Department of Justice Boondoggles and the Smell of Corruption

I’m shocked – Shocked! – to discover corruption in the DOJ. Junket justice: How special interests pay to schmooze DOJ and FBI officials. (OK, I’m not that Shocked.)

But, in fact, there is a systemic system of gratuities invading the ranks of the DOJ, one that is sanctioned at the highest levels of the department and that involves some its most sensitive personnel.

Hundreds of pages of rarely reviewed Office of Government Ethics (OGE) filings reveal that over the past three years, DOJ under both Democratic and Republican presidents has allowed hundreds of its employees to accept free travel, lodging and food from special interests across the globe.

Special interests that may or may not be under investigation by the Justice Department.

Watch the video, it isn’t long, and it covers some history of .gov shenanigans outside of the DOJ.

Advertisements

Imagine A City That Is Serious About Tackling Gun Crime

Violent criminals sent to prison? What is this 1995?

First we have a case from this week in Colorado. Puebloans charged in pawn shop robbery.

Ronnie Jacquez and Gabriel Bencomo-Diaz were charged Friday in U.S. District Court in Denver with using and carrying a gun in furtherance of a violent crime, which has a minimum 7-year federal prison term. They are also charged with robbery affecting interstate commerce.

This is a regular occurrence.

Authorities regularly charge Pueblo defendants in federal court in Denver because punishment is often more severe under federal law than in Pueblo District Court under state law.

Contrast that with a case from Chicago, just in September. Gunday Funday: Our weekly look at how prosecutors and the courts are handling Chicago gun cases.

His vehicle matched one used in robberies. He ran from police. They found a gun and pot, when they caught up with him.

In a plea deal approved by Judge Timothy Chambers, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm with a previous conviction. He was sentenced to three years in prison with 98 days credit for time served while awaiting trial. Eight other firearms-related felonies were dropped in the deal. He is scheduled to be paroled on November 22, 2019.

Which city do you think will have lower crime in the long run?

If you make something less expensive, you get more of it.

VA Cancels Procedures Without Consulting Doctors

I’m shocked – Shocked! – to discover that bean counters aren’t concerned about health. ‘I knew something was not right’: Mass cancellations of diagnostic test orders at VA hospitals draw scrutiny. OK, I’m not that shocked.

Cancellations of more than 250,000 radiology orders at VA hospitals across the country since 2016 have raised questions about whether – in a rush to clear out outdated and duplicate diagnostic orders – some facilities failed to follow correct procedures. At issue is a concern over whether some medically necessary orders for CT scans and other imaging tests were canceled improperly.

So the record keeping was screwed up to begin with, and the attempt to clean up the faulty record-keeping was also screwed up. Isn’t socialized medicine wonderful?

And so they are going after the whistle-blower.

In the disciplinary case against Dettbarn, his supervisors alleged he was “disruptive” and didn’t send one patient’s images to be interpreted – accusations he denied. The investigation was initiated soon after he reported his concerns about the order cancellations.

I mean be fair, he made them look bad.

Some orders were held over from a decade ago, but some orders were placed 6 months out as a follow up to be sure conditions were improving (or at least not getting worse.)

Read the whole thing. It isn’t long.

Politicians Are Surprised That People Move For Higher Pay

In the realm of policing, that can translate into less help when you call 911. Officer shortage slows response time in Santa Fe.

Overall the response time has slowed from 12 to 14 minutes. But that is at the expense of lower priority calls.

“Several weeks ago, I was working graveyard, and I saw calls that were pending since one o’clock in the afternoon,” said police Sgt. Chris Reynosa, a former Sandoval County sheriff’s deputy who joined the police department in Santa Fe about a decade ago.

“I came in at 8:30 at night and there were like 25, 30 calls pending,” he said. “That was because of staffing.”

So demand is going up. And supply is going down. In the private sector that would push wages up, but this isn’t the private sector, so they are talking about “ways to value police” in recruiting and in retention.

The only amazing thing is that they recognize salary is an issue.

“I’ve been sitting with our finance director, Mary McCoy, to look at ways that we can increase pay for police officers in both the short term and in the long run so that we are able to demonstrate our appreciation not only in ways that are handshakes and thank yous but also a better paycheck,” [Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber] said.

So I wonder what all the non-police, non-fire, non-EMS things that the City of Santa Fe is spending money on. Do you think they will cut any of that? Probably not.

“The Federal Government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.”

So people have been able to use food stamps for all kinds of non-food items. Your Tax Dollars at Work.

The backstory: The Ohio Liquor Commission revoked a license in Dayton, Ohio.

Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot said agents began investigating the Twenty Two Fifty Inc., also known as Sharkey’s, in May 2017. During the investigation, agents were able to purchase drugs and lap dances using food stamp benefits.
Throughout the five-month investigation, agents reportedly exchanged $2,404.87 in food stamps to purchase heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine, methamphetamines and lap dances.

The quote that forms the title is from Ronald Reagan’s last State of the Union address. And it sums up the state of War on Poverty.

Back to The Other McCain.

With food stamps, Medicaid and Section 8 housing vouchers, the poor are given a higher standard of living than they could honestly earn and, rather than understanding this as a species of charity — something they are provided because of the sympathy of their well-meaning fellow citizens — the poor are encouraged to believe they have a “right” to all these taxpayer-funded benefits. This rights-based view of welfare as an entitlement is destructive of every moral principle. We are justifying theft when we tell people that they have a “right” to other people’s money, and permit able-bodied people to be exempt from labor because they have a “right” to live at the expense of hard-working taxpayers.

“Thou shalt not steal” is thrown out the window in favor of you are entitled to other people’s money. And you can do with it as you see fit.

Go read the rest of what The Other McCain has to say. It is worth your time.

Lawyers Behaving Badly

JusticeYou could also file this under, “Women do lie about abuse.” Maine Man Receives $375,000 After False Rape Accusation.

Prosecutorial misconduct is rarely corrected. Putting the Criminal in The Criminal Justice System.

[Prosecutor Mary] Kellett admitted in 2013 that she violated rules by making an improper argument and withholding exculpatory evidence. She was suspended for one month, but vacated that and allowed her to go through six hours of legal education instead. She’s one of the few prosecutors – and the first in the state of Maine – to be sanctioned for prosecutorial misconduct.

Vladek was finally exonerated in 2015, and he filed a federal lawsuit against those that handled his case, after he discovered more evidence was withheld

And although her office had to pay out the $375,000 she is still an attorney, and still a prosecutor. Her punishment for trying to destroy a man’s life? She had to take 6 hours of legal education. Less than one day.

The guy who settled was only one of dozen defendants. Go read the whole thing.

“The System” is not interested in Justice. It is interested in winning. It is interested in promoting political agendas.

Oh Those Crazy (1980s) Environmentalists

It turns out (as anyone with a brain-cell could have guessed) dumping tires in the ocean isn’t a good idea. France reverses car tyre sea sanctuary — an environmental flop.

Vallauris (France) (AFP) – What seemed a like a crazy idea turned out to be just that: a 1980s experiment that saw 25,000 car tyres dumped into the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean to create a sanctuary for sealife off the French coast is being cleaned up after it was found to be polluting.

Now France could have been forgiven, if they were the first idiots to try this. They weren’t.

In France, the idea of a “tyre reef” was tried only here, but a local academic working on the clean-up operation said authorities in other countries, particularly the United States, had tried the same failed idea.

“Repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome…”