Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mojowire for 03.05, Part I

Mojowire for 03.05; vol. 3, no. 6 mojo

MUSIC: Intro/Hendrix, Star Spangled Banner
s9/ Prodigy, We Have Explosive
Exeunt/WildChild, Renegade Master

J. Good Morning, and welcome to The Mojowire, Vol. 3, No. 6... I'm Mojo...

S. And I'm Sean, it's Saturday, March 05, 2005, Day 1,419 of the Neocon Captivity, and here's the news for the week gone-by...

J. Brought to you by Mojohaus-fine journalism, afflicting the comfortable since 1988. Now headlines, from Mojohaus:

S. First this morning, we peel the thin veneer of humanity and unfurl the bat wing├ęd horror that is the current crop of Maximum Leader's nominations to sit on the federal appellate courts. We look at two particularly hideous specimens and wonder aloud what could prompt anyone to summon these creatures from cold depths of space out of long dead eons.

J. Next, while we're on the subject of the federal judiciary, the Bush Administration has run into a little trouble on their war on terror, namely District Court judges who are getting past fed up with the Tom Clancy approach to legal maneuvering in their court rooms, and they are starting to assert themselves. These men and women may end up being the last thing between us and a full blown police state.

S. Then our special correspondent from low earth orbit, Dr. Strychnine, will focus his outrageous contempt on Alan Greenspan, and burn another giant hole in the ozone with his horrific observations about the aging Federal Reserve Furher...errr Chairman's rambling and incoherent speechifyin in the last week or so to lawmakers.

J. Finally we bring you the horrible word on the new bankruptcy overhaul bill that is set to land on Maximum Leader's desk for a quick crayon scrawl and dab of drool soon. This bill makes Charles Dickens London look like a kibbutz and is nothing more than welfare for poor starving bankers and their loan managers...

…So stand by to stand by while we get ready to pull the pin on this thing...

J. Here is the primary problem with the Bush judgeship nominations: They are insane! Crazy, like chickens on speed. And having degenerate hate monkeys disguised as the mature leadership of American jurisprudence is just not the organizing principle our founding fathers had in mind for the courts, nor is it one we should be adopting now.

Dispassionate sarcasm and slanderous hyperbole aside, there is a good reason to be concerned about the nature of the current crop of yahoos parading up to the Senate Judiciary Committee's sacred snack chambers. We like the nuclear reactor metaphor. You see, the executive branch of government is like a big ol' pile of unsteady fissile material stacked up like bricks, and the Congress is a giant glowing hard rod of fissile material being placed through a hole in the middle of that stack. The resulting excited neutrons created from tiny bits crashing into each other throw off immense amounts of radiation, or in the case of our loosely translated metaphor, laws.

Problem: that reaction will run away with itself and plow right through the center of the Earth like a giant glowing gopher, unless there is some controlling mechanism in place. The framers of the Constituion-1 governmental reactor decided that some giant chunks of graphite inserted into the reactor, in the form of an independent judiciary would do the trick at keeping the reaction humming along with reasonable legal output without getting completely sideways and eating itself.

Okay, we've about exhausted that metaphor, but I think you see where we are going with this. The judiciary's role is the nuclear damping rods in the reactor of government. They are the ones who are not being pushed or pulled on the political winds of expediency or dependant on the fickle will of the voters for their jobs. In a real sense, they serve not the people, but the law in the people's interest.

At least that is the way it was supposed to be. But that's the problem with the current neo-con carnage taking place in New Jerusalem on the Potomac. Because to get the rest of the cultists to drink the kool-aid, some of the leadership has to quaff a bit, too. In this regard, that means buying into the whole myth of "liberal activist judges."

To be fair, there have been judges who have made some questionable rules more out of a primal sense of right and wrong, and less on the nuts and bolts of so-called "black letter" law. And those decisions usually manage to make the right howl like burning mice. These decisions were usually made by judges who were being asked to make rules about situations that were indeed novel, and so they were in uncharted territory. One good example of this extension of legal theory was Roe v. Wade.

But now, fast forward many moons, and the myth of liberal judges run amok has become so pervasive that those in the position to make law have decided that this is in fact the sole reason to appoint judges; to get your guys on the court to do whatever without regard to the law. They are completely straight up about the fact that they are appointing their activist judges, and just view it as appropriate vengence against American progressives.

And with that in mind, Maximum Leader has thrown up some real doozies to the Senate. Let's take a look at just two of these jurists to see if we can discern a pattern for the administration's ideas on American jurisprudence.

Our first contestant is Judge Terrence Boyle, who was up for hearings last week to be appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. For those who don't know, the Fourth Circuit, covering the southeastern United States, including Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and points Red State from there, is the antithesis of the Ninth Circuit. If the Ninth is notoriously liberal, then the fourth is radically conservative.

And what does the Fourth Circuit say about Judge Boyle? It has overturned his opinions for major errors in judgement and fundamentally flawed legal thinking more than 150 times in the past 15 or so years. As a former Jesse Helms protoge, Boyle has been careening around the federal court in the Eastern District for North Carolina since the last days of the Bush the First administration, and ever since he first donned that black evening gown, he has been nothing but an embarssment to his own team, to say nothing of his inept approach to law.

In quick terms, the guy is the judicial equivalent of a thug in hockey. Thugs in hockey don't get their positions because they skate great, shoot well, or have a particularly good head for the game. Their position on the team is solely to get out on the ice and injure opposing players, and if they can actually stand on skates for more than a minute at a time, then so much the better. This is why Helms pushed this guy through back in the late 1980s.

Here are a few examples of how excellent this guy is. In 1990, the state of North Carolina tried redistricting to reflect the growing African-American population in the state. Twice Boyle ruled it unconstitutional, and twice he was punked by the Supremes. In that first decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that his ruling was clearly erroneous and you know when Clarence Thomas is calling you out as a poor legal scholar, you are in serious trouble.

Another favorite campfire horror tale about FrankenBoyle has him ruling in one his many attacks on the Americans with Disabilities act in Williams v. Channel Master Satellite Systems, Inc., for example, Boyle ruled working was "not a major life activity" which should be protected by the ADA. In reversing his ruling, the Fourth Circuit said of Boyle's declaration that "while some courts might entertain claims under the 'major life activity' of 'working,' this Court does not."

S. And his hits just keep on coming... In his work against workplace discrmination laws, he once waxed rhapsodic for allowing North Carolina to beg off laws protecting women in the worokforce because to do otherwise would be a grave insult to the state's culture. The Fourth District actually called him out in reversing his decision, saying his opinion constituted an abuse of discretion. And let's get this straight here folks, when the Fourth District, you know, the people who have been helping the Bush Administration whisk people off the streets and send them to GTMO, when they call out their own team members for abuse of discretion, you have really gone off the res.

Now, let's meet our next contestant. William G. Myers the Third, come on down... You know, Boyle is evil and wrong, but in a punk orc fashion, he is just another garden variety sociopathic racist who managed to con his way on to the federal bench to squid for his political patrons and their facist agenda.

Myers, on the other hand; this guy has got Witch King of Angmar written all over him. There are no less than 180 different organizations, representing millions of Americans who are lining up against this guy. Tapped for a seat on the Ninth Circuit, because you know, those hippies could use some straigtning out, Myers current nomination is a Mulligan. Last week was his second time up in front of the Judiciary Committee in their treehouse of horror. Last year, his nominations got crushed out of the park like a rookie pitcher floating a weak changeup in front of a hallucinating Barry Bonds. Hell, his first nomination hasn't even landed yet, and he's back up there for more.

Let's take a look at why the villagers are storming the castle with their torches and improvised peasant pole arms. The People for the American Way have quite the dossier on this guy. For instance, some of his statements regarding environmental law, to wit: attacking federal management of public lands, saying it was comprable with "the tyrannical actions of King George in levying taxes' on American colonists."

He has said there's "no constitutional basis" to protect wetlands. He also railed that "environmentalists are mountain biking to the courthouse as never before, bent on stopping human activity whenever it may promote health, safety and welfare." The cases he was talking about involved logging on national forests, racial discrimination in the placement of waste treatment plants and protection of irrigation canals from toxic chemicals.

These were not the statements of some wild eyed drunk half passed out on the lawn of the courthouse. These were the words of a policy wonk at the U.S. Department of the Interior. While a corporate shill at Interior, Myers drafted rules allowing the Glamis Imperial Mine Project, a 1,600 acre open pit gold mine not only in the middle of the California Desert Conservation Area, but also squarely on Quechan Indian land, producing a stunning ounce of gold for every 280 tons of rock moved. He also mounted a vigorous attack on any rules that would protect CDCA as "undue impairment" of business activity. His opinion was later shot down by a federal judge who ruled it twisted the "clear mandate" of federal law to prevent the degradation of land.

This is not the first time Myers has appointed himself chief broker and head auctioneer for public lands in the Western U.S. In 2003, as chief lawyer at Interior, he prodded to Congressmen from NoCal to introduce a bill that would literally give away more than $1 million worth of public land near Sacramento to a private company.

In 2000, the Yuba River Properties was caught mining public land illegally. The Company claimed it owned the land and their chief pimp on the inside was none other than Myers, who did their bidding without even checking on their claim, and then without further prodding or consultation with his superiors, went to Congress to ask that the land just be given to Yuba. It's their birthday and they wants it precious...

This of course all comes on the heels of a very successful lobbying career out west here. He spent most of the 1990s doing battle in the courts against Clinton Administratin efforts to preserve the endangered species act, protect public lands from overgrazing, seizing on opportunities in court to eviscerate the clean air and clean water acts...

And that all might be one thing if the dude actually any qualifications for sitting on the federal bench, other than being the prison beyotch for western land rapists. Even the normally stolid American Bar Association couldn't support this guy. Not a single member of their 15-person judicial screening committee rated the guy as qualified. And five or six of them actually gave him the active thumbs down.

So when you hear the right complaining about obstructionists in the Senate and wondering if freedom of speech for minority Senators is such a good idea, then remember the real stakes we are playing for and the reason some of these guys nominations are being swatted out of the park. They are punks and fools and deserve no place in the American legal system other than on the business end of a righteous sentencing hearing.

These two guys make the perfect statement about the reality of how Maximum Leader and his gang in the West Wing view the court system and see it not as a chance of correcting past wrongs, or getting the pedulum back to center, but as a chance to put their activists on the court, get their run and get paid. These guys are not about law, they are about getting revenge on you wireheads for having the temerity to place notions of justice above their profit margins while choosing leaders in the past.

Fortunately for them, you have been all relieved of that tiresome duty. There is still the matter of your punishment they will be considering, though...

J. And while we are on the subject of stackin the federal bench, this is a good time to have a little talk about why it is of particular import for Maximum Leader to get his hack-tackular lawn monkeys into the appellate courts. It has been the case since last summer, coming to full steam last November that one of our last lines of defense between a damaged but still essentially functioning republic and an all out police state orgy of lawless government might well be the federal judiciary.

From federal tort rules, to sentencing guidelines to the war on terror, federal judges have been engaging in a not-so-quiet revolt against the Bush Administration and their attempt to flip the federal bench to provide some sort of legal cover for their hideous authoritarian agenda.

Starting last summer, federal judges began to complain bitterly about former-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his infernal meddling in the affairs of the courts, by personally nullifying plea deals pushing for federal death sentences in ridiculous circumstances, publicly calling out judges for being soft on crime, all the while administration officials have been placing themselves above the law by just flat out refusing to abide by district court rulings... At first, the judges rolled for it, but how much did these goofballs think they were going to take before going to the whip themselves?

There have been a number of specific cases lately where the administration is running into resistance from federal judges who, liberal or conservative, are starting to feel a bit threatened by the President GoGo and his minions attempt to get over on them.

One good quick example has been the case of Empress Norton over at the Department of Interior. Her department has been trying to sell off Indian land out west to some of her old friends in the mining and ag biz and has been shorting the tribes on the take out the tribal trust funds to the tune of about $135 billion so far. When a judge specifically ordered this practice to be stopped, Norton thought she'd show them who's boss by just ceasing all payments to all tribes from all their trust funds in this case, and then turned around and her minions file a brief with the court saying in essence: "Well, the judge told us to stop our current practice, so we did..."

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, nominated by Ronald Reagan and appointed by Bush the Elder, found this reasoning significantly less than amusing, writing in an order: "The Court is offended that the individuals responsible for these acts would cite the Court’s Orders as justification; but the perniciousness and irresponsibility demonstrated by blaming the Court pales in comparison to the utter depravity and moral turpitude displayed by these individuals’ willingness to withhold needed finances from people struggling to survive and support families on subsistence incomes. These actions, whether Interior ordered them taken or merely turned a blind eye and allowed them to occur, are a testament to the startling inhumanity of government bureaucracy."

He then wound up his little tirade by ordering a personal appearance in court by Sec. Norton to explain her bad self or face a contempt citation. And just to put this in context, this was a first in U.S. History. Secretaries have appeared in district court before, but never by order of the court to go out back and cut a hickory switch to then be applied to nether regions. Norton decided she didn't need to show up indeference to the order, so Lamberth ruled against Interior across the board and is now taking it directly out of their hide.

But where this is taking on particular significance has been on the war against terror and other unseemly emotions. It was last November when the Revolution went public on the Federal Bench and the judges started tossing cases where the standard of evidence was ridiculously low in terror cases, chastising federal prosecutors and their bosses for bringing bad cases into their court rooms.

One of the more important cases here is alleged "dirty-bomb" plotter Jose Padilla. Both American citizens and both charged with crimes related to the war on terror. Last Monday a federal judge finally ordered the release of Padilla after judges had been ruling in his favor for months regarding his pre-trial confinement, status as enemy combatant and a general lack of judicial process in his treatment.

From the L.A. Times: "Monday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Henry F. Floyd found that Padilla's "indefinite detention without trial" violated his constitutional right to due process and ordered the administration to release him or charge him within 45 days. Floyd, who was appointed by Bush in 2003, rejected the government's position that Padilla was an "enemy combatant" because he was captured during the ongoing war against terrorism. "The president has no power," the judge said, "neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold [Padilla] as an enemy combatant."

It has been asserted that this is another in a series of rulings that hearken back to last November when a federal district judge ruled that the whole GTMO experiment was not, strictly speaking, the American way and began ordering the release of certain inmates. A process that the federal government has yet to comply with, while they attempt to throw up more faux legalistic road blocks to obeying the courts.

S. Then there is the weird case of one Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the American citizen charged with plotting to assisinate the President. As our Red Baiting Comrades over at the Dark Tower of the New York Times wrote a week or so ago, this has been a horrible object lesson in what has gone wrong on the war on terror. Given the penchant of federal judges lately to demand that the federal government meet at least some standard of evidence other than "because we say so" there are those who are now saying that Abu Ali is going to walk, or perhaps be rendered back to Saudi Arabia for more "vigorous massage" at the hands of jailers.

Abu Ali was arrested in Saudi Arabia while a student there; busted at the behest of the United States, who oversaw his captivity there, while he was beaten and tortured according to his court filings. When FBI agents questioned him there for four days, he repeatedly demanded an attorney and his demands were met at first with simple denial, then with threats that if he kept belly aching about legal representation that he would simply just be left in Saudi custody for the rest of his soon to be very short life.

Let me repeat that last part so you understand, the FBI Agent in charge of his interrogation has admitted in pre-trial proceedings to specifically threatened him with continued rendition to Saudi custody if he didn't sing their tune and kept demanding a lawyer.

This is going to be similar to the so-called Detroit "sleeper cell." That case came apart in federal court after evidence came to light of manufctured evidence and massive prosecutorial misconduct, and is now an insurance fraud case and even that looks like it is going to be another Justice Department train wreck.

Eugene R. Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, told the L.A. Times Monday that rulings like these were illustrative of a "the revolt of district judges" who were disturbed by the government's handling of terror suspects. "District judges are used to dispensing justice to people in front of them," Fidell said. "They are down where the rubber meets the road in the administration of justice in this country, and they bring a special perspective. And they have found ways to express their discomfort."

And this is a fairly important point. Does anyone out there in the vast heartland gulag understand that they have a dog in this fight? This isn't about activist judges or soft on crime liberals or any of the other countless red herrings that are being tossed out there to get everyone looking up to the book depository window while the kill shot on the Republic comes from the grassy knoll.

This is about the meaning of the rule of law in our country. Are we a nation, governed by laws, or are we a mob ungoverened living a brutish existence of absolutism and lawlessness? If the federal government feels it no longer needs to abide by its own laws as interpreted by its own courts, then there is a defact state of lawlessness. Or at least that law will mean nothing.

These judges are not attempting to deliberately thwart the war on terror. They are trying to uphold a much more basic tenet of our country; that the executive branch is subject to the same law as everyone else and that they cannot make up their own law as they go along. And this whole "if the President does it, it can't be illegal" arguement is not going to wash. It didn't work for Nixon, it's not going to fly for C-Plus Augustus.

And yet, it still leaves a chilling question: What happens when the administration decides that they are simply tired of going through the motions of court and trying to forestall the federal bench's decisions through legal maneuvering? What happens when they simply decide they do not have to abide by any federal court decisions they disagree with?

We'll just leave you, faithful wireheads to come up with the answer to that one...

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