I have no comments to make after reading this article.
Mike’s Link Blog copied an article about Ashcroft, John Ashcroft’s Patriot Games by Judith Bacharach, in its entirey, from Vanity Fair. Before the magazine moves to have him remove it, you have to read it.
Remember, that this is a story about the Attorney General of the United States – the highest legal office in the land.
We have fallen so far.
Within weeks of Ashcroft’s arrival, the revolution began, although initially only his subordinates realized it, as it came in the form of a scolding memo. According to a former Justice Department lawyer, the phrases “We are proud of the Justice Department” and “There is no higher calling than public service,” both of which had been pro forma in certain letters sent out to citizens and congressmen above the attorney general’s signature, were to be excised. A call to Ashcroft’s office provided an explanation of sorts: “Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; therefore we could not have a letter going out that would have the word ‘pride’ or ‘proud.’” Moreover, “there is a higher calling than public service, which is service to God.”
The oddest details seemed to carry grave theological implications, even in the Netherlands, where Ashcroft attended an international anti-corruption conference in May 2001. There, a trio of Siamese cats scampering about the residence of Cynthia Schneider, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, produced alarm in the Justice advance team, according to a highly placed source. “Are there any calico cats at the residence?” they inquired of embassy staff. Ashcroft, who would be dining with Schneider, considered such creatures “instruments of the Devil,” his people explained. (Ashcroft has denied any antipathy toward calico cats.)
Equally startling was the new composition of top staff. “To go from a Justice Department that was diverse, led by a woman,” recalls one ex employee, “to that first wave of primarily white guys, that was a major change.” Even after that first wave subsided (there was a flood of departures, including, after two years, Viet Dinh, the chief architect of the Patriot Act), the results were similar. Qualified female attorneys, complaining that Ashcroft “can’t look a woman in the eye,” found promotions to the highest levels almost nonexistent. Black men would be replaced by white men. In honor of Women’s History Month, Janet Ashcroft, once an outspoken opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, was asked by her husband to make a speech to women staffers. “Which is kind of a novel thing,” one listener says dryly. “And he introduces her by saying she’s the woman who taught him how to put dishes away. Yes, that’s what he said to the women lawyers. He said she taught him you should rotate your china, put your new plates on the bottom of the stack, so you don’t wear them out.”
I am speechless.
(Thanks to Teresa Hayden, who has copied another excerpt if the entire article has to get pulled.)
From the Globe and Mail:
I am aware that many Americans are happy to trade their civil liberties for security, and as a visitor after 9/11, I’d rather an immigration officer erred on the side of precaution. But you do wonder where and when all this will end and what effect it will have on the ideals that once made America.
If the dissection of John Ashcroft’s Department of Justice in this month’s Vanity Fair is anything to go by, it seems that America will soon be at war with itself � because the application of the law is being invested with a moral zeal whose goal is, in the words of the U.S. Attorney-General, “not simply to investigate crimes but to prevent them before they occur.”
Second update *snicker
The poll also revealed that other breeds, including Persians, short hairs, and even Siamese get their hackles raised when Mr. Ashcroft’s name is mentioned. “Strangely enough, only those funky hairless cats that look like skinned weasels seem immune to the Attorney General,” mused Miss Kelly. “I guess when you look like that, you don’t have much left to worry abou