27 August 2007

Bedtime for Gonzo

Well it sure did take a while, but at long last, it
appears we won't have Fredo to kick around anymore.
All I can say to the man who designed the Patriot Act,
legalized torture, and supervised warrantless
surveillance on American citizens is good riddance.

Considering how his partners in crime like Libby &
Rummy have managed to walk away unscathed from
the twisted, burning wreak that was once our American
democracy, I have little hope that Abu Gonzales will
ever be brought to justice. But though this incompetent
stooge, like some horrible disease, cannot be
eradicated, he can at least be contained within an
environment where he can do less harm to fewer
people. A place already familiar with this deadly strand
of compassionate conservatism. A place like… Texas.

But of course, no resignation by a disgraced White
House official is complete without the standard Lewis
Carroll-esque commentary
by President Bush. And once
again, he does not disappoint.

"After months of unfair treatment that has
created ... a harmful distraction at the Justice
Department, Judge Gonzales has decided to
resign his position, and I accept his decision,"
Bush told reporters as he prepared to board
Marine One. "It's sad that we live in a time
when a talented and honorable person like
Alberto Gonzales is impeding (sic) from doing
important work because his good name was
dragged through the mud for political

I actually had to stop typing for a moment to wipe the
tears off my keyboard.

Not surprisingly, Jon Stewart figured out the Gonzales
playbook a long time ago and spelled it out perfectly in an
interview with Bill Moyers.

JON STEWART: For instance, Alberto Gonzales,
and you've been watching the hearings. He is
either a perjurer, or a low-functioning pinhead.
And he allowed himself to be portrayed in those
hearings as a low-functioning pinhead, rather
than give the Congressional Committee charged
with oversight, any information as to his
decision-making process at the Department of

And I used to think, "They're doing this based on
a certain arrogance." And now, I realize that it's
because they believe there is one accountability
moment for a President, and that is the four year
election. And once you get that election, you're

BILL MOYERS: They're right, are they not?

JON STEWART: They're completely not right. The
election moment is merely the American public
saying, "We'd rather you be President than that
guy." That's it. The next four years, though, you
still have to abide by the oversight process that is
there to prevent this kind of bizarre sort of cult-
like atmosphere that falls along. I mean, I accept
that kind of veil of secrecy around Tom Cruise and
Katie Holmes, but I don't accept that around our

BILL MOYERS: Tens of thousands, hundreds of
thousands of words were written about Gonzales'
testimony last week in Congress. And I still don't
think a lot of people get it. And all of the sudden,
there on THE DAILY SHOW that evening, you
distilled the essence of it.


JON STEWART: And by the way, that was all just
-- that was a game, and he knew it, and the guys
on the committee knew it. And for the President
to come out after that and say, "Everything I saw
there gave me more confidence in him," that
solidified my notion that, "Oh, it's because what
he expected of Gonzalez was" it's sort of like, do
you remember in GOODFELLAS? When Henry Hill got
arrested for the first time and Robert DeNiro met
him at the courthouse and Henry Hill was really
upset, 'cause he thought Robert DeNiro would be
really mad at him. And DeNiro comes up to him and
he gives him a $100 and he goes, "You got pinched.
We all get pinched, but you did it right, you
didn't say nothing."

BILL MOYERS: Gonzales said nothing.

JON STEWART: Right. And "you went up there and
said nothing. You gave them no legal recourse
against you, and you made yourself a smart man,
a self-made man look like an utter pinhead on
national television, and you did it for me."

That's what friends are for.

Finally, for those of you keeping score, Paul Kiel has a nifty
of the numerous Justice Department resignations
that have occurred in the wake of the U.S. attorney firing
scandal. It’s a ridiculously long list. In fact, it might have
been easier to just announce who’s left.

25 August 2007

Dude, Where's My Government?

Uniters, not dividers: Bush & Maliki


Escalating a political crisis that has paralyzed
the Iraqi government, three secular cabinet
members will formally resign Saturday,
according to a senior member of the group.

The Iraqi National List, an umbrella group of
several political parties composed of secular
Sunnis and Shiites, had boycotted cabinet
meetings since Aug. 7 because of frustrations
with what they saw as Prime Minister Nouri al-
Maliki's divisive leadership style. The party,
headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi,
will now submit the official resignations,
National List member Iyad Jamal al-Deen said.

* * *

The largest Sunni political bloc has already
formally withdrawn from the cabinet, while the
party loyal to powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-
Sadr continues to boycott government meetings.
All told, nearly half the cabinet members are not
attending meetings.

And let’s not forget that Iraq’s parliament has been
out-to-lunch all month. Could someone please remind
me what the surge was supposed to accomplish?

08 August 2007


Well Barry, you got your record.

I hope it was worth it -- because now it’s pretty much all
you've got
. And if A-Rod stays healthy and productive,
you won’t even have that for very long.

04 August 2007


Our intensely unpopular president says, “Jump!” and
once again, Congressional Democrats ask, “How high?”

Washington Post:
The Senate bowed to White House pressure
last night and passed a Republican plan for
overhauling the federal government's
terrorist surveillance laws, approving
changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy
agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on
foreign suspects without a court order.

The 60 to 28 vote, which was quickly
denounced by civil rights and privacy
advocates, came after Democrats in the
House failed to win support for more modest
changes that would have required closer
court supervision of government surveillance.
Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened
to hold Congress in session into its scheduled
summer recess if it did not approve the
changes he wanted.

As Glenn Greenwald notes, this is only the latest in
a series of pathetic compromises by a Democratic
Congress that can’t seem to find its backbone, even
when they have the support of the American public.

Examine virtually every Bush scandal and it
increasingly bears the mark not merely of
Democratic capitulation, but Democratic
participation. In August of 2006, the
Supreme Court finally asserted the first real
limit on Bush's radical executive power
theories in Hamdan, only for Congress,
months later, to completely eviscerate those
minimal limits -- and then go far beyond -- by
enacting the grotesque Military Commissions
Act with the support of substantial numbers
of Democrats. What began as a covert and
illegal Bush interrogation and detention
program became the officially sanctioned,
bipartisan policy of the United States.

Grave dangers are posed to our basic
constitutional safeguards by the replacement
of Sandra Day O'Connor with Sam Alito,
whose elevation to the Supreme Court
Congressional Democrats chose to permit.
Vast abuses and criminality in surveillance
remain undisclosed, uninvestigated and
unimpeded because Congressional Democrats
have stood meekly by while the
administration refuses to disclose what it has
been doing in how it spies on us. And we
remain in Iraq, in direct defiance of the will
of the vast majority of the country, because
the Democratic Beltway establishment lacks
both the courage and the desire to compel an
end to that war.

And now Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, with
revealing symbolism, cancel their scheduled
appearances this morning at Yearly Kos
because George Bush ordered them to remain
in Washington in order to re-write and
expand FISA -- a law which he has
repeatedly refused to allow to be revised for
years and which he has openly and proudly
violated. Congressional Democrats know
virtually nothing about how the Bush
administration has been eavesdropping on
our conversations because the administration
refused to tell them and they passively
accepted this state of affairs.

And what’s their excuse? The same old bullshit. If we
don’t give give George W. Bush unlimited power, the
terrorists will get us.

"We're at war. The enemy wants to attack
us," Lieberman said during the Senate
debate. "This is not the time to strive for
legislative perfection."

How convenient. I do hope you’ll let us know when all of
America’s enemies have been destroyed and Congress
can go back to doing its job of upholding the
Constitution and keeping overzealous executive power
in check. But no rush... it’s only democracy.

03 August 2007

A Correction

Dick Cheney: Keepin' it real

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President
Dick Cheney acknowledged on Tuesday he
was wrong in 2005 when he insisted the
insurgency in Iraq was in its "last throes."

It was Cheney's most direct public
admission of how badly the administration
had underestimated the strength of
America's enemies in the increasingly
unpopular war in Iraq.


"My estimate at the time -- and it was
wrong, it turned out to be incorrect -- was
the fact that we were in the midst of holding
three elections in Iraq, elected an interim
government, then ratifying a constitution,
then electing a permanent government, that
they had had significant success, we'd
rounded up Saddam Hussein.

"I thought there were a series of these
milestones that would in fact undermine the
insurgency and make it less than it was at
that point. That clearly didn't happen. I think
the insurgency turned out to be more

Thanks for clearing that up, Dick. But before you head
back to the bunker, maybe you could set the record
straight on some other statements you’ve made that
never quite survived the difficult transition from insane,
neo-con fever-dream to demonstrative reality.