The Department of “Justice” should rebrand itself as the Department of LHOL to more accurately reflect the joke the agency has become under both the Trump and Biden administrations. It’s a wonder how top DOJ officials sleep at night, the millions of dollars lining their bank accounts notwithstanding. Instead of counting sheep, I imagine they tally the millions of dollars that await them when they return to Big Law practices or land lucrative chief corporate counsel positions.

There are big bucks to be made luring only minnows in the wrongdoing pond rather than trying to reel in some big fish or maybe even a corporate whale.

It might seem like a big deal that Boeing agreed to plead guilty to one felony charge of conspiring to defraud the federal government over two fatal 737 MAX crashes resulting from the company’s corner cutting to enrich its management and shareholders, but it’s not. The agreement also calls for Boeing to pay a piddling $487 million in additional fines and to be placed on probation, evoking memories of a scene from my favorite movie Animal House, where the dean of a university put a ne’er do well fraternity on “double secret probation” to no avail.

The corrupt UAW is also under a court appointed monitor who recently alleged he continues to uncover more wrongdoing and questionable behavior. The Detroit News reported today the monitor is investigating allegations that UAW President Shawn Fain and his team demanded that a subordinate take action to benefit Fain’s fiancée and her sister. President Biden is among Fain’s biggest supporters, having stood with him on a picket line and appointed him to to Export Council, an advisory body on trade related issues. Fain endorsed Biden’s reelection.

Don’t take it on my word that Boeing’s DOJ settlement is a nothing burger. Boeing is a publicly traded company, which under securities laws must disclose material developments in a timely fashion. As of this writing, Boeing has yet to issue a news release disclosing the settlement, let alone expressed any remorse or promises to uphold the highest ethical standards going forward. Wall Street clearly was nonplussed by the news. Boeing stock was up more than two percent earlier in the day and closed virtually unchanged.

Underscoring Boeing’s lack of remorse, the Air Current trade publication two weeks ago reported that Boeing was sharply rebuked by the National Transportation Safety Board for violating a confidentiality agreement the company signed not to disclose information relating to the agency’s investigation of the company. Boeing shared some of that information with about four dozen U.S. and foreign reporters.

The DOJ understandably didn’t cheer lead the Boeing settlement. The agency had until midnight last night to either charge Boeing or give it a pass, and it waited till the 11th hour to disclose its shameful agreement. At this writing, the DOJ also hasn’t issued a news release on its website disclosing the agreement. Here’s a link to the release the DOJ issued in January 2021 disclosing that it was giving Boeing a criminal exemption for its alleged wrongdoing providing it behaved itself for three years.

“This case sends a clear message: The Department of Justice will hold manufacturers like Boeing accountable for defrauding regulators – especially in industries where the stakes are this high,” thundered then U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.

What’s Cox up to these days? She’s a partner with the white-shoe law firm Kirkland & Ellis, representing “corporations, boards of directors, and executives involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and high-stakes investigations.” Readers of this blog already know that the DOJ under the Trump and Biden administrations is a revolving door overseen by millionaires who prefer not to bite the corporate hands that will ultimately feed them.

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, in 2023 DOJ prosecuted 113 corporations, up from 99 in 2022 and just 90 in 2021, which was the lowest number in a quarter-century. The 2023 figures are sharply lower than any year of George W. Bush’s administration, and lower than two of the four years of the Trump administration. The 113 prosecutions last year equal about 37 percent of the 304 prosecutions waged in 2000.

Tellingly, 76 percent of the corporations DOJ prosecuted in 2023 had 50 or fewer employees. Smaller companies can’t offer DOJ staffers seven figure corporate counsel jobs, and often can’t afford the white shoe law firms heavily staffed with DOJ alumni.

To most honest and hard-working Americans, being responsible or linked to a corporation guilty of a felony would induce some pangs of shame, but in the private equity and business circles Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun moves in its possibly a badge of honor. It’s no mean feat pocketing more than $80 million helping destroy one of America’s most respected corporations with zero personal or professional consequences.

In addition to being Boeing’s CEO these past four years, Calhoun served on the company’s board for the previous ten and the accountant reportedly was an influential director, no doubt driving the cost cutting and the reallocation of capital to shareholders that led to Boeing’s decline. I dubbed him “Lord Calhoun of Lake Sunapee” after the Wall Street Journal reported last September that Calhoun made more than 400 trips to or from airports near Calhoun’s sprawling waterfront house at New Hampshire’s Lake Sunapee and his gated South Carolina resort community.

Boeing’s headquarters officially is in Virginia, but Calhoun couldn’t be bothered to relocate there, nor could several of Boeing’s other top executives. The Journal reported that Boeing CFO Brian West worked out of an office in New Caanan, Conn, about five minutes from his house where a reporter on a midsummer Monday morning found him dressed in a polo shirt, shorts, and slip-on shoes. Brian Besanceney, who oversees Boeing’s communications, lives in Orlando, as did Michael D’Ambrose, the company’s former HR chief.

After the Journal published its story, I naively believed that Calhoun would be fired, given that Boeing’s problems were mounting and publicly known. Instead, he remained on the job while Boeing continued to deteriorate. A few months later, an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX aircraft lost a chunk of its fuselage while airborne, hardly a surprise given the damning details of the manufacturing issues and neglect detailed in this lawsuit filed in May of last year and subsequently amended.

Family members of the 346 victims who died in the two fatal plane crashes because of Boeing’s management negligence are understandably outraged by the DOJ’s disregard for their tragedies.

“Miscarriage of justice is a gross understatement in describing this,” said a statement from Zipporah Kuria of England who lost her father, Joseph, in an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash. “It is an atrocious abomination. I hope that, God forbid, if this happens again the DOJ is reminded that it had the opportunity to do something meaningful and instead chose not to.”

While the DOJ prosecutorial decline began with the Obama administration and worsened under presidents Trump and Biden, consider it a given that if Kamala Harris were to get elected president the regulator would continue to do Sgt. Schultz proud.

The DOJ’s Patron Saint

When Harris was California’s attorney general, she declined to prosecute the state’s biggest utility for a 2010 deadly explosion in a Bay area suburb that killed eight people and ravaged a residential neighborhood. Despite pleas from local officials to charge the company, Harris looked the other way. The DOJ, which still had leaders bent on prosecuting corporate wrongdoing, stepped in and secured the utility’s conviction on six criminal charges, plus a maximum $3 million fine.

In yet another DOJ disgrace, the agency leaked to the Washington Post that even if Trump gets reelected, it will continue to pursue him. In my mind, that leak constituted election interference, and reaffirms my perception that the Post serves as the government’s lapdog rather than the public’s watchdog.

Kamala Harris: The Liar Extraordinaire

Speaking of Harris, I’ve finally identified a talent where the vice president excels: Telling bald-faced lies.

All politicians lie, as my liberal Michigan friend responded when I asked why he wasn’t troubled by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lying that she hadn’t left her state and violated her lockdown rules at the height of the pandemic. It would be wise to start gauging the ease with which politicians deceive the public.

By this measurement, Harris is an off-the-charts gold medalist.

I urge you to watch the video embedded in the tweet below and witness how Harris so comfortably reaffirmed Biden’s fitness, validating the legacy media’s false narratives that the president was “sharp as a tack.”  

The New York Times, already a Pinocchio hall-of-famer, was particularly disgraceful, having published this article not long before the presidential debate assuring its readers that videos purporting to show Biden’s decline were altered and lacked “context.” The publication, which rushed to call for Biden to step aside, these days is doing Orwell proud pushing a new narrative suggesting that Biden’s decline is severe and highlighting growing calls for the president to step aside.

This is old news for readers of Breitbart and other conservative publications, who long ago came to appreciate the Times is a woke publication whose reporting can’t be trusted. But now a organization on the other side of the political aisle has seen the light.

Occupy Democrats, which according to Wikipedia is a “left-wing” media outlet that publishes “hyperpartisan content, clickbait, and false information” whose posts are “among the most widely shared political content on Facebook,” has also taken a shot at the newspaper.

Once upon a time, if the New York Times and three of its most experienced columnists called on the president of the United States to step aside the earth would have moved underneath the White House. It’s reassuring that Biden’s mental acuity is such that he no longer takes the publication all that seriously.

Indications are neither do voters in critical swing states.  According to a Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll released two days ago, Biden was leading Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin. In Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina, the incumbent is now within the margin of error.

Mary Barra: Queen of Automotive Emissions

In other news on the eve of the July 4th holiday, GM was ordered to pay $146 million in penalties to the federal government because certain vehicles from 2012 through 2018 model years didn’t comply with federal fuel economy requirements. The penalty comes after the Environmental Protection Agency said its testing showed the GM pickup trucks and SUVs emit over 10% more carbon dioxide on average than GM’s initial compliance testing claimed.

CEO, July 20, 2021

GM CEO Mary Barra assumed command in 2014 and championed electric vehicles because of her feigned concern for the environment. According to the EPA’s 2023 annual report, GM’s emissions between 2017 and 2023 increased more than any other automaker than Honda. It could be the increase was because of the fake results GM submitted in the previous years.

A climate group ranked GM’s EV Hummer more environmentally harmful than most gas engine vehicles.

As a public service, I’m alerting existing and potential buyers of GM’s 2024 Cadillac Lyriq of some critical issues. The electric motors in the rear drive units possibly have insufficiently insulated wires that can contact each other, resulting in a loss of drive power and potentially causing a crash. Some models have unpainted rear doors and maybe rear seat belts that were improperly welded to the seat frame.

Barra received $28 million in compensation last year despite missing every metric she previously outlined. My guess is the Barra and Boeing’s Calhoun would get along famously.

Correction: This post when published erroneously said that Mary Barra was the highest paid automotive executive in the world. In fact, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares received nearly $40 million in 2023 compensation.

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