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VA Delegate Robert Marshall Tells CNN ‘Sodomy is Not a Civil Right’

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Robert G. Marshall

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, led opponents in the move to deny a judgeship to Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland.

In a testy interview today with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on the Virginia legislature’s recent refusal to appoint openly gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to a judgeship, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, declared that “sodomy is not a civil right.”

Marshall, a U.S. Senate candidate and one of the General Assembly’s most conservative members, denied that he had lobbied against Thorne-Begland because he is gay, but instead termed him an “activist.”

Marshall said Thorne-Begland “displayed a pattern of behavior inconsistent with what we have come to expect in Virginia judges.”


Homosexual Prosecutor (denied judgeship) With Lover and 2 Children

As examples, he said Thorne-Begland had been forced to “misstate his background” in order to join the Navy in the late 1980s, defied regulation by going on television and been openly critical of the now-defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“He can be a prosecutor if he wants to,” Marshall said, “but we don’t want advocates as judges.”

Marshall added that he was “concerned about possible bias” if Thorne-Begland had been appointed a General District judge, using the example of a barroom fight between a homosexual and heterosexual.

Marshall rejected Baldwin’s comparison of the issue to civil rights and women’s suffrage, remarking: “Sodomy is not a civil right. It’s not the same as the civil rights movement.”

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Mark Levin Outlines ‘The Right Way To Proceed’ To Get Holder Documents

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Original Article - Mark Levin Outlines ‘The Right Way To Proceed’ To Get Holder Documents

Last night, radio host Mark Levin outlined the five steps that should now be taken to compel Attorney General Eric Holder to produce Operation Fast and Furious documents

“There is no need for Senate action,” Levin explained. Instead, he said, a civil lawsuit should be pursued by House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Levin outlined what he believes is “the right way to proceed”:

  1. Hold Holder in contempt by resolution of the House.
  2. Seek authorization from the House for the Committee to proceed by civil action to compel production of the documents.
  3. Chairman Issa should file suit in federal court in DC and seek expedited action.
  4. A “privilege log” of all documents for which Executive Privilege is claimed should be sought by Issa and ordered produced immediately by the court.
  5. The judge should promptly inspect all documents and then compel production of every document for which no legitimate reason justifies Executive Privilege.

Some documents may, indeed, be covered by Executive Privilege, Levin said, noting that the general concept of privilege is important so that the president can confidential receive candid advice from his advisors.

“But the blanket attachment of that label flouts the law and the Constitution, and harms the legitimate assertion of EP by Presidents of either party in the future,” he qualified.

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Second Amendment: FU

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Original Article - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Second Amendment: FU

“Calling tougher gun laws pivotal to Chicago’s crime-fighting strategy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel [above] said Wednesday he would do whatever it takes to protect the legal integrity of the city’s firearms ordinance, a portion of which was overturned by a federal judge,” suntimes.com reports. “Emanuel refused to say whether he would appeal U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan’s ruling, or simply rewrite the overturned section used to deny a man a gun permit because of a prior misdemeanor conviction.” Blood not boiling yet? Take your heart meds and make the jump for the money shot . . .

Emanuel said he would await Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton’s recommendation before deciding which way to go. But the mayor said he is determined to preserve the ordinance one way or another.

“The reason we have gun laws — the reason I’m trying to also pass tougher gun laws down in Springfield — is because it’s an essential complement to your overall crime strategy,” Emanuel said at an unrelated news conference.

“And we will adjust. I’m waiting for Steve’s comments, but we will do whatever we need to do to continue to pursue getting guns off our streets and out of the hands of gang-bangers and drug dealers.”

Except, I dunno, increasing the detection, arrest and conviction rates for said miscreants. Or, for that matter, allowing their potential victims to arm themselves—as is their Constitutionally-protected right—in some kind of weird ass deterrent deal.

Apparently, Rahm’s crime fighting strategy also involves getting rid of kids. Or warehousing them. Or something.

“You cannot have just more cops on the street. It’s part of a comprehensive strategy you’ve heard me talk about. … Our crime strategy is putting more police on the street and getting kids, guns and drugs off the street.”

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Pelosi: Holder Contempt Vote is Part of Republican Voter Suppression Scheme

Original Article - Pelosi: Holder Contempt Vote is Part of Republican Voter Suppression Scheme

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We now have the official… it took a while, about 24 hours, the official Democrat Party response to the contempt citation voted by the committee yesterday against Eric Holder. It comes from Nancy Pelosi. This morning in Washington, this is what the former Speaker said this is all about.

PELOSI: It’s really important to note how this is connected with some of their other decisions. It is no accident, it is no coincidence, that the attorney general of the United States is the person responsible for making sure that voter suppression does not happen in our country.

 

RUSH: There you have it.

PELOSI: That issues that relate to the civil liberties of the American people –

RUSH: There you have it.

PELOSI: — are upheld.

RUSH: That’s right.

PELOSI: These very same people [who] are holding him in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote.

RUSH: We need a new planet. We need a new planet called Stupider, and I need to put Nancy Pelosi on it as the mayor of the whole planet, as the governor, as the evil emperor, whatever. I knew yesterday that it would take a while for these people to come up with an explanation, “Well, it’s common. Well, every president does it. Well, this is just a witch hunt.” But I never dreamed, because I can’t think this stupidly, I never dreamed that the official Democrat Party response would be that the Republicans intend to cheat in the election and Holder was gonna stop ‘em, and so Holder has to be stopped because he was gonna stop the cheating. That’s what the mayor of the new planet Stupider, Nancy Pelosi, said this morning in Washington, DC. The very same people holding Holder in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote. (laughing)

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Just to repeat, let’s go back. Grab sound bite 21. Here we have the official Democrat Party explanation for the attorney general, Eric Holder, being found in contempt of Congress.

Well, of the committee, not the whole House yesterday.

PELOSI: (haltingly) It’s really important to note how this is connected with some of their other decisions. It is no accident, it is no coincidence that the attorney general of the United States is the person responsible for making sure that voter suppression does not happen in our country, that issues that relate to the civil liberties of the American people are upheld. These very same people [who] are holding him in the contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote.

RUSH: There you have it. That’s what it’s all about, folks. (laughing) Planet of Stupider. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who says she could have arrested Karl Rove any time she wanted, but she didn’t because she was responsible.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

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Holder Will Lose Executive Privilege Fight

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Original Article - Holder Will Lose Executive Privilege Fight

President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege to prevent Attorney General Eric Holder from complying with congressional subpoenas on the Operation Fast and Furious fiasco will blow up in the White House’s face. But not for the reasons you’ve heard on the first day of this legal fight.

Some Republicans are saying—and some media commentators are reporting—that executive privilege only applies when the president himself is involved. That’s incorrect as a matter of law.

It’s important to get this right, because some are suggesting that today’s invoking of the privilege means Obama himself is involved, a smoking gun that could make this the next Watergate. Not true. The White House might be involved, but we don’t know one way or another… yet.

As I’ve written before, there are two types of executive privilege. One is a strong form rooted in the Constitution, called the presidential communication privilege. But there is another type, much weaker and rooted in common law instead of the Constitution, called the deliberative process privilege. That second, weaker variety is what President Obama invoked today regarding Holder.

It’s still the White House asserting the privilege, because only the president can assert executive privilege for his entire administration. (Except that the vice president can also assert it, but only for matters directly involving the VP.) So Obama has invoked it on Holder’s behalf.

Others are also incorrect in saying executive privilege only applies to military matters, diplomatic secrets, or national security situations. The courts have repeatedly held that executive privilege covers much more than that, most recently in 2004 in Cheney v. U.S. District Court, where the Supreme Court considered whether the VP’s conversations with energy industry leaders was protected by the privilege. Executive privilege is strongest when those three issues are on the table, but it’s broader than that.

There are several factors courts look to. The most important is whether the president was involved, since that determines which privilege (presidential communications versus deliberative process) is in play. Beyond that, several factors weigh in favor of Congress and against Holder here. This was domestic policy (not foreign), in an operation out of an agency (not the White House), where crimes may have been committed, and none of the president’s constitutional prerogatives are implicated by the case. Factors favoring Obama are that this is not legislative policymaking, and it does have a diplomatic angle because of relations with Mexico. But surveying 200 years of court precedent shows that Congress has the better claim here.

The only way to beat an executive privilege claim is by court order. To take this issue to court, the full House must vote to hold Holder in contempt of Congress, then—when federal prosecutors predictably inform the House that they will not prosecute their boss—the full House must pass a second resolution authorizing Rep. Darrell Issa to file suit in the U.S. District Court for D.C. on behalf of the entire U.S. House.

Holder will lose the court fight. He’ll appeal, of course, but eventually the appeals will be over, and we’ll all learn the truth of what really happened in Fast and Furious.

And whom to hold accountable.

Breitbart News legal contributor Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University School of Law, and author of Making Executive Privilege Work, published by Cleveland State Law Review.

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Did Supremes Tip Obamacare Vote in Union Dues Case?

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Original Article - Did Supremes Tip Obamacare Vote in Union Dues Case?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

 

RUSH: The Supreme Court had a couple decisions today. One of them, big whoop, the FCC didn’t warn Fox and CBS early enough so the F-word was fine as it happened on TV. The F-bomb was inadvertent, the FCC didn’t tell ‘em soon enough not to do it or what have you.

Then there was a 7-2 decision where the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals got slapped down along with the Service Employees International Union. Now, in and of itself, it’s not monumental. Well, I could be wrong about that. Some of these Supreme Court decisions, it takes a while for me to digest them. Let me tell you what the decision is first. The Supreme Court today ruled that unions must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases or special assessments that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop unions. The SEIU argued that their once-a-year warning was sufficient. The court said, no, it’s not. The court said that unions have to give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases.

So if you’re a nonmember of a union but you’re working in a union shop and the union decides to raise dues or whatever, they have to tell you immediately so that you can decide whether you’re gonna accept the new fee and pay it, or not. That’s what the court just decided. I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of this, but I want to read to you from the majority opinion. I’m gonna be very, very brief. “The majority thus decides, for the very first time, that the First Amendment does require an opt-in system in some circumstances [for union dues]: the levying of a special assessment or dues increase.”

Now, it’s not that big a leap to think that if the court says that for the first time, the majority for the first time, that the First Amendment does require an opt-in system. Meaning, you have to be told before they can make you do this. It’s not that big a leap to think that the court is of the same opinion when it comes to health care and striking down the mandate. So I don’t know. Off the top of my fertile mind, which I’m sure in subsequent e-mails that I will receive in mere moments, will be shot down by legal scholars. In my fertile mind, I’m thinking this could be a tip, a tip-off, an indication. I’m not saying that it is, and I’m not saying that Justice has intended that with the release of this opinion today, but it’s interesting, it’s a 7-2 decision.

originalHowever, two justices wrote their own opinion because they wanted to dissent from that aspect of the decision. Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented from the opinion, but Sotomayor and Ginsburg said they did not join the majority opinion that the First Amendment requires an opt-in system. You could say that it was 5-4 on that provision, not 7-2, because Sotomayor, the wise Latina, and Ginsburg dissented from that aspect in the majority opinion. So on the notion of an opt- in, it was 5-4, not 7-2. Doesn’t turn out that way, but I’m just telling you the way if they could have voted provision by provision.

In and of itself the decision is interesting ’cause it slaps down the Ninth Circus and it slaps down the SEIU, who are able to simply levy increases whenever they wanted with nobody being able to opt out of it. And what happened was a nonmember by the name of Dianne Knox and other nonmembers of the SEIU wanted to object and opt- out of a $12 million special assessment that the union required from its California public sector members for political campaigning. Knox said, (paraphrasing) “I don’t want my money going the way you’re gonna spend it.” Now, she’s not a member. She’s a nonmember working in a union shop, and she didn’t want to pay this special assessment. And they said, “Well, you didn’t opt- out in time.”

She said, “I didn’t know that I had to.”

“Well, we warned you every year that you have the opportunity.”

“Well, I didn’t see it, I forgot about it.” It went to court, and the Supreme Court said to the SEIU, “You’ve gotta tell ‘em when you’re gonna do this and you’ve gotta give ‘em notice and you’ve gotta give ‘em a chance to opt- out of it.” I don’t know, some might say, Pelosi’s office, they might call it a bitch slap, I don’t know. (laughing) On the Planet of Stupider. But it is pretty big in the sense that now the union has to tell people, nonmembers, at least according to this decision, that if they’re gonna raise dues for campaigns or whatever, these nonmembers have a chance — (interruption) Well, I don’t know if it applies all over the country or just in California. I don’t know what the jurisdiction is.

That’s why I say there’s always more to learn about these things. This stuff comes out this morning and with all the other show prep, there’s not enough time to delve fully into this. That’s why I want to leave it open ended. Basically what happened here is that the court struck down the money-laundering scheme, is what happened here, at least in California, the SEIU there. The vote was 7-2. We see that even Elena Kagan is further to the left than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but it’s another blow to the DNC’s fundraising mechanism. They just can’t raise money arbitrarily, special assessment, raise dues, however you want to characterize it, for political purposes. They have to give these nonmembers a chance to opt- out, and that’s big. So the money-laundering scheme suffers a bit of a hit.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

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Rove: Pelosi ‘Sounds Like Mad Red Queen’ With Arrest Threat

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Karl Rove said Rep. Nancy Pelosi was “dead wrong” when she suggested Wednesday that she could have had him arrested.

“The only way I could have been arrested is if the House adopted the resolution, which it did not,” the Republican operative and former adviser to President George W. Bush told Fox News on Wednesday night.

“So, it’s nice to know that Speaker Pelosi wanted to have me arrested. It’s nice to know that she thinks she had the power to, but we’re still a nation of laws and she has no authority to do so and had she attempted to arrest on any of the number times that I was in and out of the Capitol, without a resolution passed by the entire House of Representatives, she would have been up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle.”

Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, made her comments Wednesday after House Republicans moved to pursue contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Eric Holder.

“I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day,” the California Democrat told reporters. “I’m not kidding. There’s a prison here in the Capitol. If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.”

The former House Speaker said while “any number” of charges could have been brought against Rove, “there were some specific ones for his being in contempt of Congress.”

Rove said Pelosi was guilty of speaking in hyperbole.

“You know, she sounds a little bit like Inspector Clouseau and a little bit [like] the Mad Red Queen, but Speaker Pelosi was dead wrong in her assertion today and I’m sure she had a good laugh and it’s nice to know that she dreams of slapping me in her own personal jail. But she didn’t have any authority to do it,” Rove said.

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Pelosi Rips Holder Contempt Charges: ‘I Could Have Arrested Karl Rove on Any Given Day’ (Liar!)

Original Article - Pelosi Rips Holder Contempt Charges: ‘I Could Have Arrested Karl Rove on Any Given Day’ (Liar!)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attacked House Republicans for pursuing contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday.

“I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day,” Pelosi said on Wednesday, The Huffington Post reports. “I’m not kidding. There’s a prison here in the Capitol. If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.”

“Oh, any number” of charges could have been brought against Rove, Pelosi said. “But there were some specific ones for his being in contempt of Congress.”

Pelosi also criticized Republicans pushing for justice for Border Patrol agent Brian Terry — as House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings has on numerous occasions — as “just strictly political.”

“It’s just the irresponsibility of the Republicans,” Pelosi said. “We want jobs. Why are they spending this time doing this?”

Pelosi attacked House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa too. “‘Loose cannon’ would sort of be like such a compliment to Darrell Issa,” Pelosi said. “‘Loose cannon’ would be a moderate phrase. This is an explosive device. It doesn’t serve our country, and it undermines the true purpose of contempt of Congress.” (GUILTY AS CHARGED: Issa’s committee approves Holder contempt citation)

“That’s why I didn’t arrest Karl Rove when I had the chance,” Pelosi added. (DOC BLOCK: Obama invokes ‘executive privilege’)It’s unclear if Pelosi is aware Rove did not serve in a Bush administration position that’s identical to Holder’s in the Obama administration. Rove was a senior policy adviser — a position that’s more similar to Valerie Jarrett’s or David Axelrod’s on President Barack Obama’s team. Holder is the attorney general, the top law enforcement official in the United States. Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami wouldn’t answer when The Daily Caller asked if Pelosi was aware of the distinction.

Rove was not immediately available for comment.

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Documents: ATF Used “Fast and Furious” to Make the Case for Gun Regulations

Original Article - Documents: ATF Used “Fast and Furious” to Make the Case for Gun Regulations

Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.

In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the “big fish.” But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called “gunwalking,” and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3″. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as “(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue.” And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: “Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.”

This revelation angers gun rights advocates. Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 “disappointing and ironic.” Keane says it’s “deeply troubling” if sales made by gun dealers “voluntarily cooperating with ATF’s flawed ‘Operation Fast & Furious’ were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles.”

The Gun Dealers’ Quandary

Several gun dealers who cooperated with ATF told CBS News and Congressional investigators they only went through with suspicious sales because ATF asked them to.

Sometimes it was against the gun dealer’s own best judgment.

In April, 2010 a licensed gun dealer cooperating with ATF was increasingly concerned about selling so many guns. “We just want to make sure we are cooperating with ATF and that we are not viewed as selling to the bad guys,” writes the gun dealer to ATF Phoenix officials, “(W)e were hoping to put together something like a letter of understanding to alleviate concerns of some type of recourse against us down the road for selling these items.”

ATF’s group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there’s nothing to worry about. “We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail.”

Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.

“I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands…I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country.”

“It’s like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back,” says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. “It’s a circular way of thinking.”

The Justice Department and ATF declined to comment. ATF officials mentioned in this report did not respond to requests from CBS News to speak with them.

The “Demand Letter 3″ Debate

The two sides in the gun debate have long clashed over whether gun dealers should have to report multiple rifle sales. On one side, ATF officials argue that a large number of semi-automatic, high-caliber rifles from the U.S. are being used by violent cartels in Mexico. They believe more reporting requirements would help ATF crack down. On the other side, gun rights advocates say that’s unconstitutional, and would not make a difference in Mexican cartel crimes.

Two earlier Demand Letters were initiated in 2000 and affected a relatively small number of gun shops. Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. ATF chose those states because they “have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico.” The reporting requirements were to apply if a gun dealer sells two or more long guns to a single person within five business days, and only if the guns are semi-automatic, greater than .22 caliber and can be fitted with a detachable magazine.

On April 25, 2011, ATF announced plans to implement Demand Letter 3. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is suing the ATF to stop the new rules. It calls the regulation an illegal attempt to enforce a law Congress never passed. ATF counters that it has reasonably targeted guns used most often to “commit violent crimes in Mexico, especially by drug gangs.”

Reaction

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is investigating Fast and Furious, as well as the alleged use of the case to advance gun regulations. “There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we’ve learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements.”

On July 12, 2011, Sen. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees ATF. They asked Holder whether officials in his agency discussed how “Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities.” So far, they have not received a response. CBS News asked the Justice Department for comment and context on ATF emails about Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3, but officials declined to speak with us.

“In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Issa told CBS News.

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Why “Operation Fast and Furious” Becomes a Massive Headache for Eric Holder and President Obama

Original Article - Why “Operation Fast and Furious” Becomes a Massive Headache for Eric Holder and President Obama

Yes, we know that the controversial “Operation Fast and Furious” originated during the administration of President George W. Bush, just like we know that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were products of the the Bush administration. But recent events coming out of Washington and now the announcement of a wrongful death suit against the Justice Department by the family of the US Border Patrol agent who was gunned down by Mexican drug runners prove one thing: this isn’t about President Bush anymore, this is about the current administration of President Obama. This is about a failed “war on drugs” that continues to reflect a US-Mexico relationship that leads to nowhere.

Today President Obama exerted executive privilege for this first time in his administration when Congress asked for more information about a setup that basically sold US guns to Mexican drug cartels. After that, Holder was held in contempt by the Congressional committee that was investigating this. Sure, the logic is that by supplying tracked guns to criminals, you have a better chance of capturing them (which in essence makes no sense to us, since we still can’t get beyond the fact that the US government gave guns to Mexican drug dealers), but let’s repeat this again: the US government sold guns to Mexican drug cartels.

To those who don’t want to hear it, that is what happened, and yes, we know that the administrations of many US presidents have done similar things, but the past is the past. This is the now. And while you will hear the typical partisan talk about this (the GOP is out to get Holder and Obama), the fact remains: the US government sold guns to Mexican drug cartels. And now President Obama is invoking executive privilege. Yes, executive privilege about a situation that we can state with confidence added to the thousands and thousands of deaths in the failed war on drugs. Now, we are NOT saying that “Operation Fast and Furious” is the direct cause of the Mexican drug tragedy, but it is one of its many causes. And for those who don’t know by now, over 50,000 people have died as a result of this sad and senseless war.

You would think that if anything good came out of “Operation Fast and Furious,” the Obama administration would have let the American people know by now. People would accept results, but it appears that very little positive results have occurred. Instead we get executive privilege and tons of questions. We will leave the partisan claims to others, we tend to focus on one of the sad consequences of this whole campaign: the death of a US Border Patrol agent. As CBS News reported today:

CBS News has learned that the family of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata has filed a claim for wrongful death against the Justice Dept. and other federal agencies. Zapata was gunned down by suspected drug cartel members in Mexico in Feb. 2011 with weapons later linked to an ATF case in the Texas area. Joining the claim is Zapata’s surviving partner in the attack: Victor Avila.

In an interview last November, Zapata’s family told CBS News they feel that U.S. law enforcement could have stopped the sale of a gun used to kill their son. CBS News obtained law enforcement records that show the gun that killed Zapata came from the U.S., and the suspects who allegedly trafficked it had been under law enforcement’s watch for months in Dallas but weren’t arrested.

In February, CBS News learned a second weapon used in the Zapata attack was also linked to an ongoing case under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The Justice Department has said ATF “was not aware of” the suspect’s purchase of the gun that killed Zapata when it happened, and that answering further questions would jeopardize the investigation.

This isn’t some patriot conspiracy blog reporting this. This is flipping CBS News. You don’t think there are questions about this? Shouldn’t the American people demand that more transparency be displayed here? What are the secrets that are not being shared? And why?

The tragedy of the Mexican drug war has negatively affected too many lives. When is enough enough? If the Obama administration had real political courage, it would be in front of this story and be more forthcoming. Instead, we get immigration promises and campaign videos in Spanish, while people continue to die south of the border. Maybe Obama is just like the rest of the American presidents who have followed a Monroe-Doctrine philosophy with Latin America. The more things change…. well, you know how that ends.

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Contemptible: Holder, Obama & Nixon

Original Article - Contemptible: Holder, Obama & Nixon

I’ll indulge in some measure of fiendish joy by suggesting to my left-leaning San Francisco neighbors that Barak Obama and Richard Nixon may soon share adjoining pages in history books.

Disposing of partisan puffery, and being a member of no major political party, my partisanship is simply nonexistent, the country has almost witnessed the unfolding of a White House cover-up. I say this because some members of the mainstream media and the Obama re-election committee (am I being redundant?) have avoided reporting on the Fast and Furious gun running operation. For NBC Nightly News viewers, allow me to recap the important and indisputable facts thus far.

  • A division of the U.S. Justice Department orchestrated and enabled the smuggling of over 2,000 firearms into Mexico with the intent of them landing in drug cartel hands.
  • The operation was not coordinated or even mentioned to the failed sovereign state of Mexico.
  • The firearms likely have caused numerous civilian deaths and the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
  • We found out because disgusted BATFE agents blew the whistle.

Under the most favorable interpretation, this is a massive instance of governmental imbecility (am I being redundant?). Yet stupidity can be forgiven in the absence of evil intent and in the presence of full contrition. However, when Eric Holder, head of the Justice Department under which the BATFE operates, was repeatedly called before congress he was evasive and uncooperative. Months passed after congress asked for internal communications that might enlighten the public about how decisions led to the monumental malignancy known as Fast and Furious. It finally culminated this week when Holder met with congressional investigators and offered them a deal whereby he might provide them the requested documents if the investigators declared him compliant in advance.

Holder’s fidelity to delivery of documents matches Bill Clinton’s fidelity to Hillary.

With Eric Holder unwilling to cooperate in ways that transparently illuminate the case, a congressional committee voted to declare the head of U.S. law enforcement to be in contempt of congress. Granted, every thinking American has contempt for congress, but this legal charge is equivalent to a judge siccing the police on you for failing to appear at your hearing. The properly vested authority for congress to investigate governmental illegalities has been functionally ignored by the government agency charged with enforcing the law. So Barack Obama intervened, taking a chapter from the Nixon playbook.

We all know how well that worked out.

Obama called upon executive privilege, a quaint piece of constitutional law that allows a president to not play with congress when it interferes with him performing his duties. Naturally this begs the question “What duties were Obama involved in that led to gun smuggling and border agent homicide?” Senator Chuck Grassley asked the same question, saying “How can the President assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the President exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen?”

Obama’s maneuver has Tricky Dick cranking 4500 RPMs in his casket.

Of all presidents to protect themselves under the guise of executive privilege, Nixon played the game hardest and lost large. Having participated in a cover-up of a burglary – in which, unlike Fast and Furious, nobody died – Nixon invoked executive privilege to obstruct congress and justice. This caused investigators to sue Nixon and the case rapidly reached the Supreme Court, who eventually rejected the notion of “absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process.”

Dick Nixon resigned 15 days later.

The timing of Obama’s intervention does not bode well for his reelection. The Supreme Court is about to recess until the first Monday in October, five weeks before the election. It took the Supreme Court less than three weeks to rule against Nixon, and given the deeper degree of precedence that created, it should take the Supremes even less time to obviate Obama. Since undecided and independent voters tend to make up their minds in the last weeks before an election, losing this decision and having to disclose potentially damaging documents in October will torpedo Obama’s already leaky reelection ship.

“Fall” may be an appropriate word to use this October.

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Murdered Border Agent’s Family Says President Obama ‘Compounding This Tragedy’ with Executive Privilege Assertion

Original Article – Murdered Border Agent’s Family Says President Obama ‘Compounding This Tragedy’ with Executive Privilege Assertion

ap brian terry border patrol lpl 120620 wblog Murdered Border Agents Family Says President Obama Compounding This Tragedy with Executive Privilege Assertion 

The family of slain U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was killed with guns tied to the Fast and Furious program, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon accusing President Obama of compounding their family tragedy by invoking executive privilege.

President Obama invoked executive privilege to shield the Justice Department from having to release documents sought by House Republican investigating the secret law enforcement program, wherein weapons smugglers were permitted to buy guns so law enforcement could trace them to drug cartels. Law enforcement lost track of hundreds of the guns, which began showing up at crime scenes, most tragically in December 2010, where Terry was killed.

Terry family attorney Pat McGroder on Wednesday released the following statement from Terry’s parents Josephine Terry and Kent Terry Sr.: “Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Operation Fast and Furious and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth.”

The Terrys said that their son “was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from this failed Justice Department gun trafficking investigation. For more than 18 months we have been asking our federal government for justice and accountability. The documents sought by the House Oversight Committee and associated with Operation Fast and Furious should be produced and turned over to the committee. Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.”

Earlier today, Josephine Terry was on Philadelphia Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

Asked about the president’s assertion, she said, “The only thing I can say is, if he did that they apparently don’t want Issa to get the documents to see what’s in there.”

“My son and I were very, very close,” she continued. “And my son was a person that believed in justice and he believed in telling the truth. He was a man of his honor. And if anybody knew him, they knew that. And I know he would be saying ‘you know what, I died for my country.’ He was a true American and I think he deserves the truth and I think everybody should know the truth. And if this was a bad thing they did with Fast and Furious it should be acknowledged so it never happens to anybody else’s son.”

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Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Fired After Trayvon Martin Case

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Published on: June 20, 2012

Original Article - Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Fired After Trayvon Martin Case

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin, a high-school junior from Miami who was visiting family in a gated community here, was shot to death Feb. 26 when he encountered George Michael Zimmerman. (Orlando Sentinel / June 20, 2012)

The Florida police chief who faced heavy criticism for his officers’ failure to arrest the man who killed Trayvon Martin has been fired, Sanford city officials told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday night.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee met with the city manager earlier in the day to discuss the terms of his employment, officials said.

“I have determined the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community,” City Manager Norton Bonaparte said in a statement Wednesday night. “We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support. I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city.”

Lee took a leave of absence after Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was shot Feb. 26. George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Martin in self-defense.

Lee offered to quit in April, but the City Council rejected his resignation on a 3-2 vote.

“Since February, the discussions have been whether it was feasible for him to come back and whether the city could move on, quote unquote, if he does come back,” Lonnie Groot, a lawyer from Lake Mary, Fla., who represents Sanford, told The Times just before he heard of Lee’s firing. “Everything that you [have] seen, read and heard since he stepped aside – that’s been the continuing conversation within the city.”

Lee will receive three months and one week’s worth of severance pay, in addition to any earned time off, officials said. The search for a new police chief will begin immediately.

Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community, had called police to report Martin as a suspicious person, then followed him. Martin was visiting the home of his father’s fiance, who also lives in the gated community, and had gone for a walk to buy Skittles and an iced tea.

A confrontation ensued and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin. Police took Zimmerman to the station that night but did not arrest him.

After a nationwide uproar, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor, who charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder in April. He was arrested April 11, and had been free on $150,000 bail. He was rearrested June 3 when the judge learned he and his wife had lied about their finances during a bond hearing.

Shellie Zimmerman had testified that they had little money, but it was later revealed that a website George Zimmerman set up to receive donations had raised more than $200,000.

She has been charged with perjury and is free on bond. Her husband remains behind bars.

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Vote to Sanction Holder Escalates Gun-Probe Fight

Original Article - Vote to Sanction Holder Escalates Gun-Probe Fight

A standoff between Republicans and the Obama administration over a botched gun-trafficking operation escalated Wednesday, with a House committee voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

The party-line vote came hours after President Barack Obama, for the first time, asserted executive privilege, aiming to block Republicans from gaining access to Justice Department documents about the operation.

House Republican leaders said they would bring the contempt measure to the House floor next week. If the full House votes to support it, then a contempt citation could be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, an appointee of Mr. Obama’s who is in Mr. Holder’s chain of command.

If it ends up in the courts, the dispute would raise constitutional questions about the power of the executive branch vs. Congress. Previous such battles have ended before reaching that stage with some kind of truce between the sides.

The White House asserted executive privilege over gun-trafficking-probe documents sought by congressional Republicans, throwing into uncertainty a possible vote to sanction Attorney General Eric Holder. Peter Landers has details on Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.
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The battle centers on a 2009-10 operation, dubbed Fast and Furious, that was run by Arizona-based agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, aimed at building a case against suspected smugglers of firearms to Mexico. The agents, using a tactic called gun-walking, allowed suspected smugglers to buy about 2,000 firearms, without intercepting the weapons.

Some of the guns have since turned up at crime scenes on both sides of the border, including at a December 2010 shootout that killed a U.S. border agent.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) have led an inquiry into Fast and Furious for more than a year, holding hearings with ATF agents who said their objections to the tactics were ignored. Mr. Issa heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which voted on the contempt measure Wednesday.

The documents at issue largely detail internal deliberations last year as Justice officials tried to respond to congressional questions about the operation. Republicans say the documents may show whether high-level officials were aware of Fast and Furious early on and whether there is a coverup. The White House says such documents involving internal deliberations traditionally haven’t been subject to a congressional subpoena.

The controversy has ebbed and flowed until reaching a flash point this week. The two sides appeared as if they might reach an agreement Tuesday night. Messrs. Holder and Issa met for 20 minutes, but the talks became of a game of chicken, with each side saying it insisted the other act first to resolve the standoff.

Mr. Issa Wednesday rejected the executive-privilege claim, saying it “only applies to materials that directly pertain to communications with the president and his senior advisers.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Mr. Obama’s reasoning was similar to that of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Mr. Schultz said the other presidents “protected the same category of documents we’re protecting today,” meaning after-the-fact internal materials.

Mr. Bush claimed executive privilege six times, and Mr. Clinton is believed to have claimed it 14 times. Under the doctrine of executive privilege, presidents have sought to withhold from Congress documents relating to internal deliberations of the executive branch.

Mr. Holder said that “from the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later. That might make for good political theater, but it does little to uncover the truth.”

If the matter were referred to the U.S. attorney, it isn’t clear Congress could compel him to prosecute the attorney general. In the Bush administration, the House voted to hold White House officials including White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt in a similar documents dispute, and the Bush-appointed attorney general ordered the U.S. attorney to disregard it. The matter was eventually settled with the production of documents.

Other attorneys general have been caught in similar disputes. The House oversight committee voted to hold Janet Reno, attorney general under Mr. Clinton, in contempt. The full House didn’t take up the matter, and the dispute was resolved when documents were produced. Democrats drafted a report recommending contempt against Attorney General Michael Mukasey in the latter days of the Bush administration but didn’t go further after he turned over documents.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Republican lawmakers said Mr. Obama’s assertion of executive privilege contrasted with his criticism as a senator of the Bush administration’s use of the privilege. Then-Sen. Obama said the Bush White House was “hiding” behind the privilege to avoid “coming clean” during a dispute over White House documents over the firings of U.S. attorneys. Mr. Bush’s then-attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, resigned under pressure over the firings.

 

With Democrats firmly backing Mr. Holder, it is unlikely the contempt fight will affect the remainder of his tenure through the end of the current administration in January.

Mr. Holder has increasingly been on the sidelines of some of the biggest national-security fights. He led the administration’s effort to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, and he pushed to try the plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in civilian court in New York. He ended up badly bruised in both efforts, after the White House surrendered to Republican objections.

Both sides sought to gain partisan advantage from the fight. The Republican National Committee is using a “Fire Eric Holder” website to seek campaign donations. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer accused Republicans of embarking on a “purely political” effort rather than focusing on legislation to create jobs.

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Boehner: Privilege Claim Implies White House Cover-Up

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Published on: June 20, 2012

Original Article - Boehner: Privilege Claim Implies White House Cover-Up

On the heels of President Obama’s decision to shield Department of Justice documents under the doctrine of executive privilege, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner wondered if White House officials were being involved in a cover-up.

“Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ were confined to the Department of Justice,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.

“The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” Buck said.

Administration officials dispute the implication, pointing to several cases under Republican administrations where executive privilege was invoked on behalf of agencies.

Executive privilege is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution, but has been recognized by the courts in several instances. The conflict sets up a showdown between Attorney General Eric Holder and Hill Republicans, who are scheduled to hold a contempt vote against Holder later today.

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