Justice Department

Another Isolated Incident: Cops face no charges for shooting black man looking at pellet guns in Wal-Mart


In Ohio it is now apparently legal to shoot a black man who is carrying (what appears to be) a gun…if you’re a cop.

A grand jury in Greene County, Ohio decided on Wednesday not to indict either of the two police officers who responded to a 911 call about an armed man in the Beavercreek Wal-Mart store. One of the officers shot the man, 22-year old John Crawford III, who turned out to be talking on a cell phone carrying an unloaded pellet gun that he had taken off the shelf of the store.

Store video of the incident shows Crawford just standing still at the end of an aisle in the pet section, waving the toy gun casually back and forth by his side, then falling to the ground as the armored officers approach with their rifles drawn.

Judge dismisses DOJ request end lawsuit over “Fast and Furious” documents

Attorney General Eric Holder might have a hard time keeping the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from browsing through the “Fast and Furious” documents now that a federal judge has rejected his request to dismiss the committee’s lawsuit.

The Justice Department had requested the U.S. District Court to dismiss the Committee’s lawsuit asking for access to the “Operation Fast and Furious” documents, which had been kept from Congress after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the records.

The president’s assertion was timely provided, given its stalling of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s investigation into “Fast and Furious,” which ultimately prompted Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-CA) to question Obama’s reasoning behind the delay to assert privilege over the documents. The President’s assertion of privilege over the documents happened exactly eight months after they were subpoenaed.

According to the investigators looking into the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) undercover operation known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” as many as 2,000 weapons might have ended up in the hands of narcotraffickers. Multiple crime scenes were connected to some of the weapons that might have been brought across the Mexican border as a result of the undercover operation.

While the DOJ confirmed its officials had turned virtually all records concerning the operation, but a letter sent to Congress on February 4, 2011 shows certain inconsistencies that worried Congressional investigators.

NSA Scandal Brings Opportunity for Constitutionalists


During the commencement address last month at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama talked up what he views as the virtues of big government and told graduates that they should “reject” those who warn of tyranny.

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works,” President Obama told the students. “They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner,” he continued. “You should reject these voices.  Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

Since that speech, four major scandals have emerged — the Benghazi cover-up, the Internal Revenue Service’s politically-charged targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, the Justice Department’s war on the First Amendment, and, now, the National Security Agency’s broad seizure of millions of phone records. Each of these scandals bring a unique dynamic to the political landscape, but the NSA scandal is one that the blame is equally spread between the Obama Administration and members of both parties in Congress.

The NSA’s complete disregard for the Fourth Amendment has drawn outrage from all sides. The New York Times notoriously Leftist editorial board wasted no time in condemning the Obama Administration for its secrecy.

Obama Uses IRS to Silence Critics

The Obama administration’s chickens, as his former pastor Jeremiah Wright would say, are coming home to roost. The media has long been the compliant lapdog of “No Drama Obama,” actively working to protect Obama from criticism by ignoring his misdeeds and attacking his critics (ever hear of JournoList?).

Rather than being the much ballyhooed “Fourth Estate” which speaks truth to power and exposes corruption, it has instead become the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. It has worked hard to cover-up, minimize, deflect, and obfuscate the many Obama scandals…from the bribes and coercion used to get ObamaCare (narrowly) passed, the character assassination of whistleblowers, spying on the Associated Press, paybacks made to labor unions, paybacks to donors in the “green energy” industry, selling guns to Mexican drug cartels, and abandoning Americans to die in the Benghazi attacks by Muslim terrorists…the list is endless.

But no scandal seems to have captured the outrage of the American people as has the recent revelation that the IRS has been targeting the political enemies of Obama. Obama’s current defense is that he knew nothing about it until he heard about it in the news just like the rest of us. That is an interesting defense…”I am not so much a bully and a tyrant as I am just completely incompetent and unaware of what is going on within my own administration.” Considering that both his Chief of Staff and White House counsel have known about it for a while, that seems highly unlikely. It is far more likely that he simply followed in the footsteps of other Democrat icon presidents, JFK and FDR, in using the IRS to bludgeon his enemies into submission.

DOJ Files Political Screed Asking FCC to Rig Spectrum Incentive Auction


Beyond enforcing the antitrust laws, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) advocates for competition policy in regulatory proceedings initiated by Executive Branch and independent agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In this role, the DOJ works with the FCC on mergers involving communications companies and occasionally provides input in other FCC proceedings. The historical reputation of the DOJ in this area has been one of impartial engagement and deliberate analysis based on empirical data. The DOJ’s recent filing (DOJ filing) on mobile spectrum aggregation jeopardizes that reputation, however, by recommending that the FCC “ensure” Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile obtain a nationwide block of mobile spectrum in the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.

Parsing AG Holder on Domestic Targeted Killing

Written by Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

As I wrote on Thursday, I’m not really losing sleep over the prospect of domestic targeted killing, mostly because it seems as though it would be so manifestly politically radioactive even within the intelligence community that I doubt it could be done secretly, and would almost certainly provoke a constitutional crisis if it became public. That said, as Marcy Wheeler notes, if we look closely at the precise wording of Attorney General Eric Holder’s response to Sen. Rand Paul disavowing any such presidential prerogative, it’s actually phrased in a way that seems calculated to preserve a fair amount of wiggle room:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question. “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.

Fast and Furious over Fast and Furious

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Operation Fast and Furious, which actually is not an effort to catch illegal drag racers.  Instead, it’s an operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) where it’s been alleged that BATFE agents let tons of firearms flow south of the border by people they knew to be buying for the Mexican drug cartels.  One of these guns was reportedly used to kill US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

The gun rights community, predictably, is up in arms (pun unintended) about it.  Some are going so far as to claim it is all part of an effort to push forward increased gun regulations here.  Yesterday, President Obama claimed executive priviledge regarding documents that Congress and subpenoaed.  They had ordered them eight months ago.

Now, first let me address the conspiracy theory regarding using Fast and Furious being a way to push forward regulations here.  I might have had something to do with that one.  Months ago, on a blog that is no longer up on the net, I wrote that if I were inclined towards conspiracy theories, I would believe such a thing.  After all, the use of American guns by drug cartels was cited by both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as reasons why we needed tougher gun regulations in the US.  This was while Fast and Furious was going on and sending a proverbial buttload of guns down to Mexico…guns that BATFE knew about and did nothing to prevent.

Of course, a report from CBS News from December, 2011 looks like I might have been on to something:

Your Internet privacy could be in jeopardy

The Atlantic is reporting on a bill working its way through Congress that could potentially be disastrous for civil liberties and privacy on the Internet.  The innocuously-named bill, the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” requires that all ISPs maintain 12-month records of literally every element of your Internet activity.  To obtain this info, all police have to do is ask for it - even for other crimes entirely unrelated to child porn.

This is the kind of nice-sounding, yet massively over-broad law that creates far more problems that it intends to solve.  And yet it’s hardly surprising that the government is making a power grab under the banner of “protecting children”.  That’s right up there with “helping poor people” and “stopping terrorism” in the list of excuses the state has used as a cover for invading our rights.

Clearly, this bill cannot become law.  Anything we can do to alert people to it would certainly go a long way to shedding a light on this very problematic legistation.

Thanks go to Jayvie Canono (@OneFineJay) on Twitter for pointing me to this.

Eric Holder and Operation Gunrunner

Operation Gunrunner, also known as Operation Fast & Furious, has been a bit of an embarrassment to the BATFE to say the least.  The operation, which knowingly permitted illegal straw purchases to go through, knowing that the guns would be send south of the boarder to Mexican drug gangs, hasn’t gone as sunny as planners had hoped.  Now, the spotlight in turning onto Attorney General Eric Holder and his Justice Department.

From a New York Post article on the whole mess:

The ATF’s acting director, Kenneth Melson, has been singing like a canary to congressional investigators as he pushes back against administration pressure for him to resign and take the fall for something that, at the very least, had to include the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and possibly the Homeland Security Department.

In a letter to Holder released yesterday, Rep. Daryl Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley accused the Justice Department of blocking their investigation into the burgeoning scandal (which has resulted in the deaths of at least two American agents and countless Mexican civilians), muzzling the ATF and involving other federal agencies, including the FBI and the DEA, in funding the crackpot scheme.

“The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons, but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities,” they wrote.

Wikileaks: Criminal Enterprise or Useful Check On Government?

With the recent release of information likely to embarrass ambassadors and diplomats, Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, have become targets for the government’s latest arrows in the “War on Terror.” Even the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Pete King (R-NY), has called for the Justice Department to aggressively investigate and prosecute the site and its founder, an Australian, for the releases that many government officials have cited as “putting lives at risk.”

While I haven’t read every word released by Wikileaks, I find it hard to believe that leaked information about the American government and their actions will endanger lives. In fact, I like the “new normal” in terms of government transparency. I hardly think that accepting and publishing information given qualifies one, as King asserts that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should declare, as “a foreign terrorist organization.”

The investigation into Assange’s involvement in a suspected rape in Sweden aside, the work being done by his organization opened many eyes about the Federal Government’s actions in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their publication of government information on the Iraq War in October provided a valuable release of information to the public with statistics, documentation, and accounts of war activities that the U.S. Government feels is too dangerous for us to know. In fact, Time Magazine stated that Wikileaks “Could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.”

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