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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Full Court Press

“We’ve known for a while now that Fearless Leader is a man of bold and decisive vision. He looked at the issues in the Middle East and decided to liberate Iraq. He looked at the problems in our major cities and gave us Katrina relief. He examined our military strategy and remembered his time in the National Guard. He looked at our moral decay as a society and gave us Jenna. Now the blinding vision of the Decider turns towards our Justice system.”

“During a floor speech on the topic moments ago, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the White House has told her it was replacing from five to 10 Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys with its own interim appointees.”
-Justin Hood, TPM Muckraker, January 16, 2007

“Kevin Ryan, chief federal prosecutor for the state's Northern District, and Carol Lam, who headed the state's Southern District, both announced Tuesday they would be leaving.
The two are among 11 top federal prosecutors who have resigned or announced their resignations since an obscure provision in the USA Patriot Act reauthorization last year enabled the U.S. attorney general to appoint replacements without Senate confirmation.”
-Associated Press, January 17, 2007

“In order to replace several U.S. Attorneys with handpicked successors, the Bush Administration has relied on a tiny, obscure provision tucked into last year's USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act.
How did it get there?
Former Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) slipped the language into the bill at the very last minute, according to one of the Republican managers of the bill.
A spokesperson for Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who led the House team working on the bill, said that the provision was inserted by Specter into the final draft of the bill. The language was apparently requested by the Justice Department. Specter's office didn't respond to numerous requests for comment.”
-Paul Kiel, TPM Muckraker, January 17, 2007

“Wow.. The White House is replacing U.S. Attorneys with their own people. It is kind of like they were afraid that they were going to need their own hand-picked people as prosecutors for some reason. I would get suspicious about their worrying about being under criminal investigation, but that seems overly paranoid. I mean, it isn’t like they’re doing anything else that would support that theory.”

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.
In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who ‘apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences.’”
-Associated Press, January 17, 2007

“Well, except announcing that judges really aren’t qualified to judge when it might impact the Executive branch. Hmm.. They are going after both the judges and the prosecutors already, and the drive to ‘sanitize’ the courts seems to be led by a Mr. Gonzales… Gonzales.. Gonzales.. Where have I heard his name before?”

“One key advantage of declaring that Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters did not have Geneva Convention protections is that it ‘substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act,’ Gonzales wrote.”
-Newsweek, May 19, 2004

“The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes - and that it might even apply to Bush administration officials themselves - is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by Newsweek. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.”
-Newsweek, May 19, 2004

“Following Tristan's execution, Bush's office released a statement that read, in part: "Gov. Bush assures the people of Mexico that Mr. Tristan had [a] fair trial, ample opportunity to be heard and the full protections of the Constitution and laws of the United States of America."
That was not entirely true, however, because Bush and Gonzales apparently believed that international law, as embodied in the Vienna Convention, was somehow inapplicable to Texas. It would be difficult to find an international law expert who agreed with Gonzales' legal analysis, due in no small part to Article 6 of the Constitution, which states that, ‘... all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.’ Supreme Court precedent dating to 1804 establishes that states are bound by U.S. treaties.”
-Slate, June 15, 2004

“Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former N.S.A. director who is now the second-ranking intelligence official in the country, was asked at a White House briefing this week whether there had been any ‘purely domestic’ intercepts under the program.
‘The authorization given to N.S.A. by the president requires that one end of these communications has to be outside the United States,’ General Hayden answered. ‘I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always outside the United States.’
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also emphasized that the order only applied to international communications. ‘People are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors,’ he said. ‘Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the United States.’"
-New York Times, December 21, 2005

“A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.
The officials say the National Security Agency's interception of a small number of communications between people within the United States was apparently accidental, and was caused by technical glitches at the National Security Agency in determining whether a communication was in fact ‘international.’"
-New York Times, December 21, 2005

“Oh! I remember now! He is Bush’s right hand man who has said that the Geneva Conventions are ‘quaint’ and that the illegal domestic wiretapping wasn’t, you know, illegal. Well, I sure hope that he and the rest of the Administration have a sympathetic judge.. Oh.. wait.. That’s what this is all about isn’t it?”


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