Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Is What Contempt Looks Like

The title is a paraphrasing of that phrase the Occupy crowd loves to chant to the point we ignore it. "This is what Democracy looks like!". Well, Sparky, you obviously failed your civics classes. Our federal government is not a democracy. We are a Republic. In fact, the US Constitution explicitly mandates that every state of the union and those seeking to join must demonstrate they have a republican form of government, not a democracy.

However, the democratic process our duly elected representatives to one portion of the bicameral legislative branch of our great republic has spoken. After deliberations, amendments to the order voted upon, with one approved, the House Oversight Committee has decided to go forward with contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder.

In earlier articles, I discussed Eric Holder's seeming disregard (and contempt for) Federal Voter Laws, such as the "Motor-Voter" Act of 1993 and the "HAVA" of 2002. He has also shown disrespect for state sovereignty in establishing voter integrity laws that support those federal laws, such as his suit against Arizona' voter integrity law. Furthermore, he demonstrated contempt for states who wish to bolster federal laws and assist in seeing them enforced with laws such as Arizona's SB1070 and similar laws in Georgia and Texas.

This order brings the vote to the general assembly of the House of Representatives. It is not a "guilty" verdict. It is more along the lines of a grand jury indictment. The charge of contempt is not the same as other charges some seek against the AG in regards to Operation Fast and Furious. It is more like a charge of impeding an investigation.

The committee has requested numerous documents in regards to the gun-walking operation. In addition, they requested documents in regards to Operation Wide Receiver that was conducted during the Bush administration. The majority of the documents requested still have not been turned over.

Holder, feeling the heat, attempted to negotiate a settlement on the night of June 19, 2012. He promised a portion of the documents. He showed up with none. He offered to give an oral summary. Given the "inaccuracies" he was caught uttering while giving previous testimony, the oral summary was out of the question.

The vote came down mostly along partisan lines. Some of the Democrats may have crossed the aisle had some of their proposed amendments passed the committee vote. None did.

The real star of the hearing was Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. He presented perhaps the best non-partisan arguments in the debate. Representative Gowdy demanded all the documents from all gun-walking programs be brought forward. He stated that whoever the AG in charge was during the times of each should be questioned, to include Eric Holder.

The Democrats who attempted to defend Holder and oppose the order spoke mainly of intentions behind Operation Fast and Furious as investigations into how to reform gun sales in the United States. Translation, they claim it was an investigation meant to look for more ways to violate our citizens' Second Amendment rights.

That argument doesn't make any sense. How does intentionally giving weapons to criminals and terrorists who oppose our country supposed to bring reforms to how our citizens defend themselves? It doesn't.

One congressman even made a statement about AK-47 ownership in Arizona. He claimed that there is no reason to own one. He stated that an AK-47, an M-4, or an AR-15 does not fulfill the need for hunting or self-defense. Obviously this individual  needs to talk to the family of Robert Krentz, a rancher who was assassinated by a drug cartel.

The criminals will get these weapons, regardless of the laws. You cannot defend your family and property with a pellet gun if those trespassing, invading, attacking and destroying them are carrying PKMs. In addition, one lone rancher facing five to fifteen armed men is outnumbered and out-gunned with just a shotgun or a .45cal pistol. The US Supreme Court ruled that police do not have the responsibility to protect individuals or their property. In addition, the closest police station is up to an hour away on some southern Arizona ranches.

Instead of looking for ways to prevent guns that originate in the hands of lawful US gun dealers from ending up in the hands of foreign criminals, they should have looked into ways to track those already in their hands. They made a mistake. They used no methods to track the weapons. Such tracking methods  do exist and are effective. We have employed them in similar operations in other countries. However, this time were not employed. The weapons went, unaccounted for, to terrorists and criminals. The end result was the murders of over three hundred Mexican citizens, and at least one US Border Patrol Agent we know of, so far, Brian Terry.

The backpedaling involved an ulterior motive in recording how complicit the weapons dealers were in supplying the cartels. The issue with that claim is that the weapons' dealers agreed to assist the ATF and DoJ in this operation out of a sense of patriotism. They weren't caught breaking the law. They were asked to help the DoJ and ATF break the law. As the son of a former licensed gun dealer, I know the value in cooperating with the ATF when they ask for help. It can make necessary audits remain thorough but a lot less unpleasant.

The executive response to the hearing was to send some aid from the AG's office with a notice that Obama indicated he may seek executive privilege on the documents. The truth, even with that memorandum, is no such privilege had been invoked. Holder was in violation of the summons at the time the hearing took place. The alleged crime had already been committed.

The formal contempt vote is set to take place some time next week. Today, however, the contempt order (bill) on Holder passed with a vote of 23-17.

Still, Holder tries to obfuscate and stall investigations. In response, Holder made a statement that he handed over more than 7,600 documents already. Many of these were redacted to the extent that they no longer contained no information. It was also just a small portion of the documents requested. Unverified rumors also indicate that Obama will, in fact, invoke "executive privilege" in order to protect AG Holder.

This makes me want to review the case of US v Nixon

This is what contempt for our US Constitution looks like. It looks like Eric Holder.

Tulowitzki Gone Through August

Bad news for the Colorado Rockies as it has been announced that Troy Tulowitzki will be gone through at least August.

Tulowitzki has been having issues with his left leg for awhile, and now doctors have finally discovered the problem.

He will be undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue that is impacting a nerve in his left groin.

This marks the fourth injury, three of which were major, that the twenty-seven year old short stop has had since 2008.

For Tulo, there is a lot of relief in finally knowing what the problem is.

Hopes are that he'll return strong for next season, if not the end of this one.

Anheuser-Busch Trademarks 42 US Airport Codes

Anheuser-Busch has applied for trademarks on forty-two US airport codes.

The applications cost the company only $11,500.

They did not release their plans for the codes, but the guessing is pretty much all in agreement.

Most likely we'll be seeing an entire series of new beers from the company.

Each one named after, and only available at each airport.

Some people would likely make it a mission to have had each one, and if in bottles, to collect one of each.

It would be quite the coup for bragging rights, by the company.

Libyan Clashes Halted by Military

The military has successfully halted tribal clashes in Libya, that had been going on for a week.

At least 150 people were killed and over five hundred injured in the fighting.

Members of the Zintan and Guntrara tribes had been involved in a series of battles with the Mashashya tribe.

The violence began when a Zintan was allegedly killed by a group of Mashashya.

Libya's National Transitional Council has struggled to maintain peace between various tribes since it took power after the Gaddafi government was overthrown.

In just a few weeks the country is scheduled to hold it's first free election in decades.

Starbucks Announces First Tea Bar

Starbucks has announced plans to open a tea bar near it's Seattle headquarters.

The store will carry more than eighty varieties of loose-leaf tea, tea lattes, and iced teas, as well as packaged chocolates, infused sugars, honeys, and food similar to what the regular stores carry.

The company is hoping to expand it's Tazo brand of teas with shops such as this one.

Over the last year Starbucks has begun greatly expanding into other markets than their normal cafe.

Earlier this month, they bought a bakery chain in San Fransisco, with the goal of eventually only selling their own baked goods.

In March, they also opened up their first juice bar, with it's own set of food menu, after they began selling their own juices in November.

Meteor Shower Grounds Fire Fighters' Air Support

As over 1,900 firefighters fight the High Park Fire to the north west of Fort Collins, Colorado; others are fighting another fire to the west of Colorado Springs.

The Springer Fire started Sunday, and has over 1,100 acres near Lake George.

Around four hundred firefighters, five helicopters, and five aircraft had been nearing twenty-five percent containment today.

But then an object falling from the sky was reported near the area, causing a fireball on Badger Mountain.

It was followed by reports of several other falling objects being sighted nearby, though none so spectacularly.

Officials quickly grounded all aircraft, and are now saying that the objects are part of an unexpected meteor shower.

Holder Found in Contempt

The US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has voted 23-17, deciding that Attorney General Eric Holder is in contempt.

Chairman Darrell Issa said, "Our purpose has never been to hold the attorney general in contempt. Our purpose has always been to get the information the committee needs to complete its work, that it is not only entitled to, but obligated to do."

Earlier in the day President Obama invoked executive privilege on documents that contain information on Operation Gunrunner, which Holder had been in charge of.

Some see the move by the Committee as a retaliatory response to Obama's.

On Tuesday night, Holder made an attempt to convince Issa not to move against him, offering up certain documents, but not all of the ones that the Committee had asked for.

Holder has been repeatedly questioned by the Committee, even since guns connected to Gunrunner were used to kill a US Border Patrol agent, in 2010.

The Committee originally asked for the documents in February of 2011, at which time the Justice Department denied anything existed. The denial was later withdrawn.

Leading Democrats in the Senate have accused the Republican led House Committee of only pushing the issue to hurt Obama's reelection campaign.

Republicans fired back by pointing to the obvious attempts to hide the information regarding the operation from the Committee.

Investigators have stated that much of the operation was illegal in nature, and any government officials found to have been involved could not just face firing or impeachment, but criminal charges as well.

Weapons involved in the operation have been linked to several other murders in the US, as well as hundreds, if not thousands, of murders in Mexico.

Jim Carrey Drops Out of Dumb and Dumber To

Last serious talks began about making a sequel to Dumb and Dumber, when Jim Carrey joined in on the idea.

The sequel was set to have a plot that was set in the now rather than taking place immediately after the first movie.

Director and cowriter Peter Farrelly had promised that all in between would have been explained.

Jeff Daniels, who had starred with Carrey in the original, had been wanting a sequel for a long time, but hadn't been able to push it forward on his own.

But now Carrey has apparently dropped out due to a "lack of enthusiasm" from the studio that was making it, New Line.

Without Carrey it is doubtful that the film will get anywhere.

High Park Fire Might Not Be Stopped For Months

Cooler weather today and an increase in humidity have helped firefighters get up to fifty-five percent containment on the High Park Fire in Colorado.

During the course of it's twelve day progress, to nearly 66,000 acres, the fire has killed one person, burned nearly two hundred homes, and has already cost more than fifteen million dollars.

Whilst only the second largest fire, in Colorado history, it is by far the most destructive and costly.

Over 1,900 firefighters backed by over 130 engines, seventeen helicopters, and eleven aircraft are battling the blaze.

Despite the good news of today, incident commander Bill Hahnenberg now says that the fire might not be fully stopped for months.

Summer has just begun, meaning warmer temperatures are ahead, and a lot of the terrain the fire is gaining in is extremely difficult to reach; the mix of which will only drag it's term out.