Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Were Attorney Firings Driven by Supply or Demand?

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While it was overshadowed by her admission of playing politics with hiring practices at DOJ, her implication of the AG for witness tampering, and her implication of the DAG for perjury, there was another brief moment during Monica Goodling’s House testimony that deserves a bit more attention.

As she was being questioned by Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Goodling revealed that Rachel Paulose, the bible spouting, self aggrandizing, US Attorney from Minnesota who drove out her entire senior staff after being appointed to an interim USA position with no management experience (and who then tried to blame the defection on sour grapes by older lawyers who "had difficulty dealing with a young, aggressive woman”), is considered a candidate for presidential nomination!

Heres the direct quote from the WAPO transcript:
GOODLING:Rachel Paulose was selected based on her qualifications overall.And we did include the fact that she might be able to be a candidate for the presidential nomination.We sometimes thought if we had somebody that we could put in to be an interim U.S. attorney who also had the opportunity to be considered for the presidential nomination, then that was a factor.
A bit premature, don’t you think? That is, unless the DOJ was simply being used to pad the resumes of young, up-and-coming, “loyal Bushies” for future political placement. Much like Regent University was set up to provide an army of young, Christian conservatives with law degrees (if not the ability to know that “crossing the line of the law” and “doing something illegal” are the same damned thing), it seems that the Bush Administration decided to use the DOJ to arm those same individuals with the “experience” necessary to achieve greater political power and influence in the future.

Is it possible that the reason everyone involved in the scandal talks about “collaborative effort” on the firings but none can explain the actual reasons for them, is that they were driven more by the list of “loyal Bushies” they wanted to appoint, than by the list of “poor performing” prosecutors they wanted to replace?

Tim Griffin in Arkansas certainly seems to fit that mold. Paulose too, although placing her did not necessitate a firing, as her predecessor retired suddenly on his own volition. In fact, the firing list seems to have been revised so frequently, quickly and carelessly that the revisions could have been prompted more from who was available on deck for each position than from the actual attorneys on the job.

At this point, I would be quite interested to know if there is a list of “loyal Bushies” waiting in the wings to be placed in positions like federal prosecutor, where they could be “groomed” for future higher profile roles such as judges, legislators, or President of the United States!

(note: the image represents the author's conception of the supply of "loyal Bushies.")

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Rare Opportunity!

Andrew Card getting an honorary degree at the University of Massachusetts.

It must have felt great for these real, ordinary Americans to have an opportunity to express how they feel about the Bush Administration, publicly and directly!

If George Bush is content to sit back and wait for history to determine his Presidential legacy, I hope he realizes that this is probably the generation who are going to be writing those history books!

Friday, May 25, 2007

OK, I’ll Bite: What If Monica Goodling Were a Muslim?

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This is really lame! On the conservative blog, Newsbusters, one writer speculates about what would happen if Republicans “interrogated” a Muslim like Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) grilled Monica Goodling about her attendance at Pat Robertson’s Regent University.

You can read it if you've got the stomach, but I'll give you the gist: He changes their exact conversation by substituting Islamic references for Christian ones, and then wonders how the media would react. Ooh, how clever! Based on the Republican MO, I’m guessing the grilling of a Muslim Monica Goodling by a Republican Congressman would go something like this:
Republican Congressman: Did you attend a Muslim college?

Muslim Goodling: Huh?

Republican Congressman: I’m over here, Ms. Goodling – the good looking old, fat white guy! Did you or did you not attend a Muslim college?

Muslim Goodling: Yes, I did.

Republican Congressman: Why do you hate America?

Muslim Goodling: I don’t.

Republican Congressman: Did you break the law by allowing your religious and political views to affect hiring decisions?

Muslim Goodling: Well, I . . . I . . . I, um, I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to.

Republican Congressman: Oh, yeah?

Muslim Goodling: Hey, why are you putting that bag over my head?

Republican Congressman: Tell us what we want to know, you evildoer!

Muslim Goodling: Glug glug, gasp, glug glug!

Republican Congressman: Hey Cannon, hand me those fingernail pliers, will ya?

Muslim Goodling: I’ve already told you everything I know!

Republican Congressman: Why are you plotting to harm David Gregory’s children? Tell us! TELL US!!!!

Muslim Goodling: My hair, watch the hair! I worked really hard on this. I want to talk to my attorney!

Republican Congressman: You’ll see your attorney as soon as the State Department authorizes him to visit you . . . in your new spiderhole in Kazakhstan!!!

Muslim Goodling: But I’m a kind person who just wants to serve Allah! I was class president at my madrassa, you know.

Republican Congressman: Shut up and answer my questions! You think I’m good looking, don’t you? Did you know that I was the Attorney General of my State? Have you heard about the horrible things Murtha did?

Muslim Goodling: Sigh!

Also at Daily Kos.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

[F**king Hypocritical] Losers!

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I find it particularly ironic that the MSM has been so helpful in spreading the Republican narrative that wanting to bring home the troops before “completing the mission” makes the Democrats into "quitters" and "losers." Yet, when the Democrats appear willing to give Bush exactly what he wants – war funding with no accountability – they are labeled by the MSM as quitters and losers for backing down!

Note to the Democratic leadership: If you are going to be called quitters and losers no matter what you do, then at least let it be for the thing you say that you believe in!

[F**king Update] By the way, these are the 9 Democratic and 1 Independent Senators who voted for the thing they say they believe in:


And Lieberman too, I guess, since he comes out and says that he believes in the death and destruction of endless war!

Oh, and for my one Senator who is missing from this list, Ms. Feinstein. Know this:

I will run against you myself before I vote for you again!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hitchens and His Little Toad - Falwell

If you haven't seen this clip - Hitchens puts Falwell in his rightful place. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Increasing Irrelevancy? Now There’s Something Bush Can Actually Achieve!

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(Hat tip to Left-Over for inspiring this post through his earlier comments. I would have preferred to read his thoughts on the topic, but after recent statements from the administration, I just can’t hold it in.)

You’ve got to love it when the Bush White House is willing to engage in a pissing match with an ex-President over "relevancy!"

If you want to see how fast an ex-President can become irrelevant, just wait until January of 2009. The average horse race is over in less time than it will take for George W. Bush to become irrelevant, once he is no longer the President Decider Commander Guy!

What exactly is Bush going to do when he leaves office that will allow him to remain relevant? Certainly not taking on an important role in the Republican party? Hell, he’s still the President, and he’s already radioactive to every GOP candidate for any public office higher than dogcatcher! Once he’s out of office, he’ll be about as welcome at Republican party functions as a leper with the Ebola virus!

I rather doubt that he’ll be hitting the speaking engagement circuit. I don’t think there are a lot of people who are going to care what he has to say, once he no longer has the benefit of a team of presidential speechwriters telling him what hand gestures to make and which syllables to emphasize for dramatic effect!

He certainly won’t be sent out as an ambassador of good will, like his father and President Clinton were for tsunami relief. As reviled as he has made himself, if he were to go out into the real world without an impenetrable gauntlet of security personnel, he’d likely be ripped apart quicker than an animal carcass floating in a school of piranhas.

I’m guessing he won’t be writing any bestselling books about his life and philosophy either (although I suppose there’s still room for the first edition of “Brush Cutting for Dummies!”) Even if he were able to peck out a children’s storybook, like, say, “Barney Rides his Bike,” its audience would not exactly constitute cultural relevance, and the first volume would certainly exhaust his creative capacity, if not his vocabulary.

He has, in the past, mentioned the desire to eventually establish his own “think tank.” Now there’s an idea! I’ll bet there are scores of young scholars who will want to build their professional credentials and analytical reputations - while basking in the glow of George W. Bush’s intellectual accomplishments!

No, George W. Bush will likely fade into irrelevance in record time, giving him at least one measure by which he can claim a mark that past Presidents have failed to match, and that future Presidents can be judged. It will be his Legacy! (Well, that and the death, destruction and shredding of the Constitution!)

Then again, there is one way that he can remain in the public eye - quite visible to his small but loyal group of remaining followers and even successful at raising funds from a broad cross-section of Americans who may not appreciate his record during two terms in the White House. It was my suggestion when he first began talking about creating his own think tank, and it remains my suggestion today as the best way for George W. Bush to remain relevant after he leaves the White House.

He could barnstorm the country, appearing at County Fairs, civic festivals, and church fundraisers – as a part of the George W. Bush Presidential Dunk Tank!

If he keeps at it long enough, he might even raise enough money to pay for as many houses for the poor as Jimmy Carter has built with his own hands!

Also posted at Daily Kos

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time to Reset the Table, Madam Speaker!

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Nancy Pelosi has said that impeachment is off the table, suggesting that it would be a distraction from the important tasks facing the current Congress.

But that is before Tuesday’s stunning testimony by James Comey that provides clear evidence (from a guy with an actual memory and no talking points, no less) that the President was directly involved in an end run around his own Justice Dept.

According to Comey’s testimony (shown in the video below), Bush directly called John Ashcroft’s wife to plead for permission for his two goons, Gonzales and Card, to see Ashcroft in the hospital – something she was denying to anyone else – so they could coax him into signing off on a program deemed illegal by his acting Attorney General, Mr Comey.

Even in a heavily sedated state, Ashcroft refused to approve the NSA surveillance program, but Bush renewed it anyway, before later revising it to prevent the resignation of the entire leadership of the Justice Dept, including Ashcroft!

Then, as we learned from Murray Waas, Bush himself obstructed, by denying security clearances normally granted without question, a Justice Department investigation that was targeting, in part, Alberto Gonzales’ conduct in the very incident Bush facilitated.

So, Madam Speaker, aside from ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home safely, there is no other more important task that restoring honor and respect for the law to the Justice Department and the White House.

At this point, I don’t care what else you have on the table! Until the people who elected you know its not poisoned by the current Administration, we can’t sit down to eat it anyway!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And The 2007 “Weasel of the Year” Award Goes To . . . .

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Talk about shameless! Alberto Gonzales spends two whole days testifying before the Senate and the House without remembering a lick about who was responsible for firing eight USAs . . . and then he remembers that it was all Paul McNulty’s fault on the day after McNulty resigns! Think Progress has the video, if you have the stomach to see and hear Gonzo’s finger pointing and blame-gaming.

Of course, Gonzo’s timing could not be worse, since McNulty’s resignation might lead him to be even more forthcoming in any future testimony before Congress - since he now has nothing to lose and everything to gain by batting the responsibility ball back into Gonzales’ court!

If only Gonzales had waited just a few more hours, he could have found a way to blame it all on Jerry Falwell, and his secrets could have burned in hell for all eternity!

But that’s not all folks! Gonzo appears well on his way to locking up a Lifetime Achievement Award in Weaseldom. Earlier in the day, McNulty’s predecessor, James Comey, slammed Gonzo with this charge:
Former deputy attorney general James B. Comey testified under oath that Alberto R. Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr., at the time President Bush's White House counsel and chief of staff respectively, went to see Ashcroft in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital in March 2004 in an effort to "do an end run" around Comey, who was then acting attorney general, and obtain recertification of the highly sensitive program.
It gets even worse in this WAPO account:
Comey, who had assumed Ashcroft’s powers on an acting basis and was in Ashcroft’s hospital room at the time, said he believed he “had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very seriously sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me.”

But Ashcroft backed up Comey and other top aides, and refused to sign off on re-authorizing the program, which required a review by the administration every 90 days.

Even so, President Bush okayed the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program, and Comey decided to resign in protest.
Not only was Gonzo “weasely” enough to try to coerce an incapacitated man into being responsible for continuing an illegal program, he was given an ethical spanking . . . by John Ashcroft!

And yet, in his role as White House Counsel, he allowed the President to continue the program anyway!

All I can say is that Alberto Gonzales is actually beginning to make the rest of the Bush Administration look competent by comparison!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cheney’s Mission

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Here’s Dick Cheney’s take on the state of the Bush presidency. I think I know what he means . . . and my slight editorial modifications make it a little more obvious!
We didn't get elected to be popular. We didn't get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican Party American people. Our mission is to do everything we can to prevail on what is now, we believe, a global conflict, a fundamental test of the character of the American people Republican Party, whether or not we're going to be able to prevail against one of the most evil opponents we've ever faced. And on our watch, we're going to do absolutely everything we can to see to it that we do succeed and that we do prevail in that conflict, and sometimes that means that we don't do well in the polls or people want to be critical. That's their prerogative . . . We know how committed our adversaries are to try to get at us the country. And we've done what we thought was right for the country us.
The bottom line is clear: The Bush Administration doesn’t ever back down from its enemies!

So ordinary Americans (and legislators willing to represent them) better be prepared to fight back!

Impeachment anyone?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Newest Letter to George Bush

Dear George,

Several months ago I wrote to you with my suggestion to save your presidency and perhaps keep you from going down in history as the worst president ever. I realize now that you may not have read my letter. It was kind of long. And I used a few big words. So, in this letter I will use a lot of pictures to try to keep you interested.

I am writing you this time to point out something that I think you have overlooked.

I realize that I have criticized you often in the past – but this time I am going to try and stay positive - point out a strength.

George you are without a doubt the best President ever ........................................ at staging military photo ops.

Let’s sample your body of work shall we.

Who can forget this one?

Or this one? Nice Jacket! This one may not have been the best choice?

But then you really out did yourself? Now to the main reason for this letter. George you have overlooked the best military photo op possible. And you are running out of time.

All the polls show that this country remains extremely divided (although you are doing your best to unite us in our dislike for you). The one thing that every American agrees on is our support for the Men and Women of the United States Military. Even while many disagree with the War in Iraq - we unanamously support the troops.

So I ask you – wouldn’t the best military photo op possible – be you leading the parade of soldiers returning to the hero’s welcome they would undoubtedly receive? Think of it George – millions of citizens lining the streets of every small town in America welcoming home the troops. And, you could travel the country and lead every parade.

Now that would be history George. Think about it - do you really want Hillary’s photos gracing those pages of the history books? No - that is your destiny - you have earned it.

Bring the troops home George – they have earned it even more!



Friday, May 04, 2007

The Administrations' New Shiny Object?

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I’ve only seen it mentioned in the blogs jokingly, as an ironic aside, but I was interested in Alberto Gonzales’ response to the question of whether he would resign over the attorney purge scandal. His conclusion:
I’m not going to resign. I’m going to stay focused on protecting our kids.
For some reason, the way he said it sounded like he thought it would make him immune from further criticism - like even his harshest critics would agree that protecting kids is a noble goal and back off. I wondered – how long has Gonzo been so focused on protecting kids?

While hardly the product of an exhaustive search, I did find a couple of curious pieces of information that have led to a theory worth watching as further scandals unfold. It is the idea that the current administration has latched on to the issue of "protecting kids from internet predators" as a publicly acceptable diversion from anything related to corruption and scandal in its political dealings.

After Gonzales’ comment, I did some research into the Justice Department’s focus on this issue. It turns out that a major initiative, Project Safe Childhood, was announced on February 15th, 2006, right in the middle of efforts to “aggregate” the names of US Attorneys who would be replaced by “loyal Bushies.”

The press release announcing this program opened with the following quote from the President:
“Our nation has made this commitment: Anyone who targets a child for harm will be a primary target of law enforcement. That's our commitment.” -President George W. Bush
Of course, the date of Bush’s quote was October 12, 2002, so apparently the “commitment” didn’t manifest itself until four years later, when Gonzales happened to need a popular program to talk about instead of having to deal with nagging questions about impropriety in his department, when many of the “primary targets” of law enforcement were Republican officials, and when “interim” USA’s were being placed in accordance with a Patriot Act provision that bypassed Senate confirmation.

I also found it interesting that one of the most controversial of these interim USA appointments was Rachel Paulose, who was appointed only two days after the announcement of Project Safe Childhood, and who was, according to this article, one of the “authors” of that initiative. While fending off criticism that she caused three key members of her staff to resign rather than deal with a dictatorial management style and her quoting of bible verses in the office, Paulose has indicated that her primary focus is on getting “righteous sentencing” for predators who target children on the internet.

Clearly, no one will argue that the basic idea behind the stated focus of Paulose and Gonzales is an important one, but the emphasis on such a narrow issue (and one that has been sensationalized greatly in recent years for dramatic effect) as a way of deflecting criticism, seems, well, a bit “Rovian” to me!

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, and I should remove the tin foil from my cranium, but I will be interested to see how many times Gonzales tries to rely on “protecting children” as a shield; and on how many other embattled “loyal Bushie” prosecutors trot out the same story!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Letter to Congress

The video is John Edwards latest ad, which essentially says the same thing as the following letter that I just sent to my two senators, and my representative:
As one of your constituents, I am writing to implore you not to give in to the President's demand for a modified Iraq spending bill that gives him unlimited ability to continue his failed policies in the Middle East.

Prematurely withdrawing your efforts to bring an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq - before Congress has completed the mission to which it was tasked during the 2006 midterm elections - will only embolden the President!

Allowing funding for an unlimited "war" will do nothing but offer aid and comfort to the President, as he will know that all he has to do is wait out the will of the American people, and then he can continue his efforts to overthrow the Constitution and terrorize those whose beliefs differ from his radical fundamentalist agenda!

Please do not change your course before accomplishing the mission that is backed by a majority of the country and the rest of the world, including the Iraqi people.

The President and his supporters have called the Democrats quitters, losers and of having a defeatist attitude toward following through with their stated intentions.

On behalf of myself and the majority of your constituents who want this war to end as soon as possible, please don't prove them right!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

George Bush and "The Cauldron of Chaos"

Apparently George is going to take to the airwaves tonight at 6:10PM EST just after vetoing the War Appropriations bill to once again slam the Democrats. Four years to the day after the most ridiculous photo op in presidential history - Bush is going do it again. I wonder if he will be wearing the flight suit. It has been leaked that he is going say that if we pull out of Iraq it will become a "Cauldron of Chaos". What is it now Mr. Bush a "Tub of Tranquility"?

Here is a great thread from Daily Kos. Its laugh out loud funny.