Saturday, February 17, 2007

On the Lam With Alberto Gonzales

It doesn’t matter what headline announces which disgrace in the abuses of power, life goes on, if not unchanged, then certainly unencumbered.
Recent example--Alberto Gonzales pushing forward his assistant Attorney General, the gutless Paul McNulty, to fire San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, all the time insisting he had clean hands in the putsch.

It doesn’t matter what headline announces which disgrace in the abuses of power, life goes on, if not unchanged, then certainly unencumbered.
Asstattygenpaulmcnulty Recent example--Alberto Gonzales pushing forward his assistant Attorney General, the gutless Paul McNulty, to fire San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, all the time insisting he had clean hands in the putsch. Ms. Lam was fired for performance related issues, although McNulty was unable to list them in direct testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“What about Carol Lam? Why was she terminated?” committee member Rep. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., asked McNulty.
“I respectfully decline to go into specific reasons,” McNulty said.
So much for lip-service concerning respect. The specter of Spector wilting before yet another witness refusal to answer his direct question, preserves an unblemished Senate record of folding under pressure. Gonzales stiff-arms the Senate consistently and McNulty is merely a different face showing the same sneer.
Carollam The reason Lam is fired, is simply that she performed too well sending Representative Randy Cunningham to the slammer. She was about to continue her performing too well against a couple of thieving contractors associated with Cunningham.
Lam's heat made it uncomfortable for additional congressmen (and/or women) and the easy answer is to pull the offending tooth. The excuse is presumed inaction on immigration cases.
Don’t you believe it.
Brentwilkes It’s about who may be found with ties to the Cunningham debacle. Lam is (was) about to lay out the criminal conspiracy case against both Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade, the Mitchellwade_1 businessmen Cunningham was busy with, pocketing favors for clout.
Who knows who else was on their payroll?—but it’s a safe assumption Randy wasn’t the only legislator on the take.
All McNulty would say is that “the phone calls made in December were performance-related.” He was referring to calls made to Lam and five other prosecutors demanding their resignations. A seventh U.S. attorney, based in Arkansas, was dismissed earlier last year to make way for a former aide to White House adviser Karl Rove, McNulty said.
Carollam2 A whole lot more is at stake than U.S. Attorneys. The Bush administration has taken upon itself the unilateral reorganization of government without even the slightest consultation with the Congress.
  • They slipped a provision into the USA Patriot Act last year, allowing U.S. attorney replacements to be appointed and serve indefinitely without Senate approval. Where was Arlen Spector when that occurred?
  • In a mid-January executive order published in the Federal Register, the president ordered each agency to have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. No permission--no rule.
Without so much as a whimper from Nancy Pelosi’s new Congress, with its new mandate, two successive manglings of the public interest have occurred and we’re not even six weeks into the 109th congress. Investigative journalists (if there were any more of that ilk among the modern-day journalistic community) would damned well find out who inserted that little provision into the Patriot Act and what their purpose was.
Equally, were the Congress not so engrossed with Iraq's non-binding strutting and posturing, it might address something useful and important—like whether it wants appointed politicos (from either party) gatekeeping our federal regulatory agencies.
I can only put it to the national addiction to Zoloft and the plethora of other depression and anxiety pills out there.
  • As a nation, we are no longer depressed or anxious
  • No one gives a shit that prosecuting attorneys are yanked when they get too close to corrupt legislators
  • We do not care about (nor do we debate) the efficacy of appointing political contributors from industry to decide how their industries should be regulated.
With America zonked on pills, it’s just too much trouble to sweat the small stuff.
(San Diego Union Tribune) “I have observed, with increasing alarm, how politicized the Department of Justice has become,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said at the start of the hearing. “I have watched, with growing worry, as the department has increasingly based hiring on political affiliation.”
McNulty vigorously denied the allegation: “When I hear you talk about the politicizing of the Department of Justice, it's like a knife in my heart. The attorney general's appointment authority has not and will not be used to circumvent the confirmation process.”
Except that it was and it is.
Schumer noted that Lam “was in the midst of a sweeping public investigation,” referring to the probe of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Rancho Santa Fe, and others. Cunningham is in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges, but investigations are pending for several co-conspirators. “Was her firing political retaliation? There's no way to know that,” Schumer said. But he said he assumed that “politics is involved. The appearance is plain awful.”
Sencharlesschumer_1 Well, Senator Schumer, then do something about it. I dare you. Okay, double-dare.
When questioned about the continued Cunningham-related investigations, McNulty said, “We never have and never will seek to remove a United States attorney to interfere with an ongoing investigation or prosecution or in retaliation for a prosecution.”
Yeah, and there’s this bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you. Does CIA and Dusty Foggo mean anything to anyone?
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