Presidents Trump and Xi Deliver Dueling UN Speeches by Video


Finally, the United States has a president courageous enough to see through the empty rhetoric of such phony multilateralism and tell China and the rest of the world the truths they do not want to hear

Joseph A. Klein, CFP United Nations Columnist image

Re-Posted from the Canada Free Press By  —— Bio and ArchivesSeptember 22, 2020

The United Nations’ annual General Assembly high level debate week is usually a very big deal on the diplomatic calendar. World leaders assemble in New York with their entourages, deliver their perspectives on the state of the world in long-winded speeches, and conduct numerous conferences and bilateral side meetings on a variety of global issues. Of course, the world leaders are also busy attending a multitude of fancy receptions. This year, however, is very different due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UN headquarters building is eerily quiet. There are no foreign dignitaries to be seen. Speeches by heads of state and heads of government are being delivered via prerecorded videos. Although President Trump could have delivered his speech in person, he opted not to make the trip to New York and speak in front of a few UN ambassadors in a virtually empty General Assembly chamber. But President Trump nevertheless delivered via video his usual tour de force.

President Trump wasted no time holding China responsible for the global spread of the coronavirus

President Trump wasted no time holding China responsible for the global spread of the coronavirus. “We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy — the China virus — which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries,” President Trump said. The United Nations “must hold China accountable.” He noted how China had criticized his restrictions on travel from China even though China had “locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world.” The president then recounted his administration’s unprecedented mobilization of resources to defeat the virus, including the progress being made to develop potential vaccines. “We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation and peace,” he declared.

President Trump also took China to task for its record on the environment and its hypocrisy regarding its participation in the “one-sided” Paris Agreement on climate change from which the United States has withdrawn. China, he said, has dumped millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the ocean. It “emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world.” President Trump added that “China’s carbon emissions are nearly twice what the U.S. has, and it’s rising fast.”

The U.S. president challenged the UN to remain relevant in dealing with the many problems besetting the world today. “If the United Nations is to be an effective organization, it must focus on the real problems of the world,” he said. “This includes terrorism, the oppression of women, forced labor, drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, religious persecution, and the ethnic cleansing of religious minorities.”

President Trump extolled America’s economic and international security leadership in pursuing peace with strength. He also pointed to the historic agreements his administration brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and between Israel and Bahrain, as well as one between Kosovo and Serbia. Inexplicably, the UN’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres made no mention of these agreements in the remarks he delivered in person before President Trump’s speech.

China’s press statement is an exercise in blame-shifting, deception, and fictional narratives.

“By taking a different approach, we have achieved different outcomes — far superior outcomes,” President Trump said. He predicted “more peace agreements shortly.”

As President Trump has done in the past, he explained that putting one’s own country first is not incompatible with multilateral cooperation. In fact, they reinforce each other. He said that “only when you take care of your own citizens will you find a true basis for cooperation.” He concluded his speech asking for God’s blessing for America and the United Nations.

China did not take long to release a rebuttal press statement accusing the United States of “spreading political virus.” China’s press statement is an exercise in blame-shifting, deception, and fictional narratives.

The press statement charged that the United States was “abusing the platform of the United Nations to provoke confrontation and create division,” adding that “the United States is weakening the UN, the WHO and other UN bodies, and undermining the authority and effectiveness of the UN.” The press release then defended China’s indefensible record on dealing with the coronavirus. It made the false claim that “China, with an open, transparent, and responsible attitude, has been giving updates and sharing experience with the WHO and other countries from the very beginning and providing active assistance to many countries, including the United States.” What a bunch of hogwash!

China’s President H.E. Xi Jinping’s speech, which followed shortly after President Trump’s remarks, was also prerecorded. While President Xi did not himself have the opportunity to reply in real time to President Trump’s extensive criticisms of China’s behavior, he obviously anticipated what President Trump would have to say about the coronavirus. Taking a not too subtle dig at President Trump’s frequent labeling of the coronavirus as the “China virus” and the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization, President Xi declared: “We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization, and launch a joint international response to beat this pandemic. Any attempt of politicizing the issue or stigmatization must be rejected.”

President Xi urged the world to “uphold the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone

President Xi tried to portray China as the leader of multilateralism in dealing with the virus, ignoring the indisputable evidence of the Chinese regime’s refusal to make full disclosure of what it knew early on about the highly contagious nature of the virus’s human-to-human transmission. “China is actively involved in the international fight against COVID-19, contributing its share to upholding global public health security,” President Xi said with a straight face.

“COVID-19 reminds us that we are living in an interconnected global village with a common stake,” President Xi added. “No country can gain from others’ difficulties or maintain stability by taking advantage of others’ troubles.”

Is that why the Communist China regime hid the truth about the coronavirus from the world when the virus could have been contained, hoarded medical supplies such as face masks and surgical gowns and gloves imported from countries abroad to meet its own immediate needs, and then sold the supplies back to those countries at inflated prices after they became Covid-19 infected?  President Xi’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.

President Xi urged the world to “uphold the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone.” Only so long as his regime can continue bilking the world on its way to prosperity by manipulating the global trading system and stealing intellectual property, will President Xi, in his words, “stay true to multilateralism and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core.”

Finally, the United States has a president courageous enough to see through the empty rhetoric of such phony multilateralism and tell China and the rest of the world the truths they do not want to hear.

Free Men Shall Stand Between their Beloved Homes and a Marxist Revolution!


Marxist-trained anarchists, the Antifa Blackshirts, and the BLM terrorists are intent on causing fear, intimidation, and panic, in the populace in order to hinder those seeking to maintain fair elections

Dennis Jamison image

Re-Posted from the Canada Free Press By  —— Bio and ArchivesSeptember 22, 2020

Free Men Shall Stand Between their Beloved Homes and a Marxist Revolution!

On the third evening of the Republican National Convention, Vice President Mike Pence gave an eloquent acceptance speech at Fort McHenry. The voices on the Left offered a lot of disdain that he gave his speech at the historic site. Protestors and supporters both showed up in Baltimore and voiced their respective opinions without violence. However, in some cases they were directly across the street from one another. Yet, the local ABC news affiliate in Baltimore concentrated most of its reporting on what appears on the surface as a Marxist front group called the “People’s Power Assembly.”

“And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n “rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” 

“The Defence of Fort McHenry”

Apparently, that convention night the “People’s Power Assembly” organized a car caravan to drive by Fort McHenry. Sharon Black explained that “We haven’t forgotten the racism of Trump when he said our city was rat infested and insulted Congressman Cummings.” Black is an organizer with “Peoples Power Assembly,” and clarified that “Today with Pence coming into town, we’re saying get out of town.” But, what the Left had a major problem with, consciously or unconsciously, is that Fort McHenry was the subject of a poem written by Francis Scott Key, which was titled aptly enough “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” The main problem is that the words of that poem have become the center of an incredible divisive controversy—they reference trust in God.

The words of Key’s poem were put to music not long after he wrote the poem, and it became a very popular song in the fledgling United States in the early 1800s. In fact, the song became so popular that it became America’s National Anthem. And, as the political conventions were completed, the NFL season began again. But Key’s song has become the eye of the storm in the realm of politicized sports—as if sports weren’t competitive or divisive enough already. Politics contorts competition into a whole new level. And, as the football season began this year, there was an incredible irony hovering over America.

Patriot Day had been remembered the previous week, as American citizens paid respect to true heroes on 9/11. And, less than a week later the nation celebrated Constitution Day. But, one day that may have been missed in the blur of events of the past week was the anniversary of the birth of the National Anthem. Francis Scott Key penned “The Defence of Fort McHenry” after he became genuinely moved that the U.S. flag was still flying over the fort protecting Baltimore after a 25-hour bombardment from a British fleet during the War of 1812. The bombardment began in earnest at 6:30 a.m., on September 13, 1814. It is estimated that between 1,500 and 1,800 cast-iron bomb shells were fired at the walls of Fort McHenry.

The future of our nation is on the line in this time as much, or even more than it was on the line in 1814

The bombardment was a display of sheer British naval superiority and the defiance of the motley American band in the fort was overtly obvious to any observers—even to the British. It was an unexpected outcome because the British military had basically wiped the American forces out—they burned the city of Washington, D.C., took control of the nation’s capital for nearly a month. The British attempt to take control of Baltimore did end in frustration even though they were by far the superior military force. The British bomber ships were named to strike terror as well as inflict serious damage. They had such formidable names such as HMS Devastation, or HMS Volcano or HMS Terror.

The leader defending the fort, Major George Armistead, had ordered the creation of a huge U.S. flag which he hoped could be seen clearly by any attacking forces. This huge 30’ x 42’ flag was what attorney Francis Scott Key saw that morning of September 14, 1814. It was a symbol of defiance in the face of extreme danger. Key was present to simply help free his friend, elderly Dr. William Beanes, who was being held as a prisoner by the British because he had confronted three of Her Majesty’s soldiers. One old man being defiant in the face of intimidation was why Key was even present in the moment, and then he witnessed the defiance of those patriots inside Fort McHenry.

Francis Scott Key: Fort McHenry

MSM, are essentially fanning flames of disunity and division for the sake of tearing the nation down

The U.S. almost lost the War of 1812, but the defense of Fort McHenry, even though it simply meant that there would be no American surrender, was one of the high points in the war. It represented a moment in which “no surrender” under such intense attacks was a victory in and of itself. Thus Key was so moved to write his poem. Was his intent a racist rant? It is highly doubtful, but Marxists who spew that it is, do not even believe their own words much of the time. If the mantra can confuse or shame enough people to abandon their values, then half of the battle is won.

The example of defending Fort McHenry in September of 1814, provides a lesson for patriots today. Vice President Pence chose the ground well in which he would deliver his acceptance speech for the GOP’s nomination. He knows the history, and he realizes the political battles and what is at stake in the election of 2020. The spirit of the moment was captured, and the memory of such resolve is within Vice President Pence and even more so in President Trump. The future of our nation is on the line in this time as much, or even more than it was on the line in 1814. Yet, the nation prevailed despite all odds.

Regardless of how the mainstream media are portraying reality in this election year, it must be taken with clear discernment for the propaganda being perpetuated by the MSM. The MSM is promoting football players, or those in other sports, who choose to take a knee and visibly disrespect our flag and covering those burning the flag. This institution is fomenting rebelliousness and supporting terrorism. It is incredibly wrong. From one vantage point, such efforts made by the MSM, are essentially fanning flames of disunity and division for the sake of tearing the nation down. The domestic enemy is in our midst, just as the enemy of America was in the presence of the colonists on a daily basis.

Marxist-trained anarchists, the Antifa Blackshirts, and the BLM terrorists are intent on causing fear, intimidation, and panic

One example is the attempt of progressive-revisionist historians who seek to provide their own politically-biased narrative regarding the intent of Francis Scott Key’s words, the words of the Marxist-based progressives are empty words rooted in resentment. The flag has always represented the people of America—even dissenters—the genuine symbol of the struggle of a determined people to be free. Even before the creation of the government, the design of the flag was recognized as a symbol of the unity of the people in their desperate fight for freedom. The government that would be formalized much later owed its existence to brave and brilliant people. Key’s words about the flag were a tribute to the resolve of free men to preserve their freedom.

Marxist-trained anarchists, the Antifa Blackshirts, and the BLM terrorists are intent on causing fear, intimidation, and panic, in the populace in order to hinder those seeking to maintain fair elections. The enemy will try to weaken and occupy this nation. Election 2020, in some ways, seems similar to the bombardment the patriots faced in such a desperate time. Will citizens express the kind of defiance that old Dr. William Beanes exhibited against the British soldiers? Will Americans show the same kind of resolve to  face the Marxists that Major George Armistead displayed at Fort McHenry against the British military?

AG William Barr Constitution Day Speech – Transcript…


Last night U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr delivered a speech in celebration of constitution day to an audience at Hillsdale College. Here’s the transcript:

[VIA DOJ] –  I am pleased to be at this Hillsdale College celebration of Constitution Day.  Sadly, many colleges these days don’t even teach the Constitution, much less celebrate it.  But at Hillsdale, you recognize that the principles of the Founding are as relevant today as ever—and vital to the success of our free society.  I appreciate your observance of this important day and all you do for civic education in the United States.

When many people think about the virtues of our Constitution, they first mention the Bill of Rights.  That makes sense.  The great guarantees of the Bill of Rights—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms, just to name the first few—are critical safeguards of liberty.  But as President Reagan used to remind people, the Soviet Union had a constitution too, and it even included some lofty-sounding rights.  Ultimately, however, those promises were just empty words, because there was no rule of law to enforce them.

 

The rule of law is the lynchpin of American freedom.  And the critical guarantee of the rule of law comes from the Constitution’s structure of separated powers.  The Framers recognized that by dividing the legislative, executive, and judicial powers— each significant, but each limited—they would minimize the risk of any form of tyranny.  That is the real genius of the Constitution, and it is ultimately more important to securing liberty than the Bill of Rights.  After all, the Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the original Constitution, which the Framers did not think needed an express enumeration of rights.

I want to focus today on the power that the Constitution allocates to the Executive, particularly in the area of criminal justice.  The Supreme Court has correctly held that, under Article II of the Constitution, the Executive has virtually unchecked discretion to decide whether to prosecute individuals for suspected federal crimes.  The only significant limitation on that discretion comes from other provisions of the Constitution.  Thus, for example, a United States Attorney could not decide to prosecute only people of a particular race or religion.  But aside from that limitation — which thankfully has remained a true hypothetical at the Department of Justice — the Executive has broad discretion to decide whether to bring criminal prosecutions in particular cases.

The key question, then, is how the Executive should exercise its prosecutorial discretion.  Eighty years ago this spring, one of my predecessors in this job —then-Attorney General Robert Jackson — gave a famous speech to a conference of United States Attorneys in which he described the proper role and qualities of federal prosecutors.  (By the way, Jackson was one of several former Attorneys General who went on become a Supreme Court Justice.  But I am one of only two former Attorneys General who went on to become Attorney General again.)

Much has changed in the eight decades since Justice Jackson’s remarks.  But he was a man of uncommon wisdom, and it is appropriate to consider his views in the modern era.

The criminal process is a juggernaut.  That was true then and it is true today.  Once the criminal process starts rolling, it is very difficult to slow it down or knock it off course.  And that means federal prosecutors possess tremendous power — power that is necessary to enforce our laws and punish wrongdoing, but power that, like any power, carries inherent potential for abuse or misuse.

Justice Jackson recognized this.  As he put it, “The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.”  Prosecutors have the power to investigate people and interview their friends, and they can do so on the basis of mere suspicion of general wrongdoing.  People facing federal investigations incur ruinous legal costs and often see their lives reduced to rubble before a charge is even filed.  Justice Jackson was not exaggerating when he said that “While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst.”

The power to, as he called it, “strike at citizens, not with mere individual strength, but with all the force of government itself” must be carefully calibrated and closely supervised.  Left unchecked, it has the potential to inflict far more harm than it prevents.

1. Political Supervision

The most basic check on prosecutorial power is politics.  It is counter-intuitive to say that, as we rightly strive to maintain an apolitical system of criminal justice.  But political accountability—politics—is what ultimately ensures our system does its work fairly and with proper recognition of the many interests and values at stake.  Government power completely divorced from politics is tyranny.

Justice Jackson understood this.  As he explained, presidential appointment and senate confirmation of U.S. Attorneys and senior DOJ officials is what legitimizes their exercises of the sovereign’s power.  You are “required to win an expression of confidence in your character by both the legislative and the executive branches of the government before assuming the responsibilities of a federal prosecutor.”

Yet in the decades since Justice Jackson’s remarks, it has become fashionable to argue that prosecutorial decisions are legitimate only when they are made by the lowest-level line prosecutor handling any given case.  Ironically, some of those same critics see no problem in campaigning for highly political, elected District Attorneys to remake state and local prosecutorial offices in their preferred progressive image, which often involves overriding the considered judgment of career prosecutors and police officers.  But aside from hypocrisy, the notion that line prosecutors should make the final decisions within the Department of Justice is completely wrong and it is antithetical to the basic values underlying our system.

The Justice Department is not a praetorian guard that watches over society impervious to the ebbs and flows of politics.  It is an agency within the Executive Branch of a democratic republic — a form of government where the power of the state is ultimately reposed in the people acting through their elected president and elected representatives.

The men and women who have ultimate authority in the Justice Department are thus the ones on whom our elected officials have conferred that responsibility — by presidential appointment and senate confirmation.  That blessing by the two political branches of government gives these officials democratic legitimacy that career officials simply do not possess.

The same process that produces these officials also holds them accountable.  The elected President can fire senior DOJ officials at will and the elected Congress can summon them to explain their decisions to the people’s representatives and to the public.  And because these officials have the imprimatur of both the President and Congress, they also have the stature to resist these political pressures when necessary.  They can take the heat for what the Justice Department does or doesn’t do.

Line prosecutors, by contrast, are generally part of the permanent bureaucracy.  They do not have the political legitimacy to be the public face of tough decisions and they lack the political buy-in necessary to publicly defend those decisions.  Nor can the public and its representatives hold civil servants accountable in the same way as appointed officials.  Indeed, the public’s only tool to hold the government accountable is an election — and the bureaucracy is neither elected nor easily replaced by those who are.

Moreover, because these officials are installed by the democratic process, they are most equipped to make the complex judgment calls concerning how we should wield our prosecutorial power.  As Justice Scalia observed in perhaps his most admired judicial opinion, his dissent in Morrison v. Olson: “Almost all investigative and prosecutorial decisions—including the ultimate decision whether, after a technical violation of the law has been found, prosecution is warranted—involve the balancing of innumerable legal and practical considerations.”

And those considerations do need to be balanced in each and every case.  As Justice Scalia also pointed out, it is nice to say “Fiat justitia, ruat coelum. Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.”  But it does not comport with reality.  It would do far more harm than good to abandon all perspective and proportion in an attempt to ensure that every technical violation of criminal law by every person is tracked down, investigated, and prosecuted to the Nth degree.

Our system works best when leavened by judgment, discretion, proportionality, and consideration of alternative sanctions — all the things that supervisors provide.  Cases must be supervised by someone who does not have a narrow focus, but who is broad gauged and pursuing a general agenda.  And that person need not be a prosecutor, but someone who can balance the importance of vigorous prosecution with other competing values.

In short, the Attorney General, senior DOJ officials, and U.S. Attorneys are indeed political.  But they are political in a good and necessary sense.

Indeed, aside from the importance of not fully decoupling law enforcement from the constraining and moderating forces of politics, devolving all authority down to the most junior officials does not even make sense as a matter of basic management.  Name one successful organization where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct.  There aren’t any.  Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.  Good leaders at the Justice Department—as at any organization—need to trust and support their subordinates.  But that does not mean blindly deferring to whatever those subordinates want to do.

This is what Presidents, the Congress, and the public expect.  When something goes wrong at the Department of Justice, the buck stops at the top.  28 U.S.C. § 509 could not be plainer:  “All functions of other officers of the Department of Justice and all functions of agencies and employees of the Department of Justice are vested in the Attorney General.”

And because I am ultimately accountable for every decision the Department makes, I have an obligation to ensure we make the correct ones.  The Attorney General, the Assistant Attorneys General, and the U.S. Attorneys are not figureheads selected for their good looks and profound eloquence.

They are supervisors.  Their job is to supervise.   Anything less is an abdication.

Active engagement in our cases by senior officials is also essential to the rule of law.  The essence of the rule of law is that whatever rule you apply in one case must be the same rule you would apply to similar cases.  Treating each person equally before the law includes how the Department enforces the law.

We should not prosecute someone for wire fraud in Manhattan using a legal theory we would not equally pursue in Madison or in Montgomery, or allow prosecutors in one division to bring charges using a theory that a group of prosecutors in the division down the hall would not deploy against someone who engaged in indistinguishable conduct.

We must strive for consistency.  And that is yet another reason why centralized senior leadership exists—to harmonize the disparate views of our many prosecutors into a consistent policy for the Department.  As Justice Jackson explained, “we must proceed in all districts with that uniformity of policy which is necessary to the prestige of federal law.”

2. Detachment in Prosecutions

All the supervision in the world will not be enough, though, without a strong culture across the Department of fairness and commitment to even-handed justice.  This is what Justice Jackson described as “the spirit of fair play and decency that should animate the federal prosecutor.”  In his memorable turn of phrase, even when “the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done.”

We want our prosecutors to be aggressive and tenacious in their pursuit of justice, but we also want to ensure that justice is ultimately administered dispassionately.

We are all human.  Like any person, a prosecutor can become overly invested in a particular goal.  Prosecutors who devote months or years of their lives to investigating a particular target may become deeply invested in their case and assured of the rightness of their cause.

When a prosecution becomes “your prosecution”—particularly if the investigation is highly public, or has been acrimonious, or if you are confident early on that the target committed serious crimes—there is always a temptation to will a prosecution into existence even when the facts, the law, or the fair-handed administration of justice do not support bringing charges.

This risk is inevitable and cannot be avoided simply by — as we certainly strive to do — hiring as prosecutors only moral people with righteous motivations.  I am reminded of a passage by C.S. Lewis:

It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

Even the most well-meaning people can do great damage if they lose perspective.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

That is yet another reason that having layers of supervision is so important.  Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters, consumed with taking down their target.  Subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors ensures the involvement of dispassionate decision-makers in the process.

This was of course the central problem with the independent-counsel statute that Justice Scalia criticized in Morrison v. Olson.  Indeed, creating an unaccountable headhunter was not some unfortunate byproduct of that statute; it was the stated purpose of that statute.  That was what Justice Scalia meant by his famous line, “this wolf comes as a wolf.”  As he went on to explain:  “How frightening it must be to have your own independent counsel and staff appointed, with nothing else to do but to investigate you until investigation is no longer worthwhile—with whether it is worthwhile not depending upon what such judgments usually hinge on, competing responsibilities.  And to have that counsel and staff decide, with no basis for comparison, whether what you have done is bad enough, willful enough, and provable enough, to warrant an indictment.  How admirable the constitutional system that provides the means to avoid such a distortion.  And how unfortunate the judicial decision that has permitted it.”

Justice Jackson understood this too.  As he explained in his speech:  “If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.”  Any erosion in prosecutorial detachment is extraordinarily perilous.  For, “it is in this realm—in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor himself.”

  • Advocate Just and Reasonable Legal Positions

In exercising our prosecutorial discretion, one area in which I think the Department of Justice has some work to do is recalibrating how we interpret criminal statutes.

In recent years, the Justice Department has sometimes acted more like a trade association for federal prosecutors than the administrator of a fair system of justice based on clear and sensible legal rules.  In case after case, we have advanced and defended hyper-aggressive extensions of the criminal law.  This is wrong and we must stop doing it.

The rule of law requires that the law be clear, that it be communicated to the public, and that we respect its limits.  We are the Department of Justice, not the Department of Prosecution.

We should want a fair system with clear rules that the people can understand.  It does not serve the ends of justice to advocate for fuzzy and manipulable criminal prohibitions that maximize our options as prosecutors.  Preventing that sort of pro-prosecutor uncertainty is what the ancient rule of lenity is all about.  That rule should likewise inform how we at the Justice Department think about the criminal law.

Advocating for clear and defined prohibitions will sometimes mean we cannot bring charges against someone whom we believe engaged in questionable conduct.  But that is what it means to have a government of laws and not of men.  We cannot let our desire to prosecute “bad” people turn us into the functional equivalent of the mad Emperor Caligula, who inscribed criminal laws in tiny script atop a tall pillar where nobody could see them.

To be clear, what I am describing is not the Al Capone situation — where you have someone who committed countless crimes and you decide to prosecute him for only the clearest violation that carries a sufficient penalty.  I am talking about taking vague statutory language and then applying it to a criminal target in a novel way that is, at a minimum, hardly the clear consequence of the statutory text.

This is inherently unfair because criminal prosecutions are backward-looking.  We charge people with crimes based on past conduct.  If it was unknown or even unclear that the conduct was illegal when the person engaged in it, that raises real questions about whether it is fair to prosecute the person criminally for it.

Examples of the Department defending these sorts of extreme positions are unfortunately numerous, as are rejections of our novel arguments by the Supreme Court.  These include arguments as varied as the Department insisting that a Philadelphia woman violated the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act — which implemented the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction — by putting chemicals on her neighbor’s doorknob as part of an acrimonious love triangle involving the woman’s husband, which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected in Bond v. United States … to arguing that a fisherman violated the “anti-shredding” provision in Sarbanes-Oxley when he threw undersized grouper over the side of his boat, which the Supreme Court rejected in Yates v. United States … to arguing that aides to the Governor of New Jersey fraudulently “obtained property” from the government when they realigned the lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create a traffic jam, which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected earlier this year in Kelly v. United States.   There are other examples, but these illustrate the point.

Taking a capacious approach to criminal law is not only unfair to criminal defendants and bad for the Justice Department’s track record at the Supreme Court, it is corrosive to our political system.  If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, then everything becomes a potential crime.  Rather than watch policy experts debate the merits or demerits of a particular policy choice, we are nowadays treated to ad naseum speculation by legal pundits — often former prosecutors themselves — that some action by the President, a senior official, or a member of congress constitutes a federal felony under this or that vague federal criminal statute.

This criminalization of politics is not healthy.  The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct — conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment, up to and including being locked away in a cage.  These tools are not built to resolve political disputes and it would be a decidedly bad development for us to go the way of third world nations where new administrations routinely prosecute their predecessors for various ill-defined crimes against the state.  The political winners ritually prosecuting the political losers is not the stuff of a mature democracy.

The Justice Department abets this culture of criminalization when we are not disciplined about what charges we will bring and what legal theories we will bless.  Rather than root out true crimes — while leaving ethically dubious conduct to the voters — our prosecutors have all too often inserted themselves into the political process based on the flimsiest of legal theories.  We have seen this time and again, with prosecutors bringing ill-conceived charges against prominent political figures, or launching debilitating investigations that thrust the Justice Department into the middle of the political process and preempt the ability of the people to decide.

This criminalization of politics will only worsen until we change the culture of concocting new legal theories to criminalize all manner of questionable conduct.  Smart, ambitious lawyers have sought to amass glory by prosecuting prominent public figures since the Roman Republic.  It is utterly unsurprising that prosecutors continue to do so today to the extent the Justice Department’s leaders will permit it.

As long as I am Attorney General, we will not.

Our job is to prosecute people who commit clear crimes.  It is not to use vague criminal statutes to police the mores of politics or general conduct of the citizenry.  Indulging fanciful legal theories may seem right in a particular case under particular circumstances with a particularly unsavory defendant—but the systemic cost to our justice system is too much to bear.

We need to recognize that and must take to heart the Supreme Court’s recent, unanimous admonition that “not every corrupt act by state or local officials is a federal crime.”

If we do not, more lives will be unfairly ruined.  And more unanimous admonitions from the Supreme Court will come.

3. Conclusion

In short, it is important for prosecutors at the Department of Justice to understand that their mission — above all others — is to do justice.  That means following the letter of the law, and the spirit of fairness.  Sometimes that will mean investing months or years in an investigation and then concluding it without criminal charges.  Other times it will mean aggressively prosecuting a person through trial and then recommending a lenient sentence, perhaps even one with no incarceration.

Our job is to be just as dogged in preventing injustice as we are in pursuing wrongdoing.  On this score, as on many, Justice Jackson said it best:

The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman.  And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway.  A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.

Thank you.

[LINK]

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“MAGA vs. The Deep State Swamp”


“MAGA vs. The Deep State Swamp” Number 5 in the Drain the Swamp Series.

For the last four years President Trump has tirelessly exposed the Deep State Swamp. Trump has shown the American people the ruthless corruption in our government and called out the endless propaganda of the controlled mainstream media complex.

President Trump’s first term went by quickly and although much was accomplished, there was still a lot left to do.

The swamp runs deeper than anyone ever imagined.

Now the Democrat nominee, Joe Biden, claims he represents ‘decency.’ He’s a career politician known for gr op ing and sniffing females—adults and children alike.

He made it possible for his son Hunter to receive graft from Communist China. He believes taxpayers should fund abortion on demand. He believes in more taxes, a bigger and more bloated government, political correctness, BLM and ANTIFA, endless lockdowns, and a mask mandate. Joe is pro-war, a globalist, and he supported tossing low-level drug offenders into prison. Does this sound decent to you? Trump is not perfect, but he stands in sharp contrast to Biden. While Joe is pro-China, Trump is pro-jobs for Americans. He wants to preserve our free speech and our right to own firearms. He is a nationalist, not a globalist. He wants to put an end to the rioting and looting. He wants elections to be held in a fair and traditional manner, while Democrats want mail-in ballots, which will open the door to fraud. Trump is anti-war. That alone is a good reason to reelect him. The contrast between the two presidential candidates is obvious and definite. President Trump remains the only decent choice.

—Grrr Team

Milton Friedman on Real Economics


Paris Erupts into Protests Against Macron & Lockdowns


Today in Paris, many thousands of “yellow vests” took to the streets to demonstrate against French President Emmanuel Macron and the French government over its draconian lockdowns and CORONA restrictions. This was a massive riot where police not only used tear gas and batons, they were firing both rubber bullets and live ammunition. These lockdowns are by no means about taking care of people. This is raw tyranny and we will see if they even stand for election in 2021/2022.

The next French Presidential election will begin Friday, April 8, 2022. What is interesting is when we look at the Quarterly Array on the French CAC-40, it is clearly showing the first quarter will be very volatile. This is clearly the impact of the French elections and there is a deep concern that Macron will even suspend the elections under the pretense of a national emergency as we saw in New Zealand. The protests of the “yellow vests” against Macron began back in November 2018. They were initially triggered by rising fuel prices and a pension reform plan. We are looking at sheer political chaos in France as the elections will come 43 months from the beginning of these protests (50% of 86).

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