Archive | August, 2012

Looking ahead, not backwards

And of course, the cowardly DoJ did a Friday afternoon news dump on a holiday weekend:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has closed its long-running abuse-of-power investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio — without any charges to be filed.


In a 5 p.m. Friday news release, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel, acting on behalf of the United States Department of Justice, announced her office “is closing its investigation into allegations of criminal conduct” by current and former members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.


Federal prosecutors have advised Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery of the decision.


“I’m just pissed,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek. “If (former Deputy County Attorney) Lisa Aubuchon and (former Sheriff’s Chief Deputy) David Hendershott are not prosecuted for perjury, then this is all about politics. This is about a Justice Department that is afraid to do their jobs.”

Remember, the Obama Justice Department just brought criminal charges against a married couple for lying to get a mortgage. But that’s different – moral hazard!

Lawsuit

I love the EFF, for this and so many other things they fight to protect:

The US Justice Department is being sued after failing to adhere to Freedom of Information Act requests for documents on a federal surveillance program that has targeted the email and phone conversations of Americans throughout the last five years.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based advocacy groups that fights to protect civil liberties in the digital age, filed a lawsuit on Thursday this week that names the Department of Justice as the sole defendant.


The EFF charges that the DoJ violated the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, by failing to expedite previous requests filed with the government for documents relating to a 2008 amendment included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under that year’s update to FISA, feds were awarded legal wiggle room to collect and comb through any communication originating in the United States that is sent abroad through email or phone, all under the guise of national security. The EFF and others attest that the government has extensively violated the US Constitution by doing as such, though, and is now suing the DoJ not for ongoing abuse of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure, but for the department’s failure to quickly honor the FOIA request and for wrongful withholding of agency records.


“The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008 gave the NSA expansive power to spy on Americans’ international email and telephone calls,” the EFF explains in an official statement to the media that was released in conjunction with this week’s lawsuit. “However, last month, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, a government official publicly disclosed that the NSA’s surveillance had gone even further than what the law permits, with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issuing at least one ruling calling the NSA’s actions unconstitutional.”

He tried, he couldn’t do the job

So a reporter gets into an exclusive briefing with Karl Rove and finds out why they’re being so nice. I figured if they were doing this, it was because the polling showed them it worked. (It also happens to be the same advice I’ve been giving for 30 years to people running against incumbents.)

Then came the main event: Rove, joined by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, laid out his strategy for winning the White House. “The people we’ve got to win in this election, by and large, voted for Barack Obama,” Rove said, in a soothing, professorial tone, explaining why the campaign hadn’t launched more pointed attacks on the president’s character.


Rove explained that Crossroads had conducted extensive focus groups and shared polling and focus group data with “all the major groups that are playing” in the election. “As many of you know, one of the most important things about Crossroads is: We don’t try and do this alone. We have partners,” he said. “The Kochs—you name it.”


What had emerged from that data is an “acute understanding of the nature of those undecided, persuadable” voters. “If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’” The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him—by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. “If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you.”

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