Archive for Justice Department

7 Dem. Redcoats Join All GOP Senators Turning Their Backs On The Constitution

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

GOP

GOP

Its was a sad day in Congress yesterday. As I reported, Darrell Issa demonstrated his immature and perhaps disqualifying behavior in a showdown with fellow committee member, Rep. Elijah Cummings. Issa's behavior has him now mocked and ridiculed everywhere except of course, with his main "employer," Fox News.

Elsewhere on the Capitol Hill, the GOP celebrated in infamy a 50th vote to repeal Obamacare. While there hasn't been enough time to vote on a jobs bill, immigration reform or an extension to jobless benefits, Speaker Boehner was able to squeeze in a futile symbolic vote which came up exactly like the last 49 attempts -- without any chance of forward movement. The cost of this clown show of votes in manpower? Millions of dollars in staff hours alone.

Hard as it may be to conceive, there was a greater affront to justice and our Constitution which took place yesterday. It happened in the Senate. The upper house voted on the president's nomination of Debo Adegbile to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

As Chris Hayes on All In points out, the precedent has been set now. If you have been a practicing attorney and been dealt a high profile case -- and won -- you're not viable for Senate approval as a presidential nominee. By doing your job, and doing it well, you're disqualified.

Our constitution has made clear that as Americans, we have certain rights, though the interpretations vary and that's what drives the religious right and the ultra-right Republicans. They love to hide behind, twist and turn their interpretations of these, especially the right to bear arms,  to freedom of speech and religious beliefs. What they did yesterday was abridge the Bill of Rights -- the sixth amendment. The part of that amendment that I'm referring to "... to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence [sic]."

HuffPo:

All Republicans and a handful of Democrats voted to sink Debo Adegbile’s nomination to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. The overriding reason for their opposition was that he once represented Mumia Abu-Jamal, a death row inmate convicted 30 years ago of killing a Philadelphia police officer.

Adegbile did not make the decision to take on the case. When he became the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in 2012, the group was already representing Abu-Jamal, and Adegbile continued to do so on a narrow constitutional issue. In other words, he was just doing his job by advocating for his client.

Using this litmus test to disqualify people from high government office, we'd have to veto Conservative hero Chief Justice John Roberts and the late President John Adams. They both defended and successfully gained acquittal for their clients accused of heinous or treasonous crimes. All Adegbile did was seek justice as was his obligation under the law. And he didn't get a guilty man freed, he got the sentence moved from death to life -- both would keep him off the streets. I pause to wonder if this victim of this murder was a black carpenter instead of a white cop if we'd even be having this discussion.

As Chris Hayes commented on the Republicans and Democrats who voted down this nomination based on providing adequate legal defense (and by the way, winning) to a defendant in court, "Shame on you, senators!"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

A.G.Holder's Big Cutting Crime Step:Opening Up Banks

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

WesternOutlawsw351h244

As crazy as it seems, there's a financial issue on the federal level that has been cause for alarm in the legalized marijuana industry. Note: I said legalized. By that I refer to transactions for medical marijuana purchases (in 20 states plus D.C.) and legal recreational buys in Colorado and soon Washington state. You see, because of archaic federal laws making cannabis a Schedule One drug, purchases are illegal by federal standards despite being legal in a number of states for varying purposes.

So if it's legal in some states, what's the problem with banking?

Simple. Banks are currently barred under federal banking regulations from handling proceeds from marijuana sales even in states where pot sales have been made legal. Banks are also prohibited from doing other banking business with these vendors like loans and investments. Simply put, that means vendors can't deposit their "state legal" revenues in banks.

That trickles down to the customers who are mandated to cash only purchases -- no credit/debit cards. It also means employees have to be paid in cash as the vendors can't have checking accounts if their deposits were made from marijuana purchases. Loans and investments too are verboten for sellers who want to expand or improve their facility -- perhaps to add security measures to safeguard all of the cash-carrying customers.

Finally the Obama Administration Attorney General, Eric Holder, has seen the light -- and gotten at the very least, a nod from the POTUS to take steps which will help guarantee taxes being paid on these purchases -- a gray area in the state legal system but felonious on the federal level. That's right -- Colorado could tax your purchase, but wasn't allowed to pay federal taxes on the money. They would have to send cash via pony express or Wells Fargo Wagon to deliver the tax revenues as the money couldn't be wired. The result was no federal revenues were collected.

Money talks. Especially federal tax revenues.

As reported today on the HuffPo:

Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

Finally, some common sense out of Washington. Let's face it, if states are fighting to legalize something that shouldn't have been criminalized in the first place (remember the Volstead Act), at least let them levy their taxes and be able to put them somewhere safer than in the mattresses. And lets send the applicable tax revenue to the IRS. If we can get cannabis tax receipts sent to Washington, maybe next we can do something about collecting those soft off-shore tax loophole revenues. Talk about putting a dent in the federal deficit.

This is a step in the right direction. It's late, but like many good things, better late than never.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

DoJ repeatedly warned Darrell Issa that he could "seriously jeopardize any criminal prosecution of the terrorists"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

benghazi benghazi benghazi

Here is the Republican default talking point in one easy visual:

tv benghazi

No matter what else is going on in the world, in our own country, schools, hospitals, disaster areas, civil rights arenas, you can always count on the GOP to shout "BENGHAZI!!!!" from their multi-million dollar vacation home rooftops.

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, has made a career out of witch hunting. He looks for scandals where there are none in the hope that one day... one dreamy, gauze-filtered, sunlit blue-skied day... he'll find something to pin on President Obama and fulfill all his impeachment wishes.

But oops, awhile back, Darrell Issa’s Benghazi document dump damaged U.S. efforts, putting Libyans working with U.S. in danger. While hyperventilating investigating the attacks on the consulate, he disclosed the identities of Libyans who were helping United States officials.

But that didn't stop Darrell the Witch Hunter, nosireeBob! The Los Angeles Times is reporting that he's determined to keep pushing his luck b.s. hysteria, lies, and redundantly false accusations come hell or hot water. And no, that was no typo, he may be in more hot water.

Two of the Justice Department's key witnesses were subpoenaed to appear on Capitol Hill for hours of grilling about "BENGHAZI!!!!" They gave separate legal depositions about any security lapses and how the Obama administration responded.

Now comes the part about how Witch Hunter Darrell might have, once again, blown it big time:

Weeks before the interviews, top Justice Department officials repeatedly warned Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) against doing so, saying it would seriously jeopardize any criminal prosecution of the terrorists. They wrote three times to the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, strongly urging him not to insist on interviewing the agents.

The interviews have not been released. But the Justice Department expressed concern that Issa might reveal some details from the interviews, or that defense lawyers could subpoena them if suspects are apprehended, according to the sources, who did not have permission to speak publicly, citing the ongoing investigation. At least one person has been named in a sealed indictment in the Benghazi attacks.

The interviews "would prematurely alert individuals who may be charged about details of the government's case against them," and would give defense lawyers a golden opportunity to review the depositions and impeach the agents if they testified as prosecution witnesses, the Justice Department warned in one of the letters, according to sources.

Oh that wacky, zany Issa. He's such a super-patriot.

More at the link.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Few Glitches In Republican Shut Down List

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

beavers

Those Republicans have been busy little beavers. They've been working so hard at building a better mousetrap, dam.

Things already checked off their "to do list" according to many sources, including the HUFFPO:

check mark Kids With Cancer Blocked From Clinical Trials...

Thousands Of Airline Inspectors Off The Job... 

Asylum Applications Delayed...

Sexual Assault Investigations On Hold...

Science Stops...

Food Safety Inspections Suspended...  National Parks Closed... 

Head Start Closures... 

100,o00 Furloughed At Joint Bases... 

Grand Canyon Closed...

85,000 Meals For Kids At Risk... 

1,282 Marines Furloughed... 

Fire Management Unit Closed... 

U.S. Attorney's Office Furloughs 40 Staffers... 

500 Furloughed At Air Force Base... 

Mars Spacecraft Launch Preparations Put On Hold... 

3,100 Workers Told To Stay Home... 

Scientific Research Stalled... 

Search For Missing Woman Temporarily Put On Hold... 

National Forest Closes Campgrounds... 

Reduced Staff At Federal Building... 

NASA Work Halted... 

Local OSHA Office Closes... 

State Receives 4,000 Unemployment Benefit Applications Due To Furloughs... 

Gov't Employee Union Official: 95 Percent Of Staff Members In Dept. Furloughed... 

State's $18 Million Per Day Cost... 

Social Security, Medicare Card Snags... 

Supplemental Food Program Shut Down... 

Widow Of Firefighter Killed On The Job Temporarily Denied Survivor Benefits... 

Lady Liberty Closed... 

VA Halts Vocational Rehabilitation Services... 

Naval College Instructors Stay Home... 

Tribal Funds For Foster Care Halted... 

Thousands unable to Pay Taxes At IRS Office... 

Delays In College Financial Aid... 

Supplemental Nutrition Program Halted For 65,000... 

217,000 Pounds Of Food For Hungry Jeopardized

Oil And Gas Leases Halted..

Marlin Stutzman

So now, what's left? Let's ask US Congressman, Marlin Stutzman. He's always good with simple answers to tough questions:

"We're not going to be disrespected," Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

US Makes Torture Victims Pay To Be… Tortured

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

waterboarding

In America, when does the pursuit of justice cross the line? How about when it awards legal fees to companies that illegally tortured victims. And who are they making pay for the privilege to be abused? The surviving prisoners.

HuffPo Politics:

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered four Iraqis who were imprisoned at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison to pay nearly $14,000 in legal fees to defense contractor CACI, an Arlington, Va.-based company that supplied interrogators to the U.S. government during the Iraq War.

Foreign nationals, captured and shipped to ABU GHRAIB were held and tortured by the Bush regime. To allow for deniability for possible accusations of war crimes, they farmed out the actual torture to sub-contractors, companies like CACI, an Arlington, Va.-based company that supplied interrogators to the U.S. government during the Iraq War.

In the unlikely case the accused (never provided with a lawyer or a hearing/trial) enemy combatants survived, some chose to petition the US government, suing them for violations of the Geneva conference – international law. All cases were all summarily denied.

A little over a month after winning the dismissal this summer, CACI requested that the former prisoners be ordered to pay $15,580 to cover the company's legal expenses.

Lawyers for the Iraqis disputed that their clients should pay CACI's bills, partly because the Iraqis had "very limited financial means, even by non-U.S. standards, and dramatically so when compared" to CACI, according to a court filing. Moreover, they wrote, the initial claims against CACI, involving "serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult -- and only recently arguable -- grounds."

CACI claims non of it’s employees participated in torture. If that’s true, why were they hired? What did they provide as services that the assigned US troops couldn't have legally done? And why did the courts refuse to hear these cases, to at least give the illusion of fairness to the process.

Watch this video and you’ll see just how corrupt this justice system is, both under Bush and under Obama.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Pot Deaths In The US? Oh, About Zero

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

zero

Drug overdosing is a horrible thing. Death of any kind is terrible. But when it's attributed to abuse it makes this such an unnecessary loss. Well, on the heels of AG Eric Holder announcing the Justice Department was not going to enforce federal anti-drug laws over states laws, the US bureau of statistics released this amazing conclusion.

The number of human deaths from overdosing on marijuana is -- ZERO.

That's right. A giant goose egg.

HUFFPO:

Yeah, not a single person has ever died from a weed overdose. We don't have numbers on pandas, but we're guessing it's about the same. According to one frequently cited study, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying.

The decision opened the floodgates for other states to pursue similar legalization efforts and outraged police groups apparently not excited to see a shift away from the failed war on drugs.

So why have police enforcement across the country come out against this ruling? Money. You see when a bulk of police arrests are attributed to drug infractions, legalizing the number of arrests will go way down. Cops will have to find another reason to justify stop and frisk. And we know that's not going to be guns, because the NRA won't allow that to happen.

Taking guns and cannabis off the table poses a conundrum for the police. So they've taken to another attack.

The police groups also make a number of additional controversial claims that marijuana use itself leads to violent behavior, suicidal thoughts and interest in harder drugs. Scientific studies have not been able to prove this causation conclusively, however, and research has also suggested that THC has significant therapeutic value to patients suffering from cancer, AIDS or glaucoma.

So, without public opinion or science on your side, what's left?

police donuts

Police use drugs as a reason to apprehend people. Now it's going to require another cause. Then there's also the reality that there won't be as many cops needed as a bulk of their arrests were drug related -- and Marijuana arrests tops among those apprehensions.

From Drug War Facts:

US Marijuana Arrests Percentage Share of Total Drug Arrests
- Year - Marijuana% Total Drug Arrests Marijuana% Total Manufacturing & Sale Arrests Marijuana% Total Possession Arrests
2011 49.5% 6.2% 43.3%
2010 52.1% 6.3% 45.8%
2009 51.6% 6.0% 45.6%
2008 49.8% 5.5% 44.3%

Basically, Marijuana is half of all drug arrests. And it's not growers who are being arrested, it's users. And many of them were legal users under state laws. Medical and recreational.

How does this relate to the stop and frisk numbers: According to the NY Times:

New York City spent one billion dollars and one million police hours prosecuting 440,000 marijuana arrestsFifty percent of those arrested were under the age of 21. Eighty-five percent of them were black or Latino.

Looks like racial profiling is going to take it on the chin with this DOJ declaration.

Now the cops in many states are going to be able to concentrate on real crime, not quota's of arrests for harmless usage. In those states where it's legal, life is about to change. Less fear. Less police interference. And watch for crime statistic numbers to drop. Eliminate the Mary Jane arrests and we're going to see the numbers fall -- and big time.

And also dropping will the the cost of jails and prisons. We're not going to see the populations grow, but rather fall. And so will the costs. Less prisoners to feed and house, less tax payer money allocated to these non-violent "prisoners."

So complain all you want, police officers. You do a good job when it comes to crime. Marijuana is not one of them. Good luck apprehending real criminals. Perhaps toke up before you go out on patrol -- cut down on your edginess.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Obama Evolves Again

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

marijuana

It looks like, with just breaking news, that the legal use of marijuana on the state level has just become -- legal.

In those 2 states where the people have voted to legalize it for recreational purposes -- Colorado and Washington -- or the 18 other states that have legalized it for medical purposes, a huge obstacle has been removed.

legal marijuana states

The feds are no longer going to be a threat. The controversy over the states rights vs. federal rights are being put aside. Today a victory has been meted out to individual states' jurisdiction.

Of course, this could open the door to all kinds of interpretations down the road with voting rights, gay rights, marriage rights and civil rights. But today we can sit back, light up a doobie if it's legal on the state level where you live and not need to worry that some Fed officer is going to come and bust you.

A few days ago, Laffy reported on Senator Leahy and his senate judiciary committee commencing meetings on marijuana laws, state vs. federal. And those hearings will still go on and certainly be very important as the upper chamber seeks to clarify this issue even more. But Obama and AG Holder have made their pronouncement.

According to Dennis Brady over at WaPo:

The Obama administration on Thursday said it will not stand in the way of Colorado, Washington and other states where voters have supported legalizing marijuana either for medical or recreational use, as long as those states maintain strict rules involving distribution of the drug.

In a memo sent Thursday to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states, deputy attorney general James M. Cole detailed the administration’s new stance...

SNIP:

The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus their resources on eight specific areas of enforcement, rather than targeting individual marijuana users, which even President Obama has acknowledged is not the best use of federal manpower. Those areas include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of pot to cartels and gangs, preventing sales to other states where the drug remains illegal under state law, and stopping the growing of marijuana on public lands.

Now there's a lot of reasons why this has happened, and a lot of people to share the credit. There's Senators like Leahy, doctors like Sanjay Gupta and even comedians like Bill Maher. Truth is that there's enough credit to go around. But the biggest hand should go to us, "We the people."

Peacefully we united, we voted, and the president and his justice department have heard our voices. And that's great news.

fireworks

Now that we see that we can be heard, let's not stop too long, resting on our laurels. This is but one victory on a march of so many future battles. We have starving people, we have crumbling infrastructure, unbelievable student debt, so few good paying jobs, we have disenfranchised voters, we have dirty air, we have a broken immigration system. An overwhelming list, but today we proved we have voices and a will.

Let's unite even stronger than before.

We can do this. We just saw how. Speak up and speak out!

Congrats everyone. It's so great to know that what we want as a people is being heard in normally tone deaf Washington. Now onto our next battle.

Oh, and please remember, paraphrasing the World's Most Interesting Man, "When you do light up, do so responsibly."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare