Sunday, June 17, 2012

Same Crap. Different Package.

You will be seeing two important government figures swearing by all that's holy that they will provide all the documents and reveal all the information required "very soon." Both have been asked to explain why they have been secretly performing nefarious acts while denying them publicly despite all the apparent evidence.

The headline picture is US Attorney General Eric Holder. The picture accompanying this paragraph is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both Holder and Ahmadinejad have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, and both have responded with denials, lies, obfuscation, and convenient compliance. But their most useful tool is delay. The script goes as follows: Look wounded when confronted with your failure to do what you were asked, and promise to do better next time.

Ahmadinejad has been lying about Iran's nuclear weapons development program for years. He has claimed that all Iranian nuclear development is strictly for peaceful purposes of producing energy. Though the country sits on an ocean of easily-extracted oil, good ol' Mahmoud says Iran needs nuclear energy so their people can have light and HBO (and a few missile silos). Occasionally, the timid international authorities produce evidence that disproves what he is saying. Then, Ahmadinejad quickly appears, makes a statement about how wrong those authorities are, and promises to produce documentation to prove it. This "cooperation" always occurs about the time authorities threaten to tighten the noose around his neck.

Attorney General Holder has exhibited the same behavior pattern. His indignation when accused of selective prosecution is a performance worthy of Sir Laurence Olivier. He denies racism in his dismissal of voter intimidation cases against the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. He denies political cronyism when discussing the details of the Solyndra failure. He looks terribly wounded when someone accuses him of fake civil rights activity when denying states their right to purge their voter rolls and require photo ID for voting.

But he does come up with sufficient documentation and phony excuses to keep moving the questioning and investigation down the road. Now, the noose has been tightened in Congress in regard to Holder's knowledge of and participation in the organization of Operation Fast and Furious. This is especially noticeable in the hearings being conducted by Republican Darrell Issa of California in the House.

Holder has been adamant that he has provided all the information requested of his department by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has also been absolutely stalwart in his contention that he has told the truth from the beginning. He claims he knew nothing about Mexican criminal cartel gunwalking until Congress discovered the deaths resulting from the disastrous operation, including the ambush murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry by cartel members using guns purchased during the operation.

Frustrated by the minuscule information provided to his committee by Holder's office and angered by Holder's denial of clear facts produced right in front of him, Issa finally told Holder last week that he would produce the documentation and testify truthfully by this coming Wednesday or face a contempt of Congress citation. This is the first time contempt has been specifically threatened, though it has been bandied about for months.

Like Ahmadinejad, Holder steadfastly denies his involvement in the nefarious activities. In fact, he continues to deny that his department was involved in any significant Fast and Furious activity whatsoever. At least that was what he did at the conclusion of the hearing. Then, like Ahmadinejad he snuck back to his office, and fired off a memo to Rep. Issa. He promised to produce more records and information regarding the operation, claiming that his epiphany came only after the Committee stated categorically that requested information would exclude sensitive law enforcement information.

Rather than admit the noose was tightening and that his political position was in some immediate danger, Holder requested a Monday meeting with Rep. Issa while calling his offer "an extraordinary accommodation of the committee's interest." To trash a song from The Music Man, "Cheat a little, talk a little, cheat a little, talk a little, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat a lot, cheat a little more." The stall is on, once again. First Holder presents himself as the wounded victim just trying to help, then promises to produce some more useless and irrelevant (and frequently 90% redacted) documentation, then humbly requests a meeting between gentlemen to avoid any further unnecessary acrimony.

It's hard not to think that Holder believes he can stall any further damaging revelations until after the November elections. But now that the corresponding Senate committee is making some of the same sounds, and some Democrats are just now beginning to express doubt about Holder's veracity publicly, the tactic may not work much longer. Rep. Issa doesn't seem the least bit fooled by Holder's snake-charmer eyes, and has already announced that promises will no longer be sufficient. It's a true showdown, with Issa playing the lonely sheriff and Holder the proficient gunslinger.

This coming Wednesday could be the big gunfight, unless something truly significant emerges from Holder's secret vaults. But on Saturday, Rep. Issa said he will consider postponing the contempt hearing if the information provided by Holder is truthful and truly responsive. Holder wins the round, but he hasn't yet won the fight. What's your guess as to how this is going to be resolved?

20 comments:

Individualist said...

Lawhawk

I am really surpirsed that the they can't disbar Holder....

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: Disbarment is strictly a legal matter, and not as easy as you might think. Generally, federal attorneys are first charged in their home state, with reciprocal agreements from other states within the region. A final disbarment of a federal attorney without first obataining a disbarment in his home state is somewhat piecemeal. The federal courts have the independent power to disbar attorneys, but that power is hampered by arcane and byzantine rules of court. Essentially, the attorney facing disbarment must be charged under a federal statute or code of conduct, but the rules of the state in which the attorney's primary practice is located or where the alleged violation occurred apply. Unless the Supreme Court gets directly involved, the disbarment will apply only in the federal appellate district in which the action was brought. As you can see, federal disbarments are somewhat rare. Congress has only the power to sanction or censure, but no power of disbarment. That only leaves impeachment, and we've seen as recently as Bill Clinton how well that works out.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: I suppose I should also add that though Congress has the power to create and modify judicial districts, it must then pretty much leave the courts to their own devices in order to maintain separation of powers. Impeachment is a function of Congress for removing federal officers of any branch. But disbarment is left solely to the judicial branch. Then you have to add the further complication that most disbarments are brought by state bar associations, with their own courts. If the accused doesn't like the result, he or she then has resort to the state's highest judicial court. Every state has a slightly different procedure.

So Holder would be disbarred, if such a thing were feasible, in his capacity as an attorney, not in his capacity as the Attorney General and an officer of the executive branch.

Individualist said...

Lawhawk

I think that Holder has shown that he does not have the ethics to be a lawyer. His treatment of the law has to be illegal. From his involvement with the Frank rich pardons I have understood this guy to be a liar and someone who abuses the law.

His selective application of the law is reprehesible. I am not sure if there has been such an openly braxen and corrupt attorney general in a long time. Even after he is out of office I think someone should attempt to disbar him just to prove a point. If it doesn't happen I am afraid that our justice system in its entirety will become more corrupt as future attorney generals will see that they have the power to ignore the rules and do as they like.

Patriot said...

Indi....only Repub Atty Gens will be held accountable for corrupt and asinine behavior.

As far what I think will happen..........NOTHING

This what happens when immoral and unethical men have the reins of power. They use the system to their advantage. Repubs do not have the strength of will to pursue these issues. Hell.....Clinton was impeached by the house for gods sake and is considered an elder statesman these days by both sides.

Unless and when we get more conservatives/tea par tiers in congress we will continue these inside politics tactics because of the weakneed repubs and unethical dems. I'm sick of the lot of them.

BevfromNYC said...

Okay, I am just going to throw this out there. What if this big stall has been calculated to time the "big document drop" and ensuing revelations of wrong doing closer to the the end of the summer or to November and those documents DO implicate the Bush Administration?

I am just concerned that we are being played. You know -
"You really don't want to see these document." "Yes we do."
"No, you really don't.
"Yes, we do."
"No, seriously, you really don't want to do this".
"Yes, we really do".
"Well okay then, here are the documents, but you may not like what you see!"
"Oops, we try to tell you that you wouldn't want to see them."
[End scene with Obama being elected in a landslide.]

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: I think Holder has shown he doesn't have the ethics to be a used car salesman. But unfortunately, we're not in charge here.

This cascade of Holder-involved scandals is still growing and much is left to be determined. He may yet find himself out in the cold with Barry, and he may yet find himself subject to disbarment after he loses much of his executive immunity.

We've faced corrupt attorneys general before, but I do think this one takes the cake.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patriot: In all fairness to the slimy Clinton, Nixon also was "rehabilitated" as he got older. For good or ill, the passage of time does tend to soften feelings about misdeeds while in office.

I'm not so sure that Holder will walk away from his messes scot-free. Like you, I expect this kind of thing from Democrats, but I also have a special distaste for Republicans who cower from confronting needed action. If they recover their ethics and their guts, Holder may yet be in big trouble.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Anything's possible, but unless Holder manufactures evidence, I don't think there's much chance they can use the "Bush did it" argument very effectively. Officials from the Bush administration have already said that they knew about and worked with officials involved in the early days of experimentation with gunwalking and Project Gunrunner. It proved ineffective and potentially dangerous, so by the time Operation Fast and Furious was approved and went into full operation, Bush officials had advised against any further attempts to use gun sales as a method of trapping Mexican criminal cartel members. The Bush-era program was infinitely smaller, better controlled, and when it looked like it was going to go wrong, largely abandoned. As they say in philosophy, "there's a point at which a change in form becomes a change in substance."

Letting guns "walk" was done during the Bush era in a controlled manner that involved surveillance and eventual seizure of the weapons. According to ATF field agents involved in Operation Fast and Furious, under Project Gunrunner "ATF agents were trained to interdict guns and prevent criminals from obtaining them" and not to allow guns to walk and then disappear. Fast and Furious had none of those elemental controls and was done on a much, much larger scale, making it nearly impossible to control the sales or trace and retrieve the weapons sold.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: And I missed the obvious when I made that comment to you. Bush and company were attempting to stop drug violence and put drug cartels out of business. For those reasons (largely unsuccessful, sadly) the number of operations and the number of guns were rather strictly limited.

Under Obama and Holder, there is the hidden agenda of bringing back draconian anti-Second Amendment gun control. Small effective operations might help get guns out of the hands of drug runners, but it takes big sales, big operations and big loss of control to make guns the enemy instead of the drug dealers who received and used them. Holder's plan has failed on all counts, and has resulted in unknown numbers of deaths.

T-Rav said...

Indi and LawHawk, regarding impeachment, there's also the risk that the disbarring officials could wind up "disappearing."

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Will they be taken away on black helicopters?

tryanmax said...

Bev, Hawk, I seem to recall that the 0bama Administration already tried "Bush did it" on Fast and Furious citing exactly what you did, Project Gunrunner. That cat has been long out of the bag. It can be just as bad to overestimate your opponent as to underestimate him, but I am of a mind that this administration's arrogance knows no bounds.

rlaWTX said...

I hate Holder. I think I even hate him more than I despise TOTUS.

Individualist said...

Lawhawk (and T-Rav)

Regarding the Balck Helicopters

Pink is the new Black

Individualist said...

Patriot

Since disbarment is a state process I was hoping that a few state legislatures could handle this ....

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: That's part of the big lie Holder is trying to promote. It didn't work the first time, or even the second, but he's hoping that with repetition enough people will come to believe it. They won't. You are right on the money, their arrogance is breathtaking.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: How about black and pink? That color scheme was very popular in the mid-50s.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: The state legislatures are essentially helpless in this matter. The rules on discipline and disbarment are the sole prerogative of the state bars and the courts. The legislatures have no say over the internal affairs of the legal profession once they have established the basic rules for licensing. Likewise, Holder's misfeasance and malfeasance are being committed in his capacity as a federal official, so the law prevents any state action against him while he is in office. Even after he is out of office, he is subject only to criminal prosecution for acts in direct violation of state, not federal, law.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: I don't hate Holder as much as I do Obama, but he has a creepiness factor that even Obama can't match.

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