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Obama's Questionable Personnel Decisions Continue Apace
CNN.com is reporting
that President-elect Barack Obama will appoint campaign adviser
Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General. On the surface, Mr. Holder appears to be a bipartisan favorite, serving in the Justice Department first under Democratic President Jimmy Carter, then being appointed to the Superior Court of Washington, D.C. by Republican Ronald Reagan. He left that position to serve at the appointment of Democratic President Bill Clinton as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Widely held in high regard, Holder is not without his detractors. As Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, he was deeply involved
in the Elian Gonzales affair, when federal law enforcement officers stormed into the Miami residence of the 8-year-old Cuban immigrant's home and seized him at gunpoint in front of news media cameras, which captured the terrified child still in the arms of an immigrant relative of the family in a custody dispute with Elian's father in Cuba. Federal authorities sided with the father, whose attorney was none other than Greg Craig, whom President-elect Obama has just appointed
as White House chief legal counsel. Holder's favorable review
of fugitive Democratic contributor Marc Rich for a presidential pardon by departing President Bill Clinton is also considered by some to be a mark against him to the extent that it gives the appearance of a willingness by Mr. Holder to allow old-fashioned political favoritism to supersede the rule of law when it comes to criminals who have benefited the Democratic Party.
Now for the bonus surprise in the gathering assembly that will be President-elect Obama's government: he plans to retain Bush Administration officials in top positions. Mentioned only briefly in the CNN.com story about Eric Holder, but reported
more prominently elsewhere, is Mr. Obama's apparent intention to keep Bush appointee Robert Mueller as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Obama will probably also retain several other top Bush-appointed people
, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen. Before the election, Mueller had made it clear
that he had no intention of voluntarily stepping down before the end of his 10-year term, which would be completed in 2011. Although Mueller has been praised for refusing to support CIA interrogation methods that are widely considered to constitute torture, a report by his own department's Inspector General harshly criticized the FBI's extraordinarily common use of so-called "National Security Letters," a means by which federal law enforcement authorities can acquire private information about citizens without judicial review and without any means by which the targets of the extra-judicial subpoenas can even find out that they have been subjected to search. The administrative subpoenas have been used
to acquire everything from bank records to Internet surfing habits to telephone and cell phone logs, and they have been issued as dragnets to acquire, among other information, the records of usage from Internet service providers of all the ISPs' customers. In 2005, before the FBI Inspector General had revealed the extent of misuse of National Security Letters, Mueller went before Congress requesting
that temporary provisions of the Patriot Act be made permanent and that Congress authorize even more extensive authority for the Bureau to conduct invasive searches of Americans.
Notwithstanding Mr. Mueller's declaration that he plans to remain until the end of his 10-year stint as FBI Director, the President-elect has the ability to make it clear that he wants a clean slate of appointees. In most cases, officials of an out-going Administration will resign before being asked to do so, and that is so for some appointees even when a President begins his second term. That Mr. Obama seems entirely disinterested in pressuring Director Mueller to voluntarily step down to make way for new blood to head federal law enforcement speaks loudly to Mueller's own unwillingness to recognize the political nature of his appointment, but it speaks even more so to the difference between Barack Obama's official claim
of recognizing Americans' right to privacy and what he will actually do to protect that right.
If Mr. Obama had any genuine dedication to restoring the constitutional right of citizens to be secure in their persons, papers, and property, he would most certainly have no room in his Administration for a chief law enforcement officer who, by the objective, exhaustive assessment of the Bureau's own Inspector General, massively and systematically abused administrative subpoenas. Mueller's oversight of the FBI has demonstrated his willful disdain for imposing a high threshold upon law enforcement personnel and prosecutors who seek to diminish the constitutional safeguard against unwarranted searches, and this disdain has been to the manifest effect of circumventing judicial review to the end of stripping the citizenry of its only, if minimal, realm of protection from an intrusive unitary Executive Branch that deems constitutional rights of the people at odds with, rather than the heart of, that which secures the Republic from its enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Mr. Obama's supporters who have claimed he is the agent of change from an era of brutish Right-wing authoritarians may find themselves increasingly hard-pressed to support their prior insistence that he represents something other than the continuity and continuation of America's descent into an authoritarian state. Barack Obama might very well be widely liked for the rhetoric he speaks, but the troublingly dislikable direction he plans to take this nation is already becoming clear from the people with whom he is choosing to govern.
As the President-elect continues to signal his intention to govern to the Right, the host of this Website will continue to take exception to and umbrage with the emergence of yet another Administration that mistakes election to the presidency for coronation to the throne.
good morning Dark Wraith:
anyone, anyone at all, who has been involved with the "justice" department, or the top slots at the pentagon needs to go. quietly and quickly if they have any fucking dignity left, or not. i'm serious. it's fucking pitchfork and torch time.
the folks at defense, and justice especially have been part and parcell to an astonishing degredation in the capability and reputation of both departments.
at defense anyone who stood by while the neocons baldly and straightfaced lied us into two disasterous wars needs to fucking quit. go on welfare, or simply suck on your pension for the rest of your life. fuck things up that badly. you gotta go.
fbi, justice, cia, go. out with them. if they leave now, they get to keep their heads. their reputations have already been decided by guantanamo and the torture dungeons.
wormer? dead! neidemeyer! dead! marmalarde? dead!
(X-posted at the BBB):
Not EXACTLY on topic but...It's (finally?) mainstream:
"Former Obama opponent now suing to prove President-elect's citizenship"
(Text begins): "A former opponent of Barack Obama's has come back to haunt him over questions regarding Obama's citizenship.
"According to a press release from the American Independent Party, former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and other members of the party have filed suit in California Superior Court in Sacramento to stop the state from giving its electoral votes to President-elect Barack Obama until documentary evidence is provided to prove Obama is indeed a natural born citizen of the United States."
Good morning Dark Wraith,
It sure looks like our liberal/progressive or whatever you want to call our current House of Lords, are following that old saying "do as I say, not as I do". The Obamicans sure seem to be more in tune with getting the pleebs to embrace their vision of hope and social change than acting on it themselves.
I think Biden as VP is still the most stunning example.
Did you catch the latest story about the Texas A&M Professor Loye Young ?
He was recently fired because of a blog post he wrote that named 6 of his students who plagiarized an essay. (he believes in public humiliation)
Here's a link that provides the whole story -- along with lots more links as the story unfolded. Great responses by Mr. Young and many, many comments in support of what he did.
Bottom line -- In Professor Young's words:
The Vice President-elect, Senator Joseph Biden, is perhaps the most well-known plagiarizer in recent history. Biden was caught plagiarizing while at Syracuse Law School. The school gave him an F, required him to retake the course, and subsequently treated the incident as confidential. Unfortunately, Biden didn't learn his lesson at law school. He continued to plagiarize for another 20 years. During the 1988 presidential campaign, Senator Biden's career of plagiarizing came to light, and he was forced to end his presidential bid. It is my belief that the Syracuse incident left a subtle and subliminal message in Biden's mind: plagiarism is not a deal breaker. Consequently, he continued to plagiarize. Unfortunately for the Senator, the facts came to public light at the worst possible time: when he was running for President.
oh and don't EVEN get me started on the current "relationship" that Goldman Sachs has with those in charge of our financial bailout charade. They better be the first ones he gets rid of. Yeah right.....
oh Minstrel Boy -- dead, dead, dead - LOL!
Peter - will we find out Malcolm X was his daddy?
you guys have to watch Jon Stewart's intro last night
crap - site undergoing maintenance -- I'll put it up later.
It was regarding his pick of hillary as Sec. of State:
"Obama and Clinton agree on many issues - except foreign policy - WTF?"
Got a problem with Professor Young -- according to the news article, he said that "trials are public for a reason, and plagiarism should be treated the same way." Well, yes and no. Trials represent "due process of law" while public humiliation with no evidence cited is not due process. I'm sure Prof. Young was telling the truth, but plagiarism is not always a clear-cut issue, and there is no reason to convict someone in the court of public opinion when a simple F would suffice.
Re. Eric Holder, my understanding (having read Mark Kleiman) is that all he's guilty of is passing the buck. The Clinton administration was on the way out the door, this Rich pardon request looked like a potential hot potato, why not just refer the suits to a White House guy and be done with it? Perhaps not the most sterling example of moral courage, but as a onetime fed bureaucrat I'm wholly in sympathy -- it was the smart move.
Keeping Gates and Mullen makes sense, more for the latter than the former. Mueller is another matter -- the 10-year term is supposed to make it a nonpolitical appointment but of course that's a fiction. Maybe the smart thing would be for Obama to publicly overrule or censure the FBI Director on the national security letters, and wait for him to step down of his own accord.
All this angst on the left (which is where I sit) reminds me of General DeGaulle, elected overwhelmingly in 1958 carrying the fond hopes of the French right wing, who saw him as the man who could win the war in Algeria. What did he say upon being elected? "I will astonish them with my ingratitude."
Good morning, Mr Wraith.
Regardless of who Obama might select for this or that position, the fact remains that war is bad, and the president-elect is black.
Because war bad he black, the philosophical underpinnings of the Democratic Party are intact.
Everyone knows that war bad he black.
Some may become disgruntled over the selection of this or that for whatever purpose, but that cannot trump war bad he black.
War bad he black.
Moreover, war bad he black, as every good Democrat knows.
I would suggest that you give up your apprehension about these appointments and concern yourself with more important things, such as war bad he black.
And remember-- war bad he black.
The Time of the Democrats is at hand!!
War bad! He black!
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