Attorney General Eric Holder has come under constant fire as Barack Obama’s Attorney General, being accused of being a law breaker, and having been cited for contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives. He is often portrayed as the worst Attorney General in American history, and there have been constant calls for his resignation, as well as impeachment.
But what it comes down to is that Eric Holder is not John Mitchell, Richard Nixon’s Attorney General; or Harry Daugherty, Warren G. Harding’s Attorney General, both of whom were involved in criminal actions in their time in office.
Eric Holder is the victim of pure politics, as another way to get at Barack Obama, and the fact that he happens to be African American makes him a prime target of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and of the conservative movement.
Imagine an Attorney General who takes his job seriously as to preservation of national security, and the promotion of civil rights cases, and a person who shows no fear of his enemies.
Despite the outrage now displayed against Eric Holder, he will be be looked upon in the long run of American history as one of the shining lights of the Justice Department!
Ron: You really, I mean really got serious issues man..
Excellent post Professor! 🙂
Ignore Guano’s idiotic comment. You don’t have issues.
Obamaâ€™s Ethical Gymnastics
“His morality is to be judged by his professed aims, not his means of achieving them. Obama is not inherently more amoral than his predecessors, only more exempt from charges of amorality.”
By Victor Davis Hanson
“Presidential ethics are now situational. Obama is calling for a shield law to protect reporters from the sort of harassment that his attorney general, Eric Holder, and the FBI practiced against Fox News and the Associated Press. Through such rhetoric, he remains a staunch champion of the First Amendment â€” even though he now has the ability to peek into the private phone records of millions of Americans.
The president is outraged that the IRS went after those deemed politically suspicious. So he sacked the acting head of the IRS, Steven Miller, who was scheduled to step down soon anyway. The administration remains opposed to any partisanship of the sort that might deny tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, founded by the presidentâ€™s half-brother Malik, but would indefinitely delay almost all the applications from those suspected of tea-party sympathies. Consequently, Lois Lerner granted the formerâ€™s request in 30 days, but took the Fifth Amendment when asked the reasons for obstructing the applications of the latter.
These ethical gymnastics were not entirely unforeseeable. Obama ran as a reform candidate for the Senate in 2004, while his campaign was most likely involved in the leaking of the sealed divorce records of both his primary- and general-election opponents. As a senator, he characterized recess appointments as tainted, only as president to make just such appointments â€” some of which later were declared unconstitutional in a unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Senator Obama employed filibusters to block judicial appointments; President Obama now condemns as bad-faith partisans any who might follow his own former custom. He championed public campaign financing before he became the first general-election presidential candidate since the program was enacted to opt out of it. President Obama has railed against any who would vote against raising the debt ceiling as putting partisanship ahead of the national interest â€” which, as senator, he himself had done. He ran in 2008 on the excesses of the Bush administrationâ€™s War on Terror, and then as president embraced or even expanded almost all of the very programs he had so adroitly demagogued in his campaign.
One of the legacies of the Obama administration is presidential ethics as an entirely relative, abstract concept. Obamaâ€™s morality is to be judged by his professed aims, not his actual means of achieving them, thereby turning classical Aristotelian ethics on its head: Dreaming of doing the right thing becomes more important than actually doing it while awake. Apparently reporters who had their phones monitored are to be impressed that Obama is advocating a shield law to protect them from any future president not so ethical as Obama.
The problem, however, is not just that Obamaâ€™s declarations of moral intent are deemed more important than his concrete behavior, but also that his moral pieties serve as a psychological mechanism that offers exemption for his unethical conduct. Obama repeatedly declared that citing the bin Laden raid for partisan purposes would be â€œspiking the ballâ€ of the worst sort â€” and thereby was freed to do just that without any guilt over his own hypocrisy, much less a worry that there was something untoward in using a national-security operation for campaign advantage.
The president deplores leaks as injurious to national security. Indeed, Attorney General Holder declares that the AP reporters endangered national security to a degree without precedent in modern memory. However, they did not do so as flagrantly as the administration itself, which leaked selected documents of the bin Laden trove to pet reporters, leaked the details of the Stuxnet cyber war against Iran, leaked information surrounding the drone targeting, and leaked details about the Yemeni double agent. The common theme was that such unlawful disclosures would let the voters know that their commander-in-chief was far more effective than they otherwise might have thought.
In contrast, the sin of the AP reporters was not leaking per se, but in some cases their freelancing attempts to beat the administrationâ€™s preplanned timing of its own leaks, and in others leaking things that the administration did not find particularly helpful to its reelection efforts. But again, Obama bought exemption for his own leaks by first citing the dangers that the AP leaks posed. Only by berating Wall Street â€œfat catsâ€ and â€œcorporate-jet ownersâ€ can one justify being the largest recipient of Goldman Sachs campaign cash in history. If you talk of kicking BPâ€™s â€œass,â€ then having taken more of its money than any other candidate becomes palatable.
Under situational ethics, the new transparency means that Obama can square the circle of promoting Susan Rice by doing so to a position that does not require Senate confirmation. Will Samantha Power, Obamaâ€™s nominee as ambassador to the U.N., receive the sort of congressional reception that once awaited John Bolton? Cf. Senator Obama on that recess appointment: â€œTo some degree, heâ€™s damaged goods. Not in the history of United Nations representatives have we ever had a recess appointment, somebody who couldnâ€™t get through a nomination in the Senate. And I think that that means that we will have less credibility and ironically be less equipped to reform the United Nations in the way that it needs to be reformed.â€ Obama once noted that John Bolton had â€œa lot of ideological baggage,â€ presumably in a way that Samantha Power does not.
Power once wrote of the Bush administration that â€œWe need a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States. This would entail restoring FOIA to its pre-Bush stature, opening the files, and acknowledging the force of a mantra we have spent the last decade promoting in Guatemala, South Africa, and Yugoslavia: A country has to look back before it can move forward. Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors.â€ If such absolute standards of transparency and public apologies for untruth applied across the board, only the â€œdoctrine of the mea culpaâ€ would put to rest doubts over whether partisan concerns governed the fates of those trapped in Benghazi and the postmortem accounts of their tragic ends.
The new ethical transparency means that there is no conflict of interest when Susan Rice appears on ABC news programs that her husband once produced. Nor should anyone worry that the brother of one of the presidentâ€™s closest advisers heads CBS News, or that the president of ABC News has a sister in a high position in the Obama administration, or that the wife of press secretary Jay Carney is the national correspondent of ABCâ€™s Good Morning America. Under the new ethics, to point out any such connection is at best illiberal, and perhaps motivated by darker impulses; but to discuss with your spouse or sibling how you will cover his or her televised performance is a necessary means to an exalted ethical end.
What is the short-term effect of such postmodern ethical behavior? Not much. The media will determine publicly that the Benghazi, IRS, AP, and Fox scandals, to the extent that they remain in the public view much longer as scandals, were the products of overzealous subordinates, while privately concluding that too much public attention to them might aid the illiberal agenda of conservative Republicans. Thus the better â€” indeed, the more moral â€” course is to let the scandals go the way of Fast and Furious and Solyndra.
I think their reasoning, to the degree it is ever consciously examined, goes something like the following: Is pursuing a rogue IRS or a John Mitchellâ€“like attorney general really worth wounding the second term of a reelected liberal president? Do we really need another Watergate or Iran-Contra, when the possible outcome this time around is not stopping the regressive efforts of a Richard Nixon or a Ronald Reagan, but rather endangering the political survival of the first black president, and the first northern liberal to be elected president since John Kennedy a half-century earlier â€” and, with him, a long-overdue progressive agenda that so far has given us needed higher taxes, socialized medicine, more entitlements, and liberal social initiatives?
What about the long-term consequences? To paraphrase Thucydides on the stasis at Corcyra, as a practical matter, it is always unwise when in power to destroy the ethical safety net that you may need when you are out of power. But here too Obama is not worried. He assumes that if Congress and the White House return to Republican control, the media will revert to their traditional watchdog role, resuscitated and on the scent once more of a lack of transparency, the revolving door, efforts to stifle the press, Guantanamo and drones, lobbyists in government, and the politicization of the federal government. Some day soon perhaps, once-bad filibusters and recess appointments will again turn bad. Lying attorney generals will again earn special prosecutors. Tapped reporters will again become courageous, not careerist opportunists. Whistleblowers will once more be lauded for speaking truth to power rather than be derided as reactionary snitches.
The lesson is not necessarily that Republicans are inherently more ethical than Democrats â€” although their aims are not so utopian â€” and thus more likely to adhere to a fixed notion of morality that transcends situational ethics. Rather, in the present climate, conservative politicians find it more difficult to get away with hypocrisies and opportunistic ethics, given their traditional adversarial relationship with the mainstream media.
Obama is not inherently more amoral than his predecessors, only more exempt from charges of amorality. He appreciates that this latitude has never been extended to any other president in modern memory. The result is that there is no longer such a thing as presidential ethics.”
Some excellent articles:
I would like for the federal government to crackï»¿ down on phone scammers. I’ve had one bugging me all week on my cell phone.
You can read about the scam here: http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/04/fake-employment-agency-fools-job-hunters-with-scam-calls/
Another scam that happened to me recently was on my land line. Some guy pretending he was from Microsoft. Started putting pressure on him and he got nervous and hung up.
I can understand how these scammers can find out our phone numbers. All we have to do is Google our phone numbers and it’s out there for all the world to see in various online phone directories.
I’m curious how these scammers find out our cell phone numbers. Are those out there on the world wide web too?
Article about the NSA privacy issue: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/06/intelligence-agency-conducts.html
From the above article: The secret many of the outraged seem to miss: living in the 21st century means that, basically, you have no privacy. Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google all collect personal information, and sell it to their advertisers. All those ads targeted to you on Facebook and Google Mail are a result of data mining personal information on a far grander scale than this latest NSA record warrant.
Just like with those phone scammers, this is something we have to face in living in the digital age.
When you use either Google, Facebook or any other social site, you know that they have your information and you contract with them freely. As a matter of fact they tell you that they have it. On the other hand, none of us consented to the intrusion of the Federal Government nor did we contract with the Federal government. What the Federal government has done goes against the principle of limited power government established in the Constitution.
NSA privacy article: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/06/intelligence-agency-conducts.html
Another good point from the article: If people want intelligence agenciesâ€™ powers curtailed, then perhaps a better use of their time would be to work to elect candidates who promise to do just that. These expanded powers were voted by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress.
Lulz! Guano is worried about the government spying on him (even though it was perfectly legal due to being voted into law by Congress and he can always stop the government from doing it by getting Congress to change the law) yet he is totally fine with private corporations having tons of data on him without his permission, to sell to advertisers. Lulz!
President Obama and AG Holder should listen very closely to what President Kennedy said many years ago. His analysis of the role of government and the press during the Cold War, during the struggle with the Soviet Union, that threatened our way of life, is just as applicable with our war against Islamist fundamentalist terrorism.
We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.”
Professor, please replace 10:41 pm post with this corrected one:
When 9/11 happened, we Americans wanted to be supremely safe. We did not ask the question as to what would be required to make that happen. Personally, I think the attackers fulfilled their mission. They diminished our freedoms and turned us against one another. We are better than this. Fear should not dictate our actions.
Oh wow, giving my shocked expression again today. This morning bama says all of congress was briefed about the phone surveillance and this afternoon congressmen are reporting otherwise. Could it be holder’s boss is a liar?
Lulz @ Davy No Nothing’s BS.
Nothing in the Patriot Act authorizes the government-wide abuse of power by the IRS, EPA, FBI, DOJ, and other agencies with the coercive powers against Americans and foreigners. Not a phrase,or word in the Act authorizes such abuse of power.
Lulz! Enjoy your kool-aid drinking Guano!
End of discussion.
In regards to what Davy No Nothing said – Any Congress person who said he or she didnâ€™t know about this is lying because they voted on reauthorizing it.
Professor, Maggie, Engineer –
I will be heading out of town on family vacation tomorrow. You guys will have to deal with Guano and Davy No Nothing this week.
Princess Leia, the effort that would have to be spent trying to show that Dave and Juan are wrong headed is exasperating, and Juan likes to character assassinate, including saying that I have “issues”, when I am perfectly sane, and shake my head at what he has to say almost all of the time. So I choose not to waste my time answering him any further!