Ashcroft Takes Drug Test, Starts Justice Dept. Job

Ashcroft Takes Drug Test, Starts Justice Dept. Job
Posted by FoM on February 02, 2001 at 09:26:48 PT
By James Vicini, Reuters
Source: Los Angeles Times
Attorney General John Ashcroft took a drug test and spent his first day at the Justice Department on Friday after surviving a contentious Senate confirmation in which critics attacked him as too rigid an opponent of abortion and gun control to enforce U.S. laws.    Ashcroft, an ardent conservative whose nomination by President George W. Bush stirred strong opposition from civil rights, abortion rights and other liberal groups, first went for the drug test required of all Justice Department workers. 
Asked what would happen if Ashcroft, a former senator from Missouri who won confirmation by a 58-42 vote on Thursday, failed the drug test, one of his aides quipped, "I'm not worried about it."    As he entered the Justice Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue, about halfway between the White House and the Capitol, Ashcroft told reporters and waiting television camera crews that he was "very pleased" to start work, adding that it was "nice to be here."    Of all of Bush's Cabinet appointees, Ashcroft, 58, encountered the most opposition and he had the most votes against him in the Senate.    At his confirmation hearings, Ashcroft promised to enforce all of the nation's laws, even ones he has opposed -- like abortion rights, gay rights and gun control.    In a statement after the vote, he again vowed to lead a Justice Department "that is free from politics, that is uncompromisingly fair" and that is "defined by integrity."    Ashcroft, who will lead an agency with a $25 billion annual budget and 125,000 employees whose duties range from fighting crime to enforcing immigration laws, was greeted by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Colgate, a career employee.    Ashcroft Tours Justice Department:    Colgate immediately took Ashcroft on a tour of the seven-story building, floor by floor.    Stopping in the press room, reporters asked Ashcroft how he wanted to be addressed. "You can call me anything. Just don't call me late to dinner," he joked.    Ashcroft on Friday set meetings with heads of the various Justice Department agencies and with Eric Holder, who had served as acting attorney general since President Clinton left office on Jan. 20.    Ashcroft already has selected his top aides. His chief of staff will be David Ayres, 37, who held the same position in the Senate. David Israelite, 32, who had been director of political and government affairs for the Republican Party, will be deputy chief of staff, department officials said.    Ashcroft's chief spokeswoman will be Mindy Tucker, 30, a spokeswoman in Austin, Texas during Bush's political campaign.    The officials said senior Justice Department appointments were not expected until next week.    The leading candidate for deputy attorney general has been Larry Thompson, a former federal prosecutor from Atlanta who also served as independent counsel investigating Reagan-era corruption at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.    Thompson, an African American, might help defuse criticism from civil rights groups and some Democratic senators that Ashcroft was racially insensitive.    The solicitor general, the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court, will be Theodore Olson, who argued the high court case that stopped the Florida vote recounts, effectively giving Bush the presidency.    Olson has long experience with Republican politics and conservative causes. He served as the personal lawyer for President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal and held a senior Justice Department post during the Reagan administration. Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Published: Friday, February 2, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles TimesAddress: Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053Fax: (213) 237-4712Contact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Articles - John Ashcroft
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on February 03, 2001 at 19:42:05 PT
Thanks Jean
Hi Jean, I hope that our political leaders get it. If not the future of the younger generation is going to be horrible. I hope they listen.
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Comment #11 posted by Jeaneous on February 03, 2001 at 10:59:13 PT:
Hi FoM,I do see what you are saying and I agree with you. I'm fearful of the tactics that this breach of church and state will cause. I'm so very surprised that the country can remain so quiet about this issue. I guess they feel they are going against religion if they speak of this breach.I have my own thoughts of religion as all do, and should. But these men could stand up there and change not only politics but religion also. It is not their place and I truely fear the repercussions of it. My God is who I have to account to for my sins, not the government of the United States.
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Comment #10 posted by Lehder on February 03, 2001 at 05:46:07 PT
drug war syllogism
1. Drugs are at the root of all of society's evils.2. John Ashcroft is not on drugs.Therefore,3. John Ashcroft can do no wrong.This reminds me of Aldrich Ames passing his polygraph tests for the CIA in 1986 and 1991. No matter that he accomplished little or anything in his job, that he was drunk at work at least three days each week, that he drove a super-expensive Jaguar to the CIA each day, that he paid $540,000 cash for a mansion, that his credit card bills were $5,000 each month and always paid on time, that the two years he was stationed in Mexico City he spent drinking long hours each day with Soviet spy chief Igor Shurygin -- no, because he had beaten the polygraph, the CIA rite of passage, he was one of the good ol' spooks and was able to walk out of CIA headquarters - literally - with shopping bags of red-jacketed national secrets every day for nine years.Now John Ashcroft has a long record of bigotry and contempt for the law. But he's pure. He's clean. And now he's ours. 
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Comment #9 posted by Dan B on February 02, 2001 at 23:29:23 PT:
Ashcroft Pees in Cup; Media in Awe.
It is amazing that someone peeing in a cup has become a matter of national importance to today's media. As Tim Stone stated explicitly (and others implied), it is quite obvious that all of the major media arte still handily in Uncle Sam's deep pockets. A few things on the horizon give me some reason to hope:(1) The potential debate between a team assembled by Thom Marshall and the antis,(2) The fact that increasing numbers of state legislatures are at least considering either lessening penalties for drug use or lifting the ban on medical marijuana and/or industrial hemp (including Texas, New York, New Mexico, and North Dakota--and I am probably leaving out some),(3) The fact that Bush is virtually guaranteed to be a one-termer like his father because he has already undermined his own rhetoric about being "a Ewe-Nah-Der, Nawt a Dee-Vah-Der,"(4) The fact that, in comparison to every other presidential cabinet appointee in history, Ashcroft barely made it to his position, and this may halt future such appointments by Bush the Lesser,(5) The Internet (including this site, but also DRCNet, The Lindesmith Center's site, Marijuana News, etc.),(6) The fact that the antis have begun to attack the very rich and powerful technology industry in the name of the WoSD, which can only lead to further erosion of public trust in that war and will create powerful allies for our movement, and(7) In spite of Ashcroft, Bush has indicated that he believes medical marijuana to be a states' rights issue (We'll have to see on that one),So, in spite of the rather ominous cloud that seems to hang over the future, there may be room for some hope. I do not expect this president (nor his cabinet, nor his so-called Justice Department) to let up in the least with regard to the failed drug war, at least not now. But if public opinion sways drastically against the war on drugs (and signs of such sway are already beginning to show), the Democrats and Republicans will have to make a choice they don't want to make: end the drug war or lose the next election to a pro-drug-policy-reform third-party candidate.I believe that's an embarassment both parties may scramble to evade.Dan B
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 02, 2001 at 22:40:33 PT
Hi Jean
It's good to see you. I am worried. I don't like to worry. I feel like we have taken a major step backwards. I didn't post any articles about Bush and treatment. I was going to and then said we all know it and I didn't want to even get into it if that makes sense? I have a strong faith but I don't believe it is my business to try to make someone else believe like me and that is what is my concern. They want you to convert. They say they don't but of course they do. I tried years ago, when I was a regular at MSNBC Chat before C News, and was trying to talk about religion and the drug war and I was asked not to associated the two. I wonder if they think about that now?I have a theory. If something is against the law and you break that law in the eyes of the churches I am familiar with it would be a sin. So making things illegal makes it easier for the leaders of a church to explain why you can't do something. If something is legal it requires a lot more explaining by a minister to convince a person not do do something. The drug war is a scapegoat.PS: I hope this makes sense.
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Comment #7 posted by Jeaneous on February 02, 2001 at 22:15:00 PT:
You got it FoM!!
I agree with you 100%. I have felt uneasy since the supreme court appointed Bush to the office. Then when he came out with the bringing together of the church and state, going against our constitution, a feeling of doom... and dread... and fear of just how off this could get. I sure hope I'm wrong about it... I guess I will just have to wait and see.. but I am worried, not just for this cause... but for our whole basis as a free nation.
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Comment #6 posted by Tim Stone on February 02, 2001 at 19:15:51 PT
...took a drug test?
Never mind Ashcroft's being certified, what struck me about news reports was how they _all_ led with the same line about Ashcroft taking a drug test. _ALL_ cabinet officials after swearing-in take a pro forma drug test, going back to the Reagan era, be darned upon their hides. Since all cabinet officials since Reagan's have routinely taken odious and silly whiz quizes upon swearing-in, there is no reason for the media to report on that topic as a lead unless the Bush Admin. wanted to put a specific "drug test" message on the day's spin. Including the "drug test" angle in the day's talking points was deliberate on the part of the very skilled image-meisters now in power.The drug test - lead on the day's story is ominous and suggestive for the future, perhaps. Like, anybody thought Ahscroft's particular perspective on life were due to psychoactive substances
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 02, 2001 at 12:31:28 PT
Is it me?
Hi Kap and everyone,Is it me or has the news changed? Ever since Bush became president I sense such doom. It could just be me or does anyone else feel that things are changing and we better get holy or something?
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on February 02, 2001 at 12:06:39 PT:
Payback time cometh...but not for the right reason
Doc, the backlash has already started. But the problem is, the Dems are certainly not going to stir the pot out of some re-discovered sense of adherence to their own oaths to uphold the Constitution. Nope, they are doing it out of sheer spite.For what the Reps did to their non-inhaling, adulterous, lying, shifty, land grabbing, gun-banning fair-haired boy, Billy Jeff.If the readers of this site will recall, Klinton didn't get the traditional "One Hundred Days" to settle into the White House and tend to the country's business. Newt-divorced-his-wife-on-her-deathbed-Gingrich and his 'bomb-throwing' colleagues made sure that he would have to deal with the enormously prickly issue of gays in the military, first. That spoiled it for ol' Slick Willie, and set the tone for the next 8 years. The Dems figure that payback is a bitch...and they want to settle this particular dead female dog around Georgie Too's neck in lieu of the traditional albatross. I expect to see more of this kind of behavior; if the Dems thought they could rip their kitchen sinks out and stood a chance at pitching them at Georgie without the Secret Service gunning them down first, they'd do it. They're about to throw everything else at him. The Ashcroft brouhaha is just a foretaste of things to come.But this might actually be a good thing; because for the last 8 years we've had nothing but scandals to occupy the imagination of the electorate. (Or, as I refer to it, 20th Century bread-and-circuses.) Now, with Congress structured the way it is, with no one group having a completely sure quorum, we may expect to see the Congresscritters and the Sin-a-tors hunting for issues that will make them stand out from the pack. And drug reform is tailor made for that.As I've said before, I am not being Pollyanna; I know all too well how deeply entrenched the anti agenda has gone. But the lords of popular culture have made a tremendous inroad with the movie "Traffic"; a once taboo subject is being broached, questions are being asked, ans antis have only their trite, warmed over answers to give. Answers that more and more of the public are skeptical of. (And with the relative success of the movie, we can expect the moguls to become even more daring. For example, not to try to exact any profit from tragedy, but how do you think the public would react to a made-for-TV movie detailing the last hours of Alberto Sepulveda? And then at the end scoll up the statistics for how many people have also lost their lives courtesy of Rambo wannabes? Unlike the denizens of this 'locale', Joe and Josephine Sixpack is absolutely clueless to what has been *done to their rights to allow a travesty of justice like that to happen*. Such a movie, detailing all the sordid little steps that led to an innocent child's murder at the hands of the State would be like an ammonia capsule held under their noses.)But the Dems and the Reps have been shorn of all the usual 'distractions' that can impede real debate, and the public will increasingly call for such a debate, now that it's 'safe' to talk about it.Yes, it may be a very trying time...but we may also start to see some real action towards reform - if only because the legislators have run out of ways to dodge the issue.
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Comment #3 posted by J.R. Bob Dobbs on February 02, 2001 at 11:37:17 PT
I'm glad Ashcroft had to submit like everyone else
>>"I'm not worried about it."  Of course you're not. Even if Ashcroft gets a false positive (the odds are like what, 1 in 4?), his reputation is such that no eyebrows would be raised and a retest would be conducted immediately. They'd KNOW they got a false positive from Ashcroft. Which almost makes me wish he gets a couple in a row... only a one in sixteen chance, isn't it?
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on February 02, 2001 at 11:20:02 PT:
Test Results
I can picture it: Ashcroft's drug test will reveal him to be full of 3 items, but only one is fit to print here (vinegar).The next 4 years will be a rough ride for anyone who believes in civil liberties, the Bill of Rights, separation of Church and State, conservation, and environmental protection. The backlash will be very interesting.
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Comment #1 posted by observer on February 02, 2001 at 10:08:41 PT
Oath of Office?
Notice that this propaganda piece conveys the most salient facts about Gauleiter Ashcroft's start off: nothing about an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, nothing about pledging to protect and obey te Bill of Right, oh no, nothing trivial like that. First things first. The most important thing about Gauleiter Ashcroft's first day at work is that the Reich sets "an example" Fer Der Kind, er sorry, For the Children, that is: For the Children. (And after all, are we not all children, children of The Government, our paternal authoritarian government, which cares so very deeply about each of us?)Yes, it is eash to see how much the US "Justice" Department cares about the law of the land, the Constitution.The Senators and Representatives before entioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. Oath Of Office, is it the case that the Constitution no longer applies to the "Justice" department? We all know how the police state treats our rights under the Constitution, anyway.
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