Patterico's Pontifications

3/20/2007

DRJ Pores Through the Border Patrol Trial Transcripts – Conclusion of Ignacio Ramos’ Testimony (Volume XIII):

Filed under: Crime,General,Immigration — DRJ @ 11:34 pm

The prosecution’s cross-examination and Ramos’ attorney’s re-direct examination of Ignacio Ramos concludes in Volume XIII.

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This is the Dawning of the Age of Inquirious

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 pm

President Bush is invoking executive privilege to keep White House staff from testifying on the U.S. Attorney firings. Allah has commentary, as well as video from the presser.

Politically, there are no good options. Acquiesce to hearings, where any substantive defense will be left on the cutting room floor, to leave room for the soundbites of Chuck Schumer grandstanding. Or, invoke executive privilege and watch the press do nothing for days but chew on the issue of what Bush has to hide.

Either way, Alberto Gonzales will get tossed overboard as a sacrifice to the sharks below.

But it will just be more blood in the water.

And so the Age of Investigation begins.

What the Press Won’t Tell You About the Fired U.S. Attorneys: Interesting Information on Carol Lam from the Recently Released E-Mails

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:03 pm

This morning, I called for conservatives to examine the newly released e-mails on the fired U.S. Attorneys. My goal is not to defend the Administration — which can’t defend itself, and continually sabotages itself — but rather to keep a watchful eye on the press and the Democrats (but I repeat myself), and to learn the facts that the press won’t tell us about.

Today, I received an e-mail from someone who wishes to remain anonymous — but whom I trust. The person is a Harvard Law classmate of several of the people whose names appear on various documents. He passes along some interesting information from the e-mails regarding Carol Lam. My correspondent says:

In a quick review of some of the Judiciary Committee documents that were just released, here are several items that make it overwhelmingly clear that people at the highest levels — from the Dept. of Justice to Senator Feinstein to all of the California congressmen — were concerned about Carol Lam’s performance on immigration cases and, to a lesser extent, firearms cases.

What follows is my correspondent’s analysis.

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AgainstMonopoly.org – Branching out in guest blogging duties

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Justin Levine @ 11:20 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Just a quick note – I have been invited by David K. Levine to become a guest blogger over at AgainstMonopoly.org. I’ll be moving most of my posts regarding intellectual property to that site. I encourage all of those who are open to new perspectives and continued debate on this issue to occasionally check that site out.

Meanwhile, I will still continue to blog about California law over at SoCalLawBlog and more general law, culture and media bias items here at Patterico.com for as long as the respective blog owners continue to want me. [I continue to be both honored and humbled that they do.] I’ll only be cross-posting if I feel that a topic is rather important and if it crosses blog-genres as I perceive them.

David K. Levine is no relation to me. But rest assured, it is obviously the Jews who are behind the vast conspiracy to undermine and reform our current intellectual property laws. Please tailor your future pogroms accordingly…

[posted by Justin Levine]

Anna Nicole Smith Judge Busted For Pot

Filed under: Crime,General,Judiciary — Justin Levine @ 9:07 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

I would be doing the same if I had to hear that case. I predict a $420 fine with no jail time.

Commenter WLS Defends an Administration That Can’t Be Bothered to Defend Itself

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:57 am

I said last night that I’m fed up with defending the Administration on the U.S. Attorney firings, given that the Administration can’t be bothered to defend itself, and repeatedly sabotages its own case. I’m purely in watchdog mode at this point — out to correct inaccuracies for the sake of the truth. But commenter WLS, a long-time Assistant U.S. Attorney, is still interested in defending the Administration. He has some good points, and I thought it might be useful to link and quote to a few of them, in the interest of promoting a better understanding of this controversy.

Here’s WLS on Iglesias being selected as a trainer in voter fraud issues:

The fact that Iglesias was a selected “instructor” on voter fraud training is also nearly meaningless. The District of New Mexico was one of only two districts at the time that had set up voter fraud task forces in coordination with the Civil Rights Division. When setting up training seminars for other districts on how to go about setting up such task forces, the Civil Rights Division picks “instructors” from districts that have already done so. That doesn’t mean Iglesias was an expert or particularly effective at actually prosecuting voter fraud cases — only that his district had actually gone through the mechanics of forming a task force. Pretty thin gruel.

When I objected that DoJ picked him, WLS responded:

[I]ts easy to say “DOJ picked him.” In actuality, the way these things work is that someone in the Civil Rights Division that works on voter fraud cases is given the task of working with the Office of Legal Education (OLE) to put together a 2-3 day seminar at the National Advocacy Center (NAC) in Columbia, South Carolina. That person at Civil Rights and a course administrator at the NAC then create a syllabus for the course, and they then select instructors for the course to match the topics in the syllabus.

Each time I’ve been picked to be an instructor on a particular topic where I have a recognized expertise, its always been because a friend that I’ve made along the way is involved in putting the course together and gives me a call to find out if I’d be interested.

There’s not a lot of merit to it — it’s all about whose Rolodex your name is in and who is picking the instructors. “DOJ” really has nothing to do with it.

Regarding Sampson’s characterization of Patrick Fitzgerald as a merely competent U.S. Attorney:

And, in response to Mary Jo White’s comments defending Patrick Fitzgerald from the criticisms of him in various documents now being released, I would only say that her comment is something of a non-sequitur.

Being the US Attorney and being an exceptional prosecutor are not one and the same. The US Attorney is first and foremost a manager. Exceptionally brilliant prosecutors can at the same time be terrible managers of a bureaucracy like a US Attorney’s Office. Fitzgerald runs the 3rd or 4th biggest office in DOJ — SDNY, CDCA, then either DC or NDIL.

The fact that he spends so much time actually prosecuting his own cases by implication means that he leaves the management and administration of his office to others — there are not enough hours in the day to do otherwise.

So, being a great prosecutor in the courtroom is not guarantee that he’s even a passably good US Attorney.

Regarding McKay:

There are lots of materials about the reasons why some of the others were problem children as well. Apparently, McKay in WD Washington had a bad habit of publicly complaining in the press and to other agencies that his office was being crippled by budget cuts that forced him to cut staffing, and productivity would be impacted as a result. That’s not the kind of thing DOJ likes to see a US Attorney air in the local press. And it’s not just a comment or two — whole interviews and news articles are devoted to his complaining about his budget.

WLS adds in this comment:

McKay’s comments are particularly galling because he makes it sound like his office is the only one that has suffered a budget squeeze. I’ve been in DOJ long enough to have suffered through many of these budget squeezes, and many times the US Attorneys bring the problems on themselves by the way they allocate the use of the funds they have available.

And regarding Carol Lam:

Re the timing of Sampson’s email complaining about Lam being a “real problem” and its relationship to her notice to DOJ of the search warrants on Foggo, et al., DOJ has released new emails today — now being reported upon by the NYT and posted on the House Judiciary Comm website — that show longstanding DOJ extreme unhappiness with Lam. Of particular note is one from Bill Mercer, who served both as Acting Dep. AG before McNulty was named, while at the same time serving as US Attorney for Montana since the earliest days of the Bush Admin (in other words, a guy who has been around since the beginning and knows Lam’s entire history). He comments on her inability to meet deadlines, her disregard for DOJ and Admin. priorities, and makes a sarcastic reference to the possibility that maybe she would just admit that “I’ve ignored national priorities and obvious local needs. Shoot, my production is more hideous than I realized.’”

Now, it could be that everything WLS is saying is true. Indeed, I have no reason to doubt him. But that only reinforces my point about the Administration’s apparent unwillingness to defend itself. Why are we hearing these specifics from WLS and not from Tony Snow? The Administration appears content to dump these e-mails on the public and let us sort it all out. They appear not to realize that when they do that, without a plan, the press will just pick out the e-mails that make them look bad — and distort them in the process.

I haven’t read through all the newly released e-mails, but I read through the first set that was released. It was chock full of comments from Kyle Sampson about the need to have the political will to weather the storm that would result from the firings. But — and if I’m wrong, please correct me — I don’t remember seeing any hint of a comprehensive plan to explain to the public why they did what they did, and why it was the right thing to do.

The Administration appears to be getting caught flat-footed by apparent contradictions in its story, instead of being ready with answers, as wls is, to address them.

As I said, that makes it hard to defend them.

And after a while, one suspects that defending these folks is pointless. Because Gonzales is headed for the door anyway. A.J. Stata has a post criticizing Republicans for not defending Gonzales. Don’t you get it, A.J.? If you spend your time defending Gonzales, Bush will pull the rug out from under you, and make you feel like a fool for having defended him. Bush has caved on any number of issues before, and he’ll cave on this.

But A.J. may be more on target than he knows. His post is titled “Any Republican Who Caves On Gonzales Is A Lost Cause.” I suspect that description will very soon apply to President Bush.

UPDATE: I have corrected some typos, after WLS complained that I had failed to proofread and correct his language. I think people realize that they were just comments, WLS — but I have fixed the mistakes that I saw. Let me know if I missed anything major.

A Call for Patterico Readers to Pore Through the Newly Released E-Mails

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

The newly released e-mails on the U.S. Attorney firings are here. TPM Muckraker is enlisting its readers to pore through them. But you know that the people who read that blog won’t pick out the parts that aid the Administration’s case.

That’s where you come in. I am enlisting the Great Patterico Army — all few dozen of you — to look through these and tell us what the media is going to leave out.

It’s not about defending the Administration. It’s about keeping the other side (Democrats and Big Media, but I repeat myself) honest. Or some reasonable facsimile thereof.


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