TFA: Eric Holder Slams Trump and Lou Dobbs of Fox News for Ignorant Tweet About the DOJ

One of the most fascinating aspects of Donald Trump’s dementia is how he frequently expresses something that has the effect of contradicting his intention. He did this recently in a tweet about his “witch hunt” delusion that actually affirmed it. And he did it again in a rant about the anonymous New York Times op-ed that validated the article’s warnings about his unfitness to serve.

Donald Trump, Eric Holder

Well, he’s done it again. On Tuesday morning, when the rest of America was deep in remembrance of the victims of 9/11, Trump decided he would go after his own Justice Department. And he did so with what he must regard as the worst possible indignity he could muster: comparing it to Obama’s Justice Department:

On the surface, what Trump is implying is that his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was no better than his predecessor, Eric Holder. But this attempt at insulting Sessions could be interpreted another way. Trump might be saying, inadvertently of course, that the Justice Department is operating exactly as it should be. A change in administrations ought not to alter the mission of the agency, which is to be a nonpartisan seeker of facts and accountability for wrongdoing. So it should, in fact, not be any different under Sessions, than it was under Holder.

Trump, however, is wholly incapable of understanding anything as principled and anchored by ethics as that. What he was aiming at was the refusal of Sessions to turn the department into his own Office of Personal Persecution. Trump is livid that Sessions won’t lead an inquisition against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who Trump, in his paranoid haze, believes are conspirators in a “Deep State” plot to dethrone him.

As for Holder, he noticed Trump’s harangue at Sessions and observed some differences between the current DoJ and the one that he led. Holder tweeted in response to Trump:

Indeed, Holder took his responsibilities seriously as the nation’s top law enforcement official. He dedicated his service to advancing the rights of all Americans and bringing criminals to justice. His closing acronym, “TFA,” was a reference to the 25th Amendment that provides for the removal of a president who is incapable of carrying out his duties.

Finally, Trump’s tweet was his second of the morning that quoted Lou Dobbs, the Fox News hack who is so infatuated with Trump that he signs most of his own tweets with the hashtags #MAGA and #TrumpTrain. Nothing like being fair and balanced. The other Dobbs quote posted by Trump said:

Needlass to say that is 100% false. There are mountains of evidence that connect Trump directly to Russia and people close to Vladimir Putin. And there is literally nothing that connects Clinton to Russia except for the partial funding of the Steele Dossier, which included sources that were Russian dissidents, not Kremlin operatives. That’s a huge difference.

All of this underscores the differences between what Eric Holder sees as an honest Justice Department and what Trump thinks should be an agency that is obedient to his tyrannical rule. Fortunately, that perverse vision isn’t being carried out – yet. But with Trump threatening to fire Sessions after the midterm elections, who knows.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LOCK HER UP: Fox News Stands Alone With Praise For Aspiring Dictator Donald Trump

The second presidential debate is now a part of history, and that’s not just a figure of speech. In a campaign that has set ugly precedents and breached common standards of decency from its inception, Donald Trump has once again lowered the bar. He has let his inner dictator emerge in full view of millions of viewers and citizens.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

During a debate wherein Trump engaged in free-range falsification of reality, there was one moment that stood out. It was an exchange in which Trump took the extraordinary position that as president he would instruct his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: “I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.
CLINTON: It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.
TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

The “situation” to which Trump referred has to do with Clinton’s emails and the private server she used. Never mind that an extensive investigation was already completed by the FBI. While they found some room for criticism, they concluded that there were no actionable violations of the law.

Trump, however, doesn’t care about the law as evidenced by his prejudgment to jail Clinton before any investigation or trial. It’s a position that stands in stark contrast to every legal precept in a democracy. Former Attorney General Eric Holder noted that in a statement saying “In the USA we do not threaten to jail political opponents.” George Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer agreed saying that “Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. […] Trump is wrong on this.”

For the most part the media recognized the aberrant legal analysis that Trump was proposing. Like much of what he says on any subject, he demonstrated his pitiful lack of knowledge or even basic understanding. Here are a few examples of how the press views Trump’s ludicrous threat.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: We got an excellent moment right now to discuss something I’ve never heard in any of these debates before between two presidential candidates […] One candidate says not only is he going to put forward a special prosecutor to investigate his rival, but he’s going to put her in jail if he’s elected president of the United States. That’s pretty extraordinary.

DANA BASH, CNN: What makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders is that when they took over, they put their opponents in jail.

JOY REID, MSNBC: We need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for president threatened to jail his political opponent. […] This happens in Malaysia, this happens in Uganda. This does not happen in the United States of America.

VAN JONES, CNN: A line was crossed that I don’t know has been crossed in my lifetime, maybe ever. He threatened to jail his opponent. […] He threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he became president of the United States. That is something that I think is a new low in American democracy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Donald Trump also said, in one of the most provocative comments of the evening, he said that if he was president, he would jail his political opponent. He would put Hillary Clinton in jail. That is the sort of thing that we usually decry in other countries, in authoritarian countries.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Let’s be clear: a candidate for president promised to put his opponent in jail if he wins. Everything else is secondary.

JAKE HOROWITZ, MIC: A few politicians who have jailed their political opponents: Putin, Erdogan, Chavez, Mugabe, Pinochet. Noriega.

DAVID FRUM, speechwriter for George Bush: Who would consent to serve as Attorney General to a president who believed he could direct prosecutions of his political opponents?

By contrast, Fox News presented a somewhat different perspective. Their primetime star Bill O’Reilly gushed that “That’s the smartest thing he did all night because that, just that, coalesced his base back together.” And contributor Scott Brown said that “It was the line of obviously, I think, the election, the debate process. […] it was a home run. I thought he won the debate.” Nowhere on the “fair and balanced” Fox News was there a contrary opinion like that expressed by Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon:

“That is the comment of a dictator that you expect to hear in a banana republic — the idea of jailing your political opponents.”

And that pretty much sums it up. Trump has presented himself as a narcissistic authoritarian from the outset of his campaign. His racist proposals to ban immigrants on the basis of religion; his incitement of violence toward protesters; his proclamations that “I alone” can defeat ISIS, or reform the tax code, or repeal ObamaCare, or end street violence. These are all indications of Trump’s belief that as president he can act unilaterally and impose his will the nation. And let’s not forget his open hostility to the media upon whom he promised to seek revenge.

These are the thoughts and actions of a budding tyrant. Anyone who can contemplate putting Trump at the head of the U.S. government and military is playing with fire. Trump has shown us who he is, and it’s a frightening picture of autocratic oppression. If he were to become president, Hillary Clinton would not be the only opponent he would throw in his gulag. Guantanamo would be packed with his critics and any random liberals who offend him.

Despite Their Own Conceit, Fox News Is About As Scary As Honey Boo Boo

As America’s number one network for extreme, right-wing political bias and propaganda, Fox News relishes every opportunity to disparage their ideological foes and to sanctimoniously exalt themselves as protectors of their twisted versions of the truth. One of the favorite tactics of Fox News is to taunt public figures who make the completely rational decision to avoid the abuse that they would endure were they to submit to being interviewed by the network’s bullies and ignorant partisans. This week there was another example of that attempted intimidation by Fox’s media reporter, Howard Kurtz.

Fox News

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Kurtz appeared on The Kelly File with fill-in host and terrorist profiler Shannon Bream, a former beauty pageant contestant and graduate of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University with no journalism training. The topic of the segment was departing Attorney General Eric Holder’s scheduled interviews with some news networks that did not, as of yet, include Fox. Bream queued Kurtz up by asking “Does he help himself at all by walking out the door and slamming it in our faces.” That totally unbiased question got this response from Kurtz:

“I think that it’s a sign of confidence when any politician, political figure, cabinet officer, congressman, is willing to sit down and take tougher questions from those you might perceive to be your harshest critics. […] Is the nation’s top law enforcement officer really afraid of [Fox News anchor] Bret Baier?”

Any suggestion that Holder, or anyone else who chooses to keep their distance from Fox News, is afraid of them is utter nonsense. That’s like saying you’re afraid of being interviewed by Honey Boo Boo, when the truth is you’re just smart enough to not waste your time. Notorious liar Bill O’Reilly has used the accusation of fear repeatedly, but frankly I’d be more afraid of Honey Boo boo.

Furthermore, if Kurtz even bothers to take his own analysis seriously, then why doesn’t he apply it to Republicans? He seems so disturbed that a single administration official is waving off Fox News, but he doesn’t seem bothered at all that the entire Republican Party is boycotting MSNBC. Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee has stated publicly that there will be no GOP presidential primary debates on that network. There will be four on Fox. Therefore, according to his own logic, Kurtz is implying that that every single one of the GOP candidates for president are afraid of Rachel Maddow?

What’s even more interesting about this is that the GOP candidates are even afraid of the friendly venues they have chosen for themselves. The RNC has drastically reduced the number of debates and assumed control of who will moderate them and ask questions. That was done to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing displays put on by Republicans during the 2012 election cycle. On one hand that may be a wise decision on their part considering the proclivity for Republicans to say stupid things. On the other hand it shelters them from the real world of political brawling that might toughen them up for the general election. And it exposes them as fearful of letting their candidates express themselves by taking positions for which they would later be held accountable.

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After being left off of a preliminary list of networks that would be interviewing Holder, Fox News VP Michael Clemente whined that Holder’s reluctance to subject himself to the petty carping of Fox’s confirmed haters does a disservice to “the interests of a free press.” Apparently he doesn’t understand the phrase “free press.” You have to wonder where he gets the notion that a free press requires every public figure to submit to every media outlet, no matter how disreputable and hostile. It would be more correct to applaud Holder for showing respect for a free press by declining to validate Fox’s deceitful brand of pseudo-journalism.

Whether or not Holder grants Fox News an opportunity to malign him in person, it is clear that neither he, nor anyone else, is afraid of Fox. They just show it the measure of respect it deserves. But Republicans are demonstrating that they terrified of MSNBC and every other media outlet, including Fox, by implementing a policy that prohibits them from engaging in any public debates that aren’t sanctioned by the party apparatchiks. That’s a story that Kurtz will never report.

Attorney General Eric Holder Hospitalized: And The Fox Nation Hopes That He Dies

This afternoon it was reported that Attorney General Eric Holder was admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital after feeling faint and short of breath. Subsequent reports say that he is resting comfortably and conversing with his doctors.

However, in yet another example of the repugnant and hateful community that Fox News fosters on their Fox Nation website, comments posted there openly express their hope that his ailment results in suffering and eventual death. These sentiments are nothing new for a community that has also prayed for the death of Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and, of course, President Obama. And these are the so-called “patriots” who claim to be guided by the compassion and tolerance of their alleged Christian faith.

Here is a representative selection of the comments posted with the article announcing Holder’s condition. The vile nature of this congregation of haters is self-evident.

Fox Nation hopes for Holder's death

Fox Nation vs. Reality: You Don’t Have To Defend Laws That Are Unconstitutional

Whenever Fox News encounters an issue that offends their rightist ideological biases, their automatic response is to construct a deliberately misleading campaign to distort the facts. But sometimes the facts make it too difficult for them to refute in terms simple enough for their dimwitted audience to grasp. And in those times of difficulty, Fox simply decides to make up arguments that have no basis in reality.

Fox Nation

For more examples of Fox’s rank dishonesty, read Fox Nation vs. Reality.

The Fox Nation website is often the first place that these rhetorical concoctions show up. Take for example the article they posted claiming that Attorney General Eric Holder advised the nation’s state attorneys general that “You Don’t Have to Enforce Laws You Don’t Agree With.” Anyone who knows how Fox works has already figured out that Holder said no such thing. What he said, as reported by the New York Times, was that, “[S]tate attorneys general are not obligated to defend laws that they believe are discriminatory.”

Notice the difference in these quotes between the words “enforce” and “defend.” What Holder was talking about was whether or not state officials are obligated to defend the constitutionality of laws that are being challenged in the courts. He never suggested that the laws as enacted should not be enforced by local police agencies while they are in effect. Holder was merely pointing out, quite correctly, that no state is required to mount costly and time consuming defenses of laws that it believes do not pass constitutional muster.

The Fox Nationalists, however, were incapable of presenting a valid argument against Holder’s actual remarks, so they altered them to create the appearance that Holder was advocating that states neglect any laws that they don’t like. And rather than linking to the original source in the New York Times, Fox linked to the ultra-conservative blog Townhall, whose assessment of the controversy was utterly false:

Townhall: Attorney General Eric Holder is taking the lawless attitude of the Obama administration and passing it down to state attorneys general. Yesterday during an interview with The New York Times, Holder said state attorneys general do not have to enforce laws they disagree with, specifically when it comes to the issue of gay marriage.

Once again, that is not even remotely what Holder said. Enforcing the law as enacted in the state is an entirely different matter than defending the law against constitutional challenges in federal courts. Holder himself demonstrated the principle behind this position last year when he declined to defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court later struck it down as unconstitutional. So Holder was right, and his position prevented the waste of scarce resources on a vain mission to defend the indefensible. Nevertheless, the law was fully enforced up until the Supreme Court issued its ruling.

The editors and producers at Fox News know the difference between the concepts of enforcing and defending a law. They are intentionally misrepresenting the facts in order to disparage Holder and the Obama administration. And they are exploiting the fact that their viewers are too partisan and incurious to discover or understand the truth. That is not how ethical journalism is done. But then, Fox News has never been much of a proponent of ethical journalism.

Media Goes Silent As Texas Defends Constitutionality Of Racial Discrimination

In what may be the most under-reported story of the year so far, the media has virtually ignored the shameful response by the state of Texas to a Department of Justice challenge of voter discrimination in the state.

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In June, the right-wing majority in the Supreme Court struck down a key provision in the fifty year old Voting Rights Act of 1964. In doing so they sanctioned efforts by racially biased state governments to discriminate against minority residents and other voters they want to suppress.

Attorney General Eric Holder moved quickly to mitigate the harm caused by the decision. He directed the Justice Department to seek a court ruling to require Texas to get permission from the federal government before making changes to their voting laws under a different section of the VRA.

Last week Texas responded to the DOJ filing with an astonishing admission that the intent of their voting reforms is to discriminate. They masked the ultimate purpose in a political argument, but the result is unarguably racist and unconstitutional. Rick Hasen of the University of California at Irvine caught the offensive passage in the Texas filing:

“DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.”

The argument by the state of Texas is that they are deliberately discriminating against Democratic voters, not minorities or other protected classes of citizens, and they regard that as permissible. The first problem with their argument is that it is questionable to assert that it is constitutional to “make partisan districting decisions.” Any overt attempt to suppress the voting rights of any citizen is challengeable and potentially in violation of civil liberties.

More to the point, the claim that they are only aiming their discriminatory activities at Democrats is disingenuous and unsupportable. The redistricting maps proposed by the Republican-controlled Texas legislature cut obviously across racial boundaries. The clear intent is to segregate blacks and Latinos into the fewest number of districts possible, denying them equal representation. These maps were struck down by federal courts as blatantly discriminatory, but now the state can re-introduce them with the blessing of an atrociously reasoned Supreme Court decision.

There is simply no way to pretend that the statement made in the filing defending the constitutionality of discrimination against Democrats is anything other than a defense of discrimination against minority communities in Texas. Given the demographic breakdown of the district mapping, it is absurd and grossly dishonest to assert that the “effects on minority voters” are “incidental.” What the state of Texas is doing is racism, pure and simple.

So where is the media coverage of this outrageous admission made in an official court document? None of the television news networks has reported on it. None of the major national newspapers has published a story about it. A few Internet news outlets have done some commendable reporting on it, but their reach is minimal at this point.

Without the establishment media informing the nation that this sort of institutionalized racism is going on, it will continue unabated. And if there is one thing that this proves other than the fact that racism is still deeply ingrained into some of our government systems, it’s that the conservative complaints about media are wholly without merit. Liberal media my ass!

Enough Already! Eric Holder Did Not Lie Under Oath About Leak Investigations

The media is once again demonstrating their bottomless capacity for ignorance and their utter inability to grasp simple concepts.

Fox News

Fox News and other lazy pseudo-reporters are all aflutter over an answer given by Attorney General Eric Holder at a House committee hearing. Holder was asked a question about press freedom raised by a Justice Department investigation into the leaking of classified data. Holder responded saying…

“With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy. In fact, my view is quite the opposite.”

That’s a pretty straight forward answer with little ambiguity. Nevertheless, the media can’t seem to grasp the meaning. They are journeying far afield to surmise that Holder may have committed perjury because it was later found the he had approved the search warrant for phone records and emails pertaining to alleged State Department leaker, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Megyn Kelly on Fox devoted two segments of her program to this overtly slanderous charge, complete with her hallmark smugness and affected outrage. And of course, the prize-winning prevaricators at Fox Nation featured multiple renditions of this non-story.

The search warrant in question included records for Fox reporter James Rosen who, evidence suggests, was Kim’s accomplice. And now the witch hunters in the GOP-mismanaged House of Representatives are setting fires under Holder in an attempt to further smear the administration.

Let’s make this simple. Holder said that he was uninvolved and unaware of any effort to prosecute any member of the press for “disclosure” of classified materials. That is unarguably true according to all of the available facts. No one was being prosecuted, or even investigated, for disclosing information in the press (i.e. publishing or broadcasting). Rosen was not being investigated for any type of disclosure. He was being investigated for soliciting Kim to transmit secret documents to him.

Holder’s involvement was limited to Kim’s conspiring to give Rosen access to classified data that he did not have security clearance to receive. The search warrant specifically addressed that activity and nothing relating to the publication of such material or any other press function.

If Holder had sought to prosecute Rosen for distributing the material to others, or for the story he later published on Fox News containing the classified data, that might be a different matter. But that never occurred and there is no evidence that it was even considered. The crime here is that Kim and Rosen conspired to exchange government secrets, not that any of those secrets were part of Rosen’s reporting.

Consequently, there is nothing in Holder’s actions and testimony that are inconsistent. It would nice if the media were smart enough to figure this out. Perhaps that is expecting too much.

Brilliant Breitbart Investigation Exposes: The Plot To Eat LUNCH!

Breitbart News appears to be angling to overtake The Onion as the funniest Internet site. Unfortunately for them, they aren’t doing it on purpose.

The geniuses at Breitbart News blasted out a shocking expose today that threatens to blow the lid off of Obama’s Justice Department. After an investigation that included the filing of numerous Freedom of Information Act requests concerning “questionable behavior by agency personnel” and their relationship with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Breitbart’s crack team of reporters (or is that team of reporters on crack?) published the shocking results of their investigation.

Breitbart News

The DOJ had invited Morris Dees, founder of the SPLC, to speak at a Diversity Training Event. Dees was a particularly appropriate choice to address the group because of the SPLC’s long record of fighting bigots and hate groups and advocating for, and teaching, racial tolerance. The SPLC has also worked with both federal and local police agencies to identify racist individuals and groups who engage in criminal activities.

What Breitbart found, via their pals at the right-wing legal group, Judicial Watch, was a batch of emails that revealed … well, see for yourself (cut and paste from Breitbart News):

  • May 3, 2012 email – “We would like to tape the [Morris Dees] remarks and, at the same time, out Morris real time on the DOJ system can watch from their desks. Is that okay with Morris?”
  • June 27, 2012 – “Let me know Morris’ air schedule so I can pick him up at airport and plan an evening for us if he stays over.”
  • July 11, 2012 – “I will be at National in my [REDACTED] in which he has ridden before … I can arrange dinner. If he has a preference in DC where he wants to eat … tell him to let me know his druthers.”
  • July 16, 2012 – “The AAG’s office want to take Morris out to lunch before the 1:30 pm July 31 remarks … I’d pick Morris up at his hotel at 11:30 am if that worked for him.”
  • July 23, 2012 – “I will pick you [Morris Dees] up at the airport July 30. Would you go out to dinner with my wife and me and our two teenage daughters that first night? The girls need some inspiration from a master of inspiration.”

That’s it. Really! The DOJ communicated with a guest speaker to arrange airport transportation and meals. And for this Breitbart seems to think that prison, or perhaps waterboarding, would be warranted.

This article, written by former “Moonie” Washington Times reporter Kerry Picket, castigated the SPLC as an “attack group” and complained about them allegedly “labeling organizations with conservative views on social issues as ‘hate groups.’” However, it is hardly the SPLC’s fault that many so conservative groups are so often found to be bleating overt hate-speech. The SPLC carefully documents every allegation they make and they are respected by the nation’s foremost experts on organized bigotry.

This is another example of the BreitBrats simply targeting an ideological opponent and, lacking any evidence of actual wrongdoing, manufactures an imaginary outrage with which to regale their easily misled audience. But when the pickings are so slim that they are reduced to fanning a scandal comprised of dining reservations, you just have to laugh. It doesn’t get much more pathetic than this.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Beauty Queen-a-Cide

The ignorant fables spun by the Fox Nationalists have frequently coasted off the rails of sanity. But none have diverted nearly as far off course as this article, linked to a story by CBS News, about how “Mexican beauty queen Susana Flores Maria Gamez and four others died in the brutal gun battle between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military in November.”

Fox Nation

On the basis of information that a gun that had once belonged to an ATF official was found at the scene of this gun battle, Fox Nation asks “Did Holder’s Crew Kill A Beauty Queen?” That’s the sort of deliberately offensive and juvenile question that turns Fox viewers into raving ignoramusi. In their purposeful attempt to deceive, the Fox Nationalists failed to provide any details of what actually occurred, including the fact that the alleged “beauty queen” Gamez was reported to have been armed and fighting with the criminals in the drug cartel and was likely killed by the Mexican military.

Nevertheless, Fox portrays her only as a “beauty queen” and not as a drug trafficker, and accuses Attorney General Eric Holder of murdering her. There is no evidence that any gun associated with the ATF or “Fast and Furious” was responsible for her death, particularly in light of the fact that any such weapons would have been in the possession of her drug-running accomplices, not the law enforcement agents they were fighting.

So to answer Fox’s question: No, neither Holder nor his “crew” killed a beauty queen. However, a more accurate version of the story might have said that a shootout with the Mexican military may have resulted in the death of a female drug trafficker and her comrades.

Fox really had to stretch reality to turn this into an assault on Obama’s Attorney General. And they also had to turn a member of a drug cartel into a sexy fallen hero. But that’s what Fox does. It’s only purpose is to malign their ideological enemies and decorate their distortions with lechery and melodrama. I can almost see the next Fox headline about the Sandy Hook killer, Adam Lanza: Obama Attacks Recently Deceased, Mentally-Challenged, 20 Year Old Orphan.

Fast And Spurious: The Phony Outrage Linking Eric Holder To Brian Terry

Yesterday a sharply divided House of Representatives held a politically motivated vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for allegedly refusing to cooperate with a highly partisan investigation of the Fast and Furious so-called scandal.

Eric Holder - Contempt for Congress

Never mind the fact that Holder appeared before eleven congressional panels and produced about 8,000 documents. And set aside the Fortune Magazine investigation that shatters the GOP’s justifications for the hearings in the first place. The obsession by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so fierce that he has forever stained the House’s reputation by orchestrating the first ever contempt charges against a member of a presidential cabinet, without a whisper of evidence of wrongdoing.

Perhaps the worst part of this, however, is the overt and distasteful manipulation of the family of a murdered border patrol agent. Brian Terry was shot by suspected drug traffickers in an Arizona desert. There is no evidence linking any gun from Fast and Furious to his killing, although there may have been a weapon found at the scene that was purchased during the botched operation. But all of this is beside the point.

Conservatives have long defended their position in opposition to almost any type of gun control by chanting the bumpersticker mantra that “guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. But in this affair they are adamant that it was not a person who pulled the trigger of the weapon that killed Terry, it was the gun itself. They seem to think that absent Fast and Furious drug cartels would have been armed with switchblades and slingshots. Of course, the truth is that these criminal enterprises have had abundant armories before Fast and Furious, and they are no less lethal now that the operation has been dormant for years.

This hypocrisy has been used to incite outrage over Fast and Furious as being responsible for Terry’s death. It wasn’t. Terry was killed as a result of the inherent risks of his job, by criminals who would have been armed with or without Fast and Furious. The cry amongst Republicans that they want to get to the bottom of Terry’s murder is a cynical act of deceit and politics. There is nothing that Congress can learn about Fast and Furious that would reveal anything new about Terry’s murder. Yet somehow, Issa and Company have managed to recruit Terry’s family in this witch hunt.

The family of Brian Terry knows exactly how and why he was killed. Knowing the source of the weapon is no more important than knowing where they bought the car that they drove to the crime scene. So it is wholly inappropriate for them to castigate AG Holder, call for his resignation, or advocate the contempt charge. Whether they know it or not, they are being used by Issa for his partisan political purposes.

Ironically, if they (and the GOP) were really interested in reducing gun violence and the proliferation of illegal firearms, they would support programs that seek to identify gun traffickers who provide weapons to the sort of people who killed Terry. That means programs like Fast and Furious – except far better planned and executed.

It isn’t surprising that politicians like Issa exploit tragedies to advance their agenda. They know the media will sop it up like a blood-soaked sponge. And therein lies the problem. If the media were doing their job professionally and ethically, they would resist these tabloid manipulations and focus on what is truly newsworthy. It’s just too bad that the families in these affairs are sometimes exploited as well. In their grief they may not recognize the signs, but the crocodile tears of self-serving politicians are not a substitute for honest sympathy. And it is heartbreaking to see these families being made fools of while they are still in mourning.