Obama: Most Ethical Administration Ever?

Posted: February 14, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Politics

Obama has nominated David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General, a champion of the porn industry. Once again, I am baffled at the nominations of team Obama: 2 failed Commerce Secretary nominations (Richardson subject to Ethics probe, Judd withdrew in dismay of “Stimulus” bill), an Attorney General who helped pardon a fugitive in Marc Rich and aided a terroist cell as cited below from Wikipedia:

Holder was also involved in Clinton’s decision to reduce the sentences of 16 members of the Boricua Popular Army, an organization that has been categorized by the FBI as a terrorist organization. The clemency request was initially opposed in 1996 by U.S. Pardons Attorney Margaret Love. When Holder was elevated to Deputy Attorney General in 1997, he was asked to reexamine the issue by three members of Congress. In July 1999, Holder recommended clemency to President Clinton with a report from then U.S. Pardons Attorney Roger Adams that neither supported nor opposed clemency. A month later, the clemency was granted by Clinton. According to The Hartford Courant, the clemency was unusual because it was opposed by the FBI, the federal prosecutor and the victims. According to the newspaper, it was also unusual because, before the commutations, the Boricua Popular Army members were not required to repudiate their actions, and they were not asked to provide any information concerning the whereabouts ofVictor Manuel Gerena, a co-conspirator and one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, or the millions of dollars stolen by the group in a 1983 robbery of Wells Fargo in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Obama has also nominated 3 folks with tax issues, and in another puzzling decision, has nominated Leon Panetta as head of the CIA (article noting the shock of this nomination and lack of support in intelligence community). 

Is this the hope and change we were promised? Ethics probes, tax invasion, defenders of terroist groups, incompetence in the CIA, defender of the proliferation of unrestricted porn, and on and on. Oh, he also promised, in firm terms, that no lobbyist would find a place in his administration. So far, at least a dozen have found jobs (http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090128/pl_politico/18128).

I didn’t vote for Obama, but vowed to stay open-minded and have anticipated his new style of politics that I did hope might at least change the culture of Washington. He has failed at almost every turn, broken many promises, etc. Stay tuned. Below is an article from Al Mohler regarding the nomination of David Ogden.

Pornography, Public Culture, and the New Administration

by Al Mohler

In contemporary America, pornography is both a public reality and big business.  Ambient pornography — sexually explicit advertising, entertainment, and merchandising — is all around us.  But pornography is also big business, producing sexually explicit materials in printed, video, and digital formats and making billions of dollars in the process.

The pornography industry has a big stake in defending itself against legal challenges and restrictive laws, and it has been stunningly successful in doing so.  One of the leading legal defenders of pornography has been David Ogden, a lawyer who can only be described as a First Amendment extremist, who has even argued against laws against child pornography.

President Barack Obama has nominated David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General of the United States.  This nomination is both ominous and dangerous.  Given David Ogden’s high visibility in defense of pornography, this nomination sends a clear and unmistakable message.  The pornography business will have a friend in high office in the Department of Justice.

Writing at ThePublicDiscourse.com, Matthew Schmitz explained:

In addition to making it harder to prosecute those who sell images of child molestation and rape, Ogden has sought to ensure that pornography can be easily distributed and readily accessed in almost any medium or location. He has fought cases in Puerto Rico to allowPlayboy to broadcast explicit programming on TV. He represented Philip Harvey, a man who runs the nation’s largest mail-order pornography shop out of North Carolina, in his attempt to deflect a Department of Justice investigation of his business. Completing a sort of multi-media grand slam, Ogden has sued to allow sexually-explicit content to be transmitted over the phone. Taking this quest to its absurd limits, he has even claimed in court that there is a constitutional right for pornography to be kept in firehouses. Ogden’s position is good for the industry groups he has represented but bad for female firefighters who could be subjected to humiliating and harassing images in the workplace. With an equal disregard for the comfort and protection of children, in 2000 Ogden sued to allow pornography to be accessed in public libraries.

In essence, David Ogden has been in the forefront of arguing for the unrestricted sale and distribution of any and all pornography by any and all means – and now he will be in charge of prosecuting those who were his clients and arguing against all that he has argued in the past.  Are we to believe that this will have no effect on prosecutions against pornography?

As British philosopher Roger Scruton has noted, David Ogden’s extremism in defense of pornography is based in the legal theory that explicit pornography (visual, literary, video, digital) is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  He comments:

The idea that pornography is “speech,” within the meaning of the first amendment, and thereby protected by the Constitution, is so absurd that it is hard for an outsider to see how American judges have been persuaded to accept it again and again. Of course porn is big business, and can afford to keep beating at the doors of the courts. But the real reason for the legalization of pornography in America lies in the culture of the liberal elite and in the strategy of legal activism whereby that elite continues its relentless assault on majority values. Porn has been incorporated into the “culture war” precisely because ordinary Americans see it as a threat to family and religious values. This fact is sufficient to prompt the liberal establishment to add porn to its agenda, as one more thing to be defended in the court against the legislature. Again and again we have seen this process at work, as the values and transgressions of elites are seized upon by the ACLU and similar organizations, rebranded as essential liberties, and defended as constitutional rights, regardless of their subversive effect on society as a whole.

The legal defense David Ogden has presented in defense of the pornography industry is also applied to other arenas of legal activism as well.  The spread of the contagion is inevitable.

Pornography is one of the most insidious dimensions of American culture today.  It is a plague that is ruining lives, marriages, and public morals.  It endangers women, children, and the most vulnerable among us.  Putting one who can only be described as an extremist for pornography in such a high position in the Department of Justice — Deputy Attorney General of the United States — sends a clear signal at home and around the world.  If David Ogden is confirmed, the U.S. Senate becomes a party to this disaster.

What signal does President Obama intend to send by this nomination, and to whom?

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