Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DOJ Not Bringing Civil Rights Charges in Michael Brown Case

Attorney General Eric Holder (Huffington Post)
After no indictment was handed down in Missouri in the case of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, many people turned to Washington. A hope existed that Attorney General Eric Holder's comments about his own experience with America's police would help guide the Department of Justice toward bringing civil rights charges against Wilson. This was misguided for many reasons.

The most glaring problem with thinking this was a possibility was the case of Trayvon Martin. The circumstances following Martin's death at the hands of overzealous neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman could be seen as more favorable for a civil rights charge, especially considering that Zimmerman was not a police officer.

Eric Holder's Department of Justice, however, did not bring charges against Zimmerman, citing insufficient evidence. If the DOJ decided not to pursue a case against Zimmerman, there was little doubt that Wilson's case would be any different.

Looking even beyond the homicides of young black men in America, Eric Holder has promoted extrajudicial killings overseas of American citizens. His Department of Justice advocated for the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric living in Yemen who was accused of aiding terrorism against the United States. Moves like that erode our protections as citizens against overzealous American state actors, the very same charge levied by many towards Darren Wilson.

Eric Holder is not a savior, in fact his time as Attorney General has been marred by statements and actions that diminish American justice rather than uphold and strengthen it. Holder leads the United States Department of Justice, the very embodiment of the system that many rail against during protests against police brutality. Holder may be able to verbalize the concerns many in America have about our country's policing, but that does not mean he will act against it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

#JeSuisCharlie is About Freedom of Speech, Not Its Content

A collection of "I Am  Charlie" sayings in various languages (CNN)
A few days out from the terror attack at Charlie Hebdo in response to that magazine's satirical cartoons, we've seen the emergence of the Hot Take express based on the social media movement around #JeSuisCharlie. Translated from French, the hashtag means "I Am Charlie" and was posted as a sign of solidarity with both the victims of the attack and freedom of expression.

That didn't seem to sit right with some people. Rather than seeing the movement for what it is - a gesture of support for the right to publish whatever one wants - some saw it as support of the content of Charlie Hebdo. Simply put, that's a shortsighted view of those who came out in support of Charlie Hebdo after their staff was brutally murdered for publishing uncouth cartoons.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Media Should Not Help Stifle Freedom of Expression

Parisians coming together after Tuesday's terrorist attack (Ian Bremmer's Twitter)
There are no words that can sum up the evil visited upon the 12 victims in Paris today, sparked by satirical cartoons lampooning Islam. Those who use violence against innocents to try to prove a point simply lack the intelligence and rational thought to achieve their ends any other way.

And so it is with the these terrorists. They were so offended (on behalf of a supposedly omnipotent and all-powerful being) that they decided to kill the people responsible for publishing a cartoon and anyone who got in their way. The response throughout the day once the news became widespread is yet more evidence that the pen can and will outlast the sword.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Time to Come Together, Not Apart

A memorial for PO Liu and PO Ramos in Brooklyn. (Source)
Last night's assassination of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos was a tragedy. There is no other way to describe it. Two men simply doing their job gunned down in cold blood as they sat in their cruiser. The killer furthered his cowardly act by turning the gun on himself, escaping the responsibility of answering for his actions. Any sane individual mourns with the city of New York and the NYPD over this senseless tragedy.

A moment like this should unite a city that has already seen such unrest the past few weeks. Unfortunately, pundits, politicians and others who gain from division have jumped on the opportunity to politicize this. Long Island Congressman Peter King (who has previously supported cop-killers) has used this tragedy to point the finger at people like Bill de Blasio and President Barack Obama for their "cop bashing," suggesting some kind of link between yesterday's killer and the president of the United States.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jake Tapper's Defensiveness Highlights Cable News Shortcomings

This evening a friend of the blog called out CNN The Lead reporter Jake Tapper, on a point about terrorists killing other Muslims in the name of Islam. The following was the last paragraph in a blog post on The Lead's blog about online terrorist chatter regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370:
"But there's been a very strong push back from some of these jihadist forums that there were Muslims on board, an so taking down an airplane that killed Muslims was at its core an act not supported by Islam," said Jones.
This is a classic bullshit argument by terrorist organizations like Al Qaida, who claim that killing co-religionists goes against Islam and, thus, against their murderous dogma. It is well known that Al Qaida actually murders more Muslims than any other group of people in their terrorist acts, which Nihar called out to Tapper.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder Must Go

Attorney General Eric Holder (Source: NBC News)
In what has proven an incredibly disappointing tenure by Attorney General Eric Holder, in which he, among other things, claimed that "due process" was not "judicial process," the last straw may have (hopefully) just seen the light of day. NBC News is reporting that Holder personally approved the secret seizure of Fox News reporter James Rosen's private emails.

Unlike the AP case, where Holder has stated that he recused himself because he had been interviewed by the FBI for the investigation, this Fox News case shows how far the Obama administration will go in its quest to control information. That the administration went beyond finding the source of the leak, which was intelligence analyst Stephen Kim, and tracked Rosen's movements to of the State Department to prove he was meeting with Kim.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Could the Tsarnaev Brothers Have Been Stopped?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (l) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Source: Business Insider)
When the news came out shortly after the marathon bombings that Moscow had contacted Washington about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's 2011 trip to the Caucasus region in Russia, I wanted to wait for more information to surface because of the very tense history between Chechnya and Moscow. Vladimir Putin's history with Chechen separatists is long and incredibly complex, to say the least. All of this is a large grain of salt when it comes to Russian intelligence on any Caucasus separatist movement and alleged members.

On top of this, the separatist movements found in the North Caucasus region of Russia have one enemy in their eyes: Russia. It makes no sense, as some were quick to rush to postulate in the aftermath of the Marathon Bombings, that the Chechen separatist movement would attack American targets. There's a litany of reasons why this is true, but the main is that it makes no sense to attack a country who is usually at diplomatic odds with the country you view as your sworn enemy. It'd be like Puerto Rico attacking Saudi Arabia because they want to be independent from the United States.