WASHINGTON -- "He was born to privilege," said President Clinton about Franklin Roosevelt, at the anniversary gala for Time magazine, which has been defending him against Newsweek in the Monica wars. But it took Bill Clinton to make "executive privilege" a pernicious habit.
Ever since the Supreme Court rejected President Nixon's attempt to throw a cloak of privilege over his tapes, Presidents have been reluctant to place their doings beyond the reach of courts and Congress. "The allowance of the privilege to withhold evidence that is demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial," a unanimous Court decided in 1974, "would cut deeply into the guarantee of due process of law and gravely impair the basic function of the courts. . . ."
And yet, as John Yoo noted in The Wall Street Journal, in his five years in office Clinton has claimed privilege to withhold information from courts and Congress six times -- as often as Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush combined.
Moreover, Clinton's latest flirtation with a claim to being above the law involves an investigation into a cover-up about personal behavior. This has nothing to do with national security or with secret diplomatic exchanges, the reason other Presidents cited in slamming the door to judicial or legislative inquiry.
This Clinton impulse to widen the perimeter of secrecy is causing a proliferation of privilege.
1. Spousal privilege. You can't force a husband to testify against a wife, or vice versa.
Should this time-honored common law now be extended to parents and their children, to brothers and sisters, to gay couples denied marriage rites?
The ordinarily sensible Senator Pat Leahy is drafting a "parent-child immunity" bill, following the anxiety attack exhibited in the grand jury by Monica Lewinsky's mother.
(When President Clinton's lawyers forced the testimony of Paula Jones's mother, no sympathy was remarked.)
2. Ghostly privilege. Ken Starr is now seeking the notes taken by the lawyer for Vincent Foster in a meeting a week before his suicide. The conversation may have been about the Whitewater cover-up; his former attorney argues that the lawyer-client privilege should extend beyond the grave.
Death ends certain protections; the law of libel cannot be invoked for a defamatory obituary. Because no fear of incrimination can exist in the deceased, notes or tapes made by witnesses or miscreants while they were alive should be available as evidence in trials of the living.
But Foster's note-holder insists that death does not part a lawyer and his client.
3. White House Counsel as personal lawyer privilege. Government-paid counsel at first used an executive-privilege claim to stall the Independent Counsel, refusing to hand over notes debriefing Hillary Clinton after her grand jury appearance. Sensing the claim's weakness, the Clintons then switched to attorney-client privilege, but that was denied by the Eighth Circuit, and the Supremes tacitly agreed. This made plain that a White House lawyer's client is the people, not the President -- and the notes were handed over.
4. The lawyer-client privilege, noble in purpose, is not absolute. Starr seeks to overcome it in the case of the lawyer assigned to Monica by Vernon Jordan, probably arguing it does not apply when a client uses a lawyer to commit fraud or tells someone else about her discussions with attorneys.
5. The protection privilege. Clinton is seeking a new immunity from testifying for his Secret Service detail, which would deny grand juries the testimony of agents even if they see or hear evidence of a crime -- lest the President fear their close proximity and thereby make protection more difficult.
Though regularly struck down by courts, graspings for new barriers to criminal, civil and Congressional inquiry have become the hallmark of this Administration.
Within weeks, this President will make the most sweeping executive-privilege claim ever, to provide unlawful cover to aides who may have helped tamper with witnesses. It must be resisted.
We do not need a Clintonian "Bill of Privileges" saving politicians from scrutiny, blocking the flow of truth and placing any class above the law.
Since 1986 the number of states in which it is legal to carry concealed weapons has grown from nine to 31, representing 49 percent of the country's population. Should we feel safer?
Opponents of right-to-carry laws predicted a sharp decline in public safety because minor incidents would escalate into killings and more children would be victimized by more guns in irresponsible hands. Further, critics claimed that criminals would be undeterred by any increase in armed citizens. Indeed, they claimed that right-to-carry laws would increase crime rather than deter it. Experience has proven them wrong.
What objections do the critics offer?
Objection #1: Citizens are safe enough without handguns. Criminals commit 10 million violent and 30 million property crimes a year. Hospital emergency rooms treat an estimated 1.4 million people a year for injuries inflicted in violent attacks, according to a recent Department of Justice study.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have held that the police are not obligated to protect individuals from crime, citizens are ultimately responsible for their own defense. Carrying a handgun allows millions to effectively provide for their own protection.
Objection #2: Concealed weapons do not deter crime. In choosing their crimes, criminals weigh the prospective cost against the benefits. If criminals suspect that the costs will be too high, they are less likely to commit a crime. The possibility of a concealed weapon tilts the odds against the criminal and in favor of the victim. A survey of 1,847 felons in 10 states found them more concerned about meeting an armed victim than running into the police.
Their concern is well founded. Victims use handguns an estimated 1.9 million times each year in self-defense against an attack by another person, according to a survey conducted by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck. Studies have found that robbery and rape victims who resist with a gun cut the risks of injury in half.
Moreover, a study by economists John Lott and David Mustard of the University of Chicago, published in the January 1997 Journal of Legal Studies, examined the impact of concealed carry permits. Using data from all 3,054 U.S. counties between 1977 and 1992, the study found that:
* Concealed handgun laws reduced murder by 8.5 percent, rape by 5 percent and severe assault by 7 percent.
* Had right-to-carry prevailed throughout the country, 1,600 fewer murders, 4,200 fewer rapes and 60,000 fewer severe assaults would have occurred during those 15 years.
In addition, the deterrent effect of concealed handgun laws proved highest in counties with high crime rates. For example, FBI statistics showed that in counties with populations of more than 200,000 (typically the counties with the highest rates of violent crime), laws allowing concealed carry produced a 13 percent drop in the murder rate and a 7 percent decline in rapes.
Case Study: Vermont. Vermont has long had the least restrictive firearms carry laws, allowing citizens to carry guns either openly or concealed without any permit. Vermont also has maintained one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. For example:
* In 1980, when murders and robberies in the U.S. had soared to an average of 10 and 251 per 100,000 population, respectively, Vermont's murder rate was 22 percent of the national rate and its robbery rate was 15 percent.
* In 1996 Vermont's rates remained among the lowest in the country at 25 percent of the national rate for homicide and 8 percent for robbery.
Objection #3: Right-to-carry laws boost killings on impulse. Widespread gun availability was supposed to lead to a "wild- west" mentality with more shootings and deaths as people vented their anger with pistols instead of fists. Yet FBI data show that, as a share of all homicides, killings that resulted from arguments declined. In addition:
* Dade County, Fla., kept meticulous records for six years, and of 21,000 permit holders, none was known to have injured an innocent person.
* Since Virginia passed a right-to-carry law, more than 50,000 permits have been issued, not one permit holder has been convicted of a crime and violent crime has dropped.
Moreover, those who have broken the rules have lost their privilege to carry a gun.
* Texas has revoked or suspended nearly 300 permits for minor violations like failure to conceal or carrying a gun in a bar.
* Between 1987 and 1995, Florida issued nearly 300,000 permits, but revoked only 19 because the permit holder had committed a crime. That's one crime per 14,000 permit holders during a nine-year period, an incredibly low rate compared to a criminal arrest rate of one per 14 Americans age 15 and older each year.
Objection #4: Concealed carry puts guns in untrained hands. Before issuing a concealed carry permit, most states require that the applicant prove he or she has been thoroughly trained, with:
* 10 to 15 hours emphasizing conflict resolution.
* A pre-test and a final test covering the laws of self-defense and the consequences of misuse of deadly force.
* A stress on gun safety in the classroom and on the firing range.
* A stringent shooting accuracy test which applicants must pass each time they renew their permit.
Of course, a person who has only a split second to decide whether to use deadly force can make a mistake. However, only about 30 such mistaken civilian shootings occur nationwide each year. The police kill in error three times as often.
Objection #5: Concealed carry increases accidental gun deaths. The Lott-Mustard study found no increase in accidental shootings in counties with "shall issue" right-to-carry laws, where authorities have to issue the permit to all who meet the criteria. Nor have other studies. Nationally, there are about 1,400 accidental firearms deaths each year -- far fewer than the number of deaths attributable to medical errors or automobile accidents. The national death rate from firearms has declined even while firearm ownership has almost doubled in the last 20 years (figure at http://www.ncpa.org/ba/gif/firearms.gif), and 22 more states have liberalized right-to-carry laws:
* The fatal firearm accident rate has declined to about .5 per 100,000 people -- a decrease of more than 19 percent in the last decade.
* The number of fatal firearms-related accidents among children fell to an all-time low of 185 in 1994, a 64 percent decline since 1975.
Concealed carry laws have not contributed to a big increase in gun ownership. Nor has allowing citizens the right to carry firearms for self-protection led to the negative consequences claimed by critics. In fact, these laws have lowered violent crime rates and increased the general level of knowledge concerning the rights, responsibilities and laws of firearm ownership.
Putting unarmed citizens at the mercy of armed and violent criminals was never a good idea. Now that the evidence is in, we know that concealed carry is a social good.
This Brief Analysis was prepared by Morgan Reynolds,
Director of the NCPA Criminal Justice Center, and H.
Sterling Burnett, Policy Analyst with the NCPA.
Original document is on the Web at
I'm working on updating my webpages about the Sweeneys tonight with detailed information and the proofs of the following.
The Sweeney case was a CIVIL LAWSUIT between the Sweeneys and a bank that started in a Massachusetts State Court in 1989.
Immediately after the jury trial, the bank failed, the government took over the bank, and took over the lawsuit. The bank had claimed the Sweeneys defaulted on a mortgage, the Sweeneys claimed the bank was engaged in fraud, INTENDED to cause defaults on mortgages and get people's property (some of the fraud that bank officials were later convicted of doing!!!).
The Sweeneys won a $2.3 million judgment against the bank and the bank won a $1.6 million judgment against the Sweeneys.
The government came in. Their lawyer, John Hanify, ILLEGALLY removed the case and courtfiles and judges' order from the state court and took them to a Judge he used to work with when both worked in the U.S. Attorneys office, Edward Harrington.
Not only was Harrington a buddy of the lawyer, Hanify, Harrington had already heard cases about the Bank's officer's fraud and was disqualified from hearing the case.
Harrington was appointed to his federal judge position by Ted Kennedy (Mass. Senator). Harrington's nomination was opposed by the Mass. Bar Association, however, ED HANIFY, the government's lawyer's father and personal attorney to Ted Kennedy, rescued the nomination by testifying on his behalf. ED HANIFY'S LAWFIRM represented Ted Kennedy in the Chappaquidick litigation. Ted Kennedy owes his career to ROPES and GREY and Judge Harrington owes his career to Ted Kennedy and Ropes and Grey, and Ed Hanify (of Ropes and Grey). [Kennedy was Clinton's biggest supporter and Clinton's first nominee for attorney general was the nanny-gate lawyer from Ropes and Grey who didn't make it but got a plum appointment in DOJ instead.]
John Hanify, the government's lawyer, became a witness in the case on the first and crucial issue of his illegally removing the files. Since he had formerly worked with Judge Harrington and Harrington had already heard matters in other cases relevant to this case, Harrington was disqualifed from hearing the case. Not only that, ROPES and GREY, appeared in the case to represent John Hanify. Even THAT wasn't enough for Harrington to disqualify himself.
Harrington proceeded to give the government summary judgment against the Sweeneys for the same judgment of $1.6 million, but refused to give the Sweeneys' the same treatment on their judgment for $2.3 million, throwing it out.
After that, the JUDGE'S SON WENT TO WORK FOR JOHN HANIFY, STRAIGHT OUT OF LAWSCHOOL AND WORKED THERE FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS -- as the judge continued to issue rulings and orders against the Sweeneys -- right up until last Friday.
In the meantime, the FDIC (government agency who got the judgment from Harrington) keeps putting out LIES to the public and the media, many of whom are owned by bankers DIRECTLY connected throughout these proceedings. They claim they have made "multiple offers of settlement" to the Sweeneys and have "offered them either property for a dollar" and the Sweeneys "won't make any proposal," and the "Sweeneys owe $1 million in taxes."
I have PERSONALLY submitted SIX offers to the FDIC since my involvement in July, the FDIC has CLAIMED it made "$1" offers but when asked to put those offers in writing, THEY HAVE REFUSED, and instead, sent me an offer from July, 1996 they made that mentions offering either property for $1 with a LOT of expensive strings attached, including giving the FDIC an exensive and valuable development plan for the property and the FDIC keeping most of the land around both properties, and one of the houses. When I prepared a proposal in response to this, as soon as FDIC got wind I was doing it, after sending me this "$1 offer" on Friday, their lawyer faxed me on Monday saying there was "NO OFFER ON THE TABLE," which they have done, time and again.
When we had supposed "mediation," the FDIC appeared at the first meeting, where we were to meet each other, but no negotiating was to occur. At that meeting the mediator suggested independent assessors review the case and present their findings to the FDIC. THE FDIC agreed to this. When the independent assessors found that the Sweeneys had been defrauded, the FDIC totally reneged on this agreement and REFUSED TO MEET WITH THEM OR ACCEPT THEIR FINDINGS. The mediator called off mediation then. Thus, no MEDIATION OCCURRED AT ALL.
Before and after the mediation (there was a stay during the mediation) Joe Shea, the lawyer for the FDIC, kept threatening the Sweeneys, saying he was "sending in the Marshals" (which he can't legally do, and neither can the Marshals. This was SOLELY to terrorize the Sweeneys).
The FDIC bought the interest in the property from the previous government agency, RTC, for $774,000.00. Thus, that is *** ALL ** TOTAL that can be at stake here, yet the FDIC has pursued the full $1.6 million judgment the bank won, while REFUSING to pay or admit the $2.3 million the Sweeneys won.
The FDIC has admitted it has spent $3.6 MILLION DOLLARS TO "COLLECT" the underlying judgment of the bank on a property it admitted was worth only $774,000 by the purchase amount!
This is NOT over "collecting a mortgage," it is about SHUTTING UP THE SWEENEYS, PERMANENTLY, to shut up their proof of CLEAR FRAUD by bankers, FDIC officals, judges, and attorneys who are in a sick group of mobsters, many of whom are at the very top of the Executive branch of OUR GOVERNMENT.
We have just learned that on January 15, the U.S. Attorney, Donald Stern, and the U.S. Marshall -- NEITHER OF WHOM IS A PARTY IN THIS CASE AND WHO HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO LEGAL RIGHT OR ABILITY TO FILE IN THIS CASE -- came in SECRETLY to JUDGE HARRINGTON and got SECRET, SEALED orders. We don't know what. This is WORSE than the KGB in Russia, folks. These were SECRET, SEALED ORDERS, applied for by people who had no more business in the case than perfect strangers, and granted and SEALED by the Judge!!
I had sent multiple letters pointing out that the U.S. Marshals have NO AUTHORITY to "evict" anyone. They have no jurisdiction to lay hands on anybody outside of federal property, EXCEPT with an arrest warrant, which requires that a CRIME have been committed, a probable CAUSE affidavit has to have been sworn, and a WARRANT has to have issued.
The Sweeneys have COMMITTED NO CRIMES.
Up until this challenge, however, the FDIC had REPEATEDLY threatened to "send in the Marshals" with armed force to evict the Sweeneys.
Acknowledging the TRUTH of what I have said, and the lack of authority, the US Attorneys and Marshal service last Friday, AGAIN with NO NOTICE TO THE SWEENEYS, NO HEARING, NOTHING, applied for an INJUNCTION that "orders everyone off the property." They got this from obliging Judge Harrington.
On Monday, Marshals tacked this injunction on the doors of the property and then began following people around that left the property to "serve" them with copies. They went to people's homes and businesses, too, even though none of these people are named in the order, none of them got any hearing, none of them has committed any crimes, none of them can be treated this way legally!!
The Marshals then began blocking off the roads, telling anyone that if they came up to the property, they would be arrested.
My letters to Janet Reno have been intercepted at DOJ by Asst. U.S. Attorney Monty Wilkins and sent to Mass. U.S. Attorney Donald Stern and now we see it has been Donald Stern who himself is engaging in illegal conduct to get the Sweeneys ANY WAY POSSIBLE. Thus, someone is making SURE that the truth about this nest of snakes does NOT GET OUTSIDE THE "INNER CIRCLE." Stern was also formerly an Asst. U.S. Attorney (when Harrington was there) and he worked for Hale and Dorr -- you will find many references to them in the Clinton investigations. Stern was appointed by Clinton as U.S. Attorney and nominated by Ted Kennedy.
The effect of the injunction is to CREATE a supposed order that if it is not obeyed, THEN the feds will claim the Sweeneys are in "criminal contempt" (a crime) and THEN the Marshals can get a warrant and THEN they can go on the property to arrest the Sweeneys.
But the injunction was obtained ILLEGALLY, in secret, FOR THIS EXPRESS PURPOSE -- TO SET UP AN "ORDER" THAT WOULD BE SAID TO BE "VIOLATED" SO A CRIME WOULD BE ****CREATED ** TO USE TO ARREST PEOPLE, by people who have no right to ask for that injunction, in front of a judge who had NO LEGAL RIGHT TO RULE ON IT and against people who NEVER GOT ANY service of it whatsoever.
The Marshals service also contacted neighbors, trying to get them to let them set up spy cameras to spy on the Sweeneys in the past two weeks. They pulled a TRAILER up in the school lot across the street to set up surveillance, too.
The Sweeneys have never ever been served with the order from May which awarded possession of the property (but was NOT an eviction order to the Sweeneys), even though the lawyer on that part of the case has requested copies of that order IN WRITING, and even though court rules REQUIRE the lawyer be GIVEN a copy, and even though I HAVE REPEATEDLY REQUESTED COPIES!!
Then, NONE of the lawyers has EVER been given a copy of any of the SECRET ORDERS from Jan. 15 or from Feb. 19, either!
PLEASE make calls to the massachusetts governor, attorney general reno, any media in your area, and to the senate banking committee and senate judiciary committee.
Make the calls, GET THE MEDIA THERE, BE THE MEDIA. Better yet, BE A WITNESS. Call the Marshals' office and ASK THEM WHAT HAPPENS if you go to the property and RECORD WHAT THEY SAY (tell them you are recording before you ask). There WILL BE LAWSUITS OVER THIS and we need as many people as possible to prove they are told they will be arrested for committing no crime and that they are also targetting people based on their political affiliations for more severe threats!
People on the Internet have already started THEIR psyop war, too, claiming the Sweeneys are "bluebloods" and "one of them" and "have no rights" and this is "some sort of set up" for patriots.
A ten year litigation is a set up? These people have been DESTROYED, financially, emotionally, and lived in TERROR for years to get this fraud before the public. PICTURE LIVING UNDER THE CONDITIONS THEY HAVE LIVED.
I have put THE LAW about this up on my page, as have the Sweeneys, more to follow. I have sent it to the Attorney General, dozens of Congressmen, the governor, there is NO ONE who has the ability to stop this who can claim they DID NOT KNOW the Sweeneys' rights were being RAPED, or that they allowed this terror to continue, when they COULD HAVE PUT A STOP TO IT.
Congress has ALREADY had hearings on this and found the Sweeneys allegations to be true and DID NOTHING.
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