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Archive for the ‘oversight’ Category

If there’s one clip that should sink Gonzales, it’s this one. At this point can anyone reasonably refute that this country is being run by an organized crime syndicate?

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That’s the gist of a letter sent anonymously by a group of concerned DoJ employees to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The original letter in pdf form is here. Here’s the key passages to me (bold emphasis is my own):

After choosing potential candidatest to interview the division personnell forwarded their lists to the Office of Attorney Recruitment Management for what was traditionally final approval. This is no longer a final step, however, because the list had to go higher–to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. When the list of potential interviewees was returned this year, it had been cut dramatically. (For example, many sections were left with fewer potential interviewees than vacant slots to fill; one section was not permitted to interview any of its choices for the Summer Law Intern Program.)

Needless to say, many people were upset and confused Why had so many potential interviewees been removed from the list? Top supervisors requested answers, and on December 5 a meeting was held with Michael Ellston, Chief of Staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. Many division attorneys and staff were present, and Mr. Ellston was offensive to the point of insulting. Claiming that the entire group had not “don their jobs” in reviewing applicants, he said that he had a “screening panel” go over the list and research these candidates on the Internet; he refused to give the names of those on his “panel.” Mr. Ellston said that people were struck from the list for three reasons: grades, spelling errors on applications, and inappropriate information about them on the Internet. When the meeting attendees protested that these interviewees had excellent grades, Mr. Ellston replied that a Harvard graduate in the bottom half of the class was more desirable than the top students at second-tier law schools. Althogh Mr. Ellston stated that he would entertain appeals to his decisions, few of these appeals were granted.

When division personnel staff later compared the remaining interviewees with the candidates struck from the list, one common denominator appeared repeatedly: most of those struck from the list had interned for a Hill Democrat, clerked for a Democratic judge, worked for a “liberal” cause, or otherwise appeared to have “liberal” leanings. Summa cum laude graduates of both Yale and Harvard were rejected for interviews

If Bush and Cheney are not eventually impeached over this, I have serious doubts about the viability of our democracy. This is nothing short of a coup.

More on this at The Gavel, Pelosi’s blog.

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and that word is fascism (Via TPMMuckraker):

Over the past six years, the Bush administration has aggressively reshaped the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Many career analysts and attorneys have either been transferred or driven out; their replacements are long on conservative credentials and short on civil rights experience.

According to Moore, his supervisor and the political appointees in the section consistently criticized his work because it didn’t jibe with their pre-drawn conclusions. That was bad enough, he said, but the real trouble came after he and three colleagues recommended opposing a Georgia voter I.D. law pushed by Republicans. After the recommendation, which clashed with the views of Moore’s superiors, they reprimanded him for not adequately analyzing the evidence and accused him of mistreating his Republican colleague, with whom he’d had frequent disagreements. But it got worse. Moore said that his Republican superiors even monitored his emails, eventually filing a complaint against him with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility for allegedly disclosing privileged information in one email (he was cleared of wrongdoing). Fed up, and worried that it was too dangerous to his professional future to remain there, he left.

Moore said that his experience was similar to others in the section who’d disagreed with conservative attorneys working at the Justice Department. Over the following year, all three of Moore’s colleagues who’d joined him in opposing the law either left or were transferred out of the section. The senior member of the team, Robert Berman, the deputy chief of the section and a 28-year veteran of the Civil Rights Division, was transferred to the Office of Professional Development — what Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has called “a dead-end job.”

You have to read the whole thing to fully grasp just how fucked up the DoJ is due to Bush’s installation of brainless loyalists. How is this not simply a coup at this point? They’ve infected the government with career yes-men & women, used their craven loyalty to subvert the will of the American people (that pesky thing called democracy), and are willfully disobeying the law!

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Here’s a handy summary of just how badly the cancerous Bush cult has metastisized within our government:

Consider the reports surfacing only within the past month: that scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency have again been forbidden to discuss climate change; that nine newly appointed U.S. attorneys are political cadres; that the new U.S. attorney for Minnesota, Rachel Paulose, cites Bible verses in the office, harshly orders underlings around and, according to one of four assistant U.S. attorneys in her office who voluntarily demoted themselves, treats disagreement as “disloyalty”; that the Election Assistance Commission last year, giving credence to Republican talking points of widespread voter fraud, ignored experts’ testimony to the contrary; that between 2001 and 2006, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has purged 60 percent of its professional staff and not filed a single voting discrimination case on behalf of African-American or Native American voters; and that after the state Republican Party complained to Rove that the U.S. attorney in Wisconsin, Steven Biskupic, was not attacking voter fraud, Biskupic kept his job by filing corruption charges against an aide to the incumbent Democratic governor on the eve of the 2006 elections. (The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the aide was “wrongly convicted” on evidence that was “beyond thin.”)

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Considering what we now know about the Bush administration’s tentacles extending into the DoJ, the fact that they used the USA PATRIOT act to do so–an act which seeks to curtail a number of longstanding rules protecting privacy from government intrusion, this article from the Boston Globe is quite chilling, especially considering that this was reported last year:

The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds. . . .

For decades, such committees had screened thousands of resumes, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations that were only rarely rejected.

Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.

For more shit that ought to be curling up hairs on the back of your neck, check out this TPM entry.

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Gonzo’s gotta lot of cramming to do:

After struggling for weeks to explain the extent of his involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, Gonzales and his aides are viewing the Senate testimony on April 12 and April 17 as seriously as if it were a confirmation proceeding for a Supreme Court or a Cabinet appointment, officials said.

Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, and Timothy E. Flanigan, who worked for Gonzales at the White House, have met with the attorney general to plot strategy. The department has scheduled three days of rigorous mock testimony sessions next week and Gonzales has placed phone calls to more than a dozen GOP lawmakers seeking support, officials said.

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