To those that have been paying attention the knee jerk reaction of the Whitehouse is to smear their critics rather then engage in any honest dialoque. The Attorney general of the United States of America should be above such pettiness and intellectual corruption, but Alberto Gonzales is not , AP Reports Facts on White House Smear of Gore
and In Desperation, Gonzales Smears Gore
I would say that with respect to comments by the former vice president its my understanding that during the Clinton administration there was activity regarding the physical searches without warrants, Aldrich Ames as an example.
It should bother those concerned about ethics in government that the AG is either lying or is terribly ignorant of legal precedent,
1. Prior to 1995, FISA did not cover physical searches. (With Clinton’s signature, the law was expanded to cover physical searches in 1995.) The search of Aldrich Ames home occurred in 1993. It did not violate FISA.
2. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified in 1994 that the President could conduct warrantless physical searches, before FISA required physical searches to be conducted pursuant to a warrant. Gorelick was arguing that the President could conduct warrantless physical searches in the absence of Congressional action. At no time did she suggest that, after Congress required the President to obtain a warrant, the executive branch could ignore the law, nor is there any evidence the Clinton administration failed to comply with FISA.
The Administration’s response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program. The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.
There are two problems with the Attorney General’s effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration’s behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.
Second, the Attorney General’s attempt to cite a previous administration’s activity as precedent for theirs – even though factually wrong – ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.
The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.
The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration’s program.
The legal inquiry by the prosecutor, David M. Barrett, lasted more than a decade, consumed some $21 million and came to be a symbol of the flawed effort to prosecute high-level corruption through the use of independent prosecutors.
I’m not sure that this case makes the argument for ending the appointment of special prosecutors, only that their goals and scope be more clearly defined. 21 million and ten years seems a little excessive.
After being indicted on 18 felony counts, Mr. Cisneros pleaded guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor charge of lying to investigators.
The final report, scheduled to be made public on Thursday, discusses in detail why the office remained in operation for so long: an intense behind-the-scenes clash between senior Justice Department officials and Mr. Barrett, who was trying to explore possible obstruction of justice within the Justice Department and the I.R.S.
Cisneros obviously did something wrong, yet as the article suggests, since Barrett’s main Problems were clashes with with the Justice Department and the IRS, one can’t help but think he was posessed by some spirit of Les Misrables’s Javert. .
Justice Department officials who disputed Mr. Barrett’s findings portrayed his investigation as deeply misguided and said the tax case against Mr. Cisneros had little merit. They suggested that the prosecutor had turned his disappointment in his inability to prove the obstruction allegations into unprovable theories.
Robert S. Litt, one of the Justice Department officials involved, wrote in a comment letter on May 31, 2005, that he was allowed to read only edited parts of the report but that he concluded that the report was “a fitting conclusion to one of the most embarrassingly incompetent and wasteful episodes in the history of American law enforcement.”
Mr. Cisneros is out of office, probably out of public life for good, and has been found guilty of at least one crime. Perhaps its time for Mr. Barrett to move on to more important matters.
Round and round we go on the merry-go-round of ethics – Ethics Schmethics
According to lobbyists and ethics experts, even if Hastert’s proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel the world on an interest group’s expense and eat steak on a lobbyist’s account at the priciest restaurants in Washington.
The only requirement would be that whenever a lobbyist pays the bill, he or she must also hand the lawmaker a campaign contribution. Then the transaction would be perfectly okay.
As I have written before, I had a nasty experience long ago when the Democratic members of the Los Angeles City Council and then Mayor Tom Bradley were bought off by Armand Hammer and Occidental Petroleum who sought permits to drill for oil off the Pacific Palisades. This was a local deal, but at that time, the Dems were engaged in Abramoff like behaviors. Democrats don’t have a monopoly on decency or fair play.
But people like me who are progressively-concerned centrists have to accept the fact that the current administration’s dominant personalities are not “playing well” with the rest of the political system. Bush’s model of government is sending out disastrous signals to potential democratic change agents around the world — teaching them that checks and balances can easily be up-ended and ignored. This is not the kind of foreign policy leadership that any realist or liberal internationalist can support.
Reading back over the post so far, I’ve made fewer typos then usual and I’ve probably pissed off every almost every degree of political tilt. I agree in general with Steve Clemens reference to looking at things the way they are and facing what you see honestly, but I would add that looking back at the political history of the last 50 years and llooking around at the current political atmosphere, its like looking at the history of a sports team. You’re team isn’t going to get it right everytime, but if they are getting it right the majority of the time you encourage them and try to make them better. All the while knowing that its not just the nature of politics, but human nature, that you can only do your best as an individual and keep doing the things that need to be done with a progressive agenda in mind.
“There is more to American politics than fat cats and their political friends. There are serious-minded liberals who fight the good fight on many issues…”G. William Domhoff
For environmental reasons, national security and the extra burden on the very thin social safety net of the USA, I am concerned about our leaky borders , and ports for that matter. Unforunately there are those that have taken it on themselves to take a hateful and vigilante approach to the problem. Orcinus has a five part investigative series up on The March of the Minutemen
Most important of all, the organizers of the Minuteman Project claimed that they would be keeping out white supremacists and other racists through their vetting process. In fact, there were at least six men participating who were members of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group whose members have been involved in crimes including assassination, shootouts with police, the machine-gun murder of a Jewish talk show host, bank robberies, plots to bomb Disney World and more. At least two of these men actually discussed setting up sniper positions along the border sometime in the near future. In addition, there was at least one member of the Aryan Nations, another major neo-Nazi group, participating in the Minuteman Project. No mainstream press account mentioned any of this.
Most press accounts ignored the bigoted past statements of organizer Chris Simcox, and almost all uncritically accepted self-congratulatory and inaccurate assessments from Simcox and co-organizer Jim Gilchrist. They also suggested, in many cases, that the Project had “shut down” some 20 miles of the border to illegal immigration; in fact, they only operated along a stretch of some two miles. One press account also described Project volunteer Jim McCutchen in flattering terms in a lengthy profile; completely ignored were McCutchen’s anti-Semitism and his contacts with the white supremacist hate group Council of Conservative Citizens, which has described blacks as a “retrograde species of humanity.”
. . . . . . . . . . .
If you’re sayin’ you’re somethin’
better’n what I am, that’s one
thing. But I can’t say much a
someone who’d run off an’ leave a
woman in a situation like this an’
feel easy about it. An’ that’s all
I gotta say.
I hope that’s all you gotta say,
El, ’cause I’m about as tired of
your mouth as I am workin’ this
from the screenplay Five Easy Pieces by Carole Eastman