The Attorney General Who Doesn't Respect Or Comply With His Oversight Wants Citizens To Respect And Comply With Cops

from the enforcing-hypocrisy-from-the-top-down dept

The "law and order" administration is flexing its muscles. New Attorney General William Barr has been particularly vocal since his appointment, going after device encryption and the supposedly-dangerous "disrespect" for police.

Barr's public statements -- the latter of which was delivered to a very receptive audience composed of police union reps -- have made it clear his DOJ is going to carry out Trump's back-the-blue mandates. Law enforcement officers will receive the federal government's seal of endless approval, as well as its benefit of a doubt when things go badly.

Things go badly quite often. Cops are still killing more than 1,000 people (and nearly 10,000 dogs) every year, even as crime rates remain at historic lows. Barr's message to America was: comply, shut up, stop complaining. If you do somehow still feel your rights have been violated, you're welcome to lawyer up and attempt to sue your way past layers of immunity and multiple, ultra-flexible warrant exceptions.

But while this administration talks a good game about respect for law and order, it certainly doesn't show the respect it believes is owed to the nation's law enforcement officers. Marcy Wheeler points out this hypocrisy to devastating effect in her post dissecting (and recasting) Barr's pro-police, anti-everyone else rant.

Barr wants the public to comply immediately and without question when interacting with government employees empowered to enforce the law. But that's something he's not interested in doing himself. Replace "police" with entities empowered to police the Executive branch -- as Wheeler does here -- and Barr starts looking like the Great Unwashed he's complaining about. (Wheeler's alterations to Barr's original speech are in bold.)

The anti-oversight narrative is fanning disrespect for the law. In recent years, we have witnessed increasing toleration of the notion that it is somehow okay to resist oversight.

Previously, it was well understood that, regardless of the circumstances, legal resistance is unacceptable because it necessarily leads to a spiral of escalating resistance that endangers the ability of Congress to oversee the Executive. For that reason, virtually all jurisdictions have made resistance a serious crime.

Not too long ago influential public voices — whether in the media or among community and civic leaders — stressed the need to comply with oversight commands, even if one thinks they are unjust. “Comply first” and, if you think you have been wronged, “complain later.”

But we don’t hear this much anymore. Instead, when an incident escalates due to a suspect’s legal resistance to oversight, that fact is usually ignored by the commentary. Congress’ every action is dissected, but the suspect’s resistance, and the danger it posed, frequently goes without mention.

There's a bit more in Wheeler's post, so definitely click through and check it out. Or just grab almost any part of Barr's speech and play Executive branch mad libs with it. The end result is lengthy rant condemning people like William Barr for doing the things Barr is currently doing. Sad!

Filed Under: attorney general, congress, doj, respect police, rule of law, subpoenas, william barr


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Aug 2019 @ 10:18am

    The philosophical emanations of corrupted power mongers

    Barr: Do as I say, not as I do. We have the power and we will execute the power and no power on earth can effect our ability to do so.

    Congress (or what they should say): Stand down Barr, or be in contempt of Congress, and we might consider impeaching your boss more seriously. At the very least we could revoke your confirmation.

    Barr: But I was only talking to my buddies in law enforcement.

    Congress: No man is an island, and your communication was not in private. While we like power too, the peons are getting upset.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Aug 2019 @ 9:13am

      Re: The philosophical emanations of corrupted power mongers

      They've already held Barr in contempt. It doesn't seem to have made a whole lot of difference.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Aug 2019 @ 9:54am

        Either bring down the hammer or admit to being spineless

        I find it a little hard to believe that all they can do is make empty gestures and wag their fingers, as if that were the case there would be no reason to give a damn what they wanted, and people could just ignore any demands to show or give testimony.

        If they've found him in contempt and it hasn't done anything then assuming they do have some power beyond finger wagging it strikes me as 'put up or shut up' time. Either bring that power to bear to make him care, or admit that they don't actually care enough to do more than make empty gestures for purely PR reasons.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 21 Aug 2019 @ 10:04am

          Re: Either bring down the hammer or admit to being spineless

          I find it a little hard to believe that all they can do is make empty gestures and wag their fingers, as if that were the case there would be no reason to give a damn what they wanted, and people could just ignore any demands to show or give testimony.

          Well, if someone ignores a congressional subpoena, Congress can call the Department of Justice to arrest them.

          But it turns out that doesn't work so well when the guy who ignored the subpoena is the head of the DoJ.

          If they've found him in contempt and it hasn't done anything then assuming they do have some power beyond finger wagging it strikes me as 'put up or shut up' time.

          They do.

          They can impeach him.

          How do you think that would go in the Senate?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 21 Aug 2019 @ 10:42am

            Re: Re: Either bring down the hammer or admit to being spineless

            Well, if someone ignores a congressional subpoena, Congress can call the Department of Justice to arrest them.

            But it turns out that doesn't work so well when the guy who ignored the subpoena is the head of the DoJ.

            Oh I dunno, I'm sure they could find someone over there who would be willing to bite that particular bullet.

            On a somewhat more serious note, though they might not want to risk what it could reveal if they called for his arrest and were refused(namely that the DOJ considers itself completely above congress and not beholden to them in the slightest), they might have to, as refusal to do so would send essentially the same message to the DOJ, other government agencies, and the public at large, that anyone with enough power can ignore congress without penalty, safe in the knowledge that congress won't do anything about it.

            At that point they'd have essentially defanged themselves, and no-one with any real power would take them seriously because they'd have no reason to.

            How do you think that would go in the Senate?

            If they had the guts to actually push it I imagine it would open up some real potential PR-bloodbaths, with one side pushing for a penalty for a 'law and order, comply and then complain afterwards' individual himself refusing to comply with congress, and the other side claiming that, what, congress doesn't have the authority to compel people to testify before them? While I'm sure they'd make that argument(or one equally absurd) they'd be shooting themselves in the foot doing it, as you can be damn sure it would be used against them in the future.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 21 Aug 2019 @ 11:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Either bring down the hammer or admit to being spine

              At that point they'd have essentially defanged themselves, and no-one with any real power would take them seriously because they'd have no reason to.

              Yes, I think that's a serious risk.

              House Democrats are also suing for access to some of the documents Barr has refused to provide. So there is a third branch of government involved.

              Of course, Barr could refuse to comply with a court order, at which point we have ourselves a constitutional crisis on our hands.

              If they had the guts to actually push it I imagine it would open up some real potential PR-bloodbaths, with one side pushing for a penalty for a 'law and order, comply and then complain afterwards' individual himself refusing to comply with congress, and the other side claiming that, what, congress doesn't have the authority to compel people to testify before them?

              I think that's an excellent political argument to make.

              I think it would be ideal to make it in an election year, to aim bigger than the AG, and not to issue articles of impeachment until they've got public support on their side.

              While I'm sure they'd make that argument(or one equally absurd) they'd be shooting themselves in the foot doing it, as you can be damn sure it would be used against them in the future.

              Mitch McConnell is well past the point of worrying about what's going to happen the next time Republicans are in the minority. At this point, he's moved on to doing absolutely everything he can to hold that off as long as he can and consolidate as much power for the party as he can in the meantime.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Improbus (profile), 20 Aug 2019 @ 10:55am

    Trump Officials Shown to be Hypocrites

    News @ 11.

    Our law enforcement officials get all the respect they deserve. Citizens don't respect the police, they fear them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 11:29am

      Re: Trump Officials Shown to be Hypocrites

      There are many who do not understand what the word "respect" means. Every time someone demands respect, you know immediately that they are demanding something they do not understand.

      If they want adulation then why do they not demand that? If one is unable to communicate their demands to others then how are others supposed to meet said demands?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 11:17am

    Barr leads a department that employs only a small fraction of the total population of LEOs (federal, state, local) in the US. Laying virtually every perceived problem at his feet diminishes whatever merit may be contained in any of the author’s numerous articles covering law enforcement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      But Barr's department is in charge of providing legal oversight of every other population of LEOs (federal, state, local) in the US, so he is responsible for the continued existence of all such problems (even though he may not be responsible for the formation of most of them).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 20 Aug 2019 @ 11:40am

    People have been really mad at Barr

    Ever since Mueller publicly humiliated himself on CSPAN and ended the Russia hoax. You'd think folks would be mad at Mueller for lying to them for two years instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 20 Aug 2019 @ 11:51am

      Re: People have been really mad at Barr

      We're mad at Barr for the nonsense he's spouting. His own actions make him worthy of derision.

      Much like yours.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 20 Aug 2019 @ 1:08pm

      Re: People have been really mad at Barr

      Mueller didn't lie. Fucktards like you did when you claimed it was about Russian collusion with the president. The investigation was about Russian interference, it found it, people were arrested, and an actual undercover Russian Intelligent agent living in the US with ties to American government officials was uncovered.

      "Hoax"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 1:33pm

      Re: People have been really mad at Barr

      If you subscribe to the "comply first, complain later" attitude, why aren't you mad at Barr also? He certainly didn't comply with a subpoena to appear before Congress.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 2:12pm

      Re: People have been really mad at zof for shitting the thread

      Speaking of publicly humiliating oneself. Why do you do it day in, day out?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 3:19pm

      Re: People have been really mad at Barr

      Stop responding to this twat. He'll never read your comments. He just shitposts and bails.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 5:45pm

      Re: People have been really mad at Barr

      If Mueller lied, why is Manafort still in jail? I thought Trump said the report "exonerated"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 11:56am

    about the same as any other bully and tyrant, then! dont do what i do, do what i tell you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul Durrant, 20 Aug 2019 @ 1:47pm

    If I have my maths right, people in the US have a lifetime risk of about 1 in 4,000 of being killed by the police. That compares to a 1 in 200 chance of being murdered.

    In the UK the equivalent figures are 1 in 250,000 and 1 in 1,000.

    Clearly, something is wrong with policing in the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JdL (profile), 20 Aug 2019 @ 3:23pm

    "Barr's public statements -- the latter of which was delivered to a very receptive audience composed of police union reps..."

    There's the scum of the earth. They do everything they can to get crooked cops off the hook and act outraged if anyone challenges them.

    Cops have written their own script, and they are barely beginning to reap the loathing and revulsion they so richly deserve. Barr can scream all he likes, but that will change nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2019 @ 5:25pm

    Yes sir, no sir. Save your case for the judge or jury.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 20 Aug 2019 @ 9:28pm

    Crime rates are low... except for all of the crime being committed by cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 21 Aug 2019 @ 2:41am

    The admonishment to respect, obey and otherwise submit your soul to The Badge, as trumpeted by the loathsome Bill Barr, is simply a dress-rehearsal to the great Fascist Neue Amerika diktatorship that will take form shortly after Thump cancels the 2020 so-called-"election", by means ranging from the blind, loyal, unwavering and armed support of his idiot minions, to full-on Martial Law. Der Polizei will then cheerfully and eagerly march alongside their Fascist and Nazi allies, such as what we see them do during urban protest rallies these late days. Your orders are, simply, to GET USED TO IT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2019 @ 6:54am

      Re:

      The armed services will not obey illegal commands.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2019 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re:

        They are not obligated to follow illegal commands.

        They certainly followed General Sanchez's illegal orders at Abu Ghraib, though, so I think you're putting far too much faith in them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2019 @ 9:41am

    Well of course!

    Don't you know how things work now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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