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 Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. He presented perhaps the best non-partisan arguments in the debate. Rep. 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.

The argument doesn't make 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 jackass 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 5-15 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 way to prevent guns originating 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 employed them in similar operations in other  countries. However, they were not employed. The weapons went, unaccounted for, to terrorists and criminals. The end result was the murders of over 300 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 they contained no information. It was also just a small potion 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.