- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Threshold Editions (June 10, 2014)
- Language: English
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- ISBN-13: 978-1476765136
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The People Vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration Hardcover – June 10, 2014
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About the Author
Benjamin Shapiro entered UCLA at the age of sixteen and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in June 2004 with a BA in political science. He graduated Harvard Law School cum laude in June 2007. The author of the national bestsellers, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future, and Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House, Shapiro has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the nation. He is married and currently runs Benjamin Shapiro Legal Consulting, based in Los Angeles. He is editor-at-large of Breitbart.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
People Vs. Barack Obama
THE CASE AGAINST THE PRESIDENT
On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. It was a time of hope. It was a time of restoration. Three months later, President-elect Obama stood at the podium before cheering throngs, and he raised his right hand. “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Fast-forward five years. White House press secretary Jay Carney takes to the podium in the press briefing room. The Obama administration, now in its second term, has been plagued by scandal after scandal:
• On September 11, 2012, the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by terrorists after months of desperate pleas for more security from Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his staff; Stevens and three other Americans were murdered as American forces remained mere hours away. Now State Department witnesses from Libya have testified that higher-ups at the department tried to stifle them from speaking with Congress.
• The IRS has admitted that its nonprofit division targeted conservative groups in the years leading up to Obama’s reelection effort; further evidence showed that conservative nonprofits were subjected to costly audits.
• The Associated Press has revealed that the Department of Justice had secretly obtained months’ worth of call logs from its reporters. A few days later, reports emerged that the Department of Justice had obtained a warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal emails and tracked his movements at the State Department.
• Within a few days of that, Congress sends a letter to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, asking why she had solicited donations from nonprofit organizations to push Obamacare—the same organizations responsible for directly implementing Obamacare and therefore subject to HHS oversight.
• At virtually the same time, Republican lawmakers send a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking why the EPA has forced conservative groups to pay fees for Freedom of Information Act requests while simultaneously waiving those fees for liberal groups.
• In early June, former Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden, who worked with the National Security Agency, reveals that the NSA PRISM program is tracking all American phone calls. Soon, revelations emerge that the NSA collects “nearly everything a user does on the Internet.” Snowden says that the government has the ability to collect your keystrokes as they appear.
Facing down this cornucopia of political horror, Carney peers through his MSNBC glasses and begins to speak. Carney has already become infamous for spewing gobbledygook at the press—so infamous that the left-leaning parody site The Onion prints a mock op-ed by Carney playfully titled “Well, Time to Go Out in Front of a Bunch of People and Lie to Them.”1
On this day, July 22, President Obama is preparing to relaunch another failed attempt at economic mumbo jumbo, a desperate try at shifting the narrative from the bevy of scandals. Unprompted, Carney spouts that thanks to “some phony scandals that have captured the attention of many here in Washington only to dissipate, there has not been enough attention paid, in the President’s view, to this central idea that we here in Washington ought to be doing everything we can to help the middle class. . . .”2
Phony scandals. All phony scandals.
A few hours later, President Obama himself repeats the “phony scandal” meme. “With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop. Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires,” Obama intones.
What, exactly, made these scandals “phony”?
According to the administration, these scandals are phony because they say so. According to the White House, White House–initiated investigations had shown that President Obama didn’t personally engage in any of them. Though the White House still hasn’t revealed President Obama’s whereabouts during the seven-hour Benghazi attacks, Obama, his investigative team assured us, did everything necessary to save the men in harm’s way. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured us that while there was negligence, there was no need for firings—for, after all, “what difference, at this point, does it make?” Meanwhile, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew told Fox News that there was “no evidence” that the White House was involved with improper targeting—as though absence of evidence were evidence of absence, especially given the fact that the investigators were from the Obama administration itself. Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress about targeting the Fox reporter, then somehow got away with claiming it wasn’t a lie at all. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did the same with regard to the NSA’s surveillance programs. Sebelius and the EPA didn’t even bother making excuses for their actions.
All of this was nobody’s fault. Wrongdoing, if it existed at all, took place at the individual level. Low-level staffers were responsible. Mistakes were made. We don’t know what happened, but we’ll initiate an investigation. We can’t comment on pending investigations, even if we control them. These are not the droids you’re looking for. Move along.
Only nobody ever got fired, many people got promoted, and all of those mistakes by all of those low-level staffers just happened to synchronize precisely with the wishes of the White House. Every day, Obama’s knights were ridding him of meddlesome priests—but that was all just a big coincidence.
There’s only one problem with Obama’s routine: it’s not just a lie, it’s a crime.
The Obama administration has become a full-fledged criminal enterprise. Riddled up and down with executive branch appointees engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors, the administration has not merely failed to cleanse itself, it has incentivized ambitious bureaucrats throughout the government to take action on behalf of the Obama political agenda.
PROSECUTING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
The crime of conspiracy has typically been defined at the state level as the agreement of two or more people to commit a crime. There is little question that some of the crimes of the Obama administration have been coordinated at the highest level, as the evidence will show. But when it comes to huge organizations, conspiracy has historically been tough to charge. That’s because large organizations rarely have direct chains of command—and in an organization as enormous and classified as the United States executive branch, tracing such chains of command becomes nearly impossible.
Which is not to say that legal responsibility does not exist. In 1946, the U.S. Supreme Court legally established the principle of “command responsibility”—the idea that a commander bears responsibility for the actions of his subordinates during times of war.3 As the commander in chief, President Obama bears responsibility for the acts of his subordinates, particularly with regard to crimes against Americans under the auspices of war.
That would be difficult to prove in a court of law. What isn’t difficult to prove is that the Obama administration is a quasi-criminal syndicate, a top-down system in which policies are decided at the highest levels, signals are sent, and low-level bureaucrats receive and implement them.
In 1970, in an attempt to curb organized crime in general and the mafia in particular, Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as the RICO Act. The goal of RICO is to make it easier for prosecutors to cast the net in indictments, placing evidence in “the broader context in which the crime was committed, along with the pattern of conduct that led up to the crime,” according to Professor Samuel Buell of the Duke University School of Law.4 In other words, it was designed to fill a loophole in the law—the problem of plausible deniability, in which the man at the top can foist responsibility off on his subordinates (or plausibly call everything under the sun a “phony scandal”).5 RICO, according to former Department of Justice director of research Donald J. Rebovich, provides the prosecutors the ability to “abandon a reliance on discrete statutes. Instead, they can prosecute patterns of criminal acts committed by direct and indirect participants in criminal enterprises.”6
RICO provides that any person who is part of an organization that commits any two on a list of crimes can be prosecuted for racketeering, fined up to $25,000, and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison per count. Those charges include murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene material, dealing in drugs, bribery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, extortionate credit transactions, wire fraud, witness tampering, retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant, and dozens of other crimes—some of which, as we’ll see, have been committed by the Obama administration. RICO, according to its language, was supposed to be “liberally construed to effectuate its remedial purpose.”7 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has described the list of predicate offenses under RICO as “exhaustive.”8
Politicians aren’t immune to RICO charges. When Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick conspired with contractor Bobby Ferguson, he was charged with RICO Act violations. Together, Kilpatrick; his father, Bernard Kilpatrick; and Ferguson faced forty-five charges, including racketeering, extortion, bribery, and mail fraud. As the Detroit Free Press reported, “The most weighty of the charges was the one levied under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), a 1970 law that was initially designed to combat organized crime but has since been used in several public corruption trials. In the Detroit case, prosecutors charged the group they called the ‘Kilpatrick Enterprise’ engaged in a pattern of criminal activity—one of the requirements of RICO—that included at least two criminal acts.”9
While prosecutors routinely use RICO to go after criminal enterprises, RICO extends beyond criminal prosecution to include civil suits. That means that you can sue a criminal enterprise, and receive triple your damages—you don’t have to wait for President Obama’s corrupt Department of Justice to do the work they’re being paid not to do. The victims of Bernie Madoff, for example, have targeted Madoff’s associates under RICO. (It’s worth noting that Bernie Madoff’s fraud pales in comparison to the federal government’s fraudulent social programs.) As the Supreme Court has written, the goal of civil RICO filings is to deputize the public to enforce the law against corruption, to make citizens into “ ‘private attorneys general’ on a serious national problem for which public prosecutorial resources are deemed inadequate.”10 Plaintiffs in civil RICO actions must show by a “preponderance of the evidence” that defendants bear guilt. That’s different than “beyond a reasonable doubt”—it’s a much lower burden of proof.
To bring a RICO case, plaintiffs must be able to show that an “enterprise” exists, and that there is a “pattern” of criminal activity. To show that an “enterprise” exists, plaintiffs must demonstrate that there is a “continuing unit that functions with a common purpose.” That unit, in this case, can’t be the entire federal government or the entire executive branch—it has to be separate and apart from the normal functioning of those organizations. That’s a problem in and of itself, given that with the massive growth of government, it’s arguable whether the executive branch has become a quasi-criminal syndicate, no matter who runs it (when is the last time a president didn’t oversee massive corruption and criminality?). But if a pattern of criminal activity is shown by members of a group, and that activity always benefits their common interest, it will be difficult to argue that there was no “enterprise” in place.11
Now, prosecuting an administration as a criminal syndicate presents certain challenges—first and foremost, the fact that the Department of Justice is responsible for administering the RICO statute. That puts any RICO prosecution in the hands of the Eric Holder Justice Department, which is to say, it kills any chance of real consequences for the Obama administration. But that’s not to say that Holder shouldn’t investigate. Under the law, the attorney general is supposed to investigate whenever there are “reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of criminal law.” That’s an incredibly low bar.12
But let’s take this out of the hands of Eric Holder. Assume for a moment that President Obama’s administration were in the private sector. He’d be in court so fast it would make his head swim. Were Obama a civilian in the business world he so despises, and were he stripped of his executive privilege, there is no doubt that not only would many of his bureaucrat lieutenants find themselves in jail, but that he would be hard pressed to prove his innocence. Either he would be culpable of presiding over a criminal enterprise, participating in obstruction of justice and becoming an accessory after the fact, or he would be the kingpin.
THE ANOINTED ONE
The first secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, worried in Federalist No. 70 that if America were to embrace a council of executives, that would leave room for virtually any wrongdoing to go unpunished. Nobody would be able to be held accountable, because there would be too many people with conflicting areas of responsibility.13 Accountability was the hallmark of the founding ideal. As Harry Truman would later put it, the goal was for the buck to stop on the president’s desk.
That vision went out the window with the rise of Woodrow Wilson and the administrative government. Wilson believed that the legislative branch was an obstacle to change (sound familiar?) and that the presidency represented the collective will of the people. But the president couldn’t do everything on his own. He needed helpers. Lots of helpers. America, he wrote, should be run not by millions of citizens, but by “hundreds who are wise.” Those hundreds would not be selected by the people. They would be selected by the president. “Self-government,” Wilson scoffed, “does not consist in having a hand in everything, any more than housekeeping consists necessarily in cooking dinner with one’s own hands.”14 This vision would usher in a glorious age in which the Constitution was scrapped and the executive branch experts would run things.15
It took a hundred years, but Wilson got his wish: a president with almost ultimate power and a huge cadre of agents to implement it, a horde of servants so huge that the president can always place blame with a low-level flunky. The number of agencies of the federal government has increased exponentially; there are literally thousands of agencies and subagencies of the federal government, not to mention the nearly 2.8 million civilian employees of the executive branch.16 In 1900, there were approximately 300,000 such employees.17
That’s a lot of people to hide behind.
And President Obama is an expert at hiding from his own crimes. That’s doubly true, given the bizarre worship of Obama himself.
There has never been worship for a president like the worship for President Obama. It is not merely political admiration; it borders on the psychosexual. The 2012 Democratic National Convention featured the wholesale abandonment of the donkey logo for the Democratic Party, supplanted instead by the fascist-nouveaux Obama logo, complete with a blue O overarching a subjected-but-celebrating red population. A giant sand statue of Obama adorned the sidewalk near the arena. Teary-eyed women wearing homemade Obama T-shirts thronged together, cheering wildly for abortion—not for the right to choose, but for the moral righteousness of the murder of the unborn. Street vendors selling gear plastered with Obama’s visage—illegally, no doubt, and without any taxes paid—grinned as they passed out the outerwear of redistributionism. Posters of Barack and Michelle adorned the streets like paintings of Mary and Joseph in Rome. While Bill Clinton drew attention for his presence, it was Obama who drew obeisance.
And when Obama appeared onstage, the atmosphere in the room was near orgasmic. Women screamed and jumped up and down as though they had just seen Jim Morrison reappear from the dead. Hands reached out as though to touch him, to put their fingers on the cult figure who could lead them to the promised land. And Obama did not disappoint. He turned himself into a Messiah-mirror who could grant salvation simply by allowing citizens to believe in him: “So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens—you were the change.”
This was the message Obama put forth in his second inaugural address as well. He was the wellspring from which liberty could be drawn. He was the source of all rights. He could change human nature—and he could grant absolution, for in joining him, you embraced that world-altering Change: “When times change, so must we. . . . Being true to our founding . . . does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.” Liberty means whatever Barack Obama thinks it means. But we can all join him in his quest for meaningless liberty. For it is the quest itself that grants meaning, and cleanses sin.
Thus the Blessed One spake.
Worship for Obama is the only thing that has prevented him from imploding in personal approval polls. The historically large gap between disapproval for a president’s policies and approval for the president during this administration personally boggles the mind. His personal job approval numbers have never dropped below 41 percent, according to poll averages.18 Yet his job approval numbers on the economy routinely drop below 40 percent, hitting their low in September 2011, when less than 34 percent of the public approved of his performance.19 His job approval numbers on health care, his signature issue, have been in the toilet consistently since the launch of Obamacare, hitting their low in August 2011, when just 20 percent of the public approved of his policies.20 Foreign policy is the president’s best-polling area, and even there, his approval ratings dropped dramatically in the summer months of 2013.21 Yet he remains largely popular, especially among Democrats, who treat their Sun King as Justin’s Beliebers treat their icon. His approval rating has never dropped below 70 percent among Democrats, and generally hovers well above 80 percent.22
Compare those numbers with the numbers for President George W. Bush. His last positive job approval numbers appeared in February 2005. From there, he saw a drop-off so dramatic that by the time he left office, just 28 percent of Americans approved of his job performance. Just a bare majority within his own party approved of his job performance in those polls.
How can Obama continue to ride high in the public opinion polls when nobody really likes his policies?
The answer is that nobody holds Obama responsible for his policies. They see him merely as a figure, a principle, a talisman of good feeling. As sycophant rapper Jay-Z put it, President Obama’s “presence is charity. . . . Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is.”23
THE DUALITY OF SUPERMAN
This is an air Obama cultivates. He projects an air of übercompetence, a willingness to go it alone; his White House Flickr account routinely features hero shots of him, back to the sun, gazing toward the future in full Mao style. Simultaneously, however, he portrays himself as the victim of circumstance, a mere cork bouncing merrily along the surface of politics, a target of enemies both without and within.
World-beater Obama is the campaign guy—the man who begins to speak the moment he sees a light go on (which makes trips to the refrigerator particularly lengthy). This is the fellow who suggests that he can single-handedly fix Americans’ problems. Upon entering office, Obama portrayed himself as a transformative figure, the messenger of Hope and Change. He pledged a new day for American government. Transparency? He would run the “most transparent administration in history.” Ethics? He would preside over the most “ethical administration in U.S. history.” Success? Why, he wouldn’t just solve unemployment, the national debt, and financial malfeasance, he’d reverse the rise of the oceans and make the world safe for our children’s children (so long as they could escape the uterus unharmed). Congress wouldn’t stand in his way. The Supreme Court wouldn’t stand in his way. Neither would state power, religious institutions, charitable institutions, the business community, or the family unit.
Then there’s President Obama—the man who is supposed to govern. When it comes to actual matters of government, Obama suddenly becomes invisible. Again and again, Obama has fostered the impression of individual power by claiming that he can act alone, without Congress. Then again, he contends on the very same issues that he can’t act alone, and ultimately isn’t responsible for action or lack thereof.
Here’s Obama on gun control: “I am constrained . . . by the system that our founders put in place.”24 And here’s Obama on gun control: “Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities.”25
Here’s Obama on immigration: “This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is not true. The fact of the matter is there are laws on the books I have to enforce. And there is a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and comprehensive immigration reform passed by perpetuating the notion that somehow by myself I can just go and do these things.”26 And here’s Obama on immigration: “If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist they vote on it right away.”27
Here’s Obama on tax policy: “So where I can act on my own, I’m going to act on my own. I won’t wait for Congress.” And again: “That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it.” And again: “We’re going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with our without Congress.”28 And here’s Obama on tax policy: “The one thing about being president is, after four years, you get pretty humbled. You’d think maybe you wouldn’t, but actually you become more humble. You realize what you don’t know. You realize, you know, all the mistakes you made. But you also realize you can’t do things by yourself. That’s not how our system works. You’ve got to have the help and the goodwill of Congress. . . .”29
President Obama has contended, over and over, that he is surprised by the actions of his own executive branch. Over and over, he has contended that the way he has learned about scandals within his own administration is from the nightly news. Dan Pfeiffer, a top White House adviser, said in May 2013 that President Obama was personally unaware of the IRS scandal. “No one in the White House was aware,” he said on national television.30 When the Obamacare website began disastrously with glitches lasting weeks, White House press secretary Jay Carney blithely informed the press that Obama didn’t know “until the problems manifested themselves” after reports in the press.31 Similarly, President Obama found out about the Department of Justice targeting reporters from “the news reports,”32 and the Solyndra scandal from “some news accounts.”33 He was supposedly unaware that his own NSA was spying on foreign leaders with whom we are under treaty.34
So, which is it? Is our president a helpless naïf, wandering door to door in search of aid? Or is he an aspiring authoritarian in control of his operation?
In the end, it doesn’t matter. President Obama’s executive branch is his. As he himself said about 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “if he aspires to being president one of the things you learn is, you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations.”35
The fact is that when Barack Obama said he would act alone, what he really meant is that he would act with hundreds of agencies, dozens of czars, and millions of federal employees to back him. In our system, thanks to a hundred years of executive branch growth, the president does bear outsize power. Thanks to Supreme Court decisions stretching back decades, the president has the ability to unilaterally change policy through executive orders; the limits on executive orders are quite vague. The president also has the ability to appoint regulatory bureaucrats, whose authority is only constrained by statute—and in many cases, whose administrative judgments are virtually unreviewable. The power of the legislative branch has declined since the rise of Wilsonian progressivism, but the power of the executive branch has expanded dramatically.
Which is why President Obama’s claims of impotence ring hollow. On gun control, President Obama ended up acting alone by signing several executive orders curtailing Americans’ Second Amendment rights. President Obama unilaterally refused to enforce immigration law with regard to young illegal immigrants. President Obama unilaterally shifted cash during sequestration in order to harm taxpayers in a blatant political attempt to create impetus for tax and spending increases.
That doesn’t mean the president can do everything he’d like to do. Congressional action is still necessary for the most epic federal encroachment. And it’s just those constitutional boundaries that force the Obama administration into the realm of illegality.
The Obama administration is honeycombed with criminality. Yet the administration routinely claims that investigations are under way, that low-level staffers are responsible for all the problems, and that the president remains pristine, clean from the taint of scandal. As we will see, however, the Obama administration has shown a peculiar willingness to overlook the criminality of those who help its agenda. Promotions are in store for those who break the law to benefit the Obama platform. Even those who are moved out of positions of power are handed cushy jobs outside the administration, helping to push forward the Hope and Change externally.
So why doesn’t anyone seem to notice?
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?
Let’s go back to those dreaded days Before Barack, when a benighted dunderhead who didn’t maintain dominion over the seas or the English language held the Oval Office. The press routinely climbed all over George W. Bush. Every scandal went all the way to the top. Every whiff of nastiness spread all over the administration. Bu$hitler was a war profiteer willing to trade American blood for oil. He supposedly signed off on Abu Ghraib. He was responsible for the political scouring of the Department of Justice, the outing of a CIA agent, the illegal torture of detainees, racist-driven slow response time to Hurricane Katrina, bribery of journalists, and much, much more. The New York Times approvingly reported on former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s book accusing George W. Bush of premeditated murder.36
This was the press doing its job—seriously. Yes, the press is leftist. Yes, the press hates Republicans. Yes, the press attempted to draw every possible inference from every possible Bush administration screwup, justified or not. But better an overzealous press than an underzealous one. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
The press is no longer free, however. Or at least, they have forged their own fetters, and shackled themselves to a corrupt president. Blinded by their own godworship for the first major party black candidate in American history, charmed by his speech patterns and bloviating language, the press decided early on that this man, Barack Obama, held potential for change unparalleled in American history. The wild celebration with which the press met Obama’s initial nomination finds no match in the history of the media. As Chris Matthews put it four years into Obama’s failed tenure, “Everything he’s done is clean as a whistle. He’s never not only broken any law, he’s never done anything wrong. He’s the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American. And all they do is trash the guy.” According to Matthews, like the rest of his compatriots in the media, criticism of Obama could be explained only by appeal to racism.37
The press, like the good flunkies for the Obama they have become, now abide by the crucial mob rule: snitches get stitches. When legendary journalist Bob Woodward criticized the White House’s strategy on the mandatory spending cuts known as sequestration, he was told by Gene Sperling that he would “regret” speaking out with that perspective. Woodward said, “It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters you’re going to regret doing something you believe in.”38 Instead of the media jumping to Woodward’s defense, they jumped to the attack, accusing him of exaggerating the White House’s behavior—even as major journalist after major journalist, from Ron Fournier of the National Journal to David Jackson of USA Today, confirmed the general notion that the White House routinely treated reporters with hostile intent.39 When it emerged that the Department of Justice had targeted both the Associated Press and Fox News, the press responded with a united front of faux indignation . . . which promptly faded away, leading the media to begin speculating about whether all of the Obama administration scandals had been overblown.
Obsessed with their hand-chosen One, the press have ignored scandals that would have sunk any Republican below Richard Nixon in the public mind. The mainstream media did not uncover any of the major scandals of the Obama administration. Not a single one. Virtually all were revealed by foreign press, bloggers, Fox News, or government document dumps.40 In fact, the media have gone out of their way to cover up those scandals, turning the stories into laments about Republican overreach and unjust attacks on President Obama. The audacity of Jay Carney and President Obama in declaring their myriad scandals “phony” springs from their well-grounded assumption that the media will never allow those scandals to coagulate into anything truly damaging.
After all, there’s progressive work to be done.
The RICO statute was designed to target the mafia—an organization that top law enforcement officials including FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover insisted for years didn’t exist. According to the Department of Justice, “Congress found that organized crime, particularly La Cosa Nostra, had extensively infiltrated and exercised corrupt influence over numerous legitimate businesses and labor unions throughout the United States, and hence posed ‘a new threat to the American economic system.’ ” Congress expressly worried in the RICO law itself that organized crime was using its money and power to “subvert and corrupt our democratic processes.”41
Clearly, those worries were understated. Now the chief threat to the democratic process comes not from the mafia but from within the government itself.
President Obama is that threat. It’s safe to be an ally of President Obama’s. It’s very dangerous to be an enemy. That isn’t chance. That’s design. “If they bring a knife to the fight,” then-candidate Obama said in 2008, “we bring a gun.” The executive branch is President Obama’s gun. But gangster John Gotti had a rule about guns that President Obama makes sure to follow: “It’s nice to have them close by, but don’t carry them. You might get arrested.”
In The Godfather, new mob boss Michael Corleone meets with his soon-to-be wife, Kay. He has just taken over day-to-day operating duties from his father, Don Corleone.
“My father is no different than any other powerful man,” he says. “Any man who is responsible for other people, like a senator or a president.”
“You know how naïve you sound?” Kay shoots back.
“Senators and presidents don’t have men killed.”
Michael shakes his head. “Oh. Who’s being naïve, Kay?”
We’ve been naïve. And thanks to that naïveté, President Obama is getting away with murder.
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