Why I am I not surp….oh, oh, there goes the head again. I guess I am surprised after all.
Since I regard soccer as about as entertaining as watching paint dry, I took only scant notice of the massive scandal in 2015 involving the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which oversees international soccer. More than 50 people and companies were charged in the case, and dozens have pleaded guilty. You can catch up here; I’ll wait.
All set? OK, then process this: six years after the massive criminal indictment exposed decades of corruption in global soccer, the U.S. government approved the payment of more than $200 million to….wait for it!—- to FIFA as well as its two member confederations also implicated in the scandal.
See, the theory is that the organization that was run by the individuals who stole all that money and engaged in bribery, money laundering and corruption, was really just another victim of it all. The repayment begins with an initial payment of $32.3 million in forfeited funds, the Justice Department announced, and prosecutors have approved a plan in which the soccer organizations could receive as much as $201 million.
Seeking to avoid the politics of division and the to restore respect for the rule of law, President Biden (or someone pulling his strings) has, ironically, nominated Kristen Clarke to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. In January, with this post, Ethics Alarms urged fairness after a letter surfaced from Clarke’s college days espousing anti-white racist attitudes:
….that letter to the Crimson from 27 years ago should not, by itself, disqualify Clarke for national service. Students say and write a lot of foolish stuff in college; that’s part of what it is for. Student presidents of niche campus groups like BALSA are expected to say extreme things….However, that letter is pure black supremacy, and thus racist. In the hearings on her fitness to lead the Civil Rights division, which requires no bias for or against any race, she must be asked about the letter and, under oath, rebuke its assertions to the satisfaction of all.
Now we know, however. That letter was not just young, raw, still-learning Kristen Clarke. That is Kristen Clarke. The career NAACP lawyer has a history of opposing civil rights prosecutions of black defendants. She criticized the Justice Department for bringing a complaint against an African-American party boss in Mississippi who worked to suppress white votes.
A federal judge found that political boss Ike Brown violated the Voting Rights Act by suppressing white votes in a rural Mississippi county where whites are the minority, directing election workers to count deficient absentee ballots from blacks but disqualify ballots from whites. Brown also was shown to have held biased and manipulated caucuses in the homes of friends and supporters.
According to 2010 testimony from Justice Department official Christopher Coates before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Clarke “spent a considerable amount of time criticizing the [civil rights] division and the voting section for bringing the Brown case.” He described Clarke as a civil rights litigator who believes “incorrectly but vehemently that enforcement of the protections of the Voting Rights Act should not be extended to white voters but should be extended only to protecting racial, ethnic, and language minorities.” Like, for example, her.
President Biden nominating such a racially biased individual to lead a civil rights division that must serve all Americans is an audacious and defiant example of doing the opposite of what one claims to be. It is a good time to recall this tweet:
As you remember, well over a year ago you staged a grandstanding, insulting exit from participation on this blog, declaring that I had “drunk the Kool-Aid.” Your false claim was provoked because I had successfully navigated through lies, calculated disinformation and lawbreaking—engineered by those within and without the U.S. government—to conclude that a coordinated effort had been and was underway to overthrow the elected President of the United States. At this point, the fact that your accusation was based on your own blindness and bias is not subject to rational denial or debate.
I knew that at the time, of course. I also felt, and feel, that for you to behave that way, in public, here, was a personal as well as a professional betrayal. We had, I thought, a cordial and mutually respectful relationship. We had exchanged details about the high and low points of our lives face to face. We are in the same field and profession. I trusted you.
I have provided you some slack in my ultimate judgment on your character because I know that, as we say here often, bias makes us stupid, even the best of us. I have seen this particular bias make many people, even some smarter than you, as difficult as it may be for you to conceive of that, both stupid and destructive, apparently without a glimmer of self-realization. I recognize that it the phenomenon is, at this point, indistinguishable from an illness, one triggered by emotion and group-think. Thus I am, up to a point, sympathetic, just as I am regarding so many of my Facebook friends who figuratively make asses of themselves every single day because they are addicted to “likes” and peer approval. Some of them are even lawyers, but you know…lawyers. That is a professional group, along with historians, politicians, historians, scholars, psychiatrist, educators and, of course, journalists, that has broken its duty of trust with the public as it joined a dangerous and unconscionable effort to break our democracy. Continue reading →
Last night, I wrote in response to the news that all four of Roger Stone’s prosecutors had resigned after the Justice Department had submitted a memo opposing their recommendation to the judge in the case regarding Stone’s sentence…
I can’t figure this out until…
I know whether Stone was targeted as a Trump ally, and how much of this, if any, was politically motivated.
What the sentencing guidelines are, and exactly what Stone did.
What the reasoning of the Justice Department was in opposing its own prosecutors’ judgment.
To what degree the President influenced the decision.
Finally, thanks to the always reliable and astute Andrew McCarthy, I do understand, and can confidently say, “What a mess!” Continue reading →
It looks like Joe Biden will end up fourth or worse in the New Hampshire primary, and if he does, it will all be over but for the shouting, or in Joe’s case, the blathering. This was pre-ordained from the second Joe entered the race: how anyone knowledgeable and paying minimal attention could see Joe was a shell of his former self, and his former self was never anything to get excited about in the first place. I have never believed that President Trump thought Biden was a threat to defeat him; if his determination to unravel the Biden’s influence peddling in the Ukraine had a personal component, it was that he just wanted to stick it to Joe and expose his hypocrisy. We will never know, I guess. But I assume trump knew he didn’t need to “cheat” to beat Biden.
It’s amusing and somehow fitting that Joe’s inexplicable “Lying dogfaced pony soldier” outburst is serving as a tipping point, with a lot of people suddenly smacking their heads “I could have had a V-8!” style and thinking, “Hey! This guy really is an idiot!” Yes, he really is. The fact that the bland Amy Klobuchar is surging as the new moderate (relatively) savior of the party shows just how bad Biden has been, and also just how unforgivably incompetent and unattractive a field the Democrats have offered America in 2020. On the hopeful side, at least Democratic voters have recognized Senator Warrren as the manipulative, untrustworthy demagogue she is. If a Massachusetts leftist Senator can’t beat Buttigieg and Sanders in New Hampshire, she’s not going to win anywhere.
All of this couldn’t happen to a more deserving party.
1. The President thinks Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. Of course he does. Our President has an unhealthy tolerance for liars and rogues. There has been a depressing outbreak of renewed sympathy for Rose, the game’s all-time hits leader who was banned from baseball for life after being proved guilty of betting on baseball games while a manager, betting on games his own team, the Reds, was playing, and lying about both over many years. The reason is the recent sign-stealing scandal, because, of course, one cheating scandal mitigates a completely different offense that didn’t have anything to do with cheating.
1. A literal “King’s Pass”! The King’s Pass, #11 on the Ethic Alarms rationalization list, was acted out with perfection in Great Britain, where Prince Philip, despite causing an automobile accident that injured another driver, was not charged or ticketed by authorities. The nonagenarian royal has been persuaded to surrender his driving license, however.
2. Politics do not belong in the sports pages...but don’t tell the New York Times. In another King’s Pass-related story,“Patriarch’s Racist Emails Stagger Cubs Owners” (the print version), in which the Times subtly lobbies for the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball to take punitive action against Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose family owns the team, we had the following statements…
“The false assertion that Obama, who identifies as Protestant, was Muslim and born outside the United States were prevalent in right-wing politics during his presidency.” This is just false. The birthers were a radical fringe of the conservative opposition to Obama, and that weak conspiracy theory was never “prevalent.” Nor can the birther claims be fairly called “racist,” though certainly many of their adherents were racist. Among the “racist” sentiments attributed to Ricketts in the article were “we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society.” At worst that’s religious bigotry, not racism. At best it’s a defensible point of view.
In fact, I tend to agree with it, and the experience of Western Europe supports the position.
The article approvingly cites the mandatory grovel by Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, who denounced his father’s emails in a statement, saying, “We are aware of the racially insensitive emails in my father’s account that were published by an online media outlet. Let me be clear: The language and views expressed in those emails have no place in our society.”
Let me be clear: any language and all views have a place in a society founded on the principles of freedom of thought and expression. The casual and routine endorsement of thought-crime and censorship by the mainstream news media (and academia) is far more alarming than any private emails by an elderly billionaire. Continue reading →
Res Ipsa Loquitur: The American Bar Association Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice will bestow the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award on former Obama U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on August 4. It has been obvious for a long time, but if anyone needed any further evidence that the ABA is now a full-fledged partisan left-wing organization masquerading as an objective professional association, this is it. Holder wasn’t just a bad AG, he was a political one in what is supposed to be a non-political office. He was also racialist, and obviously so, regularly coordinating with Al Sharpton and his followers, and constructing a Civil Rights division that adopted the position that only whites could engage in civil rights violations.
Holder should have disqualified himself from any professional awards, not to mention his high office in the Obama Administration, when he gave the green light to President Clinton’s infamous pardon of Democratic donor Marc Rich (aka. Clinton’s quid pro quo for his ex-wife’s fat donation to his Presidential library). In fact, it was a defining moment, and having defined himself as a partisan lackey, Holder was exactly what President Obama wanted at Justice. Holder intervened in the Trayvon Martin case to signal it as a race-related crime in the absence of any evidence, and did likewise in the Michael Brown shooting, lighting the fuse of racial distrust and community anger at police. Then he called the United States a “nation of cowards” regarding race relations. The real coward was Holder, who used his race—he was the first black Attorney General—to shield himself from the accountability and criticism his mishandling of his office deserved.
Holder was held in contempt of Congress—and allowed the captive news media to call the action “racist”—after he withheld documents and key witnesses from oversight committees looking at several scandals in which his Justice Department was complicit. Notable among them was the “Fast and Furious” fiasco in which the government allowed Mexican drug gangs to get high-powered weapons, one of which ended up killing an American. Holder actively misled Congress in testimony under oath.ore than once. He sought significant reductions in privacy and due process protections for citizens—civil rights? Hello, ABA?— and personally announced and supported Obama’s “kill list” policy, in which the President asserted the right to kill any U.S. citizen on his sole authority without a charge or due process. Holder let his department apply the controversial Espionage Act of 1917 to bring twice the number of such prosecutions under the Act that had occurred under all previous Attorneys General. He led the Obama Administration in a campaign against government whistle-blowers. Holder championed warrantless surveillance (Civil rights? Hello?). Most damning of all given the title of his upcoming award, Holder was personally involved in targeting journalists for surveillance and was the leader of an Obama administration attack on the news media that was condemned by many public interest and media groups. Holder’s Justice Department seized phone records for reporters and editors at three Associated Press offices as well as its office in the House of Representatives. Under oath, Holder later claimed to know nothing about any of it.
“Holder’s “contributions” cost civil liberties dearly in this country. If the ABA is to give him this award, it could at least spare civil libertarians and journalists the reference to civil liberties.”
Note: You can read the various Ethics Alarms documentation of Holder unethical words and conduct here.
Here is the headline in the print version of this New York Times story (which the Times headlines appropriately on-line):
Justice Department Acts Against Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions
This is as pure an example of journalism deceit and a pernicious variety of fake news as I have encountered. An equivalent headline would be to describe the ACLU petitioning to overturn a federal ban on “hate speech” as “ACLU Acts Against Protections for Blacks, Gays and Muslims.”
The individual mandate was always unconstitutional as a penalty, and the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the Affordable Care Act on that basis, until Justice Roberts hit on the brilliant but perverse argument that even though the Obama administration and Democrats had insisted that the device wasn’t a tax in order to get the thing passed, it really was, so it was legal after all. Congress, however, repealed the “tax,” so now that pretense no longer works. The mandate is unconstitutional…again.
I know the Democratic approach to legislation and public policy is increasingly “the ends justify the means” and “the Constitution is just an archaic piece of paper,” but the fact is and has always been that the document is our nation’s (increasingly vulnerable) bulwark against tyranny, and it is the duty of the Justice Department and the courts to oppose unconstitutional, as in “illegal,” measures, even those that appear to solve difficult problems.
If a provision is unconstitutional, it doesn’t matter what benefits it may have. We cannot have a precedent that holds that the Constitution can be ignored for “good reasons.” No reason is good enough. That kind of thinking is how Japanese-Americans ended up in concentration camps under an iconic Democratic President, approved by a liberal Supreme Court.
The individual mandate, without the cover story that it is a tax, violates the Constitution. That’s all we need to know. The ability of insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions under the ACA becomes impossible without it? Well, we’re just going to have to come up with a solution that isn’t unconstitutional, won’t we?
Deceiving the public into believing that upholding core constitutional principles is excessive and sinister when it blocks otherwise desirable policy initiatives is playing with fire. It makes the public civically ignorant. It places false emphasis on results rather than the rule of law.
1. The Republicans keep robocalling, and the Democrats...keep emailing. I have protested both. However, right now I am really ticked at the Democrats, whose endless lists I have dutifully asked to be deleted from, then been told that my cyber-door would not be darkened by them again, only to have Tom Perez, Nancy Pelosi and Keith Ellison, plus show up in by in-box the next day. Do they think this direct violation of my privacy along with their own assurances doesn’t reflect on their fitness to govern? If so, they are wrong.
2. Great news! Now you can identify as British for no good reason whatsoever. I love this story: Thomas J Mace-Archer-Mills Esq. and his insight into the British monarchy a regular feature TV during that royal wedding I missed because of a sock drawer crisis. His website lists many media appearances, and one article described him as “the most interviewed man” on the subject of the Wonderful Nuptials.
It has now been revealed that Thomas J Mace-Archer-Mills Esq. is really Tommy Muscatello, a 38-year-old Italian-American who grew up in upstate New York. But he says he identifies more as British than American, so there is that.
Now imagine how well anonymous sources are vetted by crack journalists. [Pointer: Curmy)
3. About that “fever”…An esteemed commenter here proclaimed his exit because of Ethics Alarms’ characterization of the so-called (actually “cleverly-called” is appropriate) “Spygate” scandal (here and here), saying that he would be gone until “the fever” had passed as if questioning the integrity of the Justice Department’s Trump investigation/ “resistance” assistance is obviously a partisan delusion. I almost made that post a Comment of the Day, except that I concluded that denial shouldn’t be mocked. It is, after all, the first of the seven stages of grief, and apparently one which Democrats and progressives are stuck in, while others have progressed at least as far as anger (Stage #3), culminating in episodes like a female comic calling the President’s daughter a “cunt” on television to reactions like this.
Anger, however, only makes one seem overcome with emotion. Denial makes us look blind and gullible. I do not understand the Left suddenly trusting the FBI (Hoover? Felt?) and the Justice Department as if they have always been paragons of virtue. This is pure denial, or, if you prefer, ignorance. If anything, there should be a presumption of politicization in the Justice Department, particularly the Obama version and particularly in light of the post-election conduct of its holdovers like McCabe, Comey and Yates. The FBI, meanwhile, is permanently scarred by Comey’s self-celebration tour, his book, his botching of the Clinton investigation, his dubious testimony before Congress, and his probably illegal leaks of classified information specifically to cause problems for President Trump.
A beloved relative, also in denial, actually tried to tell me last week that the astoundingly suspiciously-timed tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton shouldn’t have raised any alarms. She’s a lawyer. She’s brilliant. She’s sincere. She’s also in denial, Stage 5. That was such a perfect example of the appearance of impropriety that a photo of it should be on Wikipedia under “appearance of impropriety.”) When the leaders of the FBI do things like that in the middle of a Presidential campaign, how can someone of good faith and full cranium argue that it’s irrational to question the act of the same people placing a mole in the Republican candidate’s campaign? This is the pot calling the Corningware black.
Those in denial have their perceptions warped by their own fever, one that causes them to assume, absent any evidence whatsoever, that President Trump must have been working to steal the election. (They also assume he is guilty of other impeachable crimes, they just don’t know which ones.) Hillary lost, you see, and the polls said it was impossible, so he must have cheated. It can’t be that Trump won because he was running against an epically terrible candidate smugly presenting herself as the “third term” of a spectacularly inept and divisive President. It just can’t.Continue reading →
1 McCabe Ethics. If you want a starting place to find smoking guns regarding the stunning bias of the mainstream media, one need look no further than the overwhelming sympathy being expressed for Andrew McCabe, the senior FBI official just fired by AG Jeff Sessions.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that McCabe misled investigators about his role in directing other officials at the FBI to speak to “The Wall Street Journal” regarding his involvement in a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Horowitz’s report on McCabe was referred to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the career officials there recommended McCabe’s termination.That means McCabe had to be fired. I never had a job in which I wouldn’t have been fired if an internal investigation showed I had lied on the job. Have you? In a law enforcement job, this is an even worse offense. Firing for cause is virtually mandatory. Of course it is. But here, for example, is “The Atlantic”:
“Andrew McCabe, a former acting and deputy FBI director who had drawn the ire of President Trump, was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Friday evening, a decision that raises troubling questions about the independence of both the Justice Department and the FBI.”
What? It raises no “troubling questions” at all! McCabe had to be fired. The fact that the President had criticized him is 100% irrelevant. He would have had to be fired if the President said he was the salt of the earth. He would have to be fired if the President said he was the spawn of Hell. McCabe lied. The internal investigation said so. He was fired. Good.
There were plenty of other reasons to be suspicious of McCabe. NBC News reported, for example, that when McCabe’s wife, Jill, ran for the state Senate in Virginia in 2015, she accepted a donation from a political action committee controlled by then Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, one of the Clintons’ closest allies. Then, in 2017, McCabe became a key official in the investigation of Hillary’s e-mail tricks. He should have recused himself: it’s called the appearance of impropriety. James Comey should have forced him to recuse himself. Never mind: the lies alone were enough to mandate a firing.
The news media, many believe (including me), support McCabe because he was a source for leaks—in other words, he violated the law and legal ethics to pass along confidential information. For that, if it could be proven, McCabe ought to be disbarred and prosecuted.
To read my progressive Facebook friends’ rants, as their IQ and integrity declines further every day, the current outrage is over the fact that McCabe was fired a mere day before he could take early retirement. Again, good. A high-ranked FBI official who lies on the job must be fired, not allowed to escape accountability by retiring. Once he retired, the only recourse for the Justice Department would be to indict him. It doesn’t matter that he was a day away from retiring. So what? What if he was a month away? A year? A minute? He lied. He deserved to be fired, not to be allowed to retire. The quick retirement dodge was how the Obama Administration justified letting IRS officials that criminally misused the agency for partisan warfare escape accountability.
2. And this is why the President of the United States shouldn’t tweet like a junior high school student, or like Larry Tribe Here is former CIA Director John Brennan’s tweet in response to McCabe’s firing”
When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.
It is unprofessional, uncivil, misleading and unethical. However, when the President of the United States’ daily habits make such tweets a Presidential norm, this is what you get: not just a Nation of Assholes, but a government of assholes.
Kudos to journalist Sharyl Attkisson for tweeting the perfect response to Brennan’s thuggishness: