Res Ipsa Loquitur At The Barr Hearing

No, this wasn’t Fox spin…this was the main theme of the hearings.

Yesterday’s House hearing featuring Attorney General Barr was a new low in partisan grandstanding in Congressional hearings, which by itself is astounding. That condition has made many hearings unwatchable and embarrassing for a very long time, and during the Trump administration, in  fiascos like Justice Kavanaugh’s hearing, the spectacle scarred the image of representative democracy itself. I tried to watch the recording of Barr’s hearing, and was shocked—shocked that the Democrats have become so uninterested in presenting even the illusion of fairness, shocked at the inability of the committee’s repulsive chairman, Rep. Nadler, to restrain his hateful demeanor. I cannot imagine an uglier image of the legislative branch. The transcript excerpts—I’m still waiting for the whole thing— were little easier to take. A little.

Among my Facebook friends, one particularly, a former D.C. journalist, is certifiably Trump Deranged. He literally is unable to go a day without posting a Charles Blow op-ed or the equivalent, or “Look at the horrible thing Trump tweeted!” message to go with pictures of his meals. His Facebook page is a nest of anti-Trump crazies—they flock there like addicts would head for a crack house. Yet in the middle of the Barr hearing, HE wrote, “Why won’t the Democrats give Barr a chance to speak?”

“I know your story,”  one of the more infamously dim-bulb Congressmen, Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia told Barr, interrupting him before he could complete a thought. “I’m telling my story. That’s what I’m here to do,” Barr replied.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committtee’s ranking Republican, protested, “For months you have tried to get the attorney general to come, He is here. Why don’t you let him speak?” Continue reading

KABOOM! Even I Did Not Think “Meet The Press” Could Sink This Low [UPDATED]

Above is a damning tweet from the Justice Department reacting to a stunning breach of journalism ethics, basic honesty and fairness by NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.  It memorializes the descent of the once iconic Sunday news show, and indeed the nation’s entire mainstream media, into total corruption to a degree that was once, even a few years ago, unimaginable.

We had already discussed here the shocking disinformation advanced by Barack Obama, decisively debunked by law professor Jonathan Turley, as the former POTUS claimed that the dismissal of the charges against Michael Flynn over prosecutorial misconduct (that Obama appears to have had a hand in) posed a threat to the rule of law. Several of our more cynical commenters here opined that the news media would cover for Obama as they set out to smear Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration in defiance of the facts. At the time, I had not learned about today’s debacle on “Meet the Press.”

Its host, ChuckTodd used a deceptively edited portion of Barr’s interview last week with CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge to attack the Attorney General while misrepresenting his statement.

Todd commented on the following exchange between Barr and Herridge:

HERRIDGE: In closing, this was a big decision in the Flynn case, to say the least. When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written? What will it say about your decision making?

BARR: Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.

Except that Todd used the introduction to Barr’s answer to the question and left out his actual response. All the NBC audience learned about what he said was,  “Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

The redaction alone is outrageously unethical, editing  the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement official and materially altering his response to distort his answer regarding a major Justice Department decision. But Todd  then attacked  Barr based on the false and deceptive version of what the AG said, saying, Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/11/2020: Epstein And Facebook And Barr, Oh My!

It’s Thaturday!

Time, once again, to salute the courage of Karen Carpenter’s much less talented brother Richard, who nonetheless had the courage to offer, as his only notable solo offering for the Carpenters, a song that highlighted his speech impediment. Why did he do this? We’ll never know.

And yes, I have “The Wizard of Oz” on the brain. It was so much better when that wonderful movie was only on TV once  a year: then it was special. Now, especially over the holidays (and what it has to do with Christmas, I don’t know) I had to repeatedly change channels to avoid it. Well, after Judy sang “Over the Rainbow, anyway…

1. Is it really so unreasonable and a “right wing conspiracy theory” to wonder about how Jeffrey Epstein, who could have implicated such powerful people as Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew in criminal activities, ended up dead in his cell?

The latest forehead-slapping development: The video  made outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan jail cell when during his failed suicide attempt seemed to be missing, and even possibly destroyed. The jailhouse video turned up, however, muting suspicions about whether Epstein’s successful  suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center wasn’t something more sinister.  Prosecutors confirmed that the video had been saved. This week, however,  prosecutors revealed that the jail staff  had preserved video from the wrong jail cell, and the Epstein footage no longer existed.

Meanwhile, two guards who were on duty when  Epstein killed himself are being charged with falsifying records and conspiracy. The guards surfed the internet and dozed instead of checking on the prisoner every half-hour, as they were required to do.

Conspiracy or not, this is epic incompetence, and rather convenient incompetence at that. Hanlon’s Razor, however, applies. I guess.

My only other observation is that government efficiency and job performance is obviously so reliable that I don’t know why Bernie Sanders isn’t running away with the Democratic nomination race. Of course we should put government employees in charge of our lives. It’s a no-brainer. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Year: U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr

“One of the ironies today is that people are saying it is President Trump who is shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that. From my perspective, the idea of ‘resisting’ a Democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him, and really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president. That’s where the shredding of our norms and institutions is occurring.”

—The Attorney General, on CBS This Morning today.

Exactly. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, May 2, 2019: Low, Lower, Lowest

Six computer crashes already, but I’m going to get this %$#*&@ post up if it kills me, and I’m STILL calling it a “morning” warm-up.

1. Speaking of %$#*&... Senator Lindsay Graham used “fucking” on both CNN and Fox News, live, coast-to-coast. He was quoting former from one of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s texts, to illustrate the anti-Trump bias among those investigating him, as well as Hillary Clinton.  “Trump is a fucking idiot,” Graham read. He added, “Sorry to the kids out there.”

Good for him. If the word is relevant to a legitimate issue, and part of a quote or an example, then use the word. The principle is the same as when professors of linguistics or social studies utter the word “nigger” to raise questions about the way the word itself is used in society.

2. Unethical industry seeks guidance from unethical organization. So desperate is American horse racing to reverse its precipitous decline that leaders in the sport are seeking guidance from PETA.

That will work out well, I’m sure. Any time a business seeks guidance from an outside group that really doesn’t care about whether the business lives or dies, the end is near….not that this is a bad thing in this case. Horse deaths have been increasing across the country, and the anger of animal rights activists is threatening the very existence of “the sport of Kings.” California is close to banning the sport already. The use of drugs to keep sick and injured thoroughbreds running until they drop and the use of whips are the main sources of contention.

The popularity and profitability of horse racing has been falling for a long time. ONce, it ranked with boxing and baseball as one of the three top professional sports in the nation. Those days are gone for ever. Meanwhile,  more than $15 billion was bet on races in 2002; last year,  the total was $11 billion. In 2002, nearly 33,000 thoroughbred foals were registered as racehorses.  19,925 were registered last year.

Like boxing, horse racing appears to be doomed by its very nature The NFL, it it looks really hard, should be able to see its future, or lack of it. The process takes an infuriatingly long time, but people do become more ethical as time and experience accumulates. Continue reading