Author Topic: DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]  (Read 280246 times)

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« on: March 09, 2007, 09:42:34 AM »
People have probably been reading about the suspect firing of a number of  U.S. federal prosecutors, which finally drove the Senate Judiciary Committee to open hearings on the issue earlier this week.

Here, in easy-to-access form on  Marion in Savannah's blog, is a fine analysis from Paul Krugman of what may have been (what am I saying? must have been) going on in the world of U.S. federal prosecutors through the Bush administrations:

Quote
The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.

Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.

How can this have been happening without a national uproar? The authors explain: “We believe that this tremendous disparity is politically motivated and it occurs because the local (non-statewide and non-Congressional) investigations occur under the radar of a diligent national press. Each instance is treated by a local beat reporter as an isolated case that is only of local interest.”

And let’s not forget that Karl Rove’s candidates have a history of benefiting from conveniently timed federal investigations. Last year Molly Ivins reminded her readers of a curious pattern during Mr. Rove’s time in Texas: “In election years, there always seemed to be an F.B.I. investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished.”

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2007, 07:45:10 AM »
We seem to be picking up a little momentum on this case. From today's WaPo:

Quote
The dismissals took place after President Bush told Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in October that he had received complaints that some prosecutors had not energetically pursued voter-fraud investigations, according to a White House spokeswoman.   

Gonzales approved the idea of firing a smaller group of U.S. attorneys shortly after taking office in February 2005. The aide in charge of the dismissals -- his chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson -- resigned yesterday, officials said, after acknowledging that he did not tell key Justice officials about the extent of his communications with the White House, leading them to provide incomplete information to Congress.

Lawmakers requested the documents as part of an investigation into whether the firings were politically motivated. While it is unclear whether the documents, which were reviewed yesterday by The Washington Post, will answer Congress's questions, they show that the White House and other administration officials were more closely involved in the dismissals, and at a much earlier date, than they have previously acknowledged.

Quote
Sampson also strongly urged bypassing Congress in naming replacements, using a little-known power slipped into the renewal of the USA Patriot Act in March 2006 that allows the attorney general to name interim replacements without Senate confirmation.

"I am only in favor of executing on a plan to push some USAs out if we really are ready and willing to put in the time necessary to select candidates and get them appointed," Sampson wrote in a Sept. 17 memo to Miers. "It will be counterproductive to DOJ operations if we push USAs out and then don't have replacements ready to roll immediately.   

"I strongly recommend that as a matter of administration, we utilize the new statutory provisions that authorize the AG to make USA appointments," he wrote.

By avoiding Senate confirmation, Sampson added, "we can give far less deference to home state senators and thereby get 1.) our preferred person appointed and 2.) do it far faster and more efficiently at less political costs to the White House."

"Kyle thanks for this," Miers wrote back. "I have not forgotten I need to follow up on the info. But things have been crazy."


So -- it looks as though Sampson is the latest fall guy, and Harriet Miers will be the next.

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2007, 05:05:15 PM »
I will probably be assigned to the Xth ring of hell for this - but  :evil:

Quote
The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice.


Justice is political. It is supposed to be political and by gum, it is. When people complain about "an activist court" they are really saying it is activist not in their way. If the US SC should decided that abortion is murder, every TV preacher would say that 'finally justice is done."

I understood that one of the characteristic of the American two party system is that, with changes in administrations, the nominees for the civil service positions were supposed to be reflective of the President's party. Ambassidors change with administrations, to reflect the tone and thrust of the new President.

A dampener is there in the matter of Senate approval, but the inititive is still in the court  :wink:  of the President.

Politics is not a four letter word - we live by it. (even here)

(crog now ducks)  :roll:
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2007, 06:01:48 PM »
Croghan, I disagree.

The classic principles and structures necessary to democracy are better defended by some than by others. It isn't just a political trade-off; it isn't just a question of who is in power.

The neo-cons are wrong. The problem isn't just that they have power or they don't. The problem is that they are anti-democratic.

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2007, 08:43:58 PM »
Quote from: skdadl
Croghan, I disagree.

The classic principles and structures necessary to democracy are better defended by some than by others. It isn't just a political trade-off; it isn't just a question of who is in power.

The neo-cons are wrong. The problem isn't just that they have power or they don't. The problem is that they are anti-democratic.


Now I am really insecure and pissed, skdadl.  :oops:  You obviously took about 2.7 minutes from writiing that terrific post on pogge to completely destroy my whole position in about four sentences.

crog makes his way down the ladder to the appropriate hellish level.  :(, knowing it is what he deserves.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

deBeauxOs

  • Guest
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2007, 09:00:28 PM »
Quote from: Croghan27
... You obviously took about 2.7 minutes from writiing that terrific post on pogge to completely destroy my whole position in about four sentences. ...
Oh c'mon Crog.  Roll with it.  You presented the cynical perspective and skdadl isn't going to debate you on that premise.  So while your opinion is valid, if we start accepting that notion as a foregone reality, what's the point of fighting to defend and advance democracy in action?

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007, 09:40:14 PM »
Quote
You presented the cynical perspective and skdadl isn't going to debate you on that premise. So while your opinion is valid, if we start accepting that notion as a foregone reality, what's the point of fighting to defend and advance democracy in action?


I am not all that sure my perspective was cynical, deBeauxOs. Politics is not a dirty word. Yes, my post was intended to provoke a response, but I believe there is more than a modicum of truth in it. The line about politics not being a four letter word I got from a personal conversation with Dave Barrett, former NDP Premier of BC.

The introduction of political considerations into a matter does not immediately strike fear and loathing into my heart. Politics is our democracy writ small - it is in the functioning of politics we attain the public consensus. I imagine a good argument could be made that the position that "all politicans are crooks", they "are all alike", and they are always"subverting our system to accomplish their own ends" serves only to promote a right wing idea that democracy is really expressed through the magic of the market place and any other way is rather taudry.

(Althought I'd be a fool to think that skdadl, with her fine mind, could be sucked in by such facile arguments.)

I still must maintain that the politicization of the justice system is already in place - and probably more so in Canada than in the US. The US recognizes that it is inevitable and has steps from the Constitution on down to prevent any gross variations. That Bush, with his Patriot Act and means of sneaking in candidates without approval of Congress, has crossed a boundry is also obvious. If he has not contravined the letter of the law, the spirit has been trashed.

That being said, politics is still not a bad thing.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2007, 07:34:54 AM »
Hi, Croghan, and I promise you, I didn't mean to destroy anything. (Man, I must have been in a temper yesterday. I wrote some bad stuff.) And I'm willing to give politics its due. I just think that some basic principles are not up for voting on, not if you want democracy to continue to be possible.

  • Guest
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2007, 08:15:51 AM »
And with this, as with EVERYTHING ELSE, the Democratic Party of the United States will refrain from "partisan" anger.  Thus giving the Repugs firm knowledge that there will never be significant consequences for their illegal behaviour.

belva

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
    • View Profile
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2007, 11:21:12 AM »
Hmmm!  All these wonderfully bad things happening to King George & his court--worries me--what move will the Royal Idiot make next to protect himself & his cronies, especially Rove & Cheney???? Scares the bejhsus out of this gril!

The Attorney General may well be sacrificed by the reigning monarch OR forced out by Congress--even some Republicans really are pissed at this latest nonsense.

And what well-known "defense contractor" is relocating to the middle east where they do NOT have taxes on income?????  Prompted by fear of investigations or sanctions??????

I wonder, I wonder!

Hmmmm . . . . . .

GDKitty

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4232
    • View Profile
    • http://hopeandonions.blogspot.com
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2007, 02:29:19 PM »
Wow. An astute reader submitted this tidbit to Dan Froomkin (during his WH talk/chat):
Quote
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said senators plan to look into how language ended up in the Patriot Act that allowed the attorney general to replace the federal prosecutors, questioning whether it was part of a premeditated plan by the Justice Department.
    The provision was added to the Patriot Act renewal while staffers were working out differences in the versions of the bills that had passed the House and the Senate.
    Brett Tolman, now the U.S. attorney for Utah, was then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter's staffer handling the issue and added it at the request of the Justice Department, Specter said at a hearing last month.
Just to clarify, this is from the WH chat:
Quote
Arlington, Va.: Hi, Dan -- hope I am not too late. It sure does seem like we need to know more about Brett Tolman, the guy who beat out Kyle Sampson for the job of U.S. Attorney in Utah. What a bizarre coincidence that before he got the job, he was the staffer for Arlen Spector who is responsible for inserting the now infamous U.S. Attorney rule in the Patriot Act...

Dan Froomkin: No kidding, really? I didn't know that!

But by golly, you're right. Here's a story about Sampson and Tolman by Robert Gehrke of the Salt Lake Tribune.

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2007, 03:04:26 PM »
Sometimes I read these stories and I realize that I just never got the message about career paths that some people get. You ever feel that way?

GDKitty

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4232
    • View Profile
    • http://hopeandonions.blogspot.com
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2007, 03:15:14 PM »
:lol: I know eggsactly what you mean. I've only just realized that I'm missed out on the ambition gene ;)

belva

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
    • View Profile
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2007, 03:35:07 PM »
Had lunch with a friend who is a Roman Catholic nun who teaches political science at an area university.  As we discussed the Attorney General mess, she commented, "Problem is, Bush is just stupid. The people around him, like Cheyney & Rove, are evil."

Anybody want to tangle with a nun with a PhD from Columbia University??

Well, do ya, punk? :evil:

deBeauxOs

  • Guest
DoJustice [was "The prosecutor purge"]
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2007, 03:46:02 PM »
Quote from: belva
... Bush is just stupid.
Not that I would want to argue with a nun, especially one with a PhD  :shock:  but ... even if Bush is SO not the 'brains' behind all the Repulsican's oligarchy evil-doing, his stupidity makes him complicit nonetheless to their actions.

 

Return To TAT