Supreme Court To Hear Case Against UnConstitutional Asset Forfeitures Against Citizens Awaiting Trial

If citizens awaiting trial are truly innocent until they have been proven guilty in court, why does the state have the power to commence their punishment (and cripple their chances of a solid legal defense) from the moment of their indictment?

The Supreme Court will hear a case this week that could shape the future of Federal forfeiture laws, laws that allow the state to seize and freeze the assets of the accused. Aside from violating the 5th Amendment (which guarantees the government cannot seize personal property without due process), as well as the 6th Amendment (which ensures the accused a right to legal counsel of their choosing), forfeiture laws also effectively return the burden of proof to the accused by robbing them of the wealth they could otherwise use to pay for a robust legal defense.

Before the high court is the case of Kerri and Brian Kaley, a New York couple who in 2007 were charged in a seven-count indictment with illegally receiving obsolete or overstocked medical equipment tossed aside by Ethicon, the device company that employed Kerri Kaley, and conspiring to resell the equipment to a Miami-based distributor.

At no time has Ethicon ever alleged that the Kaleys stole any of the equipment the company had voluntarily disposed of. Rather, the couple learned in 2005 that they were the target of a Federal investigation into the growing “gray market” for unneeded medical devices caught in the bureaucratic limbo between vendors, which didn’t want them anymore, and hospitals, which routinely render unused devices obsolete by adopting newer, pricier equipment as it becomes available.

The Kaleys had retained Miami criminal defense attorney Howard Srebnick, who has remained on the case throughout its long history. The couple had planned to finance their long and expensive legal battle chiefly via a $500,000 home equity loan against their property, which they converted to certificates of deposit. After their indictment, the government seized all of that with the expectation that the Kaleys would never get the money back once they had been found guilty (or had pleaded to some of the charges).

As Reason succinctly stated in a Wednesday piece, the pre-trial forfeiture assures prosecutors that the Kaleys “can no longer afford to pay the lawyers they chose and trust, the people who have been representing them for eight years and are familiar with the details of their case.”

According to The Miami Herald, Srebnick, the Kaley’s longtime attorney, will argue before the Supreme Court that his clients:

…should be allowed to keep their bank accounts and other worldly possessions unless prosecutors can show before trial that the evidence supporting an indictment justifies the seizure of those assets.

For decades, prosecutors have only needed to point to a federal grand jury indictment to argue that defendants’ assets are traceable to the criminal allegations and therefore can be seized. And judges have almost always ruled in the prosecution’s favor because of the presumption that the grand jury found “probable cause” that a crime was committed.

The Kaleys’ chances, though, appeared to be better than those of many defendants. In a related but separate case arising out of the Federal investigation, fellow Ethicon employee Jennifer Gruenstrass went to trial and was found not guilty.

Nothing To See Here: Just The National Parks Director Admitting Obama White House Was In On Persecution Plan

Appearing Wednesday at a joint hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis found himself admitting that President Barack Obama was well aware of the strategy the Park Service was implementing to turn away veterans from open-air memorials as soon as the government shutdown went into effect:

In the video, Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.), who sits on the Oversight Committee, questions Jarvis specifically about the public outcry over his agency barricading and policing the high-visibility sites at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

MICA: Now you said you take full responsibility for that action. Is that correct?

JARVIS: That’s correct.

MICA: And did you discuss this with the Secretary of the Interior, [Sally] Jewell, at any time?

JARVIS: Yes, I did.

MICA: … Then you didn’t discuss it with anyone in the White House, did you?

JARVIS: Ahm, in — several times on the phone with the White House, I presented with the Secretary my decision, but there was never the reverse. There was never any [unintelligible] coming in. [Mica cuts him off.]

MICA: So you discussed with officials in the White House your action, and you also discussed it with her.

Jarvis appeared to be ready to qualify the nature of those discussions — likely in an effort to absolve the President of any culpability in concocting the “make ’em hurt” strategy — but Mica had already gotten the information he wanted and was ready to move on.

Shutdown Shuts Down: Dems And RINOs Win, Conservatives Lose In Congress’ Capitulation To Obama

The Senate is ending the government shutdown. By the time you read this, the Senate will likely have voted on a bill to fund the government through January 15 of next year and to raise the Federal debt limit until February 7. The only GOP “win” in the Senate bill involves new requirements that Obamacare buyers seeking government subsidies must prove their qualifications by demonstrating low income.

With a House vote expected later in the evening, President Barack Obama is expected to sign off on the bill before the Thursday debt limit “deadline,” as forecast by the U.S. Treasury.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is not expected to delay or attempt to amend whatever the Senate is passing. “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” he said Wednesday on a Cincinnati radio show. “There’s no reason for our members to vote ‘no’ today,” he said later.

Boehner’s full capitulation comes just a day after House Republicans attempted to counter the Senate bill by cobbling together their own last-minute plan before realizing the votes to see it through simply weren’t there.

Even Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who had stood firm against the debt limit deal unless Congress voted to defund Obamacare, stood aside Wednesday to allow the Senate to expedite a vote – even though   Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cannot bring the measure before the full Senate for consideration today without unanimous consent.

Judging from conservative comments across the internet, there’s a great deal of ambivalence among Republicans as to whether Cruz is to be praised or blamed for his role in the shutdown debate – including Wednesday’s go-along.

On one hand, Cruz mobilized whatever conservative support might have been latent among Congressional GOP leaders and their constituents. He did strike early and often – when tapping into public opinion to defund Obamacare and pressuring Congress to listen to the people’s will would have mattered. He had little GOP support, as the ensuing weeks proved.

On the other hand, there’s no denying that Cruz kept up his tough talk while dialing down his walk, once it became clear that he and Mike Lee (and maybe Rand Paul) were becoming an increasingly isolated three-man army within their own party’s Senate bloc. He or Lee or anyone could filibuster today’s Senate vote and bide more time for leveraged compromise, if leveraged compromise were in the offing.

But the majority of spineless Senate Republicans simply wouldn’t sit at Cruz’ table. A unified pushback against the Democrats never stood a chance of coming together from the balkanized ranks of Republican Senators.

And it’s important to remember there’s little gain in vilifying the few Congressmen who put up a principled fight, when the entire charade was perpetrated from the far left. If Obama and Reid and lock-step Democrats weren’t hell-bent on borrowing more money – Obamacare concessions be damned – there would never have been a fight between the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate in the first place.

Instead, we’re on track to make debt-ceiling history once again. Now that Obama and the Dems have carte blanche, we should be ticking past the $17 trillion threshold any day now.

Boehner Blinks; Even MSM Says Debt Deadline Not ‘Gloom And Doom’; We’ve Defaulted Before; After Debt Fight, President Pivots To Immigration Reform; Texas Lt. Gov Says Impeach Obama; ATF Whistleblower Training: Leak And Face The Firing Squad – Wednesday Morning News Roundup 10-16-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

  • House Speaker John Boehner is considering letting the House take the initial vote today on a Senate-prepared bill to lift the debt ceiling and restart funding for the shuttered federal government–apparently even if House conservatives object. Source: National Journal…


  • All of the grave doom-and-gloom warnings aside, the federal government is unlikely to run out of money Thursday even if the latest hopes for a budget deal don’t pan out. Instead, Thursday is actually the day the Treasury Department will run out of accounting maneuvers that will allow it to continue to borrow money. Source: NBC News…


  • Although President Barack Obama and the establishment media routinely describe a potential federal default as “unprecedented,” the United States government has flaked on its debt service several times, and one expert says the current default has already begun. Source: The Daily Caller…


  • President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that stalled immigration reform would be a top priority once the fiscal crisis has been resolved. “Once that’s done, you know, the day after, I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform,” he told the Los Angeles affiliate of Spanish-language television network Univision. Source: Reuters…


  • A surprising statement from one of Texas’ top leaders: President Obama should be impeached. This came from Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who is running for re-election and appeared at a Tea Party candidates forum. Dewhurst called his comments those of a private citizen, but when pressed on that issue by the Texas Observer, he refused to back down.  “That happens to be my view, that the man has committed crimes that do not warrant his staying in office.” Source: CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth…


  • After months of anguished debate over mass shootings, gun control and Second Amendment rights, the Justice Department finds itself on the defensive after a training manual surfaced that suggests federal agents could face a firing squad for leaking government secrets. The online manual for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — complete with a photo of a turn-of-the-century firing squad — was obtained by The Washington Times from a concerned federal law enforcement official, and it immediately drew protests from watchdogs who said it showed a lack of sensitivity to gun violence and the continuing hostile environment toward whistleblowers. Source: The Washington Times…

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Senate Shutdown Proposal Would Exempt Unions From Mandatory Obamacare Tax For One Year

The Senate version of an agreement to end the Federal government shutdown includes a concession to appease unions whose nonplussed leaders became more critical of the Affordable Care Act — a piece of legislation they once ardently supported — in the run-up to its Oct. 1 implementation.

According to The Hill, the Senate agreement would delay an Obamacare tax — the so-called “reinsurance” fee — by one year.

Originally conceived as a three-year implementation tax, the reinsurance fee is designed to stabilize individual Obamacare premiums by generating revenue that is supposed to be pumped into the funding pool as more sick people enroll for new insurance policies, which by law must accept patients with pre-existing illnesses.

From The Hill:

The reinsurance tax figured prominently in discussions at a recent AFL-CIO convention, where workers passed a resolution demanding changes to ObamaCare.

The White House recently denied labor’s top priority on ObamaCare, ruling that union health plans are not eligible for the new subsidies because they are already helped by the tax code.

Democrats could be pushing to delay the reinsurance fee for one year as an olive branch after that apparent slight, though it could also create trouble for insurers on the marketplaces.

Even though the tax is mandatory for all group health plans, unions have successfully twisted the arms of many of Obamacare’s longtime Congressional supporters, persuading Senate backers of the exemption that union enrollees’ policy premiums will needlessly increase — despite the fact that the tax is mandatory for all group health plans.

Under the law, companies that offer health coverage are required to pay a reinsurance fee of $63 per covered person next year, with the fee tapering off over the subsequent two years.

This Graph Illustrates Who Holds America’s $17 Trillion Debt – Including The One-Third Held By Foreign Countries

NPR may have had its reasons for putting together this grid explaining how the Nation’s $16.8 trillion is divvied up – it’s featured in a story that begins “If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling soon, the U.S. government won’t be able to pay its debts” – but anyone who approaches the infographic with an open mind can come away with their own conclusions.


In some ways, the image reads like a history lesson in how the U.S. government grew to the bloated monstrosity that future generations will inherit. The Federal government (for NPR’s purposes, the Federal Reserve is included here) owns nearly half of U.S. debt, including $2.6 trillion in Social Security obligations. More than $1 trillion is tied up in Federal and military retirement funds and the Fed itself holds $2.1 trillion.

Many of these obligations stem from the decisions of previous Presidential Administrations and Congressional acts that instituted or expanded government programs – the Clinton-era manipulation of Social Security to keep the Federal budget balanced, not to mention the original creation of the Social Security program itself, are two of many examples.

Foreign banks and governments hold about $5.5 trillion in U.S. debt, amounting to nearly one-third of the $16.8 trillion total. As everyone knows, China holds the most financial sway with $1.3 trillion, followed closely by Japan with $1.1 trillion.

For some numeric perspective, the Federal debt increased an astronomical $4.89 trillion under President George W. Bush, and has increased $6.1 trillion more in the nearly five years that President Barack Obama has been in office. The Federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion when Bush left office.

As Obama continues to drive a hard bargain on insisting that Congressional Democrats get their way in raising the Federal debt limit, here’s Senator Barack Obama in 2006 condemning President Barack Obama’s present rhetoric on raising the debt ceiling:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. … I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.


Union Wants Obama To Waive Federal Employees’ Monthly Bills, Rent, Mortgage Payments Until Shutdown Ends

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), is asking the White House to give Federal workers a major break during the government shutdown by declaring the Congressional impasse a National emergency.

In a letter to President Barack Obama late last week, Cox asked the President to declare the shutdown an emergency so that employees could become eligible for the kind of temporary financial breaks normally associated with victims of catastrophes like hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes.

Specifically, Cox asked Obama to “call upon the financial and business community to provide arrangements for skip mortgage payments, skip rent payments, skip car loan payments, skip education and other loan payments until this is all over.” He also asked that Federal employees be given free temporary access to free healthcare, gasoline, public transportation, and utilities until “their paychecks have been restored,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

From the story:

He [Cox] proposed that the White House intervene to declare the shutdown a federal emergency, which would allow workers to collect zero-interest loans from FEMA and force businesses to extend lines of credit to employees.

…Federal workers collected half-paychecks for their last pay period and will not be paid again until after the shutdown ends. House Republicans passed legislation that would allow workers to receive retroactive pay, which would provide workers with lump sum checks at the end of the shutdown.

An AFL-CIO member, the AFGE funds a political action committee that spent the vast majority of its more than $1.1 million campaign contribution allotment on Democrats in the 2012 elections.

The Dream Of Insurance For All: Make Less Money, And Government Will Pick Up The Tab

I was talking with friends and new acquaintances at the local Oktoberfest celebration last week when the topic of Obamacare came up. One couple, a young husband and wife, offered that they earn a comfortable, but not affluent, living. They’re presently uninsured and, newly married, were already planning to shop for health insurance as the new year approaches. The wife, owner of a growing food cart business, is self employed but earns the majority of the couple’s income. The husband earns a salary as an office assistant in a small law group.

I’m paraphrasing here, but when we started talking Obamacare, the husband told us:

You know, my wife and I have been talking about it, and I’m seriously considering going to my bosses and asking them either to give me a dramatic pay raise so we can afford some kind of good insurance of our own choosing, or to give me a dramatic pay cut, so that our combined income qualifies us for subsidies on a half-decent Obamacare insurance plan. With the money we make right now, we can’t afford the Obamacare ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ premiums unless we qualify for subsidies, and we have no idea if the private plans we’re looking at now will be affordable once the insurance company revises its pricing structure to make up for whatever it could lose if not enough healthy people sign up for its Obamacare coverage.

Like I said, that’s a paraphrase, but that’s the essence of this young couple’s dilemma.

Apparently, their concern is one that’s increasingly shared by many others in the Nation’s middle and lower-middle classes.

A weekend article in the San Francisco Chronicle documented the new phenomenon of people asking for less money just to have President Barack Obama’s affordable insurance.

“People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California [the State-managed Obamacare exchange] next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy,” the story advises.

It goes on:

Take, for example, Jacqueline Proctor of San Francisco. She and her husband are in their early 60s. They have been paying $7,200 a year for a bare-bones Kaiser Permanentehealth plan with a $5,000 per person annual deductible. “Kaiser told us the plan does not comply with Obamacare and the substitute will cost more than twice as much,” about $15,000 per year, she says.

This new plan, Kaiser’s cheapest offering for 2014, would consume about 25 percent of their after-tax income. The new plan still has a $5,000 deductible but provides coverage for things her current policy does not, such as maternity care, healthy child visits and coverage for dependents up to age 26. Proctor has no use for such coverage, since her son is 30.

Premiums are also going up for many people next year because insurers can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or impose lifetime coverage caps.

All of this has to come out in the wash, and there’s no way for Obamacare to be affordable to someone without making health care payments completely untenable for somebody else.

Nothing illustrates just how regressive a scheme Obamacare is than watching willing participants in the workforce adjust their expectations of the American dream to accommodate a new personal goal in the era of socialized medicine: the goal of earning less money than they have in the past.

“If they can adjust (their income), they should,” Karen Pollitz, senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the Chronicle. “It’s not cheating, it’s allowed.”

No one wants to make less money to do a job that hasn’t changed. Who isn’t betting that middle-class tax fraud increases exponentially in 2014?

Jerry Brown’s Gun Control Vetoes Don’t Go Far Enough

Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a slew of draconian gun bills last week, calling proposals that further narrow the State’s definition of “assault” weapons an “infringement on gun owners’ rights.”

“I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement,” he remarked in vetoing a proposed restriction on any rifle with a removable magazine.

Noting that California already has “some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” Brown vetoed seven gun control bills that had passed the California Assembly.

Those included the rifle bill, as well as proposals that sought to criminalize failure to report missing or stolen firearms, retool the legal definition of a shotgun and restrict the transfer of “unsafe” handguns.

But he also signed into law four other gun control bills, approving a new extension on how long the U.S. Department of Justice can prolong the wait on background checks and limiting the sale of add-ons that increase ammo capacity.

Most devastating to California firearms owners, though, was Brown’s approval of a bill that bans the sale of all forms of lead ammunition — on the grounds that lead pollutes the environment.

Even as he approved that measure, AB 711, Brown offered a perplexing semi-apology to outdoorsmen, the very group most likely to be dramatically affected by the ban. In his signing statement, Brown wrote:

Lead poses a danger to wildlife… Since 2007, California has prohibited it in the eight counties within the [endangered California] condor range.

…I am concerned, however, the impression left from this bill is that hunters and sportsmen and women in California are not conservationists. I know that is not the case. Hunters and anglers are the original conservationists. Since the 1930s, hunters have done more than any other community to conserve species and their habitats, and that is a lasting conservation legacy.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation condemned  the lead ban, noting the new restriction “amounts to a virtual ban on hunting because the federal government considers most types of non-lead ammunition to be ‘armor-piercing’ and limits its manufacture and sale.”

The governor’s legislative update page lists all the new gun laws. For a plain-language rundown, check out this article at The Truth About Guns.

Palin’s Facebook Salvo: Obama Has Committed ‘Impeachable’ Offenses

Sarah Palin let rip on President Barack Obama Monday afternoon, calling his attack strategy on House Republicans’ efforts to fund the government — a process the Constitution expressly allots to the House of Representatives — an “impeachable offense.”

In a posting-cum-editorial titled “Obama’s Debt Default is on His Shoulders While We Shoulder His Impeachable Offenses,” Palin derided Obama’s assertion last week that the government would not be incurring additional Federal debt if Congress again raises the debt limit:

Apparently the president thinks he can furlough reality when talking about the debt limit. To suggest that raising the debt limit doesn’t incur more debt is laughably absurd. The very reason why you raise the debt limit is so that you can incur more debt. Otherwise what’s the point?

It’s also shameful to see him scaremongering the markets with his talk of default. There is no way we can default if we follow the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4, requires that we service our debt first. We currently collect more than enough tax revenue to service our debt if we do that first. However, we don’t have enough money to continue to finance our ever-growing federal government (with our $17 trillion dollar national debt that has increased over 50% since Obama took office). That’s why President Obama wants to increase the debt limit. He doesn’t want to make the tough decisions to rein in government spending.

Palin obviously exercised restraint by keeping her list of “impeachable offenses” short — presumably for the sake of brevity.

To enumerate the impeachable offenses that have attended the Benghazi coverup, the IRS-Tea Party scandal, the enrichment of the surveillance state and warrantless searches on millions of Americans, the preferential treatment afforded Islamist terrorists and the countries that breed them, Fast and Furious and, most recently, the arbitrary and spiteful persecution of Americans during the shutdown (Obama had the audacity to stage a PR stunt making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Monday even as he was a no-show at the Washington, D.C. veterans’ demonstration over the weekend) — well, that would take a book.

Read Palin’s full post on her Facebook page. If you’re Facebook averse (a sensible way for private individuals to be), Breitbart has copy/pasted the full text here.

Only Muslims Can Say, Write ‘Allah’ Under Malaysian Court Ruling

Three Muslim judges in Malaysia overturned a four year-old ruling Monday, finding that only Muslims have access to the word “Allah.”

Under the unanimous ruling, Christian newspapers doing business in Malaysia cannot refer to a deity named “Allah.”

Christians are a religious minority in Malaysia, which is predominantly a “moderate” Islamic country.

Catholic newspaper The Herald, which prints a Malay language edition, had successfully appealed a 2008 order that prohibited it from using the word “Allah.” But the ruling of that lower court decision was overturned Monday by a higher appeals court, amid a political climate that has seen Prime Minister Najib Razak court the favor of the country’s Muslim majority population by reversing earlier liberal reforms.

From The Jerusalem Post, which reported the story:

The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity,” chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in the ruling. “The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”

…In its case, the government argued that the word Allah is specific to Muslims and that the then-home minister’s decision in 2008 to deny the newspaper permission to print it was justified on the basis of public order.

The newspaper had argued not that it had a fundamental right to free speech in Malaysia, but rather that “Allah” is a word that existed before the advent of Islam itself, and that it has had cultural currency among native Malay speakers for hundreds of years.

The newspaper has pledged to appeal the ruling to the country’s highest court.

Congressional Incumbents On Both Sides Should Fear 2014

The summary for a poll released last week by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal sums up the Nation’s disgust with Congress as a whole, as well as President Barack Obama:

Throw the bums out.

What other message can Washington hear from the results of recent polls? It’s fun to dismiss polls as meaningless, but there’s no dismissing the general Zeitgeist of utter disgust with Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the President revealed by poll after poll after poll after poll.

The NBC/WSJ poll provides perhaps the clearest synopsis of all the many post-shutdown attempts to gauge the extent of Americans’ frustrations because, along with the usual ad hominem questions about Barack Obama and Harry Reid and John Boehner and Ted Cruz, it asked people to think abstractly about Congress as a functioning entity.

“If there were a place on your ballot that allowed you to vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, including your own representative, would you do this, or not?” the poll inquired.

Sixty percent said “yes.” Only 35 percent said “no.”

Articles appeared Friday warning that Republicans had the most to fear from the latest batch of polls’ dire approval numbers.

“A new poll… highlighted public disgust with Congress over the government shutdown and debt deal fight, with Republicans taking much of the blame,” wrote The Hill’s Martin Trujillo. “Six in 10 people said they would defeat and replace every member of Congress if they could, including their own, a warning to members of both parties just a year before the midterm elections. But the news was the worst for Republicans.”

That may be true. And if it is, it’s richly deserved.

Voters as a bloc typically have the long-term memory of a cat, often forgetting or forgiving unpopular legislative acts less than a year before national elections. Does anyone remember that Obama had a 43 percent job approval rating only one year before getting re-elected? But in the present ineffectual climate that envelops Capitol Hill, incumbency is casting a pall around politicians from both parties. No member of Congress whose term is up for grabs in 2014 is safe from the volatility of the poison political atmosphere they themselves have helped to create.

Whether they skew left or right, media outlets that attempt (as MSNBC pathetically did last Thursday) to spin these bad-all-over polls as having a perceived benefit for one political party are fooling their readers. There’s a bounty of voter anger to go around, and 2014 can’t come soon enough.

Patriot Act Author Sponsors Bill To Rein In Patriot Act

Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the man who helped usher in the Patriot Act era as a co-author of the post-Sept. 11 bill, has turned against the broad surveillance powers, loophole abuses and 4th Amendment-shredding licentiousness the law introduced under President George W. Bush and the expansion of Federal police powers under Barack Obama.

Sensenbrenner is working on a new bill — the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act — that purports to outlaw the Patriot Act’s unConstitutional unleashing of police powers against citizens who aren’t specific targets of terror investigations.

The new bill, also called the U.S.A. Freedom Act, arose from Sensenbrenner’s confessed dismay over how far afield the Patriot Act led the Nation’s law enforcement effort from the Act’s intent.

In a synopsis of the U.S.A. Freedom Act published by The Guardian, which previewed a draft of the bill, Sensenbrenner has targeted four key areas of the Patriot Act for abolition or reform:

[The U.S.A. Freedom Act] seeks to limit the collection of phone records to known terrorist suspects; to end “secret laws” by making courts disclose surveillance policies; to create a special court advocate to represent privacy interests; and to allow companies to disclose how many requests for users’ information they receive from the USA. The bill also tightens up language governing overseas surveillance to remove a loophole which it has been abused to target internet and email activities of Americans.

Despite the narrow defeat of a House measure over the summer that sought to defund the National Security Agency (NSA), Sensenbrenner told the newspaper he believes public opinion, coupled with the manifest NSA abuses brought to light by Edward Snowden, have put Congress on the spot to reverse the government’s usurpation of citizens’ Constitutional powers.

“Opinions have hardened with the revelations over the summer, particularly the inspector general’s report that there were thousands of violations of regulations, and the disclosure that NSA employees were spying on their spouses or significant others, which was very chilling,” he said.

Sensenbrenner has bipartisan support from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he also expects strong opposition from Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is floating a bill that tweaks the Patriot Act instead of banning the warrantless bulk collection of electronic data from American citizens. Sensenbrenner even went so far as to condemn Feinstein’s leadership, as well as that of disgraced (but not disciplined) National Intelligence director James Clapper, who lied to Congress about how far the NSA dragnet had cast its net.

“I do not want to see Congress pass a fig leaf because that would allow the NSA to say ‘Well, we’ve cleaned up our act’ until the next scandal breaks. [Party leaders] are going to have to review what kind of people they put on the intelligence committee. Oversight is as good as the desire of the chairman to do it,” said Sensenbrenner. “… If they use a law like Senator Feinstein is proposing, it will just allow them to do business as usual with a little bit of a change in the optics.”

As for Clapper?

“Oversight only works when the agency that oversight is directed at tells the truth, and having Mr. Clapper say he gave the least untruthful answer should, in my opinion, have resulted in a firing and a prosecution.”

Read The Guardian’s assessment of the U.S.A. Freedom Act here. Anything can happen, and talk among Congressmen has never been cheaper. But if this bill survives intact to become law, it at least promises to make the NSA, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and a host of other Federal agencies subject to prosecution if they continue to perpetrate the unConstitutional surveillance methods Snowden laid bare earlier this year.

Oklahoma Has A Major Point In Ongoing Lawsuit To Bring Down Obamacare

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s year-old lawsuit to bring down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is beginning to receive more attention now that Obamacare has endured the first week of its square-wheeled rollout.

Taking a different approach than that employed by the 28 States that lost a Constitutional argument before the Supreme Court, Oklahoma is arguing that the law stands against itself by following separate tracks for those States which create their own insurance exchanges (and agree to fund the attendant expansion of Medicaid), and those States that have Federally-managed exchanges imposed because they refused to participate in implementing the law (or the Medicaid expansion).

The Act specifies that only low-income residents in States that have agreed to expand Medicaid and institute their own health care exchange programs are eligible to receive the promised insurance premium subsidies. Residents of States that don’t participate in Obamacare, by contrast, are not eligible to receive those subsidies – even if they buy Obamacare insurance plans through the Federal exchange program.

Merrill Matthews at Forbes explained back in July how Oklahoma is arguing that dichotomy knocks part of the Obamacare law out of step with its own requirements:

The liberals writing the law assumed the vast majority of states would create their own exchange.  But just to make sure, they included a “carrot” that clearly says that the federal subsidies are available ONLY in the state-created exchanges, not in the federal-state partnerships or the federally created exchanges.

However, 34 states have decided not to play the ObamaCare game and opted for a federally created exchange or the partnership, which means the federal subsidies will not be available to millions of middle- and lower-income workers in those states.

And without the subsidies, insurance would become “unaffordable” under ObamaCare for the vast majority of those families.  They would thus be exempted from the mandate to have coverage, and their employers would be exempted from the penalty for not providing it.

In other words, the most draconian part of ObamaCare would essentially be defunded.  Bingo!

Oklahoma is suing the feds to establish this point.

There are other aspects to the lawsuit, involving the IRS’ punitive enforcement measures against large employers, which National Review has nicely summarized.

A Federal judge overruled the government’s contention that Pruitt lacked standing to proceed with the suit in August.

Will Oklahoma continue to fight this battle alone?

Cave In: House Republicans Stand Down With Proposal To End Standoff

Republican leaders submitted a proposal Friday to temporarily raise the Federal debt limit for six weeks and fund the government through mid-December, consenting to President Barack Obama’s demand that the current $16.7 trillion Federal debt rise further while preserving funding for Obamacare.

The Obamacare medical device tax would be repealed under the House GOP agreement, and there’s some language that strengthens the income verification process for Obamacare recipients who want health care subsidies.

The Republicans also managed to wrest some unspecified sequestration tweaks from the deal, but the agreement is a total capitulation to the no-compromise positions of Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who from the beginning have maintained unconditionally that the debt limit must rise and Obamacare must be funded before Senate Democrats would vote to approve any bill the House sends over that attempts to end the shutdown.

The fact that Republicans in the House and Senate aren’t communicating over variations in the proposals they’ve developed this week has only solidified Obama’s negotiating position. The Hill compared the President’s leverage Friday afternoon to that of an “aloof shopper,” following a meeting with GOP Senators that revealed to Obama that most of them had virtually no idea what their partisan colleagues in the House were proposing.

The eminent GOP surrender leaves Republicans with little political leverage heading into future long-term funding talks as the six-week temporary measure counts down. Late Friday, Obama and Democratic leaders hadn’t agreed to a hard deal, even with all the concessions – a sign that Democrats smell blood and believe they can “no compromise” even further, all the way up to the point of getting exactly what they demanded, free from any concessions whatsoever, from the very first day of the shutdown.

If that happens, the GOP will have squandered whatever credibility it has established throughout this debt fight, because Obama’s speechwriters will have only to say, “Republicans just wasted two weeks of Washington’s time, closed down vital government services and attacked our health plan – and now they don’t have anything to show for it.”

And, lacking meaningful solutions from the GOP to curb the government’s credit-card problem or the disastrous rollout of a regressive socialist state-backed insurance law, most Americans will agree with him.

Graphic: Illinois Woman Sues Local Police For Excessive Force After Cops Refuse To Discipline Their Own

Cassandra Feuerstein of Chicago admits she did it: She was driving under the influence, so she pulled over to the side of the road and attempted to sleep it off. The police encountered her asleep behind the wheel and took her in, charging her with a DUI. Feuerstein didn’t contest the charges and pleaded guilty.

But she’s suing the Skokie, Ill., Police Department for what officer Michael Hart did to her while she was in custody. A caveat: portions of the video below are not pleasant to watch.

Surveillance video inside the police station’s booking area shows Feuerstein, cooperating fully as police ushered her into a cell. According to NBC Chicago, she asked the officers if she could call her husband, and Hart summoned her out of the cell. Then, less than a minute later, the video shows Hart throwing the 47-year-old, 110-pound Feuerstein headfirst into the cell with such force that she wasn’t able to prevent her face from slamming into the concrete bench lining the small room’s opposite wall.

Scroll to the 1:50 mark in the video above if you want to be disgusted. As Feuerstein lies in a growing pool of blood on the cell floor, officers and paramedics return to attend to her in an ordeal that drags on, inside the cell, for several more minutes. A semi-censored, shortened video synopsis of the incident and its bloody aftermath was reported by CBS Chicago.

The NBC Chicago report also has some gruesome pictures of how Feuerstein’s face looked as she recovered. Feuerstein suffered several broken bones in her skull. She now has a permanent titanium plate in her face after enduring reconstructive surgery.

The incident occurred March 10, but Feuerstein’s attorney released video of her jail nightmare this week after filing a Federal lawsuit against the department for police brutality, as well as for Hart allegedly making false statements that led to the writing of a misleading police report.

That report had originally led to an additional charge against Feuerstein for resisting arrest, but prosecutors dropped that charge after reviewing the video evidence.

Since the incident, department officials have given Feuerstein’s case all the moral high ground it needs. Local authorities have declined to discipline officer Hart, and he is still on the job for the Skokie police.

Want To Start A Business? Go West

An annual report that ranks U.S. States according to how business-friendly their tax structures are indicates that people looking for a place to start a new enterprise will do best if they go West.

According to the 2014 iteration of the Tax Foundation’s “State Business Tax Climate Index,” Wyoming tops a top-10 list of business-friendly States rounded out by Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire and a handful of mostly rural western States.

2014 State Business Tax Climate Index

Coming in at the bottom are heavily urban States along the Nation’s East and West coasts, as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin. New York ranked dead last, followed by New Jersey and California.

Texas, in many ways the poster State for low government interference and a (relatively) business-friendly tax structure, fell one spot to No. 11 this year — thanks in large part to aggressive moves from other States seeking to recruit new business, as well as Texas’ margin tax, which the report describes as “problematic” for some corporations.

The Tax Foundation emphasizes that ranking each State against the others provides an important tool to individual business owners, as well as larger companies considering their options as they seek to start up or branch out. “It is important to remember that even in our global economy, states’ stiffest and most direct competition often comes from other states,” write Scott Drenkard and Joseph Henchman in the report’s introduction:

The Department of Labor reports that most mass job relocations are from one U.S. state to another, rather than to a foreign location. Certainly job creation is rapid overseas, as previously underdeveloped nations enter the world economy without facing the highest corporate tax rate in the world, as U.S. businesses do. State lawmakers are right to be concerned about how their states rank in the global competition for jobs and capital, but they need to be more concerned with companies moving from Detroit, MI, to Dayton, OH, rather than from Detroit to New Delhi. This means that state lawmakers must be aware of how their states’ business climates match up to their immediate neighbors and to other states within their regions.

Access the full report here.

House Pitches Sweet Debt Limit Deal To Obama As Senate GOP Readies Tougher, Competing Offer

House Majority Leader John Boehner is set to wave the olive branch at the White House, with an offer to raise the Federal debt ceiling for a six-week period while still keeping the government shut down until a lasting agreement on spending limitations can be struck.

President Barack Obama reportedly “would sign” such an agreement, according to White House press secretary Jay Carney.

The House offer seems to play into the hands of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who (again) said Thursday that Senate Democrats will “negotiate” only if the House first sends over a naked bill that raises the debt limit and omits any new spending limitations.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are organizing a tougher counter-proposal that, if first approved by the House, would authorize a temporary increase in the debt limit while level-funding the Federal government for a year.

That offer also provides for the repeal of the Obamacare medical device tax and strengthens the verification requirements for anyone seeking a Federal subsidy to pay for an Obamacare insurance plan. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly behind the new Senate talks.

The President was scheduled to meet with some House Republicans late Thursday to discuss the new House offer. A House vote could follow if later in the day if both sides leave the talks with an agreement in principle.

Boehner called the House plan a “good-faith effort on our part to move halfway” in the long-running standoff over negotiating a bipartisan agreement to fund the government while stanching what conservatives view as unnecessary spending initiatives – including Obamacare.

You may be frustrated with your Congressman – but don’t dare treat him or her the way Congressman Gary Miller (R-Calif.) treated this reporter when asked about his stance on the House proposal:

Hey, who says membership doesn’t have its perks?

Reid Seeks $1 Trillion Debt Limit Hike Until After 2014 Midterm Elections

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is supporting a new effort led by Congressional Democrats that would increase the Federal debt limit by an additional $1.1 trillion, while pushing the expiration of the new debt limit to December 2014. Midterm elections will be held on Nov. 4, 2014.

Reid’s tactic, if successful, would delay another Congressional fight over the Federal debt limit until after the 2014 midterms, kicking down the road one of the most divisive and, obviously, revealing debates that distinguishes Representatives and Senators for their stances on fiscal policy.

In keeping with Reid’s sine qua non rejection of other attempted spending measures sent over from the House, his new proposal would demand a so-called “clean” resolution that would not address spending reform as it resets the debt ceiling just south of $18 trillion. The debt limit stood at $11.3 trillion when Barack Obama was first sworn in, which means the two-term President is on track to nearly double the Federal debt limit during his eight year in office, just as the debt limit had doubled during George W. Bush’s two Presidential terms.

The Hill, which first reported the Reid proposal Tuesday, observed:

In 2011, President Obama insisted the debt limit be pushed until after the 2012 election so that he would not have to deal with it again before Election Day.

Now it is Senate Democrats who don’t want to face double jeopardy before voters decide whether they get to keep their majority.

Only it’s not double jeopardy. Those who aspire to public service accept the responsibilities that come with the public’s vote of confidence even before they’re elected to office.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the absence of any semblance of spending reform in Reid’s proposal, saying Reid wants to “raise the debt limit by $1 trillion but not do anything about the debt.”

But fellow Republican Lindsey Graham is among a group of Senate RINOs that have indicated they would be open to supporting short-term debt ceiling extensions, even if those proposals are “clean” of any provisions that would rein in future Federal spending.

Breitbart’s Mike Flynn pointed out a revealing truth that subverts Democrats’ “blame the GOP” mantra during the current funding stalemate:

Reid’s move runs against the conventional wisdom that debt ceiling fights are damaging for Republicans. The media and pundits have been saying that the GOP is on a “suicide mission” for wanting negotiations over a debt ceiling hike. The GOP brand was supposedly badly damaged as a result of the last debt ceiling debate, in 2011.

If that’s true, wouldn’t Reid want to have the debt debate just before the midterm elections? If the debate is so damaging for Republicans, it seems Reid and Senate Democrats would be eager to have the debate in the weeks ahead of voters going to the polls.

The truth is, the public sees the debate over the debt ceiling as a consequence of out-of-control spending in Washington. A strong majority of Americans, 61%, think significant spending cuts have to be part of any package to increase the debt.

That is a debate Reid doesn’t want to have in an election year. The GOP should embrace that debate.

He’s almost right on that last point. But an election-year debate over Federal spending could be the kind of public discussion that brings into focus, for voters, exactly where incumbents from both parties stand on government profligacy. And there are plenty of GOP incumbents who, like their Democratic colleagues, would fear a debate like that — unless it occurs after they’ve won the midterms.

Numbers Discredit Obama’s Attempt To Link Debt Limit Fight With ‘Extremist’ Few

Even as President Barack Obama attempted at a Tuesday press conference to exile Congressional conservatives to some imaginary, relegated minority backwater of public opinion for their tough stance against raising the Federal debt limit, FOX News released a poll that shows it’s the President who’s actually in the minority — by a wide margin.

The poll, which measured responses from 952 registered voters, found that 58 percent would vote against raising the Federal debt ceiling if they were in Congress, while only 37 would vote in favor of the hike.

Continuing two weeks of aggravated, violent rhetoric from Democrats angry that the House GOP refuses to pass a so-called “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government, Obama said Republicans are using an “extortion routine” that forces him and future Presidents to “pay a ransom…for Congress to do its basic job [of approving government spending].”

Obama’s speech was a reiteration of previous talking points, as he again pledged not to negotiate with House conservatives over possible piecemeal funding measures ahead of an Oct. 17 debt limit deadline.

Rather, said the President, he would negotiate with the House — which holds the Constitutional power of the purse — only after it approves the standalone increase in the debt ceiling he’s requesting.

Juxtapose Obama’s dogged commitment to a no-strings-attached debt limit increase with this from the FOX News poll:

More than half of Democrats would vote in favor of increasing the debt ceiling (57 percent), while 38 percent would vote against doing so.

At the same time, 62 percent of voters want Congress to raise the limit only after agreeing on “major cuts in government spending.”  Far fewer – 27 percent – believe the limit must be increased and that is it “reckless” to even debate not doing so.

Even Democrats, by a 48-42 percent margin, are more likely to say spending cuts must accompany an increase in the debt limit.

More than half of Democrats would vote in favor of increasing the debt ceiling (57 percent), while 38 percent would vote against doing so.

A wider topical poll by the Pew Research Center asked slightly different questions, but similarly found that Obama shares an equal measure of blame, in the public eye, for his refusal to discuss actual spending cuts as part of a debt limit increase.

The polls, as always, operate in a vacuum of their sponsors’ own making, but they do reveal that the current fight isn’t the simple case of a few conservative “extremists” holding the circumspect majority hostage to their ideology — as the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have repeatedly said.

‘Gestapo Tactics’ — Park Service Rounds Up, Detains Yellowstone Tourists At Gunpoint

One wonders how long it will be before we start reading stories about people getting arrested merely for coming within eyesight or snapping photos at the entrance gate at one of these off-limits public lands the Administration of President Barack Obama is punitively closing down during the phony Federal government shutdown.

A Massachusetts newspaper reported Tuesday on the “Gestapo” treatment locals received at the hands of Federal officers on a vacation trip out to Yellowstone National Park. Unlike earlier reports from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where veterans seemed able to exercise their collective will to thwart Park Service officials who were “guarding” barricaded monuments, these people were actually rounded up and held at gunpoint in a Yellowstone park hotel.

“Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures,” John Macone of the Merrimack Valley-area Eagle-Tribune newspaper wrote Tuesday. “Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.”

From the Eagle-Tribune report:

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

Well, practically speaking, weren’t they?

Even before the roundup and detainment, Vaillancourt said Yellowstone park rangers showed clear signs that they’d been authorized to act swiftly in response to the Federal government shutdown. In the two days she was able to move about inside the park, a ranger accused senior citizens in her bus tour group of “recreating” for piling out of a bus to snap photos of bison.

Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

… “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

Gordon Hodgson, the tour guide, later said the Park Service had employed “Gestapo tactics” against civilians, both American and foreign, who left the incident with a dark view that the American notion of individual liberty is quickly unraveling.

The Long List Of Needless Closures In Barack Obama’s Shutdown Offensive

It’s finally happened: Someone has started a running list of all the unnecessary closures, barricades and service suspensions the Obama White House is perpetrating as part of the President’s deceitful, backwards campaign to convince America that the House of Representatives is holding hostage the political process – and 300 million citizens with it.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Breitbart had tallied 41 instances of the Administration’s punitive tactics since the Oct. 1 government “shutdown” kicked in. Some are more egregious, in their effects, than others – but all betray a commitment to waste more resources punishing people than would be required to simply let them be.

From Breitbart, here are a few lowlights:

… 3. Furloughed Military Chaplains Not Allowed to Work for Free – Furloughed military chaplains willing to celebrate Mass and baptisms for free have been told they will be punished for doing so.


… 10. Obama Tries to Close State-Run Parks in Wisconsin – “The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil’s Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers.”


… 5. Arizona Offers to Fund Grand Canyon, Obama Says ‘Drop Dead’ – “Obama has ordered the Grand Canyon to stay closed, even after the state of Arizona and local businesses have offered to cover the costs necessary to keep it open. In other words, the shutdown isn’t about the money — it’s about hurting the American people just because he can.”


… 31. Although Privately Funded, Historic Ford’s Theater Closed – “Ford’s Theatre, which is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, does not use any federal funding or federal employees for its performances. During previous government shutdowns, the theatre has continued performances.”


… 39. Iwo Jima Memorial Closed, Barricades Erected – “Another open-air memorial in the Washington area is closed and barricaded off: the Iwo Jima Memorial, just across the bridge from D.C. in Rosslyn, Virginia. A source sends along this picture of the barricade set-up at the memorial, which is also called the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.”


… 41. Shutdown Denies Death Benefits to Families of Fallen Soldiers – “The families of five U.S. service members who were killed over the weekend in Afghanistan have been notified that they won’t be receiving the $100,000 benefit normally wired to relatives within 36 hours of the death. The ‘death gratuity’ is intended to help cover funeral costs and help with immediate living expenses until survivor benefits typically begin.”


It cannot be overstated that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are relying on Americans’ ignorance about the legislative process to lie about who’s responsible for the government shutdown, as well as the threat of defaulting on our debts if the House doesn’t agree to raise the debt limit.

That’s because the House, which reserves the exclusive Constitutional authority to initiate spending legislation, has repeatedly agreed to temporarily fund the government and raise the Federal debt limit, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act. It is the sole prerogative of the U.S. House of representatives to do that, and the President’s only recourse is to urge the Senate Democrat majority to reject that plan and vilify the House for holding government hostage.

It’s unlikely that anyone has expressed this more clearly than Thomas Sowell. In a column last week, Sowell wrote:

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the congressional record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that congressmen there have a right to decide whether they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.

…Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.

The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?

If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.

You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.

When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.

Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.

You can read the rest of that devastating piece over at Rare.

And the full Breitbart list of Obama closures can be found here.

NYPD Cop Allegedly Stood By As Bikers Cornered, Beat Man In Front Of Wife And Child

An off-duty New York City police officer has been placed on modified duty after being forced to turn in his gun and badge — all thanks to his alleged role in a sensational chase last week in which a biker gang pursued a family, cornered their SUV, dragged the father from the vehicle and beat him as his wife and toddler watched.

The NYPD officer, whose name has not been released by the department, is allegedly one of several cops who ride with the “Front Line Soldiers” motorcycle gang — a unit known in the area for its members’ distinctive, shiny chrome helmets.

His alleged culpability in last week’s chase and beating stems from his admitting, three days after the event made national news, that he was present during the entire rolling incident and that he stood by and took no action as other gang members dragged Alexian Lien from his Range Rover, beat him in front of his family and left him lying bloody on the ground.

According to the New York Post, NYPD Internal Affairs is investigating whether other cops were also riding among the Front Line Soldiers group that participated in the violence. The unnamed officer who’s already been implicated was allegedly working undercover — although not, evidently, among the bikers:

“It does not appear that he got involved at the scene,” one law-enforcement source said of the undercover, who has hired a lawyer. “He didn’t want to blow his cover,” said the source — though the cop was not investigating the group of bikers.

Cops have uncovered new photo and video evidence showing that Lien was attacked by as many as five bikers, sources said.

One of those bikers was allegedly Robert Sims, 35, of Brooklyn. He was taken into custody Friday afternoon and charged with gang assault, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, attempted assault and attempted gang assault, a source said.

… Reginald Chance, 38, of Brooklyn — depicted in video using his chrome-colored helmet to bash in Lien’s driver’s-side window — was also in custody Friday awaiting charges. Police plan to do lineups Saturday morning.

The chase did injure one of the bikers: a 32-year-old rider whom the frightened Lien ran over in a desperate effort to escape the group as the bikers attempted to surround his SUV. That man, Edwin Mieses, had been riding without a valid driver’s license since 1999 and had never even applied for a motorcycle license, the Post reported. He’s now threatening to sue Lien for injuries that, according to his lawyer, may end up paralyzing him for life.