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Eric Holder and the Marc Rich Pardon:

I have been unsure whether Eric Holder's role in the controversial pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich should raise concerns about his nomination to be Attorney General. George Lardner, who covered the pardon for the Washington Post at the time, makes the case suggests Holder has been less-than-fully forthcoming about his role, and that the pardon "deserves more scrutiny" before Holder is confirmed as the nation's top law-enforcement official. His article concludes:

The precedent against pardons for fugitives was set more than 200 years ago by President John Adams. The charge, brought in 1799, was murder on the high seas against a ship's captain who was clearly trying to put down a mutiny. But the mutineers made it back to the States, ready to testify against the captain, while his supporters were still at sea. The captain was afraid to return. Asked to approve a nolle prosequi (a notice that prosecution won't be pursued, a procedure then treated as part of the pardon power), the president consulted his cabinet, which concluded that a trial should come first and a pardon, if justified, after that. Clemency, wrote Secretary of War James McHenry, should be exercised only with "great caution and on the fullest information."

Mr. Holder never came close to meeting that standard. He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word. He brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Eric Holder and the FALN Pardons:
  2. Eric Holder and the Marc Rich Pardon:
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Eric Holder as AG will epitomize a policy of "change"? BIG change. $$$$$$$ of change. He "pimped" his office in 2001. Who could possibly expect him to develop "ethics" since then?

The Clinton years will be back with a vengeance and justice will not only be blind, but she will have her hand out for "donations". Does the incoming administration have no shame? Or are they merely ethically challenged?
11.23.2008 9:17pm
neurodoc:
To clear the way for his wife's appointment, Mr. Clinton will let Obama's people see a list of donors to his library, but that information will not be made public, is that right? Do we have any idea how much the Rich pardon cost?
11.23.2008 9:25pm
tired of blogs:
Two comments in and this thread is already tiresome. Even if Holder was solely responsible for Rich's pardon and Rich's pardon was wrong, what does that tell us about Holder today? Did he pardon Rich because he's personally corrupt? That's serious. Was it a gross error of judgment? That's troubling. Did he vet the work of subordinates carelessly? That's troubling, but somewhat less so. Did Clinton order him to do it? That's troubling, but not as troubling regarding Holder as others. Whether serious or troubling, is there any reason to believe he regrets his decision regarding Rich, or would act differently today?

The man's had a long career. Let's not focus our judgment of him entirely on one decision in that career unless there's good reason to do so. I'm prepared to admit that there may be, but the hyperbole is simply clouding the issue.
11.23.2008 9:32pm
neurodoc:
tired of blogs, what "hyperbole"?
11.23.2008 9:36pm
first history:
fortyninerdweet sez:

He "pimped" his office in 2001.

What benefit did Holder receive--I know of no accusation that he benefited personally from the Rich pardon. In the end, the only person responsible for all of the Clinton pardons is Clinton himself. And in the end, Rich himself didn't benefit--he is reported to have renounced his US citizenship.

Prof Adler wrote:

". . . .one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted"
? Worse than Jimmy Hoffa (Nixon) or George Steinbrenner; or Mark Felt and Edward Miller (FBI officials who conducted illegal wiretaps and break-ins; both by Reagan)? Do you condone their actions? Or would you concede that the worst pardon ever granted has to be that of President Nixon, someone who committed direct crimes against the Constitution (as compared to Rich's tax evasion charges)?

Just wondering what your standards are.
11.23.2008 9:49pm
Jesse Garon:
Please, let's stop attacking Mr Holder. He's a person of must hire/can't fire.
11.23.2008 9:49pm
fortyninerdweet (mail):
If EH will be or was "forthcoming" (I believe the term) concerning his role in the MR affair tob would be spot on. Maybe he will, and before his confirmation hearings begin react. I would gladly eat humble pie. May we wager a latte on the outcome?
11.23.2008 9:52pm
Milhouse (www):
Just because Adams and his cabinet came to that conclusion doesn't mean it's right. Assume a person who considers himself to be facing false charges, as Adams's captain did, and as Rich claimed to have done. Why should he deliberately place his life and liberty in jeopardy, and subject himself to the expense and risk of a trial, merely on the promise that if convicted a pardon will be considered in due course? Surely he's far better off staying out of range of his enemies' jurisdiction. Even if an innocent person could be sure of being either acquitted or pardoned (and nobody can be sure of either one), who would compensate him for the time he'd spend in custody awaiting and during trial, and for the expense of defending himself?

At any rate, that precedent was thoroughly shattered by 2000. Both Ford and Reagan pardoned people who had not yet been charged with anything, let alone convicted. Clinton was certainly entitled to answer this question differently than Adams did, and assuming that he truly bought Rich's claims of unjust prosecution he was entitled to pardon him. The only scandal in the entire matter rests in that last assumption: those who criticise the pardon simply do not believe that Rich was innocent or that Clinton believed him to be innocent. Instead they believe that the pardon was bought and paid for, cash on the barrelhead. And such a pardon, while of course perfectly lawful, is corrupt whether the subject is a fugitive or has long ago served his sentence, and whether his crime is treason or jaywalking. The flaw is not in the form but in the substance.
11.23.2008 9:58pm
hazer:
I also look forward to testimony by Scooter Libby and Leonard Garment (one of Nixon's White House lawyers during Watergate), both who served as Marc Rich's lawyers (as did Jack Quinn, a former member of the Clinton White House). Of course, Libby's testimony may have to be delayed until he receives his pardon.
11.23.2008 10:05pm
Blar (mail) (www):
This old Washington Post article has a very different take on Holder's role, with a lot of explanation from Holder about what he was thinking at the time.

According to the Post article, Holder did not realize that the pardon was not going through the normal channels at Justice. When Nolan called him to ask what he thought about the pardon (and he answered that he was "neutral, leaning towards favorable"), he didn't think that he was giving the final word from the Justice Department. He believed that he was just sharing his current thinking, and that the Justice Department would finish up its usual procedures later on &give an official recommendation. Most of the facts in Lardner's article match up with Holder's version (as given in the Post article), but Holder flatly contradicts the claim that "He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word."
11.23.2008 10:14pm
DiversityHire:
Well, this is change (back) that we can believe in (because we've seen it all played-out before). Let's not slap our new President around for failing to read the fine print aloud to us all. Let's just hope that similar fine print accompanies his other campaign pledges, like immediately withdrawing from Iraq (once victory is assured) or repealing the Bush tax cuts (unless doing so proves to be harmful to the economy).

Holder's not nearly as disturbing to me as Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. No matter how good or bad a selection he proves to be, the Clintons operate orthogonally to common sense. All I can think is "what do the Clintons have on Obama that he has to do this for them?" And usually I'm not a conspiracy theorist; but this is all I can come up with. Since dead girls and live boys don't seem to harm political careers too much anymore, it must be something really bad. Maybe a transcript of his Columbia/CBS CD purchases from the 80s?
11.23.2008 10:19pm
norm (mail):

The man's had a long career. Let's not focus our judgment of him entirely on one decision in that career unless there's good reason to do so.



I agree with tired of blogs. I'd really like to know if he has a history of sleazy stuff (he did work for the Clintons, among the sleaziest regarding personal finance, power or sex). Even if the Rich case was a major screw up, is it in contrast to the rest of his career?
11.23.2008 10:25pm
Orson Buggeigh:
Um-m-m-m. One problem that occurs to me is the apparent politicization of the the Department of Justice. Holder, rightly or wrongly, has the appearance of having helped President Clinton work out a pardon for someone who had done the Clinton Whitehouse political favors in the form of campaign contributions. That may or may not be as bad as AG Gonzalez engineering the dismissal of career Department of Justice people for not being politically attuned to President Bush's desires. Either way, it looks bad. Should Holder get a pass because he's had an exemplary career since President Clinton retired? Maybe. But maybe we ought to hold him to the same standards as Gonzales, and ask what he thought he was doing going along with the pardon. At the very least, a lot of long, pointed questions are in order during his Senate confirmation hearings.
11.23.2008 10:38pm
AntonK (mail):
And the New York Times says this:

Mr. Holder never came close to meeting that standard. He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word. He brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted.
11.23.2008 10:43pm
Portland (mail):
Holder's conduct in this matter is the height of irrelevance. Marc Rich is a corrupt Jewish billionaire with connections in the Israeli government (). Whoever was in the White House, what were the chances this guy would ever spend a day in jail? We're lucky he didn't decide to rent a warplane and strafe an American warship to celebrate.
11.23.2008 10:56pm
Portland (mail):
Link went missing:
"Clinton-Barak transcript includes talk of Marc Rich"

11.23.2008 10:57pm
Portland (mail):
Sigh. Clearly I don't understand the formatting here:

archives.cnn.com/2001/

ALLPOLITICS/08/20/rich.pardon/index.html
11.23.2008 10:59pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I expect--scratch that, I hope without much hope--that Holder will be grilled on Rich AND the FALN pardons. I recall that his glory quotient there was pretty scummy, too.
Do you pardon people who have been subject to injustice? If so, there are a couple of Border Patrol guys who could use some helpfrom Bush. Or do you find reasons to pardon the really bad guys?
11.23.2008 11:02pm
Talkosaurus:
I don't know why Holder is still an issue, didn't everyone read how Orin Kerr totally shook his hand one time and hence pronounced him terrific? And in the same post declared that of course presidents can select choices which match closely with their politics/partisan interests, even though Republicans were completely roasted for doing the same?

A handshake and different rules for Obama/Democrats, fall in line everybody.
11.23.2008 11:06pm
RPT (mail):
"I also look forward to testimony by Scooter Libby and Leonard Garment (one of Nixon's White House lawyers during Watergate), both who served as Marc Rich's lawyers (as did Jack Quinn, a former member of the Clinton White House). Of course, Libby's testimony may have to be delayed until he receives his pardon."

Yes, we look forward to q thorough examination of all aspects of the Garment-Libby-Rich pardon, and expect that Bush will waive any assertion of privilege, including with respect to his upcoming pardons. Anyone disagree?
11.23.2008 11:24pm
MS (mail):

He's a person of must hire/can't fire.




a corrupt Jewish billionaire with connections in the Israeli government.



This blog is turning into a Sarah Palin rally!
11.23.2008 11:29pm
hearsay (mail):
Wasn't Holder chosen to help with VP selection because he is an 'insider.' Does Holder's appointment create the appearance that Obama wants Justice to be blind like Rick in Casablanca.
11.23.2008 11:54pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Given that Clinton was persuaded to pardon Rich by the then Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, and that Holder is being appointed Attorney General by Barack Obama Eli sees several wingnuts busy typing books, nay tomes, to be published by Regnery Press: Barack, Barak, a conspiracy to destroy America or a Broadway musical? From Barak to Barack, oh say can you c? Where IS Sarcasto when we need him.
11.23.2008 11:57pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
AntonK wrtote:
And the New York Times says this:
Mr. Holder never came close to meeting that standard. He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word. He brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted.
First off, you're just repeating part of the quote Prof. Adler gave us in his original post. That doesn't add much to the discussion.

Moreover, the quote comes from an op-ed piece. It is not something the New York Times said; rather, it is something George Lardner said in an essay that the New York Times published. There is a significant difference. Your comment suggests -- though perhaps not intentionally -- that the editors of the New York Times either wrote or support the passage you quote. But the Times, like most newspapers, routinely publishes op-ed pieces with which its editors disagree. I don't know what they think about Mr. Holder's nomination, and the fact that they ran this essay doesn't say anything about their own views.
11.24.2008 12:45am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Marc Rich is a corrupt Jewish billionaire with connections in the Israeli government


Isn't it horribly confusing and disappointing that seemingly every day there's news of how Obama is surrounding himself with Jews and people who are friends of Jews? Weren't we promised that he was going to deliver Israel to Ahmadinejad on a silver platter? How subversive and unsporting of him to confound those expectations.

Politically speaking, it will be very smart for the GOP to make a very big deal about Marc Rich. Voters should be reminded that the GOP has the spine to stand up to the Israel lobby. It would go a long way to balancing the advantage the Ds have by virtue of Jim Moran being part of their ranks.
11.24.2008 12:48am
deenk:
To read the comments re Holder on this blog I would think that Holder was a corrupt, sleazy bureaucrat. When I read the comments of politicians (of both parties) that dealt with him at Justice, he is described as a competent professional with sound principals.

I honestly don't have the slightest idea of the real story, but I find myself bewildered by these incompatible accounts.
11.24.2008 2:27am
deenk:
I meant principles. Although with Bill Clinton et al behind him he could be described as having sound principals as well.
11.24.2008 2:30am
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Blars WaPo link at 10:14pm was an interesting read, and offers a contra view to the OP. The major problem, imo, is the author, Peter Slevin, has made it a practice to write articles rehabilitating left-leaning individuals who've ethically stubbed their toes. Which raises obvious questions. But in spite of that I'd love to hear from his own lips how Holder, if confirmed, would go about being his own man and not an errand boy for another mis-guided president. Color me "neutral leaning unfavorable".
11.24.2008 2:57am
John Skookum (mail):
MS: This blog is turning into a Sarah Palin rally!

This is bullshit. Can you provide us with even a shred of evidence that Gov. Palin harbors anti-Semitic tendencies?
11.24.2008 3:14am
Kevin P. (mail):
No evidence is necessary, John Skookum. For Sarah Palin, even the most absurd vilification is absolutely true and self-evident.
11.24.2008 3:23am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Kevin. John.

Worse than that. Lies can be told in half a sentence. Refutations take paragraphs. Liars win by exhausting the truth.
Lies then become received wisdom.
11.24.2008 6:44am
Public_Defender (mail):
The pardon is fair game for the confirmation hearings, and should be investigated. If the pardon stops Holder, it will be because matter-of-fact facts kill the nomination. The senators can hear the allegations and the responses and make a judgment.

Some of the comments are amusing. Eight years of W apparently have not cured some people's Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Heck, even Conspirator David Kopel recently spewed some tinfoil-hat-drink-the-Kool-Aid Elian Gonzalez garbage.
11.24.2008 6:54am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
skookum:

Can you provide us with even a shred of evidence that Gov. Palin harbors anti-Semitic tendencies?


Yes.
11.24.2008 7:51am
Public_Defender (mail):

To read the comments re Holder on this blog I would think that Holder was a corrupt, sleazy bureaucrat. When I read the comments of politicians (of both parties) that dealt with him at Justice, he is described as a competent professional with sound principals.

I honestly don't have the slightest idea of the real story, but I find myself bewildered by these incompatible accounts.


Perhaps most damning were the positive comments from well-known Clintonista Orin Kerr. Kerr will stop at nothing in his never-ending quest to take away our guns, pardon tax cheats, and send our children to Cuba at gunpoint.
11.24.2008 8:06am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke
Weak beer. Elected officials go to weird events all the time.
Does the constitution mandate that the president light the national Christmas tree and pardon a stupid turkey?
Bush called Islam a religion of peace despite the Koran's open anti-Semitism. Sometimes elected officials do things elected officials got to do. Means little, except in the latter case, that Bush is pandering.

If you can't do better, you may as well quit embarrassing yourself.
11.24.2008 8:28am
Houston Lawyer:
It amuses me greatly that the first appointments of the Obama administration serve to remind us how sleazy the Clintons have always been. The vast majority of conservatives had adopted a live and let live approach to Bill since his ability to hold office is clearly past. However, Obama will have to hire old Clinton hands if he wants anyone with any experience. If you were anyone in the Clinton administration, some of their mud will still be stuck on you.
11.24.2008 9:14am
Casper the Friendly Guest (mail):
This is a non-issue. All of this anti-Holder talk is simply bait to get left wingers to defend Holder by saying that the President can pardon whomever he wants. And then, voila, President Bush will immediately do just that.

My only question is whether the conspirators are knowingly participating in this ploy, or just unwittingly playing along while trying to rack up their post counts.
11.24.2008 9:28am
Public_Defender (mail):

It amuses me greatly that the first appointments of the Obama administration serve to remind us how sleazy the Clintons have always been.

It amuses me greatly to see the Right overestimate the willingness of the public to tolerate a relitigation of Bill Clinton. Clinton hired many of the best and brightest on the left and center-left. No Democratic administration could create a competent team without a lot of people who served in the Clinton Administration.

Question Holder about his role in the pardon, that's all fair, but the right wingers are taking a serious risk of overplaying a weak hand.
11.24.2008 9:42am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

Elected officials go to weird events all the time.


I'm sure you can show us a long list of elected officials who accepted an anti-witch blessing from an anti-Semitic witch hunter who had just made a blatantly anti-Semitic statement.

And before you jump on your chair and start yelling "Wright" at the top of your lungs, please note this:

the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.
11.24.2008 9:45am
a knight (mail) (www):
Portland - the formatting for links in comments on this blog is simple HTML mark-up code. No More, no less. Here:

Kate Snow and Kevin Flower, "Clinton-Barak transcript includes talk of Marc Rich", CNN News, August 20, 2001

"Transcript of Clinton-Barak conversations", CNN News, August 20, 2001


Professor Alder: using your John Adams standard:
"...the president consulted his cabinet, which concluded that a trial should come first and a pardon, if justified, after that."

Two of G.H.W. Bush's pardons seem to fall under your standard of unjustifiable:
Duane R. Clarridge -- Indicted November 26, 1991, on seven counts of perjury and false statements about a secret shipment of U.S. HAWK missiles to Iran. The maximum penalty for each count was five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. U.S. District Judge Harold H. Greene set a March 15, 1993, trial date. Clarridge was pardoned December 24, 1992.

Caspar W. Weinberger -- Indicted June 16, 1992, on five counts of obstruction, perjury and false statements in connection with congressional and Independent Counsel investigations of Iran/ contra. On September 29, the obstruction count was dismissed. On October 30, a second indictment was issued, charging one false statement count. The second indictment was dismissed December 11, leaving four counts remaining. The maximum penalty for each count was five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan set a January 5, 1993, trial date. Weinberger was pardoned December 24, 1992.

Walsh-Iran/Contra Report; "Summary of Prosecutions"

The Clarridge pardon was very questionable, since GHW Bush was a potential material witness in the trial.
11.24.2008 9:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
pd:

the right wingers are taking a serious risk of overplaying a weak hand


That's a perfect description of what they did by running McCain in 2008, and what I believe they are going to do by running Palin in 2012. I'm very optimistic about that, since she's the current front-runner.
11.24.2008 9:48am
MartyA:
I don't have a problem with Holder and the Rich pardon. I believe Willie was well (make that "very well") paid with Iraqi Oil Voucher money, services from Rich's exwife and cash after the fact. I don't know if Holder shared in any of those rewards.
Holder has to be better than the first Clinton AG, the Butcher of Waco. After Holder takes over, I assume that he and the Chicago organization will do what they do but that's true of any Obama appointee. I'll look for signs of the politicization of the AG office. Will Holder purge Obamaphobes and pursuers of democrat evil doers and promote those loyal to the Chicagoans? Which federal attorneys will go and what kind of judges will be vetted.
Not that it matters. There will be no significant opposition to Holder's nomination; he will be AG if that's what Obama wants.
11.24.2008 10:13am
PLR:
If only someone had a list of all the people who were clamoring for a pardon of Marc Rich back in the day...

[AntonK]And the New York Times says this:
Mr. Holder never came close to meeting that standard. He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word. He brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted.

Duly noted.
11.24.2008 11:01am
David in NY (mail):
I believe Willie was well (make that "very well") paid with Iraqi Oil Voucher money, services from Rich's exwife and cash after the fact. I don't know if Holder shared in any of those rewards.

This completely fantastic stuff is why Republicans will not begin to succeed any time soon. Their "base" is living in a dream world, in which one's "belie[fs]" trumps any need for evidence, and one's failure to know something constitutes a basis for condemnation of a public officer.

I would think that the principals in this blog would be ashamed of many of the comments that appear below their names.
11.24.2008 11:26am
Elliot123 (mail):
The Holder nomination and the pardon mess he was part of is a gift to Bush. When he pardons all his poeple, what's the problem? Marc Rich? Puerto Rican terrorists? So Bush pardons a few. It's just how the gane is played.
11.24.2008 11:38am
Sarcastro (www):
Elliot123's post is kind of awesome. It seems if you can find someone in the past who did something bad, you get to do that bad thing and it somehow isn't bad anymore!

Because any sin is absolved if it leads to calling the left hypocritical.
11.24.2008 11:46am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
The operative word here is Weird, not anti-Semitic. Weird events are pretty much always anti-something.
Anyway, weak beer.

Nothing like palling around with Farrakhan. To match it, you'd have to have Palin palling around with, praising and being praised by, over time, Dr. Witchwhoever. Who has a major following devoted to anti_Semitism and forever going on about the Zionists. You got nothing. The ADL has its own thing. I like to have mine. At least, I have no fundraising base to worry about mollifying. I have no issue with a vanishingly small percentage of my members putting the survival of Israel way down the to-do list. I am not the public face of the religion of liberalism whose golden boy must be shielded.
11.24.2008 11:55am
David in NY (mail):
One problem that occurs to me is the apparent politicization of the the Department of Justice. Holder, rightly or wrongly, has the appearance of having helped President Clinton work out a pardon for someone who had done the Clinton Whitehouse political favors in the form of campaign contributions. That may or may not be as bad as AG Gonzalez engineering the dismissal of career Department of Justice people for not being politically attuned to President Bush's desires. Either way, it looks bad.

Oh give us a break. There is a pile of evidence that the White House actively pursued a policy of influencing DOJ staffing based on political hiring criteria and DOJ prosecutions for political ends. The Holder actions in the Rich pardon case can hardly be compared as an example of allege "politicization" of the DOJ, and indeed this characterization is strained at best. There was no course and conduct of politicization of the DOJ under Clinton or any prior president (save, perhaps, Nixon and John Mitchell) to match that under Bush. And Eric Holder was engaged in no such activity.

This is pure Karl Roveism: accuse the other guy of something that you're really guilty of.
11.24.2008 12:12pm
Public_Defender (mail):

"the Butcher of Waco."



Give me a break. A cult leader uses armed force to resist a search warrant and very bad things happen. I can see the point that the government bungled things, but the cult leaders and many of the followers, chose to resist with guns.

Some free legal advice: When the cops demand something, never, never physically resist. Once they make it clear that you have no choice, stand out of the way, take badge numbers, and call a lawyer or challenge it yourself after-the-fact politically or in court.

Physically resisting a cop is one of the stupidest things anyone can do. Very bad things happen. And once you've physically resisted, it pretty much always becomes your fault.

This site has been attracting a lot of Kool-Aid drinking tin-hat wearers recently.
11.24.2008 12:31pm
DangerMouse:
The Marc Rich pardon is certainly interesting, but what's more troublesome is that Eric Holder wants to censor the internet. It's part of the larger attack that the Obama administration will make on the First Amendment, to stifle criticism of THE ONE.

Remember, dissent is patriotic!
11.24.2008 12:55pm
Sarcastro (www):

Remember, dissent is patriotic!

Unless it involves the war, cause then it's not supporting the troops which is both horrible and unpatriotic.
11.24.2008 12:59pm
zippypinhead:
"Eight years of W apparently have not cured some people's Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Heck, even Conspirator David Kopel recently spewed some tinfoil-hat-drink-the-Kool-Aid Elian Gonzalez garbage."

"most damning were the positive comments from well-known Clintonista Orin Kerr. Kerr will stop at nothing in his never-ending quest to take away our guns, pardon tax cheats, and send our children to Cuba at gunpoint."

"This site has been attracting a lot of Kool-Aid drinking tin-hat wearers recently."
Oh dear. We're going to need a referee's ruling here. I don't know if Public_Defender is allowed to win one thread three times...

But seriously, guys - Eric Holder had a long and distinguished past as a career prosecutor, a Reagan-appointed Judge, U.S. Attorney who had to deal with the peak of the crack epidemic, and up until his very last day when he got careless and forwarded an ill-advised pardon recommendation to the POTUS, even a halfday-decent stint as DAG. You may not like his (or his future boss's) policies, but Holder is no John Mitchell, Zoe Baird, or Alberto Gonzalez. If that makes me a "Clintonista," so be it. There's a first time for everything... at worst I'll just have to change my blog handle to Jukeboxdropout, or something equally appropriate.
11.24.2008 1:04pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Elliot123's post is kind of awesome. It seems if you can find someone in the past who did something bad, you get to do that bad thing and it somehow isn't bad anymore!"

Not at all. Simply finding something in the past has little value. But if the democrats are actively defending that past pardon action, while republicans are actively defending current pardon action, I suggest there will be less criticism on the part of all parties.
11.24.2008 1:57pm
Railroad Gin:
A cult leader uses armed force to resist a search warrant and very bad things happen . . .

Could someone please define "cult?"
11.24.2008 2:51pm
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Only if you will define "define".
11.24.2008 3:12pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
"If you can't do better, you may as well quit embarrassing yourself."

No chance of juke stopping.
11.24.2008 3:40pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
Public defender said:
Give me a break. A cult leader uses armed force to resist a search warrant and very bad things happen. I can see the point that the government bungled things, but the cult leaders and many of the followers, chose to resist with guns.


When the BATFU started shooting and wounded Koresh when he opened the door, and then allowed no surrender, sounds like "Butcher of Waco" is appropriate.
11.24.2008 3:46pm
Public_Defender (mail):

Railroad Gin: Could someone please define "cult?"


I think the Branch Davidians qualified under any definition, but that's a fight not relevant to this argument. So I'll change my statement to, "When any group uses armed force to resist a warrant, very bad things happen. . . ."


Elliot123: But if the democrats are actively defending that past pardon action,


Which "democrats are actively defending that past pardon action[?]" Pretty much everyone admits it was a mistake. The question is whether it is a disqualifying mistake. No one in a position of authority seriously questions whether the Senate should ask hard questions about the matter.

Also remember that if this were a Bush II Administration pardon, the candidate would be hiding behind attorney-client and executive privilege claims to evade responsibility.
11.24.2008 4:42pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
marty:

Which federal attorneys will go


I think pretty much every president since Reagan has fired pretty much every USA pretty much right at the start. So something pretty much along those lines is probably what we should expect.
11.24.2008 4:46pm
Public_Defender (mail):

When the BATFU started shooting and wounded Koresh when he opened the door, and then allowed no surrender, sounds like "Butcher of Waco" is appropriate.


Tinfoil, meet hat. This is what the Davidians claim, but even if it were true (and it's not), this was after a 51-day armed standoff.

Again, resist a federal warrant with armed force and very bad things will happen.
11.24.2008 4:50pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zip:

If that makes me a "Clintonista," so be it. There's a first time for everything... at worst I'll just have to change my blog handle to Jukeboxdropout, or something equally appropriate.


I see your point, and I have no major objection to the way you're making it. But for the record, I want to mention in passing that I've never voted for anyone named Clinton or Gore. So naming yourself after me would flatter me, but it would not be a historically accurate way to express your identity as a "Clintonista."
11.24.2008 4:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
PUblic defender.
Wrong. The standoff happened because the first assault, a surprise assault with guns blazing, failed.
11.24.2008 5:01pm
RPT (mail):
The new clerical standard on the VC: David Koresh good-Rev. Wright bad.
11.24.2008 5:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

The operative word here is Weird, not anti-Semitic.


The operative word here is Denial. Murthee's comments about "the wealth of the wicked," and about "the Israelites, that's how they work. And that's how they are, even today" are not just weird. They're anti-Semitic.

Nothing like palling around with Farrakhan.


Wright is the guy who ran for president and won? I had no idea.

I have no fundraising base to worry about mollifying.


Abe Foxman is a Holocaust survivor who has been working for ADL since 1965, and who has won international awards for that work, and who has met with the Pope (multiple times), seven presidents, and at least nine other heads of state. His statements carry a lot more weight than yours. I can assure you he doesn't lose any sleep over his "fundraising base," and I can assure he's not in the business of "mollifying" them or anyone else.

I am not the public face of the religion of liberalism whose golden boy must be shielded.


The ADL statement about Wright was issued no later than 4/07, which is long before Obama was widely seen as anyone's "golden boy." It was barely two months after he first announced his candidacy.
11.24.2008 5:08pm
Public_Defender (mail):

Wrong. The standoff happened because the first assault, a surprise assault with guns blazing, failed.


And when did the Davidians submit to the warrant peacefully? It seems like they had 51 days to do that when guns weren't "blazing."

When the government shows up with a warrant, surrender. Even if the government uses too much force at first, surrender. Again, you resist a warrant with force at your own peril.

Surrender first, sue later. Even if the initial raid was wrong, that's all the Davidians had to do to stay alive.

And as I remember, Republican Senator Danforth said that the raid was poorly planned and executed, but that the Davidians are responsible for their own deaths. Again, when the government comes knocking, surrender first, sue later.

Man, the VC is bringing out the tinfoil hat crowd. The wackiness of the complaints against Holder make me think he must be the right man for the job.
11.24.2008 5:15pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Which "democrats are actively defending that past pardon action[?]" Pretty much everyone admits it was a mistake. The question is whether it is a disqualifying mistake."

Agree. The defense will be the past pardon action is not dsqualifying.
11.24.2008 5:27pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Again, resist a federal warrant with armed force and very bad things will happen."

Very bad things did happen to the kids inside, but I don't think they resisted a federal warrant.
11.24.2008 5:33pm
Sarcastro (www):
Public_Defender based upon my studies of Free Republic, it is clear to me the moment the Davidians surrendered they would have been all shot by Reno herself.

She just wanted their blood, I tells ya!
11.24.2008 5:38pm
zippypinhead:
marty:
Which federal attorneys will go

I think pretty much every president since Reagan has fired pretty much every USA pretty much right at the start. So something pretty much along those lines is probably what we should expect.
Correct. The 93 U.S. Attorneys are political appointees, at the equivalent level to an Assistant Attorney General in main Justice or Assistant Secretary of Whatevertheheck in other Cabinet departments. Most if not all will be replaced whenever a new administration of a different political party takes over.

But don't forget, the 9,000 or so line prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Offices and in the various litigating and non-litigating Divisions of main Justice are all career appointees, and by-and-large aren't going anywhere.
11.24.2008 5:57pm
Philistine (mail):

Holder has to be better than the first Clinton AG, the Butcher of Waco

&


When the BATFU started shooting and wounded Koresh when he opened the door, and then allowed no surrender, sounds like "Butcher of Waco" is appropriate.



So, the "Butchter of Waco" is who?

The above post suggest it was the one in charge at the intial raid?

At that time, the Acting AG was Stuart Gerson--a holdover from the Bush administration. Reno wasn't appointed until almost two weeks into the standoff.

Reminds me of those blaming Ruby Ridge on the Clinton Justice Department....
11.24.2008 6:11pm
Public_Defender (mail):

Very bad things did happen to the kids inside, but I don't think they resisted a federal warrant.

That's part of why it was so incredibly irresponsible for Koresh not to surrender. Hiding behind kids--cowardly and evil. But somehow, I bet Holder is responsible for Koresh being cowardly and evil.

Again, when confronted with government force that you think is improper, surrender first and sue later, especially if their are kids around.

The government deserves harsh criticism for bungling, but actually defending Koresh is tinfoil hat territory.


At that time, the Acting AG was Stuart Gerson--a holdover from the Bush administration. Reno wasn't appointed until almost two weeks into the standoff.

But again, Holder must have been pulling Gerson's strings.
11.24.2008 6:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"That's part of why it was so incredibly irresponsible for Koresh not to surrender. Hiding behind kids--cowardly and evil. But somehow, I bet Holder is responsible for Koresh being cowardly and evil."

WHy would you suggest Holder is responsible for Koresh's actions? He was irresponsible. So was the FBI. The FBI hd a responsibility to the kids and they blew it.
11.24.2008 6:58pm
Elliot123 (mail):
The above says: He was irresponsible.
Sustitute: Koresh was iresponsible.
11.24.2008 7:00pm
Public_Defender (mail):
The FBI bungled. Koresh was cowardly and evil. There's a difference.

On the same topic, I'm sure Holder was somehow responsible for the 2004 tsunami that killed thousands. He likes dead kids, and would literally move heaven and earth (and sea) to kill as many as he could. He also was responsible for creating the weather system that spawned Hurricane Katrina. I think he's also to blame for post-nasal drip.
11.24.2008 7:32pm
first history:
Unlike the previous discussions (what is a cult?), but on-topic, President Bush today has issued 14 pardons or commutations. No one notable, however (those will be left until January 20, 2009 at 11:59 am).
11.24.2008 7:56pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"On the same topic, I'm sure Holder was somehow responsible for the 2004 tsunami that killed thousands. He likes dead kids, and would literally move heaven and earth (and sea) to kill as many as he could. He also was responsible for creating the weather system that spawned Hurricane Katrina. I think he's also to blame for post-nasal drip."

Why do you accuse Holder of being a child killer? Can you privide some backup?
11.24.2008 8:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Public. I don't know who is defending Koresh. Although leaving them alone to be their potty little selves would probably have been the best idea.
You have to be something near crazy to think that pointing out government abuses is the equivalent of defending Koresh.
And we don't know, since one side's guys are mostly dead, who fired the first shot.
Since the feds fired first at Ruby Ridge, killing a child, it's not outside the bounds of possibility that the dynamic entry to be filmed in time for the budget hearings would have had trigger-happy cowboys shooting first and expecting the rest to drop and wait to be shot before the adrenalin wore off.
If the feds indeed fired first, then Koresh was right.
I mentioned the first assault since you seemed to think some of us had forgotten it and that you could pretend the standoff came first.
11.24.2008 8:49pm
brh:
jukeboxgrad,

Your interpretation of Muthee's comments seems rather strained - to say the least. You clearly want very much to draw a link between the references to "the wealth of the wicked" and "Israelites" but it is just not there. Read the plain English again and you will see that you are rather mischievously inventing a linkage and interpretation. I think most people would see this quote as a mild compliment of Jewish people - that Jews were people of integrity in the past are are still today.

If this is your primary evidence for claiming that Gov. Palin harbors anti-Semitic tendencies, it is thin gruel indeed and really no great comment on your credibility.

On a second matter, your quote from the ADL defending Reverend Wright was quite disingenious. The quote was from way back in April 2007 before much of Rev. Wright's comments were publicly known. Why don't you research Mr. Foxman's more recent comments about Rev. Wright? You can start here.
11.24.2008 9:17pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
brh.
Juke is a hell of a researcher. There's no chance in hell he doesn't know about your link.
Just hopes we don't.
11.24.2008 9:48pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zip:

The 93 U.S. Attorneys are political appointees


Thanks for adding those helpful details.
================
philistine:

Reno wasn't appointed until almost two weeks into the standoff.


But she was still responsible for what happened before she was in charge. It's kind of like the "Obama Recession." According to GOP standards of personal responsibility and magical retroactive blame-shifting, it's proper to call it the Reno Standoff, even though she hadn't been appointed yet.

Reminds me of those blaming Ruby Ridge on the Clinton Justice Department....


Yes, that's another example of exactly the same phenomenon.

And as pd suggested, Holder and Obama got together and secretly caused Katrina. Also, Obama is responsible for what WUO did when he was 8. And did you know he also caused the Great Depression, and the Spanish-American War? And The Flood?
11.25.2008 1:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
brh:

Why don't you research Mr. Foxman's more recent comments about Rev. Wright?


Big deal. Foxman said this:

Wright "embraces, awards and celebrates a black racist."


Foxman is condemning Wright for Wright's relationship with Farrakhan. Why? Because Foxman says that Farrakhan is a racist and an anti-Semite. Foxman also makes clear that he's not claiming that Wright is a racist or an anti-Semite. (At one point, Foxman called Wright a racist, but then he said "I think [calling him] racist is going a little bit too far.") In fact, Foxman explicitly said this:

nothing I’ve seen would make me call him [Wright] an anti-Semite


In other words, Foxman reiterated in 1/08 the same statement he had made in 4/07:

the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.


So this article gets you nowhere. Because here's what I said: Wright is not an anti-Semite. And guess what Foxman said in 4/07: Wright is not an anti-Semite. And guess what Foxman said again in 1/08: Wright is not an anti-Semite.

So if you want to claim that Wright is an anti-Semite, you need to explain what makes you smarter than Foxman. You also need to explain why the Jews aren't smart enough to hire you to run ADL instead of Foxman.

aubrey:

There's no chance in hell he doesn't know about your link.


Wrong. I hadn't seen that article. And I just explained why it doesn't matter.
11.25.2008 2:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
brh:

I think most people would see this quote as a mild compliment of Jewish people - that Jews were people of integrity in the past are are still today.


Here's an idea: if you're going to give us a practically verbatim regurgitation of the official McCain talking point on the subject, you should at least credit your source. Which appears to be this:

A McCain adviser said that, when read carefully, it is clear that the statement was not at all critical of Jews.

The adviser, John Beerbower, said … the statement can be read as a "compliment" to Jews, because he is actually saying that the Israelites were people of "integrity," and still are today.


Huh? What? The text is here:

The second area whereby God wants us, wants to penetrate in our society is in the economic area. The Bible says that the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. It's high time that we have top Christian businessmen, businesswomen, bankers, you know, who are men and women of integrity running the economics of our nations. That's what we are waiting for. That's part and parcel of transformation. If you look at the -- you know -- if you look at the Israelites, that's how they work. And that's how they are, even today.


I have to admit that he doesn't express himself much more clearly than Palin herself, but it's still hard to construe this as a compliment. How exactly is this a compliment? By saying that Jews are "running the economics of our nations?" And that "it's high time that we have top Christian businessmen" doing it instead of them?

He's clearly saying that "Christian businessmen" are not currently "running the economics of our nations." Then who is? And who are "the wicked" he's talking about when he references "the wealth of the wicked?"

He's talking about two groups: the wicked and the righteous. He's also talking about Israelites and Christians. So which is which?

Here's the way it looks to me: "Muthee was alluding to Jewish control over global finance."

As explained here:

Muthee is saying:
• The wealth of the wicked (read Jews and nonbelievers) is being stored up for the people of God—and they will one day take control of it. The people of God don’t, in other words, control it yet. Jews and nonbelievers do.
• Jews and nonbelievers don’t run the world with integrity, but Christians will when they come to power.
• The takeover of the world by Christians “is what we’re waiting for.” 
• Lastly, if you look at the Jews (the Israelites), they know how to run the economics of nations because “that’s how they work. And that’s how they are, even today.”


And see here for other statements regarding "Muthee’s plan using Palin to 'invade,' to 'infiltrate,' and to 'influence' American government on behalf of evangelical Christianity."

If this is your primary evidence for claiming that Gov. Palin harbors anti-Semitic tendencies, it is thin gruel indeed


I cited roughly six separate issues. Muthee is just one of them. If you think they add up to nothing that Jews could possibly be concerned about, then please do me this giant favor: run Palin again, and see how far you get with "thin gruel." You'll make me happy, and you'll be helping your country.
11.25.2008 2:09am
TokyoTom (mail):
Sadly, I'd say that many if not most Presidential pardons these days seem to be unwarranted and an abuse of power.

Holder was certainly involved in the Marc Rich pardon, but wasn't the pardon itself (and the motivations) Clinton's? Is anyone really arguing that it Holder pulled a fast one on Clinton, or that the pardon was outside of Clinton's authority?

What hope is there of the Congress or courts putting any real limits on the pardon power?
11.25.2008 2:30am
brh:
JBG,

Your interpretation of the quote is just silly. It is quite clear that he claims that "Israelites" are acting with integrity. Your own first link quotes a professor from George Washington University saying this. You take your interpretation from some little read blog where the analysis is effectively refuted in its own comments section (an easy read - there are only two comments!). Perhaps if you read more about religion you would know that "wealth of the wicked" quote is directly from the the Old Testament. Your mental gymnastics to try twist this into an antisemitic statement is highly unpersuasive.

As regards your other five examples of Palin's supposed antisemitism, they are, if possible, even more of a reach than this. You include the fact that she said that creationism should be taught in schools alongside evolution. This may be stupid, and illegal, but antisemitic?? If believing in creationism meets your definition of antisemitism, then I know a bunch of orthodox rabbis who would fail your test.
11.25.2008 3:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
brh:

You include the fact that she said that creationism should be taught in schools alongside evolution. This may be stupid, and illegal, but antisemitic??


I realize I didn't make myself very clear on this point. I didn't say it's anti-Semitism. I said it's something "that Jews could possibly be concerned about." As a general rule, Jews are pointedly unenthusiastic about the idea of creationism being taught in public schools.

I think it's important to consider the 6 anecdotes together, because they form a picture of how Palin views the relationship between government and religion. This is a subject that Jews care about.

Your interpretation of the quote is just silly.


If you think that most Jews will share your interpretation, then I hope you will do everything you can to make sure Palin gets the nomination.
11.25.2008 4:19am
Public_Defender (mail):

Since the feds fired first at Ruby Ridge, killing a child, it's not outside the bounds of possibility that the dynamic entry to be filmed in time for the budget hearings would have had trigger-happy cowboys shooting first and expecting the rest to drop and wait to be shot before the adrenalin wore off.

I've conceded that the government bungled. Government does sometimes use a lot more force than is prudent or necessary. But if you barricade yourself in a fortress-like structure and make it clear that you will "defend" yourself with arms, you dramatically increase the possibility that you and those around you will get hurt or killed.

We expect cops to make snap judgments. Sometimes those judgments are wrong. When you or I make mistakes, we are subject to malpractice claims. When cops make mistakes, people can die. Even in non-siege situations, wielding guns against cops (or threatening to) dramatically increases the possibility that the cops will use their guns (mistakenly or correctly) and that you will die.

Surrender first, sue later.
11.25.2008 7:53am
brh:
JBD,

Again, you're just being silly. Just because I don't think that Sarah Palin is antisemitic does mean I support her for president. Why you keep making this linkage is a mystery.

I appreciate you clarifying that your points are not to show antisemitism but to point out issues Jews could possibly be concerned about. In future, you may want to be a little more careful about your postings. You linked to the six points as a direct affirmative response to the question: "Can you provide us with even a shred of evidence that Gov. Palin harbors anti-Semitic tendencies?" I think that in retrospect your better answer would have been "No".
11.25.2008 9:04am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Public.
It wasn't a snap judgment. Dynamic entry and shooting first was the plan.
11.25.2008 10:25am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Juke.
Samantha Power. Only cut loose after her nutty ideas became public knowledge.
The US should invade Israel. Jews don't worry about that?
11.25.2008 10:28am
Elliot123 (mail):
"But if you barricade yourself in a fortress-like structure and make it clear that you will "defend" yourself with arms, you dramatically increase the possibility that you and those around you will get hurt or killed."

The kids never barricaded themselves. The chances of kids getting killed dramatically increase when the law enforcement agencies are prone to bungling and poor strategic and tactical management. It takes both the resistors and the bunglers to kill a bunch of kids. Neither alone is sufficient.
11.25.2008 10:57am
Public_Defender (mail):

It takes both the resistors and the bunglers to kill a bunch of kids. Neither alone is sufficient.


Again, bungling is negligent. Cops are human. Sometimes humans are negligent. Actually, humans are negligent a lot. But hiding behind kids (basically using them as hostages) is cowardly and evil. Completely different.

But back to the point, Holder didn't do anything wrong there. Holder didn't do anything wrong with Elian (if anything, his actions there showed courage and restraint). And as to the pardons, Holder has admitted he made a mistake with the pardons, and Senators will have plenty of opportunity to ask explain why the mistake does not disqualify him to be AG.
11.25.2008 12:24pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Again, bungling is negligent. Cops are human. Sometimes humans are negligent. Actually, humans are negligent a lot. But hiding behind kids (basically using them as hostages) is cowardly and evil. Completely different."

Yeah. So, is anyone disputing that?
11.25.2008 1:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
brh:

I appreciate you clarifying that your points are not to show antisemitism but to point out issues Jews could possibly be concerned about.


I guess my clarification wasn't clear enough. I never said all the points "are not to show antisemitism but to point out issues Jews could possibly be concerned about." I offered that clarification with regard to one particular point (the creationism item).

The formulation "issues Jews could possibly be concerned about" applies (in my opinion) to all the points I raised. The alternate formulation ("evidence that Gov. Palin harbors anti-Semitic tendencies") applies (in my opinion) to some of the points I raised. The creationism item is an example that falls under the former formulation, but not the latter. But some of the other items fall under both formulations (in my opinion).

I think that in retrospect your better answer would have been "No".


I realize you have your own interpretation of the various items, but I've just explained why that's not (in my opinion) the "better answer."

Just because I don't think that Sarah Palin is antisemitic does mean I support her for president.


I always love a good Freudian slip.
11.26.2008 8:13pm