Archive for Eric Holder

If You’re Not Too Busy…

May I trouble you with another Obama Administration scandal?

The former U.S. Attorney for Arizona could be disbarred, after an investigation found he lied to the Justice Department about his role in trying to discredit the federal whistle-blower who exposed the botched gun-running scheme known as Fast and Furious.

An Office of Inspector General report showed that Dennis Burke – the former chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed as U.S. Attorney for Arizona by President Obama in September 2009 – lied when asked if he leaked sensitive documents to the press meant to undermine the credibility of ATF whistle-blower John Dodson.

The IG report also said Burke likely leaked the memo in retaliation for Dodson’s whistle-blowing, and challenged the credibility of statements he made to congressional investigators. Dodson first went to Congress in 2010 after his own agency and the Justice Department refused to investigate his complaints that Operation Fast and Furious, an anti-gun-trafficking effort, was out of control.

So, one outrageous Justice Department scandal, Fast and Furious, leads to another, leaking sensitive documents and lying to investigators. Is there something in the water?

Maybe in the air:

Ok, we’ve learned our lesson. Last week we tried to give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt over its far-reaching secret subpoenas to the Associated Press, and now we learn that was the least of its offenses against a free press. No attempt to be generous to this crowd goes unpunished.

The latest news, disclosed by the Washington Post on Monday, is that the Justice Department targeted a Fox News reporter as a potential “co-conspirator” in a leak probe. The feds have charged intelligence analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim with disclosing classified information to Fox reporter James Rosen. That’s not a surprise considering that this Administration has prosecuted more national-security cases than any in recent history. [More than all administrations combined, if our data yesterday was correct. ed.]

The shock is that as part of its probe the Administration sought and obtained a warrant to search Mr. Rosen’s personal email account. And it justified such a sweeping secret search by telling the judge that Mr. Rosen was part of the conspiracy merely because he acted like a journalist.

Mr. Reyes is far exceeding his brief here, but the larger fault lies with higher-ups. U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who is conducting the AP and Kim leak investigations, clearly has little regard for normal Justice standards and protocol for dealing with the media. Such a sweeping probe should also have been approved by senior Justice officials, at least by the Deputy Attorney General.

With the Fox News search following the AP subpoenas, we now have evidence of a pattern of anti-media behavior. The suspicion has to be that maybe these “leak” investigations are less about deterring leakers and more about intimidating the press. We trust our liberal friends in the press corps won’t mute their dismay merely because this time the target is a network they love to hate.

A rhetorical statement if there ever was one. In America today, politics trumps all other identity. If you’re gay, Dick Cheney is more “evolved” on gay marriage than Barack Obama—yet how many gay people support Cheney over Obama? Reporters can no longer deny (as they’ve managed against mounting evidence) that this administration is the most hostile to the press since Nixon’s (including Nixon’s?), yet they’re still in the bag for Obama like you can’t believe. (You can’t—believe them, that is.)

I almost don’t blame the politicians—power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If a free press has the exalted status of an “estate” of the realm, it needs to do its job and hold accountable those who would oppress us and them.

Funny, I know.

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The Truth is in There

Sometimes the truth is known, but not acknowledged. It needs to be repeated, confirmed, lived with for a few days.

I first heard days ago that the reason the “Justice” Department hunted down AP reporters’ phone records was because the Obama regime was PO’d it got scooped. No national security risk—just resentment.

That’s its story, and the truth is sticking with it:

Americans were in danger.

That was the chief argument Attorney General Eric Holder tried to make this week for why Justice Department officials seized two months’ worth of phone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press.

But the AP has strongly refuted from the start claims that it put the country in danger. The accusation that the news organization risked national security isn’t sitting so well with other journalists and lawmakers who have started pushing back on the claims.

“We held that story until the government assured us that the national security concerns had passed,” AP President Gary Pruitt said in a written response to the Justice Department’s claims.

A report from The Washington Post appeared to give more weight to the AP’s claims.

According to the Post, the AP had been sitting on a scoop about a failed Al Qaeda plot at the request of CIA officials for five days. The morning they were supposed to release the story, journalists were asked by government officials to wait another day, citing safety concerns.

However, the CIA officials who first cited the security concerns said they no longer had the same worries. Rather, the Obama administration was planning to announce the success of the counterterrorism project the following day, according to The Post report.

There was no longer any threat. It’s just that the regime wanted to maximize its PR. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

In Benghazi, there was a threat, indeed a very dire threat. But they denied it—buried it, even, under a cover story—for the very same reason: PR.

That ties those two stories together.

I heard an interesting theory about the IRS scandal: namely that as Hillary had been implicated by Benghazi, she (with the help and counsel of her husband) exacted revenge on the administration that has hung her out to dry. It’s a little sketchy as conspiracies go, but live with it for a few days. See if it grows into truth.

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Know Nothing

Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, doesn’t know:

If it takes a wise man to acknowledge what he doesn’t know, Eric “The Red” Holder is a freakin’ Solomon!

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Most Transparent Thuggish Administration Evah!

Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

And AP couldn’t be more of a cheerleader if you stuck it in a pleated skirt and gave it pom-poms! What the hell…?

Here’s some background:

The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”

The plot was significant both because of its seriousness and also because the White House previously had told the public it had “no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”

The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot, though the Obama administration continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.

The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government.

Brennan talked about the AP story and investigation in written testimony to the Senate. “The irresponsible and damaging leak of classified information was made … when someone informed The Associated Press that the U.S. government had intercepted an IED (improvised explosive device) that was supposed to be used in an attack and that the U.S. government currently had that IED in its possession and was analyzing it,” he wrote.

He also defended the White House decision to discuss the plot afterward. “Once someone leaked information about interdiction of the IED and that the IED was actually in our possession, it was imperative to inform the American people consistent with government policy that there was never any danger to the American people associated with this al-Qaida plot,” Brennan told senators.

I’m all for not getting blown up by another underwear bomber, but “seizing” phone records? That’s so… Bushian! Actually, while Bush did subpoena a reporter for his sources, I can’t recall anything on the scale of this.

And what are we to make of that aside, highlighted above, that “the White House previously had told the public it had ‘no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden’s death.’”

Were they motivated to intimidate the media because they looked bad? Isn’t that also what motivated them to spin the bogus video cover story after the Benghazi massacre?

One crucial detail about the “seizing”:

News organizations normally are notified in advance that the government wants phone records and then they enter into negotiations over the desired information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption’s wording, might “pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.”

It is unknown whether a judge or a grand jury signed off on the subpoenas.

Wow.

I was going to combine this story with the latest from the IRS, but this stands alone. Wow.

PS: From Aggie on the road:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

(Then they came for the journalists, and what a glorious day it was!)

- Aggie

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Look, Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s KABOOM!!!

This is why I use Bing.

The FBI used National Security Letters — a form of surveillance that privacy watchdogs call “frightening and invasive” — to surreptitiously seek information on Google users, the web giant has just revealed.

Google’s disclosure is “an unprecedented win for transparency,” privacy experts said Wednesday. But it’s just one small step forward.

“Serious concerns and questions remain about the use of NSLs,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Dan Auerbach and Eva Galperin wrote. For one thing, the agency issued 16,511 National Security Letters in 2011, the last year for which data was available. But Google was gagged from saying just how many letters it received — leaving key questions unanswered.

“Of all the dangerous government surveillance powers that were expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act, the National Security Letter (NSL) power … is one of the most frightening and invasive,” the EFF wrote. “These letters … allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens’ private communications and Internet activity without any meaningful oversight or prior judicial review.”

Just so you understand, the FBI is part of the Department of Justice—Eric Holder’s DOJ.

This Eric Holder:

I haven’t seen dancing like that since Michael Jackson moon-walked off this mortal coil.

But then, his boss calls the tune:

In a meeting with the press in China, President Obama said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be “convicted” and had “the death penalty applied to him” . . . and then said he wasn’t “pre-judging” the case. He made the second statement after it was pointed out to him — by NBC’s Chuck Todd — that the first statement would be taken as the president’s interfering in the trial process. Obama said that wasn’t his intention. I’m sure it wasn’t — he’s trying to contain the political damage caused by his decision — but that won’t matter. He has given the defense its first motion that the executive branch, indeed the president himself, is tainting the jury pool. Nice work.

And the press secretary sings harmony:

“Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told John King on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning.

“He’s likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed,” he added.

Do I think the Obama administration is soon to start vaporizing on US soil elements it considers hostile to the US? Pr-r-r-r-obably not. But given their attitudes and behavior, it’s more a leap of faith than a logical certainty. If the act of governing and the media can be co-opted by the “permanent campaign, why not justice?

Worst of all, where’s the outrage on the Left? You’ve allowed Obama to become your worst nightmare of Bush (who wouldn’t try half the crap your guy pulls), and you say nothing. Crickets. Do you see why it’s hard sometimes not to hate you? You are our friends, family, colleagues, yet your brazen hypocrisy is such an offense, is so dangerous, you make it very hard to relate to, much less be civil to.

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The Most Dangerous Administration Evuh!

It’s not bad enough that President Obama and AG Holder think nothing of holding show trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his gang before executing them. (I support the executions, not the perversion of justice.)

No, that was plenty bad, but evidently not bad enough.

Because they’re at it again—and this time Americans are in their (drone) sites:

In a Bloomberg commentary, Noah Feldman, a Harvard constitutional law professor, points to an additional complication: the possibility that in partly yielding to its civil-libertarian instincts, the Obama administration may actually endanger civil liberties.

Feldman argues that in justifying drone strikes against U.S. citizens, the administration undertook a “revolutionary and shocking transformation of the meaning of due process”:

Despite claiming that the Awlaki killing was justified because he was an operational leader of al-Qaeda, and thus in some sense an enemy on the battlefield, the white paper still assumes that due process applies to U.S. citizens abroad who adhere to the enemy. . . .

Applying due process analysis to Awlaki produces a legal disaster. The problem is, once you consider due process, you have to give it some meaning–and the meaning you choose will cast a long shadow over what the term means everywhere else.

Feldman argues that Awlaki received “none of the components of traditional due process.” That isn’t the problem, in Feldman’s view (or ours): The administration “should have said that due process doesn’t apply on the battlefield.”

By instead conceding that Awlaki was entitled to due process, then construing due process as “a rubber stamp,” the administration is “subverting the idea of the rule of law.” By pretending to treat terrorists as if they were ordinary criminal suspects, the government makes it more likely that ordinary suspects will be treated as if they were terrorists.

It’s the same argument! Because of their asinine refusal to treat the war on terror as a, you know, war, they pervert our system of justice by trying to prosecute it as a criminal case.

A criminal case in which they can pronounce not only the guilt but the sentence in advance. And a criminal case in which they can launch a preemptive hit from the skies. You can do that in war. You can’t do that in court. By their perverse mangling of justice they have revealed themselves as the monsters they are. Ugly, nasty, vile, pus-encrusted monsters.

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Fast and Furious: Deliberate and Intentional

Red and handed:

The latest congressional report on Operation Fast and Furious found that the gunwalking-program-turned-scandal was the result of a “deliberate strategy created at the highest levels of the Justice Department aimed at identifying the leaders of a major gun trafficking ring.”

The report is the second installment in a three-part series from Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley and House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.

That “deliberate strategy,” congressional investigators argue, sprang from “a series of speeches about combating violence along the Southwest border” that Attorney General Eric Holder delivered shortly after taking office.

A laudable, even noble, goal. But as with so much of this administration, you have to wonder whether their disasters are out of intent or ignorance. As Rahm Emanuel noted, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Let the guns walk; wait for people to die; decry gun violence.

You can’t say the Department of Justice isn’t politicized. We’re only haggling over how much.

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Newton’s Third Law

On those rare occasions when the press exerts itself, action is met by an equal and opposite reaction:

After a visit by Attorney General Eric Holder to the Justice Department Voting Section yesterday, a reporter attempting to ask Holder questions about the visit was threatened by one of Holder’s bodyguards. Holder was visiting the Voting Section of the DOJ to pose for photographs with the attorneys who will be enforcing federal election law over the last two weeks of the presidential campaign.

The photos are expected to be delivered to the staff with a personalized note from the attorney general.

“Mr. Attorney General, do you think is appropriate to be taking pictures with DOJ lawyers who will be enforcing election laws during President Obama’s reelection?” Schoffstall asks Holder, who was just inches away. “Do you think that is appropriate Mr. Holder?”

After Schoffstall’s questions are ignored, and Holder is in the SUV, an unidentified uniformed security officer in Holder’s detail aggressively confronts and threatens Schoffstall.

“Hey sir, they gonna be nice to you, I’m not,” says the officer, as he shunts Schoffstalll backwards across the public sidewalk on G Street.

“This is a public sidewalk,” Schoffstall insists. After shunting Schoffstall backwards off the sidewalk, the officer says, “It’s not a public sidewalk now; you’re standing on federal government property.”

As you can see from all the passersby in the video, it is clearly a public sidewalk. And why the AG is rallying the troops is a good question!

I don’t begrudge bodyguards keeping their charges safe—which is what the suits were doing. The goon who threatened the reporter went way beyond that.

No wonder Holder saw nothing wrong with the Black Panthers engaging in voter intimidation in 2008.

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Why Does President Obama Insult Latinos?

First, he condescendingly (and tardily) deigned to grant amnesty to a certain class of illegal aliens (in an election year, coincidentally), when he could have done so at any time. It’s smart politics, to be sure, to give Hispanics the mushroom treatment (keep them in the dark and feed them bull[bleep]), but it’s very disrespectful.

But to lie to them? (True, why should they be any different?) So blatantly and so bald-faced?

Asked about the Fast and Furious program at the Univision forum on Thursday, President Obama falsely claimed that the program began under President George W. Bush.

“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration,” the president said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned a inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.”

In actuality, the Fast and Furious program was started in October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency.

Previous programs involving ATF agents allowing guns to “walk” across the border so as to trace them were run during the Bush presidency, but not this particular “field-initiated program.”

White House officials did not respond to a request for comment after the falsehood was pointed out to them.

Because they didn’t know which of many falsehoods to comment on

As for President Obama’s discussion about the Justice Department Inspector General’s report on Fast and Furious, it’s true the Inspector General “concluded that although Attorney General Holder was notified immediately of (Border Patrol) Agent (Brian) Terry’s shooting and death, he was not told about the connection between the firearms found at the scene of the shooting and Operation Fast and Furious.

But this was not entirely an exoneration of the Justice Department run by Mr. Holder. “We found it troubling that a case of this magnitude, and one that affected Mexico so significantly was not directly briefed to the Attorney General,” the report stated.

Of course, his ultimate hijo de puta to the viewers of Univision was the absolutely bizarre claim that he can’t change Washington from the inside. Does he think they are estúpidos? That they don’t remember his entire campaign last time?

But I already know why Obama treats Latinos like perros (though not in the culinary sense): they let him.

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United They Spin

The Daily Caller has a couple of revealing stories on the Democrat-Media Complex.

Media Matters:

Dozens of pages of emails between DOJ Office of Public Affairs Director Tracy Schmaler and Media Matters staffers show Schmaler, Holder’s top press defender, working with Media Matters to attack reporters covering DOJ scandals. TheDC obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Emails sent in September and November 2010 show Schmaler working with Media Matters staffer Jeremy Holden on attacking news coverage of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation scandal.

Holden attacked former DOJ Civil Rights Division attorneys J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky on Sept. 20, 2010 for what he called an attempt “to reignite the phony New Black Panther Party scandal.”

Before Holden posted his article at 7:52 p.m., Schmaler sent him several emails with information helping him attack both former DOJ oficials.

“Here’s one Wolf letter,” read the subject of one email Schmaler sent Holden that contained no text. The email was likely a reference to Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, a member of Congress who led the Republican charge on the New Black Panther Party scandal involving alleged voter intimidation at a November 2008 polling place in Philadelphia.

In response, Holden told Schmaler that “The response to interog 38 is particularly helpful. Thanks!”

But they need hardly have bothered. The White House press corps isn’t exactly breaking a sweat:

Reporters covering the White House don’t seem to have many questions about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was last week found in violation of federal law against engaging in political activity while on the job.

A review of transcripts by The Daily Caller indicate that no questions have been asked by the reporters who cover the president about Sebelius during official White House briefings or gaggles since Sept. 12, when the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in a report that the cabinet secretary violated the Hatch Act earlier this year.

Torie Clarke, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld, argued while guest hosting WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall on Monday that a double standard may be at play.

“If it were a Republican official who had done this, the outrage would be continued and loud and would have been on the Sunday talk shows beyond Benghazi and anything else,” Clarke said.

The percentage of the country that’s actually paying attention must really be sick of this administration because the vast majority that isn’t paying attention can’t ensure Obama’s reelection. The media is in the bag and out of the closet—and he’s still not a sure thing.

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The Shape We’re In

It’s one thing to make seriously bad policy and get into an economic tar pit as a result. Anyone can do that.

But it takes a special type (of Marxist) to keep doing it:

In a complaint filed Wednesday and settled the same day, Justice claimed that California-based Luther Burbank Savings violated the 1968 Fair Housing Act and 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act by setting a policy that had a “disparate impact” on minorities. Between 2006 and mid-2011, 5.2% of Luther’s single-family residential mortgage loans went to African-Americans and Hispanics, compared to an average of 41.7% for other lenders in the area. The complaint doesn’t cite evidence of intentional discrimination because there wasn’t any.

Luther Burbank wasn’t a fly-by-night operator that marketed those loans to any and all. The bank insisted on a minimum $400,000 loan amount and made loans with an average 680 FICO score and 67% loan-to-value. Over the period that Justice examined, Luther Burbank foreclosed on a mere 11 borrowers out of 629 loans outstanding—a loss ratio of 1.75%. In a normal world, Luther Burbank would get a medal from regulators for its risk management, having chosen borrowers even at the height of the housing mania who could meet their monthly payments.

But Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez has a different priority: He wants banks to meet lending quotas to minorities—regardless of whether those borrowers can afford the loans. Many minority borrowers have low incomes that make them riskier lending bets. Is that a bank’s fault?

Luther Burbank admitted no guilt and said it settled to avoid costly litigation, which makes sense for a small, local lender that has to worry about its reputational risk. The bank has agreed to rachet down its minimum loan to $20,000 and will now commit $2.2 million to a “special financing program” for “qualified borrowers,” payouts for local community groups, and “consumer education programs.” Justice has the final say on who gets that money.

Doesn’t that sound like the mob? The bank has to make loans to favored constituencies at favorable rates, and the mob (Obama’s justice department) smiles with approval. They pocket their take in the form of votes and campaign contributions.

And when the deals go sour? The taxpayers (and other home owners) pay off. Obama calls it “spreading the wealth”.

When banks did this voluntarily, they were branded as “predatory” lenders. When they didn’t, Justice moved in.

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Chinese Laundering

At last, the Obama Justice Department finds an illegal immigrant it won’t pander to:

Three-and-a-half years after fleeing China, Ruqiang Yu will be able to make his case that he faced persecution for protesting the treatment of workers in a state-owned factory.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overruled earlier findings of both an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that Yu faced an isolated, “aberrational,” instance of corruption at the hands of the Chinese government.

The Department of Justice argued the case against Yu.

Yu was employed in management at a state-run airplane factory in China.

When factory officials started refusing to pay his workers based on a supposed slump in business, Yu saw through his superiors’ fabrication.

Due to his high position in the company, he knew that factory officials had been embezzling money for months and spending it lavishly on themselves.

[F]our policemen arrived at the factory, handcuffed Yu, and charged him with disturbing the peace.

The police interrogated Yu for hours, beating him each time he denied writing the anonymous letter.

He ultimately yielded to the torture, signing a letter of confession.

Yu was released on bond, but police kept harassing him.

In February 2009, he fled China and filed for asylum in the U.S. shortly thereafter.

The case is called Yu v. Holder.

Hmm, which side am I on? If only Yu were a Guatemalan lawn care worker, he would have waltzed through. But reporting on (endemic) Chinese corruption, and getting beaten and tortured for your troubles, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy country.

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