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Four Color Politics

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

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Team Discipline

"’I would never, ever make a change in the United States attorney position for political reasons,’ Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in Senate testimony in early January. In a Feb. 6 hearing, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told lawmakers, ‘When I hear you talk about the politicizing of the Department of Justice, it's like a knife in my heart.’"
-Salon, February 28, 2007

“Yes.. Shame on you lawmakers. The workers in the Executive branch of the government take their jobs deadly seriously. They would never, ever get political about it.”

“A senior Justice Department official acknowledged yesterday that a top federal prosecutor in Arkansas was removed to make room for a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, but he said that six other U.S. attorneys were fired for ‘performance-related’ issues.
McNulty acknowledged that six U.S. attorneys in the West and Southwest were notified in December that they would be asked to step aside, including the lead prosecutor in San Diego, whose office oversaw the bribery conviction of a former Republican congressman.
A seventh former U.S. attorney, Bud Cummins of Little Rock, has said that he was asked to leave last year to open the job for J. Timothy Griffin, who previously worked for Rove and for the Republican National Committee. McNulty did not dispute that characterization yesterday.”
-Washington Post, February 7, 2007

“Ok.. That one was political. Still, that was just one. The rest of them were legit because of their performance. They just wouldn’t do what their were asked to do..”

“The fired U.S. attorney in New Mexico says he was pressured by two members of Congress prior to the November elections about the pace of an ongoing public corruption probe that targets local Democrats.

David C. Iglesias -- who is leaving today after more than five years in office -- said he received separate calls in October from two federal lawmakers, whom he declined to identify. Iglesias said he suspects the episode led the Justice Department to include him in a wave of firings of federal prosecutors late last year.
‘They were fishing around for information in terms of the status of the investigation,’ Iglesias said in an interview, referring to the lawmakers. ‘They were fishing around for a timetable. Those are things I'm prohibited from talking about.’
Iglesias said the callers seemed focused on whether indictments in the case might be issued prior to the elections.
‘I didn't give them what they wanted,’ Iglesias said. ‘That was probably a political problem that caused them to go to the White House or whomever and complain that I wasn't a team player.’"
-Washington Post, March 1, 200

“Still, the Administration needs to fix these little performance issues when they come up. When the Administration says ‘jump’, the only acceptable response is ‘how high?’. The Justice department needs to have the same discipline as the military..”

“Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
-Washington Post, February 18, 2007

“When they get a scandal they have a simple method. First, you deny that you knew about the issue until the evidence comes out..”

“Top officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including the Army's surgeon general, have heard complaints about outpatient neglect from family members, veterans groups and members of Congress for more than three years.
A procession of Pentagon and Walter Reed officials expressed surprise last week about the living conditions and bureaucratic nightmares faced by wounded soldiers staying at the D.C. medical facility. But as far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army's top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews.”
-Washington Post, March 1, 2007

“And then, once you can no longer deny it, you punish the people that caused the problem in the first place.”

“Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.
‘Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,’ one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.
Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.
They were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel. Building 18 is located just off campus and is easy to access.”
-Navy Times, February 28, 2007

“Still, there is no way of knowing for sure how the military chain of command works. I mean, this could have been stuck in the lower levels in the chain of command. It isn’t like it had the ear of anyone at the top.”

“Last October, Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, was taken to Walter Reed by a friend concerned about outpatient treatment. She attended a weekly meeting, called Girls Time Out, at which wives, girlfriends and mothers of soldiers exchange stories and offer support.
According to three people who attended the gathering, Rumsfeld listened quietly. Some of the women did not know who she was. At the end of the meeting, Rumsfeld asked one of the staff members whether she thought that the soldiers her husband was meeting on his visits had been handpicked to paint a rosy picture of their time there. The answer was yes.
When Walter Reed officials found out that Rumsfeld had visited, they told the friend who brought her -- a woman who had volunteered there many times -- that she was no longer welcome on the grounds.
Last week, the Army relieved of duty several low-ranking soldiers who managed outpatients. This week, in a move that some soldiers viewed as reprisal for speaking to the media, the wounded troops were told that early-morning room inspections would be held and that further contact with reporters is prohibited.”
-Washington Post, March 1, 2007


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