The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

At the Pleasure of the President

United States attorneys are appointed by the President of the United States, not coincidentally, attorneys are often of the same political persuasion as the President. US attorneys are expected to enforce United States law, they are not political tools used to investigate and undermine opposition political parties. When President George W. Bush took the oath of office in 2000, he pledged to Americans that he would make national unity a top priority, perhaps the only growth of unity is in the growing discontent with the Bush administration. The forced resignations of 8 U.S. attorneys, has shaped it to be yet another example of political suppression of actions that are contrary to the interests of the administration.

Karl Rove has made the case that the resignations were not political actions but house keeping measures based on job performance. It is interesting to know what the criteria of job performance encompasses, perhaps they were sleeping on the job or maybe criminals were not prosecuted in an efficient manner. It has come out in recent weeks that the attorneys were removed because they were investigating Republicans in corruption cases and there are indications that they refused to be swayed by Republican Congressmen and women, pressuring them for information that they should not have had access to. It is quite obvious that it is not in the interest of the administration, for its members and supporters to be investigated and possibly be indicted on charges of misdoings. By removing attorneys that are in the midst of prosecuting such cases, the executive branch is circumventing the execution of the law.

  • *Bud Cummins was removed, according to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, to groom former Karl Rove aide, Timothy Griffin, for the position.
  • *Kevin Ryan, a Bush loyalist, was actually the victim of the poor job performance, but the DOJ had tried to retain him amidst the chatter of large scale firings. He was removed after a judge sought to go to Congress to make public his poor management problems.
  • *Carol Lam was removed because she was said to not be aggressively pursuing illegal immigration cases. The Department of Justice had defended Lam's performance in mid-2006, which asserted that she was pursuing larger scale immigration crimes, as opposed to small border crossing crimes. Emails between the DOJ and the White House, show that concern was growing about her expanding investigation of disgraced Republican Representative Duke Cunningham, which was beginning to investigate Republican Representative, Jerry Lewis (he was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee at the time of her firing).
  • *David Iglesias was removed when New Mexico Republican Party chairman, Allen Weh, complained to Karl Rove that he was unhappy about Iglesias' performance on voter-fraud issues, despite his active role of training federal prosecutors and giving symposiums on that topic. There had also been complaints that Iglesias did not prosecute Democrats quickly enough to make an impact on the 2006 elections.
  • *Paul Charlton was removed when his investigation of Republican Representative, Rick Renzi, began to ramp up. He had also created opposition with the Bush administration on his refusal to pursue death penalties in a few cases. Only a few months earlier, he had been honored with the Federal Service Award.
  • *John McKay was fired because he had not convened a federal grand jury case of voter fraud in the 2004 Washington State election for governor, following two recounts giving the victory to Democrat Christine Gregoire. McKay has responded, stating that following an investigation from his office as well as the FBI, they were unable to find credible evidence of federal crimes.
  • *Margaret Chiara was fired, according to the NYTimes, to make room for an attorney the Bush administration wanted to groom for the position.

These firings were not the first instances of politically motivated removals. Attorney Frederick A. Black, was demoted in 2002 while he was prosecuting the Jack Abramoff case through the Guam Superior Court.

Kyle Sampson, top aide to Alberto Gonzales and former UN ambassador, John Bolton (who did so on the Daily Show with John Stewart) have argued that there is no distinction between removing an attorney for politics and job performance. According to them, poor performance can be equated with acting contrary to the political interests of the ruling party.

As far as I know, Department of Justice attorneys do not have a requirement to be impartial. Unlike the Office of Independent Counsel, the advantage of politically moderate attorneys is in facilitating their confirmation by the Senate. As confirmation hearings during the Bush years have shown us, anyone heavily skewed to one ideological direction will get skewered.

In 2005, White House Counsel Harriet Miers approached Alberto Gonzales telling him that President Bush wanted to purge all 93 district attorneys, a move reminiscent of Stalin and Lenin era Soviet Russia. Pursuant with the Patriot Act, the White House would be able to replace removed district attorneys for an indefinite amount of time, circumventing Senate oversight. Checks and balances are effectively eliminated and opposition opinions are never voiced. The removal of those not considered Bush loyalists is yet another example in the Bush legacy of political insulation and suppression of political opponents.

What are they afraid of? Public opinion?

First you terrorize your opponents into silence so that your movement appears to have no opposition. This gives you tremendous power, not only because moderates quietly feel they are alone in their disagreement with you, but also because the ignorant media – especially the foreign media – casts you as the choice of the people. Having succeeded in silencing moderates, the next step is terrorizing them into cooperating with you. Soon passive cooperation is not enough. You want more than their body – you want their soul, so you terrorize the moderates into being "passionate" in your cause.

In the end, your movement appears to have only loyal and active supporters. Now you are in total control, for who would dare speak out against you? As Hitler said, 10 years before he finally rose to power, "The National Socialist Movement will in the future ruthlessly prevent – if necessary by force – all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow countrymen." In other words, all opposition is evil and we will protect you from it. Conservative Columnist for WorldNet Daily, Bob Just

Sound familiar?


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