Attorney General Mukasey has a new definition of the word “crime.”

For almost 41 years now I’ve been operating under the apparently mistaken assumption that if you break a law you’ve committed a crime, but according to the U.S. Attorney General, speaking recently on the abuses in the Department of Justice in hiring and firing decisions, I am apparently wrong in my assumption:

In a speech Tuesday morning to the American Bar Association in Manhattan, Mr. Mukasey condemned the political abuses in his most forceful language to date, saying “the system failed.” He also acknowledged that some critics and commentators had called on the Justice Department to take what he called “more drastic steps,” including prosecuting those at fault and firing those hired through flawed procedures. But he rejected both those approaches.

“Where there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we vigorously prosecute,” he said. “But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime.”

This is going to make things a lot more confusing. If it’s true that not every violation of the law is a crime, something I thought was more or less inherent in the definition of the word crime, then how are we to know when breaking any particular law is in fact criminal? Is there a list I can get hold of that will tell me which violations of the law aren’t a crime? Wouldn’t it make more sense to remove any laws that aren’t crimes from the books so as to avoid confusion? What’s the point in having laws that aren’t crimes to violate?

As last month’s report from the inspector general acknowledged, the hiring abuses by former Justice Department officials represented a violation of federal Civil Service law, but not of criminal law, he said.

You mean it isn’t a crime to violate Federal Civil Service laws? Then why have them at all?

Don’t worry, though, Mukasey assures us the folks who broke the law, but didn’t commit any crimes in doing so, aren’t getting off easy:

“That does not mean, as some people have suggested, that those officials who were found by the joint reports to have committed misconduct have suffered no consequences,” Mr. Mukasey said. “Far from it. The officials most directly implicated in the misconduct left the department to the accompaniment of substantial negative publicity.”

“Their misconduct has now been laid bare by the Justice Department for all to see,” he said, adding that “I doubt that anyone in this room would want to trade places with any of those people.”

Oh yeah, I’m sure they all had trouble finding replacement jobs for a whole day or two after they stepped down what with all that negative publicity. They’re probably laying in a gutter somewhere with a half-full bottle of Mad Dog wine covered in their own vomit as a result of their disgraceful fall from power. Good thing we’ve got such an upstanding Attorney General making sure people are held accountable for their actions!

MPAA to court: “Proof? We don’ need no stinkin’ proof!”

Gotta love the MPAA where you are considered guilty and they don’t think they should have to prove it:

The Motion Picture Association of America said Friday intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect damages, perhaps as much as $150,000 per copyright violation, without having to prove infringement.

“Mandating such proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances,” MPAA attorney Marie L. van Uitert wrote Friday to the federal judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas trial.

“It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement,” van Uitert wrote on behalf of the movie studios, a position shared with the Recording Industry Association of America, which sued Thomas, the single mother of two.

Burden of proof? What’s that? Sounds like something only a commie pinko liberal would demand. Of course they’re guilty! We wouldn’t be suing them if they weren’t guilty. Now give me my money!