Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Yes, Mitt, We Have Mass Incarceration in America

RGBStock.com Prison Photo

Quoth Mitt Romney on Fox and Friends: “We don’t have mass incarcerations in America. Individuals are brought before tribunals, and they have counsel. They’re given certain rights. Are we not going to lock people up who commit crimes?”

Finding hard statistics on how many Americans are caught up in the nation’s “justice” system is difficult. Here are a few, culled from various sources, which ring true:

One in every three Americans has a “criminal record.”

One in every thirty or so Americans is, at any given time, under some sort of “correctional supervision” — prison, jail, house arrest, probation or parole.

Double those numbers to get some idea of the “justice” system’s impact on African-Americans. Triple them and you’re starting to get into the ballpark when it comes to African-American males.

Two million Americans, give or take, are at any moment actually behind bars. Some polemicists highlight this figure as “the biggest per capita prison population in the world.” I don’t know if they’re right (official figures from, say, North Korea are naturally suspect), but they’ve definitely got a case.

92% of Americans accused of crimes accept “plea bargains,” admit to lesser charges, and forgo their right to trial in return for lighter sentences. 6% go to trial and are convicted. 2% go to trial and are acquitted.

The Mitt Romneys — and, not so long ago, the Bill Clintons — of the world refer euphemistically to this system as “rule of law.”

The rest of us refer to it as “government gone wild.”

How wild?

Wild enough that the most calculatedly centrist, mainstream politician on the American hustings, Hillary Clinton, thought it necessary to take a poke at the problem in reference to the riots in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s abduction by police and death en route to jail, for the perfectly understandable “crime” of not wanting to hang around an area when the police showed up.

But apparently not too wild for Mitt Romney.  Following two failed presidential campaigns, Romney has re-branded himself as the talk circuit’s new Alfred E. Neuman — “what, me worry?”

Hillary has a point. Or, rather, she’s catching on late instead of never to an existential threat.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, America cannot endure one third criminal and two thirds awaiting arrest. It will cease to be divided. It will re-embrace freedom or it will continue to devolve into totalitarian police statism.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.



Hillary Clinton: Shades of Watergate

English: Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon ...
English: Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon his departure from the White House after resigning the office of President of the United States following the Watergate Scandal in 1974. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s become far too fashionable, over the decades since disgraced president Richard Nixon’s resignation, to tack the suffix “-gate” onto political scandals. The usage no longer conveys much useful information. In most cases, it’s mere cliche.

Not so when it comes to the revelation that, as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton essentially privatized her work email. This is definitely Watergate-level stuff.

Clinton’s actions went far beyond those of Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin, who as governors got caught conducting some official business over personal web mail accounts. Clinton ran all of her office email through her own private server, registered under a fake name and physically located in her New York home.

It wasn’t the Watergate break-in per se that cost Nixon his presidency. It was his attempt to cover up his own role afterward, by erasing taped conversations, that got articles of impeachment moving through Congress.

Those articles were drawn up by the House Judiciary Committee, with advice from a legal team including among its members young Yale Law School graduate Hillary Rodham. Two years later, Ms. Rodham married Yale classmate Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton knew better.

She knew the Federal Records Act required preservation of her official emails on State Department Servers. Neither she nor her staff took steps to comply with that law during her time in office.

She knew that absent such preservation, her official emails would fly under the radar of Freedom of Information Act requests. That was probably one of two reasons why she did what she did.

The other likely reason was that she knew her conduct as Secretary of State could, at some point, come under legal scrutiny and wanted to maintain control of her emails to frustrate such scrutiny. Just like Richard Nixon with his tapes.

After she left office, the State Department requested copies of her official emails. It received only those her aides, as directed by her, decided to turn over.

On March 4, the US House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is investigating the 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Libya, subpoenaed Clinton’s emails relating to that attack.

Will the investigators get those emails without a fight? Will they get all the relevant emails, or just those convenient to Hillary Clinton’s version of events? And most importantly, how will they know whether or not they got everything?

As a libertarian, I oppose letting political officials keep secrets at all. It’s just too dangerous. It threatens our freedom. Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden are heroes of mine for exposing the illegal and immoral activities of politicians and bureaucrats.

But one need not share my radical opposition to government secrecy to understand that Clinton’s actions go beyond the pale. She didn’t just keep government secrets. She took drastic measures to keep those secrets under her personal control, immune to discovery even by the very government she served.

This kind of behavior cost Nixon his presidency. It should cost Clinton her shot at the White House.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.