Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 10:22 pm

Attack of the evil zombie federal prosecutors

Scott Horton, who covers national-security issues for Harper’s, gave a speech Monday to a Rotary Club. Which, you know, ho-hum (no offense, Rotarians), except that 1) this group also included the American Constitution Society and 2) Horton’s the guy who recently blew the lid off the almost certainly faked triple “suicides” at Guantanamo in June 2006.

Horton’s subject was rogue federal prosecutors, the utter unwillingness of the Justice Department to police its own. He said there have been two great episodes of U.S. attorneys systemically going off the rails in significant numbers. The first was during the administration of John Adams. The second began during the administration of Bush the Lesser and, given Eric Holder’s lackluster efforts to hold anyone accountable, continues today. It consists of 1) baseless but politically motivated criminal prosecutions; 2) illegally providing cover for unconstitutional power grabs by the Executive Branch post 9/11; and 3) widespread (and illegal) withholding of exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys. Not only do federal prosecutors who engage in these crimes suffer no consequences, they frequently have been punished when they refused and/or retaliated against when they tried to blow the whistle.

Horton, unfortunately, has a number of high-profile cases from which to draw his points, and each case yields example after example of behavior that ought to cost its perpetrators their law licenses, their good names and prison time for obstruction of justice but, under our current system, does not.

In eight years on this blog, I’ve said “Go read the whole thing” exactly six times. I’m saying it now. And when you’re done, you go ahead and sit there and try to keep a straight face while you tell me that the U.S. government is based on the rule of law.

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Friday, November 27, 2009 5:12 pm

Odds and ends for 11/27

  • Down in the desert: Dubai, whose potential sovereign-debt default is in today’s news, is messed up, economically and in other ways. Zero Hedge’s Marla Singer, who has spent time there, offers a pretty readable summary. Key takeaway: Dubai’s travails say a lot less about the pitfalls of capitalism than meets the eye.
  • Housing-market update: I’m not smart enough to know what to do about this, but more U.S. homes are in delinquency or foreclosure than are for sale.
  • The “deadbeat stimulus”: At least $160 billion a year.
  • Tim F. observes how the health-care reform bill is being set up to fail.
  • Martyrs: The people trying desperately to help Sarah Palin run her life are getting no help at all from the boss. I’m shocked.
  • The Obama-Bush Administration: The Obama Justice Department’s arguments against exoneration for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman are being prepared by the very same people involved in the original frame-up — the one in which Karl Rove was involved up to his eyeballs. So spare me all this talk about how much better things are in government now that Obama has replaced Bush.
  • So if we fire all the execs who ran the banking system into the ground, the banking system will crash and burn? Well, pardon me for agreeing with a former public official who barebacked a whore, but I’m thinking we should test that hypothesis.
  • Apologies are fine, but the Roman Catholic Church needs to take some of the time it’s spending on apologies and spend it on turning the guilty over to police. Also? Any institution with this kind of problem needs to get itself fixed before presuming to comment upon moral issues.
  • Relatedly, not only does a 2007 court filing by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, last seen denying communion to Rep. Patrick Kennedy because Kennedy won’t oppose abortion, admit the existence of more than twice as many accused priests as the diocese had admitted just three years earlier, it also cites that high number (~125) as a reason why court-ordered disclosure of documents would be excessively “burdensome.” Awwwww …
  • Unproductive speculation: If anyone has any ideas about how to end it other than by taxing financial transactions — an idea devised in 1972 by a Nobel winner, by the way — I’m all ears. But it needs to end.

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