Archive for the ‘Gonzales’ Category

Mr. Giggles Goes

Oh No!

Mr. Giggles has resigned. He just up and quit. This just up at the Washington Post,

Embattled Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has resigned from his post, according to an administration official, ending a controversial cabinet tenure that included clashes with Congress over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and the nature of efforts to spy on U.S. citizens.

The official said Gonzales submitted a letter on Friday saying he had decided to step down, but the announcement was withheld until he met with President Bush at the president’s Crawford ranch. His resignation will be announced at a press conference scheduled at 10:30.

Gonzales’ decision was first reported by the New York Times on its Web site.

Gonzales’ resignation marks the loss of another Bush loyalist at a time when his support in public opinion polls has been lagging. Though Bush had voiced continued support for Gonzales, a longtime ally from Texas, the attorney general’s support in Congress had withered after a series of run-ins that prompted some lawmakers to allege he had committed perjury.

I wonder whether he’ll get a chair next to Ari on the back porch some day? Will Karl invite him over for family BBQs?

Goodbye Mr. Giggles. Your bizarre banter in front of televison cameras and congress will be missed.

Considering all the other things you have done in the last couple of years, warrentless wiretapping, politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys, possible purgery, making White House leason aide hotties nervious while not talking about cases you were involved with – um… hell, let’s just cut to the chase – your excessive bend to fascism – will perhaps be less missed. At least by most of us. I’m sure George W. is cut to the quick.

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Petraeus Report to be Written in WH

The Scream by Edward MunchYes, I’m still alive. I’m just not writing because everything is just so mind numbingly depressing.

Karl Rove leaves the White House to go pre-buff Bush’s post-presidential legacy and then move on to use whatever dirty tricks he can find to discredit the Democratic party during the 2008 elections. I suspect he is leaving government service not because he thinks it is time but because the kind of partisan activities he has in mind would be so immensely illegal from a White House position that even Rove got cold feet. (Maybe he just misses his RNC e-mail account.)

Then there is the whole FISA/Wiretapping thing with the Democratic congress happily feeding constitutional rights to Barney, rolling over and going woof every single time anyone in the White House says boo before skittering off into a summer news vaccuum.

The increased sound of war drums being pounded in the direction of Iraq is becoming deafening. It looks like the U.S. is planning once again to make a feign to the U.N. before invading. That is why they are planning to release the plans about declaring the Revolutionary Guard to be a terrorist organisation during the U.N General Assemby next month.

Then we find out that, as opposed to being under fire and in retreat, Alberto Gonzales is planning to “fast track” the death penalty in California and other states. Perhaps because we need to make room on death row for all those terrorists who have been arrested thanks to the TSP and other “undisclosed monitoring activities?” You know, those pesky terrorists we can’t try in criminal courts because we tortured them in violation of their constitutional rights and can’t try in military courts because we tortured them in violation of the Geneva convention? Those folks like Jose Padilla now being convicted of “having engaged in a criminal conspiracy to be nothing so much as an ‘unlawful enemy combatant.'”

There is the media offensive underway by the “journalists” and “experts” that went on their eight vacation daysight seeing tour inspection of Iraq Baghdad with day trips to see “the troops” or perhaps better “military commanders” out in the field. That trip being plastered across the media starting with the NYT Op-Ed by “war critics” Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon (so absolutely debunked by Glen Greenwald) to yesterday’s William Kristol appearance on the Daily Show. (Neat how all those folks were on the same “fact finding junket”, huh?) The spin machine is cranking out positive stories about the Iraq situation well in advance of the September 15 deadline for the Petraeus report.

And then. this morning, I find out, buried in the LA Times article about the Iraq status report, that it will be written, not by Petraeus, or even in the DoD – but in the White House.

Administration and military officials acknowledge that the September report will not show any significant progress on the political benchmarks laid out by Congress. How to deal in the report with the lack of national reconciliation between Iraq’s warring sects has created some tension with in the White House.

Despite Bush’s repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it actually will be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

And while Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report’s data. The senior administration official said the process has created “uncomfortable positions” for the White House because of debates over what constitutes “satisfactory progress.”

The spin goes on. (Oh Karl, we miss you already. Thank God, he and George Bush exchanged telephone numbers.)

Mind-numbingly depressing. No?

Democrats In Congress: Republicans with Blue Ties

… or skirts. Whatever.

Slate’s legal lovely, Dahlia Lithwick, wrote a killer analysis of the implications of Democrats voting to expand Bush’s wiretapping powers and Congress’ favorite punching bunny, Mr Giggles,

This past Sunday, a heap of Democrats voted to rush through changes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law that governs electronic surveillance of anyone in this country. The new law expands the authority of the attorney general to approve the monitoring of phone calls and e-mails to suspected overseas terrorists from unknowing American citizens. Make no mistake about it. The vote to update FISA rewarded the AG for years of missteps and misstatements by giving him expanded authority to enforce the president’s alarming constitutional vision. Sans oversight. Sans judicial approval.

There is virtually no way to reconcile Sen. Mark Pryor’s, D-Ark., claim that Gonzales has “lied to the Senate” and needs to go with his vote to expand the reach of our warrantless eavesdropping program. And how can one possibly square Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s, D-Calif., claim that the AG “just doesn’t tell the truth” with her vote to give him yet more unchecked authority? You either trust this AG with the power to listen in on your phone calls or you do not, and the mumbled justifications for these “yes” votes ( … but Gonzales shares his authority with National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell; … but the bill sunsets in six months) do nothing to lessen the impression that some Democrats mistrust Gonzales when it’s convenient, but not when it’s truly important.

The whole thing should be read in full. It shows just how big the problems are.

I’m getting the feeling that the only difference whether your vote goes Blue or Red in 2008 will be the speed at which the churches take over.

Considering the fact that evangelical churches are now starting to infiltrate the Democratic party and making more and more inroads into issues like the environment, prisons and homeless shelters (temporary? – riiiiight!), it is clear that there really is no chance that America will remain a secular nation. Oh! I forgot. It wasn’t one anyway.

Don’t get me wrong. Evangelicals need to understand the issues. I’m just afraid the movements will become biblical. They won’t understand and support the issues, they simply take them over. After all it worked for the Republican Party, didn’t it?

Keeping Score on Gonzales

For those who have lost their scorecard on the General Giggles case, Laura Rozen, journalism Goddess and War and Piece blogger, has a quick run-down of exactly just what all those Congresspersons, Senators and Department of Justice weasels have been getting on about.

The administration is and has been engaging in a shell game in trying to wriggle out of accountability and Congressional oversight and now accusations of perjury on its warrantless domestic spying programs. Shortly after the activity was first revealed by the NY Times’ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau in late 2005, Alberto Gonzales immediately dubbed the domestic spying program “the Terrorist Surveillance Program.” As in, of course, what American could argue with surveilling the communications of the terrorists, wherever they may be? But when in deciding whether to reauthorize the Patriot Act, Congress asked him whether there had been any internal administration dispute over the activities, Gonzales said no, none. Congress was not asking specifically about the Terrorist Surveillance Program – that was Gonzales’ shell game to call it that and say in hindsight that that was his understanding of the narrow scope of their question. Congress was asking whether anyone in the administration had concerns about the White House bypassing the FISA court in authorizing warrantless domestic spying and indeed, as it turned out, there had been such grave concerns that a dozen of the top Justice Department and FBI officials had been prepared to resign over it. But Gonzales answered there had not been any concerns at all, everyone was so convinced of its legality.

She goes on to explain in clear terms just why Gonzales has either been listening to the little bats in his belfry or just outright lying. Her complete rundown is well worth the read, I don’t think anyone has put it better.

She also compares whole situation to the classic sketch by Abbot and Costello.

So here’s a short dramatization of Congress questioning Mr. Giggles. (Hint: Congress is played by Lou Costello, Bud Abbott plays the completely helpful and truthful Mr Gonzales.)

Cheney Doesn’t Like Juries…

And he’s not too hot about the Senate or the American people either.

According to Dan Eggen in the Washington Post yesterday, the VP pointed out that he disagreed with the jury’s verdict of Scooter. One has to wonder if Cheney feels the verdict was wrong because Scooter didn’t lie or because Scooter fell on his sword for Cheney.

Eggen continues with,

Cheney declined to explain his view but said he agreed with Bush’s actions: “I thought the president handled it right,” he said during an interview with CBS Radio. “I supported his decision.”

Which is an interesting internal contradiction. If the verdict was wrong, why shouldn’t the President have completely pardoned Scooter? Or was the decision OK because Scooter really didn’t have to pay the $200,000 dollar fine himself? Please Vice President Cheney. Inquiring voters want to know.

The interview then spun completely out of control with Cheney declaring his undying love for General Giggles or “Al” as “Dick” likes to call him. Less than two sentences later he again attacked Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Republican Senator Arlen Specter (Pa) for saying that Gonzales’s credibility was tarnished. I wonder if the anaesthetic from his heart surgery was still effecting his perception. He didn’t use his typical language for speaking about Leahy.

But hey, General Giggles still has credibility? Really? It’s not like they had any difficulty finding people to defend him on the Faux News. Right? What?! They did have a bit of a problem? What did Chris Wallace have to say this weekend?

By the way, we invited White House officials and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to defend Attorney General Gonzales. We had no takers.

I wonder why Dick didn’t move forward for that venue?

But perhaps the most telling comment in the whole article is how Cheney views the current Capitol Hill “spat.”

“I think the key is whether or not he has the confidence of the president, and he clearly does,”

Again. It doesn’t matter if the DOJ is a motivational morass; it doesn’t matter if no one actually believes a word General Giggles utters; it doesn’t even matter whether he does a good or even mediocre job. The only thing is that he have the confidence of the president (and follows vice presidental orders).

That’s cool. Since we have long known that the president is faith and not fact based, we now have confirmation from the vice president that Gonzales is scum, pandering to the wishes of the president and only a mere puppet in the hands of a stage manager like Cheney. Thank you Mr. Vice President.

Pop Quiz Interrupts Summer Phantasies

Do you remember your last couple of months of High School? You know; you already had your acceptance letter from a college, most your classes were winding down and your interests in things academic were on a back burner?

I suspect that is a little how Alberto Gonzales felt while leaving the Senate hearing on Tuesday afternoon. He had made it! Even if congress planned to do something; the wheels of Justice turn slowly. Especially if you’re one of the people standing on the brakes.

Eighteen months is a very short time in Washington and, just like a high school senior with a couple of months and finals left, Gonzales probably felt he could coast from here. Just a couple of difficult papers, one or two orals and then freedom. At least that is the tone of the post I expected to be writing today. About how General Giggles was more or less home free for the next few months.

Why did I think that? Let’s look at this not from the perspective of the American people; let’s look at this from inside the Bush bunker.

There are 18 months left and we are facing a 5 week congressional break is coming up at the end of next week. Senators and Congresspeople are busy trying to get bills passed so the visit back to home states can be greeted with big checks and pork laden rhetoric. The administration thought there wouldn’t be any time to start anything major against the AG until fall. By then the Iraq report would be taking most of the limelight and even more time would pass. Nothing would get started until shortly before Christmas (another break!).

And it looked like it was going to work. Despite strong words from both Patrick Leahy and Arin Spector, both men are willing to give the Justice Department enough time to re-craft (or warcraft) the comments made by Gonzales into a more reality oriented piece of legal weaselling, dodging wrongdoing but never actually approaching the abyss of truth. Both senior Senators, although fed up with Gen. Giggles, are “eagerly” awaiting the possible “corrections” from the DOJ.

As has also been often mentioned, in the current political climate, Bush would have difficulties getting Senate conformation for any Gonzales replacement. It’s not like no one has ever reported that the administration isn’t quietly looking for ‘Berto II. As a matter of fact, looking at the number of open posts in senior administration positions, I suspect Bush would have difficulties finding anyone to take the job.

The idea has also been floated, that the Bush administration both needs and wants Gonzales to stay. With so many, shall we say, dodgy legal moves over the past six years, administration officials might feel that Gonzales the last line of defense. After all, they still have to keep working and you can’t work if you have to delete an e-mail before you have time to read it. And as Scooter Libby can say, those legal fees get pressing if you don’t have a large number of fund-raisers behind you. I doubt there are that many hard-core, deep-pocketed Republicans to protect the entire White House staff.

Gonzales can also be fairly sure that his seat is right now secure because there is no reason for Bush to fire him at the moment. There is no direct need to boost his poll numbers during the off season. October might be a different story when relief is sought from the “Iraq report” onslaught after the next set of benchmark progress is published. But during the summer slump? Nah!

Thus I figured General Giggles was safe for the next year and a half.

But remember what happened to Donald “he’ll stay until the end of the term” Rumsfeld? Rumors of his replacement were also widespread and always denied. He looked a bit miffed the day he got canned. That might be what is going on here. And Bush might not have much choice.

I was amazed at how fast congress responded to Gonzales’ newest silliness.

First came the documents – who knew there would be documents, don’t these people understand shredding? (Is Oliver North available for consulting?) The comments from Democratic participants in the Gang of Eight* meetings were to be expected; the absolute lack of response from the Republican side (Tom Delay anyone?) is more puzzling. But I seriously doubt that anyone, at least anyone as far outside Washington as I sit, would have expected yesterdays testimony from Robert S. Mueller III, FBI director, disputing Gonzales testimony. That made the White House attempts at claiming everything is political theatre a little difficult to swallow.

But to see four senators respond within two days with a request to the Solicitor General to see if perjury charges could be brought? Two days?! I’m stunned.

I suspect the aides in Gonzales’ office are working around the clock to attempt damage control on this. But the task isn’t easy. From the Washington Post, quoting Schumer during yesterday’s press conference,

“He tells the half-truth, the partial truth and anything but the truth,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), as he and three other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee asked the Justice Department yesterday to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gonzales lied to Congress about the NSA program.

I suspect this is a pop quiz Gonzales and the administration hadn’t expected. No more coasting. They thought they’d have a week to rewrite reality, five weeks of quiet to massage (or massage parlor) various lawmakers, and a September filled, not with the Department of Justice, but the Department of Defense. Now they are facing a summer of Justice, not much to fill the news cycle and lots of time for the democrats to explain the case to the American public.

I hope all those aides got travel cancellation insurance when they booked their vacations. Stupid pop quizzes!

My General Giggle Notes

I was going to write a different post here, but I thought I’d just share my notes on Tuesday’s Mr. Giggle visit in the Senate. I’ll post my take tomorrow.

Sen. Leahy: Did you mislead us about the violations of the Patriot Act?
Gonzales: Tee Hee. Oops
Sen. Leahy: What’s with the 17 remaining open US Attorneys positions
Gonzales: We’re working on it.
Sen. Leahy: What’s the DOJ’s stand on the Contempt Question
Gonzales: I say nothing!

Sen. Specter: What about the Ashcroft hospital visit
– Gonzales: Just a chat among friends, after emergency meeting with the Gang of Eight
Sen. Specter: Were you there to get approval for NSA wiretapping?
– Gonzales: We never asked.
Sen. Specter: What about executive privilege
– Gonzales: Sorry, that’s under privilege
Sen. Specter: Death Penalty?
– Gonzales: Did I ever hear anything about the death penalty. Can’t recall

Sen. Kohl:
How do we get Guantanamo closed?
– Gonzales: Love to, Let’s just blow up America now.
Sen. Kohl: Filling US Attorney posts?
– Gonzales: What’s with the US Attorney questions?
Sen. Kohl: Why doesn’t DOJ enforce price fixing laws against OPEC?
– Gonzales: We can’t do that. Rich corporations and foreign countries might get grumpy

Sen. Hatch: Bla bla bla. I won’t go into it. His lips were brown when he finished..

Sen. Feinstein: Who wrote the list of people to be fired?
– Gonzales: What list!? You know more than I do! I just signed it.
Sen. Feinstein: How many people have you fired?
– Gonzales: No idea, people come and go. It’s so confusing!
Sen. Feinstein: You want change, why has the new DOJ Voting Rights manual been raped?
– Gonzales: (Rats, she read the book) Um. We’ll look into it.

Sen. Kyl: Guantanamo, good for the US?
– Gonzo: It’s good for me
Sen. Kyl: bla, bla, bla

Sen Cardin: Why were the names on the list
– Gonzales: Good, God fearing reasons. But exactly? No idea.
Sen Cardin: Gang of Eight meetings are classified – Did you just leak classified material?
– Gonzales: It’s OK. GW will retroactively declassify it if necessary.
Sen Cardin: Hiring of career lawyers – has that been fixed? – Gonzales: Just like the voting book.

Sen Grassley: I want my documents (snit)
– Gonzales: Yes, sir
Sen Grassley: Fraud in Iraq?
– Gonzales: Working there is like working in a war zone!
Sen Grassley: Custer Battles case
– Gonzales: waffle, waffle, waffle

Sen Whitehouse: Were activities okayed before Ashcroft went to the hospital
– Gonzales: This is just way too complex to explain to Senators!
Sen Whitehouse: Did you have a document to seek reapproval of the “Program”
– Gonzales: Yes, but we didn’t ask. So there!
Sen Whitehouse: Can Whitehouse control litigation in the DOJ
– Gonzales: (You can’t prove it if we use RNC e-mail accounts) Nah!

Sen. Sessions: Bla, bla, bla. Michelle Malkin illegal immigration, bla, bla bla
Sen. Sessions: Isn’t there a problem with crack sentences being too high?
– Gonzales: They just aren’t high or tough enough!

Sen Schumer: There was only one secret program?
– Gonzales: Yes
Sen Schumer: But you testified that there had been no dissent from DOJ officials…
– Gonzales: Oh. You mean THAT secret wiretapping program. No. No. This was about something completely different.
Sen Schumer: ?!
– Gonzales: Really
Sen Leahy: ?! @#+§$! ?!
– Gonzales: No. Really. Scouts Honor.

Sen Durbin: Executive order on torture. DOJ look at that?
– Gonzales: Sure
Sen Durbin: Any feelings on it?
– Gonzales: No, we in the upper management of the DOJ are robots
Sen Durbin: Would it be legal for foreign countries to treat Americans this way?
– Gonzales: Um. By our laws or theirs?
Sen Durbin: No, Really
– Gonzales: La, La, La, La… I can’t hear you.
Sen Durbin: Guantanamo, why no convictions?
– Gonzales: Too few kangaroo courts

Sen Feingold: @#+§$! @#+§$!!!
– Gonzales: Heh, Heh
Sen Feingold: Have you lied under oath?
– Gonzales: I don’t lie, I weasel
Sen Feingold: Potential liability helps privacy laws
– Gonzales: (Danger, Danger, Non Sequitor) Sure

Sen Kennedy: Torture policy, Can we get the memos on that?
– Gonzales: We have no memos. We give no paper. We are not human.
Sen Kennedy: Torture bla, bla, bla
– Gonzales: Heh, Heh
Sen Kennedy: Peace Corps! They used the Peace Corps to get diplomats to attack Democrats!
Gonzales: Heh, Heh. Good one, huh?
Sen Kennedy: Did it happen at the DOJ?
– Gonzales: Um. I know nothing!
Sen Kennedy: Why only 2 civil rights cases in voting issues.
– Gonzales: We forgot to fudge the data.

Sen Leahy: Monica Goodling – did you know she was evil?
– Gonzales: No. She was kind of hot.
Sen Leahy: Monica Goodling – did you talk to her about what had happened.
– Gonzales: She was distraught. Did I mention she is kind of hot?
Sen Leahy: Did you tell us you hadn’t talked to anyone?
– Gonzales: I thought you were asking about something else
Sen Leahy: Why deny benefits to public servants
– Gonzales: (Because that would cost money) I’ll look into it.

Sen Specter: If we want to put you in jail, who do we talk to?
– Gonzales: (Just try, sucker!) That would be the Solicitor General.
Sen Specter: TSA not the intelligence activities. Boy, you in a heap of trouble.
– Gonzales: Giggle
Sen Specter: Back to the death penalty, bla, bla, bla
– Gonzales: I don’t remember anything
Sen Specter: @#+§$!
Sen Specter: Oxycontin judgment. Were you on drugs?!
– Gonzales: We got a good price

Sen Whitehouse: I am on the intelligence committee. @#+§$!
– Gonzales: …
Sen Whitehouse: Remember the Ashcroft memo? The one linking the Whitehouse to the DOJ like Siamese twins. The memo you were concerned about.
– Gonzales: Sure
Sen Whitehouse: Why did you sign one similar?
Gonzales: Heh, Heh
Sen Whitehouse: Why did you add the Office of the Vice president, the VP council, the VP Chief of staff etc.
– Gonzales: (Because Cheney uses mind control?)  Because the VP – um – asked? No. Memo. What memo?
Sen Whitehouse: The moral is miserable in the DOJ. You are scum
– Gonzales: Yes, I am. Giggle

Sen Cardin: The meeting with the Gang of Eight. That is classified.
– Gonzales: It was

Sen Schumer: Why were you in the hospital?
– Gonzales: Just visiting
Sen Schumer: Who sent you?
– Gonzales: Can’t say
Sen Schumer: No, really. Who sent you?
– Gonzales: Can’t say
Sen Schumer:
No, really, really. Who sent you?
– Gonzales: No, really, really. Can’t say. They’d eat my soul.

Sen Specter:
We’re kind of grumpy have you noticed?
– Gonzales: heh, heh

Sen Leahy: We’re kind of grumpy have you noticed?
– Gonzales: heh, heh