Renewed FBI Probe Riles Democrats
This week FBI Director James Comey announced it might have to revisit the criminal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails. "In the course of our investigation on another case we came across a device that held emails pertinent to our earlier probe of Secretary Clinton," Comey said in his letter to Congress.
Coming on the heels of recent Wikileaks revelations of stunning examples of corruption and obstruction of justice in emails hacked from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta's computer, as well as Project Veritas' videos implication the Clinton campaign in dirty tricks and election fraud, the FBI's announcement was not well taken by the Democrats.
Podesta called Comey's action "an unprecedented betrayal and a violation of the agreement we reached with him four months ago that Secretary Clinton would be found innocent of any criminal intent regarding her illegal system. This hint of scandal so late in the campaign threatens to derail the election of the most qualified person to ever seek the office of president."
Former President Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary Robert Reich questioned the "irresponsible" timing of the release, saying that "it should be up to whoever is elected president in 11 days to decide whether there need be any further effort expended on a matter ruled closed last July by Comey himself."
Left-wing economist Paul Krugman went on a tweet rampage alleging that "Comey is trying to swing the election" and claiming that "reneging on his earlier verdict of innocent constitutes 'double jeopardy.' This is expressly forbidden by the Fifth Amendment."
David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser to President Obama, condemned Comey for "placing institutional loyalty to the FBI over his loyalty to President Obama. The FBI has taken a lot of flak for letting Hillary escape indictment for her extraordinary carelessness. But taking flak is the role of loyal subordinates. Comey's wilting under the damage to the FBI's reputation as a law enforcement agency exhibits a weakness that demonstrates his unfitness to serve in government."
Vice-President Joe Biden defended Clinton's decision to resort to using a secret illegal email system, calling it "a natural response to the unrelenting abuse she's received from Republicans and their media hatchet men over the past 30 years. I don't blame her and Bill for racking up all the cash they've pocketed since leaving the White House. I'm sure they see it as deserved compensation for the torment they've suffered."
In related news, Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined to comply with an investigation by Congress of the Obama Administration's secret efforts to pay Iran $1.7 billion in ransom money. Melanie Newman, Director of the Department of Justice's Office of Public Affairs justified Lynch's refusal to cooperate as "a matter of prosecutorial discretion. As the nation's chief law-enforcement official it is within her power to determine whether any legal action needs to be taken in any particular case. In this case she has determined that there is nothing worthy of further inquiry." Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) characterized Lynch's position as "the equivalent of a crook who pleads the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination."
ACLU Files to Force Catholic Hospitals to Sterilize Patients
This week the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights demanding that it force Catholic hospitals to sterilize patients. The complaint alleges that the refusal to provide a service the religiously supported hospitals deem a violation of their faith is unlawful discrimination against women.
ACLU spokesman Bertram Petty asserted that "religious dogma must yield to the government's right to determine what kinds of medical procedures are essential human rights under the Affordable Care Act. The government represents everyone. The Catholic Church represents a minority. Clearly, democracy requires that a minority's preferences must give way to the mandates derived from majority rule."
Petty dismissed the argument that there are many non-religious hospitals where patients could seek the services not available at Catholic institutions, saying that "the abundance of secular alternatives evades the main point. The ACA has laid out a list of procedures patients are entitled to receive from every health care provider. If we start allowing providers to decline to comply with requests we are elevating idiosyncratic notions of individual or religious rights to supersede the definition of rights granted to us by the government."
"While we have some sympathy for the idea that there is a zone of personal freedom for individual choice, we also must adjust when government decides to narrow that zone, as it has with the ACA," Petty added. "To do less would be to permit individualism to trump equality."
In related news, a recent poll conducted by Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that 58% of voters oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortions performed under the Medicaid system, while 36% favor it. Hillary Clinton has pledged to repeal the law that currently bars the federal government from spending tax dollars on abortions. Robert Blendon, the Harvard professor who conducted the poll, doubts it will negatively affect her election chances "because few voters are aware of her actual views on the topic."
Democrat Election Fraud Continues Across America
In Florida, Gladys Coego, a temporary worker for the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, was caught altering mailed in ballots by coloring in "bubbles" that the original voter had left blank. Coego justified her effort "to salvage votes that otherwise would've gone to waste. If a person doesn't fully exercise their right to vote where's the harm in me finishing the job they left undone?"
In a separate incident, Tomika Curgil was accused by the State Attorney's office of filing voter registration forms for five individuals without their consent, 17 additional forms for fictitious persons and several for persons recently deceased.
Juan Cuba, executive director of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, urged that "we not overreact to these minor infractions that obviously stem from misplaced enthusiasm. Granted, they shouldn't have done what they did, but it was not for personal gain. It was out of a zealous concern for the good of the nation. At worst, it couldn't result in more than a few dozen unwarranted ballots being cast. The odds that it might change the outcome are incredibly small."
In Virginia, Vafalay Massaquoi is facing felony charges for using fake names to fill out voter registration forms. Massaquoi said he viewed his actions as "fair payback for the hundreds of years of oppression of blacks in this state and the country. I felt it was long past the time that we needed to balance out all the voices that were silenced by slavery and Jim Crow."
In Virginia's Fairfax County, voters requesting mail-in ballots received a letter from Governor Terry McAuliffe urging them to vote Democrat. Including partisan campaign material in the mailings is illegal. Nonetheless, McAuliffe labeled the incident "an honest mistake. Can we really expect county employees to know that it would be against the law to insert a letter signed by their state's governor into the mailing? I'm sure this isn't the first time such a thing has happened. So let's not make too much of it."
In North Carolina, Hillary supporter Robert Dougherty bragged on Facebook about how he voted for some of his Facebook friends using their identities and saving them the bother of "having to wait on line to vote the straight Democratic ticket we all support." Dougherty vowed to "continue voting everyday right up to November 8th using names and addresses I got from Google. I can't believe how easy it is."
Longtime Clinton campaign operative James Carville advised "everyone should chill out. Of course there will be some election fraud. Rather than crying about it the Republicans need to show some initiative to come up with their own schemes to offset what we Democrats are doing. That's what competition is all about."
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice warns that "private citizens challenging voters to prove their identity and videotaping or photographing alleged fraud is a violation of federal voting rights laws. Oversight of the election process must be left up to the authorized public officials."
Dem VP Candidate Says Hillary Will Seek Broader War-Making Powers
In an appearance on the CNN program The Axe Files, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (Va) reassured David Axelrod, a former top adviser to President Obama, that "Secretary Clinton wants to unleash the president's ability to move more quickly deploy military force against this nation's enemies. The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that Congress passed to enable the Bush Administration to invade Afghanistan is too restrictive. The next president needs the authority to strike quickly without warning."
Kaine cited the current stalemate in Syria between US and Russian forces as an example of where broader presidential war-making authority is needed. "Despite the atrocities carried out by the Russians on behalf of the Assad regime, President Obama has been unable to intervene because of Congressional interference," Kaine contended. "He has drawn 'red lines' that have been violated, but has hesitated to retaliate out of fear that Congress might impede a successful use of force like a 'no fly zone.'"
The authorization Hillary would pursue was characterized as "a sort of 'power-of-attorney' that she could employ to take action on the nation's behalf without having to get an explicit congressional okay on a case-by-case basis," Kaine said. "If such an authorization had been put in place during the early years of the Obama Administration the perpetrator of the Wikileaks invasion into private emails that are now threatening to overthrow the election could have been 'droned' as Hillary urged President Obama to do."
In related news, Hillary is said to be considering appointing current Vice-President Joe Biden as Secretary of State in her administration. Jake Sullivan, a foreign policy adviser to the Clinton campaign touted Biden as "a man with the kind of 'hands on' experience that could be very valuable in the critical task of dealing with the leaders of other nations. His suggestion that home owners get a shotgun for personal self-defense and fire it through the front door to scare off intruders reveals a solid grasp of the practical aspects of mounting an appropriate show of force to deter foreign aggression."
Obama Says Consumers to Blame for Health Insurance Cost Hikes
With the price of health insurance under Obamacare continuing to spiral upward many consumers are concerned they won't be able to afford to purchase the mandatory coverage. While the average projected increase for next year is around 25%, in many places it is much higher. In Arizona, for example, cost hikes are expected to exceed 100%.
President Obama, the guy who promised that the cost of insurance would decline under the ironically misnamed Affordable Care Act, blamed consumers for "failing to shop around to find the best bargain." Unfortunately the choice of providers needed for this advice to work has also been a casualty of the ACA. In parts of Arizona where some of the price hikes have been most severe only one provider is offering qualifying policies.
Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who designed Obamacare, acknowledged that "a key flaw in the program is that the penalties for not buying health care insurance are too low. If the fines for noncompliance are only hundreds of dollars while the cost of the insurance is thousands or tens of thousands a year, too many will opt to pay the fines. Hillary's plan to fix the program by boosting the penalties up to where they are higher than the cost to buy the insurance will force these scofflaws into compliance."
A deterrent to buying the mandated policies that went unmentioned by the program's advocates are the high deductibles. Under the "affordable" Bronze plan no benefits are paid to the insured until he or she has already incurred and paid for $6,000 in covered medical expenses for each policy-year of coverage. Those who don't have to be hospitalized won't likely meet the deductible.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, however, pointed out that "a simple visit to a hospital emergency room lasting less than a full day will easily added up to several times the amount of the deductible. The bill for an x-ray can easily exceed $1,000. Dosing a patient with a couple of Tylenol capsules can be billed at over $100. Those without insurance will have to pay all of these amounts out of their own pocket. So they should stop whining about deductibles."
A saner approach to health care would ask why care rendered in a hospital should be so outrageously expensive. Perhaps critics who argue that the ACA is better understood as an intended coerced transfer of wealth from consumers to the moneyed interests from the health sector—hospitals, drug manufacturers, and insurers—who lobbied to get the legislation passed by an all-Democrat, Party-line vote back in 2010.
German Court Overturns Rape Conviction
The Iraqi immigrant who raped a ten-year old boy in the changing area of a swimming pool in the Austrian capital of Vienna had his conviction overturned by the German Supreme Court this past week.
The assailant, Amir A, had previously offered a "sexual emergency" argument in justification of the rape. "It had been more than four months since I had seen my wife and I had to receive sexual release for the sake of my health," he claimed. The health of his victim was negatively impacted by the encounter. The child suffered severe anal injuries and is still plagued by serious post-traumatic stress disorder.
The trial court rejected the "sexual emergency" plea and Amir A was convicted of sexual assault and rape. On appeal, Supreme Court President Thomas Philipp overturned the rape conviction on the grounds that "the fact that the defendant did not have a fluidity with the German language supports an argument that he did not understand that the his struggling victim was objecting to the sexual encounter. The notion that the boy's age or physical resistance would be adequate evidence of lack of consent unfairly imposes Western standards on a person from a non-western culture. It is my understanding that where Amir comes from violently subduing a child for the purposes of sexual gratification is an accepted practice." Consequently, Philipp vacated Amir's conviction "lest we make him a victim of rules he neither understands nor consents to."
In related news, a Syrian refugee with four wives and 23 children has been receiving nearly $400,000 a year in welfare benefits. The migrant, whose name was withheld by the German government "to protect him from the wrath of outraged taxpayers," maintains that the benefits are his due since "it is the obligation of unbelievers to pay the jizya to Muslims as commanded in the Quran if they don't want to be killed."