Archive for department of justice

The House Votes For Another Crazy Bill

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Smoking A Joint Raw Story:

A Republican congressman has successfully pushed legislation to pressure the U.S. Department of Justice to crack down on marijuana in states that have legalized its use. “It is with growing alarm that we see this administration selectively executing and enforcing federal law,” Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) said Wednesday on the House floor.

Growing alarm, huh?

On Friday, a seemingly contradictory measure was passed. The House of Representatives approved an amendment to prohibit the federal agency from spending taxpayer money on activities designed to stop the use of medical marijuana in states in which such use is legal.

Then comes this dickwad from Louisiana. Somehow he got enough other bozos in the House to go along with him in trying to step their foot back down on the accelerator to force more arrests by the Justice Department. All this at a time when it's become more clear that marijuana busts are a racial issue. The numbers are staggering. But how about this wacky logic by Representative Fleming?  He's pushed through the following (by voice vote):

Fleming’s amendment reduces the Department of Justice’s Salaries and Expenses, Legal Activities account by $866,000 until the Attorney General enforces the Controlled Substances Act in every state.

So, by cutting the Justice Department's budget, how can they step up enforcement? What Fleming and his ilk have actually done is made it more unlikely the DOJ has the money to take on these marijuana cases. I guess this means stupid is as stupid does. Good work Republicans. Now I feel safer lighting up a reefer because there's less money to apprehend me.

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Letting Ex-Felons Vote -- A Racial Thing

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voting booth

What is the purpose of sending those convicted of crimes to jail? Is it punishment? Yes. Is it rehabilitation? Yes. So it's two mints in one as the Certs commercial goes.

And are most felons guilty of violent crimes? Actually, no. Most are incarcerated for non-violent (yet still serious) felonious crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud, mail fraud, auto theft, racketeering, drug possession charges, burglary, counterfeiting, possession of restricted pornographic material, spying, and various drug-related offenses.

Wikipedia:

7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes.

Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.

Then why, if so many of these felonies are non-violent, is it that when you become an ex-felon, all of your rights aren't returned to you? According the the ALCU, ten states severely restrict voting from ex-felons (seven require long waiting periods, applying for reinstatement and review; three others - Iowa, Florida and Kentucky - ban it lifetime for these ex-felon offenders -- most of whom are non-violent). I can understand restrictions on getting a gun, but on your vote?

So far in the 40 states that allow for ex-felons to vote there haven't been any issues at the polls. So why not make voter reinstatement upon completion of incarceration national?

We non-felons take voting for granted. But it's majorly important. Look at the crazy people that are getting elected these days. Their choices and legislation affect all of us. Yet if you're an ex-felon, chances are you are obstructed from casting a vote.

With the racial make-up of our prisons today, that appears to be a punishment that affects minorities disproportionately. And the Justice Department, led by AG Eric Holder, wants to fix that. And surprisingly he's meeting resistance on both sides of the political spectrum. Many Republicans are against it because they see the reality that minorities are the overwhelming majority of  the prison population. Minorities, for good reason, tend to vote Democratic. If you unleash hundreds of thousands of potential voters after they do their time, GOP'ers will have a tougher go of it holding their political offices. So the Republican reasoning is understandable: keep minorities away from the vote. It's wrong, but you can see their reasoning: self-preservation.

But for those Democrats on the fence, this is purely a heinous act of villainy. Why should non-violent convicted felons be subjected to lifetime sentences after they're released? It flies in the face of just punishment -- that fitting the crime. C'mon Democrats, you know better. You stand for social justice. Now promote it. Make "inclusion" more than just a catch word.

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Will FBI's Win Streak Stop At 150-0 Or Does Their Cheating Continue?

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FBI Badge

"Nobody is supposed to be above the law in this country," says Rachel Maddow. "Even the FBI." That sounds pretty solid in my book. Yet a few months ago the New York Times reported about 150 FBI shooting incidents which the Bureau internally reviewed and found that all 150 incidents were wholly justified. None were found to be accidental, negligent or criminal. None. 150 cases heard and all 150 determined to be "good" shootings.

That's amazing. A perfect record. In professional football if you go 16-0 you go down in the record books. In the modern NFL football era, it's only happened twice, and they only have 16 regular season games. In baseball it's never happened. Not in the NBA either. Or Hockey. Add basketball to the list of an elusive perfect seasons. When you play more than a handful of games, perfection is just not something that happens. Not even once.

So how is it the FBI has a perfect 150-0 record? Watch Rachel Maddow discuss this below. And what's even more interesting than the perfect record itself is the secrecy and conspiracy necessary to make this happen. Arresting innocent people so their visas expire allowing the government to expel witnesses to FBI shootings from our shores to keep them quiet. Taking innocent people and unarmed people and blowing them away or deporting them to Russia where they disappear, just so they can't testify against the FBI. If you think this is another installment of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne adventures, it's not -- so far. But Hollywood can't be very far behind with a film treatment of this expose. They may start with the Boston Magazine story which comes out in a few days: The Murders Before The Marathon.

If you can't wait to read it or rather watch it revealed by none other than Massachusetts resident, Rachel Maddow, here you go.

WARNING: But be prepared for some graphic, disturbing images... and some moral outrage.

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"Boys Will Be Boys" No Longer Justification For Rape in Montana

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Rape in Montana

Sometimes it's great to set a precedent. It opens the doors to those who follow. You might be Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Or maybe Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the lunar surface. Admirable accomplishments that lead young, middle and old to dream of someday being the first to do something, big or small. I mean, wouldn't that be great?

Well, not always. Seems there's a prosecutor named  Fred Van Valkenburg up on Montana whose office may have just set a first. They has been accused by the Justice Department of bias against female sexual assault victims and of mishandling rape cases according to federal officials this week. But Missoula County prosecutors office thinks its just a smear campaign. They didn't do anything wrong.

HuffPo:

It's unusual and may be unprecedented for DOJ to accuse a prosecutor's office of violating the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law and the Safe Streets Act's prohibition against discriminating against female sexual assault victims. DOJ has issued findings involving sexual assault cases against three police departments, a sheriff's office and a campus police agency -- but not a prosecutor's office.

So we're looking at virgin territory here, with this DOJ accusation. If there's smoke where there's fire, lets see what's cookin'.

Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general in DOJ's Civil Rights Division, told Van Valkenburg in a letteron Friday that his office was ill-prepared to prosecute sexual assault cases, treated victims with disrespect and "apparently leaves sexual assault and rape laws largely unenforced."

That's a pretty serious charge against the office. And it seems these claims of abuse and deaf ears by the prosecutors are numerous. One woman described dealing with her assault at the prosecutors office as "traumatic," as if the crime alone wasn't harrowing enough. Others said they were treated with no compassion whatsoever. These alleged victims felt "judged." That's hardly the way any victim wants to be made to feel when they're seeking out justice.

One woman was told that because "there was no video of the incident," prosecutors "wouldn't see this as anything more than a girl getting drunk at a party." What message is that sending? Yet Van Valkenburg who runs the office thinks he's being picked on. He claims these are just a few small examples and they shouldn't be taken with much more than a grain of salt.

Really? They shouldn't be taken seriously. Well how about this:

A clinical psychologist who counseled sexual assault victims said she had heard so many horror stories about the County Attorney's Office that she was reluctant to press charges with the office when she was sexually assaulted.

When even a psychologist with experience in this field is hesitant to move forward with her claim because of first hand knowledge of the abusive handling of such matters by the prosecutor's office, this is only the tip of the iceberg up in Missoula.

In one case, a woman whose 5-year-old daughter was assaulted by an adolescent boy asked why the boy's punishment was two years of community service. A prosecutor told her "boys will be boys," according to the DOJ letter.

Boys will be boys. Well hopefully the new boys and girls examining this office, will bring down the wrath of justice with the power of Thor and his hammer, Mjölnir.

Thor's hammer

Sad as all of this is, this Montana office isn't alone. And sexual crimes against women AND men are vastly under-reported because of louts like Attorney Van Valkenberg. Time to do a bit more investigating the investigators for their improper behavior. Women and men victims deserve better.

Just like the firsts of Ederle and Armstrong, they were followed by second and thirds accomplishing their amazing feats. Let's hope this trend continues with the DOJ.

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Why Does The GOP Fear Same-Sex Marriage?

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marriage rings

The Raw Story:

Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would make it legal for both government employees and private individuals to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds.

According to House Bill 2453, “no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity” to “provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges” if “it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.”

I guess the GOP in Kansas doesn't read newspapers, the internet or news from any source. They totally missed the Department of Justice memo of last week. Or maybe they did get it and are scared. Neither Discrimination nor hate are part of any religious doctrine that I'm aware of. So violating that "tenet" is impossible to justify as being a religious belief. Talk about reaching!

Bible thumping, hate mongering, fear and revivalist dogma aren't the answer. And either is Kansas House Bill 2453.

With same-sex marriage now legally accepted in nearly a third of our 50 states, the recent Attorney General announcement that the DOJ is going to fully recognize same sex marriage, it's time to take a look at the repercussions these haters in Kansas are trying to promote. With the Justice department memo, gay couples now have the ability to file jointly for bankruptcy and guaranteeing that married same–sex partners would not be forced to testify against each other in trial. They'd be given the rights to visit the dying reserved for family members. 

Hmm. Can't see where that's hurting heterosexual marriage any.

With same-sex marriages come the de-stigmatizing of all adoptions. As a matter of fact, the number of adoptions by same-sex partners is growing rapidly -- and that means more orphaned and unwanted children are finding good homes and the love they've previously been denied. That doesn't seem to be harming heterosexual marriage and at the same time lessens a burden on the states of caring for these unfortunate children.

Then where's the problem? There's not one documented case of same-sex marriage infringing on or interrupting a traditional heterosexual marriage. Not one.

Well, that's still not good enough for the National Organization of Marriage, NOM.

According to THE HILL:

But NOM’s Brown said the [recent DOJ] measures trample on states’ rights to make their own decisions on how to define the institution of marriage.

“The American public needs to realize how egregious and how dangerous these usurpations are and how far-reaching the implications can be,” Brown said. “The changes being proposed here to a process as universally relevant as the criminal justice system serve as a potent reminder of why it is simply a lie to say that redefining marriage doesn't affect everyone in society."

How interesting a point made here. What's their point in case you missed it? THERE ISN'T ONE.

Benefits of same-sex marriage are numerous, some of which are spelled out above. And ther are many more. Among the most important is not to define this relationship between two consulting, loving individuals as second class. Human rights and dignity are the backbone of America. Classifying same sex love as a sin, or evil or a sickness is true -- but not of those who live it -- only of those who deny it from being allowed.

Marriage is a choice. Homosexuality, being gay, lesbian, transsexual or bisexual is NOT. Let's remember the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson in that very cherished document, The Declaration of Independence:

declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Gulf Justice?

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A bird covered in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill struggles to climb on to a boom in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: theguardian.com

A bird covered in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill struggles to climb on to a boom in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: theguardian.com

Well, maybe there will be some justice for this poor bird and all the other people damaged by flat-out negligence from BP.  Take a look at this story:

From Daily Kos:

The U.S. Department of Justice claims Robert Kaluza's and Donald Vidrine's negligence caused the 11 rig worker deaths in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which sent nearly 5 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. The 23 count indictment accuses them of mishandling a crucial safety test and failing to report abnormally high pressure readings that attorneys say were signs of an impending disaster.

Here's the original story:

Now I'd like to know why it took so long.  I certainly hope these people get locked away for a long, long time but they'll probably just get tax-deductible fines.

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It's Noon. Do You Know Who Your FBI Is Killing Today?

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hoover and tommy gun

You'd have to live with your head in the ground not to believe that there's corruption everywhere and on all levels. Tax cheaters, price gougers, investment swindlers. We sort of expect that. Look at the reputations of used car salesman and city officials. They're either taking us or they're on the take. We live with it and try to do the best we can. But like I said, we live with it.

Then you take police corruption. We see shoddy investigative work result in the guilty going free and in some cases the innocent being found guilty. It's terrible. But we live with it.

Then there's elected officials. We've had to live with political corruption, lies and deceit. I think it's part of the oath of office to avoid the truth as much as a vampire does the sun. But we live with it.

Then comes our bulwark. Our protection from domestic evils. It's the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI from it's Hoover days till now has been suspect, but somehow evaded much attention to their willful and wanton disregard for law and human life. They have always been treated as above the law. And now it's possible that they're murderers too.

Two recent situations come to mind. And they are scary. First, there's the Whitey Bulger situation. Whitey was a mob member and a killer. But who did he kill and how? He killed those who might get in his way. And how? The FBI fingered his opponents and in essence, pulled the trigger.

Check this out:

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While you're thinking this FBI activity was going to somehow enure a benefit to us, pull your head out of the sand. This wasn't a sacrifice to bring Whitey down. They had the goods on him already. It was to allow bad guys to kill other bad guys, and also to let corrupt FBI agents to get payoffs while innocent people were killed. Blood money.

Now lets look into another case, one I've written about before. Ibraghim Todashev. But before I go there, here's a little background on the FBI's track record courtesy of Rachel Maddow's Show.

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So, incredible as it is, the FBI evidently operates with total impunity. In a way, they're Eliot Ness and the Untouchables. Except for one big difference. Eliot Ness and company were the good guys. And more and more I'm getting the God awful impression that our current FBI is not.

The Untouchables

Just as they were used by Whitey Bulger, the FBI is using anonymous sources and our good old lazy un-investigative press. The Bureau menleak information to cover their asses. But really G-Men, shouldn't you get your prevarications in line before you start covering for one another? It sure leads to confusion. Here's what I mean.

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Putting both stories together got me thinking, and you should be too. From the HuffPo the other day: President Barack Obama on Monday announced that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will establish a review group designed to assess the nation's intelligence gathering and surveillance capabilities.

This is the same James Clapper who lied to Congress about his department's spying activities.

Is this more of the same? Isn't this just like the FBI and their perfect 150-0 record finding in their own favor?

We have got to speak up. And we have got to be afraid. Unwarranted collection of personal material is being gathered. Corruption has taken over the agencies.

This is the time to be afraid and vigilant. Don't work against the police or authorities. But don't volunteer to help. Ask Paul McGonagle, Edward Connors, Thomas King, Richard Castucci, Roger Wheeler, Brian Halloran, Michael Donahue, John Callahan, Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, John McIntyre, Deborah Hussey, Michael Milano, Al Plummer, William O'Brien, James "Spike" O'Toole, Al "Indian Al" Notarangeli, James Sousa, Francis "Buddy" Leonard, Debra Davis.

And then you can ask Ibraghim Todashev.

None of them can answer because they're all dead -- directly or indirectly by the hands of the FBI.

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