Play It Again, Sam

In case you were wondering how long it would be before the corruption investigations of top Republicans would be labeled “criminalizing politics,” we have our winner. Now that this has been burped up into the right wing puke funnel, I imagine this classic will shoot to the top of the charts (with a bullet) on Morning Joe and Fox and Friends.

63 replies
  1. 1
    C.V. Danes says:

    Perhaps they should stop acting like criminals, then?

  2. 2
    efgoldman says:

    Silverglate? Really, Harvey?
    Holy FSM, I remember when he and Pierce wrote for the same Boston alternative weekly. If there’s a byline I never expected to see in the WSJ, that’s it.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    If politics is outlawed, only outlaws will engage in politics.

  4. 4
    The Dangerman says:

    “Paging Paula Corbin Jones, Paula Corbin Jones to the Wingnut courtesy phone, please.”

    ETA: Point being, no PCJ, no Monica Lewinsky, and probably no President George W. Bush.

  5. 5
    jon says:

    If shutting down bridges over hissy fits is “politics as usual” and if taking bribes is a political necessity, then no Republican is suitable for anything related to public trust, power, or decision-making. That idiot is pretty much saying every Republican is on the take and fucking over everyone, which I guess is a bit of a gift to the Democrats. Has he been scheduled for a Sunday show yet? It’s always better to have the video.

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    Dinesh D’Souza is apparently also claiming that his legal woes are because Obama is Out To Get Him because of that bizarre “documentary” he made.

  7. 7
    Keith P. says:

    Speaking of Chris Christie, how about that time he avoided the Attorneys General purge. How’d he manage pulling that off I wonder…

  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    @Keith P.:

    How’d he manage pulling that off I wonder…

    Hmm. Wouldn’t have anything to do with going after Senator Menendez on completely groundless accusations, would it? Naah.

    ETA: US Attorneys, not Attorney General. [/pedant]

  9. 9
    Keith G says:

    Now I am curios as to what Harvey Silverglate’s feelings were about Bush’s Justice Department’s push for voter fraud investigations. That was bare knuckle politics in action.

  10. 10
    p says:

    “to charge mr mcdonnel on these offenses would, according to the defense, suggest an ‘untested, novel construction of the federal bribery statutes’ that would put every state – and for that matter – federal office holder in jeopardy of federal indictment”.

    make it so.

  11. 11
    RaflW says:

    Conservatives can never fail, even morally. They can only be failed … or indicted by unscrupulous foes.

    I mean, of course any in-group will seek to protect its own. But the current crop of dubious buffoons have no inkling of personal accountability.

    They will have to continue to rot from the inside till they stink so bad no one will stand up for them. Tho the WSJ editorialists may be among the last.

  12. 12
    MattF says:

    Hey, criminalizing politics or politicizing criminality… What’s the diff?

  13. 13
    jayjaybear says:

    I need to make a sign that says “DON’T READ THE COMMENTS!” in 75-point Impact and tape it to my monitor.

    ETA: I’m talking about the WSJ comments, not these ones.

  14. 14

    While I am enjoying the utter chaos that is the current Republican Party, I just took some time off and watched this.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....ostpopular

    Warning it is a HuffPo link. A story about a waitress who was given a $1,075 tip on a $29.00 dinner bill at cheddars. However if you scroll down to the bottom there is a gallery of “people getting the best news of their lives”. It ranges from a dog greeting his owner coming home from war, to the lab chimps seeing sun for the first time, to a woman getting a coclear implant and hearing her own voice for the first time. There are 15 videos and are each worth watching. Grab tissues, lots and lots of tissues. I really think we should take more time watching happy stories on the internet. It did me the power of good.

  15. 15
    Mike in NC says:

    So last week it was a wingnut billionaire whining about all the hatred for the 1%ers being just like the Holocaust, and now any investigation of Republicans is being spun as political dirty tricks. The Wall Street Journal really knows how to play the victim card.

  16. 16
    efgoldman says:

    @Keith G:

    Now I am curios as to what Harvey Silverglate’s feelings were about Bush’s Justice Department’s push for voter fraud investigations.

    A quick google and I don’t find anything he’s written on the subject.
    He seems generally to hate prosecutor of all stripes.

    Last January, not long after the young Internet genius Aaron Swartz committed suicide, civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate wrote powerfully about the abusive prosecutorial tactics that may have led to his death.

    http://dankennedy.net/tag/harvey-silverglate/

  17. 17
    Ruckus says:

    @RaflW:

    They will have to continue to rot from the inside till they stink so bad no one will stand up for them.

    I doubt that. Not that they won’t continue to rot or stink up the place but that no one will stand up for them. Even if one of the rottenest cut up an infant on live TV, someone would stand up for them if there is group to be bigoted about or a buck to be made stolen.

  18. 18
    gene108 says:

    @Keith G:

    Now I am curios as to what Harvey Silverglate’s feelings were about Bush’s Justice Department’s push for voter fraud investigations. That was bare knuckle politics in action.

    (a) Both sides to it. See above article
    (b) Denounce Obama’s “witch hunts” against potential 2016 Republican Presidential candidates first.

    It’s always projection with these clowns. Churn up some talking point, so the casual observer just sees a “both sides do it” framing.

    For all of Clinton’s scandals, none of them involved abusing the power of the Presidency, unlike Nixon and Reagan, but there was enough rumor mongering going around for tangential things surrounding his personal life and past business dealings that people just figured Democrats are as corrupt as Republicans.

    Clinton really was a missed opportunity to do away with the Reagan mantra of “government is the problem” and the right-wing knew it, which is why they went into overdrive to tear him down.

    Anyway, Republicans at their very core do not want to govern; they want to rule and it’s been this way since the “Gingrich Revolution” that led to Bush, Jr’s court ordered appointment to the Presidency.

    Too bad the media cannot do nuance.

  19. 19
    wasabi gasp says:

    issaspittake.gif

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    If American politicians are like Malaysian politicians (or, for that matter, politicians anywhere) there’s nowhere near enough of them being investigated, let alone prosecuted, for corrupt behaviour.

  21. 21
    Howard Beale IV says:

    It’s criminalization of politics if its a Republican, but it’s a fucking crime spree and lock ’em away for life if its a Democrat.

    The WSJ is too stupid to know that its no longer relevant and is only being kept alive because of even stupider subscribers.

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    Remember, the 27% are impervious to reason, facts, or even morality. Today I was at a town celebration and endured a big NJ guy yelling about how Christie should “get past this thing” and he “has my vote” and he’s “done great things for New Jersey.”

    He had a dog named Rebel.

  23. 23
    max says:

    TPM:

    Christie’s office attacked the New York Times’s portrayal of the revelations, reasserted Christie’s truthfulness in the past and attacked the credibility of the official, David Wildstein, whose attorney claimed that “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what” Christie said in a January press conference.

    “Bottom line – David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein,” the email concludes.

    Christie’s initial statement, issued after the allegations were reported Friday, was much more tempered in tone, saying that the claim actually “confirms what the Governor has said all along.”

    Says the guy chucking people under the bus.

    Meanwhile, Silvergate:

    The notion that a federal felony is committed when state officials reward political friends and punish enemies in this manner has become surprisingly widespread within the Justice Department. Because of vague and broad federal criminal statutes, there isn’t much in public or political life these days that is not an arguable ground for an indictment. Obviously lost on federal prosecutors is the irony that their prosecutions of state politicians often create the same appearance of bias that the feds consider criminal when it is seen at the state and local level.

    Federal statutes are often poorly written and overbroad! cf. Aaron Schwartz. Near as I can tell, thought, no one cares about this unless a Republican gets indicted.

    max
    [‘Laws, like loyalty, are for little people.’]

  24. 24
    KG says:

    What’s the starry in Virginia? Haven’t heard of it before

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @efgoldman: Speaking of Pierce, there’s a piece at Esquire by a guy who covered the Port Authority, pointing out something that hasn’t been mentioned enough in the coverage I’m seeing: Wildstein, the allegedly distant acquaintance Chris Christie coincidentally went to high school near, had a PA job that had never existed before

    The job, director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was created for Wildstein by his old Livingston High School pal, Chris Christie. Wildstein didn’t work cheap — his annual salary was $150,000 — and his career as a political consultant and a pseudonymous blogger named Wally Edge didn’t match his title, which had zero to do with his actual work at the PA. Wildstein was installed there as New Jersey muscle, Christie’s spy and enforcer.

  26. 26
    Mike G says:

    The Democrats insist on criminalizing crime, in violation of the sacred Beltway principles of abusing public infrastructure for spite, and IOKIYAR.

  27. 27
    efgoldman says:

    @max:

    Federal statutes are often poorly written and overbroad! cf. Aaron Schwartz.

    Harvey didn’t like that, either. See: @efgoldman:

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    Harvey Silverglate?

    What, Cornelius Fuckthepoors was on assignment?

  29. 29
    max says:

    @efgoldman: Harvey didn’t like that, either.

    Yeah, but none of that stuff will be published in the WSJ.

    max
    [‘Our editorial pages, after all, must favor Republicans, or someone might notice they’re corrupt twits.’]

  30. 30
    BGinCHI says:

    The GOP seems to hold two ideas at the same time without acknowledging any contradiction.

    1. The government can’t do anything to really affect the economy, except in the negative.

    2. Corruption in government cannot be negative if perpetrated by Republicans.

  31. 31
    Redshift says:

    @p: Funny how if you assume everything the defense says is true, you come to the conclusion that the suspect shouldn’t have been charged.

  32. 32
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    Don’t they already?

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    @BGinCHI: The GOP seems to hold two ideas at the same time without acknowledging any contradiction.

    This is their special power!

  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    Criminalizing politics didn’t seem to bother them when our Governor Rod Blegojevich (D-IL) was put in prison for a bit of quid pro quo.

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That doesn’t make sense because Christie put out an e-mail showing what a slime Wildstein is? Why would Christie create a job for a man whose character is in question? hmm

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Didn’t seem to bother them much when a blow job was involved, either.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JPL:

    I think Christie is seeking to heighten the contradictions, or something. Look, over there…squirrel!

  38. 38
    Keith P says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The Chewbacca Defense.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    Ironic thread title given the news today.

  40. 40

    Time for a golden oldie. They called it “criminalizing politics” back in 1974 when Nixon was being impeached.

  41. 41
    Smiling Mortician says:

    From the wsj piece:

    Is Eric Holder’s Justice Department driven by a political agenda, or are the department’s recent prosecutorial decisions simply signs of overzealousness?

    Even the dimmest of my freshman comp students would recognize the false dilemma in that one.

    @BGinCHI:

    The GOP seems to hold two ideas at the same time without acknowledging any contradiction.

    To paraphrase the line from Apocalypse Now, I don’t think they have any . . . ideas . . . at all.

  42. 42
    Jimbo in OPKS says:

    @dmsilev: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/.....osecution/ @dmsilev: Not only D’Souza is claiming this.

  43. 43
    gene108 says:

    @Keith P:

    ????

    Chewbacca kicked ass. I fail to see how you can compare a hero like Chewie to Gov. Christie. Chewie deserves to be defended.

  44. 44
    Joel says:

    Silverglate is an ACLU guy, isn’t he?

    Writing in the WSJ is more of a strange bedfellows type coincidence, I think.

  45. 45
    efgoldman says:

    @Joel:

    Silverglate is an ACLU guy, isn’t he?

    Very much so, going back 40 years.

  46. 46
    MikeJ says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    Even the dimmest of my freshman comp students would recognize the false dilemma in that one.

    Not if they were being paid to ignore it.

  47. 47
    Keith G says:

    @efgoldman: I certainly respect someone who is consistently pushing back against the prosecution industry in this country. In this instance though, Silverglate has not made a good choice in poster victims. The McDonnells are as dirty as a pair of dung beetles and it sure seems that it is likely that a law or two were crapped on by the Christy cronies.

  48. 48
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @MikeJ: That’s a fair cop.

  49. 49

    @jayjaybear:

    I need to stay away from them, too. The shit that the fascist bigots spew eats away my faith in this country.

  50. 50
    Glidwrith says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Didn’t bother them either with Don Siegelman.

  51. 51
    Charles Pierce says:

    I’ve known Harvey for going on 40 years. (He was briefly my lawyer in an episode a few years ago.) He’s further left than I ever was. He just hates prosecutorial overreach. I disagree with him here but he’s fought far more good fights than bad.

  52. 52
    Cervantes says:

    @efgoldman: Harvey’s had a column with Forbes for a while.

    As I am sure you know, he’s been crusading against “reckless prosecutions” for more than four decades now, starting with The Boston Phoenix and The Real Paper.

  53. 53
    Cervantes says:

    @WaterGirl: “Criminalizing politics didn’t seem to bother them when our Governor Rod Blegojevich (D-IL) was put in prison for a bit of quid pro quo.”
    @Howard Beale IV: “It’s criminalization of politics if its a Republican, but it’s a fucking crime spree and lock ‘em away for life if its a Democrat.”

    You must both have missed “Blagojevich Convicted, But Was He Really Guilty?” by Harvey Silverglate, Forbes, June 29, 2011.

  54. 54
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “Didn’t seem to bother them much when a blow job was involved, either.”

    You must have missed “Decency denied: The American public had it right — Clinton was just the second most appalling figure in the Zippergate affair,” by Harvey Silverglate, The Boston Phoenix, February 19, 1999.

  55. 55
    mclaren says:

    The Republican party criminalized politics starting in 1948 with the amok rampage of Senator Joe McCarthy. Richard Nixon shifted the crime spree into high gear in 1968 and the Drunk-driving C Student along with his torturer sidekick took the criminalization to a whole new level starting in 2000.

    The long sordid orgy of smash-and-grab misnamed “Republican electoral politics” has done for America what the Kew Gardens stabbing of Kitty Genovese did for New York City.

    The Republican party is, and long has been, an organized criminal enterprise that should be outlawed under the RICO act.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes:

    Concern troll misses the point. It’s not Silvergate who has a selective memory…it’s Rethugs in general.

  57. 57
    Keith P says:

    @gene108: It’s a bit from South Park from several years back where a lawyer (I think it was Johnny Cochran) uses it to win court cases. The idea is that you tell the jury that Chewbacca is a Wookie.from Kashyyk, yet he lives on Endor. That makes no sense. So if that doesn’t make sense, then the case doesn’t make sense, and you must acquit.

  58. 58
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You were responding (admittedly not in a useful way) to a comment based on something Silverglate wrote. I provided relevant information about other things Silverglate had written. Sorry to have hurt your feelings!

  59. 59
    aimai says:

    Anyone remember when Nader went to meet with the right wing wurlitzer people? Sometimes the far left goes all the way around and meets up with the far right and this never does any of the rest of us any good. When writing in the Wall Street Journal one ought to always remember that the audience for that particular piece of writing is malevolent, oligarchic, and completely uninterested in justice as it is commonly understood. So what you write for them must have been commissioned, or published, by them with pretty much nothing but bad intentions for a Democratically elected slightly progressive government. They have no interest in equality, probity, or justice as applied to the lower orders. And I have no problem with the higher orders suffering from strict constructions of criminal acts so long as they are, actually, criminal.

    Neither the McDonnells nor D’Souza nor Chris Christie nor Wildenstein are being treated with selective enforcement (in the sense that Democrats routinely go down for these or lesser crimes) nor are they being treated particularly harshly–certainly not as harshly or as wrongly as Aaron Schwartz. Absent any kind of party designation, as a people, would we prefer that there be no laws relating to bribes, donations to political figures, or misuse of money like the Sandy Money? Because otherwise I’m not seeing the problem here. The people have struggled for a way to hold politicians accountable since the fucking Romans–Cicero etc…

    Laws dealing with the malfeasance of high officials should be severe–more severe than those treating pot dealers,for example–and they should be applied broadly to people who are found to have committd offenses. Refusing to prosecute is as much a political act as prosecuting.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cervantes: I skimmed the article about the governor, but I spent more time on the Clinton article. I pretty much agreed with what he wrote in the Clinton article. Prosecutorial overreach is disgusting and it goes on every day. But what’s going on now with Gov. Ultrasound and Dinesh D’Souza doesn’t fit that category.

    I don’t think that’s because they are both disgusting republicans.

  61. 61
    Cervantes says:

    @WaterGirl: I wasn’t defending Harvey except against the (incorrect) perception that he only ever raises questions about prosecutions of Republicans, never prosecutions of Democrats. That perception, reflected, I think, in the original post (above) and in some comments, is, at best, ignorant.

    Now, looking at Harvey’s record, one might think he’s a bit of a crank (cf. Somerby, also lazily criticized as such) — but, if he is a crank, he’s pretty much a non-partisan crank. He’s even criticized legislation aimed at facilitating the prosecution of organized crime because, in his view, it leaves constitutional interpretation in the hands of prosecutors rather than judges. As a defense lawyer, that’s just how he looks at the world — and in my opinion, someone has to. Plus he’s come by his grudges honestly: for example, once, decades ago, taking notes during an unwarranted search of a client’s premises, he was threatened at gunpoint by a detective who said the notes were an assault on the police and the pencil was a dangerous weapon. Now multiply that incident through half a century of work (it’s only gotten worse) and you should be able to see where he’s coming from.

    Put another way:

    I’ve known Harvey for going on 40 years. (He was briefly my lawyer in an episode a few years ago.) He’s further left than I ever was. He just hates prosecutorial overreach. I disagree with him here but he’s fought far more good fights than bad.

    It’s Pierce’s comment, re-posted from above.

    As for the (federal) prosecutions of McDonnell and D’Souza: are they justified? You say they are. Me, on first impression I’d say they are, too — but really I’d have to think about it more than I have.

  62. 62
    Sondra says:

    I believe I tried the “but Daddy, all the kids are doing it” defense once as a kid. Didn’t work then either and I most likely got a spanking the second time I did whatever it was “the other kids” were doing.

  63. 63
    Frank says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Exactly. For the New York/ Beltway media this sort of thing only proves that Republicans are bold and manly. Democrats that utter anything more than a whispered peep are Partisan!! Outrageous!! and , worst of all, deeply unserious.

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