Ethics Dunce: The American Bar Association

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.

Writes Prof. Jonathan Turley, who has written many searing articles documenting Holder’s disgraceful tenure at Justice,

“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.

This one is probably my favorite, from 2014.

Unspoken Ethical Quote Of The Month: Outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Attn. General Holder Testifies At Senate Judiciary Hearing On Justice Dept Oversight

“No, I respect the motives and intentions of my critics. Those who have opposed me genuinely disagree with my philosophy and approach to the job, and I would never denigrate them by attributing their opposition to race, bias, or anything but the same passion and belief in their goals for the nation that I have in mine.”

What Attorney General Eric Holder could have and should have answered in his “exit interview” with Politico’s Mike Allen, in answer to the question, “Now, there clearly have been times …when you have felt disrespected on Capitol Hill. How much of that do you think relates to race?”

Holder didn’t answer this way, however.

Holder is black, and consistent with the message that has been trumpeted from the White House, Democrats, the Congressional Black Caucus, and Presidential advisor and Holder consort Al Sharpton for more than six years, any and all problems, criticism, misfortune or failure affecting African Americans can plausibly, reasonably, credibly, and advantageously be attributed to racial bias or outright racism.

Thus Holder’s actual answer to Allen was…

“Yeah, there have been times when I thought that’s at least a piece of it.”

Continue reading

If Someone Praises The Job Eric Holder Did As Attorney General, That Tells You All You Need To Know

eric_holder_ap1

Eric Holder was the most political, biased, inept and undemocratic U.S. Attorney General  in at least 70 years, with the  exception of Nixon’s AG, John Mitchell, who went to jail. And the Attorney Generals have been uniformly terrible in this period; being one of the two worst takes talent, determination, broken ethics alarms and wretched judgement.

Those who praise Holder either are doing so without any idea about his record, or because they want the justice system in the United States to be racially and ideologically biased. The results of the latter, which is Holder’s real legacy, can be seen in the rising distrust between races, and the frequent description of Holder as being Obama’s “scandal goalie.”  The latter isn’t completely fair, because the news media has also been the President’s scandal goalie. The proof: few of the mainstream media retrospectives on Holder’s tenure mentioned the Justice Department’s refusal to hold a thorough and open investigation of the still unfolding I.R.S. scandal, which should have, and under any Republican administration, would have, included an independent prosecutor, because the news media would be screaming for one. This abdication of duty and naked partisanship by Holder alone condemns him. Unfortunately, there is a lot more.

You can begin with the “inside baseball” reports that Justice, under his administration, is a confused mess. That’s hardly surprising, for since the President eschews management and oversight, this is the tendency up and down the system. Without well-regulated policies and oversight, partisan meddling flourishes.

I have neither the time nor the energy to detail each and every example of Holder’s toxic racial and partisan biases, or his flat out ineptitude; there are too many to list, and I am sure I don’t know about some whoppers. Never mind: a fraction of the list would have made the resignation of any other Attorney General mandatory and beyond debate.  Holder is black, and this guaranteed that short of setting fire to the Supreme Court, he would only leave when he was ready. That alone is disgusting.

Here are some other Holder achievements:

1. “If Holder had his way, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, might now be on death row,” says ABC. This is the media spinning for Holder: his efforts to have the terrorist tried in New York City was when I first realized how out of his depth he was.

In the contentious Congressional hearings on the matter, Holder told the nation that“Failure is not an option. These are cases that have to be won.” “That have to be won”? Failure, as in acquittal, is “not an option”? This was a confession of the muddled, simultaneously alpha and omega false logic that would become a hallmark of Obama World. Holder proclaimed that the world had to see the United States give its enemies a fair trial, then told Congress that the “fair trial” he was proposing was a show trial,  a kangaroo court, in which justice meant a guilty verdict. It was a stupid, stupid thing for any lawyer, much less an Attorney general to say. Tragically, it was no aberration.

2. Holder refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, though it was a law passed by Congress and signed  by a Democratic President. I think he should have been impeached for that. Slate, among others, says that he was “vindicated” because the Supreme Court held the law unconstitutional. They didn’t vindicate his refusing to do his job. It is not the prosecutor’s duty to veto laws duly passed by the legislature and signed into law, nor should he have the power to do so. Holder’s precedent took a bite out of the rule of law, and stood for stunning arrogance. He viewed DOMA as a civil rights incursion: gee, what other laws don’t you like, sir? We found out: he didn’t like drug laws, because he sympathized with the poor, black criminals that tended to violate them. His solution? Minimize the penalties, and send the message that abusing illegal drugs was no big deal. Democrats wanted to curry favor with the Hispanic-American voting bloc? Holder was eager to assist by not enforcing the Federal laws, and by doing everything he could to prevent the states from policing illegal immigrants as well. In a system of laws, favoring authorities that pick and choose which to enforce according to their political beliefs is endorsing obstruction over process, and politics over justice.

3. When acting unconstitutionally suited Holder’s partisan masters, however, he would do it. In 2013, the Justice Department  seized Associated Press phone records, and monitored Fox News reporter James Rosen following a story he published in 2009 on Iran.

4. Holder oversaw specious and intellectually dishonest justifications for the U.S. policy of assassinating suspected terrorists without providing them with a trial, and or any evidence that they were planning imminent attacks. By defining the word imminent in the broadest possible way, this advocacy for the elimination of due process equaled the worst deceits of the Bush Torture Memos, the only difference being an official pass from the Obama-enabling press. The policy, basically a license to murder, ensured that assassinations could be carried out against anyone who the U.S. government feared if the person was located on foreign soil and could not be captured.

5. Then there is Operation Fast & Furious, the proof positive that Holder was going to get away with anything and everything. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost an estimated 1,400 weapons in Mexico, among them: two guns that were used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.  Holder is the supervisor of the ATF, but testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he had only known about the sting named “Operation Fast & Furious,” for a few weeks. Then investigators uncovered memos on Fast & Furious sent to Holder in July 2010. A reasonable conclusion was that Holder had lied under oath. Oh, no, Holder “explained,” he never read the memos. He was incompetent, not culpable. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Holder indignantly denied a DOJ cover-up, saying that“This operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution,”  and refusing to be held accountable for his own department’s deadly botch. Bolstered by Obama’s assertion of executive privilege, which prevented future prosecution, Holder refused to turn over documents related to the fiasco. Congress held Holder in contempt in June 2012, and he thoroughly deserved it, because the American people had a right to know the extent of the bungling in the highest reaches of the Obama Administration.

6. Although the supporters of Holder claim that his legacy was built on a dedication to civil rights, this was only in the narrow areas where the Democratic Party saw political advantage. He was not concerned, for example, in the civil rights of Americans when the government wanted to use modern surveillance technologies to spy on them. In the 2012 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Jones, Holder’s Justice Department argued that the police did not violate the Fourth Amendment by attaching  GPS devices to cars so they could know where they were going and where they had been, with that evidence used to acquire evidence. incriminate, try and imprison.  The Supreme Court rejected that position unanimously, because it was a mark of a burgeoning police state.

7. When Democrats wanted to create racial divisions, however, to rile up the base, Holder reported for duty. He assisted the unconscionable effort, still ongoing, by Democrats to characterize a responsible and necessary protection of the integrity of the voting process—photo IDs—as a racist plot, though the measure had long ago been approved by liberals, and only recently became stigmatized as “voter suppression.”

8. Holder’s major wound that he inflicted on the nation was his clear intention to project the image of a black Attorney General whose concern was minorities, whose assumption was that whites were the enemy, and whose biases were front and center. An early cue was his department’s abandonment of charges against two New Black Panthers who stood armed outside a Philadelphia polling place. The controversy, assisted by the media, devolved into an argument over whether this was an example of Justice receiving orders from the political Machiavellis in the White House, or just a lousy, bigoted example of “discretion.” A long official investigation found the latter, but either way, the message sent to white Americans was that this Justice Department was not especially interested in protecting their rights. In the Trayvon Martin shooting and the Ferguson episode, two local issues that should not have been his concern, Holder made statements, engaged in gestures and took actions that signaled his allegiance to the black victims, and opposition to the white (or “white Hispanic”) individual accused. He repeatedly spoke collaboratively before Sharpton’s followers, endorsing their diagnoses of a racist nation, and, by extension, a white population aligned against African Americans. Especially revolting was his repeated attempts to duck legitimate accountability for, you know, being terrible at his job, by race-baiting, such as when he explained Congressional criticism of his handling of Fast & Furious—a career-ender for any white Attorney General, or an appointee of any President who believed in accountability, by saying in 2011…

“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: the job of Attorney General, like the job of President, must be, and must be seen as being, absolutely neutral regarding race. Holder intentionally projected himself as an AG who cared more about minorities than non-minorities, increasing distrust, undermining respect in the justice system, and dividing the nation.

9. Not that he wasn’t feckless and incompetent too: for example, Holder’s Justice Department, almost certainly to ensure later campaign support, allowed multiple corporate criminals to escape serious punishment. For example, the Justice Deportment made a ridiculous plea deal to allow Halliburton executives to avoid jail time after they destroyed evidence of their culpability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The company agreed to pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000, accepted  a three-year probation;  continued its cooperation with the government’s criminal investigation (which it had to anyway), and  made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to clean off those oil-covered sea birds and otters. It could do this with the confidence that hard-core Democrats, being total hypocrites, would still attack the Republican party as a cadre of soulless corporate fat cats and insist that any criticism of Holder’s Justice Department and his boss’s administration was rooted in racism.

And again, the amazing thing is: That’s not all.

Any politician, elected official, pundit, columnist, civil rights leader or President who declares that Eric Holder was a wonderful public servant and a great American is telling you one of three things, or all of them:

  • They are liars.
  • They don’t know anything about Eric Holder, or
  • They believe the integrity of the nation’s laws should be warped and the public trust should be forfeited for a race-based, partisan agenda.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be taking names.

Case Study In How Bias Rots Integrity: Washington Post Columnist Harold Meyerson

You see, Harold, this is your brain on bias. Yes, I know it looks yummy...

You see, Harold, this is your integrity on bias. Yes, I know it looks yummy…

Back in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, I exchanged some e-mails with Harold Meyerson, the left-est of the Post’s op-ed liberals. He had been condemning the Bush administration’s decision to go to war against Iraq—we were technically still at war with Iraq, since no peace terms had ever been agreed upon from the previous war, and Saddam was blatantly violating the terms of a cease-fire, but never mind—saying, among other things, that this was the first time in American history that the nation had embarked on a “war of choice” rather than necessity. This was a popular, and ignorant, “talking point” used by the anti-war critics at the time, and I was thoroughly sick of it being shouted in CNN debates without any objective participant protesting that it was a lie. I pointed out to the columnist that this was historical fantasy clothed as fact, and that he owed his readers better.

Most U.S. wars have been “wars of choice,” I wrote, and presumably Meyerson knew this. Arguably only the War of 1812, World War II and Afghanistan didn’t fit that description. The Revolution wasn’t a “war of choice”? Of course it was….most of the country would have been happy to stay subjects of the Crown. The Mexican War was not merely a “war of choice” but a war of “let’s trump up a reason to take away all this land belonging to Mexico” war.  Lincoln certainly didn’t have to oppose the secession of the Southern states and start the Civil War; indeed, the best Constitutional analysis is that he was acting beyond his authority to do so.The Spanish-American War? World War 1? Korea? Vietnam? Granada? Desert Storm? What country was Meyerson talking about?

To my surprise, Meyerson replied, politely and, I thought, a bit sheepishly. Yes, he said, of course you are right, but this war is more of a war of choice than those were. Translation:I oppose this war, and the party of this President, so I’ll say whatever is necessary to get people to agree with me, and I’ll convince myself in the process.” I’ve never taken a Meyerson column seriously since. His reasoning process, like so many on the ends of either side of the political spectrum, is to frame reality in the way that most comfortably supports his ideological objective, and then to allow that warped reality to become part of his own world view. I think this kind of thought process by confirmation bias should disqualify any infected media pundits from commentary, as much as habitual dishonesty, dementia or insanity.

Today, Meyerson once again shows how his biases rot his reasoning and integrity. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Eric Wemple

Talk about ethics blindness.

Find that loose screw, Eric, and then tell Spike where it is...

On his Washington Post blog, Eric Wemple gushes like Old Faithful about sweet, contrite, courageous Spike Lee, who appropriately apologized (and paid an undisclosed sum) to the Florida couple whose address he had accidentally tweeted to help get George Zimmerman harassed, attacked or killed—that being his clear intent by trying to send Zimmerman’s address to the world, or more specifically, the New Black Panthers’ vigilantes. Wemple was blown away by Spike’s willingness to accept responsibility for his boneheadedness and admit he was wrong:

“Yet his reaction to the mishap rehabilitates the good name of an honest apology. Lee used no qualifiers, no minimizers, no excuses — and no ‘I am sorry if anyone took offense to my actions.’ Just plain regret and shame. Score a victory for the apology.”

So “I’m sorry I nearly got you killed; honest, I was trying to get that other guy killed!” is an impressive apology, is it? Continue reading

Ethics Quiz (Trayvon Martin Ethics Train Wreck Edition): Spike Lee’s Incompetent Vigilantism

"Doh the Right Thing"??

When we left film director Spike Lee, he had entered Ethics Dunce Valhalla on board the Trayvon Martin Ethics Train Wreck Express for assisting vigilante efforts against Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman by tweeting the man’s address to his 240,000+ Twitter followers.

Now we learn that Lee tweeted the wrong address!

The residence is actually the home of David McClain, 72, and his wife Elaine, 70.  The couple has reportedly fled their home for the safety of a hotel room after being harassed by reporters, threatening mail and menacing  posts by Twitter and Facebook users. The woman has another son named William George Zimmerman, who lived with her in 1995 and still lives in Central Florida. He is no relation to the George Zimmerman involved in the shooting. Lee has removed the tweet the erroneous address, but it continues to be sent around by others, including the California man who sent the address to Lee in the first place.

This isn’t an especially difficult quiz, but I can’t resist the ironic conundrum of the bungled unethical act. So your Ethics Quiz for today is this:

Does the fact that Spike Lee tweeted the wrong address for George Zimmerman to assist those who planned vigilante action against him make his conduct more ethical, less ethical, or no difference at all? Continue reading

“Do The Vicious And Stupid Thing”—A Spike Lee Production

Ethics Dunce Extraordinaire: Director Spike Lee

The film director, writer, social critic, sports fan and incurable hot-head has apparently tweeted—twice— the home address of George Zimmerman, who is the man who shot Trayvon Martin.

Meanwhile, the New Black Panthers have placed a cash bounty on “capturing” Zimmerman, and he is also receiving death threats.

If someone uses the Lee-tweeted address to go and kill Zimmerman—certainly within the realm of possibility given the over-heated, emotional and irresponsible rhetoric over Martin’s death—Lee  won’t be prosecuted. But his conduct is vicious and criminal in spirit.

Well, Twitter has wrecked plenty of lives; it’s just a matter of time before it ends one. Spike Lee is just the man to make it happen.

There is no excuse for this.

 

Comment of the Day: “Finis: The New Black Panthers Voter Intimidation Affair”

Michael, who also just made a “Comment of the Day”-worthy point regarding the recent post about schools banning homemade lunches for students (you can read it here), makes an important point about reports that dismiss allegations of government misconduct as “unsupported.” There is an obvious parallel with the public’s misinterpretation of verdicts finding the likes of O.J. Simpson (who did kill his wife and Ron Goldman) and Barry Bonds (who did lie to a Federal Grand Jury) “innocent” because the government prosecutors did not meet their burden of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Here is Michael’s Comment of the Day on the post, Finis: The New Black Panthers Voter Intimidation Affair: Continue reading

Finis: The New Black Panthers Voter Intimidation Affair

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, a careful, professional, non-partisan group charged with reviewing allegations of U.S. Government attorney misconduct, released the report on its investigation of the contentious Civil Rights Division handling of the case of two paramilitary-clad members of the New Black Panthers, one carrying a club, who appeared to be at a Philadelphia polling place in November 2008 for the purpose of intimidating voters. The men were videotaped, and the YouTube  video of them standing at the polling place was provocative, to say the least.

To briefly recap:  Voting Rights Act prosecution was initiated by the Bush Justice Department, and subsequently scaled down by the Obama Justice Department. Two career Civil Rights Division attorneys resigned over the handling of the incident, alleging that political appointees within the Obama Administration had pushed a policy of not prosecuting African-Americans under the Act—in other words, race-based enforcement. Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Trick Question: Who are the U.S. Attorney General's people?

“When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African-Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia–which was inappropriate, certainly that—to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people.”

—-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, testifying in a Congressional hearing regarding allegations of race-based enforcement in the Justice Department, and taking issue with Rep. John Culberson, who was questioning Holder about the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case. Culberson quoted a Democratic activist who called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career, prompting Holder’s statement.

I am willing to give the Attorney General the benefit of the doubt and regard this is a slip of the tongue. It would be unfair to conclude, based on this statement, that Holder is biased. But his use of the term “my people” certainly raises the question of bias. As the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder is obligated to regard all American citizens as “his people.” Suggesting otherwise undermines his credibility and the people’s trust, and is at best careless, and at worst suspicious.

[Thanks to WSJ blogger James Taranto for flagging the quote.]