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Archive for March, 2015

Justice Department Blasts Ferguson Police for Discrimination, Abuse of Power

Michael Brown

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A long-awaited report on Ferguson found numerous constitutional violations that called for new oversight, retraining of employees and abandoning the current approach to policing.

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department criticized Ferguson police for routinely making unlawful searches, hurling racial insults and treating anyone as a criminal for questioning the tactics.

While a separate report found no civil rights abuses against the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, the Justice Department described a discriminatory environment that led to months of protests.

“Seen in this context — amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices — it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Mr. Holder said.

The report means Ferguson must make changes or face a federal civil rights lawsuit.

LA Times: Does End of Homeland Security Stalemate Mean New Type of GOP Leadership?

By Los Angeles Times
Editorial

It took the House GOP leadership a couple of weeks, but it finally conceded defeat Tuesday and allowed a “clean”  funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security to come up for a vote. With all 182 Democrats in the Capitol and 75 of the 242 Republicans lining up in favor, the measure passed easily and was sent to President Obama to sign.

The question now is whether the Republican majority has learned not to pick fights they don’t have the votes to win, or whether they’ll overplay their hand again the next time a must-pass bill comes up. Given what we’ve seen the past lour years, the latter seems more likely.

The Homeland Security measure isn’t exactly “clean” because it contains numerous policy changes negotiated by Republican and Democratic appropriators, such as one stepping up the department’s ability to detain people caught crossing the border illegally. What it doesn’t have are the House-passed riders that would have reversed Obama’s temporary deferrals of some deportations.

It’s rare to see House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) bring anything to the floor that doesn’t have at least 218 Republican votes, and rarer still to see anything that most Republicans oppose. But Boehner reportedly told Republicans in a private meeting that they had run out of options. There weren’t enough votes in the House for another stop-gap funding bill, and Senate Democrats wouldn’t let that chamber even consider a measure that rolled back President Obama’s immigration orders.

That brings us to a crucial point that, sadly, continues to be lost on many House Republicans: The filibuster is a very powerful thing. As long as it’s available to Democrats, Republicans won’t be able to move anything through that chamber without the help of at least six members not in their party.

To read more click here. 

DEA Group Apologizes for Tweet Commemorating Black History Month with Arrest

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group affiliated with the DEA has apologized after tweeting a photo of a Harlem drug dealer to commemorate Black History month, The Washington Post reports.

The DEA said the tweet was a misunderstanding.

“The focus of original tweet was to be invaluable hard work of African American DEA agents, not the target of the investigation,” the DEA Educational Foundation said in an apology Monday.

The tweet was offensive because of the discorporate impact the drug was has had on black families and communities, The Post wrote.

“With the Justice Department and politicians from both political partiestaking active steps to reduce racial disparities in drug sentencing, and many states taking steps to reduce penalties for drug possession or legalize the use of some drugs altogether, the DEA has, at times, appeared out of touch with public sentiment in recent years.”

 Other Stories of Interest


FBI Raids ‘Birthing Centers’ in Southern California for Wealthy Chinese Women

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided so-called “maternity hotels” in southern California where wealthy pregnant Chinese nationals are accused of giving birth so their children can garner U.S. citizenship, the The Los Angeles Times reports.

Apartment complexes, aka “birthing centers,” where the women were housed were scattered throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Three businesses were targeted

While it’s not against the law to give birth at the centers, the FBI is treating the women as material witnesses. The operators of the centers are suspected of visa fraud and conspiracy for helping clients falsifying travel documents.

FBI Arrests Lone Gunman Accused of Shooting Spree in Washington D.C., Baltimore

The NSA headquarters in Maryland was damaged by gunfire.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a man accused of at least five shootings in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area over the past two weeks.

The New York Daily News reports that the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, also shot up the NSA building Tuesday.

“We believe the subject responsible for shooting incidents on the ICC, near Fort Meade Army installation, and other locations around the Baltimore-Washington metro area in the last two weeks is in custody,” FBI Public Affairs Specialist Amy J. Thoreson said in a statement.

No one was injured in the NSA shooting.

It remains unclear whether the NSA was the intended target.

FBI Adds 6 Agents to Indianapolis Office to Fight Violent Crime

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is adding agents to its Indianapolis office to help fight violent crime, Fox 59 reports.

Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott, who said he has “a lot of confidence and true hope for our community here in Indianapolis” has added six agent to investigate gang activities and violent crimes.

“We’ve increased the number of agents that work on the Safe Streets Task Force.  Instead of one squad, we have two squads,” said Abbott.

“The ability to bring federal prosecution to the table is a huge help, because it usually includes a much stiffer penalty,” said Abbott.

Other priorities include terrorism and cyber crime, Abbott said.

Republicans Give Up Fight Against Obama’s Immigration Plan with Homeland Security Budget

John A. Boehner

House Speaker John A. Boehner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After all the outrage and pledges to dig in for a fight against President Obama’s immigration plan, Republicans in the House gave up Tuesday and voted to fund Homeland Security to avoid a partial shutdown of the agency.

The New York Times reports that Speaker John A. Boehner built a coalition of 75 Republicans to join Democrats in passing the bill, 257-167.

Despite the capitulation, Republicans “expressed a sense of resigned relief,” The Times wrote.

The president is expected to sign the bill.

“How did we end up with kind of a slow demise, you mean, even after a very hefty kind of rhetoric?” asked Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana. “Well, apparently that’s the way it’s done around here. I don’t agree with it.”

The outcome was “an unmitigated loss for conservatives,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Republican of South Carolina, said.

Republicans in the House hit a roadblock after realizing they didn’t have the votes in the Senate.

Legalizing Medical Pot in Utah Would Make Bunnies Go Crazy, DEA Agent Insists

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has proposed numerous reasons to oppose medical marijuana – health effects, lack of motivation, dependency.

But the latest reason given by a DEA agent may be the most memorable. Speaking to a Utah Senate panel about a bill that would allow certain patients to consume edible cannabis, Special Agent Matt Fairbanks said legal outdoor grows would endanger bunnies.

Fairbanks suggested that passing the bill would harm rabbits because they would “cultivate a taste” for the plant and be constantly high, the Washington Post reports.

“I deal in facts. I deal in science,” Fairbanks insisted last week.

Fairbanks said he saw rabbits “that had cultivated a taste for marijuana” and “one of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.”

Other Stories of Interest