From Around the Blogroll

Starting this week with an absolutely huge story, from Sister Toldjah:

Navy judge: Obama exerted “unlawful command influence” on military sexual assault sentencing

Posted by: ST on June 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

Stars and Stripes reports on an interesting ruling coming out of a Hawaii military court this week involving two defendants in separate sexual assault cases:

Two defendants in military sexual assault cases cannot be punitively discharged, if found guilty, because of “unlawful command influence” derived from comments made by President Barack Obama, a judge ruled in a Hawaii military court this week.

Navy Judge Cmdr. Marcus Fulton ruled during pretrial hearings in two sexual assault cases — U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes — that comments made by Obama as commander in chief would unduly influence any potential sentencing, according to a court documents obtained by Stars and Stripes.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Fulton approved the pretrial defense motions, which used as evidence comments that Obama made about sexual assault at a May 7 news conference.

“The bottom line is: I have no tolerance for this,” Obama said, according to an NBC News story submitted as evidence by defense attorneys in the sexual assault cases.

‘I expect consequences,” Obama added. “So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”

More at the link.

The President occupies a unique position in military law enforcement. As Commander-in-Chief, he is the ultimate supervisor of all military prosecutors, just as he is the chief federal law enforcement officer, through control of the federal Department of Justice. In the civilian system, the judiciary is completely separate, and not under the authority of the President; the lifetime tenure for federal judges was meant to insulate them from political pressure. But in the military, the judges are military officers, who are subject to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. The President’s statements can be taken as the Commander-in-Chief ordering military judges to impose particular sentences.

Not even addressed in this is the fact that the jurors in the military justice system are also servicemen, are also subject to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. It could be argued, and I would guess it will be argued, by defense attorneys, that the Commander-in-Chief has tainted the entire jury pool, that the President has, in effect, ordered convictions.

From the Pirate’s Cove:

Where Have All The Liberals Gone Regarding The Surveillance State?

By William Teach June 15, 2013 – 6:57 am
That’s what super partisan Dana Milbank wants to know

(Washington Post) Where have all the liberals gone?

President Obama, who as a Democratic senator accused the Bush administration of violating civil liberties in the name of security, now vigorously defends his own administration’s collection of Americans’ phone records and Internet activities.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he thinks Congress has done sufficient intelligence oversight. His evidence? Opinion polls.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi defended the programs’ legality and said she wants Edward Snowden prosecuted for leaking details of the secret operations.

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, accused Snowden of treason and defended false testimony given to her committee by the director of national intelligence, who in March had denied the programs’ existence.

With some exceptions, progressive lawmakers and the liberal commentariat have been passive and acquiescent toward the secret spying programs, which would have infuriated the left had they been the work of a Republican administration.

In all fairness, it is a mixed bag when it comes the average liberal/progressive: some are for the program, some are against. Some think Snowden should be prosecuted but still did a great service in exposing the extent of the programs. That’s the impression I get when traveling to Left leaning sites. Many, though, are either ignoring the issue or doing all they can to protect Obama, like the good little brain-dead sycophants they are.

More at the link.

Donald Douglas also weighed in, writing in part:

(A)s readers know, I don’t trust the motives of people like Snowden — who is no patriot in my book — and I consider government’s most basic role as protecting its citizens, Hence, I accept the tradeoff between liberty and security. To the extent there’s a problem, it’s in the context of this administration’s serial scandals, complete lack of accountability, and utter hypocrisy. It’s progress for the leftists to be criticizing these programs. But we’re nowhere where we were when Bush was in office, during which Democrats called for impeachment over warrantless wiretapping. No, there are some like Greenwald who’re consistent. And I like Kirsten Powers, but folks should be thinking about finding the balance between honest disclosure and protecting the homeland. The full-blown crusade to turn this into the ultimate scandal of Big Brother totalitarianism is pretty laughable.

Catherine of the Victory Girls looks at our oh-so-well-meaning friends on the left, and concludes that Liberals are the Real Racists. I agree.

From Political Realities:

Obama Administration Restricts Spying In Mosques


When the revelations first came out that the NSA was spying on Americans by collecting phone records from Verizon, the Obama administration has defended their actions. They have made the claim, repeatedly, that the program was vital in their efforts to stop terrorists from doing their deeds of destruction. They have made the same claim about PRIZM, the program that allows the federal government to search through Internet traffic. As they have made these claims, some of us have asked the obvious questions. If the programs are so vital in the efforts to stop terrorism, why did they fail to stop the Tsarnaev brothers before they bombed the Boston Marathon? As it turns out, there’s a good explanation for that. Since 2011, well after President Bush had moved back to Texas, spying in mosques has been restricted. Hat tip to Fire Andrea Mitchell.

Investors – Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 12, to testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Alexander made his first public appearance since revelations that the electronic surveillance agency is sweeping up Americans’ phone and Internet records in its quest to investigate terrorist threats. )J Scott Applewhite, Associated Press)

Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

I don’t know what the exact percentages are, but over the past several decades, the majority of terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by one group, men of the Muslim faith. This is true, no matter where the attackers resided or originated. Much of their radicalization took place in mosques. Considering that fact, why would we put them in the no fly zone for the FBI and other government authorities who are trying to prevent another 9/11? Could it be that the federal government is too busy twisting the facts to make it look as if conservatives are the real threat? That’s possible and it has been done, but there is another theory that is probably closer to the truth, one that troubles me even more.

More at the link. Karen also wrote on the subject.

I have to admit: this is about the dumbest thing of which I have ever heard. The Obama Administration has justified the surveillance programs as both legal and necessary to protect our nation from terrorism. National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander testified that the surveillance programs have foiled dozens of terrorist attacks, and maybe they have. But Major Nidal Hasan was at least partially radicalized at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque, whose Imam was Anwar al-Awlaki. We don’t really know to what extent Mr al-Awlaki influenced Major Hasan’s views, but we do know that they kept in some contact after the Imam move to Yemen, and after Mr al-Awlaki was (supposedly) radicalized following his 2006-207 imprisonment. Our foes are Islamists, men who want to use Islam for political purposes and to base society and government on Islam. If such surveillance is justified by its developing information to frustrate Islamist plots, the first places you’d want to investigate are mosques.

It occurs to me that maybe the surveillance program does cover the mosques, and the Administration is simply engaging in a disinformation campaign, to persuade the Islamists that the mosques are safe havens for terrorist conspiracy. Such a trick would be pretty sly, and pretty clever . . . which is why I find it unlikely to have ever come from President Obama and his minions.

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain wrote briefly — an amazing thing for him! — about the $1 billion “shortfall” in the Chicago Public Schools. Of course, we noted the financial plight of the Philadelphia public schools. Your Editor wonders: since our big cities are the places in which higher incomes are generated and (non-dilapidated) property values are the highest, shouldn’t the big cities be the places in which the public schools have the most money, not the least?

Patterico has two articles on illegal immigration and the upcoming “amnesty” legislation making its way through the Senate. Your Editor has been a fairly frequent commenter in these posts, and his position is at odds with most conservatives on this subject.

Finally, DNW has an interesting post on advertising tracking on TRUTH BEFORE DISHONOR.

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