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July 25, 2007

Comments

I wonder if the final day of the Bush administration will take place in a diner with a lot of orange decor.

"That's why it's worth watching some of the video: to get a sense for just how total a disaster it was."

TMI. I'm keeping my head in the sand where it's warm.

This is part of what bothers me about this whole effing crew, their utter contempt for everyone else, including Congress and, foremost, the American people. It's as if they think they're there to do battle against the Democrats (or, in the case of Tony Snow, the press) in some sort of game, and as long as they can slip past them they've won (or at least survived another day).

Never, never, does it occur to them that the American people might like to know the answers to some of these questions. That perhaps we don't want the FBI opening our mail and sneaking into our houses. Or that perhaps we'd like the President to follow the law. It's all about political gamesmanship and raw power, the people be damned.

This is part of why we will never leave Iraq why this crew holds the presidency, why the President will issue a massive pardon to all of his advisors in January 2009 (and I wouldn't put it past him to resign and so Cheney could pardon him). They just. Don't. Fncking. Care.

And they'll get away with it all too. Bush will retire to Crawford and attend baseball games. Cheney will travel around the U.S. giving bombastic speeches to sycophants. And the democrats will be left to clean up the mess.

I get the sinking feeling that come early January, the Bush administration will all get pre-emptive pardons, waltz out laughing, and go join various corporate boards to the tune of obscene signing bonuses.

Congress will need to reassert its role and standing, and since it didn't do the right thing and deal with Bush, the new Democratic President will get it in the teeth.

Sigh.

Well, if Bush is going to pardon himself and Cheney for every charge that can be brought against him for the last six years, he better get started now. I'm betting he misses a few.

Tim - ain't that hard, see Nixon's pardon:

Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July (January) 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

Tim, Bush can just follow in the footsteps of his fellow corrupt Republican, Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher, and just issue a blanket pardon for everyone for everything.

Ugh, that's pretty cool. I'm imagining an entire deck of Monopoly "Get Out of Jail Free" cards, each with an updated version of that pardon printed on one side. Where the old version reads "Richard Nixon," the Bush Pardon cards will substitute a blank space over tiny print that reads "Print Conspirator's Name Here".

And I guess since Bush may resign and let Cheney pardon him, that part of the pardon may need to be altered with a blank space and tiny print, too.

it's one thing to stonewall, but it's another to make a mockery out of it. so i've concluded that the WH wants this fight; they want the Dems to try impeaching Gonzales.

why? i can only guess it's because they think they can spin that into an appearance of "look at those unserious Dems in the Senate using their power to get revenge for the Clinton impeachment! see how they seethe with rage! and you know "Clinton", right? he's the husband of Dem presidential candidate, Senator Hillary. yeah, no coincidence there!"

or maybe they want to put their Unitard Executive theory to the test.

or both.

Ugh write
"This is part of what bothers me about this whole effing crew, their utter contempt for everyone else, including Congress and, foremost, the American people."
Lets include in that their contempt for the press. Thats what bothers me the most. They have such contempt for the press, yet the press just goes along and does not skewer the republican party as they so easily could.
Jack

Ugh write
"This is part of what bothers me about this whole effing crew, their utter contempt for everyone else, including Congress and, foremost, the American people."
Lets include in that their contempt for the press. Thats what bothers me the most. They have such contempt for the press, yet the press just goes along and does not skewer the republican party as they so easily could.
Jack

They want it because they feel sure that it will fail by at least a few votes. They've probably counted maybe 60 votes for impeachment** and know that they'll win it.

And if Gonzales survives an impeachment, that's the ball game. Democrats won't turn around and go for Cheney right away, and Bush would be untouchable.

Then they could run out the clock, gleefully preparing the Jan 2009 pardons, and never ever have to go up to the Hill again. They could moon Congress and nothing could be done about it. (I'm talking literally, mooning, not the figurative mooning that's been going on).

**I pulled that number out of my [orifice deleted]. But I'm guessing that's the thinking.

Slightly off topic, but this bit of history is illuminating for its comparison of how Congressional standards of protecting its perogatives has slipped in the last generation.

It was great fun watching the YouTube clips. The one at TPM with Schumer questioning Gonzales about who sent him to the hospital made me laugh out loud when I saw it. That's because I flashed back to an ocean fishing trip I went on earlier this week, when we hooked up with a school of mackerel. If you don't know, they're not a desirable catch: if you hook one, you want to get it off quick as you can. The trouble is it's nearly impossible to grab a mackerel with your hand because it's a slimy, slippery creature. If you try to squeeze it, it just squashes loose and you end up with a handful of slippery goop.

That's what made me laugh: every time Schumer asked a straight-forward question, Gonzales wiggled and squished in response, which elicited the synaesthesistic recollection of yucky mackerel gook in my fingers...

The most effective way to get a mackerel off the hook is to smack it hard in the head -- with the flat of your hand, or a heavy pair of pliers -- which stuns it into submission. Then you can free the hook with the pliers, and shake the fish loose and toss it overboard, whereupon it usually recovers and swims away, unless you smacked it too hard, and then it goes directly to fish heaven. I suggest a similar strategy for the senators on the judicial committee if they call Gonzales back for additional testimony: no, not a symbolic punishment like a contempt of congress citation; instead, I'd have the Sergeant of Arms stand behind the AG, and if he goes into his mackerel act after being asked a question, at a nod from the questioning senator, the officer should give Gonzales a solid smack alongside his head. Of course, that still might not elicit truthful answers to the questions, but it sure would be as worth watching over and over as a Three Stooges short...

From Fox News: "SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: The chairman has already said that the committee is going to review your testimony very carefully to see if — if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable."

"D"? So Senator Specter is - contrary to what he himself seems to think - a Democrat?

Hasn't Fox News made this kind of "mistake" before?

Fabulous post, as I have come to expect. One nit to pick, however. you wrote:

If so, that implies that there is another secret program, so far undisclosed, that people in the DoJ were so worried about that they were prepared to resign over it. What, I wonder, might it be? Burglarizing people's houses without warrants? Opening our mail? The mind boggles.

What Gonzales actually said though was:

"the reason for the visit to the hospital, Senator, was about other intelligence activities. It was not about the terrorist surveillance program that the president announced to the American people."

If you parse his words as carefully as the definition of is was once parsed, you can realize that it was about wiretapping. The "other" in the first sentence refers to te second sentence -- the program that was revealed to America. So the meeting could have concerned wiretapping that was not revealed, or it could actually be an entirely different, entirely classified program. Im betting, from Comey's testimony, the former though.

Hasn't Fox News made this kind of "mistake" before?

Yes.

end.

Jes and Ugh, you have no idea . . .

What I find particularly discouraging (and disgusting) about the testimony is the lack of any dicussion about it on the right-wing blogs (nothing on Redstate, nothing on Drudge, only one bit on Reynolds and that was more about the Fourth Branch). Perhaps it's simply all too painful for them, but this seemingly transparent silence is not their finest hour.

Impeach. Them. Now.

Starting with Gonzales.

Edward, Captain's Quarters Blog (which I think is a pretty prominent right wing blog, has said that he needs to resign).

AG is probably the total complete poster boy for this administration.

Arrogant, feeling of invincibility, contradictory statements without acknowledgement of same, frequent loss of memory or inability to see the obvious, incompetency and total disregard for human beings.

And Sullivan is another somewhat right-wing, definitely conservative blogger who thinks AG should leave. But then he also feels pretty much the same way about Bush and Cheney.

I don't think I have anything insightful to say about this other than that we have to create a political atmosphere where our demand for integrity takes precedence over whatever ideological dispositions we may have.

People can disagree as to how to solve problems, but what is sure is that a government operating at this level of dysfunction simply cannot solve any problems at all. It cannot even begin to address our problems honestly.

What's just a shame is that people from both left and right don't punish politicians mercilessly for this degree of mendacity. I'd like to think that whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, this kind of childishness embarrasses you. And I would like to think that it would be doubly embarrassing, if it had come from a group that you had supported.

I wish it were the case that everyone (or at least enough of us to make it stick) would believe and act on the principle that it is better to have someone from the other party in office over a shameless liar from one's own.

I often wonder, reading ObWi, how it's come to the point that we no longer really have ideological conversations at all because -- left or right -- we all agree that cronyism and profiteering and corruption are bad. These people are such a menace that we can't even get to a conversation about how to solve our very real problems.

It seems to me that both leftists and rightist should agree that these people are attacking the preconditions of even having the kind of battle of ideas that we ought to be having. They are attacking the apparatus by which we get things done working along with and beside people who don't need to necessarily agree with us.

Quite simply, if we are all going to pull out all the stops to get our way or to weasel out of oversight or to simply sock it to our political enemies, then we are not going to have a society where duties to office or institution take precedence over the effort to have things your way. And if everyone played the game under that assumption, we don't have government, we just have Party. And a government of laws and institutions and laws will regress to a succession of four-year tyrants.

Ara: I completely agree. Though I think that part of the problem is that people on both sides are convinced that the politicians on the other are such scumbags that their own (supposed) willingness to accept a decent person from the other party never gets tested.

As it happens, I believe that many people, including more or less the entire leadership, from the party I oppose are scumbags (or something equally bad. I'm not sure that if I had to pick the right term for what bugs me about GWBush, it would be scumbag, exactly -- as opposed to something just as bad, but different.) But I think, not surprisingly, that I am right and the people on the other side are -- well, not wrong to think that some Democrats are scumbags (I'm looking at you, William Jefferson), but wrong to think that they are in the same universe of shameless badness.

But then, I would think that, wouldn't I? I try to keep myself honest, to have some actual standards by which I judge these things, to consider how things look from the other side (for which the conservatives here are really helpful, and I don't thank you enough, so: thanks!), to try to catch myself when I start justifying things Democrats do which I would condemn if done by Republicans, and so on. I am suspicious of my belief that they are much worse than we are, since it is exactly the belief I would have if I were some sort of left Jonah Goldberg, but even after trying to really think about it, I think it's true.

And this sort of exercise makes me think: we need both a real sense of outrage about this stuff, but we also need to do whatever we can to encourage the development of real intellectual honesty. Because without it, the willingness to accept a decent person of the other party over a scumbag in one's own will remain hypothetical, I think.

Ron Paul did an NPR interview this afternoon. he was so candid and reasonable i couldn't believe he was running for president.

i'm sure i disagree with a lot of what he'd advocate policy-wise, but it was so refreshing to hear a politician who wasn't pandering via platitude.

he was so candid and reasonable i couldn't believe he was running for president.

sorta puts the lie to the saw about the land of the blind and the one eyed king.

"What's this 'see' thing that goofus keeps warbling about...? What a loon!"

cleek: Paul and Kucinich have a lot to recommend themselves, particularly when they join forces and co-sponsor bills. This is kinda awesome.

i've concluded that the WH wants this fight

Bring it.

Gonzales likely perjured himself. Call a grand jury, bring charges, take him to trial. If he's found guilty, he goes to jail.

It's called kicking ass and taking names. It's time.

Thanks -

Hilzoy: Political organizations of all forms go through these ideological purity purges, were disappoints me is that I've never seen or heard about an "intellectual honesty" purge. I don't know why this is. It might come down to education. A lot of people just can't spot when they are being BSed. There are lobbyists and partisans out there whose occupation is to contribute to the stream of BS to make issues of any complexity murky (I will not extend this metaphor any farther!). It is just very difficult to get people to agree to a set of intellectual standards and stick to them, for some reason. I have no idea why this should be so, why this remains such a problem.

I just don't know why it is the case that a country of so many talented and deserving people should tolerate someone who won't accept that his obligation while testifying to Congress is to straightforwardly answer a question. I can't account for why this should be so.

*purges. What disappoints me

Russell, that's good, but who's going to call the grand jury and bring the charges? When the Justice Department has been subverted, it makes bringing charges difficult.

Which is why people are talking about things like impeachment and inherent contempt.

Which is why people are talking about things like impeachment and inherent contempt.

Works for me.

THanks -

This is, hands down, the most disgraceful performance I have ever seen from any witness on Capitol Hill. That these transparent lies come from the Attorney General of the United States is beyond belief. He should be cited for contempt of Congress NOW, and then promptly impeached.

Hilzoy is absolutely on target, though, in laying the real blame for this on Bush's doorstep. His toleration of this despicable lickspittle is half the reason I now think Bush is the worst president in our history. The other half, of course, is Iraq.

So is Gonzales Wormtongue to Cheney's Sauraman? Or maybe Bush is Sauraman, and Cheney's Sauron.

But in any way, I wrote to my senators just now to urge them to impeach the law-breaking lying bastard, and also ban him from any other public office, and whatever else they can come up with. The Bush administration isn't even trying to justify things any more, they just want to run out the clock.

russell: "Call a grand jury, bring charges, take him to trial. If he's found guilty, he goes to jail."

Yeah! Convict him and send him to jail!
Just like Scooter Libby!!

Have to admit, that was my first thought, too: Bush has made clear to his subordinates with his amnesty for Libby that, so long as they're loyal, they're not going to jail. So Gonzales can drop the "I don't remember" shtick and move on to outright lying and refusing to answer: if Congress are depending on the judiciary branch to try, convict, and jail him, he's quite safe.

Begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney, however, and Bush loses his power to grant amnesty or pardon for crimes relating to his impeachment. So even if 17 Republicans can't be found in the Senate who'll vote on the evidence rather than on party loyalty, it would still be worth doing.

You'd have to keep impeachment alive until January 2009, though, wouldn't you?

Once there had been a trial and Bush were found "Not Guilty" he'd get his pardon power back.

Last year, I was of the mind that they should impeach Bush in December 2008 -- too late to have a trial and remove from office, but to put on the record that his actions against the Constitution were at least noticed and disapproved of (I know, so harsh, isn't it?)

Now, I think he should be impeached for numerous violations of his oath and the Constitution (and in general for being Not Up To The Job), but I can't see the calculus where that would be possible.

Gonzales, though...I can't see how Republicans in the Senate could justify keeping him. Though they will.

Now you know how I felt about Reno. Enjoy the sensation, at least it didn't start a few weeks into the first term.

Is preemptive pardon possible? "I pardon XYZ for anything (s)he has done, does, or may do in the period from [date in the past] to [date in the future]". What about pardons issued before impeachment, are they invalid retroactively? I would not be surprised at all, if there were already signed blank pardons that have just not been published yet.

Well, with Gonzales as an example, I'm sure President Hillary won't let a few pieces of paper inhibit the authority of the executive. Nobody checks for pardons at Gitmo, anyway.

Brett; Now you know how I felt about Reno.

Wondered how long it would take to bring up a random and completely irrelevant comparison with a Democrat.

Hilzoy: And this sort of exercise makes me think: we need both a real sense of outrage about this stuff, but we also need to do whatever we can to encourage the development of real intellectual honesty. Because without it, the willingness to accept a decent person of the other party over a scumbag in one's own will remain hypothetical, I think.

And there, I think, is the problem: partisan loyalty makes many Republicans unwilling to admit that the problems with their party are worse that any problems they had with the Democrats. Over at BizarroWorld, there was a post not defending Gonzales, exactly, but arguing that (a) it was the fault of the Democrats who had opposed him on the ridiculous grounds that he was pro-torture - which had meant Republicans had to support his appointment* (b) in any case, he's "one of us", so naturally we defend him on that principle, no matter what he's done.

And that "I'll defend him because he's of my party" - that is the true partisan spirit, the depths of intellectual dishonesty. Chesterton's strictures on patriotism apply.

*Don't ask me to explain the logic. I don't make the news, I just report it.

Brett still blames Janet Reno for Waco and Ruby Ridge. Time is more, shall we say, pliable in the Bellmoreverse.

Oh, so we're due for a long comment from Brett explaining how Reno was responsible and how this makes her exactly as bad as Gonzales, so that everyone will start discussing Reno and Clinton instead of Gonzales and Bush? I see.

Now you know how I felt about Reno.

Brett, what are your thoughts about Gonzales?

Well knock me over with a feather, someone at Bizarro World actually saying Gonzales should go.

When you've lost Bizarro World...

Now you know how I felt about Reno

i'm sure Gonzales is happy to know you've got his back, Brett.

Wow. I mean, even in the comments thread there's only a couple of BizarroWorlders defending Gonzales. And no one accusing the OP'er of being a traitor or a closet Democrat or objectively pro-terrorist.

Now you know how I felt about Reno.

We need to have a little party here, to celebrate Mr. Bellmore's induction into the False Equivalency Hall of Fame . . .

Wow. I mean, even in the comments thread there's only a couple of BizarroWorlders defending Gonzales.

Up to 12 now.

"Up to 12 now"

To be fair, it's only 3, if you limit the count to people who are defending his competency or integrity.

Up to 12 now.

Yeah, I figured that wouldn't last long. Pejman seems to be one of the very few front pagers over there who, however briefly, shows flashes of being remotely reasonable.

@Nate: Impeachment not only removes from office, but bars the impeached from holding any other office.

Given that the AG is in control of the Dept. of Justice, trying him for his crimes is likely to be much more difficult than impeaching him. Impeachment is also pardon-proof.

So please, House of Representatives. Get with it. Surely there are also some Republican reps who would like there to be a functioning federal justice system, or at minimum do not want to go down in history as placidly accepting one this corrupted?

Hey Ugh, assuming no impeachments and blanket pardons, what would be the odds on state indictments? Even if they were not ultimately convicted, Bush and Cheney could spend the rest of their lives in court defending themselves.

test

Tim - do you mean something like Iowa prosecuting Bush/Cheney for war crimes? Not gonna happen and even if it did no way the federal courts allow it.

Congress must impeach these guys whether it knows in advance it has the votes to convict or not. When an executive dares congress to do it, and congress declines, it's doing the country great harm and congress is clearly abrogating its responsibility. Forget about conviction for the moment. Take a good long time with an impeachment investigation. Remove Bush and Cheney on the last day of their terms, if it comes to that.

This is not a partisan issue, AFAIC. This current situation is about as clear a demonstration of the danger of both 'faction' and an imperial Executive as the founders could have dreamed up - and indeed *did* dream up. If Bush/Cheney aren't convicted, you will still have both a detailed record of their misdeeds, and a list of Senators on record voting to aquit. And you will have impeached the idea of the Unitary Executive. Removal/conviction would be best, but impeachment is simply not optional.

I had thought that impeaching Gonzales first was a good tack, but now I'm not quite so sure. As commentors have pointed out, if conviction of him fails, dems might lose their nerve. It's obviously not about Gonzales.

No, something more like illegal wiretapping. That's against the law in a lot of states.

Nell: Good. I thought it did, but I wanted to emphasize that point when I emailed them.

And now I'm writing my House rep, although she's even less responsive than Warner. But we push for impeachment with the congresscritters we have, not the congresscritters we wish we had. No matter how hacktastic they are.

Tim,

"something more like illegal wiretapping. That's against the law in a lot of states."

First, most state laws will have an exception for law enforcement activities, so it isn't plain that it is illegal under state law.

Second, the Constitution requires that in the event of a conflict between federal and state law, the federal law prevails. Under Article VI, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Therefore, if the actions were legal under federal law, the state law forbidding them is preempted.

To be fair, it's only 3, if you limit the count to people who are defending his competency or integrity.

Yes, but doesn't it make sense to count the people who say the only thing that matters is beating the democrats?

That's a defense of Gonzales too.

Therefore, if the actions were legal under federal law, the state law forbidding them is preempted.

They weren't legal under federal law, that's why there is a pardon.

Tim,

"They weren't legal under federal law, that's why there is a pardon."

If there were a blanket pardon before any case comes to trial, it certainly does not show that the activity is illegal. The defendant can (and would) argue that the activity was permitted under federal law, citing FISA and whatever executive orders authorized the specific program at issue.

The defendant can (and would) argue that the activity was permitted under federal law, citing FISA and whatever executive orders authorized the specific program at issue.

As far as I am concerned, you said the magic word, "defendant". Wouldn't you like to see Bush or Cheney under oath in a state court?

Tim,

"As far as I am concerned, you said the magic word, "defendant". Wouldn't you like to see Bush or Cheney under oath in a state court?"

Actually, I would prefer to have them defendants before the International Criminal Court. That said, they would never get under oath in a state court matter. It would be dismissed long before trial.

Yes, but doesn't it make sense to count the people who say the only thing that matters is beating the democrats?

I think those people belong in a category all by themselves. Preferably, somewhere outside of the political process.

Josh Marshall is reconsidering his previous opposition to impeachment:

we are now moving into a situation where the White House, on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.

If that is allowed to continue, the defiance will congeal into precedent. And the whole structure of our system of government will be permanently changed.

Given who is most likely to be the next president of the United States, I think there should be a broad base of people and politicians who have an interest in not letting defiance congeal into precedent.

"Brett, what are your thoughts about Gonzales?"

Impeach his ass so hard he bounces.

Surely there are also some Republican reps who would like there to be a functioning federal justice system, or at minimum do not want to go down in history as placidly accepting one this corrupted?
Wouldn't it be nice to think so? Do you have any shred of evidence that that might be the case, because I'm seeing plenty of reason to believe it's not.

We have a parade of Republicans who claim to be outraged about Gonzales and the behavior of the White House toward Congress, but exactly zero of them have been willing to actually vote for doing anything about it. They're all just spectering, Old Noodlespine Specter himself foremost among them.

"We need to have a little party here, to celebrate Mr. Bellmore's induction into the False Equivalency Hall of Fame . . ."

False equivalency? Let's see:

1. Incompetent partisan hack? Check. Anybody want to claim Reno had a stellar record in Miami?

2. Immune from firing because of willingness to shield President in violation of law? Check. See her refusal to continue following the independent counsel act once it looked like the President had something to fear from it.

3. Confirmed while the President's party in control of Senate, couldn't possibly be replaced by a similar nominee once the opposition took over? Check.

Sounds pretty damn equivalent to me, though I don't recall Gonzales claiming responsiblity for the deaths of several dozen people, and then getting all pissy when anybody suggested he should resign over it. But we'll put that down to lack of opportunity, to be fair.

Really, folks, you should understand just how much of an insult it is to Gonzales for somebody not of the left to consider him equivalent to Reno...

Brett: False equivalency? Let's see:

...my comment July 26, 2007 at 08:04 AM? Brett naturally prefers to promote the Republican attacks on Reno rather than discuss the criminal offenses of Gonzales. It's a tactic.

It's a way of conceding he's guilty, while noting that he's not uniquely so. You're not going to get much sympathy from the right so long as you insist not only that they admit their guy in the White house is a crook, but that they humor your obsession with pretending your guy wasn't. Why should they be any less denialist than you are? Because they're supposed to be better than you?

The pot can't expect the kettle to confess that it's black, while loudly proclaiming it's own ivory shade.

Except, of course, that our guys weren't crooks, and didn't do anything remotely resembling what Gonzales and other members of this adminstration are doing.

Brett: You're not going to get much sympathy from the right so long as you insist not only that they admit their guy in the White house is a crook, but that they humor your obsession with pretending your guy wasn't.

Assuming that you identify yourself as "the right", I think you're getting a little muddled about who is demanding that we humor whose obsession.

And I don't get the impression that people here want sympathy from right-wing Americans: they want right-wing Americans to be sufficiently outraged over the criminal behavior of a Republican-appointed Attorney General that they will take action, even though it means defying a Republican President who prefers that criminal behavior on the part of his appointees should go unpunished.

Bush believes he's above the law, and so are all his appointees. Gonzales knows that even if he's convicted of perjury, he will not spend a day in jail if Bush is still President. This does not call for sympathy from conservative Americans: it calls for outrage that a coterie of criminal Republicans are smearing the reputation of the GOP, and Republicans in Congress refuse to take action against the criminals. If anything, this calls for sympathy from others for the honest Republicans who are outraged by the senior echelons and who do want Congress to take action.

But no sympathy for someone whose first reaction is to use this as an excuse to smear a Democrat.

The pot can't expect the kettle to confess that it's black, while loudly proclaiming it's own ivory shade.

this marks the first time i've seen a strawkettle defense. interesting.

Obviously the pot is not ivory. So we shouldn't believe what it says about Gonzales.

Sorry. I had to try poisoning the strawkettle.

Isn't straw more of a golden-yellow color? Or are we limited to only black and white (good and evil)?

Don't help him make hay out of this. When it comes to Brett's comments, you really have to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Catsy,

Are you just feeling your oats? All these rye, corny jokes just go against the grain.

cleek - can you create a disempunner to go with the disemvoweller?

You should only use it on cereal offenders.

*whimpers in corner*

I've had about enough. Cheerio, folks.

Way to thresh this out, guys.

Obviously the pot AND the kettle are black, I'm just pointing out the fundamental stupidity of demanding that others act better than the example you set yourselves. You're asking your foes to throw their sitting President to the wolves, and you can't even bring yourselves to admit the truth about a President of your own party who's been out of office over six years! The hypocrisy of that demand is mind boggling.

If you really think it's important for the sake of the nation that Bush be gotten rid of, you'll be willing to set a good example, even if it's a belated good example. If you can't bring yourselves to do that, I'm going to continue to assume that, even if you're right about Bush being a crook, the only reason you care about it is that he's not your guy.

wheat a minute, Bernard. don't bale on us yet.

I'm just pointing out the fundamental stupidity of demanding that others act better than the example you set yourselves

yes, and since nobody here is doing that, you're attacking a strawman. or kettle.

If you really think it's important for the sake of the nation that Bush be gotten rid of, you'll be willing to set a good example, even if it's a belated good example.

by doing what? shall we impeach Janet Reno?

Brett - Focus, man!

We are talking about the politicization of the entire federal justice system, an open refusal to enforce Congressional subpoenas, lying to Congress, and more. Now.
To cover up illegal programs and criminal behavior on the part of the President, Vice President, and White House staffers.

We don't have to talk about, acknowledge, or especially re-hash the events of the late 1990s in order to have the right to discuss this current constitutional crisis.

My proposal is that any effort to force such diversionary re-hashing be met with either silence, the best response to trolling, or the tried-and-true quoting of Monty Python routines.

This 'Janet Reno' parrot is an ex-parrot, Brett.

"you can't even bring yourselves to admit the truth about a President of your own party who's been out of office over six years"

You'd have a small point here if we didn't all think the equivalency claim you're making would be false even if the underlying stuff were true, which we think is simply not the case.

Feel free to assume whatever you want, Brett, but weren't you the one lecturing us about the evils of assuming your opponents view the facts the way you do and are only pretending otherwise for partisan purposes?

In any case, how does the possible hypocrisy of some blog commenters mean that you shouldn't give a damn about the current subversion of the Justice Department?

I don't believe that Gonzales is clueless. He is not Comey or Fitzgerald, but he is not clueless; he knows what he's supposed to do and does it well. Just like hundreds of other appointees in this administration. Gonzo's job is not being Attorney General any more than Elaine Chao's is to promote the interests of organized labor.

Fredo, like his movie namesake, hasn't the brains, training, experience, management skills or personality to be Attorney General. That's why he has it; the same reason Lurita Doan is at GSA. Fredo acts out a caricatured version of being the president's lawyer - except that he has long since tossed out any obligations he owes to the courts, his profession, his ethnicity, his family or himself. He's a Death Eater, or one of the string of men that Bridgitte O'Shaughnessy abused and murdered in The Maltese Falcon. He's a legal whore who's job is to pleasure the president, which is to keep him out of trouble at any cost. That's why he has no shame or hesitancy in his Senate testimony, any more than a prostitute is embarrassed about undressing with the lights on.

Gonzales is no different than Schlozman and van Spakovsky at the Civil Rights [sic] Division. No different than Elizabeth Cheney at State, her husband at OMB or DHS, or Feith at Defense. No different than the legion of lobbyists turned top agency heads who have pilfered public assets - and public regulation - for private profit. That is their whole purpose. Gonzo is simply an entertaining public example.

This administration intentionally upends our normal expectations of the jobs our top govt officials are supposed to do and what skills and personalities are needed to do them. It makes us all deer in the headlights while Rove and Cheney drive the bus.

Man, NPR has some former Reagan Justice Dept. guy on To The Point, who was spouting the newest version of the Scooter Libby "No underlying crime" type of defense, but for Alberto Gonzales. And nobody would point out that Gonzales's testimony was contradicted by the Justice Department's own memos.

Some liberal media.

Fredo's claim not to know how many US Attorneys he's fired may be correct. Someone else, probably Rove or Addington, through the usual conduits, may have. His statement also performs the same function as the funny number thrown out in the Manchurian Candidate for how many Communists were in the US State Dept. It's distraction, a shiny object.

What intelligence programs are we engaged in now that violate US laws? These probably involving copying and keeping entire data streams of millions of domestic and int'l calls, which are only later sifted and sorted by specialized software. Where are the data farms? How are they paid for. What are the use and retention rules, if any? Is this just 21st century version of J. Edgard Hoover's blackmail files?

What else is Congress not focusing on? Iraq? Iran? Mercenaries. Outsourcing essential governmental functions? Tax policy? The RNC servers and e-mails? Who's to say the WH has stopped using third party e-mail systems; it may be less compliant with the presidential records act than it was before.

If Rove is expert at one thing (really three), it is misdirection, juggling multiple balls in the air (preferably someone else's) and thinking ahead. Look beyond Fredo. What's the Don doing while we're incredulous or sneering at his bumbling brother?

What's the Don doing while we're incredulous or sneering at his bumbling brother?

pursuing his voter registration lawsuits, probably. if Congress isn't able to get to the bottom of the hiring/firing issue, there's no way they're going to get to the bottom of the voting issues at the core of all of this.

Riddle me this: Alberto Gonzales is to the DOJ as Katrina is to _____?

Badly damaging the entire DOJ, concocting a perfect storm that will take years to recover from, is one way to keep the legal beagles off your trail after you leave office.

To paraphrase Hans Grueber, when you steal $600 million they will catch you, unless they think you're already dead. Moral: the bigger the crime, the bigger the deception needed to hide it. So, what Congress Critter wants to play John McClain?

Well, KCinDC, I suppose that if all you really want to do is spend the next 18 months impotently frothing at the lips as Bush has the Park service build a viewing stand on the lawn of the Capitol building, for the public to watch administration officials moon Congress, you don't need to get any Republicans to take you seriously, and so don't need to do anything about that moral authority deficit you got from going "Neener, neener!" any time somebody mentions something Clinton did wrong.

And I suppose if you don't mind Bush administration officials mysteriously being as untouchable as, say, Sandy Berger, then you don't need to learn any lessons from events you are determined to insist didn't take place.

Excuse me for thinking you guys actually wanted a piece of Bush's hide, and were willing to pay a price to get it.

Brett,

"Excuse me for thinking you guys actually wanted a piece of Bush's hide, and were willing to pay a price to get it."

And therein lies the problem. A piece of Bush's hide isn't the top priority, restoring this to a country where the operating motto is not "L'etat, c'est moi."

mysteriously being as untouchable as, say, Sandy Berger

Berger was convicted, fined and given probation.

Excuse me for thinking you guys actually wanted a piece of Bush's hide, and were willing to pay a price to get it.

wow. that's just crazy. super-crazy, in fact.

do you really think what people think of Janet Reno matters to Gonzeles' legal future ? is someone out there keeping track of the public's opinion of Reno and won't allow Gonzales to get his until Reno's Outrage Meter hit's X% ?

Okay, Brett, so your price for supporting action against Gonzales is that we all buy into your version of what happened during (and apparently after, since Sandy Berger's recent troubles are somehow relevant) the Clinton administration. Even though you believe Gonzales is bad, he's not bad enough that you feel opposing him is worthwhile in isolation.

Now, do you have a list of other people also willing to sign on to this bargain, or at least a rough number of how many there are? It would be especially helpful if some of them were in Congress.

Then again, since your version of events depends on Clinton's massive blackmail of members of Congress, and presumably Bush is blackmailing too, I'm unclear on how the increased "moral authority" we obtain by embracing your truth is going to get us anywhere.

Brett: Excuse me for thinking you guys actually wanted a piece of Bush's hide, and were willing to pay a price to get it.

Your highness, when I said that you are like a stream of bat's p*ss, I only mean that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around it is dark.

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