Showing posts with label Eric Holder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eric Holder. Show all posts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finally, A Decline...

For the first time since 1980, the number of federal inmates has fallen. The drop in nearly 5,000 inmates comes as a direct result of the polices of Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder wants to reduce the number a further 10,000 by 2016, which would be enough to leave six maximum security prisons empty. His package of policing and justice reforms is designed to divert nonviolent criminals away from prison and is seen as a rebuke of the so-called 1994 “crime bill,” which expanded the list of felony crimes, pumped $10 billion into new prisons, and gave incentives to states to mass incarcerate even low level offenders.

Considering we have only 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's inmates, I'd say this is a very large step in the right direction. My hope is that our government goes even further and begins the process of decriminalizing drugs.

Prohibition never works.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


In what is sure to spark howls of derision and extra foamy mouth foaming, the Justice Department's inspector general released its report on Operation Fast and Furious.

The Justice Department’s inspector general on Wednesday issued a scathing critique of federal officials for their handling of the botched gun-trafficking case known as Operation Fast and Furious, but essentially exonerated Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., whom many Republicans have blamed for the scandal.

In a long-awaited report, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, laid primary blame on what he portrayed as a dysfunctional and poorly supervised group of Arizona-based federal prosecutors and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, describing them as “permeated” by “a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures” that allowed a risky strategy to continue despite the danger to public safety.

The report identified 14 people who should lose their jobs. Pretty much what I had thought all along.

The 471 page report is exhaustive and I would hope that those detractors of Eric Holder and the president would take the time to read through it before rendering further judgments.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Won't Get Fooled Again

A while back, last in line chided me for not talking more about Fast and Furious, the ATF flap that has currently engulfed Congress and now has resulted in the first ever contempt vote for an Attorney General of the United States. Honestly, I should have listened to his advice and started digging into it. In fact, the same can be said for the media who were accused of ignoring the story because they are in the tank for the Obama Administration. Right wing bloggers all over the nation screamed that the media should start reporting more on this topic.


I guess they woke up the sleeping giant.

The agents faced numerous obstacles in what they dubbed the Fast and Furious case. (They named it after the street-racing movie because the suspects drag raced cars together.) Their greatest difficulty by far, however, was convincing prosecutors that they had sufficient grounds to seize guns and arrest straw purchasers. By June 2010 the agents had sent the U.S. Attorney's office a list of 31 suspects they wanted to arrest, with 46 pages outlining their illegal acts. But for the next seven months prosecutors did not indict a single suspect.

Why didn't they arrest them? And, if they were purposefully walking guns, how is it that it comes out now that they wanted to arrest these guys?

Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn. 

Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time. 

Wait. How can this be? Every single thing that is published on a right wing blog is 100 percent accurate and never retracted. Oh, wait, I see...

How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration. 

Amplified, huh...shocking, simply shocking...

Sorry, folks, I really dropped the ball on this one. Had I listened to my regular commenters and dug into this story more extensively we could have been where we are at right now: the truth.

So, I'm very happy to continue to talk about this issue now that all of these facts have come to light.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yay For Them

You really have to hand it to the Republicans sometimes. There are moments when they can really be quite clever.

Take, for example, yesterday's contempt of Congress vote for Eric Holder which spurred an executive privilege order from President Obama regarding the "remaining documents" that the GOP led committee is claiming must be produced. Either way, they win on this one.

Now they can run around, stomp their feet, and  foam at the mouth about how the president and the AG are hiding something. If they end up releasing the documents....documents which certainly contain sensitive law enforcement information...they can point and laugh and say that the Obama administration truly doesn't know what it is doing and are bumbling fools. Yay! It's a pretty ingenious plan but will it work? 

Perhaps not. To begin with, no one (save for gun bloggers) really cares about this issue. And someone who really doesn't care is Mitt Romney who considers this a distraction from his central message on the economy (yes, we are the ones who dumped rats, bugs and other assorted pests in your house to fuck it all up but now here we are four years later as exterminators who promise to clean it up). The Romney campaign knows that this is the best way to beat the president and, with the monumentally low approval rating of Congress, this whole thing could backfire.

By "thing," I mean a whole lot of juvenile payback. The GOP is still smarting from all of the ethics investigations during the Bush Administration. Of course, back then, there was a lot more evidence as they really were breaking the law. So, when Darrell Issa took over the Oversight Committee, he promised "seven hearings a week times forty." This without any investigation having even commenced. Clearly, we know what the motivation is here.

As always, the Cult of Both Sides has already popped out and the people that are paying attention see the Democrats as being just as guilty as the Republicans even though that is completely false. Some of you might like Holder to release all the documents and pin the fallout on Issa and his goons on the OC.

But then would mean that more operations would be jeopardized and some people would likely die. I guess I'm pretty thankful that the adults are in charge and that won't happen.