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Thread: Bill Barr: The Cover-Up General

  1. #141
    A Cruel Parody of Antitrust Enforcement: The Justice Department is roughing up Mr. Trumpís political enemies and threatening the environment.


    President Trumpís Justice Department ó for it is increasingly clear that the department has been reduced to an arm of the White House ó has opened an antitrust investigation of four auto companies that had the temerity to defy the president by voluntarily agreeing to reduce auto emissions below the level required by current federal law.

    The investigation is an act of bullying, plain and simple: a nakedly political abuse of authority.

    The department is supposed to prevent companies from acting in their own interest at the expense of the public. The four automakers, by contrast, are acting in the public interest.

    That the government of the United States would fight to loosen emissions standards in the face of the growing threat posed by climate change also boggles the mind. Not content to fiddle while the planet burns, Mr. Trump is fanning the flames.

    Ford, BMW North America, Volkswagen Group of America and Honda struck a deal with the State of California in July. They agreed to reach an average fuel efficiency standard of at least 51 miles per gallon by 2026. That falls short of an Obama administration rule that would have required average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. But it is certainly better than the goal of 37 miles per gallon favored by the Trump administration.

    Mr. Trump reacted to the deal with predictable fury. The administration denounced it as a ďP.R. stunt,Ē and threatened to end Californiaís longstanding authority to set its own tougher fuel efficiency standards ó an attempt that would surely end up in court.

    Now the administration has gone further, firing a shot across the bows of the automakers that signed the deal, and of those that might. The Times reported the German government warned Mercedes-Benz not to join the California agreement after learning of the federal investigation.

    Antitrust law grants the government broad authority to police anticompetitive practices, and the Justice Department has dressed up its actions with the fig leaf that the companies may have colluded by collectively agreeing to the tougher standards, which could result in higher prices for new cars and light trucks.

    The investigation is particularly striking because the department has shown little interest in preventing corporations from engaging in actual anticompetitive behavior. This summer, for example, the department blessed T-Mobileís acquisition of Sprint, a deal likely to harm mobile phone consumers and workers, and to impede innovation.

    If the Justice Department wants to get serious about antitrust enforcement, there are plenty of places to get started. This investigation is an embarrassment. It might as well wheel out the statue of Lady Justice and replace it with a bronze marionette.
    I love mankind...itís people I canít stand!!

  2. #142
    I wish I could say I was shocked or surprised, but that would be false. Given Trump's love of dictators and authoritarian thugs, and his complete lack of a moral or ethical center, it fits perfectly that he would see the "Justice" Department as little more than a front to attack and bully his critics and enemies into shutting up, or at least being punished for their temerity in criticizing him. Barr's other job is to cover for Trump and protect him from any investigations into his financial or business activities, or any other potentially harmful or embarrassing things he's done in the past. It also fits with his pattern of appointments - he simply keeps cycling through cabinet picks and leaders of various government agencies until he finally finds a toady and sycophant who will do exactly what he wants, with no protests or foot-dragging. Sessions was more reluctant to do his bidding, so he got Barr instead. He's done this with a number of positions, such as Kelly, Mulvaney, and the WH Chief of Staff position. The fact that these new hires may be incompetent, or a nutcase, or both, is of no concern to him. What matters is that they'll blindly do whatever he wants, and kiss his butt in meetings and tell him how wonderful he is. It's what insecure narcissists do, and he's managed his business concerns in the same way.

    ETA: This is in no way a defense of Sessions or Kelly, only to say that even they were not quick enough to do Trump's bidding to suit him. So he got people who were even worse to replace them.

  3. #143
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    Sessions resigned the day after the election. It couldnít be more blatant whatís going on.

  4. #144
    Barr is the last line of defense we have against the DEEP STATE soft coup! God Bless Bill Barr.
    Birds are real.

  5. #145
    How Democracy Dies, American-Style: Sharpies, auto emissions and the weaponization of policy.



    Democracies used to collapse suddenly, with tanks rolling noisily toward the presidential palace. In the 21st century, however, the process is usually subtler.

    Authoritarianism is on the march across much of the world, but its advance tends to be relatively quiet and gradual, so that itís hard to point to a single moment and say, this is the day democracy ended. You just wake up one morning and realize that itís gone.

    In their 2018 book ďHow Democracies Die,Ē the political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt documented how this process has played out in many countries, from Vladimir Putinís Russia, to Recep Tayyip Erdoganís Turkey, to Viktor Orbanís Hungary. Bit by bit the guardrails of democracy were torn down, as institutions meant to serve the public became tools of the ruling party, then were weaponized to punish and intimidate that partyís opponents. On paper these countries are still democracies; in practice they have become one-party regimes.

    And the events of the past week have demonstrated how this can happen right here in America.

    At first Sharpiegate, Donald Trumpís inability to admit that he misstated a weather projection by claiming that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian, was kind of funny, even though it was also scary ó itís not reassuring when the president of the United States canít face reality. But it stopped being any kind of joke on Friday, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement falsely backing up Trumpís claim that it had warned about an Alabama threat.

    Why is this frightening? Because it shows that even the leadership of NOAA, which should be the most technical and apolitical of agencies, is now so subservient to Trump that itís willing not just to overrule its own experts but to lie, simply to avoid a bit of presidential embarrassment.

    Think about it: If even weather forecasters are expected to be apologists for Dear Leader, the corruption of our institutions is truly complete.

    Which brings me to a much more important case, the Justice Departmentís decision to investigate automakers for the crime of trying to act responsibly.

    [For an even deeper look at whatís on Paul Krugmanís mind, sign up for his weekly newsletter.]

    The story so far: As part of its jihad against environmental regulation, the Trump administration has declared its intention to roll back Obama-era rules mandating a gradual rise in fuel efficiency.

    You might think that the auto industry would welcome this invitation to keep on polluting. In fact, however, automakers have already based their business plans on the assumption that fuel efficiency standards will indeed rise.

    They donít like seeing their plans upended ó in part, one suspects, because they understand that the reality of climate change will eventually force the reinstatement of those rules. So they have actually opposed Trumpís deregulation, which they warn would lead to ďan extended period of litigation and instability.Ē

    And several companies have gone beyond protesting. In a remarkable rebuke to the administration, they have reached an agreement with the State of California to comply with standards nearly as restrictive as the Obama rules even if the federal government is no longer requiring them.

    Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department is considering bringing an antitrust action against those companies, as if agreeing on environmental standards were a crime comparable to, say, price-fixing.

    This would be disturbing even if it came from an administration that had previously showed some interest in actual antitrust policy. Coming from people who heretofore havenít indicated any concerns about monopoly power, itís clearly an attempt at weaponizing antitrust actions, turning them into a tool of intimidation.

    And itís also clear evidence that the Justice Department has been thoroughly corrupted. In less than three years it has been transformed from an agency that tries to enforce the law to an organization dedicated to punishing Trumpís opponents.

    Whoís next? In at least two cases, Trump appears to have tried to use his power to punish Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post, which the president considers (like this newspaper) to be an enemy. First he pushed for an increase in the post officeís package shipping rates, which would hurt Amazonís delivery costs; then the Pentagon suddenly announced that it was re-examining the process for awarding a huge cloud-computing project that Amazon was widely expected to win.

    In each case itís hard to prove that these were efforts to weaponize government functions against domestic critics. But who are we kidding? Of course they were.

    The point is that this is how the slide to autocracy happens. Modern de facto dictatorships donít usually murder their opponents (although Trump has been fulsome in his praise for regimes that do, in fact, rely on brute force). What they do, instead, is use their control over the machinery of government to make life difficult for anyone considered disloyal, until effective opposition withers away.

    And itís happening here as we speak. If you arenít worried about the future of American democracy, you arenít paying attention.
    I love mankind...itís people I canít stand!!

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  8. #148
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    Barr should have been impeached for getting in the middle of the whistleblower case.

  9. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by avalon View Post
    LOL. You just know that sooner or later Trump will turn on Barr, like he has most others in his administration. Trump expects blind loyalty from everyone else, and yet gives none in return. Sooner or later Barr will join the flotsam of other discarded aides and cabinet members with a ruined reputation. It's what Trump does.

  10. #150
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    I would be perfectly fine with Congress going after everyone Trump turns on before getting to Trump himself.

  11. #151
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    So Trumpís AG is traveling around the world seeking foreign help to support claims that the FBI and CIA are falsely accusing Trump of seeking foreign help in the 2016 election.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...2d2_story.html

    Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agenciesí examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.

    ...

    Barr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter. It was not Barrís first trip to Italy to meet intelligence officials, the person said. The Trump administration has made similar requests of Australia, these people said.

  12. #152
    I disagree with you
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    These nations have to see the writing in the wall though, right?

  13. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheCaptain View Post
    These nations have to see the writing in the wall though, right?
    How so? Theyíre in a tough spot. Either they have to go along with the guy who will be president for at least the next 15+ months or provide evidence for his impeachment. What Barr is doing is a dick move on multiple levels.

  14. #154
    Is that not a crime to seek foreign assistance to discredit your own FBI and CIA?

  15. #155
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    Barr flew to Italy last week. Hmmmm...

    How hasn't he recused himself?

    Oh yeah, he's a criminal guaranteed a pardon from the criminal in the WH.

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  17. #157
    Nothing to hide!

  18. #158

  19. #159
    Quote Originally Posted by WakeForestRanger View Post
    I guess this means, as tax payers, they are using money we give the government to block the disclosure of Trump's taxes? this sure feels like a misalignment of government funds.

  20. #160

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