of his predecessor’s policies on the communist state.

Speaking in Miami, Florida, Trump announced changes to President Barack Obama’s historic rapprochement with Cuba — fulfilling a promise to the anti-Castro voting bloc he believes helped his campaign clinch the state, but stirring fear among others he could set back business interests and Cuba’s potential for a more prosperous private sector.

The Cuban government said in a statement published in the state-run newspaper Granma, “Again, the United States Government resorted to coercive methods of the past, adopting measures to intensify the blockade, in force since February 1962, which not only causes damage and deprivation to the Cuban people and constitutes an undeniable obstacle to the development of our economy, but also affects the sovereignty and interests of other countries, inciting international rejection.”

The statement continues, “The Cuban Government denounces the new measures to tighten the blockade, which are destined to fail as has been shown repeatedly in the past, and which will not achieve its purpose to weaken the revolution or to defeat the Cuban people, whose resistance to the aggressions of any type and origin has been proven over almost six decades.”

Decades of contention before Obama

In one form or another, the embargo on Cuba has been in place since the Eisenhower administration. But beginning in late 2014, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro began a process that gradually thawed diplomatic tensions and eased commercial and travel restrictions between the two countries.

This process culminated in significant economic opportunities for both the U.S. and Cuba. American businesses, including airlines, cruise lines, and telecommunications companies, earned 26 agreements with the Cuban government from 2015 to 2017.

Hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars flowed into privately owned businesses in Cuba, The Associated Press reported , spurring the growth of a nascent middle-class that could thrive independent from the government.

For Cuba, there have been tangible benefits in tourism and telecommunications. According to the Cuban Ministry, 74 percent more American citizens visited the island in 2016 than in 2015 and, following through on a pledge to Obama, Castro opened nearly 400 new public Wi-Fi access points around Cuba.

However, the U.S. International Trade Administration told ABC News it hasn’t yet released its 2016 statistics on outbound travel and therefore could not confirm those numbers from the Cuban Ministry on U.S. tourism.

While Obama did not end the embargo on Cuba, since only Congress has that power, the U.S. and Cuba reopened embassies in each other’s capitals for the first time since 1961. The U.S. and Cuba have also signed multiple bilateral agreements to work together on everything from human and drug trafficking to maritime security and migration.

Finally, Obama ended the “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy that applied only to Cubans. Previously, Cubans who reached U.S. shores earned automatic visas. Now, Cubans have to follow the same process as other refugees and immigrants.

What is Trump reversing?

Trump is not reversing all of Obama’s changes, but he is redefining what it means to be part of the Cuban military, which could prevent U.S. companies from doing business in Cuba. The White House explained in a fact sheet released earlier today that the policy aims to keep the Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), a conglomerate managed by the Cuban military, from benefiting from the opening in U.S.-Cuba relations.

“The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military. The regime takes the money and owns the industry,” Trump said. “The outcome of last administration’s executive action has been only more repression and a move to crush the peaceful democratic movement. Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”

This comes amid concerns that the Cuban military could be the beneficiary of increased American private investment, at a time when Castro has failed to take action on human rights. In 2016, there were 9,940 short-term detentions of protesters, up from 8,899 in 2014, the AP reports.

According to senior White House officials, Trump is also revisiting trade and travel policies toward Cuba, clamping down on individual people-to-people travel. There will still be certain exceptions under which Americans can travel to Cuba and family travel will continue to be authorized. Importantly, no changes will go into effect until the Treasury and Commerce Departments issue new regulations that conform with the administration’s policy.

Trump continued, “We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are free, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.”

The changes will certainly harm relations between Cuba and the U.S. In a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained, “The general approach, if I can say that, is to allow as much of this continued commercial and engagement activity to go on as possible because we do see the sunny side, as I described it. We do see the benefits of that to the Cuban people.”

But then Tillerson qualified his statement. “On the other hand, we think we’ve achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the regime in Cuba and its treatment of people,” he said, “and it has little incentive to change that.”

What about diplomatic ties?

Senior White House officials say that Trump will not close the newly re-opened U.S. Embassy in Havana. He will also not reinstate the “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

To avoid alienating the Cuban-American community, which largely votes Republican, Trump will not re-implement limits on remittances — U.S. based money transfers — that Cuban-Americans can give their families back on the island. But if the administration follows through on redefining what it means to be part of the Cuban military, that could affect policies on remittances down the line.

PHOTO: Tourists ride in classic American convertible cars past the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba, Jan. 12, 2017. Ramon Espinosa/AP, file
Tourists ride in classic American convertible cars past the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba, Jan. 12, 2017.

Lobbying Trump on Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republican, Cuban-American hardliners, lobbied Trump hard toward reversal. Importantly, the Trump administration wants to build good rapport with both. Rubio sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is currently looking into the Trump campaign’s supposed contacts with Russian officials. He spoke in Miami briefly before Trump took the stage.

Rubio and Diaz-Balart won out, though there’s no shortage of actors lobbying the White House the other way. Last week, a group of House Republicans sent a letter to Trump opposing “reversing course” on Cuba. A similar group of Senate Republicans wrote to Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, citing the entrepreneurial and national security benefits of continued engagement. Airbnb, Google and other notable businesses have also spoken out recently in support of maintaining current policies.

Tillerson had privately expressed support for Obama’s Cuba policy during the transition, according to sources. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, when governor of Georgia in 2010, led a delegation to Cuba and said at the time to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I think business cures a lot of ills.”

Leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also urged the administration to keep Cuba open.

“More travel, more communications access, and more dialogue with Cuba are the way forward for human rights in Cuba,” Amnesty International wrote in a blog post, adding that Obama’s trip to Cuba last year opened the door to “scrutiny and transparency” of human rights on the island for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Reversing policy is bad for Cubans, Human Rights Watch said in a statement, “and insisting on human rights progress as a precondition to a new policy is unlikely to bring about change.”

What did Candidate Trump say?

During the campaign, Candidate Trump slammed Obama’s Cuba policy, telling a crowd in Miami: “All the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them. And that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands.”

But at the same time, Trump often criticizes regulations on the business community as “burdensome” and “job-killing.”

Today’s speech

Delivering a speech at the historic Manuel Artime Theater in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Trump made his policy known in the center of the Cuban-American community. The president fed off of a boisterous, rowdy crowd, seeming to even attempt a Cuban accent, shouting “Little Havana!” when he took the stage. By rescinding certain Obama-era Cuba policies, he went against the advice of Democrats, Republicans and business interests. He did, however, fulfill a campaign promise.

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders, Serena Marshall and Adam Kelsey contributed to this report. 

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trumps-cuba-policy/story?id=48058622

Trump’s Cuba Policy Will Fail

The architect of Obama’s Cuba opening argues that the president’s rollback is a pointless mistake.

Juan Carlos Ulate / Reuters
One of the most depressing things about President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back elements of the Cuba opening is how predictable it was. A Republican candidate for president makes last-minute campaign promises to a hard-line Cuban American audience in South Florida. Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart hold him to those promises. The U.S. government announces changes that will hurt ordinary Cubans, harm the image of the United States, and make it harder for Americans to do business and travel somewhere they want to go.

While President Obama raised the hopes of Americans and Cubans alike with a forward-looking opening in diplomatic, commercial and people-to-people ties, President Trump is turning back the clock to a tragically failed Cold War mindset by reimposing restrictions on those activities. While not a full reversal of the Obama opening, Trump’s actions have put relations between the United States and Cuba back into the prison of the past—setting back the prospects for reform inside of Cuba, and ignoring the voices of the Cuban people and a majority of Americans just so that he can reward a small and dwindling political constituency.

It didn’t have to be this way, and it won’t stay this way.

 

In the fall of 2014, after 16 months of secret negotiations, I travelled to the Vatican to tell representatives of Pope Francis that the United States and Cuba were prepared to begin normalizing relations. The Vatican diplomats met separately with the U.S. and Cuban delegations to verify that we were telling the truth. Then we all met together and read aloud the steps we were prepared to take. A Cardinal said the world would be moved by this example of former adversaries putting aside the past. One Vatican official who had lived in Cuba had tears in his eyes, a look of deep remembrance on his face.Cuba has long played an outsized role in the world’s imagination. To Americans, it has been the setting for the drama of mobsters, Castros, the Cold War, assassination attempts, boatlifts, and ideological conflict—mixed with the allure of a culture that finds full expression in Miami. To Latin America, Cuba has been a symbol for how United States tries to dictate the politics of the hemisphere—a legacy of democracy and economic progress, as well as coups and death squads. To the developing world, Cuba has been a symbol of sovereignty and resistance, and a supporter of revolution—for good or bad. From the Missile Crisis to the anti-apartheid movement; from the Kennedys to Obama era, this small island has put itself at the center of world events.

But Cuba is also a place where more than 11 million people live, and for decades they have suffered because of the U.S. embargo stacked on top of socialist economics and stifled political dissent. Basic goods are unavailable. Businesses cannot attract investment. Farmers are denied equipment to grow more food. Those classic cars? Cubans have had to keep them running because they’re imprisoned in an economy that is not allowed to grow along with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Americans—who are supposed to value freedom above everything else—have been told that the only country in the world where we cannot travel is 90 miles from Florida.

Yes, the Cuban government shoulders its share of the blame. But there are dozens of authoritarian governments; we do not impose embargoes on China or Vietnam, Kazakhstan or Egypt. Last month, President Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia—a country ruled by a family, where people are beheaded and women can’t drive. He announced tens of billions of dollars in arms sales, and said: “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live.” Can anyone credibly argue that Trump’s Cuba policy is motivated by a commitment to promote human rights around the world? No. Moreover, as a democracy-promotion vehicle, the embargo has been a failure. For more than 50 years, it has been in place; for more than 50 years, a Castro has governed Cuba. If anything, the embargo has provided a justification for the Cuban government to suppress political dissent in the name of protecting Cuban sovereignty.By breaking with this past, the Obama administration improved the lives of the Cuban people, and brought hope to people who had learned to live without it. The nascent Cuban private sector—shops, restaurants, taxis—grew dramatically, fueled by unlimited remittances from the United States. Over a quarter of Cubans today work in the private sector. This represents both an improvement in their quality of life, and in their human rights, as they are no longer reliant on the state for their livelihoods.
With the establishment of direct flights, cruise lines, and broadened authorization for travel to Cuba, the number of Americans visiting increased by 50 percent to over 500,000 in 2016. These travelers brought new ideas and more resources directly to the Cuban people—Airbnb estimates that $40 million in revenue have reached Cuban hosts since April 2015. Cuba also expanded access to the Internet and mobile phones. U.S. technology companies like Google took advantage of the opening to forge new agreements, including one that enhances access to the Internet for Cubans.Two governments that once plotted how to undermine one another began working together. Embassies were opened, and bilateral cooperation was initiated on the types of issues that usually guide diplomacy between neighbors: counter-narcotics, law enforcement, agriculture, testing vaccines for cancer, and responding to natural disasters like oil spills and hurricanes. In the final days of the Obama administration, the so-called Wet Foot Dry Foot policy was terminated, ending an arrangement in which any Cuban who reached the United States was paroled into the country—a hostile policy that endangered the lives of Cubans who made long overland crossings, and robbed Cuba of young people who simply came to the United States.The opening to Cuba also opened up new opportunities in Latin America and around the world. In 2015, instead of spending a Summit of the Americas defending why Cuba wasn’t allowed to attend, the United States found itself in the new position of being celebrated. U.S. diplomats participated in Cuban-hosted talks that helped end Colombia’s 40-year civil war. Cuban health care workers helped us stamp out the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
While Trump did not take dramatic steps to restrict travel, he made it more difficult. U.S. travelers now have to go through the absurd process of figuring out if a hotel they’re staying at is owned by the Cuban military, which applies to most of Old Havana. Ominous language about requiring Americans to document their activities, and warning that they could be audited, will have a chilling effect. Despite rhetoric about supporting Cuban entrepreneurs, any reduction in travel is going to hit them—common sense suggests that someone who stays at a military-owned hotel will also ride in taxis, eat in restaurants, and shop at stores owned by ordinary Cubans. Those are the Cubans that Trump is hurting—not hotel owners who will still welcome tourists other countries.
The consequences in Latin America, and around the world, are even worse. Critics of Obama’s opening accused us of making concessions to the Cuban government. But by restoring diplomatic relations, we brought about a symbolic end to the U.S.-Cuban conflict even though we did not lift the embargo or return Guantanamo Naval Base. It’s not a “concession” to allow Americans to travel and do business somewhere. But Trump just gave the Cuban government a huge concession: Even though he didn’t fully reverse Obama’s policy, Cuba will now claim the high ground in a renewed ideological conflict with the U.S., and will find support for that position around the world.The instinct for isolation that Trump embraced will fail. Ironically, the hard-liners who pressed Trump to make these changes are only condemning themselves to future irrelevance. Polls show that over 70 percent of Americans—including a majority of Republicans—support lifting the embargo. Younger Cuban Americans are far more likely to support lifting the embargo than their parents and grandparents. Fifty-five senators have co-sponsored a bill to lift the travel ban, and Republicans from states that depend on agriculture want to promote business in Cuba. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that a poll showed 97 percent of the Cuban people supporting normalization with the United States.Donald Trump is delivering his remarks on Cuba at the Manuel Artime Theater, named for a leader of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. He couldn’t have found a better symbol for the past. But ultimately, the past must give way to the wishes of the people. Fidel Castro is dead. A new generation, in Cuba and the United States, doesn’t want to be defined by quarrels that pre-date their birth. The embargo should—and will—be discarded. Engagement should—and will—prevail. That is why Trump’s announcement should be seen for what it is: not as a step forward for democracy, but as the last illogical gasp of a strain of American politics with a 50-year track record of failure; one that wrongly presumes we can control what happens in Cuba. The future of Cuba will be determined by the Cuban people, and those Americans who want to help them, not hurt them.https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/cuba-trump-obama-opening/530568/

Story 2: Political Elitist Establishment vs. The American People — Three Sticks Mueller Hires Clinton and Obama Donors and Lawyers For Elite Political Hit Squad Targeting President Trump For Fake Obstruction of Justice —  Trump Should Fire Mueller and Initiate A Justice Department and FBI Investigation of Barack Obama,Valery Jarrett, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, James Comey and Their Staffs For Massive Criminal Activity Including Miss Handling Of Classified Documents and Destruction of Government Records, Public Corruption, Obstruction of Justice and Using Intelligence Community To Spy on American People Including Republican Candidates and Trump For Political Purposes — Videos

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Image result for trump tweets june 16, 2017 They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice

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Image result for cartoons on obama spying on trump and american peopleImage result for cartoons on obama spying on trump and american peopleTrump lashes out over reported obstruction of justice probe

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Rosenstein warns Americans to ‘exercise caution’ about anonymous reports

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Thursday evening that Americans should “exercise caution” before believing anonymously sourced reports, an apparent reference to ongoing leaks surrounding the investigation into alleged connections between Russian officials and President Trump’s campaign.

“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,'” Rosenstein said in a statement, “particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch or agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated.”

Though Rosenstein’s statement did not reference the Russia investigation specifically, it was released hours after the Washington Post reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Jared Kushner — Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law — over his finances and business dealings.

ROBERT MUELLER APPOINTMENT TO LEAD RUSSIA PROBE WINS BIPARTISAN PRAISE

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, did not comment on the Post report when reached by Fox News, but did say that the special counsel’s office “has undertaken stringent controls to prohibit unauthorized disclosures that deal severely with any member who engages in this conduct.”

Trump and his supporters have repeatedly complained about leaked reports about the progress of Mueller’s investigation, many of which have appeared in either the Post or The New York Times.

On Wednesday, the Post reported that Mueller was examining whether Trump has tried to obstruct justice and was seeking interviews with three administration officials: Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, the former NSA deputy director.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump’s personal lawyer, responded Wednesday evening to the Post report by saying: “The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.”

The Post report cited anonymous sources who were briefed on requests made by investigators. It was not immediately clear whether the FBI was the source of the information.

The president himself took to Twitter Wednesday morning to complain about the “phony story” in the Post, then did so again in the afternoon to question why Hillary Clinton’s conduct during the probe of her private email server was not under more scrutiny.

Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller special counsel in the Russia investigation last month, testified to lawmakers Tuesday that he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire Mueller and that he is confident that Mueller will have “the full independence he needs” to investigate thoroughly.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/16/rosenstein-warns-americans-to-exercise-caution-about-anonymous-reports.html

 

CORRECTED: Three members of Mueller’s team have donated to Democrats

CORRECTED: Three members of Mueller's team have donated to Democrats
© Greg Nash

Three members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team on the Russia probe have donated to Democratic presidential campaigns and organizations, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Jeannie Rhee, a member of Mueller’s team, donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign PAC Hillary for America. 

Andrew Weissmann, who serves in a top post within the Justice Department’s fraud practice, is the most senior lawyer on the special counsel team, Bloomberg reported. He served as the FBI’s general counsel and the assistant director to Mueller when the special counsel was FBI director.

Before he worked at the FBI or Justice Department, Weissman worked at the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, during which he donated six times to political action committees for Obama in 2008 for a total of $4,700.

James Quarles, who served as an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, has donated to over a dozen Democratic PACs since the late 1980s. He was also identified by the Washington Post as a member of Mueller’s team.

Starting in 1987, Quarles donated to Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis’s presidential PAC, Dukakis for President. Since then, he has also contributed in 1999 to Sen. Al Gore’s run for the presidency, then-Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential bid in 2005, Obama’s presidential PAC in 2008 and 2012, and Clinton’s presidential pac Hillary for America in 2016.

He also donated to two Republicans, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in 2015 and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in 2005.

The political affiliations of Mueller’s team have been spotlighted by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) an ally of Trump.

After initially hailing Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, Gingrich questioned for former FBI director’s ability to be impartial on Monday because of “who he is hiring.”

Michael R. Dreeben, who serves as the Justice Department’s deputy solicitor general, is working on a part-time basis for Mueller, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The FEC database shows a donation from a Michael W. Dreeben in 2006 of $1,000 dollars to Hillary Clinton’s Senate political action committee (PAC), Friends of Hillary. But a spokesman for the special counsel said this is not the Dreeben working for Mueller, who has a different middle initial. The FEC database identifies the Dreeben who made the contribution as deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department.

Several of the figures on Mueller’s team are well known and respected for their work at the Department of Justice.

Dreeben has reportedly received bipartisan praise for his handling of the department’s criminal appellate cases, the Post reported.

Weissmann is well-known for his work in the investigation on Volkswagen cheating on their diesel emissions tests, which they pleaded guilty to earlier this year.

Mueller, who formerly served as FBI director, was first appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2001.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel last month.

CORRECTION: This story was updated at 10:03 a.m. to reflect the special counsel spokesman’s statement that Dreeben did not give a donation to Clinton. 

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/337428-four-top-legal-experts-on-muellers-team-donated-to-democratic-causes

 

TWEET STORM

Trump Declares War on Rosenstein: ‘He Has No Qualms About Throwing Him Under a Bus’

With one tweet, the president confirmed he’s under investigation and put the man in charge of that investigation on blast.

President Donald Trump woke up on Friday and decided to publicly confirm that he is under criminal investigation—and to put his deputy attorney general in the line of fire.

After 48 hours of Trump’s allies lobbing allegations of illegal “deep state” leaks and fake-news hit jobs, Trump took to Twitter and corroborated a Wednesday report by The Washington Post that he is the target of a federal investigation into potential obstruction of justice after firing FBI Director James Comey.

“I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!” Trump wrote, apparently referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Since Rosenstein is the senior Justice Department official overseeing the inquiry after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Trump has stewed with anger at the Justice Department over the Russia probe, to the point where Sessions had reportedly offered his resignation. For his part, Sessions testified to the Senate on Tuesday that he was merely concurring with Rosenstein when he assented to firing Comey.

“He’s furious at Rosenstein, but the list of his people who enrage him is ever-growing,” a longtime Trump confidant, who recently spoke to the president, told The Daily Beast. “He has no qualms about throwing [Rosenstein] under a bus.”

That single tweet threatens to upend the administration’s legal and public-relations strategies surrounding an FBI probe into alleged Russian election-meddling that has expanded in recent months to include an obstruction investigation and a probe of the finances of Trump aides and associates.

 A frustrated senior Trump administration official quipped in response to the tweet, “Has anyone read him his Miranda rights?” The implication being that Trump would do well to remain silent on the issue of his own criminal investigation.

Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to speak freely.

Trump digs hole, keeps going

The escalation of the probe is packed with irony. Trump’s insistence that he was not personally under investigation led him to fire the man leading the probe, which ensured a special prosecutor, which ensured Trump came personally under investigation. Now, in raging against circumstances his actions brought about, Trump has given Mueller another building block for the investigation.

“It’s clear that this tweet has not been vetted by his [Trump’s] attorney,” said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “In addition to confirming that he is under investigation, the tweet makes a factual statement regarding the president’s decision to fire James Comey, which is a subject of the investigation. You can bet that when the president testifies regarding his role in Comey’s firing, he will be asked about this tweet.”

Mueller will inevitably investigate the exact circumstances leading to the Comey firing, which he is likely to interview both Trump and Rosenstein—now in conflict with each other—about.

Even Trump’s senior aides blame the president for bringing the obstruction inquiry upon himself and the White House.

“The president did this to himself,” one senior administration official told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, the president has become increasingly convinced that forces in the FBI and the “deep state” are “out for his scalp,” as one White House aide described it. This sentiment is shared by some of his closest advisers, including his chief strategist Steve Bannon.

One senior White House official told The Daily Beast that the Trump tweet was directed, of course, specifically at Rosenstein. The official noted that it reflects what the president has been venting privately for the past couple of days regarding the “irony” of Rosenstein having a role in the sacking of Comey and his current role in the investigations that have taken over as Trump’s main obsession.

The line, according to the White House official, is emerging as one of President Trump’s preferred talking points and complaints.

Another White House official said Friday morning that they are not shocked anymore whenever the president goes off script during early-morning tweetstorms, and for “all the heartburn and misery” they might cause internally, senior aides and advisers should all have a tough callus at this stage in the presidency.

“If you haven’t made this a settled factor in your morning routine, why are you still here?” the official asked, rhetorically.

But while the president is stewing, the White House is still trying to maintain its official separation from dealing with the fallout from the investigation. Instead they’re directing press inquiries to Trump’s personal lawyer.

Asked to clarify that Trump’s tweet was referring specifically to Rosenstein, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told The Daily Beast: “Best to contact Marc Kasowitz and his team for all questions related to this matter.”

Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, took it as a direct threat to the deputy AG.

“I’m growing increasingly concerned that the president will attempt to fire not only Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible obstruction of justice, but also Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein who appointed Mueller,” she said in a statement.

Can or should Rosenstein stay?

Former Justice Department officials said that Trump’s tweet has put Rosenstein, who just months ago enjoyed a sterling reputation, in an untenable position. At the minimum, Rosenstein is likely to come under overwhelming pressure to recuse himself from his role overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump.

A former senior DOJ official said Trump’s tweet accuses Rosenstein of lying to Congress. Trump claims Rosenstein “told me to fire the FBI Director!” Shortly after Comey was fired, Rosenstein said in a statement to Congress that the memo said was “not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination,” even though he “thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader” for the FBI.

“The question is, is this a bridge too far for Rod?” the former official said.

The last time the White House characterized Rosenstein as the hatchet man, he “drew a line in the sand,” as the official put it, and reportedly threatened to resign. Shortly after, Trump told NBC News that he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s memo.

Still, it’s undeniable that Rosenstein’s memo aided Trump in firing Comey. That means the senior Justice Department official responsible for Mueller’s investigation is also a likely witness in that investigation.

“It’s long seemed to me that Rosenstein would inevitably have to recuse himself in this investigation, because he was a witness to the events surrounding the firing of James Comey and may have participated in the firing of Mr. Comey,” Mariotti continued.

“This latest statement by the president may hasten Rosenstein’s recusal or put pressure on Rosenstein to step aside or step down.”

Rosenstein has quietly acknowledged that he may need to step aside, according to ABC News. He has already testified to a House panel that he is in consultation with Justice Department ethics officials to determine if his recusal is necessary.

“You don’t recuse yourself from an investigation because a subject of the investigation is accusing you of misconduct,” said Ed Dowd, a former U.S. Attorney who helped run the special counsel investigation of the Waco raid. “This may be putting pressure on Rosenstein to say, ‘Do I really need this?’ It may be putting pressure on him to get out, but that is not a proper reason to recuse himself, there’s no question about that.”

“It should not have an effect on him in terms of recusing himself. He should not recuse himself based on tweets by someone who’s under investigation”

It has been a spectacular fall for Rosenstein. As recently as February, pillars of the legal establishment breathed a sigh of relief when the highly respected prosecutor became deputy attorney general. Instead, they have watched in horror as he wrote a legal memo in May at Trump’s request that was widely seen as a pretext for firing the FBI chief. Brookings Institution scholar Ben Wittes, editor of the influential legal blog Lawfare and a friend of Comey’s, has speculated that Rosenstein might have given Trump the “loyalty” assurance the president sought unsuccessfully from the ex-FBI director.

As respected as Rosenstein was, he also has a reputation for ambition. The view of him in legal circles, according to a former Justice Department official who wished to remain anonymous, is, “he’s wanted to be the DAG [deputy attorney general] for a long, long time.”

Should Rosenstein recuse himself—or lose his job—the next Justice Department official in line to oversee the Mueller probe is Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, who was legal-policy chief in the George W. Bush-era department and more recently served on the government’s privacy watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The conservative Brand has a reputation, former colleagues say, for extreme intelligence and integrity. Of course, the same used to be said of Rosenstein.

During one of his rare public appearances as FBI director, he laid out his position on the tyranny of the law: “We live in dangerous times, but we are not the first generation of Americans to face threats to our security,” he explained. “Like those before us, we will be judged by future generations on how we react to this crisis. And by that I mean not just whether we win the war on terrorism, because I believe we will, but also whether, as we fight that war, we safeguard for our citizens the very liberties for which we are fighting.”

Unlike many in Washington, where such sentiments can often sound like platitudes, he really means it. As former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, who has known Mueller for more than 30 years, explained to me, “People are smart not to test him on those issues.” Larry Thompson, who, like Comey, also served as deputy attorney general under Ashcroft, told me, “When he has a point of view, you know it’s held honestly and openly. There’s no subterranean agenda.”

Mueller overall sees little gray in the world; he’s a black-or-white guy, right or wrong. His father, who was captain of a World War II Navy sub chaser, impressed on him early the importance of credibility and integrity. “You did not shade or even consider shading with him,” Mueller recalls, and ever since, matters of honor and principle had been simple. “Occasionally he’ll be a pain in the ass because he’s so strait-laced,” his late college friend and one-time FBI counselor Lee Rawls told me years ago. “There have been a couple of instances I’ve advocated cowardice and flight, and he wouldn’t have it.”

Cowardice and flight is indeed not Mueller’s style. After he and Rawls graduated from Princeton in the 1960s, before Vietnam had become the political and cultural flash point that it did later in the decade, Mueller volunteered to join the Marines and fight—earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with valor for his role in an intense firefight. In Officer Candidate School, his only demerit came in a trait that would be familiar to anyone who later dealt with him as FBI director and one that should, again, worry the Trump White House today: Robert Swan Mueller III received a D in “Delegation.”

Mueller’s longtime friend Tom Wilner explained to me, “Bob’s the best of the old prep school tradition. He stands for service, integrity and has the confidence to never bend. He doesn’t do anything for himself.”

“The things that most of us would struggle with the most come relatively easy to him because his moral compass is so straight,” one aide at the FBI told me, with reflection and envy. “It’s got to be quite comforting in its own way.”

Mueller was at home at the FBI in part because it removed any hint of partisanship. The FBI, Mueller believes, is the government’s honest broker—an agency free of political interference and pressure, priding itself on objectivity and independence. “You’re free to do what you think is right,” he told me. “It’s much easier than if you have to consider the political currents.”

He had a deep appreciation as director for the bureau’s traditions and its esprit de corps. He famously, almost religiously, wore white shirts and dark suits as director—the picture of a stereotypical Hoover-era G-man—and would even gently mock aides and agents who dared to show up in his office wearing, horror of horrors, pink or even blue shirts. I long attributed his habit to his personal style and strait-laced nature, but, after he finished as director, I once asked him: Why the cult of the white shirt? He answered more philosophically than I’d ever seen him speak before—explaining that he knew he was leading the FBI through a period of wrenching change, converting it to a global intelligence agency focused around counterterrorism, and that he felt it important to keep recognizable totems of the past in place—like the tradition of the white shirt—to help agents understand it was still the same FBI they’d signed up to join.

***

A year after the showdown over STELLAR WIND, Comey journeyed from the Justice Department up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Fort Meade, Maryland, the headquarters of the NSA. His speech that day was purportedly in recognition of Law Day, but it carried a coded message for those few in the room who knew what had transpired in the showdown of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

The nation of the United States, Comey explained, was a country of laws, not men. Public officials swore oaths to the Constitution, not to the president. It’s the job of the lawyers, he explained, to remove the looming crisis from a decision and examine how it will look down the road.

He then continued with words that echo more than a decade later and presage the weeks to come on Capitol Hill, where he will once again be in his element. “We know that our actions, and those of the agencies we support, will be held up in a quiet, dignified, well-lit room, where they can be viewed with the perfect, and brutally unfair, vision of hindsight,” he told the gathered NSA crowd. “We know they will be reviewed in hearing rooms or courtrooms where it is impossible to capture even a piece of the urgency and exigency felt during a crisis.”

That perfect hindsight, he argued was why the most important thing in a lawyer’s life was understanding the test of history. As he said, “‘No’ must be spoken into a storm of crisis, with loud voices all around.”

Sometime soon, in a quiet, dignified, well-lit room on Capitol Hill, Jim Comey’s going to get another chance to explain why he said no. And while he does, Bob Mueller will be toiling away, reaching deep into the government and the annals of the Trump campaign, to understand exactly what transpired last year and the events that led up to Comey’s firing.

Even at 72, Mueller has plenty of energy left—where his predecessor Louis Freeh had the same chief of staff for nearly his entire tenure, Mueller burned through chiefs of staff almost every year. “He drives at such speed that he can burn up people around him,” Comey told me of Mueller. “Some people burn people up because they’re assholes. Bob burns them up by sheer exertion.”

The night of the STELLAR WIND showdown, Mueller arrived at the hospital moments after the White House aides departed after they were unable to get Comey or Ashcroft to reauthorize the program. Mueller spoke briefly with Comey in the hallway and then entered Ashcroft’s hospital room.

“Bob, I don’t know what’s happening,” the confused attorney general told him.

“There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s tested, and you passed your test tonight,” Mueller replied, comfortingly.

While Comey and Mueller might have both thought that they had aced their biggest challenge in the early 2000s, keeping the nation safe after 9/11, as it turns out, they’re both now embarking on what history will likely remember as their ultimate test.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece misidentified the mafia boss Comey prosecuted. His name was John Gotti.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/18/james-comey-trump-special-prosecutor-robert-mueller-fbi-215154

Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say

Special counsel investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice
The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials to determine whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said. (Patrick Martin, McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post)
The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.

Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

The NSA said in a statement that it will “fully cooperate with the special counsel” and declined to comment further. The office of the director of national intelligence and Ledgett declined to comment.

The White House now refers all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz.

“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.

The officials said Coats, Rogers and Ledgett would appear voluntarily, though it remains unclear whether they will describe in full their conversations with Trump and other top officials or will be directed by the White House to invoke executive privilege. It is doubtful that the White House could ultimately use executive privilege to try to block them from speaking to Mueller’s investigators. Experts point out that the Supreme Court ruled during the Watergate scandal that officials cannot use privilege to withhold evidence in criminal prosecutions.

The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller’s office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.

The interviews suggest that Mueller sees the question of attempted obstruction of justice as more than just a “he said, he said” dispute between the president and the fired FBI director, an official said.

With the term whirling around Washington, a former federal prosecutor explains what to know about the criminal charge of obstruction of justice. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Investigating Trump for possible crimes is a complicated affair, even if convincing evidence of a crime were found. The Justice Department has long held that it would not be appropriate to indict a sitting president. Instead, experts say, the onus would be on Congress to review any findings of criminal misconduct and then decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Comey confirmed publicly in congressional testimony on March 20 that the bureau was investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Comey’s statement before the House Intelligence Committee upset Trump, who has repeatedly denied that any coordination with the Russians took place. Trump had wanted Comey to disclose publicly that he was not personally under investigation, but the FBI director refused to do so.

Soon after, Trump spoke to Coats and Rogers about the Russia investigation.

Officials said one of the exchanges of potential interest to Mueller took place on March 22, less than a week after Coats was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the nation’s top intelligence official.

Coats was attending a briefing at the White House with officials from several other government agencies. When the briefing ended, as The Washington Post previously reported, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Coats told associates that Trump had asked him whether Coats could intervene with Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials. Coats later told lawmakers that he never felt pressured to intervene.

A day or two after the March 22 meeting, Trump telephoned Coats and Rogers to separately ask them to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordinationbetween his campaign and the Russian government.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the president’s requests, officials said.

It is unclear whether Ledgett had direct contact with Trump or other top officials about the Russia probe, but he wrote an internal NSA memo documenting the president’s phone call with Rogers, according to officials.

As part of the probe, the special counsel has also gathered Comey’s written accounts of his conversations with Trump. The president has accused Comey of lying about those encounters.

Mueller is overseeing a host of investigations involving people who are or were in Trump’s orbit, people familiar with the probe said. The investigation is examining possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals.

Last week, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had informed Trump that there was no investigation of the president’s personal conduct, at least while he was leading the FBI.

Comey’s carefully worded comments, and those of Andrew McCabe, who took over as acting FBI director, suggested to some officials that an investigation of Trump for attempted obstruction may have been launched after Comey’s departure, particularly in light of Trump’s alleged statements regarding Flynn.

“I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards, to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that’s an offense,” Comey testified last week.

Mueller has not publicly discussed his work, and a spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.

Accounts by Comey and other officials of their conversations with the president could become central pieces of evidence if Mueller decides to pursue an obstruction case.

Investigators will also look for any statements the president may have made publicly and privately to people outside the government about his reasons for firing Comey and his concerns about the Russia probe and other related investigations, people familiar with the matter said.

Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he was certain his firing was due to the president’s concerns about the Russia probe, rather than over his handling of a now-closed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, as the White House had initially asserted. “It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired, in some way, to change — or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”

The fired FBI director said ultimately it was up to Mueller to make a determination whether the president crossed a legal line.

In addition to describing his interactions with the president, Comey told the Intelligence Committee that while he was FBI director he told Trump on three occasions that he was not under investigation as part of a counterintelligence probe looking at Russian meddling in the election.

Republican lawmakers seized on Comey’s testimony to point out that Trump was not in the FBI’s crosshairs when Comey led the bureau.

After Comey’s testimony, in which he acknowledged telling Trump that he was not under investigation, Trump tweeted that he felt “total and complete vindication.” It is unclear whether McCabe, Comey’s successor, has informed Trump of the change in the scope of the probe.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/special-counsel-is-investigating-trump-for-possible-obstruction-of-justice/2017/06/14/9ce02506-5131-11e7-b064-828ba60fbb98_story.html?utm_term=.ddf5961ef89d

Eight Laws Hillary Clinton Could Be Indicted For Breaking

Photo of Kenneth P. Bergquist

KENNETH P. BERGQUIST
Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret)

As a former Justice Department official, I have, of late, been asked by both Democratic and Republican friends whether Hillary Clinton could be indicted for her email related actions. The simple answer is yes — she, and perhaps some of her senior staff, could be indicted for violating a number of federal criminal statutes. But for reasons that will be discussed later, it is unlikely that she will be.

Nevertheless, it is well worth discussing the various criminal provisions of federal law that she and others may have been violated based on mainstream news reports. Remember that news reporting can be incorrect or incomplete — and that Hillary Clinton, and anyone else involved, deserves every presumption of innocence. Also keep in mind that an indictment is not a conviction but rather the informed opinion of a grand jury that probable cause exists to believe one or more violations of federal criminal statutes have transpired.

This intellectual and legal research exercise should commence with a brief review of the basics of criminal jurisprudence: There are two elements of a criminal offense: the prohibited conduct as defined in statute; and the mens rea or mental intent of the individual or individuals engaging in the prohibited conduct. Thus, to gain a conviction on a criminal count in an indictment, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the prohibited conduct occurred, (2) the prohibited conduct was undertaken by the defendant, and (3) the defendant had the requisite mens rea or intent at the time.

1.) 18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information

A federal prosecutor would naturally focus first on the most serious allegations: willfully transmitting or willfully retaining Top Secret and Compartmented (TS/SCI) material using a private server system. The individual who transmits and the individual who receives and retains TS/SCI information on a private server jointly share the culpability for risking the compromise and exploitation of the information by hostile intelligence services. The prosecutor’s charging document would likely include felony counts under 18 U.S. Code § 793 and under 18 U.S. Code § 798 against each transmitting individual as well as separate counts against each receiving and retaining individual. Violation of either provision of the U.S. Code cited above is a felony with a maximum prison term of ten years.

The prohibited conduct is the insecure transmission of highly classified information, as well as the receipt and retention of highly classified information in an unapproved manner. The requisite mens rea is the willful commission of the prohibited conduct and the knowledge that compromised information could result in prejudice or injury to the United States or advantage to any foreign nation. Proof of intent to disclose the classified information is not required.

2.) U.S. Code § 1924 – Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material

If the federal prosecutors are of a charitable disposition and an accused person has been cooperative, the felony charges under 18 U.S. Code § 793 and 18 U.S. Code § 798 may be “pled-down” to a single or to multiple misdemeanor counts under 18 U.S. Code § 1924. A misdemeanor conviction would probably result in a period of probation and a less significant fine. The prohibited conduct is the unauthorized removal of classified information from government control or its retention in an unauthorized location. The mens rea required is the intent to remove from government control or the intent to store the classified information in an unauthorized location.

3.) 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b) — Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally

To sustain a charge under 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b), a federal prosecutor need only prove that the accused transferred and held the only copies of official government records (whether classified or not), the very existence of which was concealed from government records custodians. The mens rea required is that an accused knows that official government records were transferred or removed from the control of government records custodians. Violation of 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b) is a felony with a maximum prison term of three years.

4.) 18 U.S. Code § 641 – Public money, property or records

Again, if the federal prosecutors are of a charitable disposition and accused has been cooperative, the felony charges under 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b) can be “pled down” to a misdemeanor under 18 U.S. Code § 641. The prohibited conduct is the conversion of official records (whether classified or not) to the accused’s exclusive use and the mens rea is simply the intent to do so. Conviction on the lesser misdemeanor charge would likely result in a period of probation and the imposition of a fine.

5.) 18 U.S. Code § 1505 – Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees

If it can be proven that an accused destroyed, withheld, or concealed the existence of official records being sought under subpoena by a committee of Congress, the accused can be convicted of obstruction under 18 U.S. Code § 1505. The prohibited conduct includes destruction, concealment and withholding of documents, thereby impeding or obstructing the committee’s rightful pursuit of information. The mens rea is knowledge of the committee’s interest in obtaining the official records in the accused’s custody or control. Violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1505 is a felony with a maximum prison term of five years.

6.) 18 U.S. Code § 1519 — Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations

If it can be proven that an accused knowingly concealed the existence of official records being sought by the Department of State Inspector General (DOS/IG) or by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), such accused can be convicted of obstruction. The prohibited conduct is the concealment and withholding of documents that impede or obstruct an investigation. The mens rea is the intent to conceal or withhold. Violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1519 is a felony with a maximum prison term of twenty years.

7.) 18 U.S. Code § 1031 — Fraud against the United States
18 U.S. Code § 1343 – Fraud by wire, radio or television
18 U.S. Code § 1346 — Definition of “scheme or artifice to defraud”
18 U.S. Code § 371 – Conspiracy to defraud the United States

If it can be proven that an accused arranged for the Department of State to hire an Information Technology (IT) specialist to primarily administer and maintain a private server system owned by the accused, then the accused can be convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and probably wire fraud. The prohibited conduct is having the United States pay an employee salary and/or official travel funds for performing private services on behalf of accused. The mens rea is simply the knowledge of the employee’s status as a public servant and that the government was not fully reimbursed for the costs to the government of such services. The wire fraud conviction can be sought if it can be proven that accused used electronic means of communication in undertaking such scheme or artifice to defraud.

8.) 18 U.S. Code § 371 – Conspiracy to commit a federal offense

If any accused and any third party can be proven to have colluded in any violation of federal, criminal law, then all involved can be charged with criminal conspiracy as well as being charged with the underlying offense.

Indictment?

The old adage, that a good prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted, is bad news for any public servant who risks the compromise of classified information or otherwise violates any of the other federal criminal statutes listed above. Specifically, this Administration has a history of vigorously prosecuting and winning convictions in the mishandling of classified information and other criminal violations of the public trust.

However, Hillary Clinton is anything but a ham sandwich; and she knows it. She and her senior aides will not even be formally investigated by this Justice Department, much less indicted. The president will allow Hillary Clinton and her aides to “tough it out” for as long it is politically possible. However, if and when the political and public opinion costs of a “tough it out” tactic become too great, President Obama will simply use that famous pen of his to issue a succinct pardon and make formal mockery of the concept of equal justice.

Kenneth Bergquist served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice during the Reagan Administration and serves now aspro bono legal counsel to the Special Operations Education Fund (OPSEC).

http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/21/eight-laws-hillary-clinton-could-be-indicted-for-breaking/

Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance

President Trump recently tweeted claiming that former President Obama wiretapped him during his campaign. One can only imagine how nuts the media would have gone if the roles had been reversed: President Trump wiretapping either Obama or the Clintons, though his DOJ could have authority to do just that given the expansive leaks of intelligence information by Obama and Clinton supporters the last few months. Heck, he could wiretap the media at this point, legally and legitimately, as the sources of these unlawful leaks, for which Obama himself set precedent. Do liberals understand what Pandora’s Box Obama opened up by Obama using the powers of the NSA, CIA and FBI to spy on his political opponents? Even Nixon never did that.

If the stories are correct, Obama or his officials might even face prosecution. But, we are still early in all of this and there are a lot of rumors flying around so the key is if the reports are accurate. We just don’t know at this time. The stories currently are three-fold: first, that Obama’s team tried to get a warrant from a regular, Article III federal court on Trump, and was told no by someone along the way (maybe the FBI), as the evidence was that weak or non-existent; second, Obama’s team then tried to circumvent the federal judiciary’s independent role by trying to mislabel the issue one of “foreign agents,” and tried to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “courts”, and were again turned down, when the court saw Trump named (an extremely rare act of FISA court refusal of the government, suggesting the evidence was truly non-existent against Trump); and so, third, Obama circumvented both the regular command of the FBI and the regularly appointed federal courts, by placing the entire case as a FISA case (and apparently under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the FISA court unwittingly granted, which Obama then misused to spy on Trump and many connected to Trump. Are these allegations true? We don’t know yet, but if any part of them are then Obama and/or his officials could face serious trouble.

Can a President be charged with a crime? Only once out of office. While in office, impeachment remains the exclusive remedy in order to avoid a single judicial branch trying to overturn an election, such as a grand jury in any part of the country could. Once out of office, a President remains immune from civil liability for his duties while President, under a 1982 decision of the United States Supreme Court. However, as the Nixon pardon attests, nothing forecloses a criminal prosecution of the President after his presidency is complete for crimes against the country. Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, should know that.

What crimes could have been committed? Ironically, for Democrats falsely accusing Attorney General Sessions, perjury and conspiracy to commit perjury, as well as intentional violations of FISA. Rather shockingly, no law currently forbids misusing the power of the presidency to spy on one’s adversaries. What the law does forbid is lying to any judicial officer to obtain any means of surveillance. What the law does forbid, under criminal penalty, is the misuse of FISA. Both derive from the protections of the Fourth Amendment itself. Under section 1809, FISA makes it a crime for anyone to either “engage in” electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA without following the law’s restrictions, or “disclose” or “use” information gathered from it in contravention of the statute’s sharp constrictions.

FISA, 50 USC 1801, et seq., is a very limited method of obtaining surveillance authority. The reason for its strict limits is that FISA evades the regular federal court process, by not allowing regularly, Constitutionally appointed federal judges and their magistrates to authorize surveillance the Fourth Amendment would otherwise forbid. Instead, the Chief Justice handpicks the FISA court members, who have shown an exceptional deference to the executive branch. This is because FISA court members trust the government is only bringing them surveillance about pending terror attacks or “grave hostile” war-like attacks, as the FISA statute limits itself to. Thus, a FISA application can only be used in very limited circumstances.

One important reminder about electronic surveillance. Occasionally, a law enforcement officer will hear or see or record information not allowed by the warrant, but incidental or accidental to otherwise lawful surveillance. Their job is to immediately stop listening, stop recording, and to delete such information. This is what you occasionally see in films where the agent in the van hears the conversation turn away from something criminal to a personal discussion, and the agent then turns off the listening device and stops the recording. Such films simply recognize long-standing legal practice.

FISA can only be used for “foreign intelligence information.” Now that sounds broad, but is in fact very limited under the law. The only “foreign intelligence information” allowed as a basis for surveillance is information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential “grave” “hostile” attack, war-like sabotage or international terror. Second, it can only be used to eavesdrop on conversations where the parties to the conversation are a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. An agent of a foreign power cannot be a United States person unless they are knowingly involved in criminal espionage. No warrant is allowed on that person unless a FISA court finds probable cause the United States person is knowingly engaged in criminal espionage. Even then, if it involves a United States person, special steps must be taken to “minimize the acquisition and retention, and prohibit the dissemination, of non publicly available information concerning un-consenting United States persons.”

This includes procedures that require they never identify the person, or the conversation, being surveilled, to the public where that information is not evidence of a particular crime. Third, the kind of information sought concerns solely information about a pending or actual attack on the country. That is why the law limits itself to sabotage incidents involving war, not any form or kind of “sabotage,” explicitly limiting itself to those acts identified in section 105 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

This bring us to Watergate-on-Steroids, or #ObamaGate. Here are the problematic aspects of the Obama surveillance on Trump’s team, and on Trump himself. First, it is not apparent FISA could ever be invoked. Second, it is possible Obama’s team may have perjured themselves before the FISA court by withholding material information essential to the FISA court’s willingness to permit the government surveillance. Third, it could be that Obama’s team illegally disseminated and disclosed FISA information in direct violation of the statute precisely prohibiting such dissemination and disclosure. FISA prohibits, under criminal penalty, Obama’s team from doing any of the three.

At the outset, the NSA should have never been involved in a domestic US election. Investigating the election, or any hacking of the DNC or the phishing of Podesta’s emails, would not be a FISA matter. It does not fit the definition of war sabotage or a “grave” “hostile” war-like attack on the United States, as constrictively covered by FISA. It is your run-of-the-mill hacking case covered by existing United States laws that require use of the regular departments of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Constitutionally Senate-appointed federal district court judges, and their appointed magistrates, not secretive, deferential FISA courts.

Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected a whopping 12. Apparently, according to published reports, you can add one more to that — even the FISA court first rejected Obama’s request to spy on Trump’s team under the guise of an investigation into foreign agents of a pending war attack, intelligence agents apparently returned to the court, where, it is my assumption, that they did not disclose or divulge all material facts to the court when seeking the surveillance the second time around, some of which they would later wrongfully disseminate and distribute to the public. By itself, misuse of FISA procedures to obtain surveillance is itself, a crime.

This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors. A fact is “material” if it could have the possible impact of impacting the judicial officer deciding whether to authorize the warrant. Such affidavits are the most carefully drawn up, reviewed, and approved affidavits of law enforcement in our system precisely because they must be fully-disclosing, forthcoming, and include any information a judge must know to decide whether to allow our government to spy on its own. My assumption would be that intelligence officials were trying to investigate hacking of DNC which is not even a FISA covered crime, so therefore serious questions arise about what Obama administration attorneys said to the FISA court to even consider the application. If the claim was “financial ties” to Russia, then Obama knew he had no basis to use FISA at all.

Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts. Lastly, given the later behavior, it is evident any promise in the affidavit to protect the surveilled information from ever being sourced or disseminated was a false promise, intended to induce the illicit surveillance. This is criminalized both by federal perjury statutes, conspiracy statutes, and the FISA criminal laws themselves.

That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.

Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law. Obama’s team’s admission it could be classified lower, yet taking actions to insure its broadest distribution, could even put Obama smack-middle of the biggest unlawful surveillance and political-opponent-smear campaign since Nixon. Except even Nixon didn’t use the FBI and NSA for his dirty tricks.

Watergate would have never happened if Nixon felt like he could just ask the FBI or NSA to tape the calls. This is Hoover-esque abuses of the kind Bob Woodward pal, former FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt (otherwise known as Deep Throat), routinely engaged in at the FBI until convicted and removed from office. (You didn’t know that Deep Throat was really a corrupt part of Deep State, did you? Guess who ran the famous COINTELPRO? That’s right — Deep Throat. How would the public have reacted if they knew the media had been in bed with the deep state all the way back then? Maybe that was the reason Woodward, Bernstein and Bradley kept Deep Throat’s identity secret all those years?)

Democrats may regret Sessions’ recusal, as his replacement is a mini-Sessions: a long-respected, a-political, highly ethical prosecutor, Dana Boente, whose reputation is well-warranted from his service at the Tax Division, and who won’t be limited by any perceived ties to Trump, given his prior appointment by Obama. Obama himself appeared scared of Boente, as he removed Boente from the successor-to-Sessions position during the lame-duck part of Obama’s presidency, but Trump restored Boente to that role earlier this month. Democrats may get the investigation they wanted, but it may be their own that end up named in the indictment.

Robert Barnes is a California-based trial attorney whose practice focuses on tax defense, civil rights and First Amendment law. You can follow him at @Barnes_Law

http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/yes-obama-could-be-prosecuted-if-involved-with-illegal-surveillance/

The Endless Ironies of Donald J. Trump

by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON June 13, 2017 4:00 AM @VDHANSON

Pandemonium can be a revivifying purgative.

Here are the ironies of Donald Trump as president. 1) For the Left (both Political and Media)

The Left was mostly untroubled for eight years about the often unconstitutional abuses of Barack Obama — given that they saw their shared noble aims as justifying almost any means necessary to achieve them.

There was the not uncommon Rice-Gruber-Rhodes-Holder sort of deception (on Benghazi, on the conduct of Bowe Bergdahl, on the Affordable Care Act, the Iran deal, on Fast and Furious, etc.) — a required tactic because so much of the Obama agenda was antithetical to the wishes and preferences of the American electorate and thus had to be disguised and camouflaged to become enacted.

There was the pen-and-phone mockery of established federal law (the suspension of the ACA employer mandate, the Chrysler creditor reversal, the non-enforcement of federal immigration law, the institutionalization of sanctuary-city nullification).

There was the constant mythmaking (from faux red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines to the fatuity of the Cairo Speech and Iran-deal harangues). There were the abuses of presidential power (the surveillance of journalists, the selective release of the bin Laden trove to pet journalists, the likely surveilling, unmasking, and leaking through reversed targeting of political enemies).

No one worried much when Obama promised on a hot mic to Medvedev that he would be more flexible with the Russians after his reelection, as if they were to conform to a desired sort of behavior in service to Obama that would earn them dividends from him later on — the kind of unapologetic partisan “collusion” that would have earned Trump a Comey-induced indictment.

No one cared that Obama pulled all peacekeepers out of Iraq and thereby ruined what the surge had saved.

Nor did anyone fret much about the serial scandals at the GSA, the VA, the IRS, and the Secret Service, or his disastrous reset policy with Russia and the implosion of the Middle East or the strange spectacles of Obama’s interview with GloZell or polarizing Oval Office guests, such as the rapper whose album cover portrayed celebrations over a dead white judge.

True, none of these were impeachable or even major offenses. But all of them recalibrated the bar of presidential behavior.

So along came the next Republican president, empowered by Obama’s exemptions to do almost anything he wished, albeit without the thin exculpatory veneer of Ivy League pretension, multicultural indemnity, and studied smoothness.

In biblical “there is a season” fashion, for every sermon about not building your business, making too much money, or profiting at the wrong time, there was a Trump retort to profit as never before.

For every too-frequent gala golf outing of a metrosexual Obama decked out in spiffy attire, there is a plumper Trump swinging away, oblivious to the angry pack of reporters that Obama once so carefully courted. For every rapper with an ankle bracelet that went off in the White House, there is now a White House photo-op with Ted Nugent.

For every executive-order suspension of federal immigration enforcement, there is an executive-order corrective.

For every lecture on the crusades, sermons on Western genocidal history, apology tour, or Islamic mythmaking, there is an American Greatness pride in everything.

The progressive ironies continued.

If the media were to be believed when they insisted that Obama was a “god,” or that he was the smartest man ever to achieve the presidency, or that the first lady was Jackie Kennedy incarnate, or that Obama was capable of sending electrical shocks down a reporter’s leg or was sure to be a brilliant president on the basis of his pants crease or because he talked in the manner of Washington elites, then surely it could not be believed when Trump was smeared as a veritable dunce, crook, buffoon, and naïf worthy of impeachment or that his wife (fluent in several languages) was an airhead former escort girl.

By their former unhinged adoration and obsequiousness, progressives and the media undermined all future credibility in their unhinged venom and loathing of Donald Trump. Now they live with the reality that by elevating Obama into a deity, they unleashed their own worst nightmare and have reduced themselves to irrelevance.

In the end, no one believes the current venom of a CNN or a New York Times precisely because no one could have believed their prior slavish adulation.

Anderson Cooper has become Keith Olbermann, as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer meld into Maxine Waters: now malevolent rather than previously sycophantic, but in their extremism still no more credible in 2017 than they were in 2009. 2) For the Orphaned Never Trump Right (as Overrepresented in the Punditocracy as Underrepresented in the Electorate)

Even the most die-hard Never Trump conservative has had to make some adjustments. Despite assurances that Trump would not get the nomination, he did. Despite assurances that he could never be elected, he was. Despite prognostications that Trump was a liberal wolf hiding in conservative fleece, Trump’s appointments, his executive orders, his legislation pending before the Congress, his abrupt withdrawal from the Paris global-warming accords, his fierce support for vouchers, his pro-life advocacy, and his immigration normality were so far orthodoxly conservative.

Most Never Trumpers now concede that something had gone terribly wrong with their top-down party, although they resent that it was raucous billionaire Donald Trump who administered the diagnosis.

Despite suspicions that Trump’s appeal to the working class was nursed on racism, fanatic nationalism, xenophobia, and nativism, the appeal instead grew from a shared disgust with blue-stocking Republicans who were perceived in word and deed as little different from coastal Democratic look-alikes. Most Never Trumpers now concede that something had gone terribly wrong with their top-down party, although they resent that it was raucous billionaire Donald Trump who administered the diagnosis.

Where Never Trump conservatives worried that Trump was too uninformed or too reckless (e.g., pulling out of an “obsolete” NATO, rejecting Article 5 of the NATO alliance, starting a trade war with China, or erecting tariffs in 1920s style), Trump was forced to separate his past rhetoric from present reality — confirming in a way his transparent art-of-the-deal negotiating style of asking for twice what he could acceptably settle for, or acting unhinged to unsettle negotiators, enemies, and rivals. Given these surprises, the Never Trump position has now receded to a simpler proposition: The uncouth character of Donald J. Trump is not worth the conservative agenda that he may well enact, as we all will eventually and inevitably learn. Or how can conservative moralists stomach such a supposedly immoral incarnation of their own views? Such a paradox hinges on four corollaries, many of them dubious.

One: The ideological trajectory of a probable 16 years of Obama–Hillary Clinton progressive transformation of the country was never as dangerous as turning over executive power to someone as purportedly uncouth and unpredictable as Trump.

Two: Trump’s character defects were like none other in a previous American president (which would include John Kennedy’s pathological and dangerous womanizing, Lyndon Johnson’s in-office profiteering and crudity, Richard Nixon’s disrespect for truth and the law, Bill Clinton’s demonstrable White House sex escapades and lying under oath) and thus would cancel out the entire gamut of renewed energy production, deregulation, tax reform, deterrent foreign policy, Obamacare reform, and the sort of Cabinet appointment that will prune back the deep state.

Three: Ideas matter more than politics and governance. Being 51 (or far more) percent preferable is still either not being preferable at all or at least not enough to warrant pragmatic assent.

Four: Even snarky and “see, how I was right” attacks on Trump from the right keep conservatism honest, rather than implode it in the manner that the Left most assiduously avoids. (Was there ever a “Never Hillary” movement after the Democratic convention to protest her pollution of the Democratic National Committee?)

For now, the fallback position of “I told you so” hinges on Trump’s proving, in a downward spiral, far more recklessly obstreperous in the future than he has been so far, and on his agenda’s either fossilizing or reverting to his own 1980s liberal outlook. 3) Always Trump There are few ironies for Always Trumpers who supported Trump from well before the primaries. They wished an iron wrecking ball to be thrown into the deep-state glass, and they certainly got what they wished for. The uncouthness of Trump is not vulgarity for them. It’s the necessary tough antidote to what they see as the polished crudity of the elite class, who are quite indecent in their sanctimonious lectures on amnesties or globalized free but unfair trade — while having the personal means of navigating around the deleterious consequences of their own advocacy. Trump’s nihilistic and self-destructive tweets are yet again, for the Always Trumpers, the Semtex that helps blow up the entire spectacle of the feeding frenzy Washington press conference, the embarrassment of the White House Correspondents Dinner, the soft-ball televised interview, and the moral preening of television’s talking heads. Dr. Sawbones Trump smelled a festering wound, ripped off the scab, and proclaimed that the exposure would aerate and cure the gangrenous mass below. For the Always Trumpers, without the Trump shock, we would never have fully appreciated just how politically crude a Stephen Colbert really was, or just how obscene was a Tom Perez or

3) Always Trump There are few ironies for Always Trumpers who supported Trump from well before the primaries. They wished an iron wrecking ball to be thrown into the deep-state glass, and they certainly got what they wished for. The uncouthness of Trump is not vulgarity for them. It’s the necessary tough antidote to what they see as the polished crudity of the elite class, who are quite indecent in their sanctimonious lectures on amnesties or globalized free but unfair trade — while having the personal means of navigating around the deleterious consequences of their own advocacy. Trump’s nihilistic and self-destructive tweets are yet again, for the Always Trumpers, the Semtex that helps blow up the entire spectacle of the feeding frenzy Washington press conference, the embarrassment of the White House Correspondents Dinner, the soft-ball televised interview, and the moral preening of television’s talking heads. Dr. Sawbones Trump smelled a festering wound, ripped off the scab, and proclaimed that the exposure would aerate and cure the gangrenous mass below. For the Always Trumpers, without the Trump shock, we would never have fully appreciated just how politically crude a Stephen Colbert really was, or just how obscene was a Tom Perez or a Senator Gillibrand, or how rankly partisan was a Chuck Schumer or how incapacitated a Nancy Pelosi. Dr. Sawbones Trump smelled a festering wound, ripped off the scab, and proclaimed that the exposure would aerate and cure the gangrenous mass below — however crudely administered the remedy without analgesics. In this view, Trump’s ostensibly counterproductive outbursts and Twitter rants are the unpleasant castor oil that was long ago needed to break up and pass on a constipated, corrupt, and incestuous elite.

4) Trump, Better Far Than the Alternative Lastly, there are the conservatives and Republicans (well over 90 percent) who voted for Trump on the grounds that, while he may not have been preferable to most of the alternatives in the primary, he most certainly was in the general election. For these pragmatists, there are both pleasant and occasionally worrisome ironies. On the upside, it seems clear that Trump is not just conservative to his word, but, in the first 100 days, conservative in terms of policy to a degree unlike any other Republican president or presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan. Mitt Romney would not have yanked the U.S. out of the jerry-rigged Paris climate accord. John McCain would not have appointed a Neal Gorsuch or proposed to radically recalibrate the tax code. Neither of the two Bushes would have felt politically secure enough to shut down the border to illegal immigration; neither would have pressed to finished the border wall. None since Reagan would have made the sort of conservative appointments at the cabinet and bureaucratic level as has Trump. If Trump were really a namby-pamby conservative, the sheer hatred of Trump the person by the progressive Left has had the predictable effect of making him against everything his loudest enemies are for. For the realist Trump supporters, Trump’s tweets or outbursts are often regrettable and occasionally bothersome, but not so much because they demonstrate an unprecedented level of presidential indecency. (Cynical realists with knowledge of history accept what FDR or JFK was capable of, and thus what they said in private conservations, and occasionally out loud.) Trump’s sin, then, is that he more often says out loud what prior presidents kept to their inner circle. Rather, their worry is more tactical and strategic: Trump, the bull-in-the-china-shop messenger, breaks up too much of the vital message of Trump. In public, they may cringe at Trump’s excesses (though enjoying in private how he forces sanctimonious progressives to melt down), but their worry over Trump’s overkill is mostly from the fear that no mortal 70-year-old male, without a traditionally loyal support staff, but with unhealthy sleep and diet habits, and under the stress of historic vituperation, could see through such an ambitious conservative agenda. They are worried, then, that the 24/7 and extraneous fights that Trump picks will eventually undo him, and with his demise will go his entire conservative resurgence for a generation. They admire enormously Mike Pence but concede that he would have been neither nominated nor elected. And should Trump fall, Pence would be unable amid the nuclear fallout to press the conservative agenda further. And yet there is some doubt even here as well. Trump’s tweets can be as prescient as they are reckless.

Take the infamous “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” and substitute “Obama administration” for Obama, and “surveil” for “wires tapped,” and Trump’s tweet about the former president’s intelligence agencies improperly monitoring him may yet prove in a broad sense correct.

In other words, cringe-worthy Trump behavior so often is the lubricant that oils his success against cringe-worthy opponents, turning upside down the Heraclitean axiom that character is destiny, or rather redefining it, because Trump’s targets so often were hubristic and deserved the nemesis sent their way.

For the realist Trump supporters, Trump’s tweets or outbursts are often regrettable and occasionally bothersome, but not so much because they demonstrate an unprecedented level of presidential indecency. (Cynical realists with knowledge of history accept what FDR or JFK was capable of, and thus what they said in private conservations, and occasionally out loud.)

Trump’s sin, then, is that he more often says out loud what prior presidents kept to their inner circle. Rather, their worry is more tactical and strategic: Trump, the bull-in-the-china-shop messenger, breaks up too much of the vital message of Trump. In public, they may cringe at Trump’s excesses (though enjoying in private how he forces sanctimonious progressives to melt down), but their worry over Trump’s overkill is mostly from the fear that no mortal 70-year-old male, without a traditionally loyal support staff, but with unhealthy sleep and diet habits, and under the stress of historic vituperation, could see through such an ambitious conservative agenda.

They are worried, then, that the 24/7 and extraneous fights that Trump picks will eventually undo him, and with his demise will go his entire conservative resurgence for a generation.

They admire enormously Mike Pence but concede that he would have been neither nominated nor elected. And should Trump fall, Pence would be unable amid the nuclear fallout to press the conservative agenda further. And yet there is some doubt even here as well. Trump’s tweets can be as prescient as they are reckless. Take the infamous “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” and substitute “Obama administration” for Obama, and “surveil” for “wires tapped,” and Trump’s tweet about the former president’s intelligence agencies improperly monitoring him may yet prove in a broad sense correct. In other words, cringe-worthy Trump behavior so often is the lubricant that oils his success against cringe-worthy opponents, turning upside down the Heraclitean axiom that character is destiny, or rather redefining it, because Trump’s targets so often were hubristic and deserved the nemesis sent their way.

It may not be that Trump earns hatred for unnecessary provocation and vitriol, but instead that he or any other Republican would have earned such venom anyway; thus his own searing tactics and narcissistic belief in his own destiny are predicated on the assumption that his unhinged enemies will vaporize first. And he may be right. James Comey has underestimated Donald Trump every bit as much as Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama did. In the end, the pragmatists apparently believe conservatives will hang together or hang separately.

Never have so many bright people proved so dense.

Never have polls and politics proved so unreliable or partisan. Never have unintended consequences so replaced predictable results.

Yes, we are in chaos, but we sense also that the pandemonium is purgative of the worse that prompted it — and it is unpleasant mostly because it has so long been overdue.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, to appear in October from Basic Books.

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448562/donald-trump-ironies-wrecking-ball-long-overdue-may-benefit-country

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The Pronk Pops Show 876, April 19, 2017, Story 1: Murdoch Sons Killing Fox News — Talent Exits — Who is next? — Adorable Deplorable Audience Abandons Fox News — Going, Going, Gone — Life Is Not Fair! — Big Lie Media Dying — Videos — Story 2: Totalitarians of Lying Lunatic Left Attempt to Suppress Speech of Conservatives, Libertarians, and Classical Liberals — Nothing New — Go On Offense And Attack The Collectivist Totalitarians — Battle For Berkeley — Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge — Why the Right Won — Chief of Police Orders Berkeley Police To Stand Down — Videos

Posted on April 19, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Law, Life, Media, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Networking, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

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Story 1: Murdoch Sons Killing Fox News — Talent Exits — Who is next? — Adorable Deplorable Audience Abandons Fox News — Going, Going, Gone — Life Is Not Fair! —  Big Lie Media Dying — Videos — 

Image result for bill o'reilly on media mattersImage result for media mattersImage result for media mattersImage result for cartoons on george soros

The Bonner group/A Super PAC and fundraiser for Hillary & DNC. The Campaign against Bill OReily is orchestrated by MM & BG.

Glenn Beck ✔ @glennbeck The Bonner group/A Super PAC and fundraiser for Hillary & DNC. The Campaign against Bill OReily is orchestrated by MM & BG. #Smearproof 5:58 AM – 19 Apr 2017 321 321 Retweets 232 232 likes

http://www.glennbeck.com/2017/04/19/exclusive-proof-that-liberals-are-working-to-remove-bill-oreilly-from-fox-news/?utm_source=glennbeck&utm_medium=contentcopy_link

Bill O’Reilly Gets a $25M Copy of the Home Game Sayonara and “Hit the Road” Without Even a Goodbye

The Real Reason Bill O’Reilly Was Fired From Fox That Nobody’s Talking About

Bill O’Reilly’s Out at Fox | It Had Nothing to Do With Sexual Harassment | It Was Sponsors and Money

Mark Levin Reveals Why He Despised Bill O’Reilly

MARK LEVIN: I’m Not Gonna Defend Bill O’Reilly, But The Left Works As A CABAL

LIMBAUGH: Fox News Is Not Gonna Be The Way It Is For Long

Pitchfork and Torch Mob Crows Over O’Reilly’s Heave-Ho: Mum’s the Word As to Bill Clinton’s Victims

Ted Koppel tells Bill O’Reilly he’s ruined journalism

Bill O’Reilly Back On The Air After New Accuser Alleges Sexual Harassment | TODAY

Howard Stern Making Fun Of Bill O’Reilly Sexually Harassing Women 04/03/17

Sponsors split from FOX News over sexual harassment scandal

After Bill O’Reilly Blasts Megyn Kelly, She Insists: Ailes Made Fox Look Bad

Bill O’Reilly Calls His Critics “Hate Sites”

Bill O’Reilly Lashes Out At Media Matters And Salon For Highlighting His Anti-Immigration Coverage

Behold the Death Knell of Mainstream Corporate News Media

Megyn Kelly Flops and Folds at Fox and Faces a Career Stall at NBC Media Wasteland and Landfill

Why The Fake News Media Keeps Losing | Mike Cernovich and Stefan Molyneux

Sources: Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go

By Gabriel Sherman

The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.

Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.

Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.

According to sources, Fox News wants the transition to be seamless. Executives are currently debating possible replacement hosts. Names that have been discussed include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, and Tucker Carlson, who would move from his successful 9 p.m. slot and create a need for a new host at that time. One source said Sean Hannity is happy at 10 p.m. and would not want to move.

The Murdochs’ decision to dump O’Reilly shocked many Fox News staffers I’ve spoken to in recent days. Late last week, the feeling inside the company was that Rupert Murdoch would prevail over his son James, who lobbied to jettison the embattled host. It’s still unclear exactly how the tide turned. According to one source, Lachlan Murdoch’s wife helped convince her husband that O’Reilly needed to go, which moved Lachlan into James’s corner. The source added that senior executives at other divisions within the Murdoch empire have complained that if O’Reilly’s allegations had happened to anyone else at their companies, that person would be gone already.

Spokespersons for 21st Century Fox and Fox News did not respond to requests for comment, nor did O’Reilly’s agent, Carole Cooper.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/sources-fox-news-has-decided-bill-oreilly-has-to-go.html

Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on Wednesday, after the disclosure of multiple settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His ouster brings an abrupt and embarrassing end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.

Bill O’Reilly’s Show Lost More Than Half Its Advertisers in a Week

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, said in a statement.

Mr. O’Reilly’s departure comes two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly even as sexual harassment allegations piled up against him. The Times found that the company and Mr. O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Document: Fox Statement on Bill O’Reilly’s Departure

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups called for his ouster. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal forced the ouster of Fox News’s chairman, Roger Ailes.

That put pressure on 21st Century Fox and the Murdoch family that controlled it. After the dismissal of Mr. Ailes, the company struck two settlements involving sexual harassment complaints against Mr. O’Reilly and also extended his contract, even as it was aware of the complaints about his behavior.

Last week, the Murdochs enlisted the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an investigation into Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior after one woman, who had detailed her allegations against Mr. O’Reilly to The Times, called the company’s hotline to report her complaints. Another complaint was reported on Tuesday, according to the lawyer who represents the woman making the allegations.

Mr. O’Reilly has denied the allegations against him.

Mr. O’Reilly, 67, has been an anchor at Fox News since he started at the network in 1996. He was the top-rated host in cable news, serving up defiant commentary every weekday at 8 p.m., with a message that celebrated patriotism and expressed scorn for political correctness. His departure is a significant blow to Fox News’s prime-time lineup, which in January lost another star, Megyn Kelly, from a lineup that dominated the prime-time cable news ratings.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/business/media/bill-oreilly-fox-news-allegations.html?_r=0

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone: “Even If Bill O’Reilly Stays, His Show Will Never Be As Profitable”

Carusone: Fox News Said It Themselves … ‘If You Have A Television Show And You Have Advertiser Problems, You No Longer Have A Television Show That Is Viable.”

Video ››› April 5, 2017 6:30 PM EDT ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

From the April 5 edition of Cheddar News:

KRISTEN SCHOLER (CO-HOST): We know that you’ve been following the developments in these sexual harassment claims against Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, and as of right now ABC reporting 22 advertisers pulling out of advertising at least temporarily on his show. How is this going to force Fox News to respond long term? We’ve heard the response short-term which is it’s working with these advertisers, but big picture what do you think this means?

ANGELO CARUSONE: One thing that at the top that I point out is, when we think about the number of advertisers that have dropped, that 22 number is the ones that have given public statements.  From just observing the program and his advertisers the last couple of weeks, and then what his advertising looked like last night, and just from my own experience of running and being involved in similar kinds of advertiser efforts, like against Glenn Beck, I suspect that many more advertisers have actually adjusted their ad buys but just haven’t given public statements yet. Because many of the advertisers that had been advertising on the program every single night for the past few weeks did not appear last night after this controversy blew up, and I don’t think they’ll be there tonight.

JON STEINBERG (CO-HOST): Angelo, at what point — because they’re sticking by this guy, because he brings in money. And they basically don’t care; they don’t care how  bad it is or what he’s done, he makes them so much money that they’re going to stick with him. At what point is it enough advertisers that the math — the problem is, this looks bad for them, and it could be even worse for them, they could have gotten ahead of this and been like, “this guy’s toxic, we’re done,” right? Instead they paid his settlements, stuck by him, now they’re going to lose money and now they’re going to have to pull the ripcord on him, at which point it looks like they’re just doing it for the money.

CARUSONE: And I think that’s the exact right question, which is at what point does it actually start to affect them? What happens during these kinds of flare-ups is that there’s an assumption on the public’s part that if O’Reilly was to leave the program in a couple of days, that everything was pointless and worth it and Fox News is totally fine and Bill O’Reilly is totally fine. That’s actually just not true, and during the Glenn Beck period, after he lost a wave of advertisers, his advertiser rates never recovered. He limped along for over a year. His advertiser rates were a quarter of what other Fox News programs were even though he had a million viewers than many other Fox News programs, comparable ones, during similar time slots. He was beating the programs around him by a million viewers but his advertiser rates for the same advertisers, and for the same commercials, were sometimes a fifth of what they were on just a program an hour later or an hour earlier. That’s because they fell precipitously after he lost a lot of advertisers. The market addressed that issue; once you started to see there’s a problem buying ads on that show, media buyers weren’t going to pay the same rates anymore, and they never did. So that’s the first thing that I would point out, that no matter what, even if Bill O’Reilly stays, his program will never be as profitable as it was three days ago. That is just a bottom-line fact.

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/04/05/media-matters-president-angelo-carusone-even-if-bill-oreilly-stays-his-show-will-never-be-profitable/215934

Political views of Bill O’Reilly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

American commentator Bill O’Reilly regularly expresses his point of view on a wide variety of political, social, and moral issues. He has personally labeled his political philosophytraditionalism.[1]The O’Reilly Factor, since its inception on the Fox News Channel in 1996, has been the primary outlet of his opinions. O’Reilly started his own radio program, The Radio Factor, a few years later. He has also written several non-fiction books detailing some of his beliefs. O’Reilly generally leans to the right on most issues,[citation needed] most notably the Bush administration’s War on Terror, but breaks from the conservative and Republican majority on such issues as the global warming controversy, gun control, gay marriage and the death penalty.

Political views

Political affiliation

On The O’Reilly Factor and on his former talk-radio program, Bill O’Reilly has focused on news and commentary related to politics and culture.[2] O’Reilly has long said that he does not identify with any political ideology, writing in his book The O’Reilly Factor that the reader “might be wondering if whether I’m conservative, liberal, libertarian, or exactly what…. See, I don’t want to fit any of those labels, because I believe that the truth doesn’t have labels. When I see corruption, I try to expose it. When I see exploitation, I try to fight it. That’s my political position.”[3] On December 6, 2000, the Daily News in New York reported, however, that he had been registered with the Republican Party in the state of New York since 1994. When questioned about this, he said that he was not aware of it and says he registered as an independent after the interview.[4] During a broadcast of The Radio Factor, O’Reilly said that there was no option to register as an independent voter; however, there was in fact a box marked “I do not wish to enroll in party.”[5] Despite being registered as an Independent, many view him as a conservative figure.[2] A Pew Research February 2009 poll found that 66% of his television viewers identify themselves as conservative, 24% moderate, and 3% liberal.[6] A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that O’Reilly was the second most trusted news personality after Rush Limbaugh.[7]

In a 2003 interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio, O’Reilly said:

I’m not a political guy in the sense that I embrace an ideology. To this day I’m an independent thinker, an independent voter, I’m a registered independent… there are certain fundamental things that this country was founded upon that I respect and don’t want changed. That separates me from the secularists who want a complete overhaul of how the country is run.[8]

Domestic politics

O’Reilly has opined on many domestic issues. O’Reilly said the Bill Clintonimpeachment stemming from the Lewinsky scandal was “not about sex. This is about honesty and cruelty. For Mr. Clinton, it was about undermining the justice system.” In the same article he writes that Gary Condit, a moderate Democraticcongressman from California who had an extramarital affair with Chandra Levy prior to her disappearance and death, should be held to the same standard.[9]

According to the Newsmax publication, O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed that Clinton had the Internal Revenue Service audit him.[10] O’Reilly says that he was audited three times since his program debuted in 1996.

O’Reilly has been critical of former Attorney GeneralJanet Reno, calling her “perhaps the worst attorney general in history”, and that the FBI became a “disorganized mess” during her tenure. He later praised former Attorney General John Ashcroft for going after the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, as well as Enron, WorldCom, Sam Waksal of Imclone and Martha Stewart.[11]

In 2002, O’Reilly had criticized Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, stating that she would run for president in 2008. In an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, he said, “I just feel that Hillary is a socialist, and I’m paying enough tax. Hillary wants to take my money [and] your money… and give it to strangers. There’s something about that that offends me.” He said that she had voted for every single spending bill that year. In the same interview, he accused her of running as a political carpetbagger, and said that she intends to abolish the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote, claiming that it would be done only to give her an advantage in the presidential race.[12]

After criticizing the overturn of Snyder v. Phelps by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, O’Reilly offered on March 30, 2010 to help Snyder pay the US$16,510 in court costs while he prepared an appeal to the Supreme Court.[13][14]

2004 presidential election

During the lead up to the 2004 presidential election, O’Reilly said that the Democratic Party has been taken over by the “far-left” in a conversation with former Democratic Congressman Brad Carson.[15] Shortly following the election, O’Reilly ridiculed a message in which Democratic challenger John Kerry thanked his supporters for their support as well as opposing “the attacks from big news organizations such as Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting, and conservative talk radio.”[16] O’Reilly shot back, calling Kerry a “sissy” six times.[17] Kerry himself stated publicly in a 2006 interview that he always felt he’d have a “fair shot” at conveying his views on The O’Reilly Factor and regrets not doing an interview prior to the election.[18]

Although O’Reilly has never officially endorsed any candidate, he did advise his audience not to support Democratic South Dakota senator Tom Daschle in his Senate re-election bid on his radio program, saying that, “[W]ith all due respect to the senator, we don’t have any respect for him at all. And we hope he loses in South Dakota. And I — really, I stay out of all these races, but you guys listening in South Dakota, vote for the other guy.”[19] Daschle would lose the 2004 Senate election in South Dakota to John Thune.[20]

2008 presidential election

In the 2008 Democratic primary, O’Reilly urged his viewers not to vote for a candidate, this time John Edwards, and called Edwards a “phony” regarding his public statements on poverty.[21] O’Reilly has, on many occasions, admitted to “having no respect for him”, and called him “arrogant” for keeping his campaign staffer Amanda Marcotte on after making remarks O’Reilly called offensive to Christians.[22]

O’Reilly has also criticized Republicans. When speaking to Ed Schulz in 2007, O’Reilly said that then-presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani had “terrible character judgement” with Bernard Kerik and felt that “disqualified him from being president.”[23]

“Culture War” and domestic politics

O’Reilly has taken to using the abbreviation “S-P”, for “SecularProgressive“, as a shorthand way of referring to a political category of people who want “drastic change” in the country.[citation needed] O’Reilly classifies the group as “far left”, and almost always refers to the group in a negative manner. However, he says that he is not equating the negative qualities he sees in “SPs” with a “liberal” political ideology, saying the SP camp is far more “libertine” with social values:

Liberal thought, however, can be a good thing. Progressive programs to help the poor, fight injustice and give working people a fair shake are all positive. But libertine actions damage a just society because actions have consequences. Kids who drink and take drugs are likely to hurt themselves and others. But obviously, the SPs do not make judgments like that.[24]

In his book Culture Warrior, O’Reilly called President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. examples of liberals who were also traditionalists, also citing current US Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Evan Bayh of Indiana as liberal/Democratic “traditionalists”.

Foreign politics

Immigration and border control

O’Reilly has supported stricter border controls, including placement of the National Guard troops on the US-Mexican border and has criticized President George W. Bush for not allocating enough resources to make border security effective. He also criticized Ronald Reagan‘s act of amnesty, claiming that it made the illegal immigration problem worse.[25] O’Reilly makes a distinction between criminal illegal immigrants and non-criminals by saying that criminal illegal immigrants should be deported immediately. O’Reilly criticizes the lack of cooperation between local sanctuary cities and the INS.[26]

The Iraq War

O’Reilly initially supported the invasion of Iraq. Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, O’Reilly promised that “If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it’s clean [of weapons of mass destruction]…I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again.”[27] In another appearance on the same program on February 10, 2004, O’Reilly responded to repeated requests for him to honor his pledge: “My analysis was wrong and I’m sorry. I was wrong. I’m not pleased about it at all.”[28] With regard to never again trusting the current U.S. government, he said, “I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I was at that time.”

O’Reilly has questioned the U.S. invasion of Iraq in hindsight, in particular the performance of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. However, he maintains that the United States “did a good thing by trying to liberate a country”.[citation needed] O’Reilly says the war effort should continue as long as progress is being made. He has also said that some anti-war activists are actively rooting for the United States to lose:

General McCaffrey says strong progress is being made. He believes the Sunnis have turned against Al Qaeda and that the Maliki government is neutralizing the Shi’ia death squads.

Again, I don’t know. With all America has sacrificed in Iraq, though, it seems reasonable to let the end game play out. If things are getting better, don’t derail the train.

But the anti-war crew is now fully invested in defeat. So the struggle at home is becoming even more vicious. Iraq is a shooting war. America’s a political war. Both are driven by hatred.[29]

O’Reilly called the Iraqi people a “prehistoric group”, citing a poll showing that only two percent of them viewed the U.S. Forces as liberators and 55 percent preferred that they leave. “We cannot intervene in the Muslim world ever again”, he said. “What we can do is bomb the living daylights out of them (…) no more ground troops, no more hearts and minds, ain’t going to work.”[30]

In an interview with White House Press Secretary (and former Fox News colleague) Tony Snow, O’Reilly said that the United States cannot win given the circumstances of Iraqis not supporting the effort:

You can’t win. No one could. No nation could unless the Iraqi people turn on all the terrorists. And they’re not. They’re not, Tony.

O’Reilly went on to say that the country was corrupt and compared the situation to the American support of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War:

It’s like South Vietnam. It’s the same thing. There were a lot of South Vietnamese helping us. A lot fought and died on our side but there wasn’t enough of them to prevent the communists which were more united.[31]

O’Reilly would go on to praise General David Petraeus for reducing American casualties and advancing American objectives with the 2007 troop surge:

The cost has been great. We all know that. In suffering and cash. And the Iraqi government is still a mess. But General Petraeus, backed by a brave and professional U.S. military, has restored much order, largely defeated the Iraqi Al Qaeda thugs, and at least given the good people of that country a chance to prosper. General David Petraeus is “The Factor” person of the year by a wide margin.[32]

During The Rumble with Jon Stewart, O’Reilly admitted that “We should not have gone to Iraq. Afghanistan we had to.”[33]

Terrorism

O’Reilly has endorsed an aggressive War on Terror policy.[34] He supports coercive measures to extract information from detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which he visited on two occasions. He has said that, in comparison to procedures used under the regimes of dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot, the U.S.’s tactics are not torture and are beneficial even when involving physical techniques,[35] claiming that “Torture is taking my fingers off, disfiguring me, taking my eye out — not keeping me in a cold room and uncomfortable with blaring rock music.”[36] O’Reilly cites waterboarding as a successful coercive measure that should not be classified as torture, citing that Abu Zubaydah and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed have both given up valuable information after being subjected to the technique:

In my opinion, it is immoral to allow terrorists to kill people when you can stop them. If you capture someone who knows the inner workings of a terror outfit, you make life very uncomfortable for that person within boundaries set by Congress.

But let’s stop the nonsense here. America’s not a bad country because it waterboarded Zubaydah. The Bush administration has done its job. We haven’t been attacked since 9/11.

The liberal press, politicians, the ACLU can’t stop any wrongdoing. They’re all lost in a fog of misguided indignation, crazy with hatred for Bush, but we the people must take a stand here. This isn’t a game. This is life and death. And if you don’t believe it, I know scores of people right here in New York City that will tell you about their dead loved ones.

Waterboarding should be a last resort, but it must be an option.[37]

He has also said that detainees should be judged under military tribunals, but not protected under the Geneva Convention because the convention requires combatants to wear a uniform.[35]

He has been critical of politicians such as Democratic Speaker of the HouseNancy Pelosi and private citizens such as financier George Soros for wanting to try terror suspects in civilian courts.[38]

O’Reilly has said that both political parties in the United States are “playing games” with regards to the war on terrorism:

…both the right and the left are playing games to some extent. Certainly, Al Qaeda remains dangerous, but the only way to hit them is to invade Pakistan. Do the Democrats want to do that?

On the other hand, it would be a tragedy if after all the blood and treasure Americans have sacrificed, Al Qaeda has not been badly damaged.

America should be united in fighting these savages, but we’re not. Ideology has poisoned a reasoned, disciplined approach to defeating the jihadists. America’s great strength, diversity of thought, can also be a weakness. And Al Qaeda knows it.

The old saying goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Well, we’re divided.[39]

George Soros

O’Reilly has accused billionaire businessman, investor and political activist George Soros of trying to influence the 2008 election by donating to causes and organizations that O’Reilly calls the “radical left”, such as moveon.org, which regularly criticizes conservative politicians. O’Reilly said of Soros “If Mike Myers didn’t invent Dr. Evil, some would give Soros that moniker.”[40] O’Reilly also accused Media Matters for America of receiving funds from Soros;[41] although Media Matters denies having any funding directly or indirectly from Soros,[42] he and the group’s founder, David Brock, have raised money together to fund political advertisements challenging John McCain in the 2008 election for what politico.com called “attack ads”.[43] O’Reilly responded to the politico report by labeling Soros, Brock and Paul Begala an “American axis of evil” and saying

This, ladies and gentlemen, is ultra dangerous. Most Americans have no idea who Soros or Brock are. They will only know what they see on TV, smear stuff against McCain. And the pipeline extends directly to NBC News, which will publicize every piece of slime Brock can create. Only one word describes this: despicable.[44]

O’Reilly alleged that PBS personality Bill Moyers oversaw $500,000 worth of money transferred from the Shoeman Center Foundation (a group Soros donated to) to Media Matters.[45]

you know, you’ve got to admire Soros for coming up with this organization. I mean, you know, he’s made billions by doing this in business, by being in Curaçao and Bermuda and France, where he was convicted of a felony. And he knows how to do this. He knows how to move the money around and use it to gain influence. And now he’s set his sights on changing the basic fabric of this country.[46]

The organization to which O’Reilly refers is the Open Society Institute.[45]

ACLU

O’Reilly has been critical of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), calling it “the most dangerous organization in the United States of America” especially in their challenging of the Justice Department and the Department of Defense regarding the War on Terror. He has called them a “fascist” organization in response to their threatened lawsuit against Los Angeles County for failing to remove a cross from its official seal.[47]

O’Reilly alleged hypocrisy on the part of the ACLU for stating that New York City‘s random searches of bags in the public transportation as a breach of personal rights, but requiring people entering their New York headquarters to consent to a bag search.[48]

O’Reilly asserted that the ACLU is now a political organization rather than an advocacy group, taking positions and cases based on politics rather than free speech.

He has come down hard on the organization for its actions on behalf of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) which is currently under suspicion of involvement with the rape and murder of a young boy:

Now many of these people subscribe to a philosophy of relativism. That is a theory which says there’s no absolute right or wrong. All moral values are relative. What’s wrong for you is not wrong for your neighbor if he or she doesn’t think his or her actions are wrong. That’s what the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is all about. Those loons believe it’s OK to rape kids because they want to.[49]

The ACLU defends NAMBLA’s freedom of speech surrounding their publications and has said that the legal blame in the murder should go to who committed it.[50]

The ACLU has said that they sometimes have to defend “unpopular” speech or speech that they don’t agree with, including the Ku Klux Klan‘s, saying their only “client” is the Bill of Rights.[51] O’Reilly alleges the ACLU “cherry picks” its cases to promote a left wing agenda while not supporting causes of free speech that conservatives support in his criticism of the ACLU defending live sex shows in Oregon.[52]

O’Reilly decried the group’s criticism of The Minutemen, claiming the latter were only engaging in a form of protest, a right the ACLU defends. O’Reilly alleges that the organization is protesting the Minutemen because they are going against the ACLU’s agenda.[53][54]

O’Reilly accused the organization of having an anti-Christian bias when it protested the portrayal of the nativity scene in New York City Public Schools, but did not protest displayal of the Jewish menorah or the Islamic star and crescent.[55]

O’Reilly criticized the ACLU for suing San Diego County for renting property to the Boy Scouts of America in Balboa Park. The ACLU brought up a law claiming that the Boy Scouts discriminated against gays and atheists. O’Reilly criticized the San Diego City Council for voting 6-2 to vote the Scouts out before a ruling on the lawsuit was made.

It would be impossible for the Boy Scouts (search) or any children’s organization to admit avowed homosexuals because of the potential liability. Say the Scouts put openly gay and straight kids together and some sexual activity occurred. Well, parents could sue for millions, same way parents could sue if the Scouts put boys and girls together and underaged sex occurred. As far as the atheist issue is concerned, the Scouts say no specific belief in God is necessary, only an acknowledgement of a higher power. And that power could be nature. Come on. The whole discrimination thing is bogus.

Part of the Boy Scout Oath begins, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country” and the final point of the Scout Law reads, “A Scout is reverent,” with the Boy Scouts’ of America official explanation being that “a Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”[56] However, the bylaws of the organization specifically state that Scouts must “respect the religious beliefs of others” and “in no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.”[57]

O’Reilly argues this is a liberal definition of what God may be, allowing diversity for anyone believing in a higher power to join.

He went on to compare the ACLU to Nazis:

Now the ACLU is free to come to your town and sue the heck out of it. And believe me, that organization will. The ACLU doesn’t care about the law or the Constitution or what the people want. It’s a fascist organization that uses lawyers instead of Panzers. It’ll find a way to inflict financial damage on any concern that opposes its secular agenda and its growing in power.

He later went on to criticize the Boy Scout leadership for not standing up to the ACLU.[58]

On October 16, 2006 at Mount Pleasant High School in Michigan, a student stood up publicly in the cafeteria and called the principal of the school “a skank and a tramp.” In addition to this, the student called the school administrators Nazis and questioned the sexuality of the vice-principal. The school suspended the boy for 10 days, an action that brought a lawsuit by the ACLU. O’Reilly criticized the ACLU for defending the remarks as satire when he saw it as hate speech.[59]

Social views

Abortion

O’Reilly supported California Proposition 73 because it would have required parental notification of underage girls seeking an abortion. “[T]he left-wing media has been able to convince millions of Americans that the government knows what’s best for families, not the parents.”[60]

O’Reilly strongly condemns doctors who provide legal abortion services. Since 2005, he has repeatedly referred to physician and abortion doctor George Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” on his Fox News prime time show, claiming that there must be “a special place in hell” for him. In May 2009, Tiller was murdered by anti-abortion gunman Scott Roeder.[61]

O’Reilly ardently condemns the practice of partial birth abortion. He has criticized the practice being done without explanations being made and has criticized human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for not condemning the practice:

Once again, this isn’t about a women’s [sic] right to choose or the New York Times plea for reproductive rights. This is about late term abortions for just about any reason.[62]

Education

O’Reilly supports the discussion (but not the advocation) of intelligent design in schools and considers the opinion of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science‘s opposition to such theories “fascist”.[63] O’Reilly has also suggested that Richard Dawkins‘ argument for how science should be taught in school is equivalent to fascism.[64] He said he supports teachers saying that some people, especially in religious groups, believe that Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution is wrong.

O’Reilly has said that there is a lack of leadership among the traditionalists and this has emboldened the secular-progressive cause. He consistently says that using religion to justify public policy is wrong:

Right now, religious people are the ones speaking out for traditional values. But America does not forge public policy based on religion. Thus as soon as God enters the debate, the secularists win.[65]

Gun rights

O’Reilly supports some forms of gun control, such as gun registration.[66][67]

Health care

O’Reilly opposed the nationalizedhealth care plan that filmmaker Michael Moore argues for in his film Sicko, saying it would create huge backlogs. He also said, however, that he thinks the government should perform more oversight functions on health care:

…[G]overnment-run health care would be a disaster, featuring long waits for treatment and an enormous rise in taxation. But there should be government oversight on private insurance companies and strict guidelines about abusing customers. There can be compromise and effective government control of medical care abuse in the USA. It is possible. But if Michael Moore’s plan ever gets traction, pray hard you never get sick.[68]

LGBT issues

O’Reilly’s stance on LGBT issues has been evolving.

On October 27, 2004, he was quoted saying: “I’ve been saying that all along, that if you open the door for gay marriage, then you have to have the polygamists and the triads and the commune people and everybody else, right?”[69]

O’Reilly supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but has said that nobody has the “right” to marry; he says that marriage, like driving a car, is a privilege, not a right. He has said that if the government felt marriage was a right, then it would not stop polygamists and incestuous couples from marrying.[70] O’Reilly further explained his position in his book Culture Warrior:

To this culture warrior, gay marriage is not a vital issue. I don’t believe the republic will collapse if Larry marries Brendan. However, it is clear that most Americans want heterosexual marriage to maintain its special place in American society. And as long as gays are not penalized in the civil arena, I think the folks should make the call at the ballot box. Traditional marriage is widely seen as a social stabilizer, and I believe that is true.[71]

On March 26, 2013, O’Reilly stated “I support civil unions, I always have. The gay marriage thing, I don’t feel that strongly about it one way or the other. I think the states should do it.” O’Reilly then said, “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals … ‘We’re Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else.’ That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that you’ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.[72]

O’Reilly discussed a story surrounding around a teenage lesbian couple being elected as the “cutest couple” in their school yearbook. He stated that he believed that this couple was elected by the students to “tweak the adults” and to “cause trouble”. He explains further here:

High school kids, they experiment. They experiment all over the place, they have a chip on their shoulder. They do things just to get a reaction, just to rebel. Parents might say “We don’t want to normalize homosexuality in a public way in an academic setting among minors. We don’t think that reflects how we feel about it”.[73]

O’Reilly is known to favor adoption by a same-sex couple since 2002.[74]

O’Reilly is opposed to the School Success and Opportunity Act (Assembly Bill 1266), which extends gender identity and expression discrimination protection to transgender and gender-nonconforming K-12 students in public schools. O’Reilly described the law as “madness” and “anarchy” on Fox News Channel.[75]

Just before the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning homosexuals from serving in the military, he appeared on the Tonight Show and called the law “nonsense” and said he didn’t understand why the President, in his role as commander in chief of the armed forces, simply didn’t sign an executive order rescinding it.

US legal system

He regularly criticizes jurists in controversial cases as “activist judges.” He uses the issue of gay marriage as an example. “The folks decide that by voting and, in the case of gay marriage, the folks have decided. And that decision should be respected.”[76]

He has suggested convicted rapists, mass murderers, terrorists, and other people who commit crimes against humanity be sent to a gulag style prison in Alaska with strict rules and minimal privileges. He has said this would serve as a replacement for the death penalty, to which he is opposed.[77]

Jessica’s Law

O’Reilly is a self-professed proponent of stricter penalties for child molesters. He has fervently supported Jessica’s Law,[78] and criticized the law’s detractors.[79] He has given verbal support for Republican Doug Forrester in the 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election, suggesting that his opponent, Democrat Jon Corzine, would be less likely to support a national version of the law, though stopped short of actually endorsing Forrester.[80]

O’Reilly has been particularly critical of the Debra LaFave case, in which she was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old boy, but was only sentenced to house arrest and seven years probation.[81]

He criticizes many politicians who oppose mandatory minimum sentences for child molesters, and calls several states “child predator-friendly.”[81]

Entertainment media

Film industry

O’Reilly has been very critical of the U.S. film industry for producing films featuring violence and human suffering, such as the Saw series. He has compared this to the brutal displays of death in the Colosseums of ancient Rome.[82] O’Reilly has said that films like these are marketed to children and can have consequences on their personal development. He commented on Kill Bill: Volume 1:

It’s the most violent movie ever made, featuring brutal dismemberments and a scalping close-up. And you should see the raves this movie is getting from the pinhead critics. And who’s lining up to see it? Children, that’s who.[83]

O’Reilly severely chastized billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, for his support of Brian De Palma‘s film Redacted that portrayed the rape of an Iraqi girl by American soldiers. O’Reilly claimed that the film would be used as a recruiting tool by terrorists.[84]

Music industry

O’Reilly has criticized the rap and hip hop industry for promoting an “anti-social” culture. He has said he does not care if adults listen to the music, but argues that children are not able to process the information and determine it to be destructive behavior. He has gone after several rappers such as 50 Cent, Jay Z, Jadakiss, Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Ludacris, Lil Wayne, Common, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, and Young Jeezy:

Every educator that I’ve talked to, and I’ve talked to hundreds, say that the kind of gangsta rap that Ludacris traffics in has debased the culture, made it more difficult for them to teach children and indeed, led children into anti-social behavior.[85]

In 2007, O’Reilly had a dispute with Nas after the rapper was hired to play a concert at Virginia Tech one year after the school had experienced the Virginia Tech massacre. “Having a rapper who trades in violence perform at Virginia Tech insults the victims, the university and the entire commonwealth,” declared Bill O’Reilly.[86]Nas subsequently called Bill O’Reilly a racist, and accused O’Reilly of going to extremes for publicity. He repeated this stance again in July 2008, when a dispute between Nas and O’Reilly led to Nas taking a petition to Fox News, and appearing on both Fox News, and the The Colbert Report. Also in 2008, Nas challenged Bill O’Reilly to a public debate, to which O’Reilly did not accept.

In May 2015, O’Reilly blamed the decline of American religion particularly the declining numbers of American Christians on hip hop music citing the genre as “pernicious entertainment” and an adducing factor for contributing to the decline. O’Reilly remarked that people of faith are being marginalized by a secular media and pernicious entertainment and rap industry often glorifies depraved behavior causing the minds of people who consume the music as the least likely to reject religion.”[87] American rapper Killer Mike subsequently criticized him for his remarks calling O’Reilly “full of s**t than an outhouse” and then mocked him while he was a guest Real Time with Bill Maher.[88]

Several rappers and hip hop producers have appeared on The O’Reilly Factor. Rapper Cam’ron and hip hop entrepreneur Damon Dash appeared on the program to defend their supposed corruption of young people, to which Damon Dash responded:

So, if you know there is negative in something, try to find the positive as opposed to always talking about the negative. That’s the thing I don’t understand, why we’re criticized so hard within hip-hop. No one talks about the jobs we create, no one talks about the things we do within our community, and no one talks about the businesses we’ve done, how we’ve opened the doors and shown people that it’s cool to be smart, it’s cool to be a CEO, and it’s cool to not take advantage but to reap the benefits of all your labor and to do it fairly.[89]

Bill O’Reilly has also interviewed Marilyn Manson on the topic of being a “dangerous” influence on U.S. youth. O’Reilly asked Manson if he thought his work encouraged kids to have sex, homosexuality, use drugs and profanity. He also asked Manson whether his songs encouraged suicide or not. Marilyn Manson answered that in his view the songs were about getting through those feelings, and that ultimately people make their own decisions.[90]

News media

O’Reilly believes the American news media is corrupt and often criticizes it for not reporting topics that hurt the liberal agenda. He has often stated that he is the only one in the media holding people accountable on both sides. In June 2007, Adweek Magazine sponsored a survey that asked participants who they trusted more as a source of political information between ABC News and O’Reilly. According to the poll, 36 percent believe that O’Reilly is a better source than ABC News, while 26 percent believe the opposite. According to the survey, 23 percent of Democrats believed that O’Reilly was a better source while 55 percent of Republicans believed the same.[91]

O’Reilly has criticized the media for not highlighting Rosie O’Donnell‘s controversial remarks saying the United States attacked itself on September 11th while they highlighted Ann Coulter‘s remarks about calling Senator John Edwards a “fag.” O’Reilly said in response to the situation:

Doing the math, Ms. O’Donnell says something 100 times more offensive than Ms. Coulter, in my opinion, yet there’s no coverage about it. But there’s no left wing media bias in this country. Oh no![92]

O’Reilly has criticized journalists who donate to political parties after a report stated that nine out of 10 journalists donated to Democrats or liberal causes; he has said this has resulted in news media tilting to the left.[93]

O’Reilly says that news coverage about positive improvements for American and Iraqi objectives in Iraq have been largely ignored. He conjectured that the ignoring of the positive news took place to help a Democrat win a presidential election.[94]

O’Reilly has asked his viewers and listeners to not patronize the following media outfits, saying those organizations “have regularly helped distribute defamatory, false or non-newsworthy information supplied by far-left websites”:[95]

Television news

In an interview with commentator Bill Maher, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather accused Fox News Channel of receiving “talking points” from the Republican controlledWhite House. O’Reilly criticized Rather heavily, responding that Rather did not offer any evidence to support the claim. O’Reilly cited his defense of Rather during the Memogate incident:

As you may remember, I defended Rather in the Bush National Guard debacle. I said Rather did not intentionally put on a bogus story. He just didn’t check it out, he was too anxious for the story to be true.

Now many of you criticized me for that defense, but I’m a fact-based guy. And there’s no evidence Dan Rather fabricated anything. It was sloppy reporting that did him in.

But now the fabrication word is in play again. If Dan Rather has evidence of White House dictums coming to FOX News employees, he needs to display that evidence. We are awaiting his appearance. We’ll let you know when it is.[96]

O’Reilly has gone after PBS personality Bill Moyers. O’Reilly criticized Moyers for having no balance in his presentations, citing a criticism by PBS’ own ombudsman. He also called Moyers dishonest for making disparaging remarks about O’Reilly to Rolling Stone and then later denying he made the remarks when confronted by one of O’Reilly’s producers.[97]

CNN journalists were prominent among those critical of O’Reilly when he stated that he “couldn’t get over the fact” that a largely African-American crowd at a Harlem restaurant behaved no differently than patrons of a white restaurant and garnered media coverage O’Reilly objected to CNN’s portrayal of his commentary, stating that CNN had been irresponsible in mischaracterizing his remark as racist, when in fact, he said, he was actually speaking against racism.[98]

O’Reilly scolded MSNBC and CNN for not providing coverage of the ceremony that awarded Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy the Medal of Honor during their primetime shows. O’Reilly said that “[O]n their prime-time broadcast last night, CNN and MSNBC just said no to Lieutenant Michael Murphy and his proud family,” that the networks “despise the Bush administration and believe anything positive like American heroes in war zones, detract from their negative assessment of the administration” and that they should not claim to support the troops and ignore their heroism.[99] MSNBC and CNN had covered the events during their daytime programs.[100][101]

NBC News and MSNBC

O’Reilly has criticized NBC News and their affiliated cable service MSNBC several times for their coverage of the war in Iraq, claiming that it is biased toward the war’s opponents.[102][103] He later called NBC News the most “anti-military news operation in the country,” when he cited an example of NBC correspondent William Arkin that called American troops “mercenaries.”[84]

He also criticized the network of trying to downplay the War on Terror in the wake of American casualties in Iraq.[104]

Robert Greenwald, who had directed the controversial documentary Outfoxed that criticized O’Reilly and the Fox News Channel, put together an event of homeless veterans criticizing O’Reilly for calling John Edwards dishonest when Edwards asserted that there were about 200,000 homeless veterans. O’Reilly denied Edwards claim, stating “They may be out there, but there are not many of them out there, OK. So if you know where there is a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it.”[105] After government statistics supported Edwards[citation needed], O’Reilly then said that there was no linkage between the economy and homeless veterans and claims that Veterans Affairs has up to 150,000 beds ready for them every night.[106] O’Reilly felt Greenwald’s event was a “contrived” situation after O’Reilly’s producers had interviewed some of the homeless veterans whom were protesting and found out that some did not actually hear O’Reilly’s comments. O’Reilly blasted NBC’s Steve Capus and the New York Daily News for covering the event and claimed that Capus did not know about the nature of the event.[107]

O’Reilly called NBC hypocritical for putting supporters of legalizing prostitution in the wake of Democratic Governor of New YorkEliot Spitzer resigning his post after allegedly engaging in the act in an effort and felt they would not be as defensive if a Republican had gotten in trouble.[108]

Although he praised the late Meet the Press host Tim Russert in the past,[109] O’Reilly criticized Russert for what he saw as a misinterpretation of what were seen as potentially racially insensitive comments by former President Bill Clinton. In his comments, Russert challenged Senator Hillary Clinton about her husband’s remarks regarding Senator Barack Obama, when Mr. Clinton referred to Obama’s position on Iraq as a “fairy tale.” O’Reilly said that Russert “should have known better” and realized the former President’s comments were regarding Obama’s Iraq policy and not his entire candidacy.[110]

Tape doctoring incidents

O’Reilly would join in the criticism of others when NBC News was found to have doctored tapes on multiple occasions. The first was about accused killer George Zimmerman that portrayed Zimmerman as having a racial motivation.[111] He also criticized veteran news correspondent Andrea Mitchell for her reporting of a doctored tape of Mitt Romney to portray him as out of touch.[112] After the Sandy Hook Shooting, O’Reilly and others criticized MSNBC’s Martin Bashir of dishonesty when Bashir only played a part of the entire tape that portrayed the father of a victim being heckled when the entire tape showed the audience only saying something after he made it clear he was looking for an answer.[111] O’Reilly criticized MSNBC host Rachel Maddow showed a tape of Senator John McCain portraying him as insensitive to the plight of a person who lost a family member to gun violence. Although Maddow did readily admit the tape may have been doctored, O’Reilly criticized her nonetheless for airing it knowing that it could have been edited.[113]

Press

O’Reilly has accused the print press of purposely misquoting him and using their hard news pages to further their editorial points of view. He has said that print media is too liberal and attacks opposing viewpoints.[114]

In 2003, O’Reilly criticized the Los Angeles Times for endorsing then-governor Gray Davis, who was running against Arnold Schwarzenegger and a whole field of different candidates, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, in a recall election. He said that he “has never seen a newspaper try to destroy someone as aggressively as the Times is doing.” He also criticized The New York Times on the same issue for referring to Schwarzenegger solely as a bodybuilder. He made the claim that Californians have canceled their subscriptions due to the “extreme left-wing bias” of the newspaper.[115]

O’Reilly has accused the media of being hypercritical of President Bush’s handling of North Korea and Iran pursuing nuclear weapons while not being critical of President Bill Clinton for what was the same course of action.[116]

The New York Times

O’Reilly frequently criticizes The New York Times, accusing them of omitting information that would be damaging to left-wing organizations and causes.[117]

On March 15, 2007, The New York Times ran an editorial titled “Immigration Misery” that had claimed a “screaming baby girl has been forcibly weaned from breast milk and taken dehydrated to an emergency room so that the nation’s borders will be secure.” Upon further investigation, the only two babies admitted to the hospital in the area of Bedford, Massachusetts (where the raid took place) were due to dehydration because of pneumonia and not as a result of being “forcibly weaned.” O’Reilly alleged that the information in the editorial was falsified and claimed The Times wanted to promote illegal immigration in order to make the illegal immigrants into legal US citizens and register them as Democrats.[118]

He accused The Times of promoting NBC News over ABC News.[119]

On June 2, 2007, Homeland Security stopped a plot by four terror suspects thought to be linked to Al Qaeda. Authorities have alleged that the suspects were trying to blow up an oil pipeline in the Howard Beach section of New York City that carries jet fuel to JFK Airport. O’Reilly went on his program and told his listeners that he expected The Times to report it as a featured story on its Sunday edition for June 3, but found that the story was on page 37[citation needed]. A story that occupied the front page talked about brick laying in India. O’Reilly accused the newspaper of burying the story not to highlight a successful foiled terror plot because it contradicts the paper’s editorial point of view.[104] O’Reilly claims that as polls show most Americans feel Republicans would do a better job of handling a terrorist threat than Democrats, The Times intentionally gave the news less exposure in hopes of influencing their readers’ focus away from issues that Democrats tend to poll weaker than Republicans in.[120] O’Reilly has also said that the paper would highlight any terrorist attack if one was to occur so they may criticize the Bush Administration:

So The Times wins both ways. The paper diminishes the War on Terror by putting it on page 37, but if something bad ever happened, it can attack President Bush.[121]

O’Reilly has accused the paper of being deceptive about television ratings for The O’Reilly Factor against that of MSNBC during the same time slot, citing that the paper felt that MSNBC was “competitive” with his program when O’Reilly’s ratings were significantly higher.[122]

O’Reilly has questioned the paper’s interpretation of violence statistics among veterans of the military. His contention is that the paper is out to disparage the military as being overly violent after returning home from deployment in the War on Terror.[123]

O’Reilly criticized the paper for running an article alleging Senator John McCain had an “inappropriate relationship” during the lobbyist controversy story the paper had. O’Reilly raised the question about why the paper had endorsed McCain on January 25, 2008 for the Republican nomination if they had information that alleged an inappropriate relationship.[124]

In May 2009, O’Reilly severely criticized the paper as “corrupt” for dropping a story about a possible violation of campaign laws by ACORN and the Obama campaign. O’Reilly claimed that sworn testimony before Congress by a former ACORN employee, Anita Moncrief corroborated the story. O’Reilly stated:

Strong evidence suggests the paper killed a story linking ACORN to some Obama people. Instead they ran a general piece stating ACORN has a left-wing bias, knowing that story would be largely ignored while the Obama connection would not be.[125]

In response, the New York Times ombudsman, Clark Hoyt stated it “was a normal and reasonable editorial decision” not to run the article. He said the Times had run four other stories on ACORN. The story in question had remained unpublished because Anita Moncrief had not provided independently verifiable proof. In addition, The Times ombudsman stated that Moncrief had not given sworn testimony to Congress as claimed by O’Reilly, and that she had credibility problems, having been fired from Acorn for employee theft.[126]

Internet medi

O’Reilly has accused a few liberal political websites of “distorting the truth” and “engaging in hatred”:

There are no rules. These people will do and say pretty much anything to harm people with whom they disagree politically. The trend started back in the ClintonLewinsky days, and now thousands of bloggers are operating, throwing dirt all over the place. Now they’re not all bad. Some of these bloggers are good, accurate watchdogs. But there are plenty of awful ones.[127]

He has criticized the Daily Kos website, accusing it of calling for increased attacks upon American troops in Iraq, and for Iran to attack Israel. O’Reilly has also alleged that Daily Kos bloggers have called the Pope a primate and evangelicals “nut cases”, that they wish for the success of any subsequent attempts at the assassination of Vice President Dick Cheney after he avoided an attempt on his life in Afghanistan during a 2007 visit, and have said that the world is “better off” without White House Press SecretaryTony Snow when Snow publicly said he had cancer.[128]

In summer of 2007, O’Reilly said that the entire field of 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidates (aside from Senator Joseph Biden) went to the Yearly Kos convention that was sponsored by the Daily Kos. He has said that sites like the Kos are taking control of the Democratic Party through intimidation:

As we have been reporting, a group of far-left bloggers has succeeded in frightening most of the Democratic presidential candidates and moving the party significantly to the left, at least in the primary season. The lead intimidators are MoveOn, Media Matters and the vicious Daily Kos. These people savagely attack those with whom they disagree. And the politicians don’t want to become smear targets. So most of the Democratic candidates have agreed to speak at the Kos convention this coming weekend, something that is beyond shameful.[129]

O’Reilly has compared the Huffington Post to the Nazis and the KKK. He also called MoveOn.org the “new Klan.” In response, Arianna Huffington wrote that O’Reilly had confused bloggers with anonymous commentors and suggested he enroll in “How to Use the Internet 101.”[130] Huffington alleged that offensive comments are taken down from her site when confronted by one of O’Reilly’s producers. She also noted that offensive comments are posted by users of O’Reilly’s own site, billoreilly.com.[131] O’Reilly alleged that Huffington had no standards of conduct and did not remove comments about wishing Nancy Reagan had died after she fell that were written on her site. “She says it is down, but it is not. She does not tell the truth.”[132] O’Reilly later alleged that Huffington implied Pope Benedict XVI was a Nazi.[133] O’Reilly referred to a satirical article written by comedian Chris Kelly, which mocked O’Reilly on Huffington’s website.[134]

Environmental issues

O’Reilly generally supports the notion of a clean environment, although he has said that he is not entirely certain that fossil fuels are the cause of global warming. Nonetheless, he has expressed support for a long-term strategy to curb fossil fuel use. He has said he would not support the Kyoto Treaty for economic reasons, but supports the use of fewer polluting agents, more conservation, and “tons more innovation” such as tax credits for alternative fuels.[135] He has said that renewable energy is a waste of time because “God controls the climate” and that “nobody can control the climate except God, so give a little extra at mass”.[136]

Economic views

O’Reilly is a frequent critic of government welfare and poverty programs. He is also critical of the estate tax. However, he does not differentiate between the marginal tax rate (46 percent) and the effective tax rate (roughly nine percent ).[137]

O’Reilly has said French unemployment and subsequent riots are the “common effects of socialist thinking”. He claims the French unemployment rate is high because of entitlements sanctioned by the French government, and that these entitlements make employers hesitant to hire young employees for fear that they will be required to give benefits to underperforming workers.[138]

He says he supports income-based affirmative action as opposed to race-related affirmative action.[139]

Trade with hostile countries

O’Reilly has been critical of companies doing business with countries that are hostile to the United States. O’Reilly criticized General Electric for doing business with Iran. O’Reilly cited how NBC News‘ correspondent John Hockenberry did a report on Dateline highlighting GE’s business relationship with the Bin Laden family and was criticized by the company, who owns NBC, for the Dateline report.[140]

Free markets, profits, and the oil companies

O’Reilly questions the free market by suggesting that the oil companies need an excuse to raise prices thereby overlooking the fact that in a free market, oil companies have the right to increase prices so as to increase profits or for any other reason. Rather than praise oil companies for their record profits, O’Reilly has been critical of oil companies, claiming their record profits are evidence that they have price-gouged Americans with artificially high gas prices.[141] and has said he is personally boycotting products by Exxon-Mobil.[142] It therefore appears that O’Reilly does not recognize profit maximization as a virtue. He has often taken an opposing point of view to conservatives such as fellow Fox News analyst and commentator, Neil Cavuto.[141] During one discussion on The O’Reilly Factor, Cavuto accused O’Reilly of “push[ing] populist nonsense.”[143] He said blocking Brazilian ethanol imports was “awful” and has criticized both the Bush Administration and the Clinton Administration for not doing enough to stem the cost of oil from “foreign predators”.[142]

Protectionism

In a May 8, 2006 article published at the Jewish World Review, O’Reilly said, “There is no question that illegal workers deliver more profit to business than American workers do. A Harvard study says that the employment of illegal foreign workers has driven down wages among American high school dropouts, the lowest labor pool rung, by 7 percent.”[144]

Idyllic civilization

Bill O’Reilly on his show The O’Reilly Factor has expressed the view that “if everybody followed the teachings of Jesus Christ, […] we’d have peace on earth, […] everybody would love one another, and we’d almost be an idyllic civilization.”[145]

Ethanol

O’Reilly claims that the United States is not doing enough to make itself independent of foreign oil, stating that “There’s no way the ethanol industry could be dominated by five mega-companies. I mean corn and sugar cannot be carteled. The oil racket is simple: We control the marketplace, and you have to buy from us. … If Brazil can develop an ethanol industry that makes it completely independent of foreign oil, then the USA can.”[144]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_views_of_Bill_O%27Reilly

Story 2: Totalitarians of Lying Lunatic Left Attempt to Suppress Speech of Conservatives, Libertarians, and Classical Liberals — Nothing New — Go On Offense And Attack The Collectivist Totalitarians — Battle For Berkeley — Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge — Why the Right Won — Chief of Police Orders Berkeley Police To Stand Down — Videos

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Does Free Speech Offend You?

Ben Shapiro on Free Speech, College Campuses, and The Regressive Left

Ben Shapiro – Practical Tactics For Fighting The Left

UC Berkley Must Be Disciplined For Furthering Leftist Violence Against Conservatives

Amid Mounting Controversy, Media Matters Says It’s Time for Bill OReilly to Go | Cheddar

HIDDEN CAM: Media Matters Brags About Sabotaging Roger Stone

Published on Oct 28, 2016

Project Veritas Action has released the sixth video in a multi-part series that is sending shockwaves through the DNC and the Clinton campaign. In a new video released by Project Veritas Action, a PVA journalist exposes how his pay for play with Robert Creamer landed him a meeting with Bradley Beychock, the President of Media Matters For America, an organization that has been attacking James O’Keefe for years.

During the meeting, Beychock gave the PVA journalist a tour of their offices. He also proudly boasted about the Media Matters assault on conservative writer and political consultant Roger Stone.

Battle of Berkeley: Why the Right Won

Published on Apr 17, 2017

Berkeley erupted into political violence on April 15th, 2017, with leftwing radicals attacking the Freedom Rally hosted by Trump supporters. The Antifa thugs were roundly defeated by the Freedom Rally attendees, but where did this violence start? I discuss the events that lead up to this day and uncover the progression of leftwing violence that’s destroying a city that once celebrated free speech.

Lauren Southern And The Madness Behind The Battle Of Berkeley

THE BEAUTIFUL LAUREN SOUTHERN; ProudBoys and Some Ugly Antifa

The Battle of Berkeley in 81 seconds

Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge

Battle of Berkeley 3 FULL DAY[ANTIFA Vs FREE SPEECH PROTESTERS]Patriots Day Rally Ft. Based Stickman

Trump Supporters chase Antifa down the street at FREE SPEECH Rally in Berkeley

Battle of Berkeley 3 as Antifa circled the park

2017 The Battle for Berkeley LARP!

Patriot’s Day Riot in the Streets

UC Berkeley Cancels Coulter Appearance Over Security Concerns

Conservative Commentator Ann Coulter To Speak At UC Berkeley

Ben Shapiro interviews Ann Coulter; Adios America; 7/13/2015; C-Span

UC Berkeley Presses Campus Republicans To Cancel Another Conservative Speaker

WARNING:TRUMP SUPPORTERS ATTACKED AT BERKELEY BY ANTI TRUMP PROTESTERS

Free Speech Battle For Berkeley, California! | Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux

Berkeley Mayor Connected to Antifa

Tucker Carlson Has UC Berkeley Protest Leader Yvette Felarca Explain Fascism

Lauren Southern Coverage of Antifa vs Trump Supporters Battle

Berkeley April 15,Based stick man Antifa smashing

ANTIFA VS America Compilation

Antifa Reddit Admits They Lost Berkeley Battle with Trump Supporters

Berkeley April 15,BAMN leader Yvette Felarca assaults patriots

Berkeley Leftists Riot Against Milo (Mini Documentary: Arrest Yvette Felarca Part 2)

Handicap Senior Citizen U.S Military Vet Stands Up & Cucks Antifa

Is It Wrong To Bash Antifa Leftist Scum?

Berkeley Police Refuse To Stop the Riots – When Told People are Being Beaten, Officer Says “…and?”

Steyn: Media annoyed someone has outfaked their fake news

BILL O’REILLY EXPOSES GEORGE SOROS

EXPOSED : George Soros Owned Media Matters Sabotages Pro Trump Media

George Soros Lost Interview Compilation – Left Wing Oligarch

George Soros exposed!

George Soros Warns The World About Fox News And How Dangerous IT Really Is

George Soros, Puppet Master

Mark Levin: Media Matters is “A Criminal Enterprise”!

Andrew Breitbart — Media War

Thomas Sowell — Dismantling America

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Andrew Breitbart Predicted and Warned us about George Soro’s Media Matters Controlling our Media

One World Government & Collectivism – G. Edward Griffin

The Quigley Formula – G. Edward Griffin lecture

The Mainstream Media Are Enemies of Freedom, Agents of Tyranny and Must Be Overthrown

Super rich are in a conspiracy to rule the world – G. Edward Griffin – 2007

Antifa and Conservatives Throw Down At ‘Battle Of Berkeley’…

battle of berkeley
In the course of history, there have been many great battles. Thermopylae. Gettysburg. Tupac and Biggie. The forces of good and douchebag have long utilized beating the crap out of each other to resolve their grievances. Well, last weekend, yet another battle was had. Conservative and leftist blood alike was shed at what shall henceforth be referred to as the Battle of Berkeley

For the third time this year, Trump supporters and Antifa clashed on the streets of Berkeley, California. The two forces met Saturday during the pro-Trump Patriot Day rally.

Berkeley Police have arrested at least 15 people this morning and afternoon, after antifascists met Trump supporters at a pro-Trump rally. Police attempted to maintain order with poles and fence mesh, but the barriers did not stop the two sides from violently engaging.

Trump supporters had organized a Patriot Day rally, starring Lauren Southern, a former reporter for conservative Canadian outlet The Rebel Media and Kyle Chapman, a man who achieved internet stardom as “Based Stickman” after assaulting a member of Antifa with a stick at the March 4 scuffle in Berkeley, among others.

Berkeley police have confiscated banned items such as knives, flagpoles, and sticks used as weapons.

https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/antifa-conservatives-battle-of-berkeley/

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The Pronk Pops Show 712, July 5, 2016, Story 1: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey Rewrites Espionage Act of 1917 And Tries To Confuse People By Combining Two Laws One Requires Intent (18 U.S. Code § 1924) and One Does Not ( U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I , Chapter 37, § 793) — No Specific Intent Required With Gross Negligence Standard (Extremely Careless!) — Commonsense Prosecutors Would Recommend Indictment — Reasonable Career Democratic Prosecutors Would Protect Hillary Clinton — Trump Right– Rule of Law Is Rigged — American People Will Find Hillary Clinton Guilty And Not Above The Law — Republican Attorney General Should Pursue Criminal Charges — Crooked Lying Incompetent Progressive Politician Eugenics Racist (CLIPPER) Hillary Clinton — Sink The CLIPPER Hillary — Let The Leaks Begin — American Okie Doke — Videos

Posted on July 5, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Business, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Language, Law, Media, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Terror, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey Rewrites  Espionage Act of 1917 And Tries To Confuse People By Combining Two Laws One Requires Intent (18 U.S. Code § 1924) and One Does Not ( U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I , Chapter 37, § 793) — No Specific Intent Required With Gross Negligence Standard (Extremely Careless!) — Commonsense Prosecutors Would Recommend Indictment — Reasonable Career Democratic Prosecutors Would Protect Hillary Clinton — Trump Right– Rule of Law Is Rigged — American People Will Find Hillary Clinton Guilty And Not Above The Law — Republican Attorney General Should Pursue Criminal Charges — Crooked Lying Incompetent Progressive Politician Eugenics Racist (CLIPPER) Hillary Clinton — Sink The CLIPPER Hillary — Let The Leaks Begin — American Okie Doke — Videos

Espionage Act of 1917

U.S. CodeTitle 18Part IChapter 37 › § 793

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

 

18 U.S. Code § 1924 – Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material

Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

(a)

Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(b)

For purposes of this section, the provision of documents and materials to the Congress shall not constitute an offense under subsection (a).

(c)

In this section, the term “classified information of the United States” means information originated, owned, or possessed by the United States Government concerning the national defense or foreign relations of the United States that has been determined pursuant to law or Executive order to require protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national security.
james comey
clinton comey
fbi

shoes to dropunnamedCommonhillary what difference does it make HillaryClinton-WarOnWomen-Enemy-Email hillary-delete hillary-email-cartoon hillary-email-cartoon-darkow   may be nsa clinton emails milk cartoos
unnamed
081215-cartoon-hillary-trust gaptransparency waronwhistleblower

 

 

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

FBI Director James Comey spoke to reporters about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. He said that although the investigation found extremely “careless” behavior by Secretary Clinton and her staff in their handling of sensitive information, the FBI concluded that no charges were appropriate and that the agency believes no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

Catherine Herridge: Gross Negligence Is Gross Negligence

FBI INVESTIGATION COMEY: ANALYSIS BY CHIEF INTEL CORRESPONDENT CATHERINE HERRIDGE

‘So Discouraging’: Giuliani Says Comey Made ‘Special Exception for the Clintons’

Newt Gingrich on The Sean Hannity Radio Show (7/5/2016)

Ryan: ‘Hillary Clinton Clearly Lives Above the Law’

Sean Spicer reacts to FBI announcement on Hillary Clinton’s email

Bill O’Reilly – FBI Director Comey Went Out of His Way to Minimize Negligence in Clinton Case

Bill O’Reilly Donald Trump FULL Interview On James Comey Not Indicting Hillary Clinton

Krauthammer’s Take: Comey’s ‘Logic Was Completely Wrong’ on Not Prosecuting Clinton

Why the FBI’s non-indictment still offers plenty of evidence against Hillary Clinton

Chaffetz: May call Comey to testify about FBI email probe

No Criminal Charges for Hillary Clinton!

The Truth About Hillary Clinton’s Email Controversy

• Mark Levin: Hillary Clinton in Violation of Espionage Act • Hannity • 9/2/15 •

Judge Jeanine 7/2/16 Full: Hillary FBI Interview, Shameful Loretta Lynch Clinton Scandal

Hillary Clinton Releases Statement Regarding FBI Interview & the Bill Clinton Loretta Lynch Meeting

INSIDER: Senior Officials DELIBERATELY Abuse Espionage Act and Top Secret Classification System

Was US Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Meeting With Former President Bill Clinton Inappropriate?

Did Hillary Clinton Violate The Espionage Act? – Email Scandal

UH OH – FBI ‘A-Team’ now looking to see whether Hillary Clinton violated the Espionage Act

Meghan McCain: Hillary wasn’t charged because she has ‘the right husband’

HILLARY DELETES 30,000 EMAILS=CRIMINAL OFFENSE! IMPRISON HER!

FBI: Clinton team handled email servers in “extremely careless” fashion

Judge Pirro Goes Nuts on Why Clinton Won’t Be Indicted: ‘It’s a Charade!’

Trump Responds to FBI Probe of Clinton

The Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918

The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers–7 Whistleblowers speak at News Conference 04-27-15

Glenn Greenwald Slams Snowden Espionage Charges: ‘Vindictive Mentality’ From Obama Administration

Inside Obama’s “Orwellian World” Where Whistleblowing Has Become Espionage: The Case of Thomas Drake

Wife of Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out October 15, 2015

George Carlin – The American Okie Doke

George Carlin – It’s a Big Club and You Ain’t In It! The American Dream

FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY July 5, 2016

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed.

It is a common tactic of defense lawyers in criminal trials to set up a straw-man for the jury: a crime the defendant has not committed. The idea is that by knocking down a crime the prosecution does not allege and cannot prove, the defense may confuse the jury into believing the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Judges generally do not allow such sleight-of-hand because innocence on an uncharged crime is irrelevant to the consideration of the crimes that actually have been charged.

It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today. It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information.

I think highly of Jim Comey personally and professionally, but this makes no sense to me.

Finally, I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence? The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.

 http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/437479/fbi-rewrites-federal-law-let-hillary-hook

FBI: Hillary Clinton Broke the Law, We Just Don’t Really Care

 

The FBI inquiry into the Clinton email scandal came to an ignoble end Tuesday in a manner that few could have predicted: one of the nation’s highest-ranking civilian law enforcement officers laying out for a full ten minutes all the evidence indicating that a Secretary of State broke the law, followed by the Shyamalanian twist that he didn’t believe said Secretary should be prosecuted.

And yes, by any straightforward interpretation, Hillary Clinton broke the law. The law bans negligently hosting classified information in an unauthorized location. By FBI Director James B. Comey‘s account, Clinton stored information on her private email server that any State employee– let alone the Department head– would have known immediately known was highly-classified top secret information. More to the point, despite Clinton’s frequent protestations to the contrary, he confirmed that some of those emails were indeed marked classified at the time.

Comey didn’t even particularly go out of his way to hide Clinton’s guilt, beginning by summarizing the statute in question…

Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way.

…only to later say this.

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system…

Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.

The key words in that second bolded section by the way are “any reasonable person.” As any 1L student could tell you, the “reasonable person” standard is the exact test used by American judges and juries to determine whether or not someone is guilty of gross negligence. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Comey literally laid out the exact argument law enforcement would have made for prosecuting Clinton. I also predict the FBI press team will receive dozens of questions in the coming months asking why “extremely careless” and “grossly negligent” aren’t the exact same thing given that, you know, they’re the exact same thing.

When Comey finally came around to stating the reasoning behind the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges, his argument was based not on whether she committed a crime (again, because she did), but “the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.”

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

Translation: Hillary Clinton broke the law, but not badly enough for us to care.

I wonder how much the FBI’s logic in this case will be applied going forward. If the FBI finds they’ve only ever prosecuted counterfeiters that produced $1,000 or more in false currency, will I get off for making $200? What other crimes will go unprosecuted just because they couldn’t find any evidence they had ever faced a similar situation? What other crimes have a second secret definition that has to be met before the federal government decides they should act?

To state my objection more clearly, Comey argues that Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted because her violations of the law don’t meet the prevailing standards, but never bothers to explain why those standards ought to be controlling in any case, let alone this one. On the contrary, one could make the case that as a cabinet-level official, Clinton ought to be held to a higher standard than the everyday grunts.

All this is made all the more irritating by Comey’s statement that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges and his dismissal of those who would inevitably criticize his decision by saying “opinions are irrelevant.” In the end, Comey’s decision was an opinion; it was a value judgment on whether or not, letter of the law aside, Clinton’s conduct was immoral enough to warrant charges. That is certainly something that reasonable people can disagree on, prosecutors and otherwise.

I’m reminded incidentally of the Clinton impeachment trial. The legal arguments that Bill Clinton did not perjure himself were always weak, with Clinton forced to pedantically argue that oral sex was not “sexual relations” and perhaps the word “is” does not mean “is.” But the Clinton administration never really bothered presenting the legal arguments to the public: instead they insisted it was “just sex,” a trivial matter, politically motivated, part of a vast right wing conspiracy, etc. Clinton’s impeachment lawyers even cited his high approval ratings during the proceedings.

Again, the message was clear: Bill Clinton probably broke the law, but not badly enough that you should care.

It’s an argument that has some merit, frankly. We’ve known all election that Hillary Clinton broke the law: she illegally filmed a campaign event in the New York subway in clear contravention of the law. No one seriously suggested she should be prosecuted for that crime because everyone realized that the offense was minor, inadvertent, and rarely enforced. There’s a broad bipartisan consensus in favor of prosecutorial discretion.

But prosecutorial discretion is only a tool for justice when applied equally across the board. As Comey himself admitted, the Clinton decision does not “suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.” Perjury and stealing classified government documents are crimes that would see mere mortals thrown in prison, but time and time again the Clintons and their consiglieres get to skate.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/fbi-hillary-clinton-broke-the-law-we-just-dont-really-care/

 

Levin: ‘Sect. 793 of Penal Code … Is What Hillary Clinton Has to Worry About’

By Margaret Knapp | August 13, 2015 | 3:27 PM EDT

“Section 793 of the Penal Code, Subsection (f)…is what Hillary Clinton has to worry about,” nationally syndicated radio show host Staff Mark Levin said on his Wednesday broadcast during a legal analysis of Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state.

“My point is when you set up an unsecured server in your barn adjacent to your home in Chappaqua, New York, you have intentionally – forget about negligence – you have intentionally bypassed the security process for that server,” said Levin, a former chief of staff at the Justice Department.

Here is the transcript of what Levin had to say:

“I want to read to you Section 793 of the Penal Code, Subsection (f), because this is what Hillary Clinton – among other things, but this in particular – is what Hillary Clinton has to worry about.

“Here’s the law:‘Whoever being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note or information relating to the national defense …”

“By the way, this is part of what’s called the Espionage Act.

“Subset one: ‘… through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust or to be lost, stolen, abstracted or destroyed …’

“Got that? I’ll get to the next section later. I’m hearing on TV: ‘It depends on her intent, it depends on her intent.’ No it doesn’t, not with respect to this, Subsection (f).

Or two, “… having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust or lost or stolen or abstracted…” and so forth.

“So here’s her problem. Subsection one: “… through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody …’

“The entire server was not supposed to be – it turns out it’s in her barn. She has a barn on her property. So any classified information, including top-secret information, which is the highest of the classified information, Code Black top-secret information.

“I was read into these programs. I was trained. I can’t remember everything, I don’t have them now and by the way, it’s a lifetime requirement that you keep this information secret. It’s not like you leave the administration and you go blabbing about it. No. You can’t. You can never talk about it unless it’s been declassified.

“But let me underscore this again. It really is in plain English. Section 793, you can Google it yourself, of the Penal Code, Subsection (f): ‘Whoever being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book…’ and so forth and so on.

“… through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust or to be lost, stolen, abstracted or destroyed.

“And I want to stop there because my point is when you set up an unsecured server in your barn adjacent to your home in Chappaqua, New York, you have intentionally – forget about negligence – you have intentionally bypassed the security process for that server.

“Now, that’s a higher standard. Let’s move it to the lower standard, which is still a crime.

“Let’s say you didn’t think or didn’t know that you were intentionally bypassing the process that is used to secure that server and that information, which seems absurd to me, but let’s play along.

“Okay, if you do it through gross negligence, you permit the same to be removed from its proper place. So I would argue to you, when that server was removed and information was flowing through it, including classified and especially top-secret information, boom. You did it.

“And every time that happened, ladies and gentlemen, that’s considered a count. You don’t aggregate at all. Every time that happened, that’s considered a violation of the statute.

“Now what’s the penalty if you’re found guilty? ‘Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years or both.’ I didn’t check the fine, but I’m sure it’s substantial. Ten or 20 grand a violation.

“Now this is why typically the Justice Department, through the Public Integrity Section or the U.S. attorney’s office, would direct the FBI to get involved because of the potential criminality of what took place regardless of who the person is.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/margaret-knapp/levin-sect-793-penal-code-what-hillary-clinton-has-worry-about

Is Obama abusing the Espionage Act?

Keith Wagstaff

A leaker Edward Snowden has officially been charged with three felonies, two of them falling under the 1917 Espionage Act, including “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.” If convicted, he could face decades or even life in prison.

The Obama administration has now charged seven people under the Espionage Act. Prior to Obama’s inauguration, only three people had ever been charged under that law.

As Glenn Greenwald puts it in The Guardian, “the statute is so broad that even the U.S. government has largely refrained from using it” in the past. It was passed two months after the United States entered World War I with the stated aim of preventing people from sharing classified information about national defense, although, as the Brookings Institution’s Benjamin Wittes tells NPR, the wording is much more vague than that:

We think about the Espionage Act as forbidding disclosures of classified information. That’s not really what the statute says. What the statute talks about is information related to the national defense. And so, you know, I think if you were to go take pictures of ships at Pearl Harbor, that is not classified information, but it arguably is information related to the national defense.

On the other hand, if you imagine a highly classified diplomatic cable that’s sensitive for reasons having nothing to do with national defense, it’s classified for other reasons. And so I think you do have this weird mismatch under the Espionage Act. The categories don’t really line up very well with the modern classification system. [NPR]

Charles Pierce uses harsher words to describe it in Esquire, calling the Espionage Act a “foul relic of a foul time, born of the repressive mind of Woodrow Wilson, American history’s most overrated man, employed to quash dissent during World War I, and then repurposed for the Red Scare that followed hard on the Armistice, and it rose again during the subsequent Red Scares after the subsequent world war.”

The Espionage Act is often associated with the much-maligned Sedition Act, passed one year later, which more or less made it illegal to criticize the U.S. government. While the Sedition Act was repealed in 1920, the Espionage Act has survived in amended form. Before Obama, it was used to charge Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers, under President Nixon; Samuel Morrison under President Reagan; and Lawrence Franklin under President George W. Bush.

The next seven — Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden — were all charged on Obama’s watch. And it’s mainly political, argues Greenwald:

It’s a completely one-sided and manipulative abuse of secrecy laws. It’s all designed to ensure that the only information we as citizens can learn is what they want us to learn because it makes them look good. The only leaks they’re interested in severely punishing are those that undermine them politically. The “enemy” they’re seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It’s the American people. [The Guardian]

The Justice Department has defended its actions, claiming that it “does not target whistle-blowers.”

It remains unclear if Snowden will even stand trial. He is reportedlyseeking asylum in Ecuador.

http://theweek.com/articles/462875/obama-abusing-espionage-act

U.S. CodeTitle 18Part IChapter 37 › § 793

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or

(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or

(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

(h)

(1)

Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.

(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.

 

Espionage Act of 1917

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Espionage Act of 1917
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to punish acts of interference with the foreign relations, and the foreign commerce of the United States, to punish espionage, and better to enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and for other purposes.
Enacted by the 65th United States Congress
Effective June 15, 1917
Citations
Public law Pub.L. 65–24
Statutes at Large 40 Stat. 217
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 291
  • Passed the House on May 4, 1917 (261–109)
  • Passed the Senate on May 14, 1917 (80–8)
  • Signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson onJune 15, 1917
United States Supreme Court cases
Schenck v. United States

The Espionage Act of 1917 is a United States federal law passed on June 15, 1917, shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I. It has been amended numerous times over the years. It was originally found in Title 50 of the U.S. Code (War) but is now found under Title 18, Crime. Specifically, it is 18 U.S.C. ch. 37 (18 U.S.C. § 792 et seq.)

It was intended to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment, to prevent insubordination in the military, and to prevent the support of U.S. enemies during wartime. In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled through Schenck v. United States that the act did not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions. The constitutionality of the law, its relationship to free speech, and the meaning of its language have been contested in court ever since.

Among those charged with offences under the Act are German-American socialist congressman and newspaper editor Victor Berger, labour leader and four time Socialist Party of America candidate, Eugene V. Debs, anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, former Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society president Joseph Franklin Rutherford, communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Cablegate whistleblower Chelsea Manning, and NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. Rutherford’s conviction was overturned on appeal.[1] Although the most controversial sections of the Act—a set of amendments commonly called the Sedition Act of 1918—were repealed on March 3, 1921, the original Espionage Act was left intact.[2]

Enactment

The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed, along with the Trading with the Enemy Act, just after the United States entered World War I in April 1917. It was based on the Defense Secrets Act of 1911, especially the notions of obtaining or delivering information relating to “national defense” to a person who was not “entitled to have it”, itself based on an earlier British Official Secrets Act. The Espionage Act law imposed much stiffer penalties than the 1911 law, including the death penalty.[3]

President Woodrow Wilson in his December 7, 1915 State of the Union address asked Congress for the legislation:[4]

There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags but welcomed under our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue …

I urge you to enact such laws at the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out. They are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government, they have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the Government in order to serve interests alien to our own. It is possible to deal with these things very effectually. I need not suggest the terms in which they may be dealt with.

Congress moved slowly. Even after the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Germany, when the Senate passed a version on February 20, 1917, the House did not vote before the then-current session of Congress ended. After the declaration of war in April 1917, both houses debated versions of the Wilson administration’s drafts that included press censorship.[5] That provision aroused opposition, with critics charging it established a system of “prior restraint” and delegated unlimited power to the president.[6] After weeks of intermittent debate, the Senate removed the censorship provision by a one-vote margin, voting 39 to 38.[7] Wilson still insisted it was needed: “Authority to exercise censorship over the press….is absolutely necessary to the public safety”, but signed the Act without the censorship provisions on June 15, 1917,[8] after Congress passed the act on the same day.[9]

Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory supported passage of the act, but viewed it as a compromise. The President’s Congressional rivals were proposing to remove responsibility for monitoring pro-German activity, whether espionage or some form of disloyalty, from the Department of Justice to the War Department and creating a form of courts-martial of doubtful constitutionality. The resulting Act was far more aggressive and restrictive than they wanted, but it silenced citizens opposed to the war.[10] Officials in the Justice Department who had little enthusiasm for the law nevertheless hoped that even without generating many prosecutions it would help quiet public calls for more government action against those thought to be insufficiently patriotic.[11] Wilson was denied language in the Act authorizing power to the executive branch for press censorship, but Congress did include a provision to block distribution of print materials through the Post Office.[3]

It made it a crime:

  • To convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies. This was punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more than 30 years or both.
  • To convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies when the United States is at war, to cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or to willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States. This was punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or both.

The Act also gave the Postmaster General authority to impound or to refuse to mail publications that he determined to be in violation of its prohibitions.[12]

The Act also forbids the transfer of any naval vessel equipped for combat to any nation engaged in a conflict in which the United States is neutral. Seemingly uncontroversial when the Act was passed, this later became a legal stumbling block for the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when he sought to provide military aid to Great Britain before the United States entered World War II.[13]

Amendments

The law was extended on May 16, 1918, by the Sedition Act of 1918—actually a set of amendments to the Espionage Act—which prohibited many forms of speech, including “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States…or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy”.[10]

Because the Sedition Act was an informal name, court cases were brought under the name of the Espionage Act, whether the charges were based on the provisions of the Espionage Act or the provisions of the amendments known informally as the Sedition Act.

On March 3, 1921, the Sedition Act amendments were repealed, but many provisions of the Espionage Act remain, codified under U.S.C. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 37.[14]

In 1933, after signals intelligence expert Herbert Yardley published a popular book about breaking Japanese codes, the Act was amended to prohibit the disclosure of foreign code or anything sent in code.[15] The Act was amended in 1940 to increase the penalties it imposed, and again in 1970.[16]

In the late 1940s, the U.S. Code was re-organized and much of Title 50 (War) was moved to Title 18 (Crime). The McCarran Internal Security Act added 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) in 1950 and 18 U.S.C. § 798 was added the same year.[17]

In 1961, Congressman Richard Poff succeeded after several attempts in removing language that restricted the Act’s application to territory “within the jurisdiction of the United States, on the high seas, and within the United States” 18 U.S.C. § 791. He said the need for the Act to apply everywhere was prompted by the Scarbeck case, in which a State Department official was charged with yielding to blackmail threats in Poland.[18]

Proposed amendments

In 1989, Congressman James Traficant tried to amend 18 U.S.C. § 794 to broaden the application of the death penalty.[19] Senator Arlen Specter proposed a comparable expansion of the use of the death penalty the same year.[20] In 1994, Robert K. Dornan proposed the death penalty for the disclosure of a U.S. agent’s identity.[21]

History

World War I

Blessed are the Peacemakers byGeorge Bellows, The Masses 1917

Much of the Act’s enforcement was left to the discretion of local United States Attorneys, so enforcement varied widely. For example, Socialist Kate Richards O’Hare gave the same speech in several states, but was convicted and sentenced to a prison term of five years for delivering her speech in North Dakota. Most enforcement activity occurred in the Western states where the Industrial Workers of the World was active.[22] Finally Gregory, a few weeks before the end of the war, instructed the U.S. Attorneys not to act without his approval.

A year after the Act’s passage, Eugene V. Debs, Socialist Party presidential candidate in 1904, 1908, and 1912 was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for making a speech that “obstructed recruiting”. He ran for president again in 1920 from prison. President Warren G. Harding commuted his sentence in December 1921 when he had served nearly five years.[23]

In United States v. Motion Picture Film (1917), a federal court upheld the government’s seizure of a film called The Spirit of ’76 on the grounds that its depiction of cruelty on the part of British soldiers during the American Revolution would undermine support for America’s wartime ally. The producer, Robert Goldstein, a Jew of German origins, was prosecuted under Title XI of the Act, and received a ten-year sentence plus a fine of $5000. The sentence was commuted on appeal to three years.[24]

Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson and those in his department played critical roles in the enforcement of the Act. He held his position because he was a Democratic party loyalist and close to both the President and the Attorney General. At a time when the Department of Justice numbered its investigators in the dozens, the Post Office had a nationwide network in place. The day after the Act became law, Burleson sent a secret memo to all postmasters ordering them to keep “close watch on … matter which is calculated to interfere with the success of … the government in conducting the war”.[25] Postmasters in Savannah, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida, refused to mail the Jeffersonian, the mouthpiece of Tom Watson, a southern populist, an opponent of the draft, the war, and minority groups. When Watson sought an injunction against the postmaster, the federal judge who heard the case called his publication “poison” and denied his request. Government censors objected to the headline “Civil Liberty Dead”.[26] In New York City, the postmaster refused to mail The Masses, a socialist monthly, citing the publication’s “general tenor”. The Masses was more successful in the courts, where Judge Learned Hand found the Act was applied so vaguely as to threaten “the tradition of English-speaking freedom”. The editors were then prosecuted for obstructing the draft and the publication folded when denied access to the mails again.[27] Eventually, Burleson’s energetic enforcement overreached when he targeted supporters of the administration. The President warned him to exercise “the utmost caution” d the dispute proved the end of their political friendship.[28]

In May 1918, sedition charges were laid under the Espionage Act against Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society president “Judge” Joseph Rutherford and seven other Watch Tower directors and officers over statements made in the society’s book, The Finished Mystery, published a year earlier. The book had claimed that patriotism was a delusion and murder and the officers were charged with attempting to cause insubordination, disloyalty, refusal of duty in the armed forces and obstructing the recruitment and enlistment service of the U.S. while it was at war.[29] The book had been banned in Canada since February 1918 for what a Winnipeg newspaper described as “seditious and antiwar statements”[30] and described by Attorney General Gregory as dangerous propaganda.[31] On June 21 seven of the directors, including Rutherford, were sentenced to the maximum 20 years’ imprisonment for each of four charges, to be served concurrently. They served nine months in the Atlanta Penitentiary before being released on bail at the order of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. In April 1919 an appeal court ruled they had not had the “intemperate and impartial trial of which they were entitled” and reversed their conviction.[32] In May 1920 the government announced that all charges had been dropped.[33]

Red Scare, Palmer Raids, mass arrests, deportations

The house of Attorney General Palmer after being bombed by anarchists in 1919

During the Red Scare of 1918–19, in response to the 1919 anarchist bombings aimed at prominent government officials and businessmen, U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, supported by J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the Justice Department’s Enemy Aliens Registration Section, used the Sedition Act of 1918, which extended the Espionage Act to cover a broader range of offenses, to deport several hundred foreign-born in the U.S., including Emma Goldman, to the Soviet Union on a ship the press called the “Soviet Ark“.[3][34][35]

A version of Chafee’s “Free Speech in War Times”, the work that helped change Justice Holmes’ mind

Many of the jailed challenged their convictions based on the U.S. constitutional right to free speech. The Supreme Court disagreed. The Espionage Act limits on free speech were ruled constitutional in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 in 1919. Schenck, an anti-war Socialist, had been convicted of violating the Act when he sent anti-draft pamphlets to men eligible for the draft. Although Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes joined the Court majority in upholding Schenck’s conviction in 1919, he also introduced the theory that punishment in such cases is limited to political expression that constitutes a “clear and present danger” to the government action at issue. Holmes’ opinion is also the origin of the notion that speech equivalent to “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater” is not protected by the First Amendment.

Justice Holmes began to doubt his decision due to criticism received from free speech advocates. He also met the Harvard Law professor Zechariah Chafee and discussed his criticism ofSchenck.[35][36]

Later in 1919, in Abrams v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man who distributed circulars in opposition to American intervention in Russia following the Russian Revolution. The concept of bad tendency was used to justify the restriction of speech. The defendant was deported. Justices Holmes and Brandeis, however, dissented, with Holmes arguing that “nobody can suppose that the surreptitious publishing of a silly leaflet by an unknown man, without more, would present any immediate danger that its opinions would hinder the success of the government arms or have any appreciable tendency to do so.”[35][37]

In March 1919, President Wilson, at the suggestion of Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory, pardoned or commuted the sentences of some 200 prisoners convicted under the Espionage Act or the Sedition Act.[38] By the end of 1920, the Red Scare had faded, Palmer left government, and the Espionage Act fell into relative disuse.

World War II

Prosecutions under the Act were far less numerous during World War II than they had been during World War I. Associate Justice Frank Murphy noted in 1944 in Hartzel v. United States that “For the first time during the course of the present war, we are confronted with a prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917.” Hartzel, a World War I veteran, had distributed anti-war pamphlets to associations and business groups. The court’s majority found that his materials, though comprising “vicious and unreasoning attacks on one of our military allies, flagrant appeals to false and sinister racial theories, and gross libels of the President”, did not urge mutiny or any of the other specific actions detailed in the Act, and that he had targeted molders of public opinion, not members of the armed forces or potential military recruits. The court overturned his conviction in a 5–4 decision. The four dissenting justices declined to “intrude on the historic function of the jury” and would have upheld the conviction.[39] In Gorin v. United States (early 1941), the Supreme Court ruled on many constitutional questions surrounding the act.[40]

The Act was used in 1942 to deny a mailing permit to Charles Coughlin‘s weekly Social Justice, effectively ending its distribution to subscribers. It was part of Attorney General Francis Biddle‘s attempt to close down what he called “vermin publications”.[41][42][43] The same year, a front page story in the Chicago Tribune implied that the U.S. had broken Japanese codes, which might have prompted the Japanese to change their codes and destroy any advantage the U.S. had gained through successful cryptanalysis. The newspaper was brought before a grand jury, but proceedings were halted because of government reluctance to present a jury with highly secret information necessary to prosecute the publishers as well as concern that a trial would attract more attention to the case.[44]

In 1945, six associates of Amerasia magazine, a journal of Far Eastern affairs, came under suspicion after publishing articles that bore similarity to Office of Strategic Services reports. The government proposed using the Espionage Act against them but later softened its approach, changing the charges to Embezzlement of Government Property (now 18 U.S.C. § 641). A grand jury cleared three of the associates, two associates paid small fines, and charges against the sixth man were dropped. Senator Joseph McCarthy believed the failure to aggressively prosecute the defendants was a communist conspiracy and according to Kleht and Radosh, the case helped build his notoriety.[45]

Mid-20th century Soviet spies

Navy employee Hafis Salich sold Soviet agent Mihail Gorin information regarding Japanese activities in the late 1930s. Gorin v. United States was cited in many later espionage cases for its discussion of the charge of “vagueness” argument made against the terminology used in certain portions of the law, such as what constitutes “national defense” information.

Later in the 1940s, several incidents prompted the government to increase its investigations into Soviet espionage. These included the Venona decryptions, the Elizabeth Bentley case, the atomic spies cases, the First LightningSoviet nuke test, and others. Many suspects were surveilled, but never prosecuted and the investigations dropped, as can been seen in the FBI Silvermaster Files. However, there were also many successful prosecutions and convictions under the Act.

In August 1950, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were indicted under Title 50, sections 32a and 34, in connection with giving nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. Anatoli Yakovlev was indicted as well. In 1951, Morton Sobell andDavid Greenglass were indicted. After a controversial trial in 1951, the Rosenbergs were sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out in 1953.[46][47][48] In the late 1950s, several members of the Soble spy ring, includingRobert Soblen, and Jack and Myra Soble, were prosecuted for espionage. In the mid-1960s, the act was used against James Mintkenbaugh and Robert Lee Johnson, who sold information to the Soviets while working for the U.S. Army in Berlin.[49][50]

1948 code revision

In 1948, some portions of the United States Code were reorganized. Much of Title 50 (War and National Defense) was moved to Title 18 (Crimes and Criminal Procedure). Thus Title 50 Chapter 4, Espionage, (Sections 31–39), became Title 18, 794 and following. As a result, certain older cases, such as the Rosenberg case, are now listed under Title 50, while newer cases are often listed under Title 18.[46][51]

1950 McCarran Internal Security Act

In 1950, during the McCarthy Period, Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act over President Harry S. Truman‘s veto. It modified a large body of law, including espionage law. One addition was 793(e), which had almost exactly the same language as 793(d). According to Edgar and Schmidt, the added section potentially removes the “intent” to harm or aid requirement and may make “mere retention” of information a crime no matter what the intent, covering even former government officials writing their memoirs. They also describe McCarran saying that this portion was intended directly to respond to the case of Alger Hiss and the pumpkin papers.[17][52][53]

Judicial review, 1960s and 1970s

Brandenburg

Main article: Brandenburg v. Ohio

Court decisions of this era changed the standard for enforcing some provisions of the Espionage Act. Though not a case involving charges under the Act, Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) changed the “clear and present danger” test derived from Schenck to the “imminent lawless action” test, a considerably stricter test of the inflammatory nature of speech.[54]

Pentagon Papers

In June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo were charged with a felony under the Espionage Act of 1917, because they lacked legal authority to publish classified documents that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.[55] The Supreme Court in New York Times Co. v. United States found that the government had not made a successful case for prior restraint of Free Speech, but a majority of the justices ruled that the government could still prosecute the Times and the Post for violating the Espionage Act in publishing the documents. Ellsberg and Russo were not acquitted of violating the Espionage Act, but were freed due to a mistrial based on irregularities in the government’s case.[56]

The divided Supreme Court had denied the government’s request to restrain the press. In their opinions the justices expressed varying degrees of support for the First Amendment claims of the press against the government’s “heavy burden of proof” in establishing that the publisher “has reason to believe” the material published “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation”.[citation needed]

The case prompted Harold Edgar and Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. to write an article on espionage law in the 1973 Columbia Law Review. Their article was entitled “The Espionage Statutes and Publication of Defense Information”. Essentially they found the law to be poorly written and vague, with parts of it probably unconstitutional. Their article became widely cited in books and in future court arguments on Espionage cases.[57]

United States v. Dedeyan in 1978 was the first prosecution under 793(f)(2) (Dedeyan ‘failed to report’ that information had been disclosed). The courts relied on Gorin v. United States (1941) for precedent. The ruling touched on several constitutional questions including vagueness of the law and whether the information was “related to national defense”. The defendant received a 3-year sentence.[58][59]

In 1979–80, Truong Dinh Hung (aka David Truong) and Ronald Louis Humphrey were convicted under 793(a), (c), and (e) as well as several other laws. The ruling discussed several constitutional questions regarding espionage law, “vagueness”, the difference between classified information and “national defense information”, wiretapping and the Fourth Amendment. It also commented on the notion of bad faith (scienter) being a requirement for conviction even under 793(e); an “honest mistake” was said not to be a violation.[59][60]

1980s

Alfred Zehe, a scientist from East Germany, was arrested in Boston in 1983 after being caught in a government-run sting operation in which he had reviewed classified U.S. government documents in Mexico and East Germany. His attorneys contended without success that the indictment was invalid, arguing that the Espionage Act does not cover the activities of a foreign citizen outside the United States.[61][62] Zehe then pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was released in June 1985 as part of an exchange of four East Europeans held by the U.S. for 25 people held in Poland and East Germany, none of them American.[63]

One of Zehe’s defense attorneys claimed his client was prosecuted as part of “the perpetuation of the ‘national-security state’ by over-classifying documents that there is no reason to keep secret, other than devotion to the cult of secrecy for its own sake”.[64]

The media dubbed 1985 “Year of the spy“. U.S. Navy civilian Jonathan Pollard was charged with 18 U.S.C. § 794(c), for selling classified information to Israel. His 1986 plea bargain did not get him out of a life sentence, after a ‘victim impact statement’ including a statement by Caspar Weinberger.[65] Larry Wu-Tai Chin, at CIA, was charged with 18 U.S.C. § 794(c) for selling info to China.[66] Ronald Pelton was dinged for 18 U.S.C. § 794(a),794(c), & 798(a), for selling out to the Soviets, and ruining Operation Ivy Bells.[67] Edward Lee Howard was an ex-Peace Corps and ex-CIA agent charged with 17 U.S.C. § 794(c) for allegedly dealing with the Soviets. The FBI’s website says the 1980s was the “decade of the spy”, with dozens of arrests.[68]

Seymour Hersh wrote an article entitled “The Traitor” arguing against Pollard’s release.[69]

Morison

Samuel Loring Morison was a government security analyst who worked on the side for Jane’s, a British military and defense publisher. He was arrested on October 1, 1984,[70] though investigators never demonstrated any intent to provide information to a hostile intelligence service. Morison told investigators that he sent classified satellite photographs to Jane’s because the “public should be aware of what was going on on the other side”, meaning that the Soviets’ new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier would transform the USSR’s military capabilities. He said that “if the American people knew what the Soviets were doing, they would increase the defense budget.” British intelligence sources thought his motives were patriotic, but American prosecutors emphasized Morison’s personal economic gain and complaints about his government job.[71]

The prosecution of Morison was used as part of a wider campaign against leaks of information as a “test case” for applying the Act to cover the disclosure of information to the press. A March 1984 government report had noted that “the unauthorized publication of classified information is a routine daily occurrence in the U.S.” but that the applicability of the Espionage Act to such disclosures “is not entirely clear”.[72] Time said that the administration, if it failed to convict Morison, would seek additional legislation and described the ongoing conflict: “The Government does need to protect military secrets, the public does need information to judge defense policies, and the line between the two is surpassingly difficult to draw.”[72]

On October 17, 1985, Morison was convicted in Federal Court on two counts of espionage and two counts of theft of government property.[72] He was sentenced to two years in prison on December 4, 1985.[73] The Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal in 1988.[74] Morison became “the only [American] government official ever convicted for giving classified information to the press” up to that time.[75] Following a 1998 appeal for a pardon on the part of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Bill Clinton pardoned Morison on January 20, 2001, the last day of his presidency,[75] despite the CIA’s opposition to the pardon.[74]

The successful prosecution of Morison was used to warn against the publication of leaked information. In May 1986, CIA Director William Casey, without citing specific violations of law, threatened to prosecute five news organizations–The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek.[76]

Soviet spies, late 20th century

Christopher John Boyce of TRW, and his accomplice Andrew Daulton Lee, sold out to the Soviets and went to prison in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, several members of the Walker spy ring were prosecuted and convicted of espionage for the Soviets.

In 1980, David Henry Barnett was the first active CIA officer to be convicted under the act.

In 1994, CIA officer Aldrich Ames was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 794(c) of spying for the Russians; Ames had revealed the identities of several U.S. sources in the USSR to the KGB, who were then executed.[77]

FBI agent Earl Edwin Pitts was arrested in 1996 under 18 U.S.C. § 794(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 794(c) of spying for the Soviet Union and later for the Russian Federation.[78][79][80][81]

In 1997, senior CIA officer Harold James Nicholson was convicted of espionage for the Russians.

In 1998, NSA contractor David Sheldon Boone was charged with having handed over a 600-page technical manual to the Soviets c. 1988-1991 (18 U.S.C. § 794(a)).

In 2000, FBI agent Robert Hanssen was convicted under the Act of spying for the Soviets in the 1980s and Russia in the 1990s.

Other spies of the 1990s

*Name Agency Foreign party.[82]
Brown, Joseph Garfiel former Airman Selling info to the Philippines
Carney, Jeffrey M Air Force East Germany
Clark, James Michael, Kurt Allen Stand and Therese Marie Squillacot Govt contractors East Germany
Charlton, John Douglas Lockheed Sold info to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign agent
Gregory, Jeffery Eugen Army Hungary and Czechoslovakia
Groat, Douglas Frederick CIA Original espionage charges dropped to avoid disclosure at trial.
Faget, Mariano INS Cuba
The Cuban Five (Hernández, Guerrero, Labañino, González, and González) Cuba
Hamilton, Frederick Christopher DIA Ecuador.
Jenott, Eric Army charged with Espionage but acquitted.
Jenott, Eric State Department passing classified info to West African journalist Dominic Ntube
Kim, Robert Chaegu Navy South Korea
Lalas, Steven John State Greece
Lee, Peter LANL China (discussing hohlraums)
Lessenthien, Kurt Navy Russia

1990s critiques

In the 1990s, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan deplored the “culture of secrecy” made possible by the Espionage Act, noting the tendency of bureaucracies to enlarge their powers by increasing the scope of what is held “secret”.[83]

In the late 1990s, Wen Ho Lee of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was indicted under the Act. He and other national security professionals later said he was a “scapegoat”[this quote needs a citation] in the government’s quest to determine if information about the W88 nuclear warhead had been transferred to China. Lee had made backup copies at LANL of his nuclear weapons simulations code to protect it in case of a system crash. The code was marked PARD, sensitive but not classified. As part of a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to one count under the Espionage Act. The judge apologized to him for having believed the government.[citation needed] Lee later won more than a million dollars in a lawsuit against the government and several newspapers for their mistreatment of him.[84]

21st century

In 2001, retired Army Reserve Colonel George Trofimoff, the most senior U.S. military officer to be indicted under the Act, was convicted of conducting espionage for the Soviets in the 1970s–1990s.[85]

Kenneth Wayne Ford Jr. was indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) for allegedly having a box of documents in his house after he left NSA employment around 2004. He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2006.[86]

In 2005, Pentagon Iran expert Lawrence Franklin, along with AIPAC lobbyists Rosen and Weissman were indicted under the Act. Franklin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to disclose national defense information to the lobbyists and an Israeli government official.[87] Franklin was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, but the sentence was later reduced to 10 months of home confinement.[88]

Under the Obama administration, seven Espionage Act prosecutions have been related not to traditional espionage but to either withholding information or communicating with members of the media. Out of a total eleven prosecutions under the Espionage Act against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, seven have occurred since Obama took office.[89] “Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,” the President said at a news conference in 2013. “They can put men and women in uniform that I’ve sent into the battlefield at risk. I don’t think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed.”[90]

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, a former CIA agent was indicted under the Act in January 2011 for alleged unauthorized disclosure of national defense information to James Risen, a New York Times reporter, in 2003 regarding his book State of War. The indictment described his motive as revenge for the CIA’s refusal to allow him to publish his memoirs and its refusal to settle his racial discrimination lawsuit against the Agency. Others have described him as telling Risen about a backfired CIA plot against Iran in the 1990s.[91]

In April 2010, Thomas Andrews Drake, an official with the National Security Agency (NSA), was indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) for alleged willful retention of national defense information. The case arose from investigations into his communications with Siobhan Gorman of the Baltimore Sun and Diane Roark of the House Intelligence Committee as part of his attempt to blow the whistle on several issues including the NSA’s Trailblazerproject.[92][93][94][95][96] Considering the prosecution of Drake, investigative journalist Jane Mayer wrote that “Because reporters often retain unauthorized defense documents, Drake’s conviction would establish a legal precedent making it possible to prosecute journalists as spies.”[97]

Bradley (Later Chelsea) Manning, US Army Private First Class convicted in July 2013 on six counts of violating the Espionage Act.[98]

In May 2010, Shamai K. Leibowitz, a translator for the FBI, admitted sharing information with a blogger and pleaded guilty under 18 U.S.C. § 798(a)(3) to one count of disclosure of classified information. As part of a plea bargain, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison.[99][100]

In August 2010, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a contractor for the State Department and a specialist in nuclear proliferation, was indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) for alleged disclosure in June 2009 of national defense information to reporter James Rosen of Fox News, related to North Korea’s plans to test a nuclear weapon.[101][102]

In 2010, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, the United States Army Private First Class accused of the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history, was charged under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which incorporates parts of the Espionage Act 18 U.S.C. § 793(e). At the time, critics worried that the broad language of the Act could make news organizations, and anyone who reported, printed or disseminated information from WikiLeaks, subject to prosecution, although former prosecutors pushed back, citing Supreme Court precedent expanding First Amendment protections.[103] On July 30, 2013, following a judge-only trial by court-martial lasting eight weeks, Army judge Colonel Denise Lind convicted Manning on six counts of violating the Espionage Act, among other infractions.[98]

In January 2012, John Kiriakou, former CIA officer and later Democratic staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged under the Act with leaking information to journalists about the identity of undercover agents, including one who was allegedly involved in waterboarding interrogations of al-Qaeda logistics chief Abu Zubaydah.[104][105] Kiriakou is alleged to have also disclosed an investigative technique used to capture Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002.[106]

In June 2013, Edward Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act after releasing documents exposing the NSA‘s PRISM Surveillance Program. Specifically, he was charged with “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified intelligence with an unauthorized person”.[107]

Criticism

Numerous people have criticized the use of the Espionage Act against national security leakers. A 2015 study by the PEN American Center found that almost all of the non-government representatives they interviewed—including activists, lawyers, journalists and whistleblowers—”thought the Espionage Act had been used inappropriately in leak cases that have a public interest component.” PEN wrote, “experts described it as ‘too blunt an instrument,’ ‘aggressive, broad and suppressive,’ a ‘tool of intimidation, ‘chilling of free speech,’ and a ‘poor vehicle for prosecuting leakers and whistleblowers.'”[108]

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said, “the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing,” and that “legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense.”[109] Professor at American University Washington College of Law and national security law expert Stephen Vladeck has said that the law “lacks the hallmarks of a carefully and precisely defined statutory restriction on speech.”[108] Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said, “basically any information the whistleblower or source would want to bring up at trial to show that they are not guilty of violating the Espionage Act the jury would never hear. It’s almost a certainty that because the law is so broadly written that they would be convicted no matter what.”[108] Attorney and former whistleblower Jesselyn Radack notes that the law was enacted “35 years before the word ‘classification’ entered the government’s lexicon” and believes that “under the Espionage Act, no prosecution of a non-spy can be fair or just.”[110] She added that mounting a legal defense to the Espionage Act is estimated to “cost $1 million to $3 million.”[110]

See also

 

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton, Those Emails And The Law

Hillary Clinton: "I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see."

Hillary Clinton: “I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see.”

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — not just a rank-and-file House member — alleged Tuesday that Hillary Clinton likely broke the law with her use of private emails as secretary of state.

“I think they all fall into one great big mistake she made,” Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa told Newsmax before adding: “And it could be a violation of law, probably is a violation of law. Some people are suggesting she could even be prosecuted, and it’s as simple as this — she was using a private email address instead of a government one, and it probably violates the Freedom of Information Act, it probably violates national security legislation.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, charged that Hillary Clinton "probably" broke the law with her exclusive use of a private email address while secretary of state.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, charged that Hillary Clinton “probably” broke the law with her exclusive use of a private email address while secretary of state.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The charge of breaking the law, going around the law or being above it, is one Clinton is certain to face if she testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi led by South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy.

But what are the facts? And what are the laws?

The Laws

At issue are four sections of the law: the Federal Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the National Archives and Records Administration‘s (NARA) regulations and Section 1924 of Title 18 of the U.S. Crimes and Criminal Procedure Code.

In short:

  • The Federal Records Act requires agencies hold ontoofficial communications, including all work-related emails, and government employees cannot destroy or removerelevant records.
  • FOIA is designed to “improve public access to agency records and information.”
  • The NARA regulations dictate how records should be created and maintained. They stress that materials must be maintained “by the agency,” that they should be “readily found” and that the records must “make possible a proper scrutiny by the Congress.”
  • Section 1924 of Title 18 has to do with deletion and retention of classified documents. “Knowingly” removing or housing classified information at an “unauthorized location” is subject to a fine or a year in prison.

The Federal Records Act

Clinton did not use an official government email account while serving as the country’s top diplomat. Instead, she used a private email account and kept all of her emails on a private server in her home. The server has been wiped clean, according to the Republican-led Benghazi committee.

At a news conference last month, she cited “convenience” as the reason. She said she did not want to carry around two mobile devices, though she acknowledged it “might have been smarter” to have done so.

Addressing the Federal Records Act, NPR’s Scott Horsley reported last month on the question of whether Clinton’s exclusive reliance on a private email account violated it. Here’s some of what he reported:

“A State Department spokeswoman says Hillary Clinton did not break any rules by relying solely on her personal email account. Federal law allows government officials to use personal email so long as relevant documents are preserved for history.”

The law was amended in late 2014 to require that personal emails be transferred to government servers within 20 days. But that was after Clinton left office. Watchdog groups conceded that she may not have violated the text of the law, but they argue she violated the spirit of it. The Sunlight Foundation’s John Wonderlich explained to Horsley:

“[O]ur expectations for public service are [that] public servants use their official email accounts.”

Wonderlich also found it ethically challenged, if not legally, for Clinton and her team to have been the filter for her emails:

“The final arbiter of what’s public or what’s turned over to Congress shouldn’t be private staff working for Hillary Clinton. It should be State Department employees who are bound by duty to the public interest.”

FOIA — You Can’t Always Get What You Want

FOIA is intended to “foster democracy by ensuring public access to agency records and information” in a timely manner. Journalists often use the law to procure public documents. The process can be a cumbersome one, and depending on the sensitivity of the information, much of the information may be redacted.

In Clinton’s case, she says she turned over some 30,000 relevant emails, totaling 55,000 pages, and wants those all made public. “I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see,” Clinton said at her news conference on the emails last month. (Gawker Media and The Associated Press have announced they are suing to have a Clinton spokesman’s and Clinton’s emails released.)

Clinton was the filter for what was relevant to work and what was not. Of course, before electronic communication, federal records were routinely filtered by individuals, who sorted their papers before handing over boxes to archivists. And, many federal workers, Capitol Hill staff, etc., use personal email accounts — in addition to their official accounts — and choose what, if anything, is turned over from those.

Nonetheless, Dan Metcalfe, who was the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy from 1981 to 2007, blasted Clinton in an op-ed in Politico. He said what was “unprecedented” actually was Clinton’s exclusive use of private email and her own Internet service provider in lieu of an official account “so that the records of her email account would reside solely within her personal control at home.”

That means “she managed successfully to insulate her official emails, categorically, from the FOIA, both during her tenure at State and long after her departure from it — perhaps forever.” He called that “a blatant circumvention of the FOIA by someone who unquestionably knows better.”

But was it “probably … a violation of law,” as Grassley charged?

The Justice Department weighed in, calling it “sheer speculation” that “Clinton withheld any work-related emails from those provided to the Department of State.” What’s more, Justice wrote, “FOIA creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control.”

In fact, the department refers to a past fight over former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s notes, as Josh Gerstein points out. Notes and tapes of Kissinger’s conversations were sent to the Library of Congress — rather than leaving them to the State Department — restricting their public access. FOIA requests were denied by the State Department because they were under the aegis of the Library of Congress. Kissinger declined to turn the documents over to archivists’ requests.

What’s more, the Supreme Court held that the Kissinger documents did not have to be turned over under FOIA — even though they were notes taken while Kissinger was at State — because State did not have possession of them.

Then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority in 1980:

“We hold today that, even if a document requested under the FOIA is wrongfully in the possession of a party not an ‘agency,’ the agency which received the request does not ‘improperly withhold’ those materials by its refusal to institute a retrieval action. When an agency has demonstrated that it has not ‘withheld’requested records in violation of the standards established by Congress, the federal courts have no authority to order the production of such records under the FOIA.”

NARA

The National Archives is where all government records eventually end up. There are several Archives rules and regulations that have been updated since Clinton left office. For example, it is now more explicit about guidance for use of personal email.

Still, the use of private email and, even further, a private email server certainly limits Archives’ call for “ready retrieval of electronic records,” records that are “readily found when needed” and are easily scrutinized by Congress.

Clinton allies argue that she is not the first secretary of state to use a private account. In fact, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said last month, “For some historical context, Secretary Kerry is the first secretary of state to rely primarily on a state.gov email account.”

Section 1924 Of Title 18 — Classified Information

During Clinton’s news conference last month, she was asked if she was aware of the security implications of using her own email. Clinton answered this way:

“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

What’s remarkable about that answer is that she wasn’t asked in the preceding question specifically about classified emails, but offered that answer anyway. There’s a reason for that. It would be illegal for anyone to store classified information in an unauthorized way, like, say, on an unauthorized personal email server.

The day after Clinton’s news conference, the New York Times reported, quoting a former State Department official, that it “seemed unlikely” that Clinton didn’t email at least something classified.

“A former senior State Department official who served before the Obama administration said that although it was hard to be certain, it seemed unlikely that classified information could be kept out of the more than 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton’s staff identified as involving government business.

” ‘I would assume that more than 50 percent of what the secretary of state dealt with was classified,’ said the former official, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to seem ungracious to Mrs. Clinton. ‘Was every single email of the secretary of state completely unclassified? Maybe, but it’s hard to imagine.’ ”

The bottom line is this: No one will likely ever know what was deleted from Clinton’s server. Barring one of the 30,000 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department being deemed “classified,” it’s also unlikely she will ever be found to have violated the letter of the law.

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/04/02/396823014/fact-check-hillary-clinton-those-emails-and-the-law

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 683, May 20, 2016, Story 1: The War for Jobs: Replace All Federal Taxes With A Single Federal Consumption Tax — Fair Tax Less — Cash Is King — Make America First and Great — Good Paying Jobs For Every American Citizen — Videos

Posted on May 20, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, United States Constitution, United States of America, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: The War for Jobs: Replace All Federal Taxes With A Single Federal Consumption Tax — Fair Tax Less —  Cash Is King — Make America First and Great — Good Paying Jobs For Every American Citizen — Videos

the coming jobs war

_Jim_Clifton

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The past few years have marked a huge assault on religious liberty, as embodied in the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The modern progressive view narrowly confines free exercise to religious worship and ritual, but it also insists that free exercise should be overridden to prevent discrimination on the grounds, most notably, of race and sexual orientation, even in competitive markets. The classical liberal approach rejects the new wave of human rights laws that forces religious people either abandon their trade or engage in actions that violate their religious conscience.

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Gallup’s Jim Clifton on The Coming Jobs War

Dan Schawbel

I recently caught up with Jim Clifton, who has served as the CEO of Gallup since 1988. His most recent innovation, the Gallup World Poll, is designed to give the world’s 6 billion citizens a voice in virtually all key global issues. Under Mr. Clifton’s leadership, Gallup has achieved a fifteenfold increase in its billing volume and expanded Gallup from a predominantly U.S.-based company to a worldwide organization with 40 offices in 30 countries and regions. Mr. Clifton serves on several boards and is Chairman of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. His latest book is called The Coming Jobs War. In this interview, Jim talks about why jobs are so important for leaders, how leaders can create more jobs than competitors, and much more.

Why are jobs the new global currency for leaders?

Gallup has discovered that having a good job is now the great global dream; it’s the number one social value for everyone. This is one of our most powerful findings ever. “A good job” is more important than having a family, more compelling than democracy and freedom, religion, peace and so on. Those are all very important but they are now subordinate to the almighty good job. So it follows that everything turns on delivering this ultimate need. Stimulating job growth is the new currency of all leaders because if you don’t deliver on it you will experience instability, brain drain, sometimes revolution — all of the worst outcomes of failed leadership. At the very least you will have no followers and no chance of re-election.

How does a leader create more jobs than the competition?

By creating more customers. Almost no one knows this. Keep in mind that no business is trying to create jobs. They are all working all day and every weekend to create new customers. New customers are the real goal of a nation. Because jobs always follow customers. Too few leaders have this figured out and it is at the very core of our failure to fix this seemingly colossal American problem. To create authentic, organic, real job growth — not pretend jobs made by government — city and country leaders need to focus on customers.

What obstacles do leaders have when trying to create more jobs?

There are no real obstacles. Just wrong thinking, bad assumptions. When you build strategies and policies on wrong assumptions, the more you execute, the worse you make everything, which is what we are doing now. There are three wrong assumptions that cause all the current job creation attempts to not work.

  1. Innovation is not scarce. Entrepreneurship is scarce. We are spending billions and wasting years of conversations on innovation and it isn’t paying off. Great business people are more valuable and rarer than great ideas.
  2. America has about six million active businesses. Ninety-nine percent of them are small businesses. An incalculably huge mistake leaders are making now is spending time, money, strategies, and especially policies for those who need “help” getting a job. A useful way to look at any citizen is this, “Can she herself create jobs or does she need a job created for her?” We are spending all our time on the cart and doing little or nothing on the horse. We have our assumptions and futurism that backward. “The horse (small and medium business) stopped, so we fix the cart (jobs).” If we change all our strategies and policies to favor the job creators (small and medium businesses) the horse and cart will get moving again. We have our compassion right, but the logic is staggeringly stupid.
  3. It is wrong thinking to imagine that Washington has solutions. Job creation is a city problem. There is great variation in job creation by city in the United States. San Francisco and the greater Valley keep pumping away while Detroit isn’t. Austin’s cart works while Albany’s doesn’t. Cities need to look inwardly and say, “What can I do to create great economic energy, to bring new customers for all existing companies and start-ups?”

Can you explain the global competition for jobs? Since many jobs have moved to Asia, how do we get them back?

According to Gallup’s World Poll, there are three billion people out of seven billion who want a good job. There are only 1.2 billion jobs to go around. So there’s a short-fall of 1.8 billion jobs. The question is who gets those new jobs as they emerge. The second part of this macroeconomic phenomenon is that the world currently has a GDP of $60 trillion and it will grow to $200 trillion GDP over the next 30 years. So there is an incoming $140 trillion of new equity, sales, and profit, but most importantly new products and customers and subsequently the appearance of new good jobs. God is going to rain $140 trillion of new economic energy on earth over the next 30 years and the question is, who gets these jobs? The competition or “war” for good jobs lies exactly there. To be more specific, it is a war for the best customers first. He who wins that war, wins the jobs war. Almost no leader has this figured out.

But how do we get back the jobs that moved? We won’t – they’re not coming back. We will do well just to hold on to what we have. Building strategies around “bringing back manufacturing” is a losing proposition. That’s more strategy and policy around wrong assumptions that make everything worse. America has to create the next generation of customers who cause new human development, such as the Internet, the auto and aeronautical industries, transistors, satellites, Facebook, everything Apple makes, world-class code, etc. And then go ahead and lose the second generation of production and manufacturing to China, India, and soon to Africa and the Middle East.

This works. It has for decades. U.S. manufacturers were the first to make firecrackers and raincoats, and then decades ago, that production moved to China. That is still happening . . . but with flat screens, laptops, and so on. America has to invent and especially enterprise the future within that incoming $140 trillion of new economic energy. America has to create the next new way humans survive and thrive. It is very exciting because when American free enterprise is thriving, within that energy lies real human development . . . quality evolution of humankind. That’s the core character of American exceptionalism.

Who is to blame for the U.S. losing jobs? Why?

Blame leadership. Always blame leadership. Everything turns on lousy or great leadership in government, business, and all organizations of all shapes and sizes. Leadership really does matter. Leadership fails especially when it works with failed assumptions. Failed assumptions and the wrong core thinking for the problems at hand. The worst failure is probably failure of vision. We have turned our national assets too much to those who “need” help versus toward those who can “offer” help — the small and medium businesses that are the primary job creators and employers.

I am not just talking the usual free enterprise line of too many taxes, regulations, over empowerment of unions, and all the other usual suspects that serve the people who need help with general well-being and survival. Americans get behind the people we identify as heroes and we subsequently swing virtually all strategies, policies and thinking that way. So will our heroes come in the image of a great equalizer like Barack Obama or a great pioneer like Steve Jobs? This isn’t about voting, it’s about the ideology and assumptions behind winning the best jobs in the world. Do we focus money and policies and speeches primarily on the people who need America’s help or those who can offer help, the small and medium businesses. Because we can’t have competing assumptions and win the coming jobs war. If we don’t swing our hero worship quickly to great entrepreneurs, not only will we not get the old jobs back, we won’t get new ones either.

Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, a full-servicepersonal branding agency. Dan is the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, and publisher ofPersonal Branding Magazine. He has worked with companies such as Google, Time Warner, Symantec, IBM, EMC, and CitiGroup.

 

 

The Coming Jobs War

What everyone in the world wants is a good job.

In a provocative book for business and government leaders, Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton describes how this undeniable fact will affect all leadership decisions as countries wage war to produce the best jobs.

Leaders of countries and cities, Clifton says, should focus on creating good jobs because as jobs go, so does the fate of nations. Jobs bring prosperity, peace, and human development — but long-term unemployment ruins lives, cities, and countries.

Creating good jobs is tough, and many leaders are doing many things wrong. They’re undercutting entrepreneurs instead of cultivating them. They’re running companies with depressed workforces. They’re letting the next generation of job creators rot in bad schools.

A global jobs war is coming, and there’s no time to waste. Cities are crumbling for lack of good jobs. Nations are in revolt because their people can’t get good jobs. The cities and countries that act first — that focus everything they have on creating good jobs — are the ones that will win.

About the Author

Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, is author of The Coming Jobs War. His innovation, the Gallup World Poll, is designed to give the world’s 7 billion citizens a voice in virtually all key global issues. Under Clifton’s leadership, Gallup has expanded from a predominantly U.S.-based company to a worldwide organization with 40 offices in 30 countries and regions.

http://www.gallup.com/press/176855/coming-jobs-war.aspx

 

 

 

A third of cash is owned by 5 U.S. companies

Matt Krantz,

The rising cash holdings of U.S. corporations is increasingly in the hands of a few U.S. companies, with just five tech firms having grabbed a third of it. And nearly three-quarters of cash held by non-financial U.S. companies is stashed overseas, outside the long arm of Uncle Sam.

Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL), Cisco Systems (CSCO) andOracle (ORCL) are sitting on $504 billion, or 30%, of the $1.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents held by U.S. non-financial companies in 2015, according to an analysis released Friday by ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service.  That’s even more cash concentration than in previous years, as these five companies held 27% of cash in 2014 and 25% in 2013. Apple alone is holding more cash and investments than eight of the 10 entire industry sectors.

Corporate America’s rising pile of cash is becoming increasingly important to investors as profit growth and the stock market stalls. The amount of cash held by U.S. companies rose 1.8% in 2015. Unfortunately for U.S. investors, 72% of total cash held by all non-financial U.S. companies is stockpiled outside the U.S., up from 64% in 2014 and 58% in 2013, as companies try to avoid paying U.S. tax rates.

Investors are eyeing companies’ growing cash piles as potential sources of dividend increases to maintain fat returns even if stock prices continue to go nowhere. Dividends rose 4% last year to a record high of $404 billion, while companies cut back on capital spending by 3% to $885 billion. Capital spending is the cash companies put into new plants and equipment with the hopes of driving higher profits in the future.

Companies have also been pulling back from using cash to buy back their own stock. That is a maneuver that can reduce a company’s number of shares outstanding and in theory should make each share more valuable. Stock buybacks, net of new stock issuance, fell 7% to $269 billion in 2015.

Apple shows the strong disconnect between big cash balances and stock returns. The company is sitting on more cash than any other, yet investors have lost $240 billion in paper profits since the stock peaked.

There’s only so much companies can do with their giant wads of cash since a vast majority isn’t in the U.S. U.S. non-financial companies have $1.2 trillion in cash outside the U.S., up from $1.1 trillion in 2014 and $947 billion in 2013. Moody’s thinks the cash stored overseas will only grow. Some of the biggest holders of cash are also the same companies with much of their cash outside the U.S. Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Alphabet and Oracle have $441 billion saved overseas, or 87% of their total cash.

T

Don’t expect that cash to come home anytime soon, Moody’s says.

“We expect that overseas cash balances will continue to grow unless tax laws are changed to encourage companies to repatriate money,” the Moody’s report says. “There has been little progress toward corporate tax reform that would incentivize U.S. companies to permanently repatriate funds held overseas.”

TOP FIVE CASH HOARDERS PILE UP OVERSEAS*

Company, 2014 % cash offshore, 2015 % cash offshore

Apple, 88%, 93%

Microsoft, 91%, 94%

Cisco, 94%, 94%

Alphabet, 60%, 59%

Oracle, 90%, 87%

Source: Moody’s Investors Service

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2016/05/20/third-cash-owned-5-us-companies/84640704/

 

FairTax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The FairTax is a proposal to reform the federal tax code of the United States. It would replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum tax, corporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 155) would apply a tax, once, at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or “prebate”, of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.[1][2] First introduced into the United States Congress in 1999, a number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the bill; however, it has not moved from committee and has yet to have any effect on the tax system. In recent years, a tax reform movement has formed behind the FairTax proposal.[3] Attention increased after talk radio personality Neal Boortz and Georgia Congressman John Linder published The FairTax Book in 2005 and additional visibility was gained in the 2008 presidential campaign.

As defined in the proposed legislation, the tax rate is 23% for the first year. This percentage is based on the total amount paid including the tax ($23 out of every $100 spent in total). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total).[4] The rate would automatically adjust annually based on federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5] With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption,[2] but would also beregressive on income at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).[6][7] Opponents argue this would accordingly decrease the tax burden onhigh-income earners and increase it on the middle class.[4][8] Supporters contend that the plan would effectively tax wealth, increase purchasing power[9][10] and decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base.

The plan’s supporters state that a consumption tax would increase savings and investment, ease tax compliance and increase economic growth, increase incentives for international business to locate in the US and increase US competitiveness in international trade.[11][12][13] The plan is intended to increase cost transparency for funding the federal government. Supporters believe it would increase civil liberties, benefit theenvironment and effectively tax illegal activity and undocumented immigrants.[11][14] Opponents contend that a consumption tax of this size would be extremely difficult to collect, and would lead to pervasive tax evasion.[4][6] They also argue that the proposed sales tax rate would raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit.[4][15] Other concerns include the proposed repeal of theSixteenth Amendment, removal of tax deduction incentives, transition effects on after-tax savings, incentives on credit use and the loss of tax advantages to state and local bonds.

Legislative overview and history

Rep John Linder holding the 133 page Fair Tax Act of 2007 in contrast to the then-current U.S. tax code and IRS regulations.

The legislation would remove the Internal Revenue Service (after three years), and establish Excise Tax and Sales Tax bureaus in the Department of the Treasury.[16] The statesare granted the primary authority for the collection of sales tax revenues and the remittance of such revenues to the Treasury. The plan was created by Americans For Fair Taxation, an advocacy group formed to change the tax system. The group states that, together with economists, it developed the plan and the name “Fair Tax”, based on interviews, polls, and focus groups of the general public.[4] The FairTax legislation has been introduced in the House by Georgia Republicans John Linder (1999–2010) and Rob Woodall (2011–2014),[17] while being introduced in the Senate by Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss (2003–2014).

Linder first introduced the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 2525) on July 14, 1999, to the 106th United States Congress and a substantially similar bill has been reintroduced in each subsequent session of Congress. The bill attracted a total of 56 House and Senate cosponsors in the 108th Congress,[18][19] 61 in the 109th,[20][21] 76 in the 110th,[22][23] 70 in the111th,[24][25] 78 in the 112th,[26][27] 83 in the 113th (H.R. 25/S. 122), and 81 in the 114th (H.R. 25/S. 155). Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Republican) had cosponsored the bill in the 109th–110th Congress, but it has not received support from the Democratic leadership.[21][22][28] Democratic Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georgia cosponsored and introduced the bill in the 108th Congress, but Peterson is no longer cosponsoring the bill and Miller has left the Senate.[18][19] In the 109th–111th Congress, Representative Dan Boren has been the only Democrat to cosponsor the bill.[20][22] A number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the FairTax, but it has not moved from committee since its introduction in 1999. The legislation was also discussed with President George W. Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson.[29]

To become law, the bill will need to be included in a final version of tax legislation from the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, pass both the House and the Senate, and finally be signed by the President. In 2005, President Bush established an advisory panel on tax reform that examined several national sales tax variants including aspects of the FairTax and noted several concerns. These included uncertainties as to the revenue that would be generated, and difficulties of enforcement and administration, which made this type of tax undesirable to recommend in their final report.[8] The panel did not examine the Fairtax as proposed in the legislation. The FairTax received visibility in the 2008 presidential election on the issue of taxes and the IRS, with several candidates supporting the bill.[30][31] A poll in 2009 by Rasmussen Reportsfound that 43% of Americans would support a national sales tax replacement, with 38% opposed to the idea; the sales tax was viewed as fairer by 52% of Republicans, 44% of Democrats, and 49% of unaffiliateds.[32]President Barack Obama does not support the bill,[33] arguing for more progressive changes to the income and payroll tax systems.

Tax rate

The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation for the first year, is 23% of the total payment including the tax ($23 of every $100 spent in total—calculated similar to income taxes). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total, or $30 on top of every $100 spent—$130 total).[4] After the first year of implementation, this rate is automatically adjusted annually using a predefined formula reflecting actual federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.

The effective tax rate for any household would be variable due to the fixed monthly tax rebate that are used to rebate taxes paid on purchases up to the poverty level.[2] The tax would be levied on all U.S. retail sales for personal consumption on new goods and services. Critics argue that the sales tax rate defined in the legislation would not be revenue neutral (that is, it would collect less for the government than the current tax system), and thus would increase the budget deficit, unless government spending were equally reduced.[4]

Sales tax rate

During the first year of implementation, the FairTax legislation would apply a 23% federal retail sales tax on the total transaction value of a purchase; in other words, consumers pay to the government 23 cents of every dollar spent in total (sometimes called tax-inclusive, and presented this way to provide a direct comparison with individual income and employment taxes which reduce a person’s available money before they can make purchases). The equivalent assessed tax rate is 30% if the FairTax is applied to the pre-tax price of a good like traditional U.S. state sales taxes (sometimes called tax-exclusive; this rate is not directly comparable with existing income and employment taxes).[4] After the first year of implementation, this tax rate would be automatically adjusted annually using a formula specified in the legislation that reflects actual federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5]

Effective tax rate

For more details on this topic, see Distribution of the FairTax burden.

A household’s effective tax rate on consumption would vary with the annual expenditures on taxable items and the fixed monthly tax rebate. The rebate would have the greatest effect at low spending levels, where they could lower a household’s effective rate to zero or below.[34] The lowest effective tax rate under the FairTax could be negative due to the rebate for households with annual spending amounts below poverty level spending for a specified household size. At higher spending levels, the rebate has less impact, and a household’s effective tax rate would approach 23% of total spending. A person spending at the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 0%, whereas someone spending at four times the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 17.2%.[34] Buying or otherwise receiving items and services not subject to federal taxation (such as a used home or car) can contribute towards a lower effective tax rate. The total amount of spending and the proportion of spending allocated to taxable items would determine a household’s effective tax rate on consumption.[34] If a rate is calculated on income, instead of the tax base, the percentage could exceed the statutory tax rate in a given year.

Monthly tax rebate

Proposed 2015 FairTax Prebate Schedule[35]
One adult household Two adult household
Family
Size
Annual
Consumption
Allowance
Annual
Prebate
Monthly
Prebate
Family
Size
Annual
Consumption
Allowance
Annual
Prebate
Monthly
Prebate
1 person $11,770 $2,707 $226 couple $23,540 $5,414 $451
and 1 child $15,930 $3,664 $305 and 1 child $27,700 $6,371 $531
and 2 children $20,090 $4,621 $385 and 2 children $31,860 $7,328 $611
and 3 children $24,250 $5,578 $465 and 3 children $36,020 $8,285 $690
and 4 children $28,410 $6,534 $545 and 4 children $40,180 $9,241 $770
and 5 children $32,570 $7,491 $624 and 5 children $44,340 $10,198 $850
and 6 children $36,490 $8,393 $699 and 6 children $48,500 $11,155 $930
and 7 children $40,890 $9,405 $784 and 7 children $52,660 $12,112 $1,009
The annual consumption allowance is based on the 2015 DHHS Poverty Guidelines as published in theFederal Register, January 22, 2015. There is no marriage penalty as the couple amount is twice the amount that a single adult receives. For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 to the annual consumption allowance for each additional person. The annual consumption allowance is the amount of spending that is “untaxed” under the FairTax.

Under the FairTax, family households of lawful U.S. residents would be eligible to receive a “Family Consumption Allowance” (FCA) based on family size (regardless of income) that is equal to the estimated total FairTax paid on poverty level spending according to the poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[1] The FCA is a tax rebate (known as a “prebate” as it would be an advance) paid in twelve monthly installments, adjusted for inflation. The rebate is meant to eliminate the taxation of household necessities and make the plan progressive.[4] Households would register once a year with their sales tax administering authority, providing the names and social security numbers of each household member.[1] The Social Security Administration would disburse the monthly rebate payments in the form of a paper check via U.S. Mail, an electronic funds transfer to a bank account, or a “smartcard” that can be used like a debit card.[1]

Opponents of the plan criticize this tax rebate due to its costs. Economists at the Beacon Hill Institute estimated the overall rebate cost to be $489 billion (assuming 100% participation).[36] In addition, economist Bruce Bartlett has argued that the rebate would create a large opportunity for fraud,[37] treats children disparately, and would constitute a welfare payment regardless of need.[38]

The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform cited the rebate as one of their chief concerns when analyzing their national sales tax, stating that it would be the largest entitlement program in American history, and contending that it would “make most American families dependent on monthly checks from the federal government”.[8][39] Estimated by the advisory panel at approximately $600 billion, “the Prebate program would cost more than all budgeted spending in 2006 on the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Interior combined.”[8] Proponents point out that income tax deductions, tax preferences, loopholes, credits, etc. under the current system was estimated at $945 billion by the Joint Committee on Taxation.[36] They argue this is $456 billion more than the FairTax “entitlement” (tax refund) would spend to cover each person’s tax expenses up to the poverty level. In addition, it was estimated for 2005 that the Internal Revenue Service was already sending out $270 billion in refund checks.[36]

Presentation of tax rate

Mathematically, a 23% tax out of $100 yields approximately the same as a 30% tax on $77.

Sales and income taxes behave differently due to differing definitions of tax base, which can make comparisons between the two confusing. Under the existing individual income plus employment (Social Security; Medicare; Medicaid) tax formula, taxes to be paid are included in the base on which the tax rate is imposed (known as tax-inclusive). If an individual’s gross income is $100 and the sum of their income plus employment tax rate is 23%, taxes owed equals $23. Traditional state sales taxes are imposed on a tax base equal to the pre-tax portion of a good’s price (known as tax-exclusive). A good priced at $77 with a 30% sales tax rate yields $23 in taxes owed. To adjust an inclusive rate to an exclusive rate, divide the given rate by one minus that rate (i.e. .23/.77 = .30).

The FairTax statutory rate, unlike most U.S. state-level sales taxes, is presented on a tax base that includes the amount of FairTax paid. For example, a final after-tax price of $100 includes $23 of taxes. Although no such requirement is included in the text of the legislation, Congressman John Linder has stated that the FairTax would be implemented as an inclusive tax, which would include the tax in the retail price, not added on at checkout—an item on the shelf for five dollars would be five dollars total.[29][40] The legislation requires the receipt to display the tax as 23% of the total.[41] Linder states the FairTax is presented as a 23% tax rate for easy comparison to income and employment tax rates (the taxes it would be replacing). The plan’s opponents call the semantics deceptive. FactCheck called the presentation misleading, saying that it hides the real truth of the tax rate.[42] Bruce Bartlettstated that polls show tax reform support is extremely sensitive to the proposed rate,[38] and called the presentation confusing and deceptive based on the conventional method of calculating sales taxes.[43]Proponents believe it is both inaccurate and misleading to say that an income tax is 23% and the FairTax is 30% as it implies that the sales tax burden is higher.

Revenue neutrality

A key question surrounding the FairTax is whether the tax has the ability to be revenue-neutral; that is, whether the tax would result in an increase or reduction in overall federal tax revenues. Economists, advisory groups, and political advocacy groups disagree about the tax rate required for the FairTax to be truly revenue-neutral. Various analysts use different assumptions, time-frames, and methods resulting in dramatically different tax rates making direct comparison among the studies difficult. The choice between static or dynamic scoring further complicates any estimate of revenue-neutral rates.[44]

A 2006 study published in Tax Notes by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University and Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff estimated the FairTax would be revenue-neutral for the tax year 2007 at a rate of 23.82% (31.27% tax-exclusive).[45] The study states that purchasing power is transferred to state and local taxpayers from state and local governments. To recapture the lost revenue, state and local governments would have to raise tax rates or otherwise change tax laws in order to continue collecting the same real revenues from their taxpayers.[39][45] The Argus Group and Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics each published an analysis that defended the 23% rate.[46][47][48] While proponents of the FairTax concede that the above studies did not explicitly account for tax evasion, they also claim that the studies did not altogether ignore tax evasion under the FairTax. These studies presumably incorporated some degree of tax evasion in their calculations by using National Income and Product Account based figures, which is argued to understate total household consumption.[45] The studies also did not account for capital gains that may be realized by the U.S. government if consumer prices were allowed to rise, which would reduce the real value of nominal U.S. government debt.[45] Nor did these studies account for any increased economic growth that many economists researching the plan believe would occur.[45][48][49][50]

In contrast to the above studies, William G. Gale of the Brookings Institution published a study in Tax Notes that estimated a rate of 28.2% (39.3% tax-exclusive) for 2007 assuming full taxpayer compliance and an average rate of 31% (44% tax-exclusive) from 2006 to 2015 (assumes that the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule and accounts for the replacement of an additional $3 trillion collected through the Alternative Minimum Tax).[4][15][51] The study also concluded that if the tax base were eroded by 10% due to tax evasion, tax avoidance, and/or legislative adjustments, the average rate would be 34% (53% tax-exclusive) for the 10-year period. A dynamic analysis in 2008 by the Baker Institute For Public Policy concluded that a 28% (38.9% tax-exclusive) rate would be revenue neutral for 2006.[52] The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform performed a 2006 analysis to replace the individual and corporate income tax with a retail sales tax and estimated the rate to be 25% (34% tax-exclusive) assuming 15% tax evasion, and 33% (49% tax-exclusive) with 30% tax evasion.[8] The rate would need to be substantially higher to replace the additional taxes replaced by the FairTax (payroll, estate, and gift taxes). Several economists criticized the President’s Advisory Panel’s study as having allegedly altered the terms of the FairTax, using unsound methodology, and/or failing to fully explain their calculations.[36][45][53]

Taxable items and exemptions

The tax would be levied once at the final retail sale for personal consumption on new goods and services. Purchases of used items, exports and all business transactions would not be taxed. Also excluded are investments, such as purchases of stock, corporate mergers and acquisitions and capital investments. Savings and education tuition expenses would be exempt as they would be considered an investment (rather than final consumption).[54]

A good would be considered “used” and not taxable if a consumer already owns it before the FairTax takes effect or if the FairTax has been paid previously on the good, which may be different from the item being sold previously. Personal services such as health care, legal services, financial services, and auto repairs would be subject to the FairTax, as would renting apartments and other real property.[4] Food, clothing, prescription drugs and medical services would be taxed. (State sales taxes generally exempt these types of basic-need items in an effort to reduce the tax burden on low-income families. The FairTax would use a monthly rebate system instead of the common state exclusions.) Internet purchases would be taxed, as would retail international purchases (such as a boat or car) that are imported to the United States (collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection).[54]

Distribution of tax burden

Boston University study of the FairTax. Lower rates claimed on workers from a larger tax base, replacing regressive taxes, and wealth taxation.

President’s Advisory Panel’sanalysis of a hybrid National Sales Tax. Higher rates claimed on the middle-class for an income tax replacement (excludes payroll, estate, and gift taxes replaced under the FairTax).

The FairTax’s effect on the distribution of taxation or tax incidence (the effect on the distribution of economic welfare) is a point of dispute. The plan’s supporters argue that the tax would broaden the tax base, that it would be progressive, and that it would decrease tax burdens and start taxing wealth (reducing the economic gap).[9][55] Opponents argue that a national sales tax would be inherently regressive and would decrease tax burdens paid by high-income individuals.[4][56] A person earning $2 million a year could live well spending $1 million, and as a result pay a mere 11% of that year’s income in taxes.[4] Households at the lower end of the income scale spend almost all their income, while households at the higher end are more likely to devote a portion of income to saving. Therefore, according to economist William G. Gale, the percentage of income taxed is regressive at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).[6]

Income earned and saved would not be taxed until spent under the proposal. Households at the extreme high end of consumption often finance their purchases out of savings, not income.[6][38] Economist Laurence Kotlikoff states that the FairTax could make the tax system much more progressive and generationally equitable,[2] and argues that taxing consumption is effectively the same as taxing wages plus taxing wealth.[2] A household of three persons (this example will use two adults of any gender plus one child; the rebate does not consider marital status) spending $30,000 a year on taxable items would devote about 3.4% of total spending ( [$6,900 tax minus $5,888 rebate]/$30,000 spending ) to the FairTax after the rebate. The same household spending $125,000 on taxable items would spend around 18.3% ( [$28,750 tax minus $5,888 rebate]/$125,000 spending ) on the FairTax. At higher spending levels, the rebate has less impact and the rate approaches 23% of total spending. Thus, according to economist Laurence Kotlikoff, the effective tax rate is progressive on consumption.[2]

Studies by Kotlikoff and Daivd Rapson state that the FairTax would significantly reduce marginal taxes on work and saving, lowering overall average remaining lifetime tax burdens on current and future workers.[9][57] A study by Kotlikoff and Sabine Jokisch concluded that the long-term effects of the FairTax would reward low-income households with 26.3% more purchasing power, middle-income households with 12.4% more purchasing power, and high-income households with 5% more purchasing power.[10] TheBeacon Hill Institute reported that the FairTax would make the federal tax system more progressive and would benefit the average individual in almost all expenditures deciles.[7] In another study, they state the FairTax would offer the broadest tax base (an increase of over $2 trillion), which allows the FairTax to have a lower tax rate than current tax law.[58]

Gale analyzed a national sales tax (though different from the FairTax in several aspects[7][46]) and reported that the overall tax burden on middle-income Americans would increase while the tax burden on the top 1% would drop.[6] A study by the Beacon Hill Institute reported that the FairTax may have a negative effect on the well-being of mid-income earners for several years after implementation.[50] According to the President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform report, which compared the individual and corporate income tax (excluding other taxes the FairTax replaces) to a sales tax with rebate,[8][36] the percentage of federal taxes paid by those earning from $15,000–$50,000 would rise from 3.6% to 6.7%, while the burden on those earning more than $200,000 would fall from 53.5% to 45.9%.[8] The report states that the top 5% of earners would see their burden decrease from 58.6% to 37.4%.[8][59] FairTax supporters argue that replacing the regressive payroll tax (a 15.3% total tax not included in the Tax Panel study;[8] payroll taxes include a 12.4% Social Security tax on wages up to $97,500 and a 2.9% Medicare tax, a 15.3% total tax that is often split between employee and employer) greatly changes the tax distribution, and that the FairTax would relieve the tax burden on middle-class workers.[2][53]

Predicted effects

The predicted effects of the FairTax are a source of disagreement among economists and other analysts.[42][43][56] According to Money magazine, while many economists and tax experts support the idea of aconsumption tax, many of them view the FairTax proposal as having serious problems with evasion and revenue neutrality.[4] Some economists argue that a consumption tax (the FairTax is one such tax) would have a positive effect on economic growth, incentives for international business to locate in the U.S., and increased U.S. international competitiveness (border tax adjustment in global trade).[11][12][13] The FairTax would be tax-free on mortgage interest (up to a basic interest rate) and donations, but some law makers have concerns about losing tax incentives on home ownership and charitable contributions.[60] There is also concern about the effect on the income tax industry and the difficulty of repealing the Sixteenth Amendment (to prevent Congress from re-introducing an income tax).[61]

Economic

For more details on this topic, see Predicted effects of the FairTax § Economic effects.

Americans For Fair Taxation states the FairTax would boost the United States economy and offers a letter signed by eighty economists, including Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith, that have endorsed the plan.[12]The Beacon Hill Institute estimated that within five years real GDP would increase 10.7% over the current system, domestic investment by 86.3%, capital stock by 9.3%, employment by 9.9%, real wages by 10.2%, and consumption by 1.8%.[50] Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics projected the economy as measured by GDP would be 2.4% higher in the first year and 11.3% higher by the 10th year than it would otherwise be.[48] Economists Laurence Kotlikoff and Sabine Jokisch reported the incentive to work and save would increase; by 2030, the economy’s capital stock would increase by 43.7% over the current system, output by 9.4%, and real wages by 11.5%.[10] Economist John Golob estimates a consumption tax, like the FairTax, would bring long-term interest rates down by 25–35%.[62] An analysis in 2008 by the Baker Institute For Public Policy indicated that the plan would generate significant overall macroeconomic improvement in both the short and long-term, but warned of transitional issues.[52]

FairTax proponents argue that the proposal would provide tax burden visibility and reduce compliance and efficiency costs by 90%, returning a large share of money to the productive economy.[2] The Beacon Hill Institute concluded that the FairTax would save $346.51 billion in administrative costs and would be a much more efficient taxation system.[63] Bill Archer, former head of the House Ways and Means Committee, asked Princeton University Econometrics to survey 500 European and Asian companies regarding the effect on their business decisions if the United States enacted the FairTax. 400 of those companies stated they would build their next plant in the United States, and 100 companies said they would move their corporate headquarters to the United States.[64] Supporters argue that the U.S. has the highest combined statutory corporate income tax rate among OECD countries along with being the only country with no border adjustment element in its tax system.[65][66] Proponents state that because the FairTax eliminates corporate income taxes and is automatically border adjustable, the competitive tax advantage of foreign producers would be eliminated, immediately boosting U.S. competitiveness overseas and at home.[67]

Opponents point to a study commissioned by the National Retail Federation in 2000 that found a national sales tax bill filed by Billy Tauzin, the Individual Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 2717), would bring a three-year decline in the economy, a four-year decline in employment and an eight-year decline in consumer spending.[68] Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto states the FairTax is unsuited to take advantage ofsupply-side effects and would create a powerful disincentive to spend money.[56] John Linder states an estimated $11 trillion is held in foreign accounts (largely for tax purposes), which he states would be repatriated back to U.S. banks if the FairTax were enacted, becoming available to U.S. capital markets, bringing down interest rates, and otherwise promoting economic growth in the United States.[11] Attorney Allen Buckleystates that a tremendous amount of wealth was already repatriated under law changes in 2004 and 2005.[69] Buckley also argues that if the tax rate was significantly higher, the FairTax would discourage the consumption of new goods and hurt economic growth.[69]

Transition

For more details on this topic, see Predicted effects of the FairTax § Transition effects.

Stability of the Tax Base: A comparison of Personal Consumption Expenditures and Adjusted Gross Income.

During the transition, many or most of the employees of the IRS (105,978 in 2005)[70] would face loss of employment.[45] The Beacon Hill Institute estimate is that the federal government would be able to cut $8 billion from the IRS budget of $11.01 billion (in 2007), reducing the size of federal tax administration by 73%.[45] In addition, income tax preparers (many seasonal), tax lawyers, tax compliance staff in medium-to-large businesses, and software companies which sell tax preparation software could face significant drops, changes, or loss of employment. The bill would maintain the IRS for three years after implementation before completely decommissioning the agency, providing employees time to find other employment.[16]

In the period before the FairTax is implemented, there could be a strong incentive for individuals to buy goods without the sales tax using credit. After the FairTax is in effect, the credit could be paid off using untaxed payroll. If credit incentives do not change, opponents of the FairTax worry it could exacerbate an existing consumer debt problem.[71]Proponents of the FairTax state that this effect could also allow individuals to pay off their existing (pre-FairTax) debt more quickly,[11] and studies suggest lower interest rates after FairTax passage.[62]

Individuals under the current system who accumulated savings from ordinary income (by choosing not to spend their money when the income was earned) paid taxes on that income before it was placed in savings (such as a Roth IRA or CD). When individuals spend above the poverty level with money saved under the current system, that spending would be subject to the FairTax. People living through the transition may find both their earnings and their spending taxed.[72] Critics have stated that the FairTax would result in unfair double taxation for savers and suggest it does not address the transition effect on some taxpayers who have accumulated significant savings from after-tax dollars, especially retirees who have finished their careers and switched to spending down their life savings.[39][72] Supporters of the plan argue that the current system is no different, since compliance costs and “hidden taxes” embedded in the prices of goods and services cause savings to be “taxed” a second time already when spent.[72] The rebate would supplement accrued savings, covering taxes up to the poverty level. The income taxes on capital gains, estates, social security and pension benefits would be eliminated under FairTax. In addition, the FairTax legislation adjusts Social Security benefits for changes in the price level, so a percentage increase in prices would result in an equal percentage increase to Social Security income.[16] Supporters suggest these changes would offset paying the FairTax under transition conditions.[11]

Other indirect effects

The FairTax would be tax free on mortgage interest up to the federal borrowing rate for like-term instruments as determined by the Treasury,[73] but since savings, education, and other investments would be tax free under the plan, the FairTax could decrease the incentive to spend more on homes. An analysis in 2008 by the Baker Institute For Public Policy concluded that the FairTax would have significant transitional issues for the housing sector since the investment would no longer be tax-favored.[52] In a 2007 study, the Beacon Hill Institute concluded that total charitable giving would increase under the FairTax, although increases in giving would not be distributed proportionately amongst the various types of charitable organizations.[74] The FairTax may also affect state and local government debt as the federal income tax system provides tax advantages to municipal bonds.[75] Proponents believe environmental benefits would result from the FairTax through environmental economics and the re-use and re-sale of used goods.[76] Former Senator Mike Gravel states the significant reduction of paperwork for IRS compliance and tax forms is estimated to save about 300,000 trees each year.[76] Advocates argue the FairTax would provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to legalize as they would otherwise not receive the rebate.[1][11] Proponents also believe that the FairTax would have positive effects on civil liberties that are sometimes charged against the income tax system, such as social inequality, economic inequality, financial privacy, self-incrimination, unreasonable search and seizure, burden of proof, and due process.[14][77]

If the FairTax bill were passed, permanent elimination of income taxation would not be guaranteed; the FairTax bill would repeal much of the existing tax code, but the Sixteenth Amendment would remain in place. Preventing new legislation from reintroducing income taxation would require a repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution with a separate provision expressly prohibiting a federal income tax.[61] This is referred to as an “aggressive repeal”. Separate income taxes enforced by individual states would be unaffected by the federal repeal. Passing the FairTax would require only a simple majority in each house of the United States Congress along with the signature of the President, whereas enactment of a constitutional amendment must be approved by two thirds of each house of the Congress, and three-quarters of the individual U.S. states. It is therefore possible that passage of the FairTax bill would simply add another taxation system. If a new income tax bill were passed after the FairTax passage, a hybrid system could develop; albeit, there is nothing preventing a bill for a hybrid system today. To address this issue and preclude that possibility, in the 111th Congress John Linder introduced a contingent sunset provision in H.R. 25. It would require the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment within 8 years after the implementation of the FairTax or, failing that, the FairTax would expire.[78] Critics have also argued that a tax on state government consumption could be unconstitutional.[69]

Changes in the retail economy

Since the FairTax would not tax used goods, the value would be determined by the supply and demand in relation to new goods.[79] The price differential/margins between used and new goods would stay consistent, as the cost and value of used goods are in direct relationship to the cost and value of the new goods. Because the U.S. tax system has a hidden effect on prices, it is expected that moving to the FairTax would decrease production costs from the removal of business taxes and compliance costs, which is predicted to offset a portion of the FairTax effect on prices.[11]

Value of used goods

Since the FairTax would not tax used goods, some critics have argued that this would create a differential between the price of new and used goods, which may take years to equalize.[38] Such a differential would certainly influence the sale of new goods like vehicles and homes. Similarly, some supporters have claimed that this would create an incentive to buy used goods, creating environmental benefits of re-use and re-sale.[76] Conversely, it is argued that like the income tax system that contains embedded tax cost (see Theories of retail pricing),[80] used goods would contain the embedded FairTax cost.[72] While the FairTax would not be applied to the retail sales of used goods, the inherent value of a used good includes the taxes paid when the good was sold at retail. The value is determined by the supply and demand in relation to new goods.[79] The price differential / margins between used and new goods should stay consistent, as the cost and value of used goods are in direct relationship to the cost and value of the new goods.

Theories of retail pricing

A supply and demand diagram illustrating taxes’ effect on prices.

Based on a study conducted by Dale Jorgenson, proponents state that production cost of domestic goods and services could decrease by approximately 22% on average after embedded tax costs are removed, leaving the sale nearly the same after taxes. The study concludes that producer prices would drop between 15% and 26% (depending on the type of good/service).[81] Jorgenson’s research included all income and payroll taxes in the embedded tax estimation, which assumes employee take-home pay (net income) remains unchanged from pre-FairTax levels.[4][82] Price and wage changes after the FairTax would largely depend on the response of the Federal Reserve monetary authorities.[29][38][83] Non-accommodation of the money supply would suggest retail prices and take home pay stay the same—embedded taxes are replaced by the FairTax. Full accommodation would suggest prices and incomes rise by the exclusive rate (i.e., 30%)—embedded taxes become windfall gains. Partial accommodation would suggest a varying degree in-between.[29][83]

If businesses provided employees with gross pay (including income tax withholding and the employee share of payroll taxes),[45] Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometricsestimated production costs could decrease by a minimum of 11.55% (partial accommodation).[48] This reduction would be from the removal of the remaining embedded costs, including corporate taxes, compliance costs, and the employer share of payroll taxes. This decrease would offset a portion of the FairTax amount reflected in retail prices, which proponents suggest as the most likely scenario.[29] Bruce Bartlett states that it is unlikely that nominal wages would be reduced, which he believes would result in a recession, but that the Federal Reserve would likely increase the money supply to accommodate price increases.[38] David Tuerck states “The monetary authorities would have to consider how the degree of accommodation, varying from none to full, would affect the overall economy and how it would affect the well-being of various groups such as retirees.”[83]

Social Security benefits would be adjusted for any price changes due to FairTax implementation.[16] The Beacon Hill Institute states that it would not matter, apart from transition issues, whether prices fall or rise—the relative tax burden and tax rate remains the same.[45] Decreases in production cost would not fully apply to imported products; so according to proponents, it would provide tax advantages for domestic production and increase U.S. competitiveness in global trade (see Border adjustability). To ease the transition, U.S. retailers will receive a tax credit equal to the FairTax on their inventory to allow for quick cost reduction. Retailers would also receive an administrative fee equal to the greater of $200 or 0.25% of the remitted tax as compensation for compliance costs,[84] which amounts to around $5 billion.

Effects on tax code compliance

One avenue for non-compliance is the black market. FairTax supporters state that the black market is largely untaxed under the current tax system. Economists estimate the underground economy in the United States to be between one and three trillion dollars annually.[85][86] By imposing a sales tax, supporters argue that black market activity would be taxed when proceeds from such activity are spent on legal consumption.[87] For example, the sale of illegal narcotics would remain untaxed (instead of being guilty of income tax evasion, drug dealers would be guilty of failing to submit sales tax), but they would face taxation when they used drug proceeds to buy consumer goods such as food, clothing, and cars. By taxing this previously untaxed money, FairTax supporters argue that non-filers would be paying part of their share of what would otherwise be uncollected income and payroll taxes.[11][88]

Other economists and analysts have argued that the underground economy would continue to bear the same tax burden as before.[13][87][88][89] They state that replacing the current tax system with a consumption tax would not change the tax revenue generated from the underground economy—while illicit income is not taxed directly, spending of income from illicit activity results in business income and wages that are taxed.[13][87][88]

Tax compliance and evasion

“No, No! Not That Way”—Political cartoon from 1933 commenting on a general sales tax over an income tax.

Proponents state the FairTax would reduce the number of tax filers by about 86% (from 100 million to 14 million) and reduce the filing complexity to a simplified state sales tax form.[53] The Government Accountability Office (GAO), among others, have specifically identified the negative relationship between compliance costs and the number of focal points for collection.[90] Under the FairTax, the federal government would be able to concentrate tax enforcement efforts on a single tax. Retailers would receive an administrative fee equal to the greater of $200 or 0.25% of the remitted tax as compensation for compliance costs.[84] In addition, supporters state that the overwhelming majority of purchases occur in major retail outlets, which are very unlikely to evade the FairTax and risk losing their business licenses.[45] Economic Census figures for 2002 show that 48.5% of merchandise sales are made by just 688 businesses (“Big-Box” retailers). 85.7% of all retail sales are made by 92,334 businesses, which is 3.6% of American companies. In the service sector, approximately 80% of sales are made by 1.2% of U.S. businesses.[29]

The FairTax is a national tax, but can be administered by the states rather than a federal agency,[91] which may have a bearing on compliance as the states’ own agencies could monitor and audit businesses within that state. The 0.25% retained by the states amounts to $5 billion the states would have available for enforcement and administration. For example, California should receive over $500 million for enforcement and administration, which is more than the $327 million budget for the state’s sales and excise taxes.[92] Because the federal money paid to the states would be a percentage of the total revenue collected, John Linder claims the states would have an incentive to maximize collections.[11] Proponents believe that states that choose to conform to the federal tax base would have advantages in enforcement, information sharing, and clear interstate revenue allocation rules.[90][91] A study by the Beacon Hill Institute concluded that, on average, states could more than halve their sales tax rates and that state economies would benefit greatly from adopting a state-level FairTax.[90]

FairTax opponents state that compliance decreases when taxes are not automatically withheld from citizens, and that massive tax evasion could result by collecting at just one point in the economic system.[38] Compliance rates can also fall when taxed entities, rather than a third party, self-report their tax liability. For example, ordinary personal income taxes can be automatically withheld and are reported to the government by a third party. Taxes without withholding and with self-reporting, such as the FairTax, can see higher evasion rates. Economist Jane Gravelle of the Congressional Research Service found studies showing that evasion rates of sales taxes are often above 10%, even when the sales tax rate is in the single digits.[88] Tax publications by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), IMF, and Brookings Institution have suggested that the upper limit for a sales tax is about 10% before incentives for evasion become too great to control.[38] According to the GAO, 80% of state tax officials opposed a national sales tax as an intrusion on their tax base.[38] Opponents also raise concerns of legal tax avoidance by spending and consuming outside of the U.S. (imported goods would be subject to collection by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection).[93]

Economists from the University of Tennessee concluded that while there would be many desirable macroeconomic effects, adoption of a national retail sales tax would also have serious effects on state and local government finances.[94] Economist Bruce Bartlett stated that if the states did not conform to the FairTax, they would have massive confusion and complication as to what is taxed by the state and what is taxed by the federal government.[38] In addition, sales taxes have long exempted all but a few services because of the enormous difficulty in taxing intangibles—Bartlett suggests that the state may not have sufficient incentive to enforce the tax.[43] University of Michigan economist Joel Slemrod argues that states would face significant issues in enforcing the tax. “Even at an average rate of around five percent, state sales taxes are difficult to administer.”[95] University of Virginia School of Law professor George Yin states that the FairTax could have evasion issues with export and import transactions.[39] The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform reported that if the federal government were to cease taxing income, states might choose to shift their revenue-raising to income.[8] Absent the Internal Revenue Service, it would be more difficult for the states to maintain viable income tax systems.[8][94]

Underground economy

Opponents of the FairTax argue that imposing a national retail sales tax would drive transactions underground and create a vast underground economy.[4] Under a retail sales tax system, the purchase of intermediate goods and services that are factors of production are not taxed, since those goods would produce a final retail good that would be taxed. Individuals and businesses may be able to manipulate the tax system by claiming that purchases are for intermediate goods, when in fact they are final purchases that should be taxed. Proponents point out that a business is required to have a registered seller’s certificate on file, and must keep complete records of all transactions for six years. Businesses must also record all taxable goods bought for seven years. They are required to report these sales every month (see Personal vs. business purchases).[41] The government could also stipulate that all retail sellers provide buyers with a written receipt, regardless of transaction type (cash, credit, etc.), which would create a paper trail for evasion with risk of having the buyer turn them in (the FairTax authorizes a reward for reporting tax cheats).[53]

While many economists and tax experts support a consumption tax, problems could arise with using a retail sales tax rather than a value added tax (VAT).[4][38] A VAT imposes a tax on the value added at every intermediate step of production, so the goods reach the final consumer with much of the tax already in the price.[96] The retail seller has little incentive to conceal retail sales, since he has already paid much of the good’s tax. Retailers are unlikely to subsidize the consumer’s tax evasion by concealing sales. In contrast, a retailer has paid no tax on goods under a sales tax system. This provides an incentive for retailers to conceal sales and engage in “tax arbitrage” by sharing some of the illicit tax savings with the final consumer. Citing evasion, Tim Worstall wrote in Forbes that Europe’s 20-25% consumption taxes simply would not work if they were a sales tax: that’s why they’re all a VAT.[96] Laurence Kotlikoff has stated that the government could compel firms to report, via 1099-type forms, their sales to other firms, which would provide the same records that arise under a VAT.[53] In the United States, a general sales tax is imposed in 45 states plus the District of Columbia (accounting for over 97% of both population and economic output), which proponents argue provides a large infrastructure for taxing sales that many countries do not have.

Personal versus business purchases

Businesses would be required to submit monthly or quarterly reports (depending on sales volume) of taxable sales and sales tax collected on their monthly sales tax return. During audits, the business would have to produce invoices for the “business purchases” that they did not pay sales tax on, and would have to be able to show that they were genuine business expenses.[41] Advocates state the significant 86% reduction in collection points would greatly increase the likelihood of business audits, making tax evasion behavior much more risky.[53] Additionally, the FairTax legislation has several fines and penalties for non-compliance, and authorizes a mechanism for reporting tax cheats to obtain a reward.[41] To prevent businesses from purchasing everything for their employees, in a family business for example, goods and services bought by the business for the employees that are not strictly for business use would be taxable.[41] Health insurance or medical expenses would be an example where the business would have to pay the FairTax on these purchases. Taxable property and services purchased by a qualified non-profit or religious organization “for business purposes” would not be taxable.[97]

FairTax movement

A FairTax rally in Orlando, Floridaon July 28, 2006.

The creation of the FairTax began with a group of businessmen from Houston, Texas, who initially financed what has become the political advocacy group Americans For Fair Taxation (AFFT), which has grown into a large tax reform movement.[3][29] This organization, founded in 1994, claims to have spent over $20 million in research, marketing, lobbying, and organizing efforts over a ten-year period and is seeking to raise over $100 million more to promote the plan.[98] AFFT includes a staff in Houston and a large group of volunteers who are working to get the FairTax enacted. Bruce Bartlett has charged that the FairTax was devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s,[43]drawing comparisons between the tax policy and religious doctrine from the faith, whose creation myth holds that an evil alien ruler known as Xenu “used phony tax inspections as a guise for destroying his enemies.”[99] Representative John Linder told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Bartlett confused the FairTax movement with the Scientology-affiliated Citizens for an Alternative Tax System,[100] which also seeks to abolish the federal income tax and replace it with a national retail sales tax. Leo Linbeck, AFFT Chairman and CEO, stated “As a founder of Americans For Fair Taxation, I can state categorically, however, that Scientology played no role in the founding, research or crafting of the legislation giving expression to the FairTax.”[98]

Much support has been achieved by talk radio personality Neal Boortz.[101] Boortz’s book (co-authored by Georgia Congressman John Linder) entitled The FairTax Book, explains the proposal and spent time atop the New York Times Best Seller list. Boortz stated that he donates his share of the proceeds to charity to promote the book.[101] In addition, Boortz and Linder have organized several FairTax rallies to publicize support for the plan. Other media personalities have also assisted in growing grassroots support including former radio and TV talk show host Larry Elder, radio host and former candidate for the 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination Herman Cain, Fox News and radio host Sean Hannity, and Fox Business Host John Stossel.[102] The FairTax received additional visibility as one of the issues in the 2008 presidential election. At a debate on June 30, 2007, several Republican candidates were asked about their position on the FairTax and many responded that they would sign the bill into law if elected.[30] The most vocal promoters of the FairTax during the 2008 primary elections were Republican candidate Mike Huckabee and Democratic candidate Mike Gravel. The Internet,blogosphere, and electronic mailing lists have contributed to promoting, organizing, and gaining support for the FairTax. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, and his ensuing Libertarian Party presidential run, former Governor of New Mexico and businessman Gary Johnson actively campaigned for the FairTax.[103] Former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Herman Cain has been promoting the FairTax as a final step in a multiple-phase tax reform.[104] Outside of the United States, the Christian Heritage Party of Canada adopted a FairTax proposal as part of their 2011 election platform[105] but won no seats in that election.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 630, February 24, 2016, Story 1: Rubio Repeating Republican Rat Rants — Enforce The Law — A Reasonable Response — Remove and Deport The 30-50 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — It Is The Law! — Arrest The Employers of The Illegal Aliens — Heading For The Last Roundup — Videos

Posted on February 24, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Fiscal Policy, Marco Rubio, Monetary Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show 617, February 4, 2016, Story 1: Cry Babies Carson and Trump Attack Cruz For CNN Mistake — Clue: You Lost Because Your Campaign’s Organization Was Disorganized Or Non-existent — Take Some More Deep Breaths — Videos

Posted on February 4, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Ben Carson, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, College, Communications, Corruption, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Marco Rubio, Philosophy, Politics, Polls, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Technology, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,