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Holder’s DoJ Must Focus on Real Criminals Now

1:57 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Attorney General Eric Holder (photo: USDAgov/flickr)

Bank looters, pension stealers, and widow robbers run rampant through our Republic, so one hopes Eric Holder’s Justice Department will now focus its attention on the real crimes ruining America. They aren’t committed by baseball players lying to Congresscoals to Newcastle if ever I heard of it! — or heiresses paying hush money to a Presidential candidate’s mistress.

These aren’t crimes; they are E! Entertainment News and Entertainment Tonight! fodder, not crimes worthy of federal resources ladled upon them in the millions of dollars. Enough with the circuses!

Utter lawlessness abounds throughout the land — in voter disenfranchisement, mortgage securitization and foreclosure fraud, depradation of our precious natural world, and utter bribery of public officials by faceless forces of wealth.

Will Eric Holder please direct the efforts of his many attorneys to real problems plaguing real American people, and leave off these spashy — but ultimately ridiculously unsuccessful — show trials that get his media audience all het up? Just because Diane Sawyer decides to whine regularly about gthe utter immorality of John Edwards and the tribulations of his loyal daughter Cate during his trial is no reason to pursue an absurd lawsuit whose parameters have been totally eclipsed by the Citizens United case your same DoJ lost not long ago, Mr Attorney General. You should know, and your subordinates should know, that something’s seriously wrong with a prosecution that elects not to indict — or even call to the stand! — the primary actor in the drama, on the grounds that she’s rich and old.

To the American people, this trial looked like a president directing his Justice Department’s resources at a pesky opponent who talked about inconvenient issues — and one without a political future, at that. An utter waste of time, with a predictable and futile outcome to boot.

Getting your name on the Evening News isn’t your job, sir — putting actual bad guys in jail is.

And lying to Congress? Sir, just because a baseball hero with clay feet elects to emulate your penultimate predecessor (whom you’ve let walk free without a scratch!) is no reason to insert yourself and your department into the business of America’s native criminal class. Not telling them the truth is, well, sauce for the gander, isn’t it?

Get busy, Holder. There’s lots of real lawyering to do on behalf of the American people. And I bet if Barack Obama wanted to, he could find no end of volunteers to do the job you and your subordinates are clearly not cut out to do.

Holder Appoints Chain-of-Command US Attorneys to Investigate White House Leaks

11:50 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Attorney General Eric Holder

Missing every lesson from Richard Nixon’s behavior during the Watergate investigation, Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two sitting United States Attorneys (one from Maryland, one from DC) to investigate the national security leaks that resulted in disclosures in the Paper of Record of America’s drone and assassination programs overseas.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has appointed the two U.S. attorneys from the District and Maryland to lead investigations into the possible leak of classified information by the White House to reporters, even as President Obama defended his administration against claims that it was complicit.

In a statement issued late Friday, Holder said that he has notified members of Congress that he has assigned the U.S. attorney for the District, Ronald C. Machen Jr., and his counterpart for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, to lead criminal investigations into “possible unauthorized” leaks to reporters for several recent news articles and books.

As Karl Rove made very clear during the previous administration, United States Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. It is impossible for them to conduct an investigation that might involve direct White House subordinates or even the President himself. This is a sham investigation from the outset and it’s a shame who stands alone saying so:

Prominent members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have pressured the White House to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter. Late Friday, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement that Holder’s move didn’t go far enough.

“This investigation involves some of the most serious breaches of national security in recent memory and any investigation must be done in a manner free and clear of political considerations,” they said. “The recent decision of the Attorney General falls far short of what is needed and is not an adequate substitute for an outside special counsel.”

There needs to be serious bipartisan legislative pushback against Holder’s action. As long as only Gluehorse and his trusty sidekick speak out, this will appear to be partisan sniping. And it’s far from that — these leaks are serious and have gone on for a long time in order to burnish the president’s image as a resolute warrior for peace.

Nothing less than a special prosecutor will do. And Congress is feeling just rebellious enough to pass a new special prosecutor law: after all, the president is a Democrat. Time to bring back that creaky Whitewater artifact!

DOJ to Federal Court: Grant Edith Windsor Her Refund, DOMA is Unconstitutional

3:32 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

… and the walls come tumbling down: The Department of Justice yesterday asked a federal District Court to grant Edith Windsor her estate tax refund because the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required her to pay $351,000 on her deceased same-sex spouse’s estate is unconstitutional.

Back on July 1, the Department of Justice took a big step in defining what its Feb. 23 decision that the federal definition of marriage found in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional would look like. In Karen Golinski’s case seeking equal health benefits for her wife, DOJ argued that the case should not be tossed out of court and should be allowed to proceed.

On Aug. 19, DOJ went a step further, telling a judge in the Southern District of New York that Edith Windsor — who is seeking a refund of the more than $350,000 estate tax bill that she had to pay because her marriage to her deceased wife, Thea Spyer, was not recognized by the federal government — should be granted that refund because DOMA’s federal definition of marriage is unconstitutional.

This is the first affirmation by the federal Department of Justice that a case brought against DOMA should succeed because Section 3 is unconstitutional.

In concluding its brief filed on Friday in Windsor’s case, DOJ — led by Assistant Attorney General Tony West and signed by DOJ senior trial counsel Jean Lin — argues, “Section 3 of DOMA fails heightened scrutiny, and this Court should deny the motions to dismiss Plaintiff’s constitutional claim and grant Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.”

This is a very exciting step forward for married same-sex couples everywhere who seek to be treated the same as other married couples by our federal government.

In many of the federal appellate circuits across the country, the courts have ruled at some point on the level of scrutiny to be applied to classifications based on sexual orientation. In Friday’s filing, however, DOJ notes — as Holder had noted on Feb. 23 — “The Second Circuit has not ruled on the appropriate level of scrutiny for sexual orientation classifications.” The Second Circuit includes New York, where Windsor filed her case, and Connecticut, where the GLAD Pedersen case was filed.

DOJ’s Aug. 19 brief then lays out its case for heightened scrutiny to apply to sexual orientation classifications, arguing that “careful consideration of the factors the Supreme Court has identified as relevant to the inquiry demonstrates that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny.”

Of course, John Boehner’s Bi-Partisan Legal Advisory Group’s (BLAG) objections still stand in the way of this case:

In addition to DOJ’s filing, Windsor’s lawyers also filed a response to BLAG, arguing in part that DOMA should be found unconstitutional — even should the court decide that rational basis applies.

The court had set a timeline earlier this year for exchange of evidence among the parties and for the briefing that took another step forward on Friday. BLAG’s reply is due by Sept. 2.

Dwight Holton, US Attorney: Oregon Pot Dispensaries “Will Not Be Tolerated”

3:29 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Just as US Attorney General Eric Holder announces that he will shortly “clarify Department policy” on marijuana dispensaries in states where laws allow them (Rhode Island in particular) United States Attorney Dwight Holton rounded up all but two of the District Attorneys in Oregon to sign a letter about the Feds’ zero tolerance policy:

“The sale of marijuana for any purpose—including as medicine—violates both federal and Oregon law and will not be tolerated,” says the warning from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “People and businesses that conduct sales of marijuana face the risk of prosecution, civil enforcement action and seizure of assets.”

The letter is also signed by the head of the Oregon Sheriffs Association and the Oregon Chief of State Police. Missing is the signature of the Multnomah (Portland) County District Attorney:

One notable absence from the list of co-signers is Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk. He tells WW his office has different priorities.

“I don’t like to threaten things that we realistically are not geared up to do,” Schrunk says. “We’ve been at the forefront of trying to do rehabilitation for drug offenders. We have one of the oldest drug courts in the country. I think we’ve tried to have a progressive, realistic view.”

US Attorney Holton’s letter (at Willamette Week here) follows the familiar, sweeping format of other heavy federal warnings to “owners, operators and landlords of Oregon marijuana dispensaries.” It’s the first of its kind in Oregon. Since the invented terror beat may be unraveling for Holton, the US Attorney may think it’s time to crack down on the other evildoers amongst us: sick people who need the medicine their own doctors have prescribed that fixes what ails them.

Because that’s how our federal government needs to occupy its time. Right?

Holder to Muslims Re Stings: Get Used to It

1:14 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Attorney General Eric Holder took his “Get Used to It” entrapment justification tour directly to the enemy this week. He headed to Marin County — gosh, why does that sound familiar, oh, right, that’s where they breed the American Taliban! — to address the annual meeting of Muslim Advocates, a group with two scary words in its name.

(I wonder if they have a gay non-advocacy auxiliary called Fierce Muslim Advocates?)

Anyway, Holder told this national group of Muslims who advocate that when it comes to stings, they better get used to it:

In a 20-minute speech delivered in this suburb of San Francisco at the annual dinner of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and civil-rights organization, Mr. Holder rejected criticism by such groups that sting operations amount to improper “entrapment.”

Using Team Obama’s patented “you don’t have your facts straight” defense against critics, AG Holder told the group they need to look out for sting-y Feebs:

Mr. Holder was given a standing ovation as he took the stage, and many applauded during his speech. But the room fell silent for several minutes while Mr. Holder defended the sting operation in an Oregon bombing attempt last month, calling it a “successful undercover operation” and not a case of entrapment. Those who think otherwise, he said, “simply do not have their facts straight.”

Also, the feds will be on the alert for terror against Muslims, which oddly seems to follow big Terror Theatre™ productions by the FBI’s JTTF:

“I believe that law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship and to practice their faith in peace, free from intimidation, violence or suspicion,” Mr. Holder said.

Seeing no contradiction, Holder went on:

But he also rejected criticism of some counterterrorism techniques used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including sending informants into mosques in search of would-be terrorists and creating elaborate sting operations enabling them to carry out fake attacks using dummy bombs.

Because nothing says “we’re going to let you practice your faith in peace” more than recruiting your children into Terror Theater™ productions they couldn’t possibly carry out without the Feeb’s active intervention. Nothing says “ability to worship freely” like sending informants into mosques. Nothing says that you’re “free from intimidation” like putting you on a watch list to prevent you from accepting a job elsewhere in America. Nothing says “free from suspicion” like isolating children from their loving families through fake-jihad recruitment, cash payments, and provision of Terror Theater™ techniques and traps.

Eric Holder may have thought his speech would make him friends, but the organization’s president, Farhana Khera, has his number:

Ms. Khera emphasized that Muslim Advocates recognized that “there are actual threats that do exist and as Americans who care about the country, we want law enforcement to be effective.”

But the complex “entrapment operations,” she contended, may be getting people involved in terrorism who otherwise would not have done anything. She also argued that the operations divert investigators from “actual threats” and stoke “anti-Muslim sentiment.”

If the FBI spends resources developing Terror Theater™ productions with individuals unlikely or incapable of bringing threats to fruition or reality, then those resources are unavailable to track and identify actual terror threats. And Terror Theatre™ provokes actual terror — terror against Muslims — that the FBI must investigate.

All in all, though, from a bureaucrats’ perspective, Terror Theatre™, the responses to it, and the need to respond to the resultant terror make for a bigger budget request next year. Win!

Prison Rape: Another National Scandal Ignored by Obama Admin

4:24 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Prison rape in America is a national scandal, one without any constituency, one of the few sexual assaults about which late-night comics (and, sometimes, progressive bloggers) can still get a laugh or an LOL. The Department of Justice was, by law, supposed to implement 2009 recommendations by June 2010; these will cost money, though, and it’s money the American prison-industrial complex whines to Attorney General Eric Holder it does not have.

Nearly 90,000 inmates were sexually abused last year at the hands of guards and fellow prisoners, the government reported Thursday.

The report has added fuel to a years-long push by prison reformers and human rights advocates for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to adopt stricter standards to rein in prison rape — rules the agency was supposed to put in place in June, but has delayed due to pressures from the prison industry.

Thursday’s report, issued by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), reveals that a failure to act can have serious consequences, with roughly 88,500 inmates found to be victims of sexual assault last year. About 64,500 of those inmates were being held in prisons — representing 4.4 percent of the nation’s prison population — and 24,000 in jails (3.1 percent of the jail population).

Did the Attorney General follow the law and issue implementing regulations in June that would address this scandal that’s hidden behind bars, as the 2003 law required him to do?  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

DEA Raids SF Medical Marijuana Dispensary

4:41 pm in Just Say Now, Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Despite Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement last week that dispensaries would only be prosecuted if they were violating state and federal law, the Drug Enforcement Agency raided a popular medical marijuana dispensary at 12th and Howard Streets in San Francisco yesterday Wednesday, while patients chanted: "Our medicine is marijuana! Listen to Barack Obama!"

Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco Wednesday, a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that the Obama administration would not prosecute distributors of pot used for medicinal purposes that operate under sanction of state law.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard St. in San Francisco’s South of Market district mid-afternoon.

They hauled out large plastic bins overflowing with marijuana plants and loaded several pickup trucks parked out front with grow lights and related equipment used to farm the plants indoors.

The dispensary had been operating with a temporary permit issued by the Department of Public Health.

San Franciscans are eager to find out from our elected officials if the local police department will protect our medical dispensaries from rogue federal agents operating without sanction of the United States Attorney General. Read the rest of this entry →