Bill Barr Says DOJ Prosecutors Should Bring Sedition Charges Against Violent Protesters

from the what-even-the-fuck dept

If Attorney General Bill Barr is ever gifted with superlatives, the one that will stick will be "worst."

After presiding over some civil liberties violations under Bush I, Barr has returned to AG work under Trump and seems dead set on making everyone forget his first reign of far-more-limited terror. Barr wants encryption backdoors, the end of Section 230 immunity, and law enforcement officers promoted to the rank of demigod. The public will be expected to absorb the collateral damage.

Bill Barr does know how to deliver a good speech, whether he's preaching to the converted or, in this recent speech, preaching to some developing converts. Speaking to Hillsdale College students during their Constitution Day event, Barr said he's trying to build a kinder, gentler DOJ.

In exercising our prosecutorial discretion, one area in which I think the Department of Justice has some work to do is recalibrating how we interpret criminal statutes.

In recent years, the Justice Department has sometimes acted more like a trade association for federal prosecutors than the administrator of a fair system of justice based on clear and sensible legal rules. In case after case, we have advanced and defended hyper-aggressive extensions of the criminal law. This is wrong and we must stop doing it.

[...]

To be clear, what I am describing is not the Al Capone situation — where you have someone who committed countless crimes and you decide to prosecute him for only the clearest violation that carries a sufficient penalty. I am talking about taking vague statutory language and then applying it to a criminal target in a novel way that is, at a minimum, hardly the clear consequence of the statutory text.

This is definitely something that could use improvement. The DOJ has engaged in plenty of bad-faith, overly-aggressive prosecutions. Almost anything involving the CFAA comes to mind.

But Barr can't lead this reform. He doesn't even really want it. As he was delivering this speech about prosecutorial discretion, news broke detailing the contents of a phone call Barr had with DOJ prosecutors:

Attorney General William Barr expressed frustration with some local and state prosecutors' handling of riot-related crimes, telling top Justice Department prosecutors that he wants them to be aggressive in bringing charges related to protest violence, including exploring using a rarely used sedition law, according to a person familiar with the matter.

This isn't discretion. This is [checks Barr's Constitution Day speech] a "hyper-aggressive extension of criminal law," the "taking" of "vague statutory language and applying it to a criminal target in a novel way." Barr's not going to practice what he preached at Hillsdale College and he doesn't want his prosecutors engaging in restraint either.

Proving sedition is difficult. That's why we haven't historically charged violent protesters with sedition. There are a bunch of other federal and local statutes that capably address acts of violence or vandalism. There's no reason federal prosecutors should start pretending violence or vandalism occuring during/adjacent to anti-police brutality protests is a conspiracy to overthrow the government or "oppose by force" federal laws and statutes. There has only been one successful sedition prosecution in the last 25 years. It seems unlikely using this law to ensure protest-related prosecutions are federal is going to work.

But that's not all. Barr also wanted DOJ prosecutors to find some way to go after Seattle's mayor over her handling of protests in her city.

Attorney General William Barr asked Justice Department prosecutors to explore charging Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) over a protest zone in the city, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Barr asked prosecutors in the department's civil rights division to explore charging Durkan during a call with prosecutors last week, the Times reported citing two people briefed on those discussions.

Barr's nice words about dialing back aggressive prosecutions were aimed solely at DOJ prosecutors who have made the mistake of going after Trump or his underlings in the administration. Barr doesn't care about the victims of over-prosecution who don't have connections to the White House. Those people are still on their own and still subject to the whims of prosecutors who have been given free reign to interpret the law for maximum prosecutorial efficiency. Barr said the quiet part loud later in his Hillsdale speech:

Rather than root out true crimes — while leaving ethically dubious conduct to the voters — our prosecutors have all too often inserted themselves into the political process based on the flimsiest of legal theories. We have seen this time and again, with prosecutors bringing ill-conceived charges against prominent political figures, or launching debilitating investigations that thrust the Justice Department into the middle of the political process and preempt the ability of the people to decide.

On one hand, this is a sickening display of sycophancy. On the other hand, it will save the taxpayers some money. No sense wasting time prosecuting someone Trump's just going to pardon.

Barr's day of awfulness finally came to end with this unbelievably hot take in response to a student's question about COVID-19 lockdowns. There's no way to really brace yourself for his response:

"You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history," Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd.

The Greatest Intrusion. Well. OK then.

Bill Barr can no longer be satirized. He'd be an unsubtle farce capable of gathering only the cheapest laughs if he wasn't actually in charge of the goddamn Department of Justice. This makes him frightening, rather than pitiable.

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Filed Under: doj, law enforcement, protests, sedition, william barr


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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:43am

    Who did Nazi that coming?

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

    • identicon
      teka, 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      Hold it Reich there Mister! You can't talk about Herr President's enforcer like that!

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

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re:

        Heil Der Groppenführer!

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

        • identicon
          Rocky, 17 Sep 2020 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Isn't it supposed to be Gropingführer?

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:58pm

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:29pm

              Re:

              That is some weapon's-grade denial, racism and projection there. 'If we pretend that racism didn't shape the country and isn't a thing in the US now, and it's just that dastardly Left telling people that it still exists the problem will magically go away!'

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 1:51am

              Re:

              Well, shit on toast.

              From your link;

              "Trump took particular aim at “critical race theory,” a methodology that argues racism and racial inequality are a result of systemic power structures. Trump called it a “Marxist doctrine” and said teaching it to children amounts to “a form of child abuse in the truest sense of the word.” "

              So, this is the point where I have to ask whether anyone else has, at some point, read any of the early campaign speeches and party doctrines of the Nationalsozialistische Partei under Herr Hitler's leadership back in the 1930's?

              Because I'm pretty sure whoever fed Trump that particular line copy-pasted it straight from that source material. That's the last place I saw anti-communist propaganda used to explain away racism.

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 2:36am

                Given how “Hitler Youth” was trending on Twitter yesterday because of that shit Trump announced, I think people have noticed the parallels.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:11am

                  Re:

                  "I think people have noticed the parallels."

                  Especially so given that even with his advantage in congress and senate he pushes for history revisionism to be taught in schools using an executive order.

                  Wanna bet he's banking on another four years - or more - where he can make sure to provide generous subsidies to any teaching institution willing to add a mandatory class on the Benevolence of Dear Leader to the curriculum?

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:53am

                    Re: Re:

                    " he pushes for history revisionism to be taught in schools using an executive order."

                    State's rights.
                    In many states within the US, the curriculum is set at the district level. The federal government has little say in the matter. Shithead thinks he is king.

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

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 12:17am

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      "In many states within the US, the curriculum is set at the district level. The federal government has little say in the matter. Shithead thinks he is king."

                      All he has to do is dangle a fat federal subsidy in front of any teaching institution willing to add a single mandatory class to their curriculum for half the children in the US to start getting learnt on how all thanks to Dear Leader, America Is Great Again.

                      "state's rights" is a relative term. The governor has to at least show willing to turn down washington money funneled into chronically underfunded schools and then survive the next election when that fact will be used against him as part of a load of republican mudslinging.

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

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 12:20am

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      ...also;

                      "Shithead thinks he is king."

                      He has never, in his entire life, been shown that he isn't. He could stand up on his pedestal, unzip, and piss all over his electorate...and they'd all just open wide and laugh about "Donald being Donald". Hell, the only thing they'd be upset about is if he didn't at least try to fling a few drops far enough to hit a passing liberal or two.

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

          • identicon
            David, 19 Sep 2020 @ 4:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The German word is "Gruppenführer", and the Doonesbury comic parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger (symbolised by an overdimensioned hand) was the appalingly misspelt "Gröpenfuhrer" (there is no obvious satire-serving reason to move the tremata over, an inexcusable breach of word boundaries).

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

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 19 Sep 2020 @ 7:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think you may have missed the joke*. "Grope" to mock his treatment of women, the umlaut to make it seem more German.

              * or possibly I missed yours

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 12:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "...the umlaut to make it seem more German."

                Yeah, people do that. The "ö" however, is more of a scandinavian use of the umlaut. The german use of it is far more often in dialects often associated with, hmm, how do i put this...rural parts of bavaria?

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

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 6:32am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  That letter is found in very common German words such as the words for "pretty" and "open". I've never heard of it being a dialectical thing.

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

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Sep 2020 @ 2:45am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "That letter is found in very common German words such as the words for "pretty" and "open"."

                    Pretty = Hübsch, Nett.
                    Open = Offen, Öffnen.

                    The ö is used but not that common in reichsdeutsch. But in bavaria and other german dialects, particularly of the rural kind, this shit happens;

                    "Dös issa schlamassel, Dör tür steht ja offen" - replacing normal o's with ö's and u's with o's, etc.

                    I learned my german while living in bavaria when young and every damn time I go to north germany after a few weeks of acclimatization when my german comes back to me people start asking me if I come from Munich - it's as distinctive as a broad texan twang in the middle of new york.

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

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 12:21pm

                  Gratuitous Umlauts

                  Umlaut = Mëtal

                  Diaeresis = Ancient << Though I can't find a good article on Lovecraft's diacritics, it's a thing.

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

  • identicon
    MathFox, 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:50am

    And what about prosecuting violent police officers?

    Qualified immunity? That makes them a legalized mob.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      And what about prosecuting violent police officers?

      No such thing to the likes of Barr, any supposed 'police violence' is by definition always justified, and as such there's nothing to prosecute.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:14am

    Man, Trump and his cronies really will turn the U.S. into a dictatorship if they get the chance.

    BTW, for any undecided voters out there: You don’t have to like Biden — you only have to despite him less than the alternative.

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:16am

    I don't really see Barr as an individual in the govt, he is an extension of Trump. He is in that position because he will do what trump wants him to and if he ever stops for some reason trump will replace him with another stooge.

    Trump has demonstrated that the DOJ's is dependent on the president's whims. No rules have changed and Barr isn't some sort of anomaly it's just that prior presidents happened to feel like letting the DOJ act as it would and this one doesn't.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      Your butthurt is duly noted and laughed at.

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

      • icon
        crade (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        It's no skin off my teeth personally.. Except for the disease that spreads from the U.S. I guess but you can pretend you are laughing at something legitimate if you like. pretend is awesome!

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 12:49am

        Re: Re:

        Ah, the modern conservative - they'll happily sell their country off to the lower bidder and allow a Fourth Reich to form so long as people they don't like are angry about it.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 2:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Ah, the modern conservative..."

          Yeah. That guy. The one who defines him/herself so much by what s/he hates they don't care if they themselves starve, half their children and their grandpappy die to diseases health care and vaccination could have prevented, and who'll willingly spend the rest of their lives in nigh-indentured slavery to walmart...as long as the damn liberals get fucked.

          Those guys.

          It's no longer even "Fuck you, got mine!" with that type. It's "You can fuck me ten times as long as you fuck that guy once! I don't care if I got mine or not as long as he doesn't, either!"

          That is the modern conservative of the US. It's not even a death cult any longer so much as a religion of collectivist misery.
          And ironically they all think they hate communism.

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

          • icon
            crade (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Many of the values that I try to live I would consider conservative values, but they certainly aren't any that the "conservative" politicians are arguing for.. I think the terms conservative and liberal are outdated and politics doesn't divide on those lines anymore, but I couldn't tell you what it does divide on.

            The republicans brought trump in because they reject the current established government and wanted to throw it into chaos.. Hardly what I would consider conservative

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 7:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              but I couldn't tell you what it does divide on

              How about fascist and socialist? Their rhetoric differs, but the end result is the same, tyranny of an elite running the country for their own benefit.

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

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 7:59am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                How about fascist and socialist? Their rhetoric differs, but the end result is the same, tyranny of an elite running the country for their own benefit.

                You clearly have no idea what socialism is. There's a good chance you don't know what fascism is either but that's less certain.

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 20 Sep 2020 @ 5:22am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "You clearly have no idea what socialism is"

                  Very few people who complain about it do. Most likely, they do it while depending of socialist services in many aspects of their live, as well.

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                More like fascists and outright collectivists. I'd like to call them communist because their rhetoric and mindset closely resembles that of stalin-era soviet russia...but the more exact definition of the ideology of todays GOP more resembles an orwellian dystopia or what you'd find in the third reich.

                Socialism in itself is what you get when you start using tax money for the public good and government has at least to some extent a focus on what benefits society as a whole. The US has always been socialist, as has and is the rest of the G20.

                It's actually very hard to imagine a nation which isn't to some degree socialized. Government itself would have to be abolished as a concept.

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

                • icon
                  crade (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I think at the moment we are divided between the "I'm miserable so fuck everyone" crowd and the "think of the children" crowd.

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

              • icon
                crade (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                government: "tyranny of an elite running the country for their own benefit"

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 9:29am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "tyranny of an elite running the country for their own benefit."

                What form of government does not eventually lead to this situation? Why point at two of many possible forms of government when corruption is a human trait?

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You have my sympathy, conservative may have been a reasonable label to claim at one point but these days with the kind of people hiding behind it the connotations are anything but flattering when someone claims the label.

              As for the republican party these days, 'hypocritical anarchistic fascists' comes to mind, a group of people who want to destroy the government so they can do whatever they want without checks, while at the same time eagerly using that same government for personal gain and to control others.

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

              • icon
                crade (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Things that conservative should mean..
                Pull at least your own weight
                take responsibility for making sure your own actions don't harm others
                don't tell others what to do if they aren't harming you

                Things that liberal should mean
                pitch in
                treat other people fairly
                don't be afraid of change

                None of them actually conflict

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

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 12:35pm

                  "Pull your own weight" / "Pitch in"

                  It still fascinates me how we still cling to the notion that everyone is or would be a goldbricker if they could get away with it. The sin of sloth and laziness are, by common sense, epidemic character flaws throughout the species, even though the psychiatric sector has long (since the 1990s, which is long for the psychiatric sector) recognized all of these as avolition, a symptom of depression or other psychosis.

                  And yet, to this very day, the people of the United States is being denied relief by the Senate because it'll make them lazy. It's regarded as a character flaw. And we believe them.

                  Curiously, if you take a healthy guy and feed him and put him in front of a television, he'll go mad with cabin fever. Most of us start hobbies and projects just to do something. Most of our basic science and knowledge comes from bored aristocrats who found that eating and rutting just wasn't enough.

                  Our modern work ethic was famously utilized by the Nazis to speed their interns to the grave via malnutrition. (The gas chambers came later when they weren't dying fast enough.)

                  And yes, our captains of industry ever struggle to find workers eager to do the jobs they want to get done, often it's because they're shit jobs, or they take the workers for granted and treat them as machines, or the workers learn their hard work is superfluous and unappreciated.

                  But we eagerly blame it on the workers. We eagerly blame workers for failing to find jobs in a scant job market where underemployment is the norm and even STEM trained citizens are expected to bag groceries for a living and like it.

                  We also don't recognize that when we pay everyone too little, they become too exhausted to work or to do civic duties (like sort out news from fake news critically or actually learn what their own best interests are) And they're too exhausted to raise kids, and that's how you raise generations of dysfunctional lunatics like me.

                  The western work ethic, and the myth of laziness figures centrally in who I am today.

                  Labor should be painfully expensive. People should be able to earn a living doing part time work. Anything less than that is peonage. It's servitude. It's the superset of slavery that we should have abolished when we abolished slavery.

                  And yes, that may drive us towards automating more. Good. When inactivity is regarded as a symptom of illness, when no-one works to live, rather works for self-fulfillment, when shit jobs don't exist, then maybe human civilization is something we can once again hope for.

                  Until then, our would-be bosses can go to Hell.

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

                  • icon
                    crade (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 1:09pm

                    Re: "Pull your own weight" / "Pitch in"

                    You weight and less all the time as technology advances, so it's inevitable that we run out of make work projects and find a better system at some point.

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

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Sep 2020 @ 2:55am

                    Re: "Pull your own weight" / "Pitch in"

                    "Labor should be painfully expensive. People should be able to earn a living doing part time work. Anything less than that is peonage. It's servitude. It's the superset of slavery that we should have abolished when we abolished slavery."

                    Ironically we've only used the concept of 8 hour working days for a small fraction of our existence. Our closest cousins, and by some evidence our closest forefathers in the Homo branch of upright apes, were biologically adapted to a day consisting of 8 hours of sleep, 4 hours of obtaining food and shelter, and 12 hours of mixed socializing and playing.

                    In other words humanity is chronically stressed and chronically undersocializing. When a similar work cycle as that humans have is enforced on our closest biological cousins it turns out badly - they start displaying most of the symptoms found in classic G20 office environments.

                    It's just that humans have sort of normalized this disruption to the point where, when you sit down and chat about health and well-being with your colleagues you find that it's taken for granted that at some point or other everyone has had a burnout episode.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 12:28am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "None of them actually conflict"

                  Which is why the founding fathers (at least the majority of them) were best described as to some extent being "conservative liberals" and Eisenhower was able to stand and advocate liberalism in his speeches without being tossed out on his ear by the republican party as it was at the time.

                  Today both the founding fathers and eisenhower would be the "hard left" according to the current GOP.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I think the terms conservative and liberal are outdated and politics doesn't divide on those lines anymore..."

              It never really did. The founding fathers were best described as "conservative liberals", holding to progressive and humanitarian ideals while being very cautious to preserve the lessons learned from the past.

              Today's classical conservative - the eisenhower era and earlier type - is usually found in the centrist-right spectrum of the democrats today.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      Isn't that abuse of power or something

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:17am

    Well it's consistent corruption I suppose...

    Much like Trump's view of the government and the public Barr clearly sees the purpose of the legal system as serving him, working as intended when it's used to go after his and/or The Dear Leader's enemies, broken and in need of 'fixing' when it's used to go after people that he/Trump support and/or agree with.

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:33am

    "Sedition is difficult to prove..."

    What are the chances that Barr is actually trying to protect the protesters? By removing them from local jurisdiction and charging them with something so hard to prove, isn't he just setting them free? Of course there is the intermediary incarceration and the expense of a defense, but the likelihood of a long term sentence is low.

    Nah. Barr isn't smart enough to think that through. Instead he is looking for yet another method for control, or at least the threat of more control through fear.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 2:03am

      Re: "Sedition is difficult to prove..."

      "What are the chances that Barr is actually trying to protect the protesters?"

      You mean by taking the first step towards having them declared "illegal combatants not covered by constitutional protection"?

      Slim.

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:41am

    All the more reason trump has to go. We need to get all of his cronies out of there, too.

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

  • icon
    Simon Jester (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:44am

    Rarely Used Term

    I so infrequently hear or read the marvelous term "Sycophancy" these days. Entirely appropriate for Barr's relationship with the Liar-in-Chief. However, I prefer "brown-nosing lickspittle" to "sycophant" for Barr - more depth of flavor.

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

  • icon
    Narcissus (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 10:54am

    Careful there Mr. Barr

    Barr also wanted DOJ prosecutors to find some way to go after Seattle's mayor over her handling of protests in her city.

    I think this government specifically should be very careful setting precedents around prosecuting people for things they did while in office...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:09am

      Re: Careful there Mr. Barr

      Don't worry... Trumps last day of power will consist of writing full pardons (for any committed or future acts) for himself and all his cronies that he has put in power...

      This way his Trump shadow organization will continue to use the government to abuse the public and put his friends and cronies in more positions of power...

      Face it, even if Trump is defeated, we will never remove all the corruption that was added during Trump's term.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:38am

        Whether Trump can pardon himself while still in office is a legal theory that has not yet been tested. But the question of whether a sitting president can pardon a former president has been settled. Trump could always resign a couple of days early and let the new sitting president sign a pardon. I doubt Mike Pence would object to that, so long as he gets a pardon first.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 12:07pm

          Re:

          Whether Trump can pardon himself while still in office is a legal theory that has not yet been tested.

          Key word there 'yet', with how openly corrupt Trump is and how pardon-happy he has been I'd say it's almost a given that he will try to pardon himself before he leaves office.

          I could see the 'I pardon you and then you pardon me' idea you put forth being attempted, however that strikes me as both too convoluted for Trump and something that would require him to relinquish power to someone else, both things that seem to be as beyond him, especially if he sees an 'easier' path.

          Of course the ultimate punchline to either case will be watching the party of 'law and order' and 'personal responsibility' either try to pretend Trump was never one of theirs and therefore nothing he did should be held against the party, or fling out desperate excuses for how the pardon(s) are not a blatantly obvious attempt to avoid both the law and personal responsibility.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 1:41pm

        Re: Re: Careful there Mr. Barr

        Don't worry... Trumps last day of power will consist of writing full pardons (for any committed or future acts) for himself

        I don't believe that Trump will be thinking about pardoning himself. In his eyes, everything he is doing is 100% legal, either because he said it was legal or because he feels that the law doesn't pertain to him. (I could shoot somebody on 5th ave ...) Why would he need to pardon himself?

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:04pm

          Why would he need to pardon himself?

          To keep the following administration from prosecuting him for…well, let’s put it bluntly — for crimes against humanity.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:22pm

            Re:

            But you missed my point, he doesn't think that he is doing anything illegal. Therefore, why would he feel the need to pardon himself if he feels he hasn't done anything illegal?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:56pm

              Again: He knows future administrations might try to prosecute him for his crimes. He doesn’t have to think he’s doing anything illegal to recognize that other people (who may soon be in the seat of power that he now holds) will think he's doing something illegal and will act accordingly once they can do something about him.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 4:39pm

                Re:

                Again: He knows future administrations might try to prosecute him for his crimes.

                Again: He doesn't think he is committing any crimes!!

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 4:44pm

                  Re: Re:

                  And to add to that, even if he did think he was committing crimes, he expects that he will get off free and clear anyway.

                  The main point being is that I don't think he will consider pardoning himself because it would be a hit to his ego. He believes that he can do anything he wants and will get away with it. Pardoning himself is an admission that he has done something illegal in such a way that somebody in the future may want to accuse him of committing. He will never lower himself to do that.

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

                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 5:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    Pardoning himself is an admission that he has done something illegal in such a way that somebody in the future may want to accuse him of committing. He will never lower himself to do that.

                    Not necessarily, while I can see your point that it wouldn't occur to him because he literally doesn't think he's doing anything wrong he is more than aware that there are people out there who don't like him, and I imagine he could internally spin a pardon as taking away a potential weapon before his enemies can use it against him even as he considered himself safe because clearly they wouldn't have anything real to go after him for.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:26pm

              Re: Re:

              *"he doesn't think that he is doing anything illegal.

              It's worse than that, he thinks he can do anything he wants.

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

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:05pm

            Presidents pardoning themselves

            When a president pardons himself, it raises the question why we'd want another president at all, or would want to accept the new administration (in contrast to an entirely new regime).

            A lot of us are still super sore that the Bush Administration principal cabinet hasn't been prosecuted for all the torture and war crimes, for which the United States is still responsible and guilty.

            Whether not it's still their problem, it's ours. The United States tortured. Even if the ones who enacted that policy are held unaccountable for doing so, the US -- we -- still tortured. The same with Trump's kids in cages and abandoning Kurds on the battlefield. If we let Trump walk, the people of the United States are still responsible.

            If staying the United States means we have to suffer the legacy of those policies and can't touch the ones who implemented them, maybe we don't want to be the United States anymore.

            Not being the United States means we can declare all those guys enemies. We can assure they don't sleep at night until they come in and face international tribunal (which I think Germany is already hot to do).

            If we can't have heads on pikes, Cascadia starts looking pretty good.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 2:14pm

            Re:

            It would be the first time he ever said, "Pardon me", but it wouldn't convey the usual meaning.

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

      • identicon
        Tin-Foil-Hat, 18 Sep 2020 @ 1:51am

        Re: Re: Careful there Mr. Barr

        I don't think you can pardon yourself or anyone else for future crimes that one might be charged with.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 2:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Careful there Mr. Barr

          "I don't think you can pardon yourself or anyone else for future crimes that one might be charged with."

          Well, you can. That much has been proven. All you really need is an ermächtigungsgesetz.
          Which of course would be as unlawful in the US as it...eh...was in Germany 1933...

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 1:22pm

    And?

    "telling top Justice Department prosecutors that he wants them to be aggressive in bringing charges related to protest violence,"

    And how about doing this to Both sides? The policing agencies as WELL as the citizens,.
    considering Kidnapping and restrictive Non-arrest actions, how many Departments will be taken to court?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:47pm

    Proving sedition is difficult. That's why we haven't historically charged violent protesters with sedition. There are a bunch of other federal and local statutes that capably address acts of violence or vandalism.

    But proving any random protester is a "violent protester*, because that is who you decided to inflict violence upon and then arrest, seems to be far less difficult somehow.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 8:51pm

      Nazis shot saboteurs.

      They just summarily executed them in the streets. When the SS wanted to be mean they'd shoot someone in the leg and forbid anyone to render care, so they bled out over hours.

      Such brutality only hastened new recruits into la résistance. We've had the same conversation about bombing civilians to kill terrorists. It just triples the numbers seeking revenge.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:34pm

    I'd find a charge of treason against Barr (and most of the GOP) to be more believable (and easier to prove).

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 5:25pm

    It's the jackass who literally just claimed that mask wearing and social distancing measures to contain COVID-19 are acts akin to slavery. What did we expect, competence? Rationale? Levelheadedness?

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 8:47pm

    Once dissenters are prosecuted as seditionists

    Once dissenters are prosecuted as seditionists, it kinda legitimizes the Rebel Alliance.

    In 1940, Paris it seemed like the Nazis were going to win. They thought they were just going to have to keep cool forever. But then the Nazis kept abusing the civilians. They just couldn't help themselves. And for the Parisians, watching the brutality became too much: They were compelled to do something.

    It all started small, with phone-line cutting, tire slashing, taking down propaganda posters. But it rapidly got organized into a thriving sabotage campaign.

    Vive la résistance!

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:18pm

      Sometimes there is no enjoyment from 'I told you so'

      As I, and I'm sure many others have said over the years you can only brutalize people into submission so far and for so long before they decide to return the favor in pure self-defense, and at that point may your deity of choice help you if they no longer trust the 'official channels' to uphold justice for their suffering because that means the only avenue left will be doing it themselves, and that's guaranteed to get really messy.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:29pm

    As always, there's never a right-winger's accusation that isn't pure projection.

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


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