Mitchell and Harry and Janet and John

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Over at the American Conservative Union Foundation, George W. Liebmann tears into John Ashcroft as the worst attorney general since, well, the one before him, Janet Reno. The ACUF doesn't grok the new bipartisanship. To wit:

Not since the arbitrary A. Mitchell Palmer, President Wilson's last Attorney General, was succeeded by the corrupt Harry Daugherty in the Harding administration have the two parties united to so debase federal law enforcement.

Janet Reno, President Clinton's third choice as Attorney General, carried out the swiftest partisan purge of U.S. Attorneys since that of the Kennedy administration. She supported renewal of the misguided special prosecutor law. At the behest of feminist groups, against the unanimous advice of the Judicial Conference, she secured adoption of Rule 415 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, allowing discovery of a defendant's sexual history….

Partly because of federal drug legislation, with its emphasis on supply rather than demand, and partly because of the ?leveling upward? imposed by the Federal Sentencing Commission (whose guidelines specify minimum sentences in excess of the minimums provided by statute), the number of prisoners in federal custody doubled. The number of federal prosecutors has tripled since 1982.

Attorney General John Ashcroft carried forward the Reno policies. The 1968 drug legislation was invoked by both Reno and Ashcroft to preempt state ?right to die? and ?medical marijuana? laws, even though neither issue was debated in 1968, the Supreme Court left the ?right to die? issue with state legislatures, and the laws concerned had been approved in referenda….

Twelve years of questionable leadership have produced a drift toward a policing establishment controllable by no one. The federal share of total criminal justice spending has increased from 12 percent to 18 percent since 1982; proposed FBI spending is up 19 percent in one year, and up 60 percent over 2001 levels….

The Republicans lost the 1976 presidential election because of Watergate; the Democrats that of 2000 because of Clinton's shoddiness. Even Lincoln paid a price in the 1862 congressional elections for arbitrary arrests. If the President makes no change in his Justice Department, he may also suffer such consequences.

Whole thing here.

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  1. “…proposed FBI spending is up 19 percent in one year, and up 60 percent over 2001 levels….”

    This for the outfit that is going to deservedly take the brunt of the blame for 911.

    Accountability, my ass. I don’t want to ever hear that word again from this administration.

  2. While I appreciate the article, and I found it thought provoking, I found the denouement rather difficult to accept. If Bush loses in November, it’s not going to be because of the Ashcroft Justice Dept. The economy and the war will be the issues by which this election will be decided. IMHO.

  3. Navel gazing strikes again. Do we really need to be reminded that Janet Reno and John Ashcroft were/are awful appointments? Answer for those scratching their heads: no. Move along, people, move along.

  4. This for the outfit that is going to deservedly take the brunt of the blame for 911.

    Look, nobody is “to blame” for 9/11, except the people who planned it and carried it out. Just accept that fact.

    Yes, if we had a vastly more-efficient, coordinated, and powerful national police force with the discretion to act decisively on all perceived threats, we could possibly have prevented 9/11.

    But most Americans, myself included, didn’t want, and still DON’T want, a vastly more-efficient, coordinated, an powerful national police force with the discretion to act decisively on all perceived threats. Because it’s a sure bet that porn, or drugs, or religious status, or political affiliation, will wind up on the list of “perceived threats” within a matter of years (hell — within a matter of hours, in Reno and Ashcroft’s case). Anyone who bitches that the government “could have prevented 9/11” forfeits their right to complain about “police states”, or “abuses of government power”, or any of the OTHER inevitable side-effects of a brutally efficient national police force.

    None of us want to live in the kind of society that could have prevented 9/11, so it is pointless to complain that our society didn’t prevent it. The best we can do is illustrate what happens when you mess with us, as we did with the Taliban, and with Saddam Hussein, and will hopefully continue to demonstrate with a few other local thugs.

  5. Zymurgist:

    The people who blame Bush for the economy and do not support the war are *already* not going to vote for Bush — no matter what. If John Kerry dyed his hair red, joined the CPUSA, and campainged in the nude — those folks would still vote for him over George W. Bush.

    However, anger over the appointment of John Ashcroft and the un-American policies pursued by John Ashcroft erodes Bush’s base among his loyal supporters. These folks are no likely to support John Kerry, who they see as anti-American due to his previous protest activities. However, they may choose to stay home in large numbers, which will effectively hand the election to John Kerry.

    The small-government Republicans have no candidates in this election.

  6. As the Dems and Gops have secured nearly equal base support, swing votes have become critical to the success of either candidate. Bush really can’t afford to lose much of his base. Whose votes did he think he was securing with expanded prescription benefits?

  7. I thought protest was the heart being an American….

    When did protesting become anti-American?? Afterall every signer of the Declaration of Independance AND the Constitution not only protested thier government, they took up arms and overthrew it a far cry from protesting a war that history concedes was probably an error, or do they not teach that part in civics anymore?

    Amendment I – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The first amendment, the heart of the bill of rights, right to protest. Right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances. Anti-American my ass, everytime I hear that I want to puke, the only thing anti-American thing is the person who would condem someone for exersing thier first admendment rights.

    I may not agree with your words, but I will defend to the death your right to speak them… brave words spoken by a true patriot, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mike Savage, Bill O’Riely, Ann Coulter, they seem to forget what country they live in, and damn anyone who regurgitates the drivel they spew out.

  8. late for the boom,
    That was a great post and I agree with you 95%. The quote you mentioned, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” was not spoken by a great American patriot. It was spoken by the French philosopher, Voltaire. I figure I’d tell you politiely before Jean Bart comes in with a snide comment regarding Francios. However, it was a great statement by a great thinker.

  9. Thank you for the correction, I would imagine you could easily make the case that Voltaire was as much of a patriot as anyone who loves his country. Patriotism not being exclusivly an American virtue =)

    That all being said, I guess I need to find a quote of similar fashon by an AMERICAN patriot. =)

    Thanks…

  10. I thought protest was the heart being an American….

    Well, you’re certainly entitled to think that, but I don’t see where you got it from. The founders of the United States weren’t protesters; they were intellectuals, politicians, and armed revolutionaries. They didn’t march around waving signs; they did things.

    When did protesting become anti-American??

    You’ve confused the medium with the message. Protesting isn’t anti-American; spreading lies about the United States and its soldiers, during wartime, in an effort to undermine that war, is. That is what John Kerry was, and is, guilty of, in my opinion anyway.

    Furthermore, let me clarify something: the fact that you have a right to freedom of speech doesn’t mean that nothing you say can be deemed evil, treacherous, or anti-American. It just means that you’re an evil, treacherous, or anti-American person exercising a right to free speech secured for you by better men and women than yourself.

    And, of course, a final point — you yourself are condemning people who were simply exercising THEIR right to free speech, saying that it is wrong for them to have done so. By your own standards, you’re an anti-American hypocrite. So do us all a favor and grow a clue, hm?

  11. Kevin, then there’s the public school-approved discussion of Martin Luther King, and his philosophy of non-violent…something. Oh well, let’s just call it nonviolence.

    That man scared the piss out of people, and now he’s damn teddy bear.

  12. mo – or an earth liberation front action. ELF being, of course, terrorists. 🙂

    i’m sure ashcroft could tack on a hijacking charge or somehow relate the tea to national security issues.

  13. “The founders of the United States weren’t protesters; they were intellectuals, politicians, and armed revolutionaries. They didn’t march around waving signs; they did things.”

    in a word – terrorists.

    Sure, if you define “terrorists” as “everyone who uses violence”. My guess is that you don’t; you probably just say stuff like “in a word – terrorists” because it makes you feel all cool and iconoclastic, and shows how you don’t let The Man tell you how to think. Grow up. 🙂

  14. what? are you drunk?

    painting over icons and shitting on crucifixes makes me feel iconoclastic. pointing out the fucking obvious is hardly so icon-smushing.

    hey, if a bunch a guys saying they wanted to yank offa the united states and ran around with guns and shit…hijacking nationalized industry shipments and plotting the murder of u.s. police and military forces, you’d better good goddamned well bet they’d be called terrorists. doubly if they happened to be of the correct swarth percentage or too religious in any direction (christian identity movements, the survivalist craze from a few years back, etc)

    revolutionary, freedom fighter, terrorist, blah blah blah…call em what you will. end result was the same. and not a bad thing, as i pointed out.

    i *like* that our founding fathers were terrorists.

  15. Dan, Im curious, do you happen to hold a transcript of Kerry’s lies spewed out during protest? I certainly have not seen one, and I watch FOX regularly, i would imagine they would have dredged one up by now if such one existed.

    Fox News doesn’t carry much Vietnam War protest coverage, what with the war having ended several decades before the network was founded. I recommend that you google around a bit on subjects like “Winter Soldier”, or get a transcript of Kerry’s testimony before Congress.

    For the truly masochistic, an mp3 of Kerry’s testimony can be downloaded here.

    you do realize Ann Coulter hailed Sen. McCarthy as an American hero

    And John Kerry called Yasser Arafat, a mass-murderer, terrorist, and embezzler of hundreds of millions of dollars, “a statesman” and “a role model” — in, amusingly enough, a book he still cites as proof of his foreign policy expertise.

    infact she wrote an entire book on it… are you really prepared to defend her and her ilk as role models for a true American patriot?

    I have never said one word in defense of Ann Coulter, and I never will. I simply pointed out that you were, by your own standards, “anti-American” (as well as hypocritical) for insisting that they refuse to excercise *their* right to free speech.

  16. ran around with guns and shit…hijacking nationalized industry shipments and plotting the murder of u.s. police and military forces, you’d better good goddamned well bet they’d be called terrorists

    Sure. And if the leaders of the American Revolution had plotted the murder of police and military forces, that would be relevant — but they didn’t, so it isn’t.

    They did “run around with guns”, certainly, and “hijacked military shipments”, which caused them to be, with some accuracy, classified as criminals and traitors. But only an exceptionally stupid person — or, in your case, a person suffering from a bad case of “aren’t my political beliefs so bold and daring? maybe now women will sleep with me” — would consider their activities “terrorism”. 🙂

  17. “The founders of the United States weren’t protesters; they were intellectuals, politicians, and armed revolutionaries. They didn’t march around waving signs; they did things.”

    in a word – terrorists.

    and i’m fine with that. we all should be.

    but the notion that people died in wars so we could have free speech ignores all the people who died before the treason and sedition acts were done away with, for starters…and leaves out thanking the jehovah’s witnesses, for that matter.

  18. I dunno, throwing a lot of tea into Boston Harbor while dressed up like Native Americans sounds like something similar to a PETA protest.

  19. “The small-government Republicans have no candidates in this election…. However, they may choose to stay home in large numbers, which will effectively hand the election to John Kerry.”

    Stay home? No way. We have many principled Republicans to vote for…certainly more principled then the Dems and Bush. And, the Libertarian candidate for president will no doubt be someone we can vote for with pride and “send a message” at the same time.

    All Republicans should not suffer for Bush’s muti faceted neglect of the conservative principles of limited government. Bush could START to redeem himself by dumping Ashcroft…much more would have to follow.

  20. Dan, Im curious, do you happen to hold a transcript of Kerry’s lies spewed out during protest? I certainly have not seen one, and I watch FOX regularly, i would imagine they would have dredged one up by now if such one existed. I have certainly seen many photoshoped images of Kerry which have turned out to be guilty of the offenses you acuse Kerry of.

    http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/kerry2.asp

    As far as calling me a hypocrite, fine by me…. you do realize Ann Coulter hailed Sen. McCarthy as an American hero, infact she wrote an entire book on it… are you really prepared to defend her and her ilk as role models for a true American patriot? Amazing…

  21. Late for the boom,

    You’ve got it exactly right on the Revolutionary generation. Unfortunately, the way they teach it in the publik skool history classes, you’d be hard-pressed to say why it was called a “Revolution.” You’d certainly never get the idea that Americans overthrow their own governments. As the Little Red Schoolhouse school of patriotic hagiography describes it, it sounds a lot more like a war against a foreign enemy across the Atlantic.

  22. now, i’m completely on board with you calling our current gov’t exceptionally stupid, but if “cyberterrorists” can be good ole regular “terrorists” raising a militia to fight (which usually includes killing) british forces would definitely be classified as terrorism today. i’m ok with our terroristic forefathers – but perhaps you need help reconciling the whole freedom fighter – terrorist thingy.

    now, for your issue with young radicals stealing all the available tail, i can assure you that my wife sleeps with me because i buy her shiny pretty things, not because of my political opinions, which are neither shiny nor pretty. perhaps you need to work on your approach? i recommend growing a goatee.

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