Rule of Law

Rule of Law

DOJ Official: Slavery to Blame for Riots in Ferguson and Baltimore

May 19th, 2015 - 12:41 pm

Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, has told a lawyers group in Colorado that slavery and Jim Crow helped fuel the Ferguson and Baltimore riots.

The last few days have seen a number of fanciful stories with the Obama administration seemingly questioning the authority of local police. I’ve long maintained that the administration is nakedly seeking to federalize policing standards — but get rid of local police? No way, that sounds like something broadcast from a shortwave station in Austin, Texas.

But then up steps Vanita Gupta to lend some credibility to the idea that some want to disband local police and replace police powers with the federal government. Speaking to a group of left-wing lawyers in Colorado, Gupta had this to say:

The conversation in these rooms, however, is not about whether to have police or not but about what kind of policing communities want and deserve.

There is no question that we need police in our communities.

The conversation? What conversation is Gupta hearing that needs to be corrected?  Who brought up the idea we might not need police? Nobody sane, for sure.

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta

If you read the entirety of Gupta’s speech, you’ll get a sense of what is going on in the mind of the anti-police left.   Officials in this administration still think it is rational and acceptable to bring up the name Michael Brown in the context of anything other than a likely felon against whom deadly force was justifiably used. Behold Gupta:

Eric Garner.  Michael Brown.  Tamir Rice.  John Crawford.  Walter Scott. Freddie Gray.

These names and many others have become familiar to us under tragic circumstances in recent months.  Their deaths and those of other unarmed African American men and women in encounters with police officers, have provoked widespread responses across the country and have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. In communities of color, in particular, the reaction has been stark and sobering.

In the seven months I have been at the Civil Rights Division, I have spent a lot of time with local leaders and community members in cities all across America, including with numerous mothers who have lost their children in officer-involved shootings. The pain, anger, frustration — the lack of trust in the police — is real, and it is profound.

Gupta asks the question that many Americans have already asked and answered:

It’s worth asking, first, how did we get here? And second, what are we going to do about it?

To most law-abiding Americans, the idea of fleeing from the police, or worse, charging at a policeman you have already punched, is simply beyond the realm of possibility.

So how did we get here? Was it a breakdown of values? Perhaps a pervasive tolerance for lawlessness? Of course not.  Says Gupta:

Let’s start with the first question and consider the source of the mistrust. Mistrust can’t be explained away as the kneejerk reaction of the ill-informed or the hyperbolic. It’s in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating (wait for it! here it comes!slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.

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The Amtrak disaster in Philadelphia has reminded us of old lessons, and taught us things we didn’t know.

First the latter category.  At Amtrak, it’s possible to go from a cashier at Target to being the engineer driving a train 107 miles an hour.  I’ve known people afraid to fly who take Amtrak instead.  Maybe the decisions of 32-year old Engineer Brandon Bostian will spark a new perspective.

Before he was placed in command of a 700 ton train carrying nearly 300 people, Bostian was a cashier at Target.

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Let’s compare Amtrak to an airline.  Usually, the pilot flying a plane carrying upwards of 300 people has spent years training on props, years on smaller jets with a few dozen passengers, and years in the right-hand seat of larger jets before being placed in control of so many lives.  Airlines are stacked with redundancy, even in the cockpit.

Some might scold – well a train is different, it is less complicated.  Perhaps, but we learned this week that a train really isn’t that different when it comes to the thin line between life and death.  Decisions up front matter.

Which leads to the question – why was this 32 year old roaring down the tracks at 107 miles per hour when the limit was 80, dropping to 50?  Was he texting, as is so common with his generation?  Was he simply making up for being late, as is so common at Amtrak?

Either way, I’ll take the greying captain of a A320 instead next time I go to New York.  Give me Chesly Sullenberger any day over Brandon Bostian.

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An aside – some internet bottom feeders are making much of Bostian being a “gay activist.”  I’d imagine they think it somehow hurts other gay activists that one gay activist drove his train off the rails.  That’s the sort of petty irrelevancy you might find at the Democratic Underground or other frothing internet forum.

Let’s turn to the familiar.

Washington bureaucrats want to blame Congress for the Amtrak crash instead of the man in the cab going 107 mph.  Consider the paper of record in Philadelphia and the breathless headline – Official: Train-control system could have prevented crash [!!!!]. The story quotes NTSB member Robert Sumwalt as saying the crash could have been prevented if only Congress had spent hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sumwalt wants what is called “positive train control.”  Think of it as an idiot override.  If the engineer has a train roaring along at 107 mph but the speed limit is only 80, positive train control would slow the train.  The system would cost you, the taxpayer, hundreds of millions of dollars to install.

Welcome to America 2015.  Washington bureaucrats think the solution to bad decisions by 32 year old engineers is to stupid-proof Amtrak by installing robotic speed overrides for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here’s a better idea: put people in charge of trains who take seriously the responsibility they have been given.  Hire engineers who have earned their keep driving Christmas trains at a shopping mall, moved onto various other smaller and slower trains, and have shown the capacity to safeguard the lives of hundreds of passengers.  “Positive Train Control” can already be found in the cab of every Amtrak locomotive.  Federal dollars cannot compensate for human stupidity.

 

2008 seems so long ago. When running for president, then-Senator Obama held himself out as post-partisan and above the fray; calm, cool, and different. Americans bought in.

Obama’s “hope” and “change” campaign signaled a new direction, fresh ideas, and appealed to a new generation of voters. Young voters saw the perfect amalgam of a national leader: biracial, attractive, well-educated, and urban cool.  Black Americans looked up to him as a standard bearer, a hip yet erudite man of the world. His election was historic, as it signified to all Americans and the world that there are no racial barriers to achieving the American dream.

Many Americans, whether they voted for him or not, believed Obama when he said: “There is not a black America or a white America or a Latino America or an Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” When he gave that speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was an instant national sensation.

Post-racial, unifying, uplifting, and all from a Harvard-educated, married black American. With his election, so many Americans thought that we were finally leaving behind the divisive racial politics of the past, the inflammatory demagoguery of Al Sharpton-type agitators and self-promoters, the evil of seeing race.

It all seems so long ago now.

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After six years of this administration, we now know the real Barack Obama. President Obama could have finished the job of binding up this nation’s wounds. But this man was never about healing racial wounds. Instead, he used the office of the presidency to fan racial tensions and to exploit select, isolated incidents, all while pretending he is a uniter, not a divider.

Imagine how different race relations would be in this country today if, starting in January 2009, President Obama used his office to better the black community and race relations. What a difference this could have made in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, where racially motivated violence has set cities ablaze.

Imagine how things might be different if, rather than give the speech he actually gave, Obama had given the following speech at the NAACP National Convention in July of 2009:

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The Supreme Court has been asked to allow Kansas and Arizona to verify that only United States citizens are registering to vote in those states. (See PJ Tatler’s coverage here). Unfortunately, a single federal bureaucrat refused to allow the two states to weed out non-citizens trying to register to vote.

Meet Alice Miller, the acting executive director of the Election Assistance Commission.

Miller alone, from her inside-the-Beltway office, refused to amend the Kansas and Arizona version of a federal voter registration form to include state laws requiring proof of citizenship. Backed by a swarm of left-wing groups, Miller, by herself, made it easier for foreigners to vote in Kansas and Arizona.

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You might wonder how a single federal bureaucrat could have so much power over how elections are run in Kansas and Arizona. Federal law, commonly known as Motor Voter, requires states to accept a form drawn up by the Election Assistance Commission to register voters in their state. But states can ask the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to revise the version for their state to include state qualification laws. In Kansas and Arizona, registrants must establish that they are citizens to be qualified to register. When Kansas and Arizona asked the EAC to print new forms with those state law requirements, Miller refused.

Kansas and Arizona sued, and a federal court ordered the EAC to reprint the forms. However, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and held that Miller had the power to deny Kansas and Arizona new forms.

The Supreme Court has been asked to take the case, a case which implicates both the integrity of American elections as well as the reach of federal bureaucrats.

Normally, the commissioners at the EAC decide what versions of a form the states can use, but the EAC lacked a quorum. Into this vacuum swept Miller.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has filed an amicus brief for the American Civil Rights Union with the Supreme Court. The brief asks the Court to take the case and to restore the constitutional balance which Miller has disrupted.

Once source familiar with Miller’s power grab tells PJ Media:

There was no Executive Director at the EAC. She was a line staff member who was illegitimately thrust into an “acting” executive director role by a “line of succession” document written by the General Counsel, who was in the Acting Executive Director position when he wrote it. That line of succession policy was never voted on by the Commission. So, there are layers of illegitimacy here that Alice Miller and the Holder DOJ relied on for her authority to make a decision in this case. Adding state law updates to the form instructions should be a ministerial function of the EAC, just as it has been when performed by the FEC when it was assigned this function.

So who is Alice Miller?

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My appearance on Fox and Friends discussing this article at PJ Media:

 

 

President Obama’s amnesty by edict has always been about adding new Democrats to the voter rolls, and recent action by the Department of Homeland Security provides further proof. Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources away from a computer system — the “Electronic Immigration System” — to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.

This effort is part of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.”

PJ Media has obtained an internal “Dear Colleague” letter written by Leon Rodriguez, the “director and co-chair of the Task Force on New Americans.”  The letter refers to a White House report called “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents.”

Leon Rodriguez has a tainted history — not only was he a central player in the radicalization of Eric Holder’s Civil Rights Division, he also “undertook a purportedly illegal search” of a government employee’s computer in Montgomery County, Maryland.  (Messy details are at the Washington Post.)

The Rodriguez letter states:

This report outlines an immigrant integration plan that will advance our nation’s global competitiveness and ensure that the people who live in this country can fully participate in their communities.

“Full participation” is a term commonly used to include voting rights.  To that end, resources within DHS have been redirected toward pushing as many as aliens and non-citizens as possible to full citizenship status so they may “fully participate” in the 2016 presidential election.  For example, the internal DHS letter states one aim is to “strengthen existing pathways to naturalization and promote civic engagement.”

Leon Rodriguez

Leon Rodriguez

Naturalization plus mobilization is the explicit aim of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.” Multiple sources at DHS confirm that political appointees are prioritizing naturalization ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Empirical voting patterns among immigrants from minority communities demonstrate that these new voters will overwhelmingly vote for Democrat candidates.  If the empirical rates of support for Democrats continued among these newly naturalized minority voters, Democrats could enjoy an electoral net benefit of millions of new voters in the 2016 presidential election.

Other DHS sources report that racial interest groups such as La Raza (translated to “The Race”) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have been playing a central and influential role in rewriting the administration’s immigration policies — both the public policies as well as internal and largely unseen guidelines.

One DHS official who disagrees with the administration’s policies told me DHS “intends to ‘recapture’ ‘unused’ visas from years past to grant more visas and LPR [green card] status. In addition to this ‘visa blizzard,’ the agency will allow folks to jam in applications during the blizzard, knowing that the visa applicant/beneficiary is not eligible for the visa.”

This means that DHS is not only rushing green card holders toward citizenship before the next election, but also jamming previous visa holders toward green card status.  These policies and priorities add to the brazen public positions of the president toward enforcing immigration laws.

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This week, representatives from the Department of Defense met with concerned citizens in a contentious meeting inside the Real County Courthouse in Leakey, Texas.  What took place at that meeting, and what Defense Department officials said, reveals a great deal about Jade Helm training exercises across the United States.

Some have speculated that Jade Helm is the military’s response to a possible attack by a weapon of mass destruction.  Others have noted that the training seems to be focused on putting down domestic political disturbances.

Monday, an overflow crowd for the Real County Commissioners Court meeting, heard Lt. Col. Daniel Pawlak explain why the United States military has begun training inside the United States in unprecedented ways.

Sources in attendance in the Real County Courthouse told PJ Media that Pawlak said the military would be in Texas to train for “unconventional warfare suited to large land, low population areas.”  There would be no aircraft, he said, but there would be firing of blank ammunition and grenade simulators. He said that the participants would be clearly marked with orange arm bands on their left arms.

This contradicts earlier reports that participants in Jade Helm would be indistinguishable from the general population.

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According to someone in attendance, Pawlak assured the crowd he was there to obtain the support of the community but also revealed that private land had already been secured nearby Leakey to serve as a staging area for the exercises.  One participant told PJ Media:

Dozens of citizens expressed concern and opposition.  A high degree of respect was displayed and on many occasions [it was] expressed that we were extremely pro-military but mistrusted our current commander in chief.

Others in attendance report that the citizens sought to ask questions and that county officials said no questions would be allowed from the floor.  Those in attendance were so angry and concerned that they refused to be silenced and shouted questions from the floor to Pawlak and to the Commissioners Court.

Despite overwhelming opposition from the community, the Real County Commissioners Court (the governing body for the county) voted 5-0 to approve Jade Helm exercises in the county.  The presentation by Defense Department representatives was item number 11 on the official public notice of the meeting of the Commissioners Court.

WOAI News from San Antonio had representatives at the meeting Monday.  Neither WOAI television nor WOAI-AM appears to have reported on the events.

Planned Parenthood Action has responded to Rand Paul’s announcement today that he is running for president by launching a Twitter barrage against the GOP senator.

Planned Parenthood Action enjoys tax-exempt status from the IRS pursuant to 501(c)(4):

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“Not my candidate?” So who is the candidate for Planned Parenthood Action? After all, a 501(c)(4) can’t have as their primary purpose the endorsement of candidates.

But you sure wouldn’t know that if you followed @PPact today:

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Ah yes, the familiar progressive meme of demonizing the 1950s. You remember the 1950s, right? That was the decade when Detroit hadn’t become a place to hunt pheasants, when less than five percent of babies were born out of wedlock, when federal spending as a percentage of GDP was about a quarter lower, and when the middle class family wasn’t being eroded away by the federal monster.

But abortion is more important than any of this to the folks at Planned Parenthood, so bash on:

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See that?

The 501(c)(4) tax-exempt Planned Parenthood Action wants a certain president, especially one that supports the right to terminate life with no questions asked, and no concern whatsoever for the stage of the pregnancy.

The ghouls who support this ghoulism are also loaded with cash. Just last year they brought in $23,000,000 according to their IRS 990 form:

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The IRS 990s also reveal that Jennifer Allan Soros is a vice-chair of the board. The documents do not reveal if she is related to the convicted felon of the same name.

The employees of this tax-exempt abortion advocacy group do quite well, also. Dawn Laugens, for example, makes $219,286/year as the “Chief Experience Officer,” whatever that is. In fact, four employees alone account for over a million dollars in the group’s budget according to the group’s 990 form.

The group also gave large contributions to the Virginia Democratic Party and Battleground Texas.

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The group also paid O’Brien, McConnell and Pearson $1,903,212 in 2013 alone for “consulting.” The firm is a D.C.-based organization that advises leftist groups on how to raise millions of dollars in cash to advocate. It also donated $35,000 to the NAACP National Voter Fund.

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The irony is stinging. A group with roots in the anti-black eugenics movement now donates tens of thousands to the NAACP political operation.

A 501(c)(4) organization cannot have as its primary purpose political advocacy. Yet the Twitter trail and IRS forms left by Planned Parenthood Action raise questions about what the primary purpose of Planned Parenthood Action is.

Today, at least, it was all about wrecking the candidacy of one politician with #NotTheirCandidate. I hadn’t realized their tax-exempt status allowed them to have one, and to spend most of their time working to defeat or elect one.

Lois Lerner Gets Justice Department Favors

April 3rd, 2015 - 6:03 am

Lois Lerner has dodged another bullet, this time courtesy of the Justice Department. United States Attorney Ronald Machen announced that Lerner will not be prosecuted for being found in contempt of Congress. That’s hardly a surprise from Eric Holder’s Justice Department — a Department which, these days, specializes in protecting friends and attacking enemies.

But once upon a time, the Department of Justice took contempt of Congress seriously, as we shall see.

In the meantime, Republicans in Congress have vowed to utilize the sternest of measures against the Department’s refusal to prosecute Lerner. That means more angry press statements.

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Machen said Lerner preserved her Fifth Amendment rights when she refused to testify to the House, even though she first made a long statement proclaiming her innocence. Conveniently, she did not allow herself to be cross-examined about her statement.

The Fifth Amendment means you can keep your mouth shut. It doesn’t mean you can keep your mouth shut except when you are professing your innocence. Lerner got the good without the bad, which was precisely her plan.

The entire IRS scandal can be understood very simply as a reaction to Citizens United, the case where the Supreme Court defended free speech rights and allowed Americans to talk about issues important to them. Obama and the Left hate free speech, and that’s why he used the 2010 State of the Union to mau-mau the Supreme Court that was assembled before him.

You may remember that Justice Samuel Alito responded just like Representative Joe Wilson did in another State of the Union address, though Alito didn’t use words.

The House of Representatives found Lerner in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to testify and answer questions, even about her statement. Naturally, this finding will serve primarily to increase Lerner’s status among the fringe interests that have taken over the Democrat Party.

In another era, Lerner would be a pariah even to Democrats.

Speaking of another era, Americans might rediscover the saga of Gerhart Eisler. If you watch movies like Jim Carrey’s The Majestic, you might think people like Eisler didn’t exist.

Eisler was the real deal — a genuine Soviet agent working inside the United States with the full support of Hollywood leftists.

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According to Allan Ryskind in Hollywood Traitors (Regnery 2015), Eisler was a Comintern agent trained by the Soviets to “capture a city … seize the most vital means of communication, lighting, water supply and … food.” Eisler was inside the United States to alter the direction of the United States.

But to Hollywood, that only made him a hero.

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Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey, Kansas City

March 31st, 2015 - 10:54 am

Just a short note that I’ll be speaking at the University of Missouri School of Law, Wednesday, April 1, at noon.

The topic is Voting, Elections and Race Polarization in America.

I’ll be talking about many of the issues covered here at PJ Media, namely how elections have become the latest contentious area involving race and civil rights issues.  I’ll also discuss how various interests benefit from a racially divided and polarized electorate.  Voter ID, the events in Ferguson and other election laws are part of an overarching fight involving color, politics and process.

The event is free and sponsored by the Federalist Society.