Category Archives: Justice Department

Robert Jackson: Links and Speeches

It’s nice when cable TV actually IS informative, as when DAG Rosenstein put his knowledge of Robert Jackson on full display.  There’s an entire archive of Jackson’s speeches at the Robert H. Jackson Center.  The speech many people are looking for at present  is the 1940 address concerning “the Federal Prosecutor.”

The Federal Prosecutor was one of Jackson’s most significant speeches made as the 57th United States Attorney General. Delivered during the Second Annual Conference of the United States Attorneys, the speech outlined the duties and role of the federal prosecutor and more importantly laid out Jackson’s vision for their ethical and proper conduct. [RHJ.org]

The full text of the speech is located HERE.  (There is also a PDF transcript version)

The Department of Justice also maintains links to Jackson’s more important speeches listed by date and event, though not by title.  There is much to learn and discern from Justice Jackson’s writings and speeches, and the Federal Prosecutor is as good a place to start as any.

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#BlackLivesMatter and the misappropriation of a Theme?

black lives matter

Sam Dubose. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. These names are now a part of the rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not famous for their lives. Tragically, they are famous only in wrongful death.” [HuffPo]  and altogether too many others.

It’s been interesting to watch the white American reaction to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the range of those reactions.  From the white’s-right end of the spectrum came the #AllLivesMatter theme – including, we presume, those of white officers being charged (or remaining uncharged) for their excessive use of force or poor professional judgment.  No sooner did the #BlackLivesMatter signs appear than there was an all too predictable white backlash:

“A Saint Louis-area minister, for example, wrote of a “Black Lives Matter” sign being defaced with “All Lives Matter” written on the front and a racial slur written on the back.  The fact that “All Lives Matter” is being used to argue against the idea that Black lives matter is proof that (1) People spreading that slogan don’t really believe Black lives matter, at least not equally, and (2) It’s therefore not true that all lives do matter equally in their eyes.  The statement’s use belies itself.  If all lives matter, then black lives matter, so why the argument?  Why the comeback?  The comeback proves that statement false, and proves it for what it is — a response born of fear and racism.” [Schade, November 2014]

The point has been made repeatedly that the response “All Lives Matter” is (1) a way of diluting the sting of direct allegations of police brutality, use of excessive force, bias, discrimination, and/or profiling; after all, “white lives” matter too? Right?  The problem, of course, is the disproportionate use of force against people of color. [ProPublica] and (2) a theme useful in an attempt to appear “post racial.”   The erasure of “race” is as silly as it is counter-productive.

Another form of reaction comes from those writers and pundits who opine that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is congenitally flawed, based as it is on whether or not Michael Brown raised his hands, or if a flight from an officer constitutes  a defiance of law and order, or if the individual victimized had in some way been the instrument of his or her own destruction.

This utterly misses the point. The individual character flaws of individual actors – real or speculative – is not the origin, nor the basis, of the movement.

“To even lightly advance the idea that Michael Brown’s alleged transgressions make him incapable of being a symbol of the movement is to entirely miss its point. When people say Black Lives Matter, they mean every single life. If Michael Brown committed a petty crime and behaved disrespectfully to a member of a police office department that has been since proven to be predatory to its Black residents, it has no bearing on the fact that police officers across this country have bad habits that they disproportionately dish out on people of color.” (Michael Arceneaux)[NewsOne]

In addition to the backlash trap, and the basic flaw trap, there’s the dilution trap.

If #BlackLivesMatter then what of the unborn, the animals, the lives affected by climate change? Okay, fine – but those are separate issues entirely.  The wailing and whinging is ear splitting – why are people so upset about police assaults but not about abortion? – why are people so enraged about the killing of Cecil the lion but not about the deaths of African Americans?  First, and obviously, people have different personal interests and agendas. If one is an environmental activist that doesn’t necessarily include or preclude one’s participation or support for #BlackLivesMatter.  If one is opposed to abortion that, too, doesn’t include or preclude interest in #BlackLivesMatter.  If a person is opposed to trophy hunting for exotic animals that doesn’t automatically include or preclude interest in #BlackLivesMatter.  Purity can be a lovely thing, but even Ivory Soap was forced to advertise that it was 99.44% pure (pure what they never told us?)

If the #BlackLivesMatter advocates can wade through the backlash, the “basic flaw,” and dilution fever swamps, there’s at least one more to go.  It’s the “What Do You Want?” trap.   Evidently, by modern media standards, a movement must spring full born from the Head of Zeus, complete, and replete, with convenient press releases and position papers outlining precisely what the organization wants.  Detailed, of course, preferably with bullet points, for easy translation into quick copy.  The #Occupy movement was battered by the media for not being “well organized,” and too amoebic for translation into action, it never occurred to some media lights that perhaps there was a wide range of individuals uncomfortable with and opposed to the various implications and results of corporatism?

The basic concept behind #BlackLivesMatter is to make it stop.  “It” being the excessive use of force against people of color.  Beyond and beneath that aspiration isn’t a bedrock of easily digestible sound-bites, but a plethora of less specific topics we need to discuss; for example, the recruitment, training, and professional development of law enforcement officers.  Another element is the possible restructuring of judicial systems such that officers with dubious records in community relations aren’t pre-judged innocent before being held accountable for their actions.  Still another, the implementation of community policing strategies and programs.  Complex issues don’t lend themselves to sound-bite solutions, and racism in American life is an extremely complex issue.

Nothing better illustrates the racism implicit in the opponents and critics of #BlackLivesMatter than the institutional reaction to their organization.  “ZeroFox,” a cyber-security firm was hired to provide surveillance of the #BlackLivesMatter leadership, whom it deemed a “high” threat, and potentially “physical.” [MJ]  If this is reminiscent of the FBI tracking Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. then we should note that it was the FBI who recommended ZeroFox to the city of Baltimore.  According to at least one source, the DoJ has been monitoring the movement since the demonstrations in Ferguson, MO. [FL.org]

Could this be because African Americans are “emotional,” “violent,” and easily led to acts of destruction?  If that construct informed any of the surveillance and subsequent reporting, then we do, indeed, have a long way to go in removing institutional racism from American governance.  Did some observers or officials find such surveillance and reporting “comforting,” assuaging as it might the biases underpinning notions like Blacks are Destructive unless kept under close watch and control?  If so, we haven’t moved far enough away from the Slave Patrol mentality of the 19th century – and that needs to be discussed.  The reports on possible graffiti knitting ought to make fascinating reading?

Perhaps we’ll get,”Twelve parking meters were assaulted (read: covered) with 100% acrylic Red Heart fibers (read: knitting yarn) overnight in the east metro suburb of Keenpeele. Profilers tell us the possible perpetrators are female, between the ages of 15 and 95, carrying sharp needles.”  Meanwhile, we’d not want to give away the location(s) of those ladies who are crafting scarves, sweaters, and baby booties while discussing how to improve race relations in the U.S. of A., and inviting other women to join their productive efforts.

we need to talk Seriously, the #BlackLivesMatter movement could do with more support and less surveillance.  More understanding and less pontificating analysis. More serious discussion and fewer sound-bite sensationalism pieces.  More honesty and much less rationalization on the part of its critics and opponents.   More focus on the extent of the problem and less narrow focus on the individuals actors involved.  We do need to talk instead of appropriating and misappropriating the #BlackLivesMatter topic.

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Filed under Judicial, Justice Department, racism

The Old Congressional Punching Bags

Amodei 3 The 114th Congress had a fine time with amendments to the appropriations bill for the Department of Justice (H.R. 2578)  A few of these are worth considering, and noting the positions taken by Nevada’s Congressional Delegation. 

Bag One: Amendment 271, from Representative David Reichert (R-WA) cuts $100 million from the Census Bureau and transfers the money to the COPS program. Reichert’s punch line is commendable: “Today there aren’t enough cops on the street. The community policing program has, in some parts of this country, been eliminated or cut back. So school resource officers are gone in some communities. Storefront officers are gone. They are gone, Mr. Chairman, and we need to bring them back. We can do it together. We can solve this problem and keep our community safe.”  [Thomas]  Where he found the money is not.  It’s taken from the programs and periodic census appropriations in the Census Bureau. [HR 2578 pdf page 7 line 8] The Wingnuts among us don’t like the Census Bureau because it collects information on Freedumb Folks

The corporate lackeys aren’t happy with the social programs and any way they can prevent reliable statistics from being compiled which indicate poverty levels, numbers of children living in poverty, numbers of elderly relying on nutrition assistance, etc. is acceptable.    The problem with whacking demographic statistics is that these are used by companies, large and small, on which to base expansion, hiring, store placement, and other business decisions.  There is some information available from private business information firms, but by cutting the capacity of small business to easily access retail level statistics from the Department of Commerce, Congress has just made it harder on the little guys.  Not that the interests of truly small family owned businesses has been an essential feature of Republican politics lately… and we won’t know exactly who favored this sleight of hand because the amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

This wasn’t the only raid on the Census Budget. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) Offered his amendment to “reduce funding for the Periodic Censuses and Programs by $17.3 million and increase funding for victims services programs for victims of trafficking by a similar amount.” [Amdt  275] This, too, passed on a voice vote.

Bag Two: Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC) offered his amendment (294) “an amendment to increase funding for the FBI by $25 million and to reduce funding for administrative provisions of the Legal Services Corporation by a similar amount.” The Legal Services Corporation is another popular punching bag for conservatives.  Pittenger’s specific amendment failed, but the 20% cut in the Legal Services Corporation funding stayed in the final bill, the vote on which was 242-183.  Representatives Amodei, Heck, and Hardy voted in favor of the cuts, Representative Titus voted no. [rc 297]

The bill passed after lawmakers turned back an amendment from Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) to cut LSC’s funding by an additional $25 million, with the money to be reallocated to the FBI budget.  The amendment failed  by a vote of 263-163.” [LSC]  Representatives Amodei and Hardy voted in favor of the Pittenger amendment; Representatives Heck and Titus voted no. [rc 275]   Even without the extra slash from the Pittenger amendment, what’s the impact of the House appropriations on the Legal Services Corporation?

“We are disappointed that in the face of enormous unmet need for essential civil legal services among low-income Americans and other issues affecting access to justice, the House has voted to cut LSC funding by 20% to levels not seen since 1999,” said LSC Board Chair John G. Levi and Frank B. Strickland, LSC Board Chair during the George W. Bush administration. “We recognize that this is a time of austerity, but the foundation of our country and the integrity of its legal system are built on the concept that everyone is entitled to fair and equal access to justice, irrespective of their economic means. Because this is a core American value, we are hopeful that significant additional funds will be provided to LSC by the Senate or in a negotiated budget agreement later in the year.”

LSC estimates the funding cuts will force local programs to lay off more than 1,000 staff members, including 430 attorneys, and close 85 legal offices nationwide.  This would result in 350,000 fewer people served and 150,000 fewer cases closed each year.”    [LSC]

Just as the Census Bureau presents an obvious punching bag for the radical right, so does the Legal Aid budget.  No matter that Nevada is already working on shoestrings … there are 23 lawyers, about 14 paralegals, and 15 other assistants in Nevada who worked on 3,984 cases in 2014.  In case the conservatives are thinking that all Legal Aid does is represent gang members in criminal courts – think again.  Nevada Legal Aid is NOT the public defenders office.

Of the 3,984 cases Nevada Legal Aid worked on in 2014, 2,669 (67%) were concerned with housing. There were 366 income disputes, and another 175 consumer law cases.  And, who were these people?

Clients by Ethnicity Nevada 2014
White 1,822 46%
African American 1,172 29%
Hispanic 641 16%
Native American 131 3%
Asian/Pacific 97 2%
Other 121 3%
Total 3,984 100%

Nothing says “protecting corporate interests” quite so well as reducing the capacity of low income citizens of Nevada to prevail in their disputes about housing, income, and consumer protection.

It might be well to recall even before the next election rolls around that three members of the Nevada Congressional Delegation (Representatives Heck, Amodei, and Hardy) believed it was perfectly defensible to punch the Census Bureau – from which most truly small businesses get their demographic data, and the Legal Services Corporation – the last resort of those who have been unlawfully evicted, swindled, or cheated – one more time.  There aren’t too many more hits these agencies can take.

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Filed under census, civil liberties, Commerce Department, Congress, conservatism, Judicial, Justice Department

>Ensign Continues Wet Pants Dance On Senate Floor

>Senator Tom “Support The Troops Not The Vets” Coburn (R-OK) tried to attach an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs bill today that would prevent any military funding for modifying a prison in the U.S. or territories that might ever house detainees from Guantanamo — and Senator John Ensign (R-NV) agreed with it. [rc 347] It’s bad enough to think that the citizens of New York are such walk-overs that they can’t abide the prospect of trying the 9/11 conspirators in the district in which the crime was committed, or that the U.S. Attorneys are so inept that they’d not have a class-one case ready for the “worst of the worst,” but now it seems Republicans like Coburn and Ensign don’t think the military can handle prisoners either. The amendment was defeated 57-43.

Yesterday, Ensign joined Coburn in voting to recommit the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs appropriations bill to committee (kill it) [rc 345] That effort went down to defeat 24-69. By this afternoon all must have been right with the bill and it passed 100-zip. [rc 348] Thus, now Senator Ensign and Senator Coburn can proudly announce they voted in favor of military construction projects and veterans’ affairs programs…if no one remembers vote number 345 in which they tried to delay and derail the bill.

And then there are those judicial nominations which are moving at a perfectly glacial pace through the Senate, while the Republicans complain about the Obama Administration not having its judgeships filled. Had Senator Ensign had his way, Andre Davis wouldn’t be filling one position on the 4th Circuit. [rc 342] Senator Ensign was also among the 29 who voted to sustain the filibuster of Judge David Hamilton’s nomination to the 7th Circuit. Cloture was invoked on a 70 to 29 vote. [rc 349]

But all was not lost for Senator Ensign today…he got another mention in connection with the C Street Gang on the Rachel Maddow Show. Congratulations to Steve Sebelius, whose posting on L’Affaire Ensign got a screen shot on the self-same broadcast.

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>And the Circus Begins …

>This morning marked the beginning of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Sonya Sotomayor, and it seems that we’re in store for some serious political theatrics. Already, just in the opening statements from a number of Senators from each party, a marked difference in the tone and tenor of their remarks.

While each side has congratulated her on her nomination, it pretty much stops there for the Republicans. Where Democrats have praised the depth and breadth of her judicial experience and record, the Republicans are trying to paint her as an activist who is not qualified to sit on our nation’s highest court.

  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) implied that she would substitute her own beliefs in deciding cases, thus corrupting our legal system with her empathy. He further went on to state: “I will not vote for—no senator should vote for—an individual nominated by any President who is not fully committed to fairness and impartiality towards every person who appears before them. I will not vote for—no senator should vote for—an individual nominated by any President who believes it is acceptable for a judge to allow their own personal background, gender, prejudices, or sympathies to sway their decision in favor of, or against, parties before the court. “Sen. Sessions also indicated that looking at judicial opinions is not a good test, because Supreme Court Justices cannot be reversed. I beg to differ with that statement. A perfect case in point is that of Lilly Ledbetter, where Congress just passed legislation that reversed the opinion of the Supreme Court … and that legislation was recently signed into law by President Obama on January 29, 2009.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) implied in his remarks that even if she has an impressive legal record and a superior intellect, he fears she will use her “empathy” to legislate from the bench … that she would be “a creative jurist who will allow his or her background and personal preferences to decide cases.”
  • Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) condemned her experience from the appellate court by claiming that “… she appears to believe that her role is not constrained to objectively decide who wins based on the weight of the law, but who, in her opinion, should win. The factors that will influence her decisions apparently include her ‘gender and Latina heritage’ and foreign legal concepts that get her ‘creative juices going.” He also implied that she may not be able to “…faithfully interpret the laws and Constitution and take seriously the oath of her prospective office … Until now, Judge Sotomayor has been operating under the restraining influence of a higher authority—the Supreme Court. If confirmed, there will be no such restraint that would prevent her from—to paraphrase President Obama—deciding cases based on her heart-felt views.”
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) implied that, if confirmed, she would steer the Court in the wrong direction limiting the fundamental rights of generations of Americans stating, “Judge Sotomayor: some of your opinions suggest that you would limit some of our basic constitutional rights – and some of your public statements suggest that you would invent rights that do not exist in our written Constitution.”

Judge Sotomayor is a restrained and moderate jurist who was put on the bench initially by Republican President George Herbert Walker Bush. She dilligently reviews all relevant information before her in making a decision. In fact, her decision on the appellate court regarding the New Haven firefighters (which was recently overturned by the Supreme court and which the GOP seems to want to rant the most about about) was one that clearly followed precedents set in earlier court rulings … the exact kind of rulings that conservatives purportedly claim to embrace. In defense of Judge Sotomayor, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) took exception to some of the political theatrics stating: “Mr. Chairman, every senator is entitled to ask whatever questions he or she wants … Judge Sotomayor will finally have an opportunity to answer some of the unsubstantiated charges that have been made against her. One attack that I find particularly shocking is the suggestion that she will be biased against some litigants because of her racial and ethnic heritage. This charge is not based on anything in her judicial record …”

But, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said it best today, “Nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, for 17 years she has been a distinguished jurist and now has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in the last hundred years. “

Let’s all hope the political theatrics affecting this confirmation are minimal and that Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation happens quickly.

Cross-Posted from Rockspot

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>Ensign among GOP hold-outs on Holder, votes against AG nominee

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Senator John Ensign (R-NV) was one of only 17 Senators to vote against the confirmation of Eric Holder, Jr. to the office of Attorney General of the United States. [roll call 32] Could it have been something Mr. Holder said? Say, “…waterboarding is torture?” From the AP: “A small group of Republicans said they opposed Holder. They argued he was hostile to gun control and doesn’t fully support the war on terrorism.”

Thus now we understand, for the GOP Obstructionist Caucus at least, one cannot be Attorney General of the United States if the candidate in question doesn’t cling to the antiquated Republican litmus test on gun control, and might not pen memos rationalizing the use of Torquemadian Inquisition Methods on anyone who may or may not have been a member of a group advocating terrorist activities? Let’s guess that for the Obstructionist Caucus* the latter question was far more important than the former.

If supporting the Bush Administration’s policies on the use of “enhanced interrogation” was the primary test for competency as Attorney General, then why would Senators Graham (R-SC), McCain (R-AZ), and Gregg (R-NH) have voted in favor of Holder’s confirmation? Given that in the end they voted in favor of supporting the Bush Administration’s policies after some discussion and capitulation. If voting in support of Bush Administration activities involving domestic surveillance had been the test, then why the favorable votes of Senators Rockefeller (R-WV), Bennett (R-UT), Feinsein (D-CA) and Kyl (R-AZ) for Holder?

If the two publicly suggested reasons against confirmation weren’t really all that important to the Republican minority in general, then how did they get to be so important to the Obstructionists in particular?

*Charter Members of the Obstructionist Caucus: Barrasso (R-WY), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Johanns (R-NE), McConnell (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Wicker (R-MS).

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>Obama Revokes 13233: The Clinton – Holder Connection and the resurrection of a cottage industry?

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There’s a fairly thick cloud cover today in this part of northern Nevada, but my – oh my – how the sun is shining through! The odious Executive Order 13233 (November 1, 2001) was revoked on January 21, 2009 by President Barack Obama in his order concerning presidential records.

Section 3(a) is especially heartwarming for those who advocate transparency in government operations: “Upon receipt of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Attorney General (directly or through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel) and the Counsel to the President shall review as they deem appropriate the records covered by the notice and consult with each other, the Archivist, and such other executive agencies as they deem appropriate concerning whether invocation of executive privilege is justified.”

Translation: Instead of having the President unilaterally declare records are off limits due to claims of executive privilege, the AG, the Counsel to the President, the Archivists, and other agency heads will consult and review the claim. No more “executive privilege” covering collaborations like the former Vice President’s convocation of energy industry cronies creating policy? No more “executive privilege” including things like whether or not a convicted felon like Jack Abramoff attended White House functions? No more “executive privilege” asserted over the visitors log at the Vice President’s office? No more “executive privilege” about who was granted press passes to the White House briefing room? Granted that the transparency isn’t total, and this new executive order may not satisfy those who want every last memo and e-mail released to the public domain, but the new order is a vast improvement over the secrecy shrouded Bush Administration.

Fans of former President Ronald Reagan should be reassured that the nation’s CEO will now revert to the essence of the interpretation that Reagan enunciated in his executive order (12667) relative to the Presidential Records Act, as Peter M. Shane describes in his Huffington Post article. President Reagan correctly viewed executive privilege as attaching to the presidency, not to every “designee” speaking on behalf of a president’s family into time immemorial.

Today probably isn’t the time to fall headlong into the land of logical fallacies and attribute any and all Republican maneuvering as a signal of GOP fears of uncovering vast criminality in the Bush Administration, or the foundation of actions for the protection thereof. For example, there are those arguing that because the new executive order was signed on January 21st, and the Senate Republicans delayed the confirmation of Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. shortly thereafter, therefore there must be a causal connection.

There may, indeed, be some who fear the wider interpretation of the Presidential Records Act because of their culpability for actions during a previous administration. However, to predicate one’s argument on chronology is more of a leap of faith than a linkage of logic. The reaction to Holder’s nomination may be far more complex than a simplistic knee jerk reaction to past liabilities.

The fact of the moment is that for all the grandstanding, unless there is some massive unforeseen implosion of his candidacy, Eric Holder, Jr. will be the next Attorney General of the United States of America. What the Republicans may be doing might be better described as ‘table-setting.’ It appears to be their intent to suggest a narrative in which Holder is characterized as a “political follower” (hack?) and thus any investigation of the firing of the U.S. Attorneys and the role of former presidential adviser Karl Rove, may be dismissed as “witch hunting.” This sets the table but doesn’t exactly serve the meal. Republicans will, no doubt, indignantly declare any investigation to be a ‘witch hunt’ which concerns their actions – with or without an Attorney General Holder.

Secondly, there appears to be a perceived need on the part of some Republican senators to play to their base; thus explaining why a pro-gun rights attorney from Virginia is being included on Senator Arlen Specter’s witness list for Holder’s confirmation hearing. [Politico]

Finally, the Republicans have yet to adjust to new themes, narratives, and political situations. Their rhetoric of the present recalls their slogans of the past. Self branding exercises like being perceived as “tough on crime” may be the motive for bringing in witnesses to describe their outrage at the confirmation of an Attorney General who once served a Clinton Administration which granted clemency to FLAN members.

And, therein may lie the kernel of their discontent. Over the past decade Clinton bashing developed into a Beltway Cottage Industry for conservatives with no other visible means of support. Hence, Mr. Holder, once a member of the Clinton Administration’s Department of Justice, appears to be serving as the designated GOP pinata. Having no opening to bash the recently install Obama Administration, and unwilling to tackle Secretary of State Clinton (once the object of their unmitigated wrath), the GOP seems intent on continuing its hackneyed resurrection of their Cottage Industry of Choice. This may say more about the Republican Party at the moment, and its senatorial spokesman John Cornyn (R-NRSC), as it does about the Attorney General nominee.

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>Bogden and US Attorney Dismissal Investigation Moves Forward: GOP launches counter-attack witch hunt narrative?

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<!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –Could this item be part of the reason for the Conservatives’ concern over the nomination of Eric Holder, Jr. to be U.S. Attorney General? “House renews probe of U.S. Attorney firings: Vote to continue lawsuit means inside story of Bogden’s dismissal may come to light.” [LV Sun] Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV1) is quoted, “A very fine U.S. attorney from the state of Nevada was unceremoniously removed for no reason – I would like to know why, I would like it to be made public and I would like those responsible punished,” Berkley said. “By passing this rule we have assured this will be done.” Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) sounds like he’s launching the Right Wing Talking Point du jour, that is, Holder might be beholden to President-elect Obama, and therefore would not be an independent AG. [NYT]

The GOP logic might be going along something like this line: Holder will cooperate with investigations regarding the politicization of the Justice Department; those investigations may reveal mismanagement and political operations in the DoJ; therefore, as an appointee of a Democratic President, his will not be an impartial investigation. This line of argument leads directly to future denigrations of any and all efforts by the Justice Department if (and when) it finds that Gonzales ran interference for the Bush operatives.

Representatives Titus (D-NV3) and Berkley (D-NV1) voted in favor of the rules resolutions including the re-issuance of subpoenas, Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV2) voted in opposition.

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Filed under Berkley, Bogden, Heller, Justice Department, Titus

>Coffee and the Papers: Senate Judiciary Committee on vote suppression; other items

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Nevada headlines: “Foreclosure kills huge project near mountain – Homes have yet to be built on land by Kyle Canyon purchased for $510 million” [LV Sun] “Why should Nevada care about the automakers?” [LV Sun] “Legislature, governor mum on budget cut discussions” [LV Sun] “State Budget: Gibbons, leaders near deal – Governor, Legislators discuss cuts” [LVRJ] “Clark County: talk turns to layoffs, pay cuts – government, union leaders discuss crisis” [LVRJ] “More Reno area hungry people need help this year” [RGJ] “Housing sales up 47%, but…” [RGJ]

Economic news: “The Citi Conundrum – Too big to fail, the bank has few options” [Portfolio] More at Naked Capitalism. “Citigroup tries to stop the drop in its share price” [NYT] “Goldman slashes GDP forecast” [Calculated Risk] “The ill-considered problem of a GM Bankruptcy” [Naked Capitalism] “Detroit’s bid for aid fails – for now” [NYT] “Justice Department probing Golden West Financial” [Forbes]

Agriculture: “Fields of grain and losses” [NYT] “Farmers caught in ethanol shakeout” [BW] “Industrial Animal Agriculture is eating our future” [MrktWtch]

MessO’Potamia: “Iraqi throng protests agreement on U.S. forces” [CNN] “In Baghdad, debating post U.S. outlook” [NYT] “US may begin using warrants in Iraq” [UPI] “Security firms told they lose immunity in Iraq: official” [AFP] “Iraqis want walls torn down” [AJ-E]

Afghanistan/Pakistan: “U.S. strike reportedly killed five in Pakistan” [NYT] “Pakistan army practices shooting drone aircraft” [IHT] “Pakistan protest to U.S. ambassador” [BBC] “Pakistan says NATO Afghan supply lines will stay open” [VOA]

And Justice For All: “NYPD, Justice Department battle over eavesdropping warrants” [Newsday] “Leahy backs Holder” [WaPo] “Justice Department sues Alabama for failure to protect voting rights of overseas citizens” [USDOJ] Voting Rights Report from the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “The Committee reports favorably on resolutions authorizing the President of the Senate to certify the facts of the failure of Karl Rove and Joshua Bolten to appear and testify before the Committee on the Judiciary and to produce documents as required by Committee subpoena and recommends that the resolutions do pass.” [KCS- pdf]

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Filed under Economy, Iraq, Justice Department

>Evening Clips: Larry Craig Special

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** You just can’t make this stuff up: Is that mysterious sound the result of all Idahoans cringing at once?

** Chris Cillizza’s “The Fix” takes a sideways glance at the ‘running feud’ between Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV1) and Sheldon “Freedom’s Watch” Adelson. (h/t Early Line)

** Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Nevada paper from “stable” to “negative,” based on our $1.9 billion “of net tax supported debt outstanding.” Via Ralston Flash.

** Joe Aguirre, Elko County Assessor who was the target of pressure from ‘friends of the Governor’ to allow Governor Gibbons a tax break on his retirement property in Elko County, announced his retirement. August 29 will be Aguirre’s last day; he retires after five terms as county assessor. [EDFP]

** The Washington State GOP is re-introducing the negative ad first used by the Tennessee GOP concerning Michelle Obama’s comments about being proud of America. “A spokesperson for the state party said they didn’t run the video by the McCain campaign.” “The move by the state party is an early mark that GOP groups are starting to feel freer to attack the Obamas on the cultural issues that McCain has signaled he won’t personally touch.” [Politico] Nor, will he actually DO anything to stop them.

** Support the troops? Former Attorney General John Ashcroft sidestepped a direct question before the House Judiciary Committee on whether the use of torture (waterboarding) on U.S. troops would be “unacceptable” or “criminal.” Think Progress has video of the exchange between Ashcroft and Rep. Maxine Waters.

** Steve Benen is making my life much easier – by creating a special page on his website: “The Official John McCain Flip Flop List.” So many Sunday Deck Bass, so little time.

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Filed under Adelson, Berkley, Craig, Justice Department, McCain, Nevada economy, Obama