From the monthly archives: November 2014

No Indictment for Wilson

On November 25, 2014 By
No Indictment for Wilson

As we had reported earlier today, the Grand Jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for his role in the shooting death of Michael Brown.  The shooting touched off months of protests and violence in Ferguson, MO.  

Speculation now remains as to why the announcement was held off for so long. Delaying the announcement, it was not even announced at its scheduled time of 8PM local (9PM Eastern), and in fact the Brown family attorney leaked to USAToday minutes before the presser that no indictment was handed down.

Protestors had blocked several intersections with human chains and crowds began to swell within a few minutes of the scheduled announcement.

Regardless of the decision, many across the political spectrum believe that a serious dialogue is needed regarding police tactics and the use of force, including demands that non-lethal technologies be employed and training be provided. The non-indictment does not change the view of many that there are many non-lethal technologies and methods which are available and which, if employed, would not have resulted in a death.

The rioting continued apace, in fact as President Obama was calling for calm and citing examples of what not to do, such as breaking out the windows of a cop car, a split screen showed exactly those things happening, as if here narrating events. One protestor who was not happy about the looting complained that the police had backed off and left businesses defenseless. But, as we noted earlier, the local authorities are severely constrained by Federal pressure, potentially coming direct from the Justice Department. One official telling us that for them there is “no good choice”, they are being asked to back off and, now that looting is occuring, they are being blamed for not protecting the businesses.

Small crowds of protestors are taunting police, hurling invectives and epithets, as well as bottles, but police are hiding behind shields and vehicles and using tear gas to disperse the crowds, but they are keeping their distance in what appears to be a protocol which matches what we reported on earlier regarding Federal pressure.

In one case, at a beauty shop, protestors prevented looters from entering the store. Later, however, looters returned and set fire to that same shop, which is owned by a local woman who also happens to be black.

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In general, and it must be noted, the looters are not part of the protest and are not welcomed by the protestors who have been heard in numerous video and audio scenes trying to stop the looters. One could be heard yelling “stop this, this is not right!” But to no avail. But despite this the police kept their distance from the crowds, even as fires were lit in various locations.

Serious questions will be raised regarding any Federal pressure to stand off and what consequences may have resulted from a stand-off policy. To some, including locals, “the police are just letting this spin out of control.”

The damage to local businesses and, by extension, the local economy, is incalculable. Many will have no job to go because of what has transpired. Multiple businesses were burned as police backed off and multiple shotes erupted in Ferguson.

Non-violent, and smaller, protests took place in other cities, including New York, Chicago, Saint Louis, Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A highway in St. Louis was shut down.

We will update this story as it emerges.

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Claim- Ferguson Grand Jury- NO On Indictment of Darren Wilson

Multiple local media sources close to the Grand Jury investigation of Police Officer Darren Wilson are claiming that there will be no indictment (h/t Warner Todd Huston). While the decision is not scheduled to be released until after 6PM local, many factors have been considered as evidence for this claim.

Police and even National Guard are in preparation for “massive” unrest and we have been informed of a “growing rfit” between Federal and State officials, with State officials claiming that the Obama Administration is far too much focused on getting political advantage in this situation and far less concerned with justice or public order. With Reverand Al Sharpton, a firebrand and staunch partisan, said to be leading the Administration’s efforts there is concern that real public safety is taking a back seat. Federal officials are leaning on local and state officials to use “such extremes of constraint” that it is feared the unrest will get way out of hand.

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As one official confided, “if we do as they wish and things get out of hand, we will be condemned, but if we actually keep order, we will be accused of using too much force- there is NO good option.” Morale is reported to be very low.

The issue regarding the outcome of the Grand Jury, whether local sources prove right or wrong, is of less importance to local and state officials than the issue of public order. The rioting and looting have had a tragic affect on the local economy and a repeat of the same type of events is likely to drive what businesses have remained in the area out of the area, or out of business. The protestors have promised to disrupt many communities and have targeted many businesses which, arguably, have not one thing to do with the case.

One protest group has announced: “they are NOT going to indict….The time has come for nationwide revolution.”

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Hagel Out As Secretary of Defense

Chuck Hagel Steps Down As Secretary of Defense
Bll Collier- In a move that was as sudden as it was unexpected, Chuck Hagel offered his resignation on the morning of November 24, 2014 to the President, effective immediately. Hagel has only been at his post since 2013 and his tenure was rather short.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

It is believed that the sudden move was meant to allow a replacement candidate under the lame duck Congress, a candidate who will fit more with the pacific policies of the Administration. Hagel had been more of a hawk and had repeatedly suggested that the fight against ISIS might require ground forces. It is also believed by insiders that Hagel resisted the talks with Iran, talks over their nuclear weapons program which are currently at an impasse.

The new nominee is expected to be someone who might be less attractive to the GOP, owing to their pacific intentions and possibly their lack of experience with defense or military matters. Increasingly this more pacific Administration has bucked heads with top military brass, and although there has been quite a turnover in both the Department of Defense and the Pentagon, the President has not been satisfied that the upper ranks have not embraced or backed his broad sweeping policies which involve a far less aggressive foreign policy stance and a reduction in military manpower and capability. The President has focused more on diplomatic ties and economic leverage and tends to eschew either using military force or the threat of military force.

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Within the military, the popularity of Hagel and the President, the civilian leadership, has hovered at around 20% to 30%, which many see as understandable due to the deep and ongoing cutbacks. The new Secretary of Defense will continue the previous policies of the Administration and it is expected that they will be more in lockstep with the core beliefs of the Commander in Chief.

While Republicans have threatened to block all nominees by the President over his use of what they call “executive amnesty” for 4-5 million illegal immigrants, they have stated that they would not block nominees who are vital to national security.

Within the Defense establishment there are growing concerns that the pacific policies and the force reductions in the face of Russian and Chinese military expansion is beginning to seriously undermine America’s global military standing. Others, however, are convinced that the US military would have to be reduced by over half to reach a point where it could not handle any potential foreign threat. A third school of thought believes that the overall military budget is bloated due to a combination of a top-heavy administrative and logistics organization and over-inflated prices for military equipment by the defense industry in general.

It is generally believed that this move is part of a larger effort by the Administration to gain complete control over foreign policy, putting and end to contradictory messaging, and pursuing their deep felt convictions regarding diplomacy and economics as better tools than force or the threat of force much more consistently and un-apologetically.

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Federal Election Consequences

Editorial By Bill Collier-  GOP takeover of the US Senate could have interesting consequences, not so much in bills that will be passed as in the degree of pushback and resistance the President will receive regarding his massive use of executive actions, especially through the policies enacted by unelected regulators.

The EPA will certainly come under scrutiny as its regulatory regimen is seen as illegal on the part of many Republicans. One can expect joint House and Senate Hearings, and investigations, on this very subject. The EPA has been implementing, through the broadest possible interpretation of its regulatory powers (ceded to it by the Congress over the years), a cap and trade regimen aimed at dramatically reducing the coal industry and limited the use of fossil fuels, even at the cost of a loss of hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs and the precipitous increase in energy costs. This very agenda has been voted on in Congress and was rejected by lawmakers. It is also rejected by most voters.

But this is not the only area of concern. Lawmakers will have more clout to investigate Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department’s actions regarding Fast and Furious and its attempts to silence the media by investigating and spying on reporters.

Beyond investigations and regulatory oversight, it will be impossible for the President to continue to determine spending largely without Congressional oversight through the use of “continuing resolutions” which have essentially skirted the Constitutional requirement for an actual BUDGET to be originated in the House and confirmed in the Senate. The President and the GOP will have to work out actual budgets as it is certain that the GOP will not tolerate one more year without an actual budget.

Many votes which were held off by Harry Reid, the now former Majority Leader, to shield Democrats from taking tough stands will be pushed with a vengeance.

What is more, it is possible the rule changes imposed by Reid, which effectively blocked man of the maneuvers formerly open to a minority, will remain unchanged, at least for now. If indeed the GOP leadership roll back those rules, to their own disadvantage, one can be sure their base will be angry. The media will give them no point for doing so, and their opponents will not hesitate to use the relaxed rules to gum up the works as much as possible.

In effect, then, those rule changes which many see as making the Senate far less collegial and deliberative than it used to be, could become permanent, leading to a further erosion of the public’s trust and confidence in their government.

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This will be especially problematic for any Obama appointees, including whoever might replace Attorney General Eric Holder. With the current rule changes, Republicans will be able to quickly vote down nominees and avoid long, drawn our hearings and maneuvers by the other side to delay the vote while they and their media allies beat up on the GOP.

No doubt the establishment media, who are largely an adjunct of the Democratic Party machine in the eyes of most conservatives, will extol the virtue of the “rights of the minority party” and the need for “bipartisanship”, which, in practice, amounts to giving the Democrats everything they want while giving the GOP and its base nothing they want. Indeed, the media who place their own liberal bias first and foremost have aided in polarizing America because, like partisan Democrats, they present “fairness” as giving only one side a voice and giving only one side what it wants.

Of course, conservative media, especially blogs, radio talk shows, and Fox News, will be equally uncompromising and will call any compromise with Democrats a surrender. They will snipe at any GOP leader who considers immigration reform or modifying but not repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act, and they will in general add to the polarization. Most conservative media sources admit that they are conservative but do little to balance their coverage or go beyond watchdog news and opinion piece writing, and both their language and their coverage serve only conservative readers or viewers.

The difference is that many of these conservative outlets, including pundits on Fox News, disclose their own agenda while leftists in the media refuse to disclose their bias, or even admit to it. The practice of disclosing one’s ideological or party bias on the part of media is not accepted among most of the establishment media.

Between overtly biased partisan pundits and biased reporters who refuse to admit their bias, let alone disclose what it is, politicians face a media environment dominated on both sides by the ends of the political spectrum and will be clobbered unless they throw red meat at their base.

While the GOP are making many noises about cooperation and working with the President, voters in the middle are especially favorable toward this view, they must contend with the perception among many rank and file members that the Democrats (and their media allies) will demonize them unless they abjectly surrender and their own base (whom, feeling alienated, did not support their 2012 Presidential nominee) be further alienated if they perceive that the GOP is giving in too much. Likewise, however, the establishment media and the Democrat base are likely to pressure the President and his Party to “tow the line” and even to resort to more executive actions rather than giving in to the GOP.

In short, we will see real budget battles, more investigations and hearings, much more pushback on executive and regulatory actions not popular with the GOP, and probably more polarization fueled in part by partisan media on both sides which, far from being objective and counseling compromise, will attack anyone on “their side” who dares to go down that road.

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