Patterico's Pontifications

1/7/2009

Eroding Civil Liberties

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 4:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For years, liberals argued the Bush Administration used national security as an excuse to intentionally and slowly erode American civil liberties. They were especially concerned about the Yoo Memorandum as well as innocent victims caught up in a national effort to combat terrorism, but there weren’t many willing to concede the Bush policies were based on valid concerns and good motives.

Last month, Barack Obama announced the appointment of former Clinton Deputy AG Eric Holder to serve as his Attorney General. Harvey Silverglate, a Boston-based criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, notes that Holder authored the Holder Memorandum in 1999 while serving in the Clinton Administration, a Memorandum that arguably resulted in significant erosion of the civil liberties of many Americans. Specifically, it pitted American companies against employees to effectively limit the employees’ right to counsel:

In his controversial directive to line prosecutors, Holder strongly suggested that, when deciding whether to indict a corporation — and indictment can be a death sentence for companies in certain businesses — they consider whether the company has “cooperated” in the investigation. “Cooperation” was partially defined by whether the corporation agreed to waive the legally protected attorney-client and work-product privileges that otherwise would protect the company from having to turn over confidential information gathered in its own internal investigations, including corporate counsel’s discussions with employees. Another factor, suggested Holder, would be “whether the corporation appears to be protecting its culpable employees and agents” by advancing or paying those individuals’ attorney fees. A further sign of possible noncooperation would be whether the corporation kept the employees on the payroll or entered into a joint defense agreement with any of them. Put simply, the Holder Memo suggested that, by facilitating the ability of employees to continue working and to vigorously defend themselves, the company was demonstrating a noncooperative attitude that could get it indicted. It was a serious affront to the basic adversarial and rights-driven structure of the American legal system.”

[EDIT] Silverglate continues:

“As the dot-com bubble burst and corporate scandals made headlines, DOJ responded by ratcheting up the pressure on white-collar defendants. The 2003 “Thompson Memorandum,” successor to the Holder version, stated far more explicitly that “cooperation” would be a major factor in a prosecutor’s decision to indict a corporation. And as the language grew more threatening with each passing iteration, corporations under federal investigation became adversaries not of the government, but of their own employees.”

[END OF EDIT]

The policy was subsequently tested — and rejected — in court:

“This attack on the individual defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel caused Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York to dismiss, in June 2006, the massive federal fraud indictment brought against a group of former employees of KPMG in U.S. v. Stein, a groundbreaking ruling affirmed by the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this past August. Kaplan denounced the government’s pressure on KPMG to show “cooperation” through both advising employees against seeking legal counsel and not paying the defendants’ legal bills. The government, Kaplan wrote, “let its zeal get in the way of its judgment. It has violated the constitution it is sworn to defend.

I ascribe good motives to Eric Holder and the Clinton Administration, as well as to John Yoo and the Bush Administration, in their efforts to fight corporate crime and terrorism. But Silvergate’s analysis suggests the Holder Memorandum jeopardized the civil liberties of many more Americans than the policies of the Bush Administration. If Holder’s appointment is any indication, that doesn’t bother Obama or liberals one bit.

– DRJ

134 Responses to “Eroding Civil Liberties”

  1. As Kaplan’s fury was directed at the Thompson memo then in effect and not the somewhat less-aggressive and superseded Holder memo, is it possible that the Holder memo could have passed judicial scrutiny? Or asked another way, how much more ‘lenient’ is the now-in-effect (and presumably constitutional) McNulty memo from the Holder memo?

    steve sturm (3811cf)

  2. Shhhh! You aren’t supposed to say bad things about Teh One and his minions! Please make a note of it.

    The politically correct Dana (556f76)

  3. steve sturm,

    I’ll add a note to make it clear the Holder Memo was replaced by the Thompson Memo during the Bush Administration, because not everyone will click the link and read the entire article. But I don’t share your comfort level in the blandness of the Holder Memorandum … or the fact that Holder apparently developed this approach.

    DRJ (345e40)

  4. This post is soooooooooooo racist.

    JD (df5e98)

  5. Democrats will do whatever it takes to hold power. Why would they stop with immigration, voter registration, and election fraud? Wiretaps, politically contrived “special prosecutor” investigations, destruction of official records (think Sandy Berger). Why not, while the Stupid Party, and George (Rope-a-Dope) Bush is their only opposition?

    Born Free (5de9c6)

  6. Paging Woodrow Wilson – is there a Mr. Wilson in the room?

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  7. Dmac—the majority of staffers on the Hill will not know to what you are referring.

    Sadly.

    Paging Santayana….

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  8. I’d like to hear a prosecutor weigh in, but it seems like standard practice to work several defendants and to reward some of them for not working with the others. Is playing the prisoner’s dilemma an erosion of liberties? How is this different than that?

    imdw (bab994)

  9. Governments exist to erode people’s rights. Bigger government, more erosion. Bush was for big government, and Obama is for bigger government. Feel free to connect dots.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  10. Racist !

    And I denounce myself for agreeng with you.

    And anyone else who agrees with you.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  11. imdw,

    Good idea. Maybe WLS Shipwrecked can weigh in.

    DRJ (345e40)

  12. This is the first I’ve heard of it.

    At first blush, without having done any more research than reading your post: it sounds like Holder decided that going after evil corporations and punishing them for their evil was more important than protecting the rights of their employees.

    I can understand how a liberal attorney would get there; it’s a logical extension of liberal antipathy to big business. But it sounds like he crossed the line from skepticism of the motives of corporations to prejudging the guilt of corporate employees. That’s a line he should not have crossed.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  13. aphrael,

    I don’t know what Holder’s intent was but hopefully he wanted to encourage corporations to cooperate, not to prevent employees from exercising their 6th Amendment rights. In other words, I hope he was short-sighted in evaluating how this might play out. That’s not a compliment to his abilities but we all miss things, and I think it’s better than the alternative.

    DRJ (345e40)

  14. imdw – Holder is driving a huge wedge between the Corporation and its employees with this tactic. If the Corporation is expecting to cut a deal by cooperating, the affected employees may not want their records sullied by taking the same kind of deal. Forcing the Corporation to cut off funding for legal defense and other measures the employees had a right to expect as a condition of their employment is a draconion step.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  15. these are people to whom truth and justice is not an issue , it is winning that counts and nothing else, even if it means changing the rules, and these people are in a position to change the law or rules to their advantage

    rwallis (a8bbf0)

  16. [...] who have a past of seeking to undermine the Sixth Amendment right to counsel are no friends of civil [...]

    Civil Libertarian Alert - Pejman_Yousefzadeh’s blog - RedState (796605)

  17. [...] who have a past of seeking to undermine the Sixth Amendment right to counsel are no friends of civil [...]

    Civil Libertarian Alert - Pejman_Yousefzadeh’s blog - RedState (796605)

  18. [...] who have a past of seeking to undermine the Sixth Amendment right to counsel are no friends of civil [...]

    ChooseTheHero.com » Blog Archive » Civil Libertarian Alert (c8cd02)

  19. To DRJ and others here, I can say the following:

    I am INTIMATELY familiar with this subject, though I have not studied Judge Kaplan’s order, and I am not familiar with the specifics of how the Thompson Memo was applied in the KPMG case.

    But I have prosecuted cases where the Thompson Memo was utilitized when dealing with the corporate entities.

    This post by DRJ, though well intentioned, is lacking in the type of context that is required to fully appreciate the legal thicket that is involved here.

    The issue of coercing corporate cooperation most often arises when it is members of the corporate management team who are under scrutiny, and the conduct in question came in the fulfillment of their corporate responsibilities — such as reporting earnings to the SEC.

    A corporation is a legal entity that is subject to criminal prosecution just as individuals are. But when a corporation is prosecuted, the persons who are injured are the shareholders because it nearly always results in a significant decrease in the value of the corporate stock.

    Looking out for the interests of the shareholders is the job of the corporations Board of Directors. So, if the conduct of the CEO is under criminal scrutiny, and the conduct involved the execution of the CEO’s corporate responsibilities but worked to the advantage of the corporation itself, the question arises as to under what circumstances will the prosecutor deem the corporate entity a cooperator rather than a target?

    It’s the duty of the Board of Directors to try and extricate the corporate entity from the legal jeopardy that the CEO’s conduct has created for it and the shareholders. The prosecutor generally makes contact with the “outside” Directors or the Audit Committee of the Board if there is one.

    That begins a process of negotiation between the prosecutors and the Board members whose interest it is to protect the share value on behalf of the shareholders. Often the Board will ask to be allowed to conduct an internal investigation – usually hiring outside counsel to do so — with the agreement that it will provide to the prosecutors the results of its investigation. The prosecutors agree to defer for a time their active investigation, and await the Board’s effort.

    If the Board’s investigation uncovers criminal conduct by the corporate officers, its in the corporation’s best interest to NOT protect those officers, and that is generally where the issue of cooperation arises. A myriad of decisions have to be made by a Board at that point in terms of what it might need to do to escape corporate indictment in order to preserve shareholder value.

    The Holder Memo, the Thompson Memo, and the McNulty Memo all had slightly different takes on what a prosecutor could demand from the Corporate Board in order to confer “cooperator” status on the corporate entity and thereby avoid indictment.

    But why should corporate funds be used to pay the defense costs of management officials who the Board believes have committed crimes based on their own investigation?

    The Thompson Memo followed the Dot.Com meltdown and the Enron, WorldComm, Tyco, etc., corporate fiascos. It gave prosecutors much more ammo than the Holder Memo. The McNulty Memo has walked back some from the Thompson Memo — for example, a prosecutor is no longer able to consider a Corporation’s refusal to waive attorney-client privilege with respect to its internal investigation as a basis for denying “cooperator” status. This is actually a big loss to prosecutors, because the internal investigations done by corporations usually entailed detailed interviews with employees and even the subjects of the inquiry themselves, under risk of termination if they did not cooperate. Short of putting someone before the grand jury, the prosecutor could not compel the same people to answer those question, and those people could always assert their 5th Amendment rights during questioning. Further, a target of a criminal investigation — such as the CEO — cannot be subpoenaed.

    I could go on for pages on this subject. There is endless debates that have stretched over a period of years.

    But, it should be noted here that it was several former officials of the Ashcroft/Bush DOJ, who after returning to private practice and experiencing the difficulty created by the aggressive application of the Thompson Memo by prosecutors, convinced then Dep. AG McNulty t rewrite portions of the Thompson Memo in order to soften some of the coercive aspects available to prosecutors. These changes worked to my very real detriment in one case I had ongoing at the time the changes were made.

    WLS Shipwrecked (1be406)

  20. Now you guys are all of a sudden worried about civil liberties…

    Laughingstocks.

    Frederick (78a916)

  21. Wow WLS Shipwrecked! You really don’t get it.

    The ACLU would classify me as with the “Shoot ‘em first, trial later” wing of the Neanderthal party, and even I can clearly see that

    …usually entailed detailed interviews with employees and even the subjects of the inquiry themselves, under risk of termination if they did not cooperate. Short of putting someone before the grand jury, the prosecutor could not compel the same people to answer those question, and those people could always assert their 5th Amendment rights during questioning. Further, a target of a criminal investigation — such as the CEO — cannot be subpoenaed.

    is clearly a violation of constitutionally protected rights by the government, because the government is forcing the corporation to act at its behest with a fig-leaf of ‘corporate best interest’ as cover.

    The_Gadfly (9b8dc1)

  22. I have to wonder, Frederick, after viewing your sourly sarcastic blog, which civil liberties do you claim “you guys” ignore? And do you have anything to offer other than poisoning the well, ad hominem, hasty generalization, false alternative to substantiate your inflammatory dig?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  23. Thank you, John Hitchcock for summing up this post, and rightwing efforts in general to derail Holder, far better than my meager skills could.

    The only person to do it better was DDay:

    The efforts by the right-wing to derail the nomination of Eric Holder is an object lesson in how they will press every advantage, use every trick, and enlist every argument to deliver defeats to their adversary, simply because they treat politics like the sports section, charting wins and losses. They are very effective in the minority, and with a dreadfully bumbling majority as their opponent, that effectiveness will be magnified.

    P.S. ad hominem is a tool of the right, and you will not find me using it.

    Frederick (78a916)

  24. Frederick, your PS was, in actuality, ad hominem. Thank you for playing.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  25. and rightwing efforts in general to derail Holder, far better than my meager skills could

    You do realize that there is basically nothing short of full filibuster that could derail ANY of Obama’s picks, right?

    Frederick, your PS was, in actuality, ad hominem.

    Ah, sweet irony…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  26. The efforts by the right-wing to derail the nomination of Eric Holder is an object lesson in how they will press every advantage, use every trick, and enlist every argument to deliver defeats to their adversary, simply because they treat politics like the sports section, charting wins and losses.

    Gee, I’m glad the left wing never did that to President Bush. Or, you know, just make shit up when the facts didn’t work for them.

    Pablo (99243e)

  27. There has to be substance to your argument in order for any counter to be ad hominem. In case the last 8 years of rallying around torture, wiretaps, etc, etc, has escaped your mind (and we all know it must have in order to respond the way you did in the first place) any one can see the crass shallowness of suddenly finding civil liberties to be a priority when in the minority.

    Frederick (78a916)

  28. Ahh, straw men galore. Dorothy would be enthralled. And your first “statement of fact” is, by definition, unsound. The premise is FUBAR. Ad hominem responses do not need substantial arguments preceding. Please check back with the Eng Dept Head on your definition of ad hominem and then get back with me, kthx.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  29. wiretaps

    So you have a low opinion of Obama too, eh?

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  30. Uh, Frederick? Civil liberties don’t extend to people we’re at war with. Just so you know.

    Pablo (99243e)

  31. So you have a low opinion of Obama too, eh?

    Now that we’ve got a completely inexperienced party loyalist in charge of the CIA? Yes we can, comrade!

    Pablo (99243e)

  32. The put Pat Roberts back in?

    Frederick (78a916)

  33. But when a corporation is prosecuted, the persons who are injured are the shareholders because it nearly always results in a significant decrease in the value of the corporate stock.

    I think the Conrad Black prosecution resulted in far more shareholder loss than did his alleged actions when in control of the company. Unfortunately, that did not restrain the prosecution in the slightest. Sarbanes-Oxley has harmed the economy severely as an over reaction to the Enron and Worldcom cases. Even I knew that the Worldcom merger was economic illiteracy. When Congress gets involved, the problem has usually been solved already or is no longer a problem.

    That is why Obama’s intervention in the economy will be a sign that the worst is over.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  34. What do you think about Jamie Olis, of Dynegy. That’s the case we hear most about in Houston – egregious sentence caused in large part by the “cooperation” issue

    Houstonian (242249)

  35. Ummmm.

    From Merriam-Webster, online:

    ad hominem

    1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
    2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

    And truthfully, the entire concept of attacking Republicans for keeping a particular appointment from occurring is breathtaking, given how the Democrats acted for eight years of GW Bush’s appointments.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  36. WLS – Were these tactics used by Spitzer in New York? I can’t recall. I know he was fond of the Martin Law. But his prosecutions of individuals really hasn’t netted him much that I’m aware, yet he was able to wrangle pretrial settlements from a number of corporations with very heavy-handed tactics.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  37. But his prosecutions of individuals really hasn’t netted him much that I’m aware…

    Aside from breaking the prostitution rings, that is.

    Pablo (99243e)

  38. “Aside from breaking the prostitution rings, that is.”

    Pablo – Apart from the one he was using.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  39. I have often wondered why the media coverage I am most familiar with discusses Mr. Culprit (R-(2-letter state abbrev)) and Ms. Indicted instead of Mr. Culprit (R-XX) and Ms. Indicted (D-XX).

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  40. “That begins a process of negotiation between the prosecutors and the Board members whose interest it is to protect the share value on behalf of the shareholders.”

    WLS – As a long-term senior officer of a public corporation this kind of crap scared the heck out of me. Even if a Board commissioned investigation cleared employees of intentional misconduct, criminal misconduct, gross negligence or whatever, with the government breathing down their necks and threatening the existence of the Corporation itself, what choice is a Board going to make except to cut employees loose from the corporate umbrella. In most cases it is the only decision that makes business sense even if the government case looks weak. That’s why this is such a terroristic tactic.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  41. Sarbanes-Oxley had the perverse effect of poisoning the atmospgere between management, the Board and the outside auditors. Since the Board was now more formally on the hook for evaluating management’s review of internal controls, any issues brought to them would be documented and brought to the attention of the outside auditors. It prevented discussion of issues with the outside auditors because that issue would be flagged as a deficiency by the auditors, they would take credit for finding it and shove it up your ass in their reporting to the Board or final report. It was a fine group of unintended consequences.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  42. daleyrocks — if the internal investigation cleared the employees, why do you suspect that the gov’t would continue forward??

    One particular case I handled resulted in the Gov’t shutting down its investigation — with the exception of one employee who engaged in obstruction in the early stages of the gov’t investigation by convincing subordinates to change their stories in order to support his.

    Part of the process is the mutual agreement that the Gov’t will largely accept the results of the internal investigation — subject to some level of verification — so long as it’s earnest, conducted by competent outside counsel, and the results are fully shared with the prosecutors so they can make informed decisions about how to proceed.

    The Board is given an opportunity to perform it’s corporate duties on behalf of shareholders. So long as it does so in a competent manner, there is no reason to believe the prosecutors won’t accept it. In my case, the company brought in a Top 10 West Coast law firm, retaining two former federal prosecutors to conduct the internal review. They took 6 weeks to do their work, produced about 1000 pages of relevant documents to me, and summarized the witness interviews — the withheld the actual interview notes under the WP Privilege.

    I then went to dinner with the two guys and we discussed the matter for another 3 hours.

    At the end of the day, one employee was fired and was indicted for obstruction. The corporation disciplined several others, and my office decided there wasn’t further criminal conduct and the corporate board acted responsibly when the conduct came to light.

    Closed case.

    WLS Shipwrecked (1be406)

  43. “daleyrocks — if the internal investigation cleared the employees, why do you suspect that the gov’t would continue forward??”

    WLS – No all issues are black and white. Let’s say the issue involved revenue recognition, options dating, or theoretically undisclosed commissions for business to intermediaries. Each has been the subject of litigation in recent years and the first two have been the subject of evolving accounting guidance. It’s very easy to see where a Corporation coulsd take the position that employees were acting within the scope of existing rules and guidance while the government might take a more aggressive posture. Again, isn’t this why so many of Spitzer’s prosecutions have fallen apart when people refuse to settle?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  44. “daleyrocks — if the internal investigation cleared the employees, why do you suspect that the gov’t would continue forward??”

    WLS – Persuading the government not to move forward if you are convinced you are right is the correct move, but it may not be easy, easpecially if there have been press releases and big egos involved.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  45. I ascribe good motives to Eric Holder and the Clinton Administration, as well as to John Yoo and the Bush Administration, in their efforts to fight corporate crime and terrorism.

    Those of us who remember the Clinton administration’s actions with respect to Elian Gonzalez, gun ownership, etc., OTOH, are a little less likely to impute good motives to Mr. Holder.

    Additional Blond Agent (9315f5)

  46. It is apparent that the political core of the Democrat Party has a higher regard for the rights of alleged terrorists residing in GITMO than they do for American citizens (Corporations, and their employees).
    That is the dichotomy of the Holder and Yoo Memoranda.

    AD (80a16b)

  47. AD – liberals tend, as a general rule, to be suspicious of corporations; we think that corporations are interested in maximizing profit and that corporate officers have a duty to their shareholders to put profit above every other consideration (including treating people humanely, caring about the environment, and obeying the law). It’s not that corporate officers are immoral; it’s that the corporate structure creates a duty to value profit over everything else, and that any corporate officer is going to find themselves in a position where their duty to their shareholders conflicts with their other values.

    That doesn’t justify prejudging individuals in any given circumstance; the temptation to prejudge the behavior of corporate officers is a temptation we have to work against, and we should be called on it when we fail.

    Alleged terrorists are just that. Allegation should not be enough to deprive people of their civil liberties; and people should be called on it when they assume that allegation of guilt is evidence of guilt.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  48. AD – liberals tend, as a general rule, to be suspicious of corporations; we think that corporations are interested in maximizing profit

    That much is true, to a degree. No one with more than a handful of brain cells goes into business to LOSE money, after all, or to only make a tiny little bit.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  49. So, it is OK to prejudge corporate citizens and the people who work therein, but it is the height of compassion to not judge those who have demonstrated their own values through bombings and murder of their fellow human beings?

    That is a strange set of values.

    AD (80a16b)

  50. Comment by Scott Jacobs — 1/8/2009 @ 11:18 am
    At least no one since the death of Charles Foster Kane.

    AD (80a16b)

  51. I’m here, Levi, and I will ban you if you don’t stop this. You obviously wanted to talk or you wouldn’t have come back under a different name and made a reasonable effort to debate for several days. Why ruin it now with these insults?

    DRJ (345e40)

  52. Not to mention the potty mouth.

    SPQR (72771e)

  53. Feel free to tell us your blog/web address.

    DRJ (345e40)

  54. I would appreciate it if you clean up the profanity in your name.

    DRJ (345e40)

  55. Sarlberid

    If your blog is so “great” and diverse, then what are you doing here?

    It’s a rhetorical question.

    ML (14488c)

  56. Anyway, you’ve banned me for no reason before

    Actually, I believe you got completely banned for some vulgarity that even I wouldn’t use, and targeted maybe THE most respected person here with it.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  57. Levi: Thank you for the great post and I would be very interested in subscribing to your newsletter.

    /spam

    JVW (bff0a4)

  58. Nothing screams we are “ideologically diversity” like porn ads.

    And nothing screams I have he intellect of a 12 year old boy, then porn ads.

    ML (14488c)

  59. I can easily ignore ads and language, too, but I avoid sites that require registration. I guess it’s another pet peeve. Do you post anywhere else?

    DRJ (345e40)

  60. I’m not offended by porn ads; but it does somewhat sharply limit the venues in which I can look at your website … not because I’m offended, but because I don’t want to risk offending other people who might be around me.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  61. What does that mean, essentially? Porn ads. Lots and lots of porn ads

    While that prohibits me from checking it at work (even if the direct link minimizes), I wont’ judge it outright for such ads. Small blogs/sites or those run by people who simply can’t afford the alternative often use such links, as they help pay the bills.

    The above assumes they are just banner ads, and not, for example, regular posts or appended to posts.

    Heck, I’m on a gaming/RPG website that has ads for gold-selling services/sites for MMORPGs…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  62. Nothing says “sophistication” like porn ads

    SPQR (72771e)

  63. AD, at 49: it is OK to prejudge corporate citizens and the people who work therein

    No. As I said at #47: That doesn’t justify prejudging individuals in any given circumstance.

    As far as I can tell, all human beings have prejudices and biases; it’s an inherent part of the human condition. For me, knowing what my biases are and how they influence my reactions to information and to events is an important tool I can use in the work of setting aside my biases. But doing so remains work; I’m aware that if I’m not consciously thinking about how I interpret information, i’m going to look at things through a certain lens, and when I think about things, I may have to work to look through other lenses and think about whether the way I’m interpreting things is a response to what is there, or it’s a response to what I’m predisposed to see there.

    Liberals, by and large, are predisposed to distrust corporations and corporate officers. That does not mean that we should give free reign to that disposition. We shouldn’t.

    it is the height of compassion to not judge those who have demonstrated their own values through bombings and murder of their fellow human beings?

    No. People who have demonstrably bombed and murdered their fellow human beings should be condemned and punished for doing so. But the word of a third party is not enough. Allegations are not proof. Even credible allegations should not be enough for the power of the state to be used to crush someone.

    That is a strange set of values.

    Yes, it is. Fortunately I see no evidence that it’s a set of values which anyone actually holds; it strikes me as being more of a caricature than a portrait.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  64. And be warned, profanity will be the least of what offends you there. It’s a little more… underground, is what you could say, than what I’m sure you’re used to. What does that mean, essentially? Porn ads. Lots and lots of porn ads. I can give you the direct link to the Politics sub-forum, and if you stay there that will minimize what you’d be exposed to, but there is no way around the porn banners. Hardcore porn banners. You would have to register, which is quick, but I’m not going to lie. There could be anything on those registration screens.

    If Patterico ever starts up the Lefty Comment of the Year, I am nominating this one for a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  65. There are other things that come with porn ads and the sites that use them, like worms, trojan horses, spy-ware, bots and every other type of malware.

    ML (14488c)

  66. Sarlberid/Levi:

    There’s some other conservative blogs, but that defeats the point. So I guess we’re done here?

    Let me think about it, and obviously there may be others who don’t mind registration and will follow the link you provided. But I would fairly consider your points at other conservative sites and I would defend them (even if I didn’t agree) as long as you made them respectfully and logically.

    You know different places have different rules. Patterico is straight with people about what his rules are and he warns people when they cross his line. Like it or not, he gets to make the rules because it’s his blog. We all have to follow the rules, and you didn’t … but I know you can because we debated according to the rules for several days. You just have to stick with it.

    I’ve gone to liberal websites for a discussion but, when I do, I know I have to be extra vigilant about courtesy and following their rules. They know each other and they know when someone is kidding or blowing off steam. If I were to say something questionable or mean, it would be more threatening and hurtful because they don’t know me. Even online, it’s all about reputation.

    DRJ (345e40)

  67. Comment by aphrael — 1/8/2009 @ 12:26 pm

    Then, taking you at your word, would you support or condemn the intent of the Holder Memo to strip from corporate employees the rights to paid counsel that they were assured by their employer as a condition of their employment?

    And, you do realize that corporations are considered as individual citizens in the eye of the law, do you not?

    AD (80a16b)

  68. Sarlberid/Levi: I have to be out for awhile, so I’m adding your IP to moderation until Patterico can be here. He can read any comments you leave.

    DRJ (345e40)

  69. If Patterico ever starts up the Lefty Comment of the Year, I am nominating this one for a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    JVW, that one doesn’t come close to an earlier comment of Levi’s: “I don’t have to read a book to know what’s in it.”

    Steverino (69d941)

  70. Don’t worry, Levi, Larry Flynt is looking for a bailout so you can afford your magazines and videos again.

    nk (ce2a15)

  71. Cool, *we* run the government.

    carlitos (34f76e)

  72. Ya know, when you’ve been banned from someplace, it’s a sign you’re not wanted. And, IMHO, bans should be upheld regardless of the name someone chooses.

    And generally speaking, going to a site particularly to get banned is the surest sign of a troll.

    Rob Crawford (04f50f)

  73. Rob, Levi just wants attention. What can you say about someone who was banned from a place then dons a disguise and goes back to the place where he was banned?

    It’s pathetic. Maybe his father didn’t pay enough attention to him growing up, and now he seeks out disapproving authority figures. On the other hand, maybe he’s just an obnoxious putz.

    Steverino (69d941)

  74. What can you say about someone who was banned from a place then dons a disguise and goes back to the place where he was banned?

    “Hello alphie/parsnip/monkeyboy!”

    It’s a very, very odd thing to do. Even odder that there are multiple people who do it.

    Rob Crawford (04f50f)

  75. None of that’s true. Patterico made a bunch of special rules that only applied to me that he continually narrowed and re-defined the longer I posted here. The only rule was that Levi can’t win.

    Seriously, you want to claim that?

    Patterico, would you please quote (redacting two or three words) the comment that was the final straw last time?

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  76. The Levi buffoon/clones should all return to their fever swamps over at DU, Kos and HuffPo to spew their illogical nonsense.

    What springs to my mind when Levi is mentioned are insults, strawmen and revisionist history. Oh yeah, “Bush wipes his a$$ with the constitution.”…”Our stupid in the mideast serve as c*m rags.”
    Everything the left said prior to 911 about Iraq and WMDs that agreed with later international consensus and the Bush regime was erased from leftist collective memories.

    aoibhneas (0c6cfc)

  77. And remember that all that was necessary was to discuss things with civility. But it simply couldn’t be maintained.

    So the posts were not about trying to engage or discuss. They were about something else entirely.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  78. Or, put another way:

    I work here is done.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  79. “AD – liberals tend, as a general rule, to be suspicious of corporations; we think that corporations are interested in maximizing profit and that corporate officers have a duty to their shareholders to put profit above every other consideration (including treating people humanely, caring about the environment, and obeying the law).”

    Aphrael – I think what liberals overlook with their generalizations about corporations is that if a corporations screws its customers in pursuit of profit, pretty soon it will run out of customers. If it screws over its employees in the pursuit of profit, pretty soon it will be without productive employees because over time most people have a choice in where they can work. If they ignore environmental regulations, eventually catch up to them.

    To me, the generalizations are really cartoon characterizations based upon ignorance.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  80. Sarlberid IS ACTUALLY LEVI – I think this is great. I knew the commenter showed an incredibly low level of intelligence, but Levi’s old level of profanity wasn’t there yet. He just can’t quit us!!!

    Patterico banned him for no reason? What a complete crock of horse manure!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  81. Patterico, would you please quote (redacting two or three words) the comment that was the final straw last time?

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 1/8/2009 @ 3:51 pm

    I believe it was a sexist remark directed at DRJ. The comment never appeared; it was deleted in moderation.

    carlitos (34f76e)

  82. I know Carlito… I just wanted the proof put out there for all to see…

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  83. Note to Levi:

    I like to give second and even third chances to banned commenters but after reading the last comment you left in moderation, you’ve had your last chance.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/25/2008 @ 12:20 pm

    =======================================

    Let’s just say he didn’t call me a racist. It was more personal and not flattering.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/25/2008 @ 12:26 pm

    =======================================

    By the way, Levi is now banned for good. He will never have a comment approved on my site again, due to a comment of his I just saw in moderation.

    Comment by Patterico — 8/26/2008 @ 11:29 am

    =======================================

    Thanks for pointing the way carlitos.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  84. There are benefits to age after all. I’d forgotten all that.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  85. Sigh. And there goes that “..banned.for no reason…” excuse.

    Eric Blair (4fbbf8)

  86. “There are benefits to age after all.”

    As we say in the North, there may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the fireplace, or something like that.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  87. I think that was meant for the porn thread.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  88. I’d forgotten all that.

    *snarls*

    I hadn’t.

    Nor will I.

    What he said was bad enough, but who he said it TO made it utterly unforgivable.

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  89. Since we are walking down memory lane, here is the Levi quote that should be emblazoned above the entrance to the Political wing of the Moronic Comments museum:

    You don’t have to read something to know its contents. I’ve gotten A’s on papers I’ve written and tests I’ve taken about books I’ve never read.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  90. What he said was bad enough, but who he said it TO made it utterly unforgivable.

    Damn straight, Scott.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  91. I think I missed something.

    Levi said he has banner ads of himself acting in porn films on his site? Is he the gimp? It was gay pron, right? NTTAWWT. Did he say how much he paid to be in the films?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  92. My goal is to become the site historian / curator one day in a few decades. Good day, sirs.

    carlitos (34f76e)

  93. Paul, I have never known who should be more ashamed of that comment(#94): Levi or the professors involved. Unless it was another empty brag.

    I had thought Levi might have learned. But STILL insulting DRJ. Tough guy, I guess?

    Eric Blair (4fbbf8)

  94. Paul, I have never known who should be more ashamed of that comment(#94): Levi or the professors involved.

    I’d say the shame share is equal.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  95. I had thought Levi might have learned. But STILL insulting DRJ. Tough guy, I guess?

    Comment by Eric Blair — 1/8/2009 @ 5:45 pm

    Guess he hadn’t read his own comment so he forgot he’d said it. How much you wanna bet he does the exact same thing now that he’s in moderation again?

    BTW, who was the guy who made the “I work here is done” comment ? Hilarious.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  96. BTW, who was the guy who made the “I work here is done” comment ?

    That would be the now-banned truthnjustice.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  97. Tough guy, I guess?

    Comment by Eric Blair — 1/8/2009 @ 5:45 pm

    Anything but. When that is the level one sinks to there really isn’t any need to consider further comments from them. IMHO, it is immensely disrespectful and simply unacceptable.

    Dana (137151)

  98. The only rule was that Levi can’t win.

    Uh, that’s not Patterico’s rule, homey. That’s your life.

    Pablo (99243e)

  99. And you want to know the truly ironic part? This person genuinely appeared to believe that Republicans were intolerant, crude sexists.

    I know that the “P” word seems to irritate some folks, but you have to admit that if often applies to people like the last few trolls.

    And the ironic part about TNJ was that he (?) used to sneer at misspelling by others…and….created a new derisive expression for trolls by misspelling something himself.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  100. I think I missed where TNJ got banned…

    I feel cheated, somehow…

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  101. Everyone can stop talking to the guy who was banned. He called DRJ one of the worst words in the language, so (typically) he is lying when he says he was banned for nothing. Every comment he made under that other new name has been deleted from the blog, and it’s pointless to discuss him. He did not exist. Next topic, please.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  102. He work here is done.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  103. I think I missed where TNJ got banned…

    It starts here, Scott.

    The blow-by-blow money quotes:

    The election result was the media’s fault. Whether you honestly believe that or not, that cannot be the GOP’s answer moving forward… because that sentiment ‘us against them’ just isn’t going to win you elections.

    Comment by truthnjustice — 12/31/2008 @ 11:28 pm

    **********************

    I would appreciate it if people did not respond to the comment by “truthnjustice.” The comment responds to an argument never made in the post; it has nothing to do with the topics raised by the post; it is not worth a response. Please ignore it. If you can’t, I may simply delete it, and every comment that responds to it.

    Comment by Patterico — 1/1/2009 @ 12:15 am

    **********************

    haha. I finally got to patterico! I work here is done. Screw off, folks.

    Comment by truthnjustice — 1/1/2009 @ 9:22 am

    **********************

    “I work here is done.”

    I love it.

    Yes, it is. Truer (and less articulate) words were never spoken.

    Buh-bye, troll.

    Comment by Patterico — 1/2/2009 @ 12:13 am

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  104. Patterico, what is with these banned commenters that keep recycling themselves?

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  105. I once trolled at a lefty site, where I was treated exponentially worse than were Levi, TMJ et al here at Patterico.com. I was a bit provocative, and certainly a jerk. I called them names the way that they called me names. It didn’t last long, and I haven’t been back. I believe that Patterico remembers the site in question, as I found them through their posts here. Without question, even considering the death spiral of the occasional troll-infested comment thread here, this is one of the most civilized comment-enabled of the conservative/libertarian blogosphere. It brings me much joy to share reactions to the events of the day with you fine people.

    carlitos (34f76e)

  106. Was it a site that liked to cover your posts with “Troll Blather”?

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  107. [...] Civil Liberties – Bush vs. Dems Patterico suggests that Obama is appointing the wrong people if he really wants to uphold civil liberties. Last month, [...]

    Eroding Civil Liberties - Bush vs. Dems « Something should go here, maybe later. (c70174)

  108. Patterico, what is with these banned commenters that keep recycling themselves?

    They can’t stay away. You and I and the rest here are the people they love to hate.

    Thing is, almost anyone can have their privileges reinstated if they apologize, demonstrate an understanding of their past transgressions, and promise to do better.

    I used to say anyone could. Now I wouldn’t be so categorical.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  109. You’re a hard man….

    It’s a hard life!

    AD (80a16b)

  110. I guess I don’t understand the hate. Disagreement, sure. But generally, the difference arise from philosophical differences. It doesn’t mean that my opponents are evil or stupid.

    But then, I dare not express my political feelings on campus. And the irritating part is that we have literal Marxists on campus whom everyone supports—even when they say the most extreme stuff.

    Oh well. Demonizing one’s opponent makes things easier, I suppose.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  111. #75 Comment by DRJ — 8/25/2008 @ 12:34 pm

    Hurtful words do more damage to the speaker than the receiver. It’s easy to ignore things people have done by accident or design to hurt me, but I’ll always remember things I did that hurt other people.

    Sometimes in the debris; a jewel.

    Wow DRJ, this is the best comment I have seen in any blog. What gentle, kind, moral words that must have come from a gentle, kind, moral heart.

    Thank you for these words.

    Pons Asinorum (b2b187)

  112. Charles, there is a difference between noting a bias in The Times and claiming McCain lost the election because of that bias.

    That aside, tnj was banned not because he was “breaking up the love-fest”, but because he was a useless, insufferable troll. He didn’t add anything to the debate, hijacked threads, and took pride in getting to Patterico.

    Steverino (69d941)

  113. Charles is tnj. His comment was deleted.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  114. Wow. This thread has a clean, lemony fresh smell, and it sparkles! TrollAway! It works!

    Pablo (99243e)

  115. I rather suspected…

    He was a bit late to the party to have found and praised the integrity of tnj…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  116. I missed TMJ getting banned and the triumphant return of Levi?!

    JD (9ede88)

  117. So…not just a troll, but a sockpuppet alias?

    Sheesh. Why spend the energy on it?

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  118. JD, I denounce your missing those events.

    Racist.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  119. I did not know that Levi/Sarlberid and TMJ/Charles were minorities. I am clearly racist.

    JD (9ede88)

  120. Well, I’m sure that the would claim it. How many other characteristics of Absolute Moral Authority have they claimed?

    The “Charles” post was removed before I saw it, but it must have been epic socketpuppetry.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  121. I did not know that Levi/Sarlberid and TMJ/Charles were minorities.

    They might be for now, but the utter morons of the world are breeding far too rapidly for that to remain the case for much longer.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  122. “the utter morons of the world are breeding far too rapidly for that to remain the case for much longer.”

    Scott – Good thing we know tnj and Levi are too stupid to figure out how to do that or find women willing to perform the act with them without getting paid.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  123. Good thing we know tnj and Levi are too stupid to figure out how to do that or find women willing to perform the act with them without getting paid.

    Nicole Richie figured it out, so I’m not optimistic about our chances here…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  124. They might be for now, but the utter morons of the world are breeding far too rapidly for that to remain the case for much longer

    I’m all for expanding the tax base ;)

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  125. I’m all for expanding the tax base

    As if these pay taxes.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  126. I did not know that Levi/Sarlberid and TMJ/Charles were minorities. I am clearly racist.

    TARDOPHOBE!!!

    Pablo (99243e)

  127. “I did not know that Levi/Sarlberid and TMJ/Charles were minorities. I am clearly racist.”

    DEMENTOPHOBE!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  128. Well, what is the Latin for “irrational hatred of sockpuppets“?

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  129. insensatus odium of sockpuppets

    Dana (137151)

  130. Well, what is the Latin for “irrational hatred of sockpuppets“?

    Mens sana in corpore sano

    Steverino (69d941)

  131. Well, what is the Latin for “irrational hatred of sockpuppets“?

    Greenwaldphobia?

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  132. 129 to 132, The word is SANITY!

    PCD (7fe637)

  133. That’s what I said, PCD, but he asked for it in Latin :)

    Steverino (69d941)


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