Archive for the 'Law' Category

Shakespeare’s advice

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

If someone commits a crime, throw him in the pokey. Don’t do this. Imagine the thousands of man-hours already and to be wasted on nonsense. HT: NYT

Age of Aquarius?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Attkisson:

“This suspicious activity has been going on for quite some time – both on my CBS computer and my personal computer,” Attkisson said. “CBS then hired its own independent cyber security firm, which has been conducting a thorough forensic exam … they were able to rule out malware, phishing programs, that sort of thing…There were just signs of unusual happenings for many months, odd behavior like the computers just turning themselves on at night and then turning themselves back off again.”

How do you get a computer to switch on remotely? Oh well, let’s leave that. It is nice to see that the left and right agree on some things, like this appalling snooping. And we’ve heard voices usually highly supportive of Democrat proposals opposing some of the most ludicrous bills in recent times.

Well, some things never change, however. Celebrities, is there anything they don’t know?

Is it safe?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

WaPo:

CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair: “A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012. Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion.

This was earlier in 2012. This was later in 2012. Probably that Snowden fellow hacking her computer, right?

DOJ: “To our knowledge, the Justice Department has never compromised Ms. Attkisson’s computers, or otherwise sought any information from or concerning any telephone, computer, or other media device she may own or use.” Well that’s reassuring.

Misuse and abuse

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Goodwin:

The sweeping collection of data on private behavior is every bit as indiscriminate and flawed as the airport-screening system. In both, everybody is guilty until proven innocent. Because one terrorist hid a bomb in his shoe, we all must remove our shoes before flying. Because one terrorist hid a bomb in his underwear, we all are subject to X-ray- like screenings. The little old Lutheran lady from Peoria is as suspect as the Saudi Arabian student seeking a pilot’s license. Justice is supposed to be blind, not stupid. Meanwhile, the FBI had been warned about the jihadist turn by one of the brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon, but took its eye off him, perhaps out of an excessive concern for his rights. The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 soldiers at Ft. Hood had identified himself as a “Soldier of Allah,” but the brass didn’t bounce him because they were afraid of the diversity cops. The balance of rights and security is out of balance. On one hand, security officials let terrorists slip through the cracks because they fear charges of anti-Muslim bias. On the other, they secretly vacuum up the personal data and habits of 300 million people. The snooping is an outgrowth of 9/11, but “growth” is the operative word. An emergency response has been expanded and institutionalized, secretly and repeatedly. The warrantless wiretapping program the Bush administration started focused on catching terror suspects from abroad communicating with Americans. But, like mushrooms after the rain, the program spread exponentially to where all phone calls in America are subject. Another program extends the snooping to the Internet and credit-card use, though the details are sketchy. It is of little comfort that the seizure of this electronic trail is defended by both Republicans and Democrats

Noonan:

There is no way a government in the age of metadata, with the growing capacity to listen, trace, tap, track and read, will not eventually, and even in time systematically, use that power wrongly, maliciously, illegally and in areas for which the intelligence gathering was never intended. People are right to fear that the government’s surveillance power will be abused. It will be. There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is that humans are and will be in charge of it, and humans have shown throughout history a bit of a tendency to play every trick and bend and break laws. “If men were angels,” as James Madison wrote, limits, checks, balances and specifically protected rights would not be necessary. But they aren’t angels. Add to all this simple human mistakes, innocent and not, and misjudgments. And add to that sheer human craziness, partisan lust, political mischief of all sorts. In the Clinton White House there was a guy named Craig Livingstone who amused himself reading aloud the confidential FBI files of prominent Republicans. The files—hundreds of them—were improperly secured and disseminated. Imagine Craig Livingstone at the National Security Agency. Imagine Lois Lerner. So if we have and develop a massive surveillance state, it will be abused.

The failure to do sensible profiling has created a wholly unnecessary Leviathan with powers that surely are abused today. Digging up dirt on your opponents is the Chicago Way, after all. So who would have the means and motive to orchestrate the impressive roll-out of spy scandal after scandal? Could it be the former senior military and intelligence officers who were burnt by people they loathe? Or perhaps their former associates?

More food for thought. Imagine if you could dig up all the dirt, not just on your Republicans opponents, but also on the Democrats who would like to run in 2016. Add to that all the dirt you have on reporters and editors who will shape the coverage of candidates. The power to be a kingmaker and kingbreaker. Unprecedented.

(Mickey Kaus seems to think it’s an inside job on the part of the administration, with which we disagree, but we do appreciate his handy guide to that Rubio silliness.)

From 20 expired visas to capturing 1000 exabytes about everyone on earth

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Iowahawk nails it.

Be careful

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Maybe this leak to a (formerly?) in-the-bag media outlet is true, but if it is it seems to contradict recent previous assertions to Congress. Huh? We have to say we’re perplexed. There’s always the possibility of gross incompetence at work. But a clever adversary might start feeding false information to the press to set them up and pull the rug out from under them. Frankly we would not be surprised to find out in retrospect that both things were true. The leaks are coming too fast and furious right now.

Caution in reporting leaks as facts is warranted. Discrediting certain high profile “leaks” and leakers would be an outstanding strategy for those under siege in order to spread the idea that “leaks” equal falsehoods. We’ll see.

A long time ago in a scandal far, far away

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

DOJ IG report:

Burke violated Department policy when he provided the Dodson memorandum to Fox News reporter Levine without Department approval, and that his explanations for why he did not believe his actions were improper were not credible. We believe this misconduct to be particularly egregious because of Burke’s apparent effort to undermine the credibility of Dodson’s significant public disclosures about the failures in Operation Fast and Furious. We further believe that the seriousness of Burke’s actions are aggravated by the fact that they were taken within days after he told Deputy Attorney General Cole that he took responsibility for his office’s earlier unauthorized disclosure of a document to The New York Times, and after Cole put him on notice that such disclosures should not occur. Burke also knew at the time of his disclosure of the Dodson memorandum that he was under investigation by OPR for his conduct in connection with the earlier disclosure to The New York Times. As a high-level Department official, Burke knew his obligations to abide by Department policies and his duty to follow the instructions of the Deputy Attorney General, who was Burke’s immediate supervisor. We found Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney. We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member.

Burke was acting as a fixer, and he had many qualifications for that role. Sharyl Attkisson provides the appalling context. HT: BB

No big deal

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

We’re flagging this one for future reference. Taranto rounds up quite a number of commentators who are sure that the three or four current scandals generating some heat but little light so far are no big deal. Maybe they’re right but we doubt it. You can’t have behavior this creepy and lying this pathetic without dominos falling one after another. There are too many officials involved from multiple agencies harassing too many citizens for this to settle down. Those harassed are coming forward, and they will be followed by others. And what’s up with stealing medical records? In our opinion this will continue to metastasize and no one knows where it will end, since it’s been going on silently for years.

Old saying

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

An author:

“they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.”

Chicago, eh?

Rules for flippers

Friday, May 17th, 2013

In case you’re unfamiliar with Law & Order, whether the original, SVU or CI, there are a couple of rules when approached for a friendly conversation with investigators: lawyer up and shut up being notable among them. Even a smart lawyer like Scooter Libby ignored this advice. Both Michael Ledeen and Hugh Hewitt give advice to those who may be implicated in our current or coming scandals (don’t you think there will be others?), namely to move quickly in lawyering up or they’ll get worse counsel at a worse price.

Also, Thomas Lifson has an interesting piece on how the scandal avalanche may be affecting the MSM. It will be interesting if it turns out to be true.

The AP etc.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

So the AP was investigated for a national security breach? Maybe it’s true though we doubt it. Such fealty to national security matters would be an aberration from business as usual for this crew, though it is excellent cover story for snooping on hundreds of journalists and their sources. Remember Blair Hull? Jack Ryan? Sharon Bialek? It’s the Chicago Way to have dossiers on everyone. Who knows when you’re going to need them?

A couple of other points. The AP story is fishy from a variety of perspectives, including that it focuses on phone calls but makes no mention of other electronic communications. What about all the text messages and emails, which is the way that much if not most of journalistic communication is done today? Surely if the government wanted blanket information it would have gotten all that traffic as well. Details dribble out, in scandal after scandal, from Fast and Furious to Benghazi and this. And the final point: what are the scandals that we still don’t know about?

An immigration bill lacking enforcement mechanisms

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Perhaps the thing that we find most offensive about the Senate immigration bill is that it does not appear to take itself seriously as a law that intends to be implemented in its details. There is precious little in the bill that addresses in a serious way how the massive enterprise it envisions is to be put into practice. And where there is implementation language, it is often ludicrous.

Here’s a bit from the section labeled Interior Enforcement, Sec 201, Additional Immigration. It is unclear from the language if relatives of those who have Z Visas residing in foreign lands would be covered by this subsection. If so, those cases alone could number potentially in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Note that only 50 immigration lawyers, if even that many, are being added to the Department of Justice to litigate the cases covered in this section:

(b) Department of Justice.-
(1) JUDICIAL CLERKS-The Attorney General shall, subject to the
availability of appropriations for such purpose, appoint necessary
law clerks for immigration judges and Board of Immigration
Appeals members of no less than one per judge and member. A
law clerk appointed under this section shall be exempt from the
provisions of subchapter I of chapter 63 of title 5 [5 USCS §§
6301 et seq.]
(2) LITIGATION ATTORNEYS.-In each of the fiscal years 2008
through 2012, the
Attorney General, subject to the availability of appropriations for
such purpose, shall increase the number of positions for
attorneys in the Office of Immigration Litigation by not less than 50…

50 litigators, budgetary conditions permitting. That’s some serious enforcement. At two lawyers per case and a case resolved every three months, this group could resolve as many as 100 cases a year. Maybe more.

It’s hard to conceive of 12 million people as a line of men, women, and children who need to be processed in some manner or other, many with particular needs and oddities of their cases, many with so-called “routine” cases, whatever they are. Imagine it as 120 Super Bowls, all being played at once. Crowds of 100,000 line up at 120 equivalents of the Rose Bowl around the country. Assume that each one of the newly legal wants to pay the cashier and be admitted to the game of being able to work legally in America. (For a moment we’ll leave aside the requirement that the applicant has to leave the country before applying.) But the cashier can’t just sell tickets.

The cashier has to inspect the papers of each of the 100,000 people standing in line to buy a ticket. The cashier has to run a background check on the ticket buyer, which is supposed to be done within 24 hours. The background check may involve the cashier in communications with towns and villages in foreign countries. The cashier has to do further investigations if something on the background check comes up spotty or incomplete. The cashier then has to ask the ticket buyer to get out of line and stand to one side. The cashier has to consider what will be done with the ticket buyer’s younger brother who is next in line, and with the ticket buyer’s 8 year old daughter, who also wants to go to the game and who was born in Pasadena. Can she be admitted without adult supervision while her father is waiting off to one side? And all this is repeated 100,000 times at the Rose Bowl, and there are 120 Rose Bowls around the country. How long do you think that would take before all could be admitted, given these procedures? 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?

And that’s if there were cashiers available today and they and their superivsors knew what to do. Here’s our point: there are no cashiers today, no supervisors. The bill puts in place zero cashiers on day one, and there is no Employment Manual for any that get hired on how to do the newly created tasks outlined in the bill. And yet, the moment the bill is signed, 12 million people, or 100,000 people lined up at 120 Rose Bowls around the country, have been told to expect that they can buy a ticket. What are the chances that they will be admitted without even buying a ticket, given the ridiculous situation the Senate bill sets up?

Forget the mockery of border law enforcement that is today’s sad story, and will continue to be so under this new law. The Senate immigration bill mocks itself, because it does not even take its own enforcement seriously.

Michelle Malkin has compiled an excellent list of the paperwork backlogs that already exist under the current system. Adding another 12 minllion to a paperwork backlog already numbering in the millions is an indication of how seriously Congress takes itsel in the matter of law enforcement versus the appearance of good intentions.

(This is a belated April Fool in a sense. This is what we wrote about how bad the 2007 bill was. Question: is enforcement likely to be any better under this new bill?)

He jumped the shark in record time

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Mickey Kaus:

Rubio: Illegals will pay fines or be deported! Ambassador of Amnesty…Don’t pretend you’re suddenly going to deport millions of people. Move to stop the flow of new illegals. When that’s accomplished – e.g. through E-verify, a fence, and a visa-checking system – and when those enforcement mechanisms have survived court challenges, then try to bring illegals out of the shadows. At that point, some years down the road, with the future illegal flow cut off (and “chain migration” curtailed), you can afford to be honest about how mean you are willing to be.

Talk about fast. Marco Rubio has jumped the shark in record time. First he was all over talk radio pitching the ridiculous deal he did with Chuck Schumer, and then he was all over talk radio pitching how he wanted input to change the ridiculous deal he did with Chuck Schumer. If this is what the GOP is pinning its hopes on, things don’t bode well for the future. HT: PL

Truly pathetic.

Pages 370 – 394

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Once again, this fellow Rubio and his team show themselves to be not ready for prime time. This NRO piece provides the sorry details on pages 370-394 of the bill he likes. The other day it was the E-Verify glitch. The other week it was the age of the earth. He seems to be a pleasant enough chap. But……. HT: PL

More party animals

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Globe:

the two Kazakhs had been to the off-campus housing he shared with other international students a few times for parties. He remembered they played pool with his roommates. One came more frequently than the other, but he was not sure which one. On one occasion, Tsarnaev also attended. The last time the Kazakhs were at a party was in October, before Halloween, he said. Nothing much stood out, although the Kazakhs liked to drive their black BMW hard, making it squeal, he said. He knew them only through mutual friends. The school has several hundred international students, he said, who tend to bond because they are internationals. “They were definitely fun-loving. That stood out. They loved to party,” he said.

Black BMW? This BMW?

Oh those annoying details

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

DC:

The Senate’s complex immigration bill would instantly gut the popular E-Verify system that is widely used to exclude illegal immigrants from jobs, and then create an enforcement gap for several years before the arrival of a replacement system. “There’s no doubt that the bill eliminates E-Verify immediately upon signing,” said Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas, told The Daily Caller. “If there’s no statutory authority for E-Verify, there’s no E-Verify,” said Kobach, a lawyer trained at Harvard, Oxford and Yale universities, and a prominent advocate for reduced immigration. The claim is vehemently disputed by the bills’ advocates, including staffers working for Sen. Marco Rubio. However, Rubio staffers were unable to show TheDC any text in the legislation that gives the current E-Verify system legal backing until the new system is mandated in several years…In several emails to TheDC, Rubio’s spokesman repeatedly denounced Kobach’s analysis. But the spokesman declined to supply bill language that shows how E-Verify is enforced once it is canceled, and before a replacement is developed by contractors, deployed by agencies and approved by the courts…despite repeated requests, Conant did not identify a paragraph in the bill showing how enforcement of E-Verify would continue uninterrupted once the program is canceled immediately after the bill becomes law.

Certainly this is easy enough to fix. That’s not the point. The point is that the Rubio team overlooked the thing that is central to his case that there’s enforcement in the bill. We’ll say it again: no new laws to replace old unenforced laws. Enforcement first!

The unimpressive Rubio is running for president as a celebrity. We’ve had just about enough of that. Chuck Schumer is no one’s celebrity, but he can outfox a fool three times before lunch.

What would happen?

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

We’ve been going on and on about not making new laws but enforcing the ones we already have. The country’s ridiculous situation is the stuff of parody. What would happen to a presidential or other executive candidate who said he’s accept no new laws in areas where current laws weren’t being substantially enforced? Probably wouldn’t make it with the young ladies and the faculty lounge, but one of these days perhaps elections will look more like midterms than American Idol.

We have a solution

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Politico

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said. The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive…The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs

WSJ: “restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty.”

Clarice Feldman: “where once legislative initiatives originated in the office of the Chief Executive, in recent decades, they are increasingly being written on the Hill (by those inexperienced twenty-something staffers).”

Of course it’s a scandal that Congress is trying to exempt itself from this healthcare mess, but we have a solution that will make things better. Get all the young staffers who write these awful laws to work fewer than 30 hours a week. No healthcare coverage for the youngsters, which will encourage them to find actual gainful employment, and fewer hours for those that remain to do mischief on the government payroll.

An unfavorable interim judgment

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

We don’t understand the fluttering heartbeats that this fellow Rubio gives to some in the GOP. His floundering around on the age of the earth was terrible. At a minimum he should have thrown it back at the questioner; at a median he should have said 4.5 billion years; at a maximum he should have referred the questioner to Monty Python for the definitive answer.

As for the immigration issue, which he’s riding like the Lone Ranger rode Silver, he’s even worse. Four years ago he was definitely against many of the things he’s for now. Powerline points out some of the glaring inconsistencies (here and here, for example). Worst of all, it was in his initial position four years ago that he had things right — it’s all about enforcement. We said the other day that when politicians go to Washington they end up in Fantasyland; his rather self-serving Fantasyland is that the new law that he backs is going to be any better enforced than the 1986 law or the 2007 proposed law. Very unimpressive. More words, words, words. The last things we need from a national politician in these times.

A modest proposal or two

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Peters:

The FBI questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother, after the Russians asked us to look into his radicalization. (Moscow’s murky role is another story.) It appears that the agents asked him, Are you a Muslim fanatic? To which he replied, No. End of investigation…this is a case of just how idiotic a politically correct bureaucracy can be. The father of the Tsarnaev punks only had to declare himself an asylum-seeker afraid for his life in the Russian Federation and our consular officials fell all over themselves to get him to America. Nobody cared that “fearful” Pops retained his Russian citizenship and passport, then voluntarily returned to Daghestan, a jihad-roiled Russian province, to live. Or that his elder son’s dream vacation appears to have been a terrorist training session. If you’re a highly educated, ambitious West European who wants to become an American, your chances are near zero. If you’re a radical America-hater from a hostile region, all you have to do is shout that you’re a political refugee and we’ll give you residency and benefits. There’s no reason that anyone from Chechnya should be granted a US visa. It’s a gangster mini-state (within the Russian Federation) at war with home-grown Islamists. There are no good guys. Chechnya’s sole export besides terror, Chechen mafiosi, make Mexican drug cartels look like Franciscans. And some of the cruelest jihadis our troops faced in Iraq and elsewhere were Chechens…Our immigration system is one of terrorism’s best allies.

VDH

The idea of life-saving asylum doesn’t make any sense when supposed refugees, like both of the Tsarnaev parents, can return to live safely in Russia. The elder of the suspected bombers, Tamerlan, himself had likewise just spent six months in a supposedly deadly homeland — for what exact reasons we can only speculate. Do our immigration authorities really believe that Russia is so dangerous for Muslims that they must be allowed unquestioned admission to the United States, but not so dangerous that they cannot from time to time choose to revisit their deadly place of birth? Can a resident alien no longer be summarily deported for breaking the laws of his host country — in the case of the skilled boxer Tamerlan, for domestic violence against his non-boxing wife, or, in the case of his mother, for shoplifting over $1,600 in merchandise? Does being on public assistance years after arrival in this country, like the Tsarnaev family, no longer qualify a resident alien for deportation? Does being investigated by the FBI for apparently loud and public expressions of support for anti-American radical jihadists not mean much? In short, if a Tamerlan Tsarnaev cannot be deported, then perhaps no resident alien can be under any circumstances. I am sure that in theory there are all sorts of laws to the effect that asylum seekers must prove that they would be in constant peril in their homelands (cf. Obama’s Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Onyango), that they must become self-sufficient residents of the United States (cf. Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Onyango), that they must not break American laws (cf. Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Onyango), and that they must not promote anti-American activity. But what do such theoreticals matter if, for reasons of laxity or political correctness or connectedness, these statutes are ignored

Proposals: (a) all bills that have “comprehensive” in the title should be defeated: and (b) any proposed law that seeks to replace similar laws that are not being enforced (cf 2007 and 1986) should be defeated, since there is zero reason to believe that the new law will be respected any more than the old ones.