Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.Just makes you thankful that the post-partisan post-racial president can over look partisan and racist acts. Oh wait, that's right, these guys were black so they couldn't possibly have been racist. Silly me.
The incident - which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube - had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.
Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Government lawyers in the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) appear to have leaked to the press parts of a confidential--and classified--draft report concerning the actions of Bush administration lawyers. The report calls for state bar associations to investigate, and perhaps discipline, attorneys who provided sensitive legal advice to President Bush's administration concerning the legal limits of coercive interrogation methods against high-level al Qaeda terrorists. That advice was, of course, controversial. It is now, in the current political climate, highly unpopular in certain circles. OPR has determined, apparently, that it was "unethical" to give it and that the lawyers involved should be punished.You can read the rest for yourself.
How many things are wrong with this picture? From the perspective of legal ethics, constitutional law, and good government, I count at least five big problems.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Democrats charged Tuesday that the CIA has released documents about congressional briefings on harsh interrogation techniques in order to deflect attention and blame away from itself.Well, let's see, you are trying to get these people jail time for things they were told were legal, and you don't think they should have any right to defend themselves? How fascinating. Funny that these politicos are now trying to deflect this information as being for political purposes when in fact their initial attacks on these people were for political purposes. Irony?
“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the CIA] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he finds it “interesting” that a document detailing congressional briefings was released just as “some of the groups that have been responsible for these interrogation techniques were taking the most criticism.”
Asked whether the CIA was seeking political cover by releasing the documents, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: “Sure it is.”
Of course the article has a bunch of quotes as to who really requested the release, but no real facts. Just politicians and unnamed sources pointing fingers. Frankly, I wouldn't blame the CIA personnel involved for releasing this. Better now than when the congress starts their McCarthy-esque fact finding committees that can't seem to figure out that all information, including that of their own involvement, is relevant to the public opinion.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Intelligence officials released documents this evening saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Came by this from QandO. Had to agree with Billy Hollis on just how funny this is.
Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and inexpensive substitute for pâté or processed blended meat products such as Spam or liverwurst. However, the social stigma associated with the human consumption of pet food makes an unbiased comparison challenging. To prevent bias, Newman's Own dog food was prepared with a food processor to have the texture and appearance of a liver mousse. In a double-blind test, subjects were presented with five unlabeled blended meat products, one of which was the prepared dog food. After ranking the samples on the basis of taste, subjects were challenged to identify which of the five was dog food. Although 72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste (Newell and MacFarlane multiple comparison, P<0.05),>
Nice piece this. Bill goes into quite a bit of details on why John Stewart is clueless.
The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself.Looks like reality has set in on the political meanderings of the Obamateur. I wonder if Soros gave him permission.
Officials said the first public moves could come as soon as next week, perhaps in filings to military judges at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, outlining an administration plan to amend the Bush administration’s system to provide more legal protections for terrorism suspects.
Continuing the military commissions in any form would probably prompt sharp criticism from human rights groups as well as some of Mr. Obama’s political allies because the troubled system became an emblem of the effort to use Guantánamo to avoid the American legal system.Officials who work on the Guantánamo issue say administration lawyers have become concerned that they would face significant obstacles to trying some terrorism suspects in federal courts. Judges might make it difficult to prosecute detainees who were subjected to brutal treatment or for prosecutors to use hearsay evidence gathered by intelligence agencies.
And as Darren Hutchinson notes:
But Obama has embraced many of the same positions that liberals and Obama himself criticized. For example:No doubt he'll be waffling over this. Who knows where this will end up.
* Obama and members of his administration have embraced the use of rendition. Many of Obama's most ardent defenders blasted progressives who criticized Obama on rendition as jumping the gun. Today, their arguments look even more problematic than in the past.
* Obama has invoked the maligned "state secrets" defense as a complete bar to lawsuits challenging potential human rights and constitutional law violations.
* Obama has argued that detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan do not qualify for habeas corpus rights, even though many of the detainees at the facility were not captured in the war or in Afghanistan.
* Even though it no longer uses the phrase "enemy combatants," the Obama administration has taken the position that the government can indefinitely detain individuals, whether or not they engaged in torture and whether or not they fought the United States on the "battlefield." This logic combined with the denial of habeas to detainees in Afghanistan could make Bagram the functional equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.
Wonder how it makes him feel to find that Bush was actually doing the smart thing with all these issues.