Wednesday, May 7, 2014


There's no doubt that the Obama Administration is the most lawless of my lifetime.  They embody what Christopher Hitchens aptly called the "pornography of power":
We're in power because we like it.  We're in power because we enjoy punishing people.  We're in power because we enjoy owning people.  We enjoy telling them what they can do.
And so there's a little frisson of schadenfreude in seeing the escalation:

The House on Wednesday voted to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt for her refusal to answers questions about the agency's conservative-targeting scandal.

Lois Lerner headed the agency's Exempt Organizations division when it controversially targeted conservative nonprofit groups applying for tax-exempt status. But she has repeatedly refused to answer questions when called before Republican-led House committees investigating the scandal, citing her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination.
She likely deserves to end up behind bars.  But.

I do not like seeing her rights get trampled in an attempt to get justice for trampling other's rights.  Congress cannot repeal the fifth amendment, any more than the IRS can issue regulations nullifying the first amendment.

I'm not sure what the path forward is here, except that it is a political, not a legal path.  But I do not trust the Republican Party to stand up for the fifth amendment any more than I trust the Democratic Party to stand up for the first.  Not in an election year.  And so the assault on the Bill of Rights escalates.

This business will get out of control.  Because someone won't let this crisis go to waste.


OMMAG said...

Yep! The congress is reaching in order to get even.

However .... I do not think that appointed government officials should have any immunity from congressional prosecution.

IMO ... people like Lerner cease to be ordinary citizens once the assume the positions and the ordinary citizen needs to have a means of holding them accountable for abuses of the power they are entrusted with. I'd go with the congress if I had my way.

Bradley said...

one of the big problems is that Lerner did not claim the 5th, she made statements of fact, and then claimed the 5th. And then refused to support/defend/explain what she said.

No one can make statements of fact and then claim the fifth.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

You do not have Fifth Amendment rights in relation to wrongdoing in a government job. Employees are required to tell all they know. She has been receiving special treatment all the way through this. Go ask anyone in a Federal, and most state jobs. She is allowed to have counsel present, but questions must be answered.

Jester said...


While I agree that you can't trust the republicans any more than the democrats on this, (For example if this was a republican appointee would the same things be happening..) She did give up the 5th by making statements and then pleading. It does not work that way. If you intend to plead the 5th you simply get to do just that. You don't want to incriminate yourself or make the justice system earn their pay and build a case fine. That is in your rights. You don't get to cherry pick what you want to say and then stonewall everyone. Had we done that we would have been compelled by most judges to answer the questions or, gee be held in contempt of court. I agree that this is partisan here but I do not see how she can stonewall investigations, and lie all the while after proclaiming her innocence. From what I can tell on the basic perspectives anyway of what the constitutional intent is.

But really these days with rare exceptions it seems voting one way or another for anyone that thinks is choosing which testicle you want to be kicked in. Is it partisan? Probably. Is that American politics now? Yep. Is she likely to be exposed for everything she is accused of? At this point it would be difficult I feel to assess because everyone's either retired, quit, gotten gone or already taken a cushy fall while she stalled. If there was nothing going on the investigation would have been done by now. Tactics of what we've seen of this administration though are to stall till the public forgets about it and goes on to Facebook games. Related to this, Benghazi Hillary was very clear about any of the investigations that happen in this administration. What difference does it make? We will just stall long enough that our supporters in the media can cover. It does not matter in the end to the 4th estate after all...

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

In addition to what others have said, I would point out that "contempt of Congress" doesn't really seem to have much meaning anymore, anyway. So it's not like she's actually being punished for it.