Archive for the ‘Department of Justice’ Category
Via HotAir, David Brooks at NYT wants so much more government involved in your life, but it’s so sad that sometimes so much more good government that will tell you how to live doesn’t turn out perfect like it should. Aww.. poor statist tyrant:
Most government workers are amazingly dedicated and talented, and they put in a level of commitment that is far out of proportion to their salaries.
But we’re also seeing government workers, who, far from checking their own desire for control, have taken it out for a romp.
Brooks is an idiot. At the bottom of the page, it notes that he’s filling in for Paul Krugman, who’s also an idiot, so he must be competing with Paul Krugman for some inter-office idiocy award.
Auditing low-level agents at the IRS do not “take their desire for control out for a romp”. Doesn’t work that way. They may agree with the IRS conservative crackdown plans and go along with them, but the guy doing the paperwork does not come up with schemes and machinations. The mid-level manager gal doing the office paperwork to make sure the guy doing the lower paperwork doesn’t come up with these schemes. She may go along with them, but they have to be passed down to her from someone with the authority to be able to waive all the concerns about repercussions for IRS personnel doing something wrong and getting fired. Normal people do not get together to “take their desire for control out for a romp” at the low level, as though there’s some spontaneously generated lust for power in people who double-check math all day.
It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness. It would be one thing if the scandal is just a group of tax people targeting the most antitax groups in the country. That’s just normal, run-of-the-mill partisan antipathy.
Sure, it’s okay if they target people who try to restore the nation to founding priciples. That’s okay. It’s fine if you’re tax collectors who target people who want the tax burden reduced through legal means and legislation. Of course that’s fine. No problem with that kind of targeted oppression by government whatsoever.
It’s just as okay as if the government targeted any other group that the government didn’t like. Because after all, the citizen exists solely for the government to deem either worthy or unworthy.
It would be far worse if the senior workers of the I.R.S. have become so isolated by their technocratic task that they didn’t even recognize that using the search term “Tea Party” was going to be a moral and political problem.
Gee, it’s too bad they didn’t come up with a more clever way to target those sniveling teabaggers. If only they had been smart enough not to outright say they were targeting the Tea Party. Then they could’ve gotten away with it.
Everyone is treating the I.R.S. issue as a bigger deal, but the Justice Department scandal is worse. This was a sweeping intrusion that makes it hard for the press to do its job. Who is going to call a journalist to report wrongdoing knowing that at some future date, the government might feel perfectly free to track the phone records and hunt you down?
I would have thought a dozen Justice Department officials would have risen up and splashily resigned when they learned of the scope of this invasion. Aren’t there some lawyers in the Justice Department, and, if so, did they go to law schools where the Constitution is left unassigned?
The DOJ smuggled guns to narcoterrorist cartels and hushed it up and you and your reporter friends helped hush it up. Brooks, when the DOJ decides to make you sign your own confession Soviet-style, you will have earned your statist utopia and all the hard labor it will sentence you to until the end of your days. Maybe after a few decades in the ground, they’ll even take the time to posthumously rehabilitate you.
We clearly have a values problem in the federal government. We clearly have a few or many agencies where the leaders don’t emphasize that workers need to check themselves, or risk losing what remains of the people’s trust.
There is no “values problem” in the fedgov. There is a fedgov that is unconstrained by the document that created it. Men are the same, that’s why we have a Constitution.
We have a Constitution, and that creates our government. The Constitution is what creates the government and limits it – it is the laws by which the government is created and those it must abide by. When government ignores the Constitution, as it has been doing, it should have no trust – because it is an entity of domination composed of men with power – whether malignant or benign. When it ceases to be an entity that exists at the behest of the citizen, it becomes oppressive. A massive, distant power composed of men with power and no constraints are never deserving of any trust.
I generally support the little behavioral nudges that Cass Sunstein describes in his outstanding book “Simpler” — the subtle policy shifts that induce people to save more, or eat healthier.
Ah, David Brooks, lickspittle for tyrants.
I’d trust somebody with a minimalist disposition like Sunstein to implement these policies.
That’s so precious that you want to be dominated, David. You’re so vanilla.
But I wouldn’t necessarily trust the people at the I.R.S. or Justice Department to implement them.
Guess who you’re going to get? Guess who’s going to be running your health care? Guess who’s been hushing up the murders of your Mexican neighbors to the south?
Cass Sunstein is a tyrant wannabe, along with all of his authoritarian ilk. Revisit his rave review of “Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism”. They want to coerce you – to force you – into something they think is good for you. Brooks wants to be coerced – to be forced – into something someone else thinks is good for him – and he wants you forced as well. Everybody knows what’s best for you, and they’re going to force it on you, because they’ve decided you need to be forced into what they think you should be. Brooks wants to be dominated and be controlled by government.
Brooks wants a bad government to dominate him, he just wants one that doesn’t spank too hard.
But I’ll end this with a quote from a tax collector and freedom fighter:
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Tags: ATF, Fast & Furious, Mexico
I’m going to use the same title that Real Clear Politics did.
This is the same Obama who had Eric Holder’s DOJ and ATF sending guns to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels. This is the same Obama who hushed Fast and Furious up by exerting executive privilege. He sent guns to Mexico.
This is not a question of American citizens’ rights, this is a question of the US government purposely arming narcoterrorists in order to have this talking point, claiming the 90% lie over and over.
I can’t think of many things more insulting or downright foul to hear from our President other than his own crimes being blamed on our rights – as was intended. He is now going international with the demand that our rights go away because he committed crimes… to deny us those rights.
This is like a rapist saying “not only did she deserve it when I did it to her, but that proves my point, we have to keep the world safe from women like her who cause rape”.
Tags: ATF, Fast & Furious, Mexico
First update on the civil suit against the Justice Department, from UT San Diego:
WASHINGTON — A federal judge seemed skeptical Wednesday of the Justice Department’s bid to dismiss a congressional lawsuit seeking records related to Operation Fast and Furious, a bungled federal gun-tracking operation in Arizona.
It was not a gun-tracking operation. It was not bungled. It did exactly what it was set out to do, it sent guns to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels, and it forced US gun stores to sell to people who should never have gotten guns. There was no tracking involved, as whistleblower John Dodson stated – they were not allowed to track guns sent south, and they were intended to be recovered at crime scenes. People buying guns included felons who could not have passed NICS background checks, except that the government gave them permission to buy guns by letting them pass background checks.
When asked about the breakdown, Stephen Fischer, a spokesman for the NICS System, said the FBI had no comment. However, an ATF agent who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, told Fox News that NICS officials called the ATF in Phoenix whenever their suspects tried to buy a gun. That conversation typically led to a green light for the buyers, when it should have stopped them.
From the UD SD story again, the judge is at least doing her job:
Judge Amy Berman Jackson sharply challenged the department’s claim that federal courts have no jurisdiction in the dispute. Department lawyer Ian Gershengorn said the battle over the documents should be resolved by the checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches.
“I’m a check and balance,” countered Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama. “The third branch exists.”
Well, she seems better than other Obama appointments. And she seems to understand that there has been no “check and balance” when the Department of Justice and the president have simply claimed executive privilege and hushed everything up – which is the reason for the lawsuit. She is seeing things up close, so she probably has to acknowledge what’s going on. She’s being presented with information directly, and can’t just ignore things like the media does.
To some degree, this is also a story of how the media not only gets it wrong, but how the media is carrying water for Obama.
The department has turned over thousands of pages of material on the operation itself. The continuing dispute is over documents describing how the department responded once Congress started investigating.
That’s what the Justice Department sent as “documents”. Page after page after page.
Gershengorn said that if the suit were dismissed, Congress had other powers at its disposal, such as the power of the purse. He said that negotiations and accommodation between the House and the executive branch are messy and contentious, but that the system allows for accountability with voters.
That is absurd, insulting, and the kind of thing that would get Sam Adams heating up the tar and sending somebody to get feathers. The DOJ is hushing up a the murder of two federal agents and hundreds of mexican citizens, hushing up their program that is the kind of violent criminal conspiracy that would make headlines for years if it were done by organized crime, but instead, is hushed up because the media simply refuses to report it, and refuses to report the truth because they love their great leader.
Saying that Congress can simply use “the power of the purse” to reduce budgets for departments is absurd. No one is held accountable for this:
People need to go to prison, not have their department funding meddled with. The DOJ lawyer Gershengorn should be with them as an accomplice after the fact to murders.
House lawyer Kerry Kircher called the notion that there haven’t been meaningful negotiations and accommodations “preposterous.”
“We’ve been negotiating for four months,” Kircher said.
He also said the House was at a disadvantage.
“This is an asymmetrical relationship here,” Kircher said. “They have the documents. We don’t have the documents.”
As to Congress’ powers, such as reducing spending for the executive branch, he said, “All that means is they get less money” – not that the committee gets the documents.
Presented with this kind of thing, I’d like to say the judge won’t just rule in favor of who appointed her, but there’s little telling.
David Codrea at Examiner.com has some info on “Guns Across the Border“, a book that tells the story of Operation Wide Receiver.
“Operation Wide Receiver,” a precursor to “Operation Fast and Furious” wherein U.S. guns were bought by straw purchasers and “walked” under the noses of ATF investigators into Mexico, has been the subject of numerous Gun Rights Examiner reports. The central figure in those reports was Mike Detty, a gun writer, a firearms dealer, and the confidential informant who literally risked his life over the course of years to do what he believed was right, only to find the obvious criminals weren’t the only ones he couldn’t trust.
Operation Wide receiver really was a botched sting. The ATF in Mexico knew that guns were coming, the Mexican authorities knew guns were coming. The smugglers turned out to be good at smuggling and got a lot of guns past both US and Mexican authorities through a variety of tactics. Smugglers are good at smuggling? Who’da thunk it?
Fast and Furious, by contrast, was not a botched sting. The ATF in Mexico (ATF attache Darren Gil) and the Mexican authorities had no idea guns were coming, and the purpose was to find guns at murder scenes in Mexico, about which ATF supervisors were “almost giddy”.
Wide Receiver sought to track and interdict guns being smuggled south using a combination of RFID-tracking devices embedded in the shipments and overheard surveillance aircraft. Wide Receiver failed because of the limitations of the technology used, compounded by the ineptness of its installation and the unexpected resourcefulness of the cartel’s gun smugglers.
As a result of the mistakes made in Wide Receiver, guns were lost: approximately 450 made it into Mexico. As a result, the botched operation launched in 2006 — and in this instance, actually botched — was shut down in 2007.
Compare the mistakes of Wide Receiver to the operations launched under Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, which had the advantages of learning from the postmortem failures of Wide Receiver two years before.
Fast and Furious used neither tracking devices nor aircraft, ran interference for smugglers with local law enforcement on multiple occasions, and federal agents were not allowed to interdict weapons.
Wide Receiver shut down within a year after 450 weapons went missing in a botched law enforcement operation. Fast and Furious purposefully ran at least 2,020 weapons to the Sinaloa cartel without any intention of arresting the straw purchasers and smugglers. Other operations in other states — CBS News’ Attkisson cites allegations of “at least 10 cities in five states” — allow the possibility that (if the other operations were as prolific as Fast and Furious) Holder’s Department of Justice may have intentionally sent more than 12,000 guns into criminal hands in the U.S and Mexico, enough to arm three U.S. Army brigades.
Law enforcement operations sometimes go horribly wrong, and every indication is that Operation Wide Receiver executed by the ATF during the Bush administration while Alberto Gonzales was the attorney general was a “keystone cops” operation of the first magnitude. It was a horrible failure.
But Fast and Furious was no accident.
Tags: ATF, Fast & Furious, Mexico
Spanish channel Univision has won a Peabody Award for their Fast and Furious reporting. Most all American media outlets choose to ignore the ATF’s botched Gun Walking operations where over 2500 guns ended up in Mexican cartels hands.
It’s worth noting that they do start out with a lie that 70% of guns in Mexico come from the US, which Stratfor disproved back when the claim was 90%, but beyond that, it’s not too bad.
Tags: ATF, Fast & Furious, Mexico
Katie Pavlich interviewed by Citizen Watchdog – a good review and overall summary for anyone who hasn’t been following it.
This video was a bit before the 2 year mark, a few months back, posted here in HawaiiReporter’s 2-year retrospective.
Tags: ATF, Fast & Furious
From the AP:
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the bill would establish tough penalties for those who buy a firearm or ammunition with the intent of transferring it to someone else. The measure would also make it a crime to smuggle firearms out of the United States.
So when are they going after Holder? Oh, that’s right – never.
Leahy said there is no federal law now that defines either gun trafficking or straw purchasing – when a person who can legally buy guns transfers those guns to criminals and others barred from gun ownership – as crimes.
It already is a crime. The easy-to-read version:
The Form 4473 contains name, address, date of birth, government-issued photo ID, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check transaction number, make/model/serial number of the firearm, and a short federal affidavit stating that the purchaser is eligible to purchase firearms under federal law. This includes swearing that you do not use any illegal drugs, thus outlawing firearms possession by e.g. American marijuana users. (Cf: Prohibited persons.) Lying on this form is a felony and can be punished by up to five years in prison in addition to fines, even if the transaction is simply denied by the NICS, although prosecutions are rare in the absence of another felony committed with the gun purchased.
All you have to do is enforce existing laws.
The bill was crafted by Leahy, fellow Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Republicans Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine.
There’s a typo there. They mean Democrats Dick Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Democrat-supporters Mark Kirk and Susan Collins.
“The absence of any federal law defining gun trafficking as a crime in this country is shocking,” Gillibrand said.
Oh, it’s a crime. It’s just a crime that no one in the Obama administration will touch – since the ATF under Obama’s DOJ was smuggling guns to narcoterrorist cartels in Mexico.
Despite his calls for greater gun control, including a new assault weapons ban that extends to handguns, President Obama’s administration has turned away from enforcing gun laws, cutting weapons prosecutions some 40 percent since a high of about 11,000 under former President Bush.
From the AP again:
The proposed legislation would make it a crime to transfer a weapon when a person has “reasonable cause to believe” that the firearm will be used in criminal activity. It contains exemptions for the transfer of a firearm as a gift, or in relation to a legitimate raffle or contest.
This kind of legislation becomes very nebulous. It rapidly turns into a charge that prosecutors can levy against someone without actual proof in order to get them to plea bargain down to a lesser charge rather than face trial or the financial costs of trial. We don’t need any more laws. We certainly don’t need Obama’s DOJ being given any more laws that they violate to turn around and enforce on citizens.
From the Arizona Daily Star:
The National Rifle Association is using a Justice Department memo it obtained to argue in ads that the Obama administration believes its gun control plans won’t work unless the government seizes firearms and requires national gun registration _ ideas the White House has not proposed and does not support.
The NRA’s assertion and its obtaining of the memo in the first place underscore the no-holds-barred battle under way as Washington’s fight over gun restrictions heats up.
The memo, under the name of one of the Justice Department’s leading crime researchers, critiques the effectiveness of gun control proposals, including some of President Barack Obama’s. A Justice Department official called the memo an unfinished review of gun violence research and said it does not represent administration policy.
The nine-page document says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on “requiring gun registration,” and says gun buybacks would not be effective “unless massive and coupled with a ban.”
It basically notes that a partial ban, or buybacks, won’t work to reduce crime. Everything has to be eliminated; and even so, long gun murders are a tiny fraction of murders to begin with, so it still won’t have an effect.
Tags: ATF, Fast & Furious, Mexico
A second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed blaming U.S. government officials involved in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives’ “Operation Fast and Furious,” which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
Tuesday, the Texas family of fallen Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata sued the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the former head of the ATF and others they blame in Zapata’s death.
In February 2011, Zapata and his partner Victor Avila were gunned down in Mexico by suspected drug cartel members. Avila survived but was critically injured and has joined Zapata’s family in the suit.
As CBS News reported, at least two of the murder weapons had been trafficked by suspects the ATF had under surveillance but failed to arrest. Zapata’s parents argue that if ATF agents had arrested the suspects and confiscated the weapons early on, the rifles might not have been used in their son’s murder.
Drone Strikes On Americans Legal According To Obama’s DOJ and The Terrorists In The Living Room ArgumentPosted: February 5, 2013 by ShortTimer in Barack Obama, Department of Justice, Government, terrorism, Tyranny, US Foreign Policy
As in Holder’s speech, the confidential memo lays out a three-part test that would make targeted killings of American lawful: In addition to the suspect being an imminent threat, capture of the target must be “infeasible, and the strike must be conducted according to “law of war principles.” But the memo elaborates on some of these factors in ways that go beyond what the attorney general said publicly. For example, it states that U.S. officials may consider whether an attempted capture of a suspect would pose an “undue risk” to U.S. personnel involved in such an operation. If so, U.S. officials could determine that the capture operation of the targeted American would not be feasible, making it lawful for the U.S. government to order a killing instead, the memo concludes.
Upon even a cursory examination, however, these constraints are virtually meaningless. The government is not required to “have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.” Furthermore, the feasibility of capture can be determined by several factors, including if it would simply be too risky for U.S. personnel to conduct a capture operation, or if a capture operation would imperil a “relevant window of opportunity.” There are miles of space to maneuver within the so-called constraints.
Enough evidence for a tyrannical regime? Check. Too risky to send jack-booted thugs? Sure. Relevant window of opportunity? Check.
Attorney General Eric Holder last year said the Constitution’s guarantee of due process does not necessarily entail a “judicial process” in situations in which national security is at stake.
The state must confiscate guns for the greater good. The people who want arms are a threat to the state. They are radical insurrectionists. The state does not need “judicial process” against people who oppose national security gun confiscation objectives.
That’s just taking things to their unfortunate conclusions. Methinks the Founding Fathers would be loading their M4s right now.
Scarborough makes a very interesting point at the 12:35 mark at the HotAir video:
Scarborough: (an American could be killed by a US drone strike) … Because somebody is sitting in the living room of a guy who is a terrorist?
Congressman Harold Ford (D): I’ve never had one in my living room.
1) He must be an immanent threat. By immanent, we don’t mean the threat is immediate. What we mean is that the person is involved in operations that will go forward unless he is killed. In other words, we don’t have to wait for a suicide bomber to get on the airplane before we kill him.
2) Capture is infeasible. This means that a terrorist living in France will be treated differently than a terrorist living in Mali. The major difference being that the French police are perfectly capable (assuming they have the backbone) of arresting a suspected terrorist. In the hinterlands of Mali, not so much.
3) The strike must be consistent with the laws of war. Which is just another way of saying we don’t bomb the whole city of Abotabad just because we know bin Laden is there.
I sure hope he’s correct in his interpretation, and that it is limited in scope solely to AQ operatives. The first few pages of the memo’s justification aren’t about AQ, though the last few pages get more AQ specific.
But then again, the DOJ that wrote it also intentionally armed the narcoterrorist cartels next door and killed hundreds of our Mexican neighbors and two US federal agents; and we’ve already seen the Obama administration’s hostility towards the Constitution, the rule of law, and the citizenry.