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Alan Dershowitz Should Expand His Case Against the ICC

DershowitzHarvard

By Shawn Macomber

So the International Criminal Court has allowed the amorphous, sort-of-a-State of Palestine join its ranks, thereby establishing a pretext for an investigation into possible war crimes committed by the Israeli Defense Forces during the Gaza conflict last summer, and Alan Dershowitz is roughly as happy about the decision as one would expect a man who counts titles such as The Case for Israel (2004), The Case Against Israel’s Enemies (2008), and a host of other unambiguously pro-Israel tomes to be.

First the celebrated author, civil-liberties lawyer, and retired Harvard Law professor went on Newsmax TV to declare the decision would “mark the death of the ICC” — wishful thinking at best, alas — and then followed that broadside up a few days later with a pugilistic Jerusalem Post op-ed in which he argued the ICC had sacrificed legitimacy for too-easy politicized grandstanding for the following reasons:
[Read more...]

Middle-Class Savings Like Blood In the Water

Obama goes where the money is to pay for ‘free’ education programs – your savings account.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

obama_taxesBank robber Willie Sutton is said to have explained his career this way: “That’s where the money is.” Whether Sutton ever really said that, it’s an aphorism that, according to Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, explains President Obama’s plans to go after middle class assets like 529 college savings plans and home appreciation.

Though millions of Americans have been putting money into “tax free” 529 plans to save for their children’s increasingly expensive college educations, President Obama would change the law so that withdrawals from the plans to fund college would be taxed as ordinary income. So while you used to be able to get a nice tax benefit by saving for college, now you’ll be shelling out to Uncle Sam every time you withdraw to pay for Junior’s dorm fees.

This doesn’t hurt the very rich — who just pay for college out of pocket — or the poor, who get financial aid, but it’s pretty rough on the middle– and upper–middle class. In a double-whammy, those withdrawals will show up as income on parents’ income tax forms, which are used to calculate financial aid, making them look richer, and hence reducing grants. [Read more...]

Why Netanyahu Is Right to Go Around Obama To Congress

by Marc A. Thiessen     •     The Washington Post Obama 102

Do they talk this way about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani?

After learning that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress about the need for new sanctions to stop Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration went . . . well, nuclear.

One “senior American official” threatened Netanyahu, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” Meanwhile a “source close to [Secretary of State John] Kerry” told The Post that the “secretary’s patience is not infinite” and that “playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.” [Read more...]

Iran, Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu

By Caroline Glick     •     RealClearPolitics

Iran-IsraelIran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.

On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.

On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before. [Read more...]

Bergdahl to Be Charged With Desertion

In 2009 Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left his unit without permission and was captured by the Taliban. Bergdahl was held for five years until President Obama traded five high ranking Taliban commanders. Once Bergdahl was back on American soil, the Army conducted an investigation.

That was in October 2014. Three months later, the White House is stonewalling the Army’s charges on Bergdahl of desertion. Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, has been a liaison between the Pentagon and the White House and has led the effort to keep this news from getting out.

Senior ranking military officials said two weeks ago that they would release the ruling soon. Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer referred to the White House’s efforts as a “titanic struggle behind the scenes.”

“As a corporate entity, the Army has decided that they want to pursue Bergdahl for this violation,” Shaffer said.

The delay in releasing the charges against Bergdahl could stem from when the five Taliban members released were never briefed by Army officials. The White House just wants to make the situation to go away.

10 Questions for Loretta Lynch

Members of the Judiciary Committee need to get answers from Obama’s nominee for attorney general.

By Peter Roff     •     U.S.News

Lynch 2This week, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley will call to order a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the purpose of considering President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general of the United States.

In the main, the nomination is not controversial – though it should be. As my Frontiers of Freedom colleague George Landrith has written in The Washington Times questions, serious questions, have been raised about the conduct of prosecutors working under Lynch in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. They should be enough to slow the nomination’s progress until she can explain how and why the rights of crime victims and their ability to apply for restitution as specified in existing federal law were ignored and what steps she has taken to correct these wrongs. [Read more...]

Questions for Loretta Lynch on Secret Dockets

By Frederick M. Oberlander and Richard E. Lerner     •     The Hill

United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch speaks during an announcement of the arrest of Abraxas J. (When confirmation hearings begin today for Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, conservatives will seek her views on President Obama’s executive order on immigration and liberals will seek her views on the prison at Guantanamo. We hope at least one member of the Senate Judiciary Committee will seek her views on the parallel, covert judicial system her office runs.

As U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, Lynch perpetuated the concealment of criminal cases to protect fraudsters who promised cooperation against other criminals. For example, in the Felix Sater case, her office not only hid his victims’ legal rights to seek mandatory restitution, it continues to let him live the high life on his share of the $40 million stolen from the life-savings of his victims. Even more astonishing, this fraudster was allowed to bilk a new generation of victims by falsely presenting himself as a businessman with a clean record, all because his record was kept hidden. [Read more...]

Will the Next Attorney General Stand for the Rule of Law?

By Katie Pavlich     •     The Hill

Holder HeadOn Wednesday, Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, will raise her right hand in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and swear to tell the whole truth to lawmakers during her nomination hearing for attorney general of the United States.

Following in the footsteps of Attorney General Eric Holder, Lynch will be forced to tackle a series of complicated, corrupt and highly controversial topics when she takes her seat on Capitol Hill. She will have to make her own case about how to clean up the highly politicized, and often toxic, Department of Justice.

Now that Republicans are in charge of the Senate, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has the subpoena power he needs to dig deeper into scandals ignored by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the previous Democratic leadership — and you can bet he’s planning on getting answers to unanswered questions. [Read more...]

Foreign Firm Funding U.S. Green Groups Tied to State-Owned Russian Oil Company

Executives at a Bermudan firm funneling money to U.S. environmentalists run investment funds with Russian

by Lachlan Markay     •     Washington Free Beacon

oil-well-drillingA shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd. No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy. [Read more...]

Obama and the Refusal to Call a Cat a Cat

For the French, it is almost surreal to see how the White House avoids using the phrase ‘radical Islam.’

By Laure Mandeville     •     The Wall Street Journal Obama Smirk

In French, we have an expression: “Call a cat a cat.” Appeler un chat un chat. That is exactly what French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did after the horrific terrorist attacks that hit my country on Jan. 7, when he identified “radical Islam” as our enemy. In France, most rallied to this clear acknowledgment of the threat we are dealing with, because it is simply impossible to deny.

That is why it has sounded almost surreal when the Obama administration and many observers in the U.S., despite their heartening support for the French, go to great lengths to insist that the terrorist attack had nothing to do with Islam. [Read more...]

Endlessly Slapped by ObamaCare

By Justin Haskins     •     The New York Post

Cancelled Cancellation ObamaCare“I’m sorry sir,” the polite Healthcare.gov customer-service agent said. “There’s nothing I can do. You’re either going to have to enroll in Medicaid or you’re going to have to pay the full health-insurance rate.”

“The rate you quoted earlier?” I asked. “That’s nearly 30 percent higher than my current insurance bill, I just can’t afford it.”

“You’ll have to pay the full rate, yes,” the agent replied. [Read more...]

Uncomfortable Questions for Loretta Lynch

Senators should probe her disregard for the rights of crime victims

By George Landrith     •     The Washington Times

United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch speaks during an announcement of the arrest of Abraxas J. ("A.J.") Discala, CEO of OmniView Capital, and six co-conspirators for fraudulent market manipulation at the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, New YorkThe president’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general caught many by surprise. Given his penchant for perpetual campaigning and divisiveness, most analysts expected him to choose a known partisan rather than a relatively unknown prosecutor. Nonetheless, as her record receives more scrutiny, some troubling details are coming to light — something few anticipated when she was first nominated.

The New York and Washington press have both reported that Ms. Lynch, while serving in her current post as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, oversaw an environment in which prosecutorial misconduct, trampling on the rights of victims, and violations of the law by prosecutors working for her were more routine than anyone should be comfortable with. [Read more...]

Does Obama Believe What He Says Anymore?

State_of_Union by Ron Fournier     •     NationalJournal President Obama ended his State of the Union address where he started his political ascent—offering to be a leader who produces can-do bipartisanship in a divided, dysfunctional capital. “Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” he told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. “Imagine if we did something different.” Yes, imagine if rather than empty promises, the president could report two-party progress on big issues like immigration, climate change, social mobility, and the debt and deficit.

[Read more...]

Loretta Lynch Nomination Deserves Scrutiny

Lynch Coalition LogoDear Mr. Chairman:

We write to you today to express our concerns that Loretta Lynch, the President’s nominee for attorney general of the United States, and prosecutors in her employ in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, may have violated the rights of crime victims while making plea deals with defendants in so-called “white collar” cases. We believe that this is emblematic of a larger problem – to wit, the failure of the executive branch to enforce laws as written, and indeed the deliberate circumvention of the laws as written.

The issue is of respect for the law. For example, under federal sentencing law, specifically the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, restitution is “mandatory” as to defendants who are sentenced for certain designated crimes. The statute, 18 U.S.C. 3663A(a)(1) begins, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law….” a defendant who is convicted of certain crimes must have a sentence of restitution imposed. In Dolan v. United States, 560 U.S. 605, the Supreme Court held in 2010 that sentencing errors or omissions that result in a failure to award restitution may later be corrected, so holding because Congress made its intent clear when it used that language, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law.”  But it appears to be the pattern and practice in the Eastern District to allow cooperators to keep the money they’ve pled guilty to stealing, in exchange for “good” cooperation. [Read more...]

Obama Blows Smoke

by Fred Barnes     •     The Weekly Standard

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWe know that supply-side economics emphasizes serious cuts in tax rates and Keynesianism relies on massive amounts of government spending. But how in the world does “middle class economics” work? After President Obama cited it repeatedly in State of the Union speech, I waited and waited for him to explain how it works. He never did.

Instead, he confused a cause with a result. Middle class economics, he said, “is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not an economic policy. [Read more...]