Jun 27, 2012 by Ugh
Apparently, should the entire House vote to cite AG Holder for contempt that will be "the first time in history" for a sitting AG, at least according to CNN
. While it seems rather silly in this particular case, it's at least mildly (very mildly) encouraging to see Congress decide it doesn't want the Executive Branch to continuously sh1t on it (but really, GOP, you're mad because the U.S. government was UPDATE: insufficiently interested in policing the sale of guns
? Really? I guess that's a bit uncharitable, but Jeebus).
In any event, President Obama has asserted Executive Privilege in this case, which caused me to wonder: why in the world do we have Executive Privilege at all? The ostensible reasons are separation of powers and "the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties" and that "[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process." (See wiki
, which seems correct to me on the current state of play).
But the problem here, it seems, is the analogy to the attorney-client privilege
. That is, the attorney-client privilege (and the closely related work-product doctrine
) likely comports with basic notions of justice and the rights of the accused, but why this sort of principle should be extended to the Executive Branch is beyond me.
Do we really want the Executive to receive secret and privileged advice, up to and including the identity of those giving the advice, whether it be the Natural Resources Defense Council or the Business Roundtable? Under what circumstances is someone going to advise the President but not be "candid and unfettered" when it comes to things that really matter, as opposed to self-serving lobbying? Doesn't it actually work in the opposite direction? That is, if I'm advising the President but know that anything I say can't be disclosed, don't I have at least some incentive to continuously spew BS if that's in my self-interest, to the potential detriment of the country in general?
This is a fundamental category error that SCOTUS has no idea it's committed (see quotes from U.S. v. Nixon above). POTUS is not just some dude (so far) getting legal advice, as opposed to my Uncle Larry accused of knocking over the local convenience store.
Jun 27, 2012, 07:12:14 sapient wrote:
Maybe we should install a nanny cam to observe the President's actions at all times.
Seriously, the President is a human being and is entitled to some candid advice.
By the way, the Eric Holder situation isn't "silly". It's fascist criminal Darrell Issa trying to take down the Democrats, especially those of color. If you do a bit of reading about Issa (http://www.newyorker.com/re...), you will find that I'm not exaggerating. The Fast and Furious program, begun under Bush (who lost untold amounts of weapons in Iraq, remember?), had some screw-ups, including some under Obama. No problem with me that they're looking into it, but as I understand the news about it, the Congressional request for documents was extremely overbroad, and included some documents that, by law, are not allowed to be disclosed. That fact, of course, wouldn't matter to Issa the car thief and arsonist.
Jun 27, 2012, 22:41:34 cleek wrote:
"it's at least mildly (very mildly) encouraging to see Congress decide it doesn't want the Executive Branch to continuously sh1t on it"
IMO, this all seems like a pretty ordinary attempt by the opposition party to damage the President. the Dems did it to Bush; the GOP did it to Clinton, etc.. every administration gets to face Congressional investigation or two. and the admin usually ends up invoking E.P. because the accusers always take things too far (perhaps on purpose, since using E.P. makes it sound like the admin has something to hide).
political posturing all around.
which is expected, since we're talking about politicians.
Jun 27, 2012, 22:43:19 Slartibartfast wrote:
"but really, GOP, you're mad because the U.S. government was selling guns?"
The government wasn't selling guns, so I doubt that's the source of GOP ire.
Jun 27, 2012, 22:54:38 Slartibartfast wrote:
"The Fast and Furious program, begun under Bush"
Oops, wrong. Fast and Furious was begun in 2009, and I forget who was President then but it was not Bush.
Yes, Bush did something similar (Operation Wide Receiver), but smaller in scale and resulting in fewer guns making it into Mexico. I'm ok with Bush the Bush DoJ having to divulge information about this, just as I'm ok with the Obama DoJ having to pony up.
Jun 27, 2012, 23:04:02 Slartibartfast wrote:
"It's fascist criminal Darrell Issa trying to take down the Democrats, especially those of color."
Sapient, you are really off the rails. Maybe you should take a break from the Internet for a while, and compose yourself.
Jun 28, 2012, 02:00:51 cleek wrote:
the govt might not be selling guns, but the GOP is ostensibly mad because the govt did not seize legally-purchased guns.
and yet, had they been more aggressive in seizing guns, there's a good chance they would've nabbed an innocent gun owner. and then they could cry about how mean old Obama was trying to take away their guns! wah!
Jun 28, 2012, 02:06:32 cleek wrote:
and this is an excellent telling of the whole F&F tale:
Jun 28, 2012, 02:07:16 Slartibartfast wrote:
"the GOP is ostensibly mad because the govt did not seize legally-purchased guns"
I don't know what the GOP's position on this is, or even if there is any consistent position, but what I'm unhappy with is the deception and obfuscation.
Jun 28, 2012, 02:08:12 Slartibartfast wrote:
That's nice that the media is no longer virtually ignoring the story, cleek.
Jun 28, 2012, 02:11:56 Slartibartfast wrote:
I'm going to have to read that a few times through. I have to say that I threw up in my mouth a bit when Voth's "strapping"-ness was invoked.
It's a good point, though, that the gunwalking schemes were utterly dwarfed by the rest of the smuggling activities.
Jun 28, 2012, 04:18:06 Ugh wrote:
Slarti: "The government wasn't selling guns, so I doubt that's the source of GOP ire."
Fair enough, I'll correct. To follow up on cleek's comments, however, the underlying GOP complaint, assuming it's not pure political BS as cleek also notes, is that the Obama Administration was insufficiently interested in policing the sale of guns. That seems...to be a little out of step with the GOP's general position w/r/t guns. Perhaps other substantive (as opposed to political) GOP positions trump that issue in this particular case.
Slarti: "Fast and Furious was begun in 2009, and I forget who was President then but it was not Bush."
I think it depends on what weeks you're referring to in 2009. :-)
Jun 28, 2012, 04:28:23 sapient wrote:
Fast and Furious was named that in 2009, perhaps, but the program was begun under the Bush administration. It was then named Operation Wide Receiver.
Jun 28, 2012, 04:50:50 Slartibartfast wrote:
"I think it depends on what weeks you're referring to in 2009. :-)"
Wikipedia has F&F going from October 2009 to January 2011.
"Fast and Furious was named that in 2009, perhaps, but the program was begun under the Bush administration. It was then named Operation Wide Receiver."
So, in other words: Operation Fast and Furious began in 2009. Just as I said. I think the Bush-era project you're looking for is Project Gunrunner; both Operation Fast and Furious and Operation Wide Receiver were run under Project Gunrunner. But they were two different operations, as any cursory read of publicly available information of this topic would show to be true.
Jun 28, 2012, 04:54:54 Slartibartfast wrote:
BTW I don't dismiss that this whole clamor may be (is, actually) partially due to opposition party desire to discredit the President and/or part of his administration.
In a tables-turned scenario, I would guess that we'd see similar rhetoric, but more interest exhibited by the media.
Jun 28, 2012, 05:18:55 Ugh wrote:
Damnit, Slarti, you're ruining my pedantry! Feh!
Jun 28, 2012, 05:33:18 Slartibartfast wrote:
If you can tell me what I'm ruining, I can try and at least be more consistent from now on.
Jun 28, 2012, 05:35:16 Slartibartfast wrote:
BTW I am not at all sure how this whole thing will turn out. For all I know, Holder will reveal all, only to have that all be really a whole lot of nothing. Which would mean that Holder, Obama, or some cooperative effort between the two have effectively pulled a Lucy to Issa's Charlie Brown.
Jun 28, 2012, 05:45:17 cleek wrote:
of course it's theater. you only have google "Operation Wide Receiver" to know that the GOP is playing F&F for political advantage.
Jun 28, 2012, 05:59:59 Ugh wrote:
I was just referring to the fact that both Bush and Obama were President in 2009, but then you pointed out that that was not necessarily what you had stated regarding "who was President then.
Jun 28, 2012, 06:10:37 Slartibartfast wrote:
Obviously, I already _have_ googled Operation Wide Receiver. And if you read the Wikipedia entry (and if you believe what it tells you), you'll see that the Obama DoJ did much the same as the Bush DoJ, only about ten times more efficiently. In other words, the Obama DoJ permitted about five times as many guns to cross the border in about half the time.
So: similar, yes. But about an order of magnitude more activity.
Jun 28, 2012, 07:25:41 sapient wrote:
<I>the Obama DoJ did much the same as the Bush DoJ, only about ten times more efficiently. In other words, the Obama DoJ permitted about five times as many guns to cross the border in about half the time.</I>
Well, perhaps that's because Bush was busy losing 190,000 AK-47's in Iraq. (http://www.washingtonpost.c...)
But we digress. The fact is that the criminal Darrell Issa is basically trying to humiliate Holder. And it's not a "both parties do it" situation here because the previous attorney general was up to some truly shady stuff (as were his bosses), rather than just continuing a flawed program, carried on (with more zeal) by the ATF folks..
Jun 28, 2012, 08:59:15 Slartibartfast wrote:
Actually, sapient, you were the one who came out with the "both parties do it" thing. Not me.
Jun 28, 2012, 09:01:29 sapient wrote:
No, I didn't say that "both parties do it" in terms of unnecessarily terrorizing the Attorney General. My "both administrations do it" had to do with the ATF policies and their continuation under the Bush administration. Sorry I wasn't clear enough for you, Slart.
Jun 28, 2012, 09:05:18 sapient wrote:
To be even clearer, the "both parties do it" problem came from cleek, with whom I agree in most respects, but disagreed with the post of Jun 27, 2012, 22:41:34.
By the way, thanks cleek for the informative link that you posted earlier.
Jun 28, 2012, 10:46:34 cleek wrote:
"In other words, the Obama DoJ permitted about five times as many guns to cross the border in about half the time."
why is the relative efficiency important?
i thought this was a matter of principle.
Jun 28, 2012, 12:40:01 Slartibartfast wrote:
Not really that important, cleek, except to illustrate a way in which one of these things is not like the other.
Jun 28, 2012, 22:41:29 Slartibartfast wrote:
"I didn't say that "both parties do it" in terms of unnecessarily terrorizing the Attorney General."
I didn't say you did. As for "unnecessarily terrorizing": I think both of those words have yet to be substantiated.
Really? _Terrorizing_? Maybe we need to have an AG that is a lot, lot, lot less timid.
"My "both administrations do it" had to do with the ATF policies and their continuation under the Bush administration."
So, you did bring it up. I'm not really into the whole 57 flavors of "the other guys do it too" argument, so that distinction really doesn't mean much to me. Thanks for clarifying, though.
Jul 10, 2012, 00:40:31 John Thullen wrote:
Phew! What a relief that the U.S. Government wasn't selling weaponry to the drug cartels.
Under the copy of the Constitution transcribed on the toilet paper roll in Wayne LaPierre's master and slave bathroom, that activity is best left to the private sector and local sheriffs.
In fact, I think a state or two might be thinking of making all Americans over the age of 21 purchase a weapon or pay a penalty, which is inactivity Judge Thomas might find to his taste, though who would know given that the last time he read a newspaper was 1776 and the last time he voiced a question was when he asked George Washington if he could help row across the Delaware, and even then Thomas' voice sounded suspiciously like his wife's.
Washington demurred, by the way, being an originalist.
Jul 10, 2012, 00:48:54 John Thullen wrote:
I don't think sapient requires a break from the internet, by the way. ;) all around.
What sounds like going off the rails is not a symptom of internet overuse, though that once seemed to be a common malady.
Rather, I think sapient is merely reacting to reality, which is now inundated with the noxious thin gas of political insanity.
I just took two weeks off from the internet and have returned twice as mad as a hatter as when I left.
How Slart remains so grounded and on an even keel is beyond me, but I'll have what he's having.
Jul 10, 2012, 01:32:31 John Thullen wrote:
Link to my 00:40:31 above on gun running:
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