Final Jeopardy Answer: Something That Doesn’t Obstruct or Impede Justice
Alex, I’m going with – “What is getting a prosecutor fired for not complying with your political agenda?”
The investigation (not of the U. S. Attorney firings despite misleading headlines) into the Iglesias firing is done. bmaz is ready to change his name to Carnac and Holder’s Department of Justice has shot off a letter-ary masterpiece to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC). As per Carnac’s bmaz’s predictions, no charges.
What bmaz could not have predicted, but did link to in his post, is the actual content of the letter sent to Conyers. I don’t think anyone would have predicted the cavalier way in which Holder’s DOJ reaches its seemingly predetermined decision, while providing a roadmap to other legislators who’d also like to get a prosecutor fired for political convenience. Dannehy and Holder explain to Members of Congress – if a Federal prosecutor isn’t filing or refraining from filing the cases you want, feel free to covertly conspire to get him fired. As long as you don’t make any misguided attempt to “influence” him before you get him fired, you’re good to go. Oh, and btw, phone calls to him at home to fume over his handling – not to worry, those doesn’t count as an attempt to influence.
Stripped and shorn, Holder and Dannehy have said –
1. We aren’t gonna investigate anything but Iglesias and we aren’t saying why: “The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias.”
WHAT EVIDENCE? They freakin didn’t expand the scope of the investigation to see what evidence there was, then they decide, oh well, we don’t have any of the evidence we didn’t look for so we shouldn’t look for it since we don’t have it … whatever.
2. Hey, yeah, Domenici DID make a contact to smack on Iglesias about the handling of a matter currently in front of the USA’s office but: “The evidence about the call developed in the course of Ms. Dannehy’s investigation, however, was insufficient to establish an attempt to pressure Mr. Iglesias to accelerate his charging decisions.”
So similar to the lack of intent to torture – I mean, if Domenici in good faith thought he was just gathering intel on the status of political prosecutions … um, let’s move on.
3. Instead of trying influence Iglesias, Holder and Dannehy think that Domenici *just* got Iglesias fired for not pursuing political bias in his prosecutions. “The weight of the evidence established not an attempt to influence but rather an attempt to remove David Iglesias from office, in other words, to eliminate the possibility of any future action or inaction by him.”
4. This, they say, is fine. Seriously. They say there’s nothing DOJ can do about it. It’s no problem for politicians to get DOJ lawyers fired for not being political lapdogs. But to be fair, they then finish up by saying both, “In closing, it is important to emphasize that Attorney General Holder is committed to ensuring that partisan political considerations play no role in the law enforcement decisions of the Department” and (bc that wasn’t really the closing after all) “The Attorney General remains deeply dismayed by the OIG/OPR findings related to politicization of the Department’s actions, and has taken steps to ensure those mistakes will not be repeated.”
HUH? They’ve just said it is perfectly legal for politicians to get USAs who won’t do their political bidding fired by covert contacts with the WH, but Holder is “committed” to ensuring partisan political considerations play no role at DOJ? WTH? I guess if you put those two concepts together and held them in your mind for long, you’d end up committed too.
5. Anyway, they pull all of this off by giving a Bybee-esque review of “18 U.S.C. § 1503 [that] punishes anyone [at least, anyone the DOJ selectively decides to prosecute] who ‘corruptly . . . influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.” It’s a simple thing – according to Holder and Dannehy, Domenici didn’t try to “influence” Iglesias, he just had Iglesias fired. Which obviously isn’t an attempt to obstruct or impede. I mean, there’s nothing that *doesn’t impede* a case like getting the prosecutor handling it fired.
They also explain to us that they can’t go after Domenici for trying to get, then getting, Iglesias fired – at least, not under 18 USC 1503, because that section “penalizes only forward-looking conduct.” So Domenici would have to be doing something that would involve forward-looking conduct. And after all, as they just said (see 3 above) Domenici wasn’t trying “in other words, to eliminate the possibility of any future action or inaction by [Iglesias].” Oh, except for, you know, they actually say in the letter that’s exactly what Domenici WAS doing. Trying to affect future action or inaction – in a forward-looking way with his forward-looking conduct.
This clarifies so many things. Who knew, until now, that the only person who got things right during the Saturday Night Massacre was Robert Bork?
Nixon wrote the first act in DOJ’s current play (which is only fair, since he also wrote their anthem that it’s not illegal if the President does it) when he arranged for the firing of prosecutors who were bugging him, but in response to a livid Congressional response, using words like impeachment and obstruction, said:
“…[I]n all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I can say that in my years of public life that I’ve welcomed this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President’s a crook. Well, I’m not a crook!”
And now Dannehy and Holder have made that chapter and verse – nothing wrong with firing some prosecutors if they aren’t playing politics. Poor Karl Rove – so much trouble could have been avoided if he had just known that a Democratic administration’s DOJ would take the position that it would be perfectly ok for him to get Bush to fire Fitzgerald (something that apparently made even Buscho lawyers Gonzales and Miers flinch) – no obstruction, no impeding – as long as Rove never tried to “influence” the prosecutor first.
And now DOJ prosecutors now know exactly how things work. It’s been spelled out. No one will try to influence them. It’s just that if they aren’t making Obama’s favorite politicians and fundraisers happy, well – their career may have a little accident.
With AGeewhiz’s like Holder, we can rest easy. Gonzales may have been afraid to come out and state DOJ’s policy plainly. He never quite coughed out the admission that it is DOJ policy that Republican Senators who conspire with the Republican WH to get prosecutors fired for not carrying out the Republican Senator’s political agenda are acting well within their rights. Holder is not nearly so timid. He’s spelled it out. Prosecutors are fair game for Congresspersons, at least those with the right WH ties.
I guess we should be grateful he hasn’t handed out paintball guns to Democratic legislators and encouraged them to mark the weak links in his legal herd – the ones that haven’t been compliant enough to keep their jobs.
At least, not yet.
And besides, haven’t we already learned what Holder just told Conyers in that letter?
Firing the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 didn’t impede or obstruct the attacks on the rule of law one little bit.
Update: On the good news front – Happy Day fatster!
No one could have expected that a French song would become the anthem of the Bush functionary.* Maybe DOJ can start sending out charts with their discharge notifications.
*Per Scott Horton at No Comment. Per the wiki article in the link, we might be hearing a lot of this song over the next weeks.
I thought you were going to go with this one Horton gives a historical, educated reference – I go for a pop song about prostitution. He’s much classier, but I think we are more on the same page than it might otherwise look with those references.
Gee, I thought you were referring to the Marseillaise at first.
It’s got some pretty good(and timely) lyrics,too!*G*
Certainly a bold assertion, n’est-ce pas?
In the Didn’t-You-Just-Know Department, via Horton and a couple of other places:
Tales from Stasiland: Send us a FOIA request, and we’ll investigate you
Bien sur, mon ami!
I saw that bit about being FOIA’ed …I may have posted either here or over at FDL,last nite.
A couple of weeks ago, I commented that I felt that our entire framework of government wasn’t only hollow, it seems to me it is indeed a hologram.
A three dimensional illusion.
And everyday it gets curiouser and curiouser.
Just being a decent human being is becoming an act of heroism.
The daily courage of the exercise of conscience in a culture bereft of interest in such “quaint” (and obviously silly) notions as the rule of law, as fundamental fairness, the essential underpinnings of true civilization, does not go unremarked. It is considered evidence of effing “retardation” by those in the position to do as they wish, regardless of the cost to anyone or anything else.
Fortunately, those who understand have the good and wonderful opportunity of meeting others of like mind, here at FDL; some, like yourself, widely read and deeply considerate, but all of us very lucky to have others to share our thoughts and even our despairs with. Not too long ago, conscience and courage were very lonely things to possess … and not much valued in a society that embraced the Divine Right of Money, claiming “greed is good!”, gutting the economy and its ability to actually produce wealth, while those who became the most wealthy contributed NOTHING … and now, raw, brute, unchecked power is regarded as everything. Both were desired by people of “the lie”.
Ah, Gitchee, you are a person of the truth, as are all who gather here, regularly, to share hopes and despairs. The one category seems forlorn, while the other appears robust and on the rise.
Yet, the company we provide each other provides the basis of such humane and decent future as we human beings may, somehow, find the courage to insist upon.
Thank you, Gitcheegumee, for your presence, your wisdom and your wit.
My deepest, most sincere, thanks to all who make this a less lonely journey and enliven it with profound insight and, very often, devastating (and most necessary) humor, as well as lasting humanity. You are all most heroic and inspiring to me.
Dee Dub, I am continuously amazed and humbled at your eloquence.
May I say I echo your sentiments ..but you say it so much better than I ever could?
I was thinking this afternoon how lofty the caliber and quality of the commentary and fellowship here..and how,for me,it provides an intellectual oasis of sanity in an increasingly insane world.
My sincerest appreciation to all…with special kudos to EW and Bmaz.
Thank you for writing with such grace. I hope EW gets a chance to read your comment.
Echoing your remarks about DW’s comment.
DW summed up the attitude of the “entitled” class perfectly. The entitled class that is rich in cheap stuff, but barren in spirit.
That sounds to be bordering on breaking the law. I’ll let Mary comment on that.
Seems to be an effort to squash free speech.
Waiting for Eric Holder to blow the whistle… < :- o
Expecting justice in America these days is like expecting a Congressional ethics investigation to actually result in prison sentences for elected officials. It’s exceedingly rare and hasn’t happened in several years.
I never thought I’d be thinking fondly of Atty Gen John Mitchell!
Wow, those were the days!
This latest Holder revelation certainly does make one’s head spin. I guess the upside of living in lawlessness is that there is no criminal activity. Like beauty and art, it is all in the eye of the beholder. With 10 years and counting of living under unassailable, peaceful, crime-free governance, I should be feeling better than I do.
But right now, for some reason, I feel I should plug the TV back into the wall socket and learn if Lindsay Lohan is having a good day.
update: well, no word on Lindsay so far, but I’ve heard 3 times already on the same morning TV news show about a 50 lbs spineless jellyfish in Rye, New Hampshire (I’m in Massachusetts) that stung about 150 swimmers.
It was taken out by (get this) a PITCHFORK.
I wonder how that story got through the political censors.
A spineless jellyfish taken out by the rabble with a pitchfork – how DID that get by the political censors? They must have all been tied up, working on those Homeland Security political investigations fatster links @15.
What about a spineless Justice Department, that takes no prisoners, that stung over 300 million citizens with their inactions, unless of course they are clearing their desks for MAJOR torture trials because of what Durham uncovered. The biggest criminal locked up by this circus justice department is…Bernie ?
As always, a good take on things Mary.
I switched TV channels and heard a slightly different version of the giant jellfish story. It’s still a wet op, and the pitchfork was still part of the story, but the jellyfish was already dead when the people began to be stung. Evidentally the pitchfork was used ‘to take the jellyfish out of the water’ and this caused the dead jellyfish to break apart and the pieces floating through the water met up with innocent swimmers.
So now I guess it is a cautionary tale: think twice before using a pitchfork against a spineless blob, even a dead one, because it will blowback. Maybe we need some netting and sturdy buckets…
Well said. Aspiring criminals no longer need to lead a life of constantly eluding the police. They only need to seek employment in the government.
Hear no evil, see no evil, say no evil. Didn’t happen. Wasn’t me.
Just don’t tell Pat Leahy… (what, didn’t let this guy testify at Holder’s confirmation hearding?)
Mighty typo! Congress: “moooo”
I was listening to the Meadors interview that Leen wrote about today — he’s the guy who was on the USS Liberty when the Israelis attacked it in 1967 and then was on the Gaza flotilla too. He still wants the Liberty investigated, it still hasn’t happened — he said that was the only attack on a US Navy ship in history that hasn’t been investigated by the US govt. He also said that a crewman’s testimony about the Israelis strafing the life rafts was excised from the Court of Inquiry report. Not just redacted, but removed. And something too about hearing an admiral or someone on TV saying it was his duty to lie if the President orders him too.
Thanks for the post. Left a comment in the previous post.
The deed is done. We have fully politicized our Justice Dept. Forget career lawyers committed to the law.
I see some new law school courses on the horizon: Pimp Your Prosecutions.
In fact, that could be a new TV series.
Here’s the opening line read by a dramatically deep voice:
(Faint gavel on an echo track at the end of the reading as courtroom doors close. Fade in an overburn title: Pimp Your Prosecutions)
Maybe Pimp Your Prosecutor would be a more appropriate title.
Yep, politicization seems to be firmly entrenched now. And do note the ‘awareness purposes’ excuse.
AP: Homeland Security’s probes of people requesting info were political
Reminiscent of The Castle.
Ah, yes. Thanks for the reminder, very appropriate. What’s going on now with his “lost” manuscripts is, well, Kafka-esque, too.
It all belongs to another realm. He hand wrote his novels. The original manuscripts show no revisions or corrections. He took perfect dictation from his muse.
Not surprised. I mentioned to EW that many of the locations in Ohio were conservative vote areas. I wondered how much influence the operations had on public vote when I noted it.
How do we know that people are career people versus people hunters of specific free speech? People who are employed have better voter turnouts. What are the political persuasions of the private contracting firms? Is there a trend? Looks like we should map it. Are we building a private witch hunt organization to intimidate free speech and voting rights?
I have been disturbed by equating social gospel to collectivism of communism.
So, due to my work in urban ministry, I am a target for security?
This will kill the spirit of volunteerism in this nation. Even goodwill will be attributed to a political view. Such was the Civil Rights movement.
It is wonderful to see you among the headliners …
One wishes your “topic” were more uplifting and humane, as is your natural tendency.
Yet, it is truth you speak to, the whole and awful aspect of it that plagues our consciences and clouds that bright, “looking forward”, sun-shiny Sunstein “future” of the new and “improved” Dark Age, where there are but two “constants”, money is all that matters (and how you “get” it … does not) and that the “politics” of power are brutal, and beyond the constraints of reason, humanity, justice, the Constitution, and the rule of law …
Thank you, Mary, first, for being who you are and all that that means (especially for the rest of us), and second, for daring to speak clearly, honestly, and deeply about what every single attorney, judge, and all other members of the legal profession OUGHT to be speaking about publicly, that the rest of us might understand what has “befallen” us … even at the “risk” of their career and their most basic assumptions about their “comfortable” role in society as, supposedly, dedicated to the rule of law.
One does wonder what is taught in law schools today, klynn @ 4, has suggested what will, likely, be taught tomorrow.
& 4 – you’ve hit on what bothers me so much – everything that has been happening over the last decade and that Bush, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Mukasey Obama and Holder have now “normalized” is precedential and now a part of the culture. It is a part of what will be received wisdom now, and the fact is that it has even been directly embedded, through the Yoos and the Goldsmiths and Clements etc. teaching in the law schools and being held out to law students as persons to emulate – to the Bybees and Ciongolis (who was in essence taken from conspiring with Ashcroft on torture to being the minder for Alito on the Sup Ct Bench) etc. directly shaping the judicial non-review of the culture DOJ developed.
After the Abu Ghraib revelations, Clement (who had been Scalia’s clerk) should have been investigated for his lies to the Sup Ct on torture, basically just hours before those revelations. And that investigation should have determined that, Abu Ghraib notwithstanding, the Dept of Justice was aware of and participatory in torture and its representative in front of the Sup Ct, Clement, either lied to the Court and should be pursued accordingly, or persons within the DOJ such as the AG, DAG, OLC lawyers (including Bybee on the bench by then) etc. who had direct knowledge and let Clement misrepresent to the court without ever correcting the record should be pursued accordingly.
It was a shocking thing, to have the Sup Ct shrug off the Exec Branch lying to it so brazenly.
But instead of shock, Scalia later claimed that Clement was the Bench’s sentimental favorite to replace Olson.
And not only that – but then one of Ashcroft’s torture counselors was hired by the Bench (Alito) as a clerk. And now Obama is putting one of his policy crew who have been cheerleading for Executive branch assassinations on the court.
It’s so sad to watch where the Bush and Obama DOJs have taken us.
Rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.
No accountability for false pre war intelligence. Maybe those 850,ooo new intelligence workers can figure out who what where why when about the Niger Documents. Well no we know the what and why.
Little to no accountability for the Plame outing
No accountability for the attorney firings.
Rove and the lie team all over the MSM. Not looking good
It is of interest that those who should know better, are embracing the end of the rule of law and the end-times of equitable and civil society, equally interesting are the motivations for their doing so.
All will claim necessity of the direst sort.
A few might, actually, “believe” that endless war and the entire world as “battlefield” is necessary to “democracy” and the survival of American society, but many must calculate other odds …
Those who have so grievously harmed our society and betrayed the fundamental trust of the governed must calculate that they are safe in their depredations, that they have precluded any and all accountability.
And they will be correct and are, if the roaring silence of the rest of their “profession” continues unabated.
Those who are in the legal profession ride a most-special horse, and it is time they climbed down off its heady heights and surveyed the damage, the wanton, heartless and mindless destruction which has been wrought.
Yet, one does not imagine this will happen unless the legal “elites” have some “help” from their “underlings” who are, apparently, too busy keeping their noses “Kagan-clean” so that their futures may remain bright and their political options “open” …
The legal profession has become one great profile in abject cowardice, excepting those precious few of you who have the courage to understand and the fortitude to stand against the utter madness of “expedient pragmatism” that characterizes today’s ruling classes.
Lawyers may be lawyers, but they are also citizens, compelled by the same obligations that fall on the rest of us, to preserve, protect, and defend the underlying principles of this nation, this sad, nation which has become everything that it claims to wish to defeat.
I worry that we cannot stop ourselves, that we will not stop ourselves …
Which means that, eventually, others will, of true and actual dire necessity, have no choice, but, to stop us. By whatever means are … necessary.
External interference may not be necessary. We are well on the way of devouring ourselves.
Were we not creating hell on earth for others, I would heartily(?) agree.
Had we not military bases all over the world and drone activity in 75 (seventy-five!!!) countries, I would salute your observation.
Having just heard that the US State Department intends to have its own army in Iraq, to replace the “regular” troops when THEY finally leave … I might hope that our madness would ravage only our selves …
Is it better to hope we may destroy ourselves or consider that others may need to stop us before we happily consume ourselves, ghost?
In working to destroy us, others would be guilty of the same crimes that we commit against them. The quality of their lives would be diminished by crossing over to the Dark Side.
Others would be well advised to bear their sufferings until the aggressor’s venom is spent.
Is the “venom” of sadists, sociopaths and psychopaths ever truly spent or finished?
Self-defense is not evil, it is necessary …
If the horrors are simply to be “borne”, how might conscience and humanity survive, intact, or even at all?
How long did the so-called “Dark Ages” of our western history go on? Does this Dark Age (in which it is not the Divine Right of Kings, but rather the Divine Right of Money which cannot be successfully questioned or challenged), appear to more short-lived, especially since it is an “end-time” game “they” are playing.
You are the ghost of 911, and well understand that there are no limits beyond which the ruling classes would not willing go …
We, here, MUST seek nonviolent resolution. However, despite the truth of the statement you made, others are not so constrained, and justice, in the sense of what that used to mean, is of no moment to the ruling class, and everyone else in the world cannot help but understand this … perhaps we are the ones doing the catch-up “learning”?
We await sweet reason.
In the meantime (and it is mean, indeed) … the horrors of organized mayhem and insensitive inhumanity abound.
Individuals cannot control the actions of others. Individuals can only control their own behaior. Regardless of what others do and regardless of the mayhem they create, maintaining personal integrity is the only thing that matters.
The coming “revolution” is about understanding … and what one will NOT go along with …
That is the one element that the current crop of “insiders” has no clue about. Theirs is an end game, but it is an end of their game, not ours.
THANK YOU for saying that. Remember when Barack Obama was drawing those huge crowds, worldwide even? It’s because we thought we were going to get to be decent people again, equal, respectful, just, compassionate — come to our senses. We miss us, they miss us. The sheer power of that longing…
And then Obama pissed it all away. He saw it, he had it, and then he blew it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there for some other leader to pick up on.
I actually wonder if it could come from Iran. I think I read somewhere that Iran opposes (did oppose?) nuclear weapons on religious grounds? Well I think we should too, but I guess once you write “under God” into your pledge of allegiance/national prayer, you can assume that’s all taken care of, legal box, base covered, God’s your blanket, done. Now we’re the last place to expect moral growth or leadership.
” Remember when Barack Obama was drawing those huge crowds, worldwide even?”
I cannot tell you how MANY times of think of that..most especially when he was in St. Louis.It was awe inspiring.
How many people would turn out now,do you think?
I’d turn him out now. I’m already turning him off, whenever he comes on TV.
How far I’ve come: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2008/11/5/13351/5326/662#c662
Yes, here’s that article for you. When will this madness stop?
State Dept. planning to field a small army in Iraq
“The arrangement is “one more step in the blurring of the lines between military activities and State Department or diplomatic activities,” said Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington research center. “This is no longer (just) the foreign service officer standing in the canape line, and the military out in the field.”
‘”The State Department is trying to become increasingly expeditionary,” he said.”
You know you’re becoming an imperial power when…
Fatster, you are a gem, a treasure of FDL.
Have I told you lately just how much I appreciate the many things you do? The connections you make? The deft humor you sprinkle unerringly around? The joyous, deeply thoughtful and empathic sensibility you grace us with?
Your journeys ’round old Sol have brought you profound wisdom and broad understanding, and you, with your constant humanity and clear courage, impart both to us.
Thank you, fatster for spending precious time and sharing insightful intuition with the rest of us.
Your kindness and eloquence are the gems here, DWBartoo. I deeply appreciate the opportunity provided by EW in the “Comments” section for people to share, something that is essential in these times. Your generous compliments assuredly inspire me onward. Thank you.
Great thread comments on a great post.
Mary, this is one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever had to wade thru.
It really hurt, word by word.
Not because of your musings, not because of your writing style, not because you spaketh the truth.
Well, yeah, the truth.
The reality of our existence sickens me on a daily basis. It takes a lot to walk away from the toobz and not learn more, day by day, of how bad it is for we the people.
And that’s why it hurt, to read your post.
As bad as it all is, it seems to get worse and worse.
Issue by issue, day by day.
And no recourse, no hope, for fixing the past, or bringing a more positive outcome for the immediate future.
But for my own phreakin soul, peace of mind, and the knowledge that being better informed is better than being bled to death by lies, thank you for one phreaking incredible diary.
We are truly lost. And your missives up above shed yet greater light on our trials, tribulations and travails.
I’d rather die well informed, thank you.
Bless ya and thanks for the info and sharing it.
Great read. Just great read.
If I could Rcc’d it, I would, of course.
Hope to see more from you on any topic.
Mary’s diary lays out the boundary across which we must be careful about not crossing. There is no reason for anyone not crossing that boundary to be pessimistic. Those that Mary writes about are penning their signatures to the antisocial conduct, not yours.
This is “change you can believe in”!?!
We probably will get fooled again. And again and again.
A rich article, replete with wit and wisdom.
Very well said, Mary!
What a farce things have become.
I wonder if this was the last straw for Lederman?
Nah, these guys always kid themselves that they can make a difference by staying on the inside. They’ll put up with almost anything. And even if they do resign 99.9% go quietly without making a protest, to stay on the good side of the establishment. Maybe he can leave Justice to go polish Comey’s shoes at big defense inc.
But Monica Goodling did still “cross the line”, right? Or does she get her job back too?
It’s starting to look like she should sue her lawyer for malpractice, isn’t it? After all, if the
PresidentDOJ lawyers do it, it’s legal. How could he have not understood that? And with his background too (i.e., one of the DC Madam’s employees had a day job as a legal assistant to John Dowd, with Akin Gump, who defended Goodling over her little Fifth amendment problem. Cue the “DC Lady Marmalade” soundtrack.
For fatster’s 69th orbit.
Awww, you set me all aglow. Many thnx!
Hippy boidy, fatster!
You’ve probably already seen this (I’m catching up on comments very slowly this week), but it’s my present to you anyway. “Capable generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims.”
(Remember: we’re sharing. Remember that especially as he takes his jacket off, and then even more when his cell rings.)
Thanks so much, dear skdadl, for the Assange interview. He is one amazing young man, isn’t he? Unique, too. Let us hope he stays safe and productive. Nurturers of the world, unite!
Happy Birthday fatster!
Great post Mary, I hope you write more of them. I have learned so much from you over the years that I hope more people will see what you have to say.
This post juxtaposed with the article fatster linked way back at #15 shows that not only is Obama untroubled by the politicization of various agencies, but he actively supports it. The fact that DHS didn’t start their political reviews of FOIA requests until July 2009 puts this squarely on Obama’s and Napolitano’s shoulders. With that attitude, how can one be surprised by Dannehy’s conclusion in this matter?
This calls into question the conduct of Lubchenko at NOAA, Chu at DOE, Vilsack at AG… In other words pretty much every political appointee at every agency is suspect. When will this all end?
It is galling to see the hard work of federal civil servants compromised by politicians’ interference. It is even more galling that the interference knows no party affiliation; Dems and Reps are equal opportunists here.
The DHS story really is directly in his lap.
I see something like the Van Jones rant about how everyone should be supporting Obama in all he does, bc it’s a “hard job” and I have to wonder why a) he didn’t give due attribution to Bush as sourcing, and b) what jdmckay0 says at 91 – why did he want the job? Apparently not to do the right thing.
[email protected] – it hurts to write it too. It came out of a comment in the earlier thread and I wasn’t joking when I said reading the letter made my head hurt – and it makes me, like Hugh I think, so angry and frustrated.
Way back when I remember spending a lot of effort trying to believe in the eleventy dimensional chess aspects – that there were some good people in either or all of DOJ, FBI, OVP, WH, CIA, DoD, MSM etc. and that some things that seemed so blatantly WRONG were going to be addressed. I gave up on that a long time before Obama running was a twinkle in any eyes and I really don’t think it helps anymore to try to give dignity and deference to things that are idiotic.
But lot of days it seems like no amount of words – deferential or belligerent – will ever make any difference.
Nice! But it’s not a birthday without…
Yeah, Fatster! :-))
Git out!! Hahahahaha. Many thanks, thatvisionthing.
Hey Fatster, it gets better every year
The Guardian just lost me as a reader.
Great run-down of that Dannehy memo, Mary. As always, your incisive perspective and humor keep us informed and buoyant in these times.
You’d think if they wanted to do this, they would have at least taken time to find somebody who could really spin it with some finesse.
And, why did they want to do this?
Wowser — congrats on the front page post Mary! Is this your first? Pity I don’t have a bottle of champagne handy (or a ship’s bow to smash it on ; )
Just a quick drive-by, will have to read both the post and thread later, but was delighted to see your byline : )
Here is a troubling question. What did the US Attorneys who weren’t fired do to comply with a politicized environment? Think for example about the current Governor of New Jersey or the still sitting US Attorney in Alabama who took down Siegelman.
Think Steven Biskupic and Georgia Thompson.
It was a case so bad, so political, that the court of appeals ruled from the bench to release her, but not before all of the above had been visited on her by Biskupic.
But Biskupic is a great guy for destroying that woman and her family – bc, after all, his pal Comey says so (this is the DOJ back scratching that makes it so hard to ever get to the truth of anything) Comey has all kinds of sympathy for his pals and literally not one iota of anything for this poor woman who lost so much, including her freedom.
Holder’s DOJ also cleared Biscupic earlier this year.
There, too, he was never “told” his job was in jeopardy – even though, apparently, Karl Rove was ranting and raving openly in DC about his disappointment in WI. Biskupic’s response to his HOlder generated clearance was that “he’s proud of the work he did.”
This is the same guy, though, who felt it was appropriate to not just bankrupt and jail Georgia Thompson, but to try to get some extra pounds of flesh bc she was just so darn unrepentant:
It didn’t hurt him that his sister is a journalist (Joan Biscupic, PBS Washington Week and USA Today)
It’s not just that the DOJ lawyers feel they can (and it’s not just a feeling, it’s a reality) get away with anything, up to and including lies to courts, destruction of evidence, etc. – it’s that they have absolutely no regard of any kind for the horrors they visit on people. Whether it’s smarmily grinning over pizza while sitting on files showing tortured, innocent detainees are being deep sixed bc it’s embarassing, to making some woman lose her home and have her children watch her vilified and jailed – they just don’t give a rats ass and no one makes them ever have to come to account for it.
It’s a HORRIBLE thing to deprive someone of liberty – to put them through litigation. The Bush Obama DOJ lawyers have so long been so willing to reconcile with treating people to evil, they don’t even process it like a normal human being anymore.
You fail to consider they may even enjoy doing it. What other purpose is there to torture, save the sadistic pleasure enjoyed by the torturers?
Part of the initiation into the outlaw biker gangs is the requirement that the new member perform a ruthlessly brutal crime. In order to become an establishment insider, it is becoming apparent that conspicuously callous behavior is a requirement for admittance.
When does all this add up to “standing” in a court of law for average citizens and emptywheel/FDL readers and writers?
Or is this still none of our business from the court’s perspective?
I have spoken before about what I consider the “fatal flaw” of our legal system (apart from several inherent “problems” relating to the role of money and the issue of “standing” …), which is, simply, the law’s inability to examine itself, to note the patterns of its own demise …
However, it is those who “people” the profession and the “institution” who determine the nature of what the law is about … and at the highest, grandest level, we are confronted by the most arrogant of scofflaws, and THAT is the precedent which shall obtain until the law regains its composure and purpose, for the law is now but a hand-maiden to unfettered, and most-dangerous ambition, with an appetite for unrestrained power and an utter lack of conscience or doubt.
Citizens are supposed to be examining and judging the law as well as the accused, on a case by case basis, and nullifying bad law or law badly applied, as they saw it — jury nullification. That was the purpose of juries in the first place, that’s why they’re in the Constitution so often, and none of that was ever amended. But the Supreme Court took care of that in 1895 Sparf, when they ruled that juries needn’t be informed of that constitutional function:
Now in California I can’t sit on a jury without affirming to the judge first that I will set aside any disagreement with the law I might have. The lawyers here can tell me what the rules are on this, but I think I’ve heard of cases where judges have called mistrials when a juror in deliberation looks like he’s going to vote or persuade to nullify. Why isn’t all that unconstitutional obstruction of justice by the courts? Why are these trials legal?
When we wonder where our national common sense and empathy and conscience went, and how we got so unchecked and unbalanced, that’s where I start looking.
Thank you, tvt, for that further, and most critical elucidation.
Our entire legal system is well on the way to being merely for “show”, being more about appearances than actual substance.
The rule of law is central to both a civil and a sustainable society, when the power of corruption rules, then … we shall have neither.
Except it is manifestly apparent that it’s unjust. And we all just look helpless to change it. Everything is a sham. Justice, elections, MSM, money — faked, all of it, a show for people to watch and be fodder for, but not actually affect. There is no reality check. Tree, what tree?
Thomas Jefferson: “Doh!”
John Adams: “Doh!”
John Jay: “Doh!”
Alexander Hamilton: “Doh!”
Samuel Chase: “Doh!”
No one could have predicted that Obama’s “don’t rock the boat” attitude would institutionalize the corruption he inherited and content it well a fertilized plot in which to grow.
Constitutional law, like “community” organizing, state politics and the US Senate, were bags of coal to fuel his ambitious engine. There was obviously nothing about the law that was special, except that earning stellar grades in its study – but not its application – made him thspecial.
A poster in a previous thread noted that there was a gap in BHO’s timeline, during which time he may have had an assignment from the Langley crowd. If that is true, that would be the singular event that made him special.
Bush 41 had a similar assignment in ’63 for which he was amply rewarded afterward.
Unlikely in the case of Obama. Bush I, the oil man, on the other hand, had an early and long relationship with the nascent CIA. As the Iranian coup in 1953 suggests, and Suez in 1956, in which the US’s participation was quite different than in Iran (both predate Dallas in 1963) the CIA has mixed well with oil and oil men since its inception.
Bush 41 may have had previous assignments, but the one in ’63 is the one that singled him out for reward, and it did for Arlen Specter.
I would be reluctant to rule out a early Obama-CIA connection. Was this a welcome home reception?
It’s a welcome to the sitting president, the controller of its budget and legal authority, and the power that can confer immunity for overstepping them. On its own, it’s nothing more.
One thing this overt acceptance of politicization has done is convince Obama to retain for unseemly lengths of time some of Mr. Bush’s most politically abusive US Attorneys (eg, in Alabama), and avoid putting in place his own team, which is an unusual break in precedent for a status quo adhering power politician.
One never knows when a Dawn Johnsen might miraculously make it onto that team, like Rudy Ruettiger at Notre Dame, and throw the whole game plan out of kilter. Hell, the team might even cheer for her and revolt against authority on her behalf, which could put the coach in a bind.
Indeed… I’ve been saying this for a while, and repeating it ad nausea-um. And this BO continuity policy not just in DOJ BTW… he’s left Bushies all over the place. Interior is scattered w/’em, pretty much running things resulting in continued lack of oversight up to BP spill.
And then Timmy & Ben show.
It’s a long, very very disappointing list.
As much as I loathe Bush & co., and as innefectual as Shrub was, he had a supporting cast that knew what they wanted and had a plan to execute (no matter how evil). BO… seemingly no such execution, no such plan, no such nothing.
I wonder why the hell he ever wanted the job, ’cause he’s sure not up to it.
Scott Horton has a few choice words for the nearly defunct DoJ in Another Audacious Whitewash at DOJ:
He reminds us that the scandal was no tempest in a Politico teapot or martini mixer:
He suggests that like a Bybee [or Yoo] memo about how to torture
for-fun-and-profitto protect national security, the “investigation” and its outcome constitutes a blueprint for how to lie to Congress, engage in greater politicization of criminal prosecutions in future, and escape punishment for doing it. What’s not to like in the nation’s top law enforcement team and its White House patrons?
Compare and contrast the letter to Conyers stating that the WH fully cooperated, with what Horton says:
I guess “cooperation” at least in the context of the WH, can join the list of words DOJ is redefining. Hortons says blueprint- I went with roadmap – but I think the takeaway is the same. It what is so shocking about it – they went from just skulking away into the dark on their individual case and instead threw down huge, broad and in-your-face-Courts&Congress&Citizens assertions as to how much lying DOJ lawyers can get by with, how they need to cover their paper trails and then they waltz and how politicians are able to “eliminate the possibility of any future action or inaction” out of DOJ that might bug them – all it takes is a WH connetion.
The DoJ has adopted its own interpretation of cooperation, hasn’t it? The spelling probably ought to revert to use of the “k”, capitalized, of course, in accordance with typography in the original German.
Greetings to one and all from Netroots Nation in LV!
It’s the noon hour here, and I just came from a Mountain States Caucus hosted by Joan McCarter(sp?) from Dkos. About a dozen people from all over. Now we’re on long lunch break, and I’m hoping to meet more Internet friends whom I’ve never met face to face. Now to read through the chorus of disappointments about the latest miscarriage of justice.
Bob in AZ
Now in NV
Have fun at Netroots Nation Las Vegas, Bob. And say “Hi” to Marcy for us.
Anyone not in Vegas can follow the main events and many of the breakout sessions at home via streaming video.
(or via Second Life at Virtually Speaking)
Here’s the google doc of the scheduled panels: http://bit.ly/d1x36w , telling you which room/stream to go to.
I would be curious to know if the decline in the quality of legal representaion at DOJ-and in general-would form a corrolary to the increase in corporate power.
It would seemn as though the rise of corporatism has cowed litigators,ergo, they are more interested in making a deal rather than eliciting justice.
If the DOJ held the preceding administration accountable for its sins of ommission and commission,well wouldn’t that set a precedent for future administrations to hold THIS one accountable?
Apologies if a dupe.
Yemeni psych patient ordered freed [from Guantanamo, while another remains in US possession]
OT – but since we’re on the topic of overlords ;) here’s one of the best pieces I’ve seen on Elena Kagan.
From her lightweight academics, to her purely political advancements, to her view of disagreement and underlyings and her wanton wastefulness – all pillared by a couple of pieces on admin law – one co-authoried with Barron.
Elena Kagan, the personification of buy-partisan legal “scholarship” …
The last sentence in your link, Mary, says it all …
Souls of … discretion, the best and brightest (and most-likely to succeed in ALL of their endeavors) will say … nothing.
Due diligence has become, simply, due deference.
Do you suppose anyone will notice?
Due diligence has become do nothing.
([email protected]: welcome! I let Marcy know you’re here, so she’s on the lookout…)
Thanks! I’m wandering around in a light colored jacket with a black shoulder-bag briefcase looking for Firepups. Just heard a good session on the Social Security “problem” and the scare tactics being used to lay a foundation for privatizing it. Speakers: Robert Borosage, Eric Kingson, Laura Clauson, and Digby. Sat next to a young reporter from the WSJ.
Bob in AZ
(I’ll look for you in the registration area after the 4:30s let out…)
Sorry- I didn’t see your message until today. I had to race over to another hotel to get my wife and grandson to bring them over for the Keynote last night. I had to get a special badge for my wife to get in, and they both stuck it out until the end of the keynotes at 9 PM. Afterwards, one lady in the hall was so impressed with the presence of our 8 year old grandson. who was lugging around an orange Netroots Nation bag. I told her we were getting him started young. He has a ways to go to catch up with Cassie, however, but he seems interested and motivated.
This morning at the panel on Surveillance, spying and racial profiling in the Obama era, lo and behold who did I see but Lady EW herveryownself! Afterwards, she opined that the panel was pretty good. When I observed that she should have been on the panel herself, she said the only other thing she would have brought up would have been John Brennan.
From my perspective, the major point that the panel brought up is the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. We need to start working on that proactively, to frame the debate and push Congress in the right direction.
Bob in AZ
Bob, I greatly appreciate your personal reports from the front lines, as it were.
(Marcy Wheeler is a National Treasure, and if this nation survives as nation where the rule of law obtains – she will be recognized as such. It is our distinct pleasure and priviledge, we lucky visitors to the Wheel House, to have the opportunity to grasp that truth early on.)
My very best to you, your wife, and your grandson.
Has anybody seen this yet?
House Panel Finds Rangel Violated Ethics Guidelines
New York Times – Eric Lipton – 25 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – After a nearly two-year investigation, a House investigative panel has concluded that Representative Charles B. Rangel violated a range of ethics rules, dealing a serious blow to Mr.
Rangel to face House trial on ethics violations Washington Post
Rangel to face new charges of violating ethics rules Los Angeles Times
Leen has an interview link by Scott Horton up as a diary. Worth going to.
(like ships crossing in the night… :-)
Digby is on a Netroots Nation panel starting now (4:30pm Pacific Time, 7:30pm Eastern Time) in the Brasilia-1 room re: abortion rights
That’s the session on abortion (The Stupak matter), right after the session I just commented on. Thanks for providing folks with the link! Digby was a few minutes late for the 3:00 session, arriving just as she was being introduced in absentia; she got a big ovation as she hurried down the aisle to take her place at the head table.
Bob in AZ
Found the recording of that Social Security session and am watching it now.
Turn around time is quick this year for viewing the completed Netroots Nation sessions.
Thanks for the reminder. The Surveillance session this morning was taped, and will also presumably be available.
Bob in AZ
“The Surveillance session this morning was taped . . . ” So, the surveillance session was surveilled! Oh, noes. (Do pardon my sense of humor.)
Sounds like you’re having a great time, Bob. So happy you’re there.
Who’s watching the watchers,eh? *G*
Good heavens, Mary, how long have you been writing here?
For those who don’t know the story, Lotus and I, among others, have been begging Mary to write somewhere, either at our blogs or somewhere else, for what seems like forever. I even recall offering to do editing. Anyway, glad you’re here, doing what you do so well.
Good smackdown, and a well deserved one, I’m sorry to add.
Hi Cujo – sorry I missed this comment. EW or Bmaz let me vent now and then. ;)
You made quote of the day again, anyway. Hope you like the picture. ;)
The picture is great – thank you.
@134 and now let the offers roll in for him. *sigh*
*Sigh* backatcha. I hadn’t thought about that. I kinda enjoyed knowing he finally got a job teaching one poli-sci course and being “diversity recruiter” (oh, yeah) for Texas Tech.
DWBartoo, Gitcheegumee, thatvisionthing…and a big Thank you to Mary!
Amazing and truly inspiring exchange of comment, thoughts, and hopes for the future. Thank you sincerely, everyone of you. Although refreshing and inspirational, I still cannot shake the feeling that this oasis of truth and sanity that FDL and it’s posters and commentators provide, is just not wide enough and powerful enough to sway what seems like an inevitable hurdle towards the cataclysm that is the current state of this nation and it’s peoples.
I want to believe that the inherent forces of both the great wheel of life and the universal principles of dark and light will eventually sway more towards the side of light, but I truly feel that the current darkness will only get darker, and many sweet souls will suffer the indignities and horror of these MOTU whose own souls seem so tainted and vampiric. These great sufferings will not be attended to lightly at some point, by whatever means…but that time seems very distant, and I am daily concerned about the health and welfare of my family, grandchildren, and their children, as well as my fellow sisters and brothers.
If anyone sees any glimmer of real hope, please enlighten us all!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does”
If you have a few moments, please go read this. It will help fill in your understanding of what happened in that time period when SNCC’s direction shifted abruptly, and why. It was a difficult moment, with many of us holding on very tightly to solidarity as the argument for separatism was made being. And, of course, the article provides a great overview of the Sherrods.
fatster, you have linked me (and helped MY broken links on many occasions), but this one is a humdinger!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it-and yes, I was completely clueless about the Sherrrods’ history,as I was still a child during those SNCC halcyon days.
I do, however remember learning of the white students who had gone down to assist in the Civil Rights movement ,that were murdered in Missippi,during that era.
Those were Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman, the latter two white (and from NY; outside agitators, dontcha know). Chaney was black and from Meridian, MS.
When Stokely Carmichal took over in SNCC, he set out on a separatist path and advocated actions that were disturbing. For example, “If a white man comes into your neighborhood to rape your sister, break his right arm” seems a fundamentally rightful assertion. But when you live in the situation in the Deep South such as it was then (very violent), while the logic of the statement is obvious, the consequences needed to be weighed carefully. Non-violence was a cross that was hard to bear at times when what you saw and what you experienced made you want to lash out in righteous anger. And non-violence led to people being brutalized at the lunch counters and, with others, such as Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman (unarmed young men driving around in rural Mississippi in the night), led to deaths, too. But it was overall a productive approach, and it provided cover to make change without whole-scale slaughter.
Stokely made an appearance at a local black church and I was among several whites who attended. The place was jammed. At the end of his speech, people lined up in front of the podium to shake his hand. I got in the line. When I got to Stokely, I held out my hand, had a small smile on my face and looked up at him earnestly. He didn’t want to shake my hand, but I stood there and, finally, with an angry look on his face, he offered a very limp hand. It was a sad moment.
Those issues (physical resistance vs non-violence, solidarity vs separatism, etc.) were difficult ones and much deliberation and soul-searching ensued once Stokely introduced them.
Your comment, your personal narrative of a time and circumstances I well recall, of the divisive (if understanable) philosophies and perceptions that those of us who were involved grappled with, pondered and considered in our hopes and confusions, even as the Civil Rights struggle merged into the beginnings of resistance to the war in Vietnam … your experience provided me the opportunity of exploring an important aspect of that time with my nine (soon to be ten, she will quicky inform you)-year old daughter.
She is of a generation (and a sensibility) that, happily, little concerns itself with the color of a person’s skin.
I suggested to her (as she is well aware of the history – history being her favorite subject, this past school-year) that it was the conscience and presence of courageous and loving humnan beings like yourself who helped make our world a better, more decent, and more honorable place.
And fatster, that is, most assuredly, true.
Thanks yet again, DWBartoo. I tried to do my part, but I was just a worker bee. Others made sacrifices of considerable magnitude, and still others gave their very lives. They were the heroes, beautiful people, exemplars.
Almost ten. What a wonderful thing to know, that your daughter will bring spirit and commitment to the future of the collective. Makes me smile to think of it.
Jon Walker is upstairs…
Conservatives Promote Feasting on a Dairy Cow
That says it all. Dannehy was appointed by Mukasey by the way so the fix was always in on this. Like you, I did a double take when I read the part of the letter where Dannehy’s thinking is spelled out that firing is OK but “influencing” isn’t. And of course the dominant word in the whole letter is “insufficient”. Dannehy did a half-assed job but a first class whitewash so naturally every argument and the all the evidence was going to be “insufficient”. I’m sure Holder has a Rolodex of names of tame prosecutors ready to perform the same whitewashing service for any little problems Obama may have before he leaves office.
“Dannehy and Holder explain to Members of Congress – if a Federal prosecutor isn’t filing or refraining from filing the cases you want, feel free to covertly conspire to get him fired. As long as you don’t make any misguided attempt to “influence” him before you get him fired, you’re good to go.”
Keep thinking about what you said here Mary. Anything goes. Sad to think about
A “Final Jeopardy” indeed?
I’m sorry I haven’t read all the comments yet, so I’m not sure if you know this:
Naji: The Problem With Involuntary Repatriation; Steve Vladek; 7/21/10; 9:42pm [emphasis added]
I posted it on Jeff Kaye‘s 7/20 diary @ comment 62
…where powwow added some more information from Carol Rosenberg and others in later comments.
Here is a link to powwow’s 7/17 diary on this subject:
FYI: Marcy’s got a new post up!
Defense budget facing cuts to help trim deficit
Pentagon ‘living very fat and very happy’ but has ‘almost lost touch with real
The neat “reality” quote was made by Gordon Adams, responsible for Clinton’s national security budgets.
If only this indicated a shift in policy away from the “politics-excuses-everything” rationale for having your way! (I know: “if only”is a phrase over-used in these times.)
President Obama Said Sec. Tom Vilsack ‘Jumped the Gun’ on Shirley Sherrod’s Ouster
‘“I’ve told my team and I told my agencies that we have to make sure that we’re focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and, and think these issues through,” Obama told Leamy. ”
This makes my blood boil. I was involved in one of these political prosecutions as a witness. The prosecution failed. I was descibed as not cooperating at the time because I honored the ethical code of my profession and would not meet with the FBI and insisted on a subpoena. I was put through hell. I will never be able to go back to being the person I was before this all happened. It also makes my blood boil when I hear statements such as “prosecutions are unlikely” with respect to the financial collapse or the BP oil spill. I feel like ghost dancing. Peace.
Thank you for showing up and sharing that – the personal impact of these decisions gets completely lost. I’ve seen it, though, in so many instances and lots of them in *merely* civil litigation. For what it’s worth – I’m glad you honored your ethical obligations and there’s a small piece of reality that you made the better for it, even though it sounds like it was at great personal cost.
Thanks to everyone for such great comments – I learn so much from the commenters here. I hope everyone who has shared so much information and support and insight knows how much it is appreciated whether it gets mentioned specifically or not.
No, you end up in the club.
Maybe he is thinking… that’s what drones are for. For good times, for bad times…always and forever…more! thats what drones are for.
A nation of millions of unemployed worker bees and drones.
Politicized DOJ, maybe Boston Legal’s answer to politicized Supreme Court would serve:
Alberto Gonzales On U.S. Attorney Firing Scandal: ‘I Feel Angry That I Had To Go Through This’