After a week of silence on whether Republicans should refuse to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Senator Mark Kirk is speaking out.
In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed posted moments ago, Kirk argues that, in the spirit of honoring the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Republicans should place the Constitution before their party.
“I recognize the right of the President, be it Republican or Democrat, to place before the Senate a nominee for the Supreme Court and I fully expect and look forward to President Obama advancing a nominee for the Senate to consider,” he writes.
“I also recognize my duty as a Senator to either vote in support or opposition to that nominee following a fair and thorough hearing along with a complete and transparent release of all requested information. The Senate’s role in providing advice and consent is as important and significant as the President’s role in proposing a nominee.”
By the same token, he urges the president to put forth a nominee who rejects partisanship and extremism.
“My sincerest hope is that President Obama nominates someone who captures the sentiment he spoke about before the Illinois General Assembly this month – a nominee who can bridge differences, a nominee that finds common ground and a nominee that does not speak or act in the extreme.”
Kirk’s words mark one of the more significant breaks from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s swift call to block consideration for the president’s nominee; though a handful of senators up for reelection, such as Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, have shied away from McConnell’s strategy, his conference is by and large standing behind him. But for Kirk, arguably the most vulnerable Republican in the 2016 Senate field, the stakes are high, and his team spent the last several days mulling his words carefully. In the interim, Illinois representative Tammy Duckworth, the Democrat who is likely to be Kirk’s opponent in November, blasted the senator’s silence, calling on Kirk to “immediately level with the people of Illinois, and let us know whether he supports the Constitution, or if he’ll be a rubber stamp for Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist and unconstitutional gambit.”
Kirk has spent his career crafting a moderate political profile in the upper chamber, and has angered Republicans for regularly crossing the aisle, such as when he voted to maintain funding for so-called sanctuary cities. A more tempered stance on the current SCOTUS fight, however, shields him from Duckworth’s criticisms, and could help him preserve his appeal to independents – who, in the battleground state of Illinois, will be key come November.
GOP senators, if you give whichever Constitution-shredding libfascist Obama nominates a hearing, much less a vote, we are gone. Out of the GOP. Finished. And that means you’re finished too.
The “we” is us conservatives, and we are not in the mood for any pompous, delusional Senate-speak about how you can’t do what we elected you to do and defy Obama. You need to take a stand and shut him down. And we don’t care how much heat you have to take from the mainstream media and your distinguished commie colleagues across the aisle.
Man the hell up.
Our enemies keep blabbing about your alleged “duty” to act. Yeah, you have a Constitutional duty all right – to the freaking Constitution.
The reaction of Mitch McConnell was a pleasant surprise. After rolling over again and again, it seems to have dawned on Mitch that we conservatives are done with a submissive Senate going Gimp every time Obama demands something. Spending, Obamacare, illegal immigration – the GOP hasn’t been seemed to be able to draw a line, much less hold one, and we conservatives have been wondering why we even bothered to retake the Senate in 2014. But now our right to freely exercise our religion, our right to keep and bear arms, and even our right to criticize politicians like Hillary Clinton are at stake. There’s nowhere left to retreat to. Back, meet wall.
This is it. This is the moment you need to stop pretending the Senate is some sort of collegial debating society and realize that this is a life and death struggle for the future of our country. If the left gets its way, America is in serious trouble. And so are you, because if the GOP Senate can’t even stop the left from turning the Supreme Court over to the kind of people who run safe space universities, then what damn use is a GOP Senate?
We’ll be gone from your flailing party. We’ll check out, and then you’ll check out of the cloakroom for good. The revolt is already barreling down the highway; your weakness will only supercharge it. Do you think Donald Trump is some sort of accident? He’s the result of you and the rest of the GOP talking a big game about liberal abstinence and then getting to D.C. and giving it up to the first smooth talking establishmentarian you meet at the bus station.
You should be afraid, because this is about your careers. And remember, K Street’s not going to need you quite so much when there’s a big Democrat Senate majority after you betray us again – you might have to (gasp!) go get your sorry rears real jobs.
Supersize this, squishes. Are you feeling me?
But most of you are smart enough to understand that and to cultivate a healthy fear of losing your cushy sinecures – the majority of you seem to get that you don’t want to go home and run on not having stopped the SCOTUS nominee who just gave the thumbs up to trucks rumbling through your constituents’ neighborhoods with a speaker blaring, “Bring out your guns!”
But we can feel how much you truly want to submit, to adopt that chin-stroking pose of thoughtful pseudo-wisdom on some Sunday morning show and disclaim about your solemn duties and how the president’s candidate deserves careful consideration and blah blah blah blah blah. You know you’re in for mainstream media hell if you take a stand, and there’s nothing you hate more than having to actually defend conservatism rather than basking in the warm glow of strange new respect by going along and getting along with the liberal narrative. But most of you are also canny enough to see that this time is different, that this time you won’t be able to walk some weaselly tightrope where you avoid liberal establishment hate while not alienating your conservative voting base quite enough for it to toss you out of office.
Everyone knows fussy little Lindsey Graham would love to reach across the aisle and hug some guy on the other side, but he knows that South Carolina voters can tolerate only so much cavorting with the enemy. John McCain’s got an election in November and Arizona voters are watching, so he’ll hold fast even though we can see he’s aching to maverick all over conservatives again.
But then there are fools like Dean Heller of Nevada, who decided to respond with a joke when failing to commit to blocking whoever Obama nominates:
“‘The chances of approving a new nominee are slim, but Nevadans should have a voice in the process. That’s why I encourage the President to use this opportunity to put the will of the people ahead of advancing a liberal agenda on the nation’s highest court. But should he decide to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, who knows, maybe it’ll be a Nevadan,’ said Senator Dean Heller.”
Hey Heller, you’re hella unfunny. Do you think attacks upon Nevadans’ First and Second Amendment rights are comedy gold? Let me help you, and every other spineless senatorial sissy, with what you need to say:
“President Obama has spent over seven years disrespecting and disregarding the Constitution. He and his liberal soulmates have expressed nothing but utter contempt for the separation of powers and for our most basic rights. I will not stand by and allow them any further opportunity to infringe upon our freedoms. So my advice to Obama is not to bother nominating anyone to replace Justice Scalia, but if he does so then I shall withhold my consent. I will not support hearings on, or a vote on, or confirmation of, any Obama Supreme Court nominee, ever. Period.”
That’s how you do it. And unless Heller does, in two years I and others will be supporting and donating to his primary opponent – who I hope will be Adam Laxalt, the current Nevada Attorney General and a real conservative. But here’s a little secret – I hope Heller doesn’t come out clearly for what Hugh Hewitt has hashtagged #NoHearingsNoVotes. I hope he keeps trying to please the liberal media instead of his constituents. Why? Because I want us conservatives to destroy the budding career of some RINO next cycle, to select one wavering weakling and boot him out of office for the crime of defying us. The British used to occasionally shoot one of their admirals in order to encourage the others to greater bravery and resolve. We GOP conservatives should adopt this innovative incentivization strategy and each cycle cull the weakest from the herd, just to make sure that these Capitol Hill cretins remain more afraid of our wrath than the Washington Post’s.
No hearings, no votes – or you’ll be hearing from us, and you won’t be getting our votes.
The Republican party has been attempting to commit suicide for as long as I can remember, yet, despite its best efforts, it has somehow managed to avoid shooting itself in the head. However, if its leaders decide to confirm Barack Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee, the GOP will bleed out all over the floor, and there’s nobody anywhere who will be able to stop the hemorrhaging.
Simply put, allowing the most corrupt and incompetent president in the history of the republic to replace the recently-departed Antonin Scalia with another Sonia Sotomayor would be criminally negligent on the part of Mitch McConnell and his crew, and even the moderate, Republican rump-swabs at Fox News know it.
The time has come for these go-along-to-get-along asshats to finally take a stand in defense of liberty, justice and the U.S. Contitution, and if they should fail to do so, they will prove once and for all that they never really did give half a shit about their country.
So, do the high mucky-mucks of the GOP have a death wish? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Competing Democrats debate each other one night. Republican rivals take their shots at each other a couple of nights later. An air of frenetic normalcy sets over primary season: The country is $20 trillion in the red and under heightened terrorist threat, yet pols bicker over the legacy of Henry Kissinger and the chameleon nature of Donald Trump – another liability the mogul is marketing as an asset. It is business as usual.
Except nothing about the 2016 campaign is business as usual.
For all the surreal projection of normalcy, the race is enveloped by an extremely serious criminal investigation. If press reporting is to be believed – in particular, the yeoman’s work of Fox News’s Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Browne – Hillary Clinton, the likely nominee of one of the two major parties, appears to have committed serious felony violations of federal law.
That she has the audacity to run despite the circumstances is no surprise – Clinton scandals, the background music of our politics for a quarter-century, are interrupted only by new Clinton scandals. What is shocking is that the Democrats are allowing her to run.
For some Democrats, alas, any criminality by the home team is immaterial. A couple of weeks back, The Donald bragged, as is his wont, that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Trump was kidding (at least, I think he was). Unfortunately, the statement might have been true had it sprung from Mrs. Clinton’s lips.
In a Democratic party dominated by the hard Left, the power Left, what matters is keeping Republicans out of the White House, period. Democrats whored themselves for Bill through the Nineties, seemingly unembarrassed over the lie it put to their soaring tropes about women’s rights, good government, getting money out of politics, etc. They will close ranks around Hillary, too. After all, if she was abusing power while advancing the cause of amassing power – er, I mean, the cause of social justice – what’s the harm?
More-centrist Democrats realize there could be great harm, but they seem paralyzed. The American people, they know, are not the hard Left: If Mrs. Clinton is permitted to keep plodding on toward the nomination only to be indicted after she has gotten it, the party’s chances of holding on to the White House probably disappear. By then, there may not be time to organize a national campaign with a suitable candidate (as opposed to a goofy 74-year-old avowed socialist).
So these Democrats play Russian roulette: hopefully assuming that the FBI won’t dare recommend criminal charges with the stakes so high; that the Obama Justice Department won’t prosecute if charges are recommended; that Obama will figure out a way to intervene with a pardon that won’t do Clinton too much damage, and that the public can be spun into thinking an investigation led by Obama appointees and career law-enforcement officers is somehow a Vast-Right-Wing-Conspiracy plot dreamt up by Republicans.
Many of these Democrats know that the right thing to do for their party – and country – is to demand that Mrs. Clinton step aside. They also know that if they do the right thing, and Clinton wins anyway, there will be vengeance – Hillary being the vengeful sort. So mum’s the word.
Their silence will not change the facts.
To take the simplest of many apparent national-security violations, it is a felony for a person “being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any… information relating to the national defense” to permit that information “through gross negligence… to be removed from its proper place of custody” or to be “delivered to anyone in violation of his trust” (Section 793(f) of Title 18, U.S. Code).
Mrs. Clinton was entrusted with national-defense information and knew that working with such classified intelligence was a substantial part of her duties as secretary of state. Despite this knowledge, she willfully, and against government rules, set up a private, non-secure e-mail communication system for all of her government-related correspondence – making it inevitable that classified matters would be discussed on the system. This was gross negligence at best. And the easily foreseeable result is that classified intelligence was removed from its secure government repository and transmitted to persons not entitled to have it – very likely including foreign intelligence services that almost certainly penetrated Mrs. Clinton’s non-secure system.
The penalty for violating this penal statute is up to ten years’ imprisonment for each individual violation. Mind you, there are already 1,600 reported instances of classified information being transmitted via the Clinton server system, and the latest indications are that at least twelve, and as many as 30, private e-mail accounts are known to have trafficked in our nation’s defense secrets. Many of these account holders were certainly not cleared for access to the information – and none of them was permitted to access it in a non-secure setting.
Fox has also reported that the FBI has expanded its investigation to possible public-corruption offenses – the cozy connections between the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton-connected businesses; the question whether Clinton Foundation donors received favorable treatment in government contracts. Such allegations could fill a book. Indeed, investigative journalist Peter Schweizer has written just such a book: Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.
It’s a hair-raising story, but corruption cases are tough to prove. Comparatively, classified-information offenses are straightforward: There is a paper trail and secret intelligence either ended up someplace it was not supposed to be or it didn’t. Corruption cases, by contrast, can involve complex transactions and the gray area between grimy political deals and actionable quid pro quo. They hinge on proving the state of mind of the players, which can be challenging.
So I want to pass over that for now and think about something rarely mentioned in the Clinton caper: the unknown e-mails. What has been revealed about Mrs. Clinton’s disclosed e-mails has been so shocking that we often forget: There are 30,000 other e-mails that she attempted to destroy. We do not know what’s in them, so it is only natural that we have focused instead on what is knowable – the e-mails that have been disclosed. But there have been media reports that the FBI, to which Mrs. Clinton finally surrendered her private servers some months ago, has been able to retrieve many of the “deleted” e-mails, perhaps even all of them.
Mrs. Clinton told us she destroyed these e-mails because they were private and unrelated to government business. Basically we are to believe that one of the busiest, highest-ranking officials in our government had time to send tens of thousands of e-mails that were strictly about yoga routines, her daughter’s bridesmaids’ dresses, and the like. This, from the same Mrs. Clinton who looked us in the eye and insisted that none of her e-mails contained classified information.
Anyone want to join me in indulging the possibility that many of the deleted e-mails involve government business?
I ask because, wholly apart from any classified information crimes, there is another penal law defining an offense that is very easy to prove: the federal embezzlement statute (Section 641 of Title 18, U.S. Code). This provision targets anyone who, among other things,
embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use…, or without authority… conveys or disposes of any record… of the United States or of any department or agency thereof…; or …conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use… knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted.
As with the afore-described crime of mishandling classified information, the penalty for violating this statute is up to ten years’ imprisonment for each instance of theft.
To the extent Mrs. Clinton’s e-mails involved government business, they were not private – they were government records. When she left the State Department, however, she took these government records with her: She didn’t tell anyone she had them, and she converted them to her own use – preventing the government from complying with lawful Freedom of Information Act disclosure demands, congressional inquiries, and government-disclosure obligations in judicial proceedings, as well as undermining the State Department’s reliance on the completeness of its recordkeeping in performing its crucial functions.
I believe that Clinton has already violated the embezzlement law with respect to the 30,000 e-mails she finally surrendered to the State Department nearly two years after leaving. But for argument’s sake, let’s give her a pass on those. Let’s consider only the 30,000 e-mails that she withheld and attempted to destroy but that the FBI has reportedly recovered. Does anyone really doubt that this mountain of e-mail contains State Department-related communications – i.e., government files?
In a better time, responsible Democrats would already have disqualified Mrs. Clinton on the quaint notion that fitness for the nation’s highest office means something more than the ability to evade indictment for one’s sleazy doings. But now we have a candidate who may not – and should not – be able to meet even that lowly standard. No self-respecting political party would permit her to run. Obviously, a plea to do the right thing is not a winning appeal to today’s Democrats. But what are we left with if appeals to self-interest also fall on deaf ears?
Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, is facing questions about why she let multiple bank employees who funneled millions of dollars to the Iranian government, Middle Eastern terrorists and Mexican drug cartels walk away without criminal prosecution.
Sen. David Vitter, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today launched an investigation into the matter. He cited the concern as a reason to delay Senate confirmation of Lynch, who was nominated to replace Eric Holder as the chief law enforcement officer in the United States.
“If Loretta Lynch and [the Justice Department] swept under the rug a serious money laundering scheme involving Mexican drug cartels and terrorist organizations, we need to know a heck of a lot more about it,” Vitter told The Daily Signal.
“This is especially true since American citizens may be completely unaware that their identities – including names and Social Security numbers – were compromised in this fraud.”
While serving as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch, along with the Justice Department, oversaw a massive lawsuit against British banking giant HSBC. Bank officials and other employees faced accusations of laundering more than $200 million through its U.S. bank. The employees allegedly opened fake accounts using customers’ private information.
Federal prosecutors accused HSBC of “illegally conducting transactions on behalf of customers in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma – all countries that were subject to sanctions enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the time of the transactions.”
Instead of criminally prosecuting those individuals responsible, Lynch helped negotiate a $1.92 billion dollar settlement with HSBC in December 2012.
During her confirmation hearing for attorney general last month, Lynch said she has been “very aggressive” in pursuing white-collar crime.
“At the outset, no individual is ‘too big to jail.’ And no one is above the law,” she told Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
But in the case of HSBC – one of the most high-profile white-collar crimes to date – no one ever went to jail.
The Daily Signal has reached out to the Justice Department for comment on the lawsuit.
Some, like Vitter, perceive the settlement as nothing more than a “slap on the wrist.” He said: “A simple monetary fine is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, and would cast serious doubt on Ms. Lynch’s capacity to serve as our top law enforcement official.”
After being tipped off by a WND reporter who has closely followed the case since its onset, Vitter and his staff yesterday spoke with whistleblower John Cruz, a former HSBC manager who took more than 1,000 pages of bank account records and recordings related to the money laundering before being fired.
Following that conversation, Vitter became suspicious about the settlement. For that reason, he plans to delay Lynch’s confirmation process until he has answers.
“There is a very credible whistleblower… who said folks at HSBC knew what was going on, actively were helping use fake bank accounts to help this happen on behalf of drug cartels and terrorists,” Vitter told the Judiciary Committee earlier today.
“That’s pretty serious to end up having a resolution with a pure money fine.”
Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch could be facing new confirmation problems in the U.S. Senate after being tied to the world’s biggest banking scandal, involving HSBC, which used its power to temporarily shut down WND.com as the news site was breaking a series of stories on the mega-bank’s money-laundering practices – practices that resulted in more than $1.2 billion in fines
According to court papers filed Wednesday, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice appears to be stonewalling the release of documents that could implicate Lynch in a massive cover-up of Obama administration involvement in international money-laundering of Mexican cartel drug money.
In 2012, Lynch, as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, oversaw the investigation of drug-related international money laundering allegations against London-based HSBC Holdings LLC.
WND published a series articles documenting charges HSBC laundered billions of dollars that traced back to the Mexican drug cartels, culminating with a $1.256 billion fine paid to the U.S. government to end the investigation and avoid the filing of criminal charges.
The federal government’s unwillingness to prosecute HSBC was exposed by a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager in New York, John Cruz, who called the bank a “criminal enterprise.” Cruz was ignored by law enforcement authorities until he brought to WND 1,000 pages of customer account records that document his claims.
Cruz called the $1.92 billion fine the U.S. government imposed on HSBC “a joke” and filed a $10 million lawsuit for “retaliation and wrongful termination.” Whistleblowers in India and London joined Cruz in charging the HSBC settlement amounted to a massive cover-up.
In response to WND’s reporting of Cruz’s evidence, HSBC lodged a complaint that blocked Internet access to one of the WND stories, and senior reporter Jerome Corsi was fired by the New York City investment firm he had worked with for two years as a senior managing director, Gilford Securities.
WND also reported on evidence Holder’s Justice Department did not investigate money-laundering charges in deference to bank clients of his Washington-based law firm, where he was a partner prior to joining the Obama administration.
In addition, WND reported HSBC was engaged in a systematic scheme to defraud citizens of India who live abroad out of billions of dollars in investment accounts.
‘Continuing to cover up’
In a telephone interview Friday, Cruz said the Obama administration “is continuing to cover up its role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.”
“The IRS has blocked every legal effort I have made to be credited as a whistleblower in the HSBC billion-dollar settlement,” Cruz said. “It is impossible that the Obama administration did not know HSBC was laundering drug money for the Mexican cartels, because the documentation I had showed the laundered money passed through the federal wire-transfer services.”
Cruz charged the 1,000 pages of customer account records show HSBC relied on identity theft, capturing legitimate Social Security numbers that were then used to create bogus retail and commercial bank accounts. Through the accounts, HSBC employees systematically deposited and withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars on a daily basis, apparently without the knowledge of the identity-theft victims.
“When an individual finds out they got a loan they never knew about, 5 percent of that loan went to the accounting firm that made up the phony tax returns and the other 95 percent of that loan went to the manager,” he explained.
“One manager was involved in the transaction, another manager was involved in notarizing the transaction, and senior management was involved where they signed off permission to give the loans even when the loans get rejected by underwriting.”
In an attempt to make his charges public, Cruz in 2011 published a book titled, “World Banking World Fraud: Using Your Identity.”
On July 17, 2012, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, released a majority and minority 330-page staff report titled, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History.” It documented HSBC’s role in illegally laundering hundreds of billions of dollars of drug money for the Mexican cartels and for terrorist-affiliated Middle Eastern groups.
“In an age of international terrorism, drug violence in our streets and on our borders, and organized crime, stopping illicit money flows that support those atrocities is a national security imperative,” said the committee’s chairman at the time, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.
Levin said HSBC “used its U.S. bank as a gateway into the U.S. financial system for some HSBC affiliates around the world to provide U.S. dollar services to clients while playing fast and loose with U.S. banking rules.”
HSBC paid the $1.256 billion fine in December 2012 in an deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Mel Watt, President Obama’s nominee for director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, pushed government programs to help welfare recipients buy homes during the creation of the subprime mortgage bubble.
Watt, a 20-year Member of Congress from North Carolina’s 12th district, also had a hand in programs allowing borrowers with poor credit to buy homes with no down payment. The American financial system was subsequently destroyed when millions of bad borrowers defaulted on their loans, setting off a market crash that wiped out nearly 40 percent of the net worth of Americans.
In 2002, Watt teamed up with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Bank of America, BB&T, and UJAMMA Inc., to announce Pathways to Homeownership, a pilot initiative designed to give home loans to welfare recipients.
A press release from Watt’s campaign office in October 2002 said that the loans to the welfare recipients would require “as little as $1,000 of the down payment to come from their own funds” and that the city of Charlotte would help borrowers obtain a “down payment subsidy” to cover the rest of the 3% down payment.
If approved to head up Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Watt will be regulating the very government agencies whose rules he negated in 2003.
Watt, alongside then-Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, blocked Bush Administration efforts to reduce Fannie and Freddie’s overexposure to subprime loans. “I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Watt said in a banking committee hearing, downplaying the risks inherent in pushing.
In 2007, a full year after the real estate market peaked and began to plummet under the weight of millions of mortgage defaults, Watt and Frank co-sponsored a bill forcing Fannie and Freddie to meet even higher quotas for affordable lending and investing in an “Affordable Housing Fund” for inner city communities.
Watt’s deregulation of Fannie and Freddie came after the government-sponsored enterprises spent billions in his congressional district. “Freddie Mac has purchased $9.5 billion in mortgages made to an estimated 82,000 Charlotte-area residents,” Watt’s staff announced in 2002.
Many of those risky loans ultimately led to the housing bubble and financial crisis. Charlotte was among the hardest-hit areas of the country. The 6.09 percent foreclosure rate for the North Carolina city was more than double the national average of 2.85 percent, according to the Charlotte Observer. CNN.com listed Charlotte number five of the hardest hit foreclosure hotspots in America in 2011.
Watt began setting the subprime wildfire several years before it engulfed the nation. In 2001, Watt helped start the Congressional Black Caucus’ “With Ownership, Wealth” (WOW) initiative, which sought to add one million black households to the ranks of America’s homeowners by 2005. The program was designed to close a racial gap in homeownership between blacks and whites, which according to Watt stood at 46.7 percent vs. 73 percent respectively.
Watt, who once said he has “no use” for a majority of white voters “in the democratic process,” blamed racist lending practices for this gap and in 2008 called for “a more coordinated approach to dealing with these issues of discrimination, failure to be fair in loan terms.”
He continued his race demagoguery in an interview with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “Discrimination is an ongoing problem. How do you really effectively legislate and regulate through governmental agencies to eliminate that problem?”
The WOW initiative, relying on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s secondary market mortgage purchases and corporate bank sponsorship forced by the Community Reinvestment Act, set low standards for mortgages to help spur black homeownership. Whether it alleviated the racial disparity in home ownership is unclear, but Americans across racial lines responded to Watt’s government-created incentives for bad mortgage lending. Demographic research [pdf] shows that of the subprime borrowers who were foreclosed on in the ensuing meltdown, a solid majority were white and non-Hispanic.
Watt also drove hard to increase loans to borrowers making no down payment or showing extremely bad credit. “Loan products will be aimed at borrowers experiencing challenges in accumulating wealth and who have not developed traditional credit histories, or who have impaired credit,” explained a 2002 press release on the WOW initiative from the Congressional Black Caucus. “Other mortgage products will be available for low- and moderate-income borrowers with incomes at or below 100% of the Area Medium Income.”
As Watt’s scheme and other public incentives artificially stimulated demand, Charlotte saw home prices rise precipitously before they collapsed in 2006. The failure of many Charlotte residents to pay off their loans led to the housing price collapse. Nationally, the wave of subprime defaults bankrupted Fannie and Freddie, which were placed into a conservatorship by the Treasury Department in 2008.
But rather than punish Watt for pushing this policy, Obama is promoting him to be the chief regulator of the mortgage entities.
“Mel has led efforts to rein in unscrupulous mortgage lenders. He’s helped protect consumers from the kind of reckless risk-taking that led to the financial crisis in the first place. And he’s fought to give more Americans in low-income neighborhoods access to affordable housing,” Obama said on Wednesday, announcing Watt’s nomination.
THIS EVENT HAS ENDED
Click on the image below to watch video of the filibuster on CSPAN.
Note: Senator Paul’s remarks begin at the 2.17.45 mark.
Cindy Sheehan thinkalike Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Gabbily anti-American traitor Hanoi John Kerry for Secretary of State. Advocate of killing American citizens without due process John Brennan for CIA director. Obama’s habit of selecting the worst conceivable person for each high position continues with his choice of Sally Jewell for Secretary of the Interior.
Remember Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which had survived for 80 years before getting ground out of existence largely by the envirofascists of the National Parks Conservation Association? Jewell is vice chairman of the NPCA’s board.
Kimberley Strassel sums up Jewell’s mission:
Lock up land, target industries, kill traditional jobs.
Jewell has never held office. But lack of experience didn’t hold Obama back. The important thing is that she will help keep the unemployment rate sky high, thus increasing dependence on government. Among her credentials:
Ms. Jewell, who joined the REI board in 1996 and rose to CEO in 2005, has been central to campaigns that have squelched thousands of jobs in the name of environmental purity.
REI, for instance, actively supported the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which in 2001 locked up a third of all national forests, dealing another blow to logging and mining. When former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2006 announced she’d fight the Bush administration’s effort to inject some flexibility into the rule, she held her press conference at REI’s headquarters, flanked by Ms. Jewell. … REI’s well-heeled clientele ultimately got 58 million acres of “pristine” walking trails; Western loggers got to tell their kids they no longer had a job.
REI’s bigger influence, however, has come from funneling money to radical groups via the Conservation Alliance, a foundation it created with Patagonia, The North Face and Kelty in 1989. Ms. Jewell was lauded by the group in 2010 for committing REI to giving more than $100,000 a year to this outfit.
The money has been going not only to kill jobs, but to drive up energy prices, another critical front in the liberal War on Prosperity.
The Conservation Alliance maintains a list of the “successes” it has notched via the dollars it sends to militant environmental groups like Earthjustice. In the past few years alone that list has included “77 oil and gas leases halted” in Utah, 55,000 acres put off limits to oil and gas jobs in Colorado, the destructions of functioning dams, and the removal of millions of new acres from any business pursuit.
The Alliance is particularly proud of its role in getting the Obama team in 2012 to lock up half of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve – set aside 90 years ago specifically for oil and gas. Rex Rock, the president of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which represents the economic interests of the Inupiat Eskimos, wrote that the decision will “cripple the lone economic driver for our communities,” and make the Inupiat “exhibits in an outdoor museum.”
Eskimos exist to please well-to-do liberals with their noble savage rusticalness. Allowing them to improve their lot in life would spoil everything.
A third front in the War on Prosperity is ever-increasing taxation. Jewell is on board here too:
“I know tax is a dirty word, but if we were paying a carbon tax that accounted for our impact on greenhouse gases, that would in fact change our consumption,” explained Mrs. Jewell in 2009.
One last qualification: she donated $10,000 to Obama’s catastrophic reelection.
As with Obama, every decision she makes will be predicated on what is most harmful to Americans.
After reportedly receiving support from Iran, Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s defense secretary nominee, has yet another endorsement to add to his resume, this one coming from the Communist Party USA.
People’s World, the Communist Party USA’s official magazine, touted Hagel as “represent[ing] the more sober elements who have called in our national discourse for rejection of the old cold war tactics, the unilateralism and the continual push for wars all over the world.”
The magazine’s labor editor, John Wojcik, slammed the ”neocon” U.S. Senate for trying to “force Hagel to disavow his opposition to what they call the ‘successful’ surges in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
A People’s World blast email further lamented Hagel “is still the subject of controversy due to some mild criticism he made of the State of Israel.”
Wojcik contended “it was the U.S. Senate, not President Obama’s nominee, Chuck Hagel, that fell down on the job at the hearings.”
“It was allowed to become a place for right-wing grandstanding and unacceptable efforts to rewrite history,” he continued.
Wojcik conceded that Hagel “does not have the kind of record that progressives conclude will make him a Secretary of Defense who would chart the entirely new foreign policy direction the times require.”
Last week Hagel took heat from Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oka., who asked during the Senate hearings why Iran supports Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary.
As a senator, Hagel opposed sanctions on Iran, instead calling for “direct, unconditional talks.” He was one of only 12 senators who refused to sign a letter asking the European Union to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
WND reported Hagel went on the Middle East satellite network Al Jazeera in 2009 to argue that before dealing with the nuclear arsenals of rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea, the U.S. and Russia must first lead the effort by phasing out their own nuclear weapons.
WND also reported Hagel serves on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world.
The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons.
Hagel’s thesis on minimizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal was reiterated in a 2012 report he co-authored titled “Global Zero: U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission.”
The report called for an 80-percent reduction in U.S. nuclear weapons to about 900, with only half of those being deployed. It further called for the eventual phasing out of short-range nuclear weapons and the elimination of ICBMs and B-52 bombers.
The report was the initiative of the Global Zero advocacy group, which works for a nuclear-free world.
Hagel co-authored the commission report with former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, who reportedly previously held clandestine meetings with Hamas aiming to open U.S. dialogue with the terrorist group.
Iran is arguably the largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Regarding his views on jihad, WND exposed that in unreported remarks during a 2007 Senate hearing, Hagel posited that terrorism does not arise from religious beliefs but instead is a response to despair and a lack of hope.
The Communist Party USA may ideologically support some of Hagel’s ties.
WND reported Hagel sits on the board of a fund that serves as the main financial backer of a group urging the U.S. to join the U.N.’s International Criminal Court, which could prosecute American citizens and soldiers for “war crimes” and other offenses.
Opposes U.S. missile defense
Ploughshares, meanwhile, opposes America’s development of a missile defense system and contributes to scores of anti-war groups highly critical of U.S. foreign policy and military expansion.
Ploughshares is directed by Joseph Cirincione, who served as an adviser on nuclear issues to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Cirincione also was director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress.
Among the groups to which Ploughshares donates are the anti-Israel Americans for Peace Now, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Policy Alternatives, the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, the radical Citizen Action, Citizens for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for New Priorities and the radical Institute for Policy Studies.
More grantees include the New America Foundation, the Nonviolent Peaceforce, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Nuclear Freeze Foundation, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Peace Action, the Peace Studies Association, Physicians for Human Rights and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Ploughshares has also funded the Soros-financed Connect US Fund, which urges more U.N. helmets on U.S. troops, as well as the Center for American Progress, which has strong influence on White House policy.
Also on the list of Ploughshares grantees is The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has long petitioned for the U.S. to reduce its nuclear stockpiles. According to Pavel Sudoplatov, a former major-general in Soviet intelligence, the work by the magazine editors was for the benefit of the Soviet Union.
Two of the magazine’s founding sponsors, Leo Szilard and Robert Oppenheimer, were accused of passing information from the Manhattan Project to the Soviets. Both were also key initiators of the Manhattan Project.
Ploughshares funds the International Crisis Group, a small organization that boasts Soros on its board and is a key promoter of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine used to justify the NATO airstrikes in Libya last year.
Massive defense slashes
Another Ploughshares grantee is the Institute for Policy Studies.
Ploughshares is listed on the institute’s website as a partner organization.
The institute works with the Center for American Progress to release an annual “Unified Security Budget,” which reportedly has influenced White House military policy. Previous recommendations from the two groups’ yearly Unified Security Budgets have been adapted by the Obama administration.
The 2012 budget, reviewed in full by WND, called on Obama to use the U.S. Armed Forces in part to combat “global warming,” fight global poverty, remedy “injustice,” bolster the United Nations and increase “peacekeeping” forces worldwide.
The budget called for massive, second-term slashes to the military budget. The savings are to be used to invest in “sustainable energy” and in fighting worldwide climate change.
The report makes clear the stated objective of transforming the U.S. Armed Forces to stress conflict resolution and diplomacy.
The report takes issue with the use of forces on the ground in various countries to secure or influence the longer-term strategic position of other nations.
It recommends scaling back all U.S. ground forces by 20 percent and reducing the Navy’s surface fleet by 20 percent, including two carriers and carrier combat air wings. It also calls for reducing the Air Force by two combat air wings while cutting standing peacetime overseas deployments in Europe and East Asia by up to 50,000 troops at a time.
The budget’s authors strongly argue for the reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to no more than 292 deployed nuclear weapons and the complete elimination of the Trident II nuclear missile. It’s a process Obama already initiated in April 2010 when he signed a deal with Russia reducing stocks of weapons-grade plutonium.
The accord with Russia was signed at a nuclear summit in Washington arranged by Obama at which leaders of 47 nations committed to reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles. One week earlier, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Obama signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, committing both countries to reducing their deployed nuclear arsenals.
Obama had broadly proclaimed his disarmament intentions during a 2007 campaign speech.
“Here’s what I’ll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons,” Obama said.
By 2010, as president, he was arguing: “We need to change our nuclear policy and our posture, which is still focused on deterring the Soviet Union – a country that doesn’t exist.”
Obama’s declaration came just as Russia signed a major arms deal with Syria and began to revive its Cold War-era naval bases in the Middle East, including in the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia on the Mediterranean.
The joint CAP and IPS report, meanwhile, recommends the U.S. cease all further development of missile defenses.
The report pushes for all current missile defense programs to be cut, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Airborne Laser and Kinetic Energy Interceptors.
“It is unwise to fund more advanced systems for missile defense while current ones have yet to be proven effective against their targeted threats,” complains the report.
The military’s vital Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program is to be cut by $10 billion across the board.
Next on the chopping block: the complete cancellation of the second SSN-744 Virginia Class submarine. While the Unified Security Budget describes the new model as “unnecessary to address any of the threats facing the United States today” and “a weapon looking for an enemy,” the SSN-774 is designed for covert collection of intelligence, transportation of special operations teams and launching of tactical Tomahawk missiles – flexible capabilities tailored to rapid responses required by the 21st-century’s conflicts with irregular combatants.
Similarly targeted for cancellation are the V-22 Osprey helicopter and the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Combating ‘global warming’
The 2012 Unified report sets the tone of its lofty agenda by demanding immediate reductions in the military’s already heavily slashed budget. But there is one exception requiring massive increases in funding – any spending that funds “alternative energy” or focuses Defense Department resources on combating “climate change as a security threat.”
The report authors recommend investing “the lion’s share” of the few allotted military increases in addressing the so-called “threat” of climate change.
The report wants Obama to take billions of dollars from the U.S. military and instead use them for a “green stimulus.”
These groups also envision the military as a tool to fight so-called global warming. In 2011, IPS released a 40-page CAP-endorsed report titled “The Green Dividend,” a term IPS defines as “a major shift of resources from the military budget to sustainable energy.”
The IPS research paper identifies the Pentagon as the “largest institutional energy user – and greenhouse gas emitter – on the planet,” arguing that if it undertook a “crash program” to convert to renewable energy sources and clean vehicles, it could make a significant impact on global emissions.
IPS calls on the Pentagon to contribute to a green world “by simply getting out of the way, by handing over unneeded military installations to be converted into green job incubators.”
The report lauds Obama’s first-ever U.S. Global Development Policy, which was issued in September 2010 and declares that the primary purpose of development aid is to pursue broad-based economic growth as the means to fight global poverty.
The report goes on to recommend that massive funds be sent to combat global woes, including an increase of $3.5 billion to “Global Health” investment and $2.14 billion to support United Nations peacekeeping and ensure that the United States does not fall behind in U.N. payments.
As part of President Barack Obama’s 23-point gun control plan, he nominated Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones – who currently doubles right now as the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – to be the ATF director.
Jones was personally a part of the high-ranking Department of Justice unit that first met on October 26, 2009, to create the new DOJ policy that was used to justify “gunwalking” in Operation Fast and Furious. In Fast and Furious, the ATF “walked” roughly 2,000 firearms into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. That means through straw purchasers the agency allowed sales to happen and didn’t stop the guns from being trafficked, even though they had the legal authority to do so and were fully capable of doing so.
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens – estimates put it around at least 300 – were killed with these firearms.
Obama nominated Jones after he said in his gun control plan that the “ATF has not had a confirmed director for six years. There is no excuse for leaving the key agency enforcing gun laws in America without a leader. It is time for Congress to confirm an ATF director.”
According to a congressional report from House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, Jones was one of several senior DOJ officials in the meeting. Before the meeting, then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden disseminated a strategy that became the new law enforcement platform on which gunwalking was based.
“On October 23, 2009, Deputy Attorney General Ogden disseminated this strategy to the heads of Department components, including the ATF, DEA, and FBI,” the Issa-Grassley report, released on Oct. 23, 2012, reads. “The Deputy Attorney General also formed a Southwest Border Strategy Group, which he headed, responsible for implementing the new strategy. The Strategy Group’s first meeting was on October 26, 2009, when it assembled to discuss the new strategy.”
“The meeting invitation included Deputy Attorney General Ogden and his deputies Ed Siskel and Kathryn Ruemmler (both of whom would later leave the Justice Department for the White House Counsel’s Office); Assistant Attorney General Breuer and his deputies, Jason Weinstein, Kenneth Blanco, and Bruce Swartz; ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Director William Hoover; the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis Burke; and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, B. Todd Jones, then serving as Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee,” the report continues.
From that meeting came what’s become known as the “Ogden memo,” which contains a paragraph many involved in gunwalking have pointed to as their legal basis for the practice. “Thus, given the national scope of this issue, merely seizing firearms through interdiction will not stop firearms trafficking to Mexico,” the paragraph, printed on page seven of the memo, reads. “We must identify, investigate, and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them.”
The Department of Justice has withheld documents, details, and more information about these meetings and this group from congressional investigators and internal DOJ investigators at the Department of Justice. Many mainstream media outlets have claimed Attorney General Eric Holder and other senior officials were “vindicated” or “cleared” by the DOJ’s Inspector General when his report came out in the fall 2012. But these documents and details remain hidden from the American people, leaving open more questions about what role Holder or his aides played in gunwalking in Operation Fast and Furious.
“The Committees were unable to ascertain any further details regarding this meeting,” the Issa-Grassley report adds.
As Townhall’s Katie Pavlich notes, Jones also has a penchant for threatening and retaliating against ATF Operation Fast and Furious whistleblowers. Issa said Obama’s decision to nominate Jones is a “slap in the face” to the Terry family.
“Acting Director Jones was at the helm of ATF as many troubling problems from the fallout of Operation Fast and Furious festered,” Issa declared. “His specific decisions on a number of Fast and Furious related issues raise concerns about his judgment and ability to lead the agency.
“While I continue to believe that ATF needs to have a Senate confirmed Director, President Obama has a responsibility to find a nominee who can win confirmation and is not saddled by a string of bad decisions related to the agency’s greatest recent failure.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman hasn’t returned Breitbart News’ request for comment in response to these revelations about Jones and hasn’t answered whether Holder will release the documents and information surrounding those Fast and Furious formative meetings.