Let the Eagle Soar [mp3]
John Ashcroft has resigned as attorney general, saying "the objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." He leaves behind a legacy of DOJ Accomplishments in the War on Terror
(many of which seem to have been accomplished by non-DOJ parties) despite not actually convicting anyone of terrorism
. I feel safer already.
"There there, little voters, Papa Ashcroft and Daddy Bush will sort out those nasty little vote fraud disputes."
- Bush Adm. sues to give Ashcroft authority over voting disputes under the HAVA Act. "...Bush administration lawyers argued....that only the Justice Department, and not voters themselves, may sue to enforce the voting rights set out in the Help America Vote Act.....would reverse decades of precedent..... Since the civil rights era of the 1960s, individuals have gone to federal court to enforce their right to vote.....in legal briefs filed in connection with cases in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, the administration's lawyers argue that the new law gives Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft the exclusive power to bring lawsuits to enforce its provisions."
I'm reminded of Andrew Card's September 1, 2004 comment "that President Bush views America as a ''10-year-old child"
in need of the sort of protection provided by a parent."
"The Ashcroft Fear Remix
." (a potential summer mini-blockbuster)
[link goes to broadband and dialup option for Quicktime movie file]
One of Ashcroft's "credible sources"
from last week's terror warning came from Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades
, a group that has also claimed responsibility for the blackout in the Northeast last year, the power outage in London, the Madrid bombing and has been called "notoriously unreliable"
by U.S. officials. “The only thing they haven't claimed credit for recently is the cicada invasion of Washington". Ashcroft blames the FBI who have admitted that claims that terrorists were 90 percent ready to attack came not from al-Qaida, but from the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades’ statements.
Operation Fastlight: Piracy Crackdown  
Let the international war on Piracy begin. DOJ rules
for computer seizures.
, Kalisto, Echelon, Class, Project X and APC. Overview
of the warez
scene. Previous anti-warez operation - buccaneer
Ashcroft rejected counterterrorism funds on Sept. 10
"Yet the commission staff statement quotes a former FBI counterterrorism chief, Dale Watson, as saying he ``almost fell out of his chair'' when he saw a May 10 budget memo from Ashcroft listing seven priorities, including illegal drugs and gun violence
, but not terrorism.
Additionally, on Sept. 10, Ashcroft rejected an appeal from Pickard for additional funding, the commission said."
John Ashcroft's Patriot Games.
An interesting article from last month's Vanity Fair on Ashcroft and his revolution inside the Justice Department. Now the Justice Department wants to wage a war on porn
, and "are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains." [Via Boing Boing and Instapundit.]
Live From Davos:
Frank talk and subtle spin as heads of state take Q&A from corporate honchos, in a session heavy on talk of terror: John Ashcroft
shares the stage with Prince Turki al Faisal al Saud, Pervez Musharraf
touts his vision of "enlightened moderation," the handsome young King of Jordan
keeps his finger on the roadmap, and embattled Ecuadoran president Lucio Gutierrez
takes a break from the tear gas to reassure skeptical capital markets. CSPAN for foreign filmgoers. (RealPlayer and Windows Media)
Why Did Attorney General Ashcroft Remove Himself From The Valerie Plame Wilson Leak Investigation? If there is a witness willing to testify against one -- or both -- of the leakers in exchange for immunity, what then? It seems likely that Fitzgerald will move very quickly to find out if there is indeed a case to be made against the leakers. To bolster his case, he may call Novak and others to the grand jury or, as noted above, subpoena Novak's (and others') phone records over the relevant period. Even Ashcroft himself could in theory be called to the grand jury. If this case does not make headlines in 90 to 120 days, it will be quite surprising. There has been too much high level action and Comey, a presidential appointee, knows that politically it would be better for Bush & Company to have the matter flushed out within the next few months, than to have it arise just before the November election. Needless to say, this could be an interesting year for the White House, with more than reelection to worry about.
Reading this article
in the American Conservative Magazine regarding the Secret Service's use of "Free Speech Zones" drew my attention to the case of USA v. Bursey
. (more inside)
Paris Hilton and John Ashcroft are #1 and #2
, respectively, on the list of fake names used by people ordering pizza. In other news, people with Dean bumper stickers on their car tip more than those with Bush bumper stickers. And 42 percent of Americans
will have pizza on New Year's Eve, while only 2 percent will have caviar. (All this courtesy of a Domino's Pizza survey.)
Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures Karl Rove, President Bush (news - web sites)'s top political adviser, whose possible role in the case has raised questions, was a paid consultant to three of Mr. Ashcroft's campaigns in Missouri, twice for governor and for United States senator, in the 1980's and 1990's, an associate of Mr. Rove said on Wednesday. Jack Oliver, the deputy finance chairman of Mr. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, was the director of Mr. Ashcroft's 1994 Senate campaign, and later worked as Mr. Ashcroft's deputy chief of staff.
No wonder 69% of Americans
think that an independent counsel
should conduct the investigation.
Methamphetamine is now a WMD.
Well, I guess we should've seen it coming. According to this Salon article, prosecutors across the country are now using the Patriot act to prosecute drug crimes, fraud, and anything involving a bomb. This means any of these people may be detained indefinitely without an attorney. I don't like trailing questions, but I would like to see some constructive and creative posts about what can be done to protest this. It's so blatantly unconstitutional, it's not funny anymore, and I for one am not willing to welcome our new overlords.
Greenpeace obtains smoking-gun memo: White House/Exxon link
Did conservative elements in the White House provoke an Exxon front group to sue EPA to suppress a report on climate change? That's the question that two State Attorney Generals have asked US Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate, after Greenpeace uncovered a routine email
in a Freedom of Information Act request.
Two Years After 9/11: Ashcroft’s Assault on the Constitution.
"Under the direction of Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Department of Justice has undermined the constitutional rights of all Americans as it has prosecuted a war on terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to a new report
released today by People For the American Way Foundation
" [via TalkLeft
.] On the bright side, I hear the Patriot Act Summer Tour
Ground Laid for Historic Presidential Powers Push But as recently as March 4, Attorney General John Ashcroft was being coy about it, refusing to discuss any of the 86-page draft at a Senate hearing. Among the more extreme powers Patriot Act II would grant the executive branch: The ability to strip citizenship from an American who supports a group the feds label as terrorist. Secret arrests—the government could avoid revealing the location of, charges against, and evidence on someone it was holding. Far looser checks on search-and-seizure activities of law enforcement. And a DNA database for people deemed to be terrorist suspects.
But with this "really cool war to watch on TV", who will even notice before it's too late?
"Eat ye that which is good and let your soul delight itself in fatness."
Can John Ashcroft find salvation in a recipe for chocolate brownies? Hey, every little bit helps.
The neo-Confederacy movement
is a potent force in the Republican Party in today's South, as Trent Lott's comments about Strom Thurmond demonstrate. Trent Lott has neo-Confederate ties
, as does John Ashcroft who praised Jefferson Davis in an interview
with the Southern Partisan magazine. Associated with the United Daughters of the Confederacy
and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, adherents of the neo-Confederate movement can even buy T-shirts gloating transforming the Republican Party into Abraham Lincoln's worst nightmare
The John Ashcroft Snow Globe.
Make your own punch line. Other merchandise on the site includes a literal Bible Belt, and what I believe to be Newt Gingrich underoos of some sort.
Secret U.S. court OKs electronic spying
Big Brother much? John Ashcroft is well on his way to becoming the next J. Edgar Hoover
, or worse. The government can already secretly spy on what books we're reading
, thanks to the Patriot Act. Previous MeFi threads have covered the evils of Total Information Awareness
and how it makes everyone a suspect
. Now a "secret court" gives the government a green light to spy
while the ACLU
tried to figure out if there is any recourse.
The 1940s Again?
While this in't to internment level yet, I find it terrifying. What to do about this government? This article was originally LA Times, but has been reposted to Common Dreams....
Dear Mr. Ashcroft:
People who download copyrighted music files deserve jail time, and you should start prosecuting them. Signed
: Joe Biden, John Conyers, Dianne Feinstein...
Operation TIPS calls routed to "America's Most Wanted"
(Salon premium, sorry) What hack wrote this script we Americans now find ourselves playing out, and why does he have such an on-the-nose sense of humor? Is this funny, depressing, painful or outrageous? Or all four?
Ashcroft's lunacy knows no bounds.
In the midst of touting TIPS, he continues to defend his proposal "to immediately destroy government records of people who buy guns, disputing a congressional report that said his idea could help criminals get firearms illegally."
Non-citizens put on notice to file change in addresses
The Ashcroft Gestapo strikes again!
If a permanent resident doesn't file this change-in-address form, they are talking about penalties up to and including deportion
! Note we aren't talking about student visa holders or anything like that .. we are talking about people who have lived in this country for 10 .. 20 .. 30 years or more in many cases.
This country is really turning into a police state the way things are going.
John Ashcroft: activist attorney.
Long and revealing article about Ashcroft's "my morals and religious beliefs first and law second" political history.
Threat of 'dirty bomb' softened
Attorney General John Ashcroft on Monday overstated the potential threat posed by "dirty bomb" suspect Abdullah Al Muhajir, Bush administration and law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Ashcroft's remarks annoyed the White House and led the administration to soften the government's descriptions of the alleged plot. "I don't think there was actually a plot beyond some fairly loose talk and (Al Muhajir's) coming in here obviously to plan further deeds," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told CBS on Tuesday. So, does this mean he'll actually get treated like an American citizen and get to see a lawyer?
Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I.
(NY Times link) As part of a sweeping effort to transform the F.B.I. into a domestic terrorism prevention agency, Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying in counterterrorism operations, senior government officials said today.
Here's the Wash. Post's
take on the story.
John Ashcroft inflicts his "gift" upon DoJ staff
Determined not to stop at subjecting the public to his musical endeavors
, our beloved Attorney General now sees fit to hand out the lyrics to his songs at staff meetings for sing-alongs. This, from the man whose job is to "represent the Government before the U.S. Supreme Court in cases of exceptional gravity or importance"
. Given the choice of attending one of his daily prayer meetings, having to sing along to his music, or having bamboo shoved under your fingernails, what would you choose?
Attorney General John Ashcroft sings (sort of)
"U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft ended a speech at a Charlotte, North Carolina seminary with a rousing rendition of a song he wrote called 'Let The Eagles Soar'' (Not safe for work unless you really want to annoy your coworkers)
21 assisted suicides in 2001.
Physician assisted suicide, officially known as Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, has been used by 91 people since 1998. The Oregon Public Health Service has released its Annual Report
, and the demographics are very interesting. The fear-mongering critics have been proved wrong in that it's not poor, uninsured, uneducated or minorities asking for this, yet the Bush administration and John Ashcroft are trying to nullify the law. Is physician assisted suicide wrong, and if so, why? Is it the business of the Federal government to interfere in a State issue such as this, and is this just another wedge of their pro-life agenda?
Justice Department Coverup
Attorney General John Ashcroft was fed up with having his picture taken during events in the Great Hall in front of semi-nude statues. So he has ordered massive draperies to conceal the offending figures (cost: 8,000 bucks)
Register as a Patriot!
Quote: As part of the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to obliterate all traces of terrorism in the United States, the Department of Justice has commenced registration* of each and every American Patriot. By registering all non-terrorists within our borders, it is our intention to make use of the process of elimination to identify the evil ones who walk among us. If you are a non-terrorist (American Patriot), your participation is required. " (It's a joke kids, John Ashcroft doesn't really expect you to register...yet.)
Ashcroft tells Congress that his critics are helping the enemy.
"To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists."
Ashcroft's Visa Carrot Trick
Ok, considering the PATRIOT
Act -empowered changes in our government's pursuit of terrorists, and the DOJ
's current "throw every non-American you can find behind bars indefinitely and secretly"
-- then are there any non-U.S. citizens out there dumb [or desparate] enough to fall for John Ashcroft's visa-carrot-for-terror-info trick?
8 former FBI agents "have offered the first substantive critique of the Ashcroft program." A senior Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that none of the changes ordered by Ashcroft would have enabled the FBI to interrupt the Sept. 11 attacks.
After the rebuke
mentioned previously here, perhaps the worm is turning?
gets a double kick in the groin
. It really heartens me to see this. I'm all for finding those responsible, but not at the cost of the Constitution
and civil rights
. How long before all of the state of Oregon is charged with terrorrism and brought before Bush's special tribunal
Is John Ashcroft paying back the Christian right?
Or is he simply enforcing existing laws? But then what about pursuing Eric Rudolph
The U.S. Department of Justice
issued a revised memorandum
for how to treat requests received under the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) that establishing a "sound legal basis" rather than the existing "foreseeable harm" standard for defending FOIA request refusals in court, John Ashcroft FOIA Memorandum, October 12, 2001. This was part of the EFF link below, but it's probably disturbing enough to have it's own discussion.
It's getting worse
: As part of their "Operation Potomac" The National Reform Association
, a Christian Reconstructionist group, is starting a political action committee to groom political candidates at the federal level. House Whip Tom DeLay is highly involved. They've already had meetings with Ashcroft's staff in the White House
. Truly frightening.
Ashcroft issues new policy on FOIA requests
that rescinds a 1993 policy that made it somewhat harder for federal agencies to refuse requests for public records. No surprise, especially given the current situation, but the interesting part is the rationale: Ashcroft cites national security, the effectiveness of law enforcement and protecting sensitive business information. "I encourage your agency to carefully consider the protection of all such values and interests when making disclosure determinations under the FOIA." (via Politechbot)
Ashcroft launches C.H.I.P.
Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property units to make sure all your licensing is in order, don't have a copy of the DeCSS song, and keeping webpages de-facement free.
John Ashcroft on web porn:
"I am concerned about obscenity and I'm concerned about obscenity as it relates to our children". I'm curious what those of you who are more on the conservative/libertarian side of things think about this. Are there special exemptions to the concept of free speech when it comes to this type of content? [more]
From the International Herald Tribune:
How's this whole separation of church and state working out? AG John Ashcroft: "It is against my religion to impose my religion on people..."
However, the department [DoJ] also issued new style guidelines for correspondence that carries Mr. Ashcroft's signature. They forbid, among other things, the use of "pride," which the Bible calls a sin, and the phrase "no higher calling than public service."
Statement of Senator Feinstein
opposing John Ashcroft. I hope he doesn't get in. A friend of mine told me he saw some "Roe v. Wade is dead" demonstrators on TV outside the capitol building and the first thing he thought was Triumph of the Will had descended upon Washington.
Actually, seems like it was 4 or 5 years ago, but hey, it's still catchy. MP3 contained at link to TheSmokingGun.com