Re: Justice

1

I want a witch hunt!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 12:13 PM
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I saw this coming months ago. On Jan. 20 the rules will change. "No political interference in the Justice Department" will will become an absolute law, the way that "No Impeachment" became an absolute law on Jan. 20, 2001. David Broder has probably already written his column, just in case he finally dissolves into jelly and leaves this world before the inauguration.

Obama uses a lot of that "put an end to the politics of conflict" rhetoric, and a lot of his people seem to have been drawn by that. I hope he doesn't mean it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 12:27 PM
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There should be lots of problems the first year, but there were lots of problems the first year in the Clinton administration, with the DOJ going one way and the administration going the other.

Much more problematic is all the bad laws that have been passed and will be enforced by the ideologically-committed. Watch people demanding DOJ enforce bad law!

max
['The attorneys will leave and the laws will stay the same.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 12:36 PM
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Back then I speculated that a lot of the hacks may be so ill-qualified that the federal jobs they have may be the best ones they can get -- people were arguing that the low pay would drive them out.

My suggestion would be that a JD branch be established in Minot and equipped with dial phones and typewriters. Lawyers in that branch would be required to ask permission to go to the bathroom, once per four hours for no longer than 3 minutes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 12:47 PM
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even if Congress could remove civil service protections from some Justice Department employees, it would set a bad precedent.

You will not enjoy how the next Republican President will abuse any precedents established by an Obama administration trying to clean out the ideologues.

I fully expect the ideologues in DoJ and all the other departments to "not simply carve out independent fiefdoms" but to create massive problems of obstruction or sabotage with the intent of forcing or tempting Obama to weaken the civil service protections, or at least provoking embarrassing confrontations. like the Travel Office in the early Clinton Years.

What's that name? Ahh, Jack Goldsmith. A "reasonable anti-torture comservative" who has written a book and posts sometimes at Balkin's. The Republicans will sacrifice a few members (Barnett is another, Clemons has a buddy at State), allowing them to dissemble publicly, to ensure that the good guys cannot say:"All Republicans are evil." They are smarter than the Nazis.

There are "Good Conservatives" pretending to be upset at the DoJ scandals. There are no good Republicans, it is an oxymoron. Those are are decent human beings long ago left the party.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 12:47 PM
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You will not enjoy how the next Republican President will abuse any precedents established by an Obama administration trying to clean out the ideologues.

Because lord knows the next Republican president won't shit all over current precedent as long as we play fair and square during our turn in office.

And besides, bob, tell me which precedent you would prefer that we leave: the "remove civil service protections from obvious hacks" precedent (which, sure, could potentially be abused by future Republicans), or the "we won't even bother to clean up your fucking mess" precedent? I'd say the latter would inspire far worse behavior in future Republican administrations, don't you think?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 1:00 PM
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Goddamn I'm getting angry at this shit. It didn't help that I'd been away from the news for a few days, and the first thing I read when I came back was that damn post over at Apo's, and now this shit. When's the motherfucking revolution?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 1:01 PM
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6:I don't have any answers for this particular dilemma. Long term and immediately in any way possible, the Republican Party, every Republican, delenda est. Maybe if Obama appointments spit on the Bushites passing them in the halls of DoJ, thy will get tired and go away.

Y'all know I am of the mind to jump on Balkin for associating with Goldsmith. I have criticized Clemons for tolerating that Bush defender...what's his name...whose job description was apparently overseas partial defenses of Yoo-Adddington principles (well, Yoo may not be completely right, but...)

I want DeLong and Thoma et al to get Mankiw so shunned at conferences and by his peers that he becomes useless and Harvard has to ask for his retirement. The Angry Bear crew actually engages Kling, Yglesias...aw never mind.

Bruce Barnett is a terrific example. Back when he was sent to Calvary for criticizing Bush budgets, the left blogosphere granted him credibility that is now coming back to haunt them now that Barnett is saying:"Democrats are the Racist Party."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 1:17 PM
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Locally our Secretary of Transportation, who was unqualified and politically appointed by Republican Pawlenty and was on watch when the I35 bridge collapsed was booted out. Within days she was appointed some Federal post but was fired after a couple months.

Nothing but cronyism at its worst.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 1:45 PM
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Tripp, Google Sonia Pitt.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 1:53 PM
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No justice...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 1:58 PM
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Nothing but cronyism at its worst.

Hayes/Garfield era crony corruption can be handled more easily than having a ideologue in that Transportation position who think roads & bridges should be privatised. People in power who believe catastrophes and deaths due to gov't incompetence, e.g. on contaminated food, are a net societal good (besides a private good*) have many more available ways to hurt people and not get caught.

And make money besides.

*Privatize profit, socialize risk. Build that bridge with a corp or subsidiary that use substandard concrete. Quick profits for Republicans, no liability. This is not a rant for someone who watched banking or real estate in the last few years. Each one of you are paying today Paulsen's hundreds of millions in compensation he got at GS.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 2:47 PM
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So the rule is that they can make as many political appointments as they want and not get punished, but we cannot undo the political appointments because that would be political interference with the civil service?

I really want the human race to survive another couple hundred years so someone with some objectivity can look back on these days and see clearly how really bad government can bring down a society. I want the Bush years to be an object lesson for a very long time.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 2:58 PM
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I don't know why it's supposed to be so hard to figure out which people should be fired. No witch hunt needed: Fire everyone who got their law degree from Regent, and every Federalist Society member who wasn't in the top 10% of their class and was hired while Gonzales was in charge. Or some similar objective criterion along those lines. If any of the fired people really want to work under President Obama, they can reapply for their jobs.

Of course, first you have to strip them of civil service protection. Which Congress should do.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:05 PM
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So the rule is that they can make as many political appointments as they want and not get punished, but we cannot undo the political appointments because that would be political interference with the civil service?

I think the problem is that it's a win-win for the GOP: either they get to keep their people in place or the Dems strip them of their civil service protection, which they can then use as a precedent to fuck over the civil service system and unions in the future.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:11 PM
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They don't care about precedent. They will do what they want whether there is a precedent for it or not. Worrying about giving them cover in the future is just playing into their hands today. Win now.


Posted by: xyzzy | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:19 PM
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Of course, first you have to strip them of civil service protection. Which Congress should do.

No. The assymetry is too terrible. Republicans are quite capable of firing every doctor at Walter Reed and replacing them with Caribbean-degreed cousins to perform brain-surgery on Iraq vets. You cannot give them that opportunity.

Or firebugs in park service. Or tax-avoiders in the IRS. Or Blackwater in the Secret Service, "protecting" the Democratic candidates. They have been restrained so far by the Democratic career bureaucrats around them, and the civil service protections that have limited the takeovers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:21 PM
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You cannot give them that opportunity.

They'll give themselves that opportunity when they see fit, and the Gutless Party will do bupkis about it. Fine, let the incompetents keep their civil service protection. Publicize their names and transfer them to where they can do the least harm.

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No more masturbating to Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
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Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:29 PM
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Jack Goldsmith comes off as somewhat heroic in Jane Mayer's The Dark Side. I'd probably be willing to buy him a beer.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:29 PM
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Transfer them to where they can do the least harm.

As I said, the special Sump Law division in Minot.

I somewhat agree with Bob about not stripping civil service protections. Carrying them as dead weight with no working responsibilities is the best solution. The DOJ budget should be increased proportionate to the number of dead weight Republicans that will have to be carried.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:34 PM
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I disagree strongly with this:There are no good Republicans, it is an oxymoron.

There are plenty of good Republicans, people who would dump their party and form a separate party along Goldwater conservative lines if it didn't mean political irrelevance. The neocon/theocon/crony corporatist alliance that currently dominates the upper echelons of the GOP exists and has power solely because of the execrable two party system. It's that same system that forces small government liberals such as myself to make common cause with the nanny state faction within the Democratic party.

McCain's demonization strategy has a chance of working only because there is just one credible opponent. Instant runoff is the way to go, but that's gonna be a looong haul.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 3:55 PM
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There are plenty of good Republicans

I was born about the time Eisenhower was giving a wink to Joe McCarthy. IOW, I have been hearing "We just lost control of the crazies" my entire fucking life.

I don't listen anymore.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:01 PM
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Assign them to prosecute civil rights violations. Abortion protesters gone too far. Republican criminals. Litterers. They'll leave.

They will anyway, mostly. "What is it that motivates you to serve George Bush" isn't a question a career person is going to have answered.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:01 PM
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They could still serve George Bush-in-exile, though. He's hiding in a cave, or turned into a tree, or beyond the outer darkness, but someday, he'll return, and he'll know who was loyal.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:09 PM
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24: Death Eaters are the new Rangers.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:18 PM
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How dare you associate King Arthur with whoever the guy from the HP books is.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:19 PM
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Raben believes it's not appropriate to fire people just because they were hired through a flawed system,

Why not?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:21 PM
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Show of hands: Who likes Bush as Arthur better than Bush as Voldemort?

("beyond the outer darkness" just turns up Hellraiser allusions, so I'm pretty sure I didn't miss the reference.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:28 PM
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There are plenty of good Republicans, people who would dump their party and form a separate party along Goldwater conservative lines if it didn't mean political irrelevance.

How could little-government conservatives be more completely irrelevant than they have become by supporting Bush for eight years? But very few of them jumped ship.

They could have supported a third party, they could have refused to vote, and they could have supported Democrats. But to most of them, there was something about Kerry that was worse than anything about Bush. It's hard to respect that.

The Republican Party is an anti-tax, militarist, authoritarian party. Period. The anti-tax policies will bankrupt the government in the long run, forcing a reduction in social spending, and for that reason the little-government people have stayed aboard. That's a vile way to do politics.

Awhile back I said that the Democratic Party was the American left party, liberal party, centrist party, libertarian party, and conservative party. It's truer now than it was then.

Before the "good Republicans" start giving us advice, they should spend ten years sitting silently in the back of the room with paper bags over their heads.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:30 PM
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27

"Why not?"

Because it is unfair assuming the applicants were blameless. They are being punished for something that was not their fault.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:32 PM
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Bave could set you straight, Wrongshore.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:33 PM
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"They've been caught with their hand in the ideological cookie jar," Raben says. "The No. 1 issue here is confidence among the American people that cases are taken in a way that isn't influenced by political ideology."

The American people's perception of impartiality among judges has no relation at all to the reality of the situation. How can someone so close to actual power express such lame idealism?

Raben believes it's not appropriate to fire people just because they were hired through a flawed system, but he says it's "critical" that supervisors watch those people carefully to make sure their legal decisions are not motivated by politics.

And then when it is discovered that their legal decisions are motivated by politics, they can be fired. I guess we would need a pretty big sample size, though. Eight years at a minimum.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:34 PM
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Because it is unfair assuming the applicants were blameless.

Hiring and firing is not guilt and innocence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:35 PM
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23

"Assign them to prosecute civil rights violations. Abortion protesters gone too far. Republican criminals. Litterers. They'll leave."

This is stupid. Assign them to prosecute corrupt Democrats. Of course they will need to be supervised but all prosecutors need to be supervised.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:37 PM
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The best solution to the problem would be prosecution of Monica Goodling and the other political appointees who violated the law in the hiring process.

Unfortunately, it's a sure thing that she gets a last-minute pardon on the way out.

What's really needed is reform of the pardon system. I suggest an amendment worded as follows:

The pardon power of the president shall not extend to crimes committed by anyone in the employ of the executive branch, including the office of the vice-president, unless at least eight years have passed since the offense to be pardoned was committed.

(Some other clause other than the "eight years" might serve much the same purpose.)

It's becoming clear that the unlimited pardon power was one of the biggest mistakes (apart from not dealing with the slavery issue) that the authors of the Constitution made.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:37 PM
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This is stupid. Assign them to prosecute corrupt Democrats. Of course they will need to be supervised but all prosecutors need to be supervised.

That's what they've already been doing. That and prosecuting non-corrupt Democrats.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:39 PM
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34: Prosecuting corrupt Democrats is the very thing they can't be trusted to do. Look at the Siegelman case in Alabama or the Georgia Thompson case in Wisconsin.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:42 PM
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36

"... That and prosecuting non-corrupt Democrats."

Hence the need for supervision.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:42 PM
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That's the ticket! Hire a bunch of incompetent fanatics who want to put every Democrat in jail, and then supervise them very closely.

I'm not sure I agree with you 100 percent on your analysis there, James.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:45 PM
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"Supervision"? Who supervises who?

How come the "supervisors" can be replaced by competent professionals, but the supervisees cannot? Is this one of those union things where management is not covered by collective bargaining?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:47 PM
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I'm not sure I agree with you 100 percent on your analysis there, James.

Oh, Margie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:48 PM
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Was Adam Smith an Individualist ...h/t Michael Gordon in T Cowen's comments. I should read Wilkinson more often.

Probably not on topic, but it does appear to me a honest cynical kind of conservatism that Burke would later dress up.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:50 PM
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Shut the fuck up, Sifu. You have no frame of reference here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:51 PM
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40

"How come the "supervisors" can be replaced by competent professionals, but the supervisees cannot? Is this one of those union things where management is not covered by collective bargaining?"

The top people are all political appointees.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:51 PM
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So are most of the supervisees now, James. That's the very problem we're discussing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:52 PM
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Ok, to be more on topic, and possibly though doubtfully even useful, I would suggest that every Republican prosecutor/official be challenged for bias in every court. The words "appointed by Monica Goodling and other Bushites" should be spoken daily.

Every bureacratic decision should be challenged on these grounds. I don't know how or if it would work, especially before Republican judges, but for lawyers/plaintiffs/defendants it should be the first move.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 4:57 PM
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"This is a partisan political prosecution like Siegelman" should be spoken before voir dure and daily thereafter in every case. Let's get some contempt cases and jail sentences.

The idea is to make any "good" Republicans embarrassed and irritated, and the public aware that there is no Republican justice.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 5:02 PM
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45

"So are most of the supervisees now, James. That's the very problem we're discussing."

Political appointees serve at the will of the President and can be replaced by the new adminstration. Civil service employees cannot.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 5:11 PM
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Rovian Ratfuck them out of their jobs - set them to prosecute corrupt democrats, fake some of the evidence, blame it on the Goodling hires. Not only do you get rid of them, you destroy their careers (damaging their utility as footsoldiers, as well as intimidating other potential footsoldiers) and smear the GOP by association, not to mention the fact that you've at least partially insulated your corrupt buddies.

Of course there are moral issues with that approach (such as the fact that it's evil). The Dr. Horrible in me likes it, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 5:17 PM
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Hey, Sifu, I was kidding!

48: Yes, I know, James. That's what we're talking about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 5:18 PM
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50

I was answering the question in 40.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 5:21 PM
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Of course there are moral issues with that approach (such as the fact that it's evil).

Also illegal, what with the faking evidence.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 5:37 PM
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If the Executive Branch of the government does it, it isn't illegal.


Posted by: Dick Cheney | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:18 PM
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What say that the Obama administration preserves civil-service protection and serves one or two terms before handing power back to the same bunch of Republican thugs. Does anyone think more than 100 days will pass into the next Republican administration before civil-service protection, as well as any sort of safety for Democratic appointments, is tossed aside, principal be damned?

I would prefer it if the administration could come up with a creative third-way solution, along the lines of John Emerson's suggestion, to completely marginalize these appointments. Whatever job they thought they were given should changed in all but title to glorified mail-checker, even if they have to puree the JD's org-chart to make it happen. If that's not a possibility, the gloves have to come off. The Republicans have already cheated: what the heck sort of safeguard is civil-service protection when these guys are in the government?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:27 PM
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50: I know. I found your response very satisfying, though, and thought to savor it quietly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:28 PM
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We don't need to fire them. They were never legally hired. Just stop their checks from coming.


Posted by: Frank | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:32 PM
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43, 50,55: The heck do ya mean?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:36 PM
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56: and take away their stapler.

Bet they bollox up the cover sheets on the TPS reports, too.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:39 PM
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Sifu and I communicate mostly in quotations from Coen Brothers movies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:41 PM
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59: The heck do ya mean?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:45 PM
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Whoops.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:56 PM
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13: I really want the human race to survive another couple hundred years so someone with some objectivity can look back on these days and see clearly how really bad government can bring down a society. I want the Bush years to be an object lesson for a very long time.

I also want that objective look to include how a weak,vain, toadying press corps can be such an enabler. In this instance anything that the Dems do will look like an overreaction since it has gotten relatively little coverage given the seriousness of the ethical and legal breach. (And not just now that the details have come to light, the David Broders of the world absolutely knew this is how it was going down at the time—as well as dozens of other partisan excesses. The contrast with the scrutiny of such things during the Clinton years is astounding.) Truly world historically bad. They (and we) will some day be an utter laughingstock of history.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 6:59 PM
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JP's not going to debate you, Emerson.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 7:08 PM
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um mani badmi khum
RIP, AS


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 7:31 PM
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Fuck their mothers for making me agree with bob.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 8:47 PM
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How on earth did their mothers make you agree with bob?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 8:59 PM
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Mothers can be very persuasive; all the more so when you're fucking. Apparently they're 100% pro-bob.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 9:06 PM
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They were probably appointed to motherhood based on ideology, not qualifications.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 9:08 PM
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I also agree with John Emerson's suggestion, to completely marginalize these appointments. As a first step I think it might be a good idea to PUBLICLY identify all the Gooding appointees.


Posted by: Fuzzykisser | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 9:10 PM
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Has there been any discussion here of the film Mongol, directed by Sergei Brodov? Seems like some people here might have interesting things to say about it. Googling "Mongol" in the archives is not exactly helpful.

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(Yes, I'm abusing the pause/play. Sue me.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 10:31 PM
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70 -- Yes.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 11:43 PM
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67, 68: I object to the slander upon mothers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08- 3-08 11:58 PM
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I thought you were pro-mothers-who-fuck, B. I guess I've just misunderstood you this whole time.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:15 AM
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No one wants a witch hunt

Oh really? the damage to the impartiality of federal government has already happened, the politicisation of the civil service is a fact and changing that is goping to be a long and bitter fight. To waffle on this, or somehow ignore it and hope it gets sorted out "through natural processes" will just make things worse.

But wingnuts in the justice department is small beer. What worries me is the fundies in the airforce, traditionally the service most likely to start a coup.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:18 AM
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What worries me is the fundies in the airforce, traditionally the service most likely to start a coup.

From your mouth to the exact opposite of God's ear. (God's anus?) I don't think this is particularly likely, but the fact that the probability is now nonzero is pretty terrifying.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:43 AM
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There should be lots of problems the first year

Will you people please win the fucking election before making predictions about what will or won't happen after it. McCain is still in the margin of error at a point from which the contest has in the past usually become closer rather than not. There are Republican administrations in swing states who will control the ballot, manipulate the register and contract the voting machine suppliers. And everybody's wondering what BHO will do about this and that when the probability is what he will do is represent Illinois in the Senate.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:35 AM
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I would very much like a witch hunt, accompanied by some first-rate rhetoric about the importance of honest standards honestly applied, and how important it is that the people see how the people's business is conducted.

But it won't happen.

What really has me depressed a lot these days is how utterly predictable the next few administrations are. I think Obama's going to win, and then get utterly hamstrung. The Democratic leadership doesn't even want to try resisting the Republican machine, let alone having any clue what to do if they did. So every effort at serious reform will be thwarted, barring the occasional miracle. Joshua Michah Marshall deserves credit for triggering effective resistance to the machine on Social Security privatization once; I can't see the sense in planning as if it that sort of thing will keep happening, though. So Obama will get rolled as badly as Clinton was in the last few years of his second term. Then in due season there'll be a Republican administration to pick up where this one left off.

I don't believe much in genuine determinism when it comes to social behavior. But I do believe that things can be determined in the absence of an effective will to resist them. We have leadership that's shame-proof. I'd like to believe that the next step isn't violence, but I feel at a loss for things to do in between those. And if there is, it too will be fought hard by the people claiming to represent us.

I really need to work at disengagement. Ruining my own life to no effect doesn't help either.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:53 AM
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On the specific issue under discussion, I don't know how civil service protection works in the US, but over here, if you're appointed to a job for which you are not qualified because you have misrepresented your qualification, or you have connived at somebody else misrepresenting your qualification, then you're out on your ear, tootie sweetie, when it comes out. Gross misconduct, no job protection applies.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 2:54 AM
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The problem is that the applicants didn't misrepresent anything, they just got hired on the basis of bogus criteria. That doesn't mean they deserve to keep their jobs (Shearer: if you steal a car and give it to me, I haven't done anything wrong. Is returning it to the rightful owner punishing me, despite the fact that I'm innocent?), but it means that the process you're talking about isn't procedurally helpful.

Although gross misconduct is interesting -- I wonder if having the new sets of political appointees go through the last eight years of interoffice communications, and fire anyone who was communicating with political people about political considerations motivating prosecutions in an unusual or wrongful way, might be useful. That seems like it might catch the real problems, and also if publicized shine some light on why the process is necessary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:43 AM
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79: go through the last eight years of interoffice communications, and fire anyone who was communicating with political people about political considerations motivating prosecutions in an unusual or wrongful way,

I wonder how much of that communications trail still exists? Yet another problem when you have folks governing who have contempt for much of the governance they are charged with. I await with breathless anticipation the David Broder "they came in and trashed the place and it wasn't theirs to trash" column on the DOJ/Admin in general.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:37 AM
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The problem is that the applicants didn't misrepresent anything, they just got hired on the basis of bogus criteria. That doesn't mean they deserve to keep their jobs (Shearer: if you steal a car and give it to me, I haven't done anything wrong.

I agree with the first part of this thought. But the stealing part is wrong. Receiving stolen property often boils down to you knew the deal was too good to be true.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:57 AM
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I was wondering if I was going to have to specify that I didn't know or have reason to suspect a crime had been committed. Consider it specified.

And yes, this is complex when you map the analogy back onto the DOJ hires. The point I was trying to make is that even if, per Shearer, the hires were innocent (which they weren't to the extent they were aware that the hiring process had been perverted in their favor) they still don't get to keep the benefits they were wrongly given.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:00 AM
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OFE: The polls this far out have almost no predictive value whatsoever.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:04 AM
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You hope.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:11 AM
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So the rule is that they can make as many political appointments as they want and not get punished, but we cannot undo the political appointments because that would be political interference with the civil service?

Tehy get punished by losing elections. And if you want to get rid of crooked bureaucrats, you waste them out, along the lines Emerson suggested. (I don't see why he even had to suggest it since that is what is going to occur, even with the goodiest of Goody Two-Shoes Democrats.) McManus is 100% correct (which he often is); there's not much to be gained by witchhunting. There's much to be gained from winning two (presidential) elections in a row and keeping the House and Senate in D hands. After awhile, their crooks will go away and be replaced by your crooks.

On the other hand, if you immediately revert to a spoils system, then when an R gets elected they'll come up with something worse to do besides mass firing. Bonus badness: it hurts your credibility to do exactly the same shit as the previous administration.

It's not worth it; better to expend effort passing laws you like and unpassing the crappy ones. More bang for the buck. That said, I don't see why you can't hold lots of hearings into abuse of the civil service system with an eye to embarrassing bad appointees and reestablishing standards, such that next time you get stuck with a R president, the sort of behaviour they've been engaging in is still outlandish. (See Bush Jr. v. Nixon comparisons for example.)

Will you people please win the fucking election before making predictions about what will or won't happen after it.

Regardless of whether John McCain or Barack Obama wins the election, there's going to massive economic problems (at least as bad as 1981, probably as bad as '31). Bonus points: The neo-cons and the usual lot will continue to hew to the line that nothing matters but killing furrners. And the R's in Congress will be on defense, no matter who wins the election. Unfortunately, they play very very good defense, as in Steel Curtain defense, the kind of defense the D's should've played between 2000 and 2006. Oh, well, nothing to be done about it now except beat the tar out of the obstructionists. And also the D's should be prepared to deal with a massive shitload of economic issues instead of assuming that the lion will lying down with the lamb after the election. Forewarned is forearmed. (And sometimes four-armed.)

Obama is in pretty good shape electionwise, considering how badly the press wants to stay in Iraq and continue receiving their tax cuts/subsidies. McCain is trying to wear Obama down, but he's also expending his best (only) weapons early to try and keep Obama in range, but he won't have anything left in the tank for later. So far the counter-battery fire has been pretty good since the lull in June, and without digging too deeply into the ammo reserves. I think the D's in general have been a little more complacent than I would like, but much better than 2004. That's what you want.

The question is, is Obama prepared to kick the shit out of McCain during Sept. and Oct.? I would assume he is. He'd better; the thing is, is that in an alternate world where Obama was relentless all summer long, if he didn't have anything left to use during Sept. and Oct. he would still be screwed.

Aside from all that, my question is, is why are our Fine British Friends relentlessly parroting the R attack line of the week ('Obama is Hitler!') and then using it as an excuse to continuously pepper the D side with grapeshot from the ostensible left? What's the malfunction here?

I'd think that everyone would agree that it would be much more helpful to aim that stuff at the guys in the red jackets. Just sayin'.

max
['La de dah dah.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:12 AM
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Aside from all that, my question is, is why are our Fine British Friends relentlessly parroting the R attack line of the week ('Obama is Hitler!') and then using it as an excuse to continuously pepper the D side with grapeshot from the ostensible left?

Which fine British friends would they be?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:28 AM
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There's much to be gained from winning two (presidential) elections in a row and keeping the House and Senate in D hands. After awhile, their crooks will go away and be replaced by your crooks.

inspiring.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:33 AM
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84: It's not a matter of hope. Historically they are terrible predictors. Dukakis was up by 18 points at this point in 1988.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:36 AM
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I am all in favor of a "witchhunt", but am aware that the media zombies, the civil sevice laws, and the Republican dead-enders in Congress will probably make a witchhunt impossible. It wouldn't be a difficult hunt: anyone hired during the Bush administration, especially if from Regent college and related schools, especially if inexperienced and underqualified, especially if they've engaged in misconduct or borderline activities.

A reason why it would be important to do this if possible is that the Republicans changed the rules and will now insist on changing them back. They hired political hacks for civil service positions, but now they're going to turn punctilious about the civil service laws. Democrats can't continue to tolerate this kind of asymmetrical legalism.

The apparent consensus among the media zombies and many Democrats, apparently including Obama, is "no recriminations". The people who did not complain, or who complained feebly, about Bush's unprecedented impositions (including Blue Dog Democrats) are gearing up to complain loudly about anything Obama might do.

The Democrats, if they indeed do exist and want to continue to exist, can't continue to respond passively. I still expect them to win both in Congress and in the Presidency, but in order to take advantage they're going to have to stiffen up and get smart. Obama's going to be hit with the consequences of a lot of Bush's actions, and he will be blamed for everything that happens. If Democrats don't point fingers and do witchhunts, the Republicans will be happy to do so. No peaceful, civilized outcome is possible.

Left unsaid above: Democrats are different than Republicans, but only by so much.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:50 AM
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While the idea that making the political appointments we're allowed to should be sufficient to make the DOJ inhospitable for the bad civil service hires has something to it, it means that our political appointees have to be solidly on the left -- not uselessly 'bipartisan' to the point where they'll let right wing civil service hires run wild.

I don't have the detailed knowledge to make this argument solidly, but isn't a similar error a big part of what went wrong with all the phony Clinton scandals? Clinton appointed political enemies like Louis Freeh to important positions, and then when they got a chance, they screwed him. Demanding political loyalty from your appointees isn't so much about punishing people for deviance from the one true ideology as it is about being sure they won't backstab you for partisan reasons.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:51 AM
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While the idea that making the political appointments we're allowed to should be sufficient to make the DOJ inhospitable for the bad civil service hires has something to it, it means that our political appointees have to be solidly on the left -- not uselessly 'bipartisan' to the point where they'll let right wing civil service hires run wild.

LB gets it exactly right. This also means no scurrying away with our tails between our legs over a Lani Guinier-type appointment. When Fox News reports that Obama appointee for Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Tedious Administration Jane Ballcracker once wrote a law review article calling for Republicans to be fed to Emerson's hogs, the Dems need to be all "La-la-la, I can't hear you!".

Part of creating the inhospitable culture for right wing hacks that we want to prevail in the departments is making people understand that the administration won't back off just because of embarassing press. Otherwise, any strongarm tactics (like Emerson's Minot department, which I endorse) can be torpedoed by a leak to a sympathetic media outlet.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:19 AM
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inspiring.

realism often is.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:22 AM
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max takes an anti-witchhunt position, but then says:

I don't see why you can't hold lots of hearings into abuse of the civil service system with an eye to embarrassing bad appointees and reestablishing standards

I can be counted among the pro-witch hunt folks, and if the Democrats do even this much, it would go a long way toward satisfying my witch bloodlust. Once you start holding hearings, I promise you'll find plenty of evidence of midnight rendezvous in the forest featuring burning pentagrams and incantations.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:39 AM
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"And yes, this is complex when you map the analogy back onto the DOJ hires. The point I was trying to make is that even if, per Shearer, the hires were innocent (which they weren't to the extent they were aware that the hiring process had been perverted in their favor) they still don't get to keep the benefits they were wrongly given."

That isn't how things work in the real world. If and when you guys eliminate the preference for alumni children in college admissions do you plan to kick out all the undergraduates "wrongfully" admitted. Take back all the degrees "wrongfully" awarded.

You don't even want to expel illegal immigrants who deliberately violated the law and jumped the line.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:50 AM
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There's a lot more at stake with US Attorney's, James.

As we've been saying multiple times, the problem is that people hired as political appointees are now being protected as civil service employees. We're trying to figure out a way to treat them like the political appointees they are -- which would be to terminate them. Terminating a political appointee is not a punishment and the question of blame does not come up. As I've been saying, asymmetrical legalism and changing the rules in the middle of the game is the problem here, and Republicans using the law and civil service rules to lock in their illegal hires.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:58 AM
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Attorneys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:09 AM
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You don't even want to expel illegal immigrants who deliberately violated the law and jumped the line.

Tangential, but there is no line to jump.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:49 AM
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That isn't how things work in the real world. If and when you guys eliminate the preference for alumni children in college admissions do you plan to kick out all the undergraduates "wrongfully" admitted. Take back all the degrees "wrongfully" awarded.

That doesn't make sense as a comparison. In college admissions, there's no benefit to taking back an admission that shouldn't have happened -- if in 2008 I say that Chip Blueblood, now graduating from Harvard, was admitted only because of alumni preferences and shouldn't have been, I can't go back to 2004 and let Kristyn Workingclass in his place. She's moved on, and even if she still wants to go to Harvard, retroactively opening up space in the class that entered in 2004 doesn't do her any good in 2008. We don't let him keep his degree because he had a right to have been admitted, he keeps his degree because taking it away has no relationship to redressing the wrong that was done when he was admitted.

In the case of civil service hires in the DOJ, the important wrong done when they were hired in a politicized manner isn't the wrong done to the better lawyers who would have been hired in their place -- they all have jobs and are doing fine. The wrong is to the DOJ, because it's now staffed by ideologues and incompetents. And that wrong can be remedied by clearing them out, if a procedurally acceptable means of doing so can be found.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:58 AM
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97

"Tangential, but there is no line to jump."

There aren't people waiting to immigrate legally?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:04 PM
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Kobe was hired strictly for his talent.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:08 PM
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99: Illegal immigration doesn't slow the process for people waiting to immigrate legally. The processing of Cala's husband's documents was unaffected by the presence of a whole bunch of undocumented Irish bartenders in Calaville. So legal and illegal immigrants aren't on the same "line" such that one affects the speed of admission of the other

And, of course, for many illegal immigrants, there is no available method for them to immigrate legally -- to the extent that 'line jumping' implies skipping ahead, rather than waiting one's proper place in line, it's misleading for those immigrants who are not entitled to wait in any line.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:12 PM
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98

"In the case of civil service hires in the DOJ, the important wrong done when they were hired in a politicized manner isn't the wrong done to the better lawyers who would have been hired in their place -- they all have jobs and are doing fine. The wrong is to the DOJ, because it's now staffed by ideologues and incompetents. And that wrong can be remedied by clearing them out, if a procedurally acceptable means of doing so can be found."

The ideologues are no problem, there is plenty of work they can be assigned. As for the incompetents, I doubt the incompency level is all that bad. I would be surprised if objectively they are any worse than say Clinton's minority hires. And there is plenty of grunt work available, prosecuting deportation cases for example. I doubt you will be greatly concerned if this is not done with maximal efficiency.

More generally this is a silly thing to be worried about. If the justice department does not act as you wish in an Obama administration it will be because of the political appointments Obama makes, the policies Obama pursues and the laws Congress passes. It won't be because of low level Bush holdovers in DOJ. How much was Bush restricted by Clinton holdovers?

Pursuing this sort of thing just makes the Obama administration look bad without achieving anything significant.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:16 PM
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98: This point is so obvious it's disappointing that Shearer didn't see it . So I'll assume that he did and this was just an exercise for us to complete.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:17 PM
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"And, of course, for many illegal immigrants, there is no available method for them to immigrate legally -- to the extent that 'line jumping' implies skipping ahead, rather than waiting one's proper place in line, it's misleading for those immigrants who are not entitled to wait in any line."

Why, because they are convicted felons or something?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:19 PM
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99: What LB said. Plus, the illegal immigrants here are illegal. Their effect on the line of legal immigrants is zero. Moreover, if you immigrate illegally, you're not, for the most part, going to end up being a citizen or a permanent resident. It's not a line jump if you end up in a different place. ('Honey, the line at Best Buy is faster! That's nice, we're at Wawa.')

Furthermore, there isn't one big line. Being engaged to a citizen is one line. Being married to a citizen or permanent resident is another. There are several different work visas. There is a lottery. There's asylum visa. By and large the lines operate fairly independently. There's a few merge points (everything feeds into the green card), but increasing the number of work visas doesn't mean that fiancee visas take longer to process.

What actually does slow 'the line' is fraud. Illegal immigration is outside of that, though.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:24 PM
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104: Caps on legal immigration from their country.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:25 PM
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Shearer, 30% of the time you're interesting, 30% of the time you're not interesting, and 40% of the time you're either dumb as a stump or trolling. You often sound like a fucking moron, if you'll pardon my language.

The illegal immigrants and Harvard admissions examples were trolling and wasted our (not-very-valuable) time. No one should have responded to your imbecile comparisons. We're talking about a specific case, and those two points add whatsoever nothing to the discussion except sidetracking it.

You've repeatedly ignored the point, which I've made to you four times now, about the difference between political hires and civil service hires, and the way the Bush people changed the rules and now plan to change them back.

This is all pure assertion:

The ideologues are no problem, there is plenty of work they can be assigned. As for the incompetents, I doubt the incompency level is all that bad. I would be surprised if objectively they are any worse than say Clinton's minority hires.... If the justice department does not act as you wish in an Obama administration it will be because of the political appointments Obama makes, the policies Obama pursues and the laws Congress passes. It won't be because of low level Bush holdovers in DOJ.

This ignores the main point:
How much was Bush restricted by Clinton holdovers?
Clinton did NOT stack the career ranks with partisan Democrats from third-rate schools. And in fact, the career professionals were able to somewhat impede Bush's illegal plans.

This is just "Nonny nonny I can't hear you":
More generally this is a silly thing to be worried about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:36 PM
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Pursuing this sort of thing just makes the Obama administration look bad without achieving anything significant.

As a matter of fact, James, you have no way of knowing if either your first assertion or your second is true.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:37 PM
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105

"What LB said. Plus, the illegal immigrants here are illegal. Their effect on the line of legal immigrants is zero. Moreover, if you immigrate illegally, you're not, for the most part, going to end up being a citizen or a permanent resident. It's not a line jump if you end up in a different place. ('Honey, the line at Best Buy is faster! That's nice, we're at Wawa.')"

You don't think there is any chance of an amnesty? And living and working in the US with fake documents is not so very different different from living and working in the US with real documents.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:39 PM
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What actually does slow 'the line' is fraud.

That and FBI checks that take >6 months.

Coming in late, but am I reading this right: breaking the law is no big deal for Monica Goodling, but is so a big deal for meatpackers-- they broke the law.

Goodling at least had to read the rules in a bar review course s should have known that she was in the wrong, and acted in the light of public scrutiny. Injustice that is done and also seen to be done is considerably worse than unproven injustice. How apolitical was the DOJ in prior administrations in fact, not in principle? Is it a violation of civil service protections to make public a list of Goodling's hires? An objectively defined list of suspect staff made public would be a midpoint between sticking them in the mailroom and doing nothing.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:41 PM
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The ideologues are no problem, there is plenty of work they can be assigned.

No. The problem is that even the civil service hires are high level employees with a lot of discretion on prosecutions. Ideological prosecutors can be very damaging. If they're well enough supervised by the political appointees, they may either comply with office policies or leave, but it's a real supervisory problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:41 PM
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106

"Caps on legal immigration from their country."

That just slows the line.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:42 PM
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And living and working in the US with fake documents is not so very different different from living and working in the US with real documents.

This doesn't even pass the laugh test.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:44 PM
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You don't think there is any chance of an amnesty?

Still doesn't jump the line. It wouldn't, for example, add to the cap from that country. If by 'jump the line' you mean 'live here when they're not supposed to', that's certainly waters down the charge.

That just slows the line.

A distinction without a difference when the line is nearly 20 years.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:46 PM
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And Shearer? While I've generally got a fair amount of time for you, as providing someone reliably disagreeable to argue with, this sort of thing:

I would be surprised if objectively they are any worse than say Clinton's minority hires.

just makes you look worthless. If you want to argue crackpot Bell Curve ideas about racial differences, eh, I'll argue. Throwaway lines about how you wouldn't be surprised to find that minority hires as a class were unqualified, on the other hand, are racist.

You generally manage to be reasonably politely disagreeable. That comment wasn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:47 PM
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Oh, shut up, Shearer. You muddied up the DOJ thread and now you're muddying up immigration.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:48 PM
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That and FBI checks that take >6 months.

Sometimes. There's a series of name checks. If you come up clear (as in shivbunny's case), the whole process is really quick. The trouble is if your name generates a hit, it has to be resolved manually, and the backlog is quite a long time.

What's really weird is when this happens to someone who is already legally in the country. There's a number of people who applied for a green card a year or two before we did, who are still here legally with their status 'Approved pending name check.' Of course, without a green card, your lifestyle is very much compromised. But what's weird is that no one seems to think, hey, we're not actually protecting anyone by leaving this potentially dangerous person here while we take two years to get around to see who they are. It's mostly security theatre.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:50 PM
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107

"Shearer, 30% of the time you're interesting, 30% of the time you're not interesting, and 40% of the time you're either dumb as a stump or trolling. You often sound like a fucking moron, if you'll pardon my language."

If in fact I am interesting 30% of the time you should be more tolerent of the other 70%.

" The illegal immigrants and Harvard admissions examples were trolling and wasted our (not-very-valuable) time. No one should have responded to your imbecile comparisons. We're talking about a specific case, and those two points add whatsoever nothing to the discussion except sidetracking it."

Here are some more comparisons. Tenured faculty, bar admissions, union jobs. How often are current employees fired even if they were hired by a flawed process.

"Clinton did NOT stack the career ranks with partisan Democrats from third-rate schools. ..."

Assumes facts not in evidence. If the political appointees are doing the hiring it is hard to believe any administration is going to be completely impartial.

"... And in fact, the career professionals were able to somewhat impede Bush's illegal plans."

I guess this might present a problem for Obama's illegal plans.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 12:59 PM
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If you're going to bother to troll, why not bother to troll well?


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:02 PM
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If the political appointees are doing the hiring it is hard to believe any administration is going to be completely impartial.

The point is that there are law saying that they may not consider politics in hiring for these positions. At all. Sure, people probably cheat on that within their own souls all the time -- they happen to know something about an applicant's politics and like it or don't. But in the normal course of events, they're not allowed to deliberately gather information on the applicants' politics. This is the law the Bush administration broke, and that prior administrations generally haven't. This is why the Bush hiring process wasn't business as usual.

The fact that Clinton didn't stack the ranks of the DOJ with Democratic operatives from third-rate schools is a 'fact in evidence'. I'm not going to find you cites for this, but you can find your own. And I can't see any sense in arguing with you if you're starting from the premise that the Bush administration didn't do anything unusual.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:06 PM
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118: Ah, all that is not perfect, is equally as bad. Gotcha.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:08 PM
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Also, substantively, if I was Obama, I'd push for criminal charges, if there are pardons I'd do Bush one better. Fire everyone illegally, then hire tons of raging leftists to all important positions: hand out pardons. Emerson is right you can't let just one side ignore the law whenever they feel like it.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:12 PM
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115

"just makes you look worthless. If you want to argue crackpot Bell Curve ideas about racial differences, eh, I'll argue. Throwaway lines about how you wouldn't be surprised to find that minority hires as a class were unqualified, on the other hand, are racist."

I didn't say they were unqualified, just less qualified than if hired purely on objective credentials. If you make a special effort to hire minorities they will be less qualified in exactly the same way as if you make a special effort to hire conservatives. Liberals would argue the penalty in quality for affirmative action is not large so why the belief it is enormous when hiring conservatives.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:14 PM
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114

"A distinction without a difference when the line is nearly 20 years"

The longer the line the greater the injustice when it is jumped.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:16 PM
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Fire everyone illegally, then hire tons of raging leftists to all important positions: hand out pardons. Emerson is right you can't let just one side ignore the law whenever they feel like it.

I like the spirit of that, but it wouldn't work. The firees would merely have to file suit in a civil court, and they would win and get reinstated as a remedy.

No, if you're going to cross the line into sheer illegality, it would be better to illegally interfere in the employee appraisal process so that they all get the lowest marks possible. Then, when they sue, fight every discovery request with a claim of state's secret privilege, citing national security concerns. That way, in a worst case scenario, we get a favorable court precedent on the limits of states secret privilege.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:18 PM
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But it isn't jumped! Look, if 50 illegal immigrants cross the border this minute, the person who is next in line for a green card is still next in line!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:19 PM
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Shearer, I now think that the 30% isn't worth it. On the net, you're an annoying idiot.

You still haven't given any indication that you even understand what we're talking about in the DOJ.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:21 PM
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125. Well that works too, although in my first example we could still fight everything claiming they had to be fired for "National security reasons" (hell it might even be true), and 3 years later when they won the case, they would still probably just get back-pay. The goverment has money.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:22 PM
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127: seriously, his comments on this thread are just plain stupid. By what process did you guys let him in here?


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:22 PM
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Every once in awhile he says something interesting. Not enough, though. I've stuck up for him in the past. As far as I know he isn't maliciously fucking with us, he just thinks that way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:23 PM
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120

"... And I can't see any sense in arguing with you if you're starting from the premise that the Bush administration didn't do anything unusual."

The Bush administration is unusually incompetent. So the fact they got caught doesn't really prove they were the first to violate the law when hiring.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:24 PM
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Oh, fuck off, Shearer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:25 PM
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That way, in a worst case scenario, we get a favorable court precedent on the limits of states secret privilege.

Fiendishly clever.

Watch KR, people. There's a reason he makes more than the rest of us combined.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:28 PM
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123: Because, you hapless idiot, there was no 'affirmative action' hiring process that lowered standards for minorities in the manner that standards were lowered for conservatives. Clinton didn't fill the DOJ with minority hires from crap schools like Regent.

Assuming that minorities were hired using substantially lowered standards, in the absence of any facts establishing such lowered standards relating to Clinton-era hirings at DOJ, is racist.

Shearer, really, stop digging on this one. I kind of like having you around to argue with. While you're wrong about almost everything, it at least keeps the conversation going. Bringing up minority hires as presumptively less qualified than white hires, out of nowhere in a conversation not about race, on the other hand, is something that I won't engage with respectfully. Dropping stuff like that moves you out of the category of entertainingly wacky into "things I have to wince while reading".

If you want to talk about race without people identifying what you say as racist, you really need to keep yourself tied to concrete facts. You don't have them here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:29 PM
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126

"But it isn't jumped! Look, if 50 illegal immigrants cross the border this minute, the person who is next in line for a green card is still next in line!"

If there were no illegal immigration it is likely that the quotas would be higher. And people still get annoyed at people jumping ahead of them even if it doesn't actually slow them down any.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:30 PM
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Malicious is not the right word. I think contemptuous is apter.

Barring a list of the problem hires, is a panel to review appointments possible? Is further action definitely up to Mukasey, or is there a congressional committee that will weigh in? Are there any procedural blogs that are following this?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:31 PM
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129: We don't let people in, they show up, and we very rarely ban anyone. I like arguing, and Shearer will often oblige with a nice clear statement of something horrendously mistaken that lots of people seem to believe, but most of them are too waffly to pin down on, and sets up a good clean shot at explaining what's wrong with it. So I kind of like having him around.

OTOH, I really don't want to let casually racist comments like that by as if they were appropriate in civilized discourse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:33 PM
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137: I was kind of kidding about the admissions process (was he an affirmative action hire... ha ha.. ha...)

The comments here are too dumb to make me think he even really believes them; he has a point "liberals think they're better than conservatives but they're actually not better" and is just twisting stuff to see if he can get away with it.

I'd consider it trolling. Another productive discussion topics: If you oppose intolerance, doesn't that make YOU intolerant (and a hypocrite)? Huh? Huh?


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:41 PM
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135: Nope. The people who are illegal aren't counted. But even if it were, quotas for what? There's no quotas for immediate family. Quotas for visas are established for each visa type (and there isn't one for most low-skill labor.) There's no logic to saying 'we'd let in more H1-Bs but we have too many farmhands.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:42 PM
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Liberals would argue the penalty in quality for affirmative action is not large so why the belief it is enormous when hiring conservatives.

The worry is over ideological bias in prosecution decisions, not "quality", which is so obvious as to once again pose that eternal conundrum when dealing with Shearer: is he that dumb, or just disengenuous?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 1:59 PM
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Shearer, did you bother to look up the Siegelman case in Alabama or the Georgia Thompson case in Wisconsin, as I suggested? These were unjustified prosecutions of people because they were Democrats. There were probably a number of other such prosecutions. These are not merely incompetent lawyers, they're capable of criminality. You can't solve that problem with close supervision.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 2:18 PM
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134

"Because, you hapless idiot, there was no 'affirmative action' hiring process that lowered standards for minorities in the manner that standards were lowered for conservatives. Clinton didn't fill the DOJ with minority hires from crap schools like Regent."

Here are LSAT statistics for Regent and Howard law schools. Both are in the bottom quartile with Regent slightly better. So the quality dropoff in hiring a lawyer from Regent is no greater than in hiring a lawyer from Harvard.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 3:45 PM
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"The worry is over ideological bias in prosecution decisions, not "quality", which is so obvious as to once again pose that eternal conundrum when dealing with Shearer: is he that dumb, or just disengenuous?"

I was responding to LB in 98 who had two concerns:

"... The wrong is to the DOJ, because it's now staffed by ideologues and incompetents. ..."

I responded to the the concerns separately by stating the ideologues could be dealt with by supervision such as giving them work where ideology is not important and by doubting the degree of incompetence. So I am not the one being dumb or disengenuous.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:00 PM
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There are black people who going to universities other than Howard.

I question the idea that the way to deal with semi-criminal prosecutors is to supervise them more closely.

In any case, you have failed to respond now for the fifth or sixth time to what I say is the main question. In a sort of way you responded by assuming that the Democrats are just as bad, but you gave no evidence and you're almost certainly wrong.

You aren't an analytic philosopher, are you?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:06 PM
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One interesting part of Gonzalesgate concerns the possibility of vote fraud (and voter registration tampering) in Washington State in 2004, when, after a few recounts, the democratic Miss Gregoire won (er, allegedly won) the gubernational race by a handful of votes. Fed-DoJ judges, supposedly Demo and Clintonites, would not investigate, though the GOPers demanded (so did some journalists). Gonzales wanted to remove the Clintonite judges in Wash, and elsewhere (rightly or wrongly), and that irked some DNCocrat power brokers (including Dame Feinstein, sort of official den mama to fed judiciary everywhere).

Not to defend AG (who appears fairly nefarious), but the usual DNOocrat spin doesn't tell the entire storay. The DoJ power game arguably started when Janet Reno took control with Clinton, and instituted a rather J-edgarish sort of agenda. Gonzales simply waited a while before dropping the hatchet . Either way it's the usual catolico vs zionista match up, with a few WASPs on both sides..........


Posted by: MalfeasancioX | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:07 PM
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What we have here is a failure to communicate.

I blame the piece quoted in the post, which leads off by claiming The Justice Department's inspector general reported this week that officials illegally stacked the decks with conservative attorneys who were sometimes unqualified.

That's not quite what the IG report said. It said, as best as I could read it, that people were hired for their perceived willingness to put partisan goals ahead of the goal of seeking justice. Certainly it said that the hiring officials (Goodling et al.) put the goal of hiring partisans far, far ahead of the goal of hiring people who would most effectively seek justice.

Seen in that light, the problem is obvious: a department that seeks partisan advantage rather than seeking justice has no place in a government committed to the equal protection of the laws.

However, if (like Shearer) you accept the NPR formulation, it's not such a big problem. They were only looking for conservatives (not partisans) and sometimes therefore picked the less qualified candidate. Sometimes, maybe, even one or two unqualified people got through.

But having hired a few unqualified people is not a big deal - lots of government employees are obviously incompetent. What's a few more? And looking for conservatives - what's wrong with that? Half the country voted for a conservative president (twice!) and they deserve to be represented among the ranks of government employees, too.

In other words, this is why I despise NPR. By deliberately mischaracterizing the report they enabled a deceptive spin which defines away the wrongdoing.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:11 PM
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95

"As we've been saying multiple times, the problem is that people hired as political appointees are now being protected as civil service employees. We're trying to figure out a way to treat them like the political appointees they are -- which would be to terminate them. Terminating a political appointee is not a punishment and the question of blame does not come up. As I've been saying, asymmetrical legalism and changing the rules in the middle of the game is the problem here, and Republicans using the law and civil service rules to lock in their illegal hires."

Having skimmed the report linked in the post I now know what Emerson is ranting about. Immigration judges were explicitly treated by Samson and Goodling as political positions although they are not. They weren't using political considerations to rank applicants, they were placing people suggested by Republicans in the White House or Congress. I can understand why you would like to find a way to get rid of these hires but as a practical matter I don't think they are very important. You are talking about a small number of people in relatively unimportant positions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:15 PM
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141

"Shearer, did you bother to look up the Siegelman case in Alabama or the Georgia Thompson case in Wisconsin, as I suggested? These were unjustified prosecutions of people because they were Democrats. There were probably a number of other such prosecutions. These are not merely incompetent lawyers, they're capable of criminality. You can't solve that problem with close supervision."

My understanding is that these were marginal prosecutions possibly brought because of pressure to prosecute public integrity cases. This is quite a distance from criminal behavior like faking evidence. You can alleviate this problem by requiring decisions to prosecute be reviewed by supervisors and by assigning obvious ideologs to apolitcal cases like counterfeiting. Are you saying the respective US attorneys for these prosecutions didn't at least sign off on them? Presumedly Obama's USAs will not approve too many marginal prosecutions of Democrats.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:25 PM
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It was more than a few obscure positions. Cnosider this, which wasn't a hire but did say something about the priorities of those making the hiring decisions. (the 'political affiliations' mentioned are that the wife was an active Democrat):

"For example, an experienced career terrorism prosecutor was rejected by Goodling for a detail to EOUSA to work on counterterrorism issues because of his wife's political affiliations. Instead, EOUSA had to select a much more junior attorney who lacked any experience in counterterrorism issues and who EOUSA officials believed was not qualified for the position" (page 136 of the report)


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:28 PM
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I'm not ranting, you piece of shit. I'm trying to correct your habit of arguing only about topics you find convenient, and ignoring other topics.

the reason you don't think it's very important as a practical matter is a.) you're not at all practical and b.) your concerns are not our concerns. Certainly it's not important to you, but can we just stipulate that and move on? No one agrees with you.

It wasn't just immigration judges.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:31 PM
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142: Assuming that minority hires generally went to third-rank law schools? Still based on no facts, still racist. I wish you'd stop.

148: My understanding is that these were marginal prosecutions possibly brought because of pressure to prosecute public integrity cases. This is quite a distance from criminal behavior like faking evidence.

Siegelman wasn't a marginal prosecution, it was a straightforward railroading. The conduct of which Siegelman was accused isn't corrupt or illegal, and the prosecution withheld evidence that would have exculpated Siegelman even from the conduct of which he was accused.

You can alleviate this problem by requiring decisions to prosecute be reviewed by supervisors and by assigning obvious ideologs to apolitcal cases like counterfeiting.

You simply don't know what you're talking about here. One thing you haven't considered -- decisions to prosecute can be politicized both positively (prosecuting people you shouldn't) and negatively (not prosecuting people you should). Supervising someone closely enough to rule out the latter sort of error entails doing their job for them. Warehousing these people in some completely harmless makework assignment would work, but that's essentially firing them.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:37 PM
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"Siegelman wasn't a marginal prosecution, it was a straightforward railroading. The conduct of which Siegelman was accused isn't corrupt or illegal, and the prosecution withheld evidence that would have exculpated Siegelman even from the conduct of which he was accused."

While Siegelman has been released pending appeal of his conviction I am unaware of any such determinations. When you say the conduct of which he was accused was not illegal are you referring to the counts on which he was acquitted as well as the counts on which he was convicted?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:50 PM
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It wasn't "pressure to prosecute public integrity cases." It was pressure to use the judicial system and the criminal law - the power of the the police - for maximum partisan political advantage.

Consider also the instance of David Iglesias, the US Attorney in New Mexico. Shortly before the 2006 elections both Senator Pete Dominici and Representative Heather Wilson, from NM, called him up and said something like 'we know you're investigating some prominent Democrats in connection with a bribery and corruption scandal. We'd surely appreciate it if you could bring those indictments and make a big splashy public announcement before election day.'

He didn't do what they wanted. He waited until his investigation was complete. He was fired.

What Goodling et al. were looking for was people who would know to bring those indictments when it was most politically advantageous, and wouldn't have to be called by prominent Republicans.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:53 PM
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Another vote for the Emerson Minot solution. Or the Emerson hog farm solution. I'm not picky.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:55 PM
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149

"It was more than a few obscure positions. Cnosider this, which wasn't a hire but did say something about the priorities of those making the hiring decisions. (the 'political affiliations' mentioned are that the wife was an active Democrat):"

Most of the hires were made by the individual USAs without Goodling's input. Goodling was influencing who was detailed to main justice but I believe these details were usually temporary.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 4:56 PM
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Now you're just being goofy. The argument in 155 (that the politicized hirings and assignments weren't important because there weren't all that many) only makes sense if you think you have a clear sense of the universe of hirings, which were politicized, and which weren't. And you don't have sufficient information to opine at that level of specificity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:07 PM
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Shearer, if you either think Goodling was the mastermind or want us to believe Goodling was the mastermind you've already passed into sillydom.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:10 PM
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151

"Assuming that minority hires generally went to third-rank law schools? Still based on no facts, still racist. I wish you'd stop."

From page 34 of the report:
"After making the request, Taylor sent EOUSA the résumé of the
candidate he wanted to hire. According to the résumé, the candidate
received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University; graduated
from Howard University School of Law where he was Director of the Civil Rights Symposium; interned in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division; and worked for 7 years in the Civil Rights Office in the Office of the General Counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency."

Goodling tried unsuccessfully to veto the candidate based on this resume. Presumedly you don't think she was entitled to assume he was unqualified because he went to Howard so why should going to Regent be disqualifying?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:11 PM
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Shearer found someone from Howard! He wins! Though he did have 7 years of government experience.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:20 PM
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156

"Now you're just being goofy. The argument in 155 (that the politicized hirings and assignments weren't important because there weren't all that many) only makes sense if you think you have a clear sense of the universe of hirings, which were politicized, and which weren't. And you don't have sufficient information to opine at that level of specificity."

The report linked mostly had to do with Goodling. There was almost no discussion of hirings within each USA office which I have no reason to believe were any more political than usual. The specific complaint of Emerson of career positions (IJ and BIA judges) wrongfully treated as patronage hires was limited to a few positions.

So make that not all that important based on the information in the linked report. You guys sounded like you wanted to fire every career attorney hired under Bush.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:22 PM
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158: Shearer, you're drifting. You started out by saying that the politicized DOJ hires under Bush were probably no more unqualified than minority hires under Clinton. That was racist. Then you moved to asserting that minority hires generally went to third-rank law schools. That was still racist.

Now, finally, you're talking about one particular individual who went to Howard and was dinged (ultimately unsuccessfully) for political reasons. That wouldn't have been racist if you'd started out here, but it also wouldn't have supported your sweeping statements above. With regard to this specific candidate, what's your theory? That the decision not to hire that candidate was merit based (because he went to a low-ranked law school) rather than political? Because that's belied by Gooding's stated reason for not wanting to hire him: that he was a "liberal democrat." That because one lawyer from Howard was hired, that the hiring of multiple lawyers from Regent doesn't indicate a lowering of standards? How does that work?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:24 PM
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159

"Shearer found someone from Howard! He wins! Though he did have 7 years of government experience."

Likely making him a Clinton hire. If 4 years from now someone in the Obama administration gets a resume from a Bush hire who went to Regent are they entitled to assume he is unqualified?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:25 PM
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which I have no reason to believe were any more political than usual.

No reason at all. Goodling was off on her own, with no support or coordination with anyone else in the DOJ. Do small children talk you into giving them your wallet frequently?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:26 PM
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James, would you say that is generally true that it does no harm to an organization to have a certain proportion of employees who are either poorly trained, inexperience, hostile the the goals of the organization, or all three? And to have them protected by civil service protections, which are stronger than the teachers' union protections everyone whines about? Or is there something special about the Department of Justice making this true?

Let me reiterate that what you think is important is irrelevant to this argument, because you don't share our concerns.

Let me also reiterate that the procedural violation of giving civil service protection to political hires is important in itself, independent of the concrete impact of any particular hire or group of hires. And I'll add that this is part of a widespread, ongoing pattern of GOP abuses to which the Democrats have consistently failed to respond effectively.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:27 PM
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Liz, I'm leaving this in your hands. Please crush him to flinders.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:29 PM
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"No reason at all. Goodling was off on a frolic of her own, ..."

I think tht's the proper phrase

... with no support or coordination with anyone else in the DOJ.

Right. The "Karl Rove" menioned here is not the "Karl Rove" we're looking for (/end Jedi mind power). And besides, Rove isn't part of DOJ. And Kyle Sampson is, uh, well. From page 85 of the report:

"Sampson said he knew that Karl Rove was a "supporter" of this candidate. ... On May 27, 2005, the candidate called the White House to complain to Rove that his appointment to be an IJ had stalled."


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:44 PM
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161

"Now, finally, you're talking about one particular individual who went to Howard and was dinged (ultimately unsuccessfully) for political reasons. That wouldn't have been racist if you'd started out here, but it also wouldn't have supported your sweeping statements above. With regard to this specific candidate, what's your theory? That the decision not to hire that candidate was merit based (because he went to a low-ranked law school) rather than political? Because that's belied by Gooding's stated reason for not wanting to hire him: that he was a "liberal democrat." That because one lawyer from Howard was hired, that the hiring of multiple lawyers from Regent doesn't indicate a lowering of standards? How does that work?"

My theory is that when you refer to Regent as a "crap school" as in 134 you are referring to its political orientation rather than its academic merit as otherwise you would also refer to Howard as a crap school which I doubt you do. Of course Goodling's objection was political not merit based since having gone to Regent she was in no position to look down on Howard. Similarly liberal objections to lawyers from Regent will be political unless they also object to lawyers from Howard.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:46 PM
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163

"No reason at all. Goodling was off on her own, with no support or coordination with anyone else in the DOJ. Do small children talk you into giving them your wallet frequently?

There are 93 USAs each of which does his own hiring within his district. So the process probably varied widely.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:51 PM
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Oh man, I hate to think that I might be agreeing even a tiny bit with Shearer. I do agree that the Regent stuff is a huge problem and needs to be sorted out, but I also wonder whether everyone who goes there is a moron. Signs point to yes, but I don't know.

(I only say this, because I hate the tyranny of the LSAT and similar objective rankings, even though I know that they are necessary. I met a very smart African-American woman who was a Princeton graduate and a law student at Howard. I asked her why she had chosen Howard, and she said that it was because of its strong civil rights history.)

My point is that having gone to Regent shouldn't bar absolutely everyone. It should raise suspicion, and perhaps the Goodling hires should be asked to reapply for their jobs, but I'm willing to believe that a smart individual wound up there and is worth keeping despite having gone to a third-ranked law school. I think it's possible to design a system to ferret out the ideologues, but it would need to be more precise than just "Anybody who went to Regent" or broader and allow people to reapply.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:54 PM
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164

"James, would you say that is generally true that it does no harm to an organization to have a certain proportion of employees who are either poorly trained, inexperience, hostile the the goals of the organization, or all three? And to have them protected by civil service protections, which are stronger than the teachers' union protections everyone whines about? Or is there something special about the Department of Justice making this true?"

Of course it is harmful to an organization if you can't get rid of worthless employees. But the theory behind civil service protections is that this is less harmful than firing everybody whenever there is a change in administration. Personally I would allow firing 1% a year or something like that. Enough to get rid of the worst employees.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 5:58 PM
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My theory is that when you refer to Regent as a "crap school" as in 134 you are referring to its political orientation rather than its academic merit ...

If I understood your 142, you're using the LSAT scores of admittees as a measure of the academic quality of the schools.

That seems misplaced. The quality of the eication can be, to a large extent, divorced from the LSAT skills of those it chooses to admit.

My understanding of Regent (based on I-don't-know-what) is that the courses there teach an approach to, and understanding of, the law which is less than respected.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:07 PM
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I don't know how 'education' got screwed up.

Let me try this another way.

Berkeley is a reputable school with great LSAT scores - yet I'd be very wary of believing anything John Yoo taught.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:10 PM
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Shearer is latching on to a piece of hyperbole apparently said in passing (that Regent is a "crap school") in order to avoid the real issue.

Let's stipulate that both Regent and Howard are not elite law schools. I know nothing more about either school, so I'm not prepared to say that they're "below average" or anything more specific.

But the problem is not, I repeat not, that people are being hired from particular law schools. The problem is the reasons why people, who may or may not be from particular law schools, are being hired: i.e., political reasons. That is issue that Shearer is dodging: Is it acceptable to hire people, for political reasons, to fill apolitical positions?


Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:11 PM
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I've been resisting troll-feeding, and I'm not going to put myself through any closer reading of the thread than I've done thus far, but Shearer's contention that Regent is no worse a school than Howard (and therefore, somehow, nothing inappropriate happened here) seems to be based exclusively on the LSAT scores of entering students, i.e. students who have not yet been educated at Regent or Howard. Which seems a failure of logic.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:12 PM
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See, that's what I get for feeding the troll. Pwned by Schneider, that's what.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:14 PM
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Because Shearer's comment about "minority" lawyers pissed me off, I'll just add that by far the smartest guy I went to law school with was black. The plural of anecdotes isn't data and all that, but, you know, one dude from Howard is also an anecdote.


Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:26 PM
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Okay, the comparison of Regent and Howard is specious.

From the Howard mission statement:
"2. Engage as an institution in the active pursuit of solutions to domestic and international legal, social, economic and political problems that are of particular concern to minority groups; and
http://www.law.howard.edu/774


I'm sorry, Jesus.
From Regent:
"The mission of Regent Law School is to bring to bear the will of our Creator, Almighty God, upon legal education and the legal profession.
http://www.regent.edu/acad/schlaw/admissions/abouthome.cfm

It's not about the ranking of the schools, it's about their legal approach and philosophy.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:33 PM
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No, no, no! Everything James has said has been wrong! Not just his casually racist remark!

And LB let me down. I'm sick of this!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:34 PM
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Ogged used to mock me for getting sucked into arguments with Bob, but I honestly think that's less humiliating than getting sucked into arguments with Shearer, meaning the minimum amount of possible insult to the latter.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:38 PM
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177

I gather you prefer Howard's ideology to Regent's ideology. So your objection to Regent grads is to their ideology not to their competence which is exactly what I have been claiming.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:41 PM
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I've never personally met a graduate of Regents' law school, but I've talked with five graduates of other departments and in all five cases found staggering holes in their knowledge. (The one that sticks is the American history teachers who didn't know that Fremont the Mexican War star and Fremont the instigator of California insurrection were the same guy, or what that meant for perceptions of CA back east.) I gather that, as with some homeschool curricula popular on the right, they teach test-taking, a single doctrinal viewpoint on every educational matter, and nothing else.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:43 PM
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177, 180:

The Chinaman is not the issue here, Dude.


Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:48 PM
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Why does everything have to be a fucking travesty with you, man?


Posted by: The Dude | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:50 PM
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I gather you prefer Howard's ideology to Regent's ideology. So your objection to Regent grads is to their ideology not to their competence which is exactly what I have been claiming.

Wrong. You can't separate competence from what you are calling "ideology". Consider this statement from the page cited:

" In particular, this mission includes:
...
* The grounding of students in biblical foundations of law, legal institutions, and processes of conflict resolution; recognition of questions of righteousness in the operation of law; and pursuit of true justice through professional legal service. "

The notion that American law is founded upon the Bible is a canard; you can't believe it and still practice law competently.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:51 PM
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I like talking to Bob, even when I disagree with him. (I hate talking to Stras, even when I agree with him: never any possibility of mutual exchange).

Shearer, every once in awhile, says something sensible and interesting. But mostly he's a sniping jailhouse lawyer / analytic philosopher type arguing about the points he thinks he can win.

On the issue of "legal philosophy", James, that indeed is part of the problem. I don't think it's a good thing if Obama has to rely on DOJ lawyers who reject the purpose of the laws they're supposed to be defending and enforcing. (How strange! But you think that close supervision will solve that problem). That's why I object to placing political appointees in career jibs.

However, Bush has hired an considerable number of Regents graduates and graduates of other mediocre wacko ideological schools. I doubt that Clinton hired as many, and even Bush I and Reagan seemed to be much more reasonable than Bush II.

People, including some Republicans, believe that there was a massive change with regard to politicization during the Dubya administration. Whether from ignorance or from indifference, you don't think so. That's one of the points at issue here.

And curse you, LB! If you want to keep this MF around to argue with, you have to be the one argue with him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:52 PM
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You can't separate competence from what you are calling "ideology".

I blame Dukakis. And that fucking tank.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:53 PM
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I blame Dukakis. And that fucking tank.

I blame the "some others, however, believe that the world is round rather than flat" school of balanced journalism.

The neocons are a bunch of die-hard relativists, who believe that everything's just a belief, and all beliefs are equally valid


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:57 PM
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Wow, a man that can get people arguing about a proposition as absurd that Regent is as legitimate a university as Howard is man that can do anything. We should send Shearer to negotiate our exit from Iraq. In the ensuing confusion we can escape when no one is looking.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:00 PM
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"People, including some Republicans, believe that there was a massive change with regard to politicization during the Dubya administration. Whether from ignorance or from indifference, you don't think so. That's one of the points at issue here."

I said above that Bush has been an unusually incompetent President. Clinton was much better. One reason for this has been an extreme bias towards loyalty (to Bush personally) vrs ability in his appointments. However I believe this is more a difference of degree than kind.

It also seems to me that the Republican Congress was unusally deferential to Bush. I don't really understand this and doubt Obama will get the same deference from a Democratic Congress.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:19 PM
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"... You can't separate competence from what you are calling "ideology" ..."

So then what does it mean to require an apolitical hiring process?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:24 PM
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"... I don't think it's a good thing if Obama has to rely on DOJ lawyers who reject the purpose of the laws they're supposed to be defending and enforcing. ..."

Lawyers often have to defend and enforce laws they personally disagree with. One of the purposes of law school is to train law students to separate law and morality. I expect some liberal DOJ lawyers aren't too happy with the drug laws, they are still obligated to enforce them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:30 PM
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However I believe this is more a difference of degree than kind.

I doubt that you have any reasons for your belief. I don't think that anyone at all takes your imbecilic "incompetence dodge" seriously. There's a lot more going on here than incompetence. I think that we're talking about thinks that you don't know or care about, and you're just arguing for sport.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:34 PM
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"... I don't think that anyone at all takes your imbecilic "incompetence dodge" seriously. ..."

I didn't bring up incompetence, LB did in 98:

"... The wrong is to the DOJ, because it's now staffed by ideologues and incompetents. ..."

If you can get everybody to stipulate that incompetence is not a problem I am fine with that.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:08 PM
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No, James, it's your own I said above that Bush has been an unusually incompetent President. Four spaces above your response.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:11 PM
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Ogged used to mock me for getting sucked into arguments with Bob, but I honestly think that's less humiliating than getting sucked into arguments with Shearer, meaning the minimum amount of possible insult to the latter.

Oh, no contest. Bob A. sometimes has interesting POVs, whether sincere or in-, and B. often betrays his pleasure at a good troll. I get that Shearer is tolerated due to his ostensible sincerity and occasional reasonableness, but when he's on a troll, he may as well be Al, or Karl "I have the math" Rove.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:16 PM
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What pisses me off is his sniping. If he loses a point he never acknowledges it but just silently moves on to something else, even if he has to raise something irrelevant like immigration or Howard University.

I used to like arguing with him the way LB, but I guess I burned out.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:25 PM
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"No, James, it's your own I said above that Bush has been an unusually incompetent President. Four spaces above your response."

How was that a dodge? I said Bush was an incompetent President in part because he much prefers to appoint personally loyal retainers like Gonzales to even independent conservatives like Ashcroft. I suppose you can call that politicalization if you want.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:27 PM
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Consider also the instance of David Iglesias, the US Attorney in New Mexico. Shortly before the 2006 elections both Senator Pete Dominici and Representative Heather Wilson, from NM, called him up and said something like 'we know you're investigating some prominent Democrats in connection with a bribery and corruption scandal. We'd surely appreciate it if you could bring those indictments and make a big splashy public announcement before election day.'
He didn't do what they wanted. He waited until his investigation was complete. He was fired.

With no real familiarity with the cases, evidence, accusations, etc. those out in consumerland have no way of confirming whether "prominent Democrats" weren't guilty, except by accepting Iglesias' word. Obvious as F., but the entire Gonzalesgate turns on who do you trust--reporters, the fired attorneys, bloggers, the muckraker.coms, etc. Those out in the cheap seats, even ones with their precious JDs, do not know the truth of the matter (that doesn't stop the insinuations and trial by media).... should we trust Iglesias more than the people pushing for an indictment ?? nyet (there was evidence of vote fraud and bribery in NM. And that's a Dem tradition, however much that offends the partay regs. Saying so doesnt mean one joins Bushco) .

Lets put it this way: when you see Dame Feinsteined with her panties in a wad about Senor Gonzales pink-slipping a few of her faves in the fed judiciary youcan be pretty sure there's skullduggery going down on all sides....


Posted by: MalfeasancioX | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:29 PM
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"... If he loses a point he never acknowledges it but just silently moves on to something else, ..."

I move on when I don't have anything more to say. Internet arguments rarely change anybody's mind. If I realize I have made a factual error I correct it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:32 PM
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i like that JBS is always calm
wouldn't you once lose your temper? that would be interesting to read


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:34 PM
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Yes, MX, it's always possible to imagine scenarios other than what actually happened. Iglesias may have been a Feinstein agent in deep cover.

"Who do you trust?" Certainly not you.

(Incidentally, in case you're ignorant, Iglesias was a Republican and a republican appointee. The Feistein connection is unlikely.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:34 PM
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No, James, you slime away and change the subject when you think you might lose an argument.

When there's a certain degree of mutual respect, internet arguments can change minds, but probably not when you're involved.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:37 PM
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For the record, the Bush administration claim that the USAs were fired for being insufficiently zealous in enforcing the immigration laws was preposterous. So there is no reason to trust them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:39 PM
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So then what does it mean to require an apolitical hiring process?

It means you can ask questions such as "what makes you particularly interested in helping enforce the 14th amendment's guarantee of the equal protection of the laws?"

It means you can't ask (as Goodling did) "What makes you want to serve George W Bush?"

It means you can't favor those who plan to restore biblical principles of justice despite the constitutional prohibition on religious tests for office (as Goodling and Sampson apparently were doing).

I can't believe I'm taking that question seriously.

...those out in consumerland have no way of confirming whether "prominent Democrats" weren't guilty

Of course they were guilty (although I'm not sure that's actually been proven yet).

But there's still a difference between
A. timing the announcement of the indictment of Democrats so as to give the greatest advantage to Republican candidates; and
B. timing the announcement of the indictments so as to give the greatest chance of having the system produce a just result.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:51 PM
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there was evidence of vote fraud and bribery in NM

Source, please? My recollection is that Iglesias (who, as JE correctly notes, was a Republican appointee) investigated and concluded that there was no one worth indicting.

There was major statistical evidence of problems* but those were all things tht favored Republicans.

*http://www.uvotenm.org/lawsuit.html


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:57 PM
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"It means you can ask questions such as "what makes you particularly interested in helping enforce the 14th amendment's guarantee of the equal protection of the laws?"

It means you can't ask (as Goodling did) "What makes you want to serve George W Bush?""

So Goodling should just have been a little smarter and asked conservative equivalents of the first question above?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:00 PM
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205: James is a philosopher and uses hypotheticals whenever convenient.

206: WTF?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:07 PM
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You mean that enforcing the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection isn't something conservatives want to do? I'm deeply shocked. They must keep their fingers crossed when taking the oath to support the constitution.

The whole point is that the qualifications Goodling, Sampson, Rove, Bush et al. were seeking can't be legally selected for. They were seeking people who put personal loyalty to Bush, and partisan loyalty to the Republican party, ahead of the desire to seek justice. That's simply illegal and unethical.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:13 PM
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"i like that JBS is always calm
wouldn't you once lose your temper? that would be interesting to read"

Well in part this is because as Emerson noted above I don't actually care that much. This time I dislike both candidates and I don't expect the election outcome to matter much to me personally. I suppose in some abstract sense the Republicans don't deserve to win but I find Democrats more annoying somehow. Anyway you all don't seem that real. And of course I was brought up to see losing your temper as a sign of weakness.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:14 PM
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"You mean that enforcing the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection isn't something conservatives want to do? I'm deeply shocked. They must keep their fingers crossed when taking the oath to support the constitution."

This is silly. Goodling could ask "what makes you particularly interested in helping enforce the 2nd amendment's guarantee of the right to bear arms?" to filter out the liberals.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:18 PM
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"205: James is a philosopher and uses hypotheticals whenever convenient."

It wasn't my claim.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:20 PM
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Asking about the 2d amendment wouldn't have done it. First, the DOJ isn't in the business of enforcing it, as it is majorly in the business of enforcing the 14th. Second, a whole lot of liberals are perfectly happy with the current (pre-Heller) 2d amendment jurisprudence.

You keep trying to spin this as 'seeking conservative lawyers'. That wasn't it at all. They were seeking those who'd abandon all legal and ethical restraints in order to use the power of the government to favor certain Reublicans and certain (few) neoconsrevative principles.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:23 PM
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It's been wonderful having you drop by and visit, James! Come any time you see us unreal people talking about some topic you don't care much about, so that you can vent your unexplained distaste for Democrats and watch us lose our tempers at you -- thus proving that you're right! Because that's how you were brought up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:26 PM
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I suppose if there are any observant Muslim or Jewish graduates from Regent it'd weaken my claim. Anyone know? I'm assuming that Regent grads are all going to be evangelical protestant christians, and that sorting for Regent grads is simply a way of favoring members of one religious sect.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:27 PM
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"Who do you trust?" Certainly not you.

Given your daily Sally Fields righteous indignation act hereabouts, likewise. The legalists call it "conclusionary" ah believe. Assuming the guilt of anyone, even Gonzales, merely by what's been reported in papers, or appears on blogs is not merely naive, but cheka like. AS they used to say, question authoritay, including that of the Sally Fields who write for the NYT, WaPo, LAT Inc. ........


Posted by: MalfeasancioX | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:52 PM
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".... Because that's how you were brought up"

Actually this may not be correct. Possibly I am naturally cold-blooded and have rationalized it into a virtue. Nature vrs nurture.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:59 PM
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Mass firing everybody above a certain level of responsibility hired during the Bush administration is a good start at de-republicanisation, but it needs more. The KBR/Halliburton/Blackwater power structure and the Fox/Washignton Post media empire need to be dismantled as well, not to mention getting the military to be wingnut free.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 12:26 AM
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"Sally Fields" is a boutique insult. I've never encountered it before. Where does it come from?

Glad to know I have your daily attention, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:36 AM
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Naturally cold-blooded, with an unthinking hatred of Democrats and a propensity for ignorant trolling. Gotcha.

You pretty much gave your game away with And of course I was brought up to see losing your temper as a sign of weakness. So if you play dumb, snipe, and change the subject until someone loses their temper, you win? Is that how your mind works?

We're really gratified that you've chosen to annoy us rather than all the other people in the world that you vaguely dislike.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:41 AM
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We're really gratified that you've chosen to annoy us rather than all the other people in the world that you vaguely dislike.

Actually, John, I'm not all that grateful.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:48 AM
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||

A review of a John Yoo article that totally butchers Jefferson's view fo executive power. via LGM

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:12 AM
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Dislike? Nyet. Who could dislike yr endless dylan imitation, JE.

. Gonzales was not convicted of anything. He had the exec power to fire people didnt he. The AGs have done this repeatedly, but usually when they take office. Maybe there was some wrongdoing--not proven.

The vichycrats however saw the opportunity for humiliating AG and the big papers went to work---the WaPo gals for instance forgot all about the IWE for a few days (not to say their pals in the neo-cons)...Gonzales was public enemy numero uno. Bloggers also joined in the candlelight vigil.

The liberals routinely manufacture this sort of bogus partisanship (or appearance thereof) where it doesn't really exist. When Gonzales started to fire some judges, Feinstein, for instance, made all sorts of "ethical" pronouncements, with the usual liberal-feminist insinuations--the DOJ good ol boys are at it again, etc. Her constituents, vaguely troubled by her voting record and her pro-war views, her love for the PatAct, FISA need not be troubled any more: she's joining the vigil!

Anyhioo, nothin' but wuv, JE, notwithstanding your usual ad pathos, or the call you'll put into UF'ed headquarters to have this comment/poster deleted......


Posted by: MalfeasancioX | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:09 AM
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Vichycrat? It's Unfrozen Caveman Commenter! Who owes me some motherfucking pastries.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:13 AM
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You really do have a Feinstein thing, don't you? Would you care to talk about it?

What is "Gonzales was not convicted of anything" supposed to mean? Did anyone say he was? You're doing the same old jailhouse lawyer bullshit: he hasn't been convicted, so he shouldn't be investigated and no one should accuse him of anything.

Feinstein, Sally Field: any other ladies on your mind?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:15 AM
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Didn't bring any pastry, and not worth feeding.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:21 AM
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The correlation between crappy punctuation and boring trollery continues apace, though.

. Or should---I say...though, etc.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:25 AM
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Feinstein, Sally Field: any other ladies on your mind?

Mary Jo Kopechne, no doubt.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:27 AM
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It's Unfrozen Caveman Commenter!

No, it's just the predictably boring Troll of Sorrow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:41 AM
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I've always thought that Sally Fields is kinda hott.

Now I learn that John Emerson is a Sally Fields.

I guess this is why one shouldn't read anything: it will cause one's head to asplode.

Of course, he hasn't actually been convicted of being a Sally Fields, has he?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:43 AM
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Schneider, don't get any ideas.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:44 AM
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228: Is it? How can you tell?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:44 AM
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The jury is out AFAIAC, but he has some of the mannerisms.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:46 AM
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Feinstone's record is to the right of a Cheney, ) and note DF gets a paseo, while HRC has been given a klan hood) Along with some of her pals on the penisula (like Ellison of Oracle), she was pushing for a cali police state following 9-11 (complete with Oracle cyber ID cards outfitted with yr entire bio-data) . That's probably cool with the UFed gals.

She was one of 3 or 4 "dems" who voted in favor of Bush's tax slashes in 2003 or so. She has a direct line to the knesset etc etc. As they say southside, she doesn't have shiiete to say; if Feinstone were male she'd be viewed as someone to the right of commander McCain.....

That didn't stop her from the usual grandstanding in re Gonzales. In fact ah suspect (given that some repubs were terminated as with Iglesias) that she objected to AG because he wasn't sufficiently conservative and/or corrupt.........

When the trials start, Feinstein and her supporters should be testifying along with the most hawkish of the GOP. Maybe the pathoscrats of UFed will be up there as well



Posted by: MalfeasancioX | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:00 AM
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Hey Emerstein......a bum like you ought to be careful


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:01 AM
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...........a bum like that you could be in pictures!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:03 AM
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Yeah, it's probably him. Apparently he's found out that I luuuuuv Feinstein. How embarassing. I don't know where the Sally Field thing came from.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:05 AM
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