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March 15, 2007

“Clinton Did It Too”
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 05:21 PM * 143 comments

Talking Points Memo is all over this story. Check there, including the archives, for full details on this Bush scandal.

The predictable reaction of the Repubs to the general outrage about the Bush Justice Department firing eight US Attorneys for not being sufficiently partisan has been Clinton Did It Too.

The Wall St. Journal (as reported at TPM) can’t keep their story straight as they variously report that Reagan did or did not replace all of the US Attorneys when he took office.

Bush says that firing US Attorneys for political purity is a “customary practice.” He’s lying, of course. It isn’t a customary practice and never has been. It’s corruption on a wide scale. The enabling legislation is a paragraph in the ill-thought-out and hastily-passed USA PATRIOT Act. Under the newly-invented process, if a US Attorney is fired, he or she can be replaced by someone who is never required to be confirmed by the Senate—leading us to a place where the top US law enforcement officer in each region can be another Brownie.

The Bush Administration fired U.S. Attorneys because they prosecuted well-connected Republicans, as happened with Carol Lam in San Diego, who lost her job for convicting congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham for evading taxes and conspiring to pocket $2.4 million in bribes, including a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a 19th-century Louis-Philippe commode. They fired them for not going out of their way to prosecute Democrats when the timing would be advantageous to Republicans. This happened to U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, who ignored requests by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) to indict Manny Aragon before the November elections in order to improve her chances of being reelected. U.S. Attorney H. E. “Bud” Cummins III of Little Rock was fired in order to politicize the office and reward a political operative by giving the job to Tim Griffin, a hand-picked protege of Karl Rove.

Back to the Clinton excuse: How many US Attorneys left office before their four-year terms were up during the Clinton presidency (other than to accept greater responsibility within the Justice Department), and why? Answer: Two of them. (via Bite to Bite)

Larry Colleton, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. Colleton, appointed by President Clinton, according to news reports, “had been U.S. attorney for Florida’s middle district for only five months on May 6 [1994] when he was videotaped grabbing Jacksonville television reporter Richard Rose by the throat. The newsman had been trying to question him about recent decisions in his office.” He resigned in July 1994.
Kendall Coffey, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Coffey, appointed by President Clinton, resigned on May 12, 1996, according to news reports, “amid accusations that he bit a topless dancer on the arm during a visit to an adult club after losing a big drug case.”

How many, of any description, were replaced by someone who was never presented to, or confirmed by, the Senate? Answer: None of them.

The heck “Clinton did it too.”

Comments on "Clinton Did It Too":
#1 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Thanks Jim for bringing this up. The chain of emails between Rove et alia demonstrates that the plan to terminate these US Attorneys in 2005 was strictly political. These documents date to three weeks before Gonzo became the new AG, and also show that Sampson was up to his neck in it as well...

The DOJ is supposed to be concerned with the protection of the Constitution and the dispensing of JUSTICE not POLITICS. Like everything else the Idiot-in-Chief has touched, this too is turning into...manure.

#2 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 05:36 PM:

Yes, do check out TPM, which has singlehandedly kept this story alive (with assistance from the affiliated TPM Muckraker site).

ABC News is now reporting new eMails show that Rove and Gonzales were working on this matter before Gonzales left the White House Counsel's job. If true, his position likely becomes untenable.

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Senator John Sununu (R-NH) has called for Gonzales to resign. That's the first Repub senator to do so.

Perhaps Sununu is looking at what happened to Repubs across the board in New Hampshire last November and feeling a cold wind blowing....

#4 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 05:56 PM:

The latest round of rationalizations aren't at all surprising.

For the true believers, it isn't the truth, it's the Truthiness. The self-righteous glow and air of authenticity only has to last long enough for some celebrity news, or a toddler to get kidnapped.

We're dealing with people who excel at duckspeak: Meaningless babble in lieu of actual communication. Its use is a deliberate policy advocated by shameless powerbrokers like Rove and implemented by toadies like Gonzales and Snow.

But you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

I sure as hell hope this is the tipping point.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:01 PM:

This proves what they've been saying for years, that Bill Clinton IS the Devil's Emissary (if not the Foul Deceiver Himself).

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:15 PM:

No, no, it's Bush that's the Antichrist.

#7 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:17 PM:

(Shorter Fungi: just read Digby.)

Digby pointed out that George Junior played a key role in firing Sununu Sr. as George Sr's chief of staff. There's an awful lot of sin and fathers in this mix.

Digby also approvingly quoted Barbara O'Brien the five stages of spin. Stage four is, of course, evoking Bill Clinton.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Teresa @ 6... This should be decided by a survey from fair & balanced Faux News.

"Who do you think is Satan? Bill Clinton, or do you want the terrorists to win?"

#10 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Right about now, Karl Rove is picturing a future where the only corporate boards he can get sinecures on are of manufacturers of rat poision, urinal cakes, and body bags.

So, I guess we'll be bombing Iran sooner rather than later.

#11 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:30 PM:

What I don't understand is, after Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and extraordinary rendition and all that, why is *this* bringing Torture-Boy down?

#12 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:31 PM:

That is, "after" meaning "after these abuses have come to light", not that they've come to an end in themselves.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Maybe the poop is starting to overflow from the porcelain throne, Julie L. About time too.

#14 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:47 PM:


Probably because they can't tie it in with September 11 and terrorism.

#15 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 06:58 PM:

I think there's a lot of suspicious timing in the release of news about "confessions" at Guantanamo. I find myself very much in agreement with Shakespeare's Sister that because of outright torture, not to mention lesser legal sins, that any confession or conviction coming out of that place is at the very least dubious. Yet, watch our media cover it like it were real.

#16 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 07:17 PM:

Julie at 11: torture, et. al. happened to "other" people, people Americans are supposed to see as terrorists, and therefore (according to the administration) as not actually human. The firings at Justice happened to Americans. But -- more importantly -- Congress is now in Democratic hands. The Democrats are now giving cover to people like Sununu and Bob Barr, stalwart Republicans, so that they can call for Gonzales to be fired.

I think it may actually happen.

#17 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 07:18 PM:

Re: #12-#14

Another very important factor is that THIS time the relevant Congressional committees are controlled by people who aren't part of the coverup.

It MATTERS who's calling the hearings and issuing the subpoenas.

#18 ::: "Orange Mike" Lowrey ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 07:22 PM:

I particularly love the "Clinton did it too!" defense from the self same blatherers who persist in describing Clinton's terms in office as a cross between the worst scandals of the Grant, Harding, Nixon and Stalin administrations. If he was such an evil and illegal president, how does "Clinton did it" constitute a defense or precedent for a purportedly lawful conservative administration?

#19 ::: Anthony VanWagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Yes, but the pdf you link to says that 6 others resigned, and the ones mentioned seem like "termination" type resignations.

How many of these do we have in the Bush administration? I'm asking, because I don't know.

#20 ::: Zonk ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 07:46 PM:

I do not have a particular axe to grind in this issue, but in the interest of historical accuracy, I must point out that Janet Reno fired ALL US attorneys-general when the Clintons took office, see this NYT headline:
Reno Fires DA's

"Attorney General Janet Reno today demanded the prompt resignation of all United States Attorneys, leading the Federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia to suggest that the order could be tied to his long-running investigation of Representative Dan Rostenkowski, a crucial ally of President Clinton."

This is NOT an endorsement of Dubya.

#21 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 08:18 PM:

I do not have a particular axe to grind in this issue, but in the interest of historical accuracy, I must point out that Janet Reno fired ALL US attorneys-general when the Clintons took office,

Not to mention, Clinton also "fired" George H. W. Bush's entire cabinet on taking office. The bastard!

If he was such an evil and illegal president, how does "Clinton did it" constitute a defense or precedent for a purportedly Lawful Conservative administration?

Huh. I always thought this administration was more Neutral Evil with Chaotic tendencies.

#22 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Zonk: "attorneys-general?" We're talking about the firing of US Attorneys for refusing to break the law on Bush's say-so. What the fuck are you talking about?

#23 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 08:46 PM:

And there's the convenient grand revelation that "Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who took responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks, said he decapitated the American journalist Daniel Pearl, according to a revised transcript released today."

Thereby turning all primary attention to that instead of well, for instance, the Gonzalez 7 - 8, which operation really does carry the scent of Rove's glands all over it. But the beheading has lots of gruesome video footage which the Gonzales mess doesn't.


#24 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 09:03 PM:

#20: Zonk, replacing all the US attorneys is one of the things that Presidents do when they first take office. As Evan pointed out, Clinton also replaced the entire Cabinet. Furthermore, all of the US attorneys that Clinton appointed had to get Senate approval. (This, incidentally, is the "customary practice" to which Bush refers.)

In this case, the Bush Administration forced US attorneys to resign mid-term because they refused to serve Republican party interests. Thanks to the PATRIOT Act, their replacement did not have to get Senate approval. This is not at all similar to anything Clinton has done.

Like "Orange Mike" @18, I wonder why this Administration trots out this particular excuse whenever they get in trouble. Given their opinion of Clinton, isn't saying "Clinton did it too" an admission of guilt? More importantly, why do people buy this as an excuse? I don't remember once "Clinton did it too" was accurate.

#25 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 09:13 PM:

I do not have a particular axe to grind in this issue, but in the interest of historical accuracy, I must point out that Janet Reno fired ALL US attorneys-general when the Clintons took office...

Ah. I knew this RW talking point would show up.

US Attorney are political appointees. That does not mean they're supposed to look out for the President's political interests; it means they - like Cabinet Secretaries, personal secretaries, and Chiefs of Staff - are chosen by each President. It is customary, standard practice for all political appointees to offer their resignations or, if they don't, to be fired by a new incoming President. The President then appoints a new batch of his or her own people.

The new US Attorneys are supposed to be confirmed by the Senate. It's usually a formality, a nice little ceremony that the new US Attorneys' friends, family and colleagues come to see.

Gonzales, Rove and Meiers fired Bush's own appointees. They fired them for not serving Bush's and the GOP's political interests. And then they lied about it. In fact, they didn't just lie about it, they also damaged the fired attorneys' professional reputations by saying the firings were due to substandard work.

And then, on top of everything else, Gonzales et al. used a paragraph that had been slipped into the latest authorization of the Patriot Act to avoid Senate confirmation of the new US Attorneys.

That is not the same as what Clinton did. Not at all.

#26 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Re #15 & #23, I'm wondering what else KSM confessed to that didn't get reported--assassinating JFK, stealing LTC Queeg's strawberries, poisoning Anna Nicole Smith....

#27 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Hmph. I should've read today's Rude Pundit before I posted.

#28 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 10:02 PM:

One reason I've seen for why the US Attorneys are getting this attention is that everyone can see what will happen when you get a political crony in that job, and everyone prefers a real, honest USA. Except for the people in the White House, but they're ... well, they make the hind legs of dogs look like straightedges.

#29 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 11:24 PM:

wrt various cogent explanations from #11: Ooo. Me feel stupid now, like as if zombies eat my brains. Me should have eated theirs first.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 11:34 PM:

The reason for the "Clinton did it too!" defense is this: It's shorthand for "Why are you liberals/Democrats objecting? Clinton did it too!"

It's meant to be the unanswerable argument that will shut up the critics.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 11:41 PM:

JBWoodford @ 26... Queeg's strawberries

Don't you realize that Bill Clinton is responsible for their theft too?

#32 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 11:53 PM:

Are these "Clinton-did-it-too" folks serious?!!! CaseyL at 25 gave a lovely cogent explanation about why dumping one's own US attorneys six years into an administration because they won't play political hardball with the administration of justice before an election is not customary. Clinton didn't do it. No other administration has done it either, AFAIK, though to be fair I haven't done the research, and may be mistaken on that. No other recent administration has done it, though I've no doubt Nixon would have done it if he'd thought he needed to and had something like the Patriot Act to allow it to happen.

Geddoutaheah with that crap.

#33 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 12:02 AM:

#27 JBWoodford - No you shouldn't. Your list is better.

#34 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 12:20 AM:

When Clinton was President, the Republicans were forever pretending that this or that unremarkable thing he did was unprecedented in the history of the office, and Cause for Alarm. They woofed the media into giving them far too much airtime for that.

They say "Clinton did it too" because so far it's been working for them. If it stopped working, or if something else worked better, they'd change their tune. This is a characteristic I first noticed in Bush, but which is spreading through the heavily privileged levels of the Republican party: they literally don't care what they say, as long as it gets the effect they want. They don't believe in democracy. They hold the voters in contempt. I can't believe that anyone in the middle class or working class is still voting for them.

Their central ambition isn't to win wars in the Middle East or bring back the days of the closet and the coathanger. It's to modify and subvert our governmental systems in such a way as to keep the Republicans permanently in power. Their style of political governance requires a great deal of money, but no one's going to buy into it at the high prices they need to charge if they can't guarantee results.

What's driving this? A lot of things. One of them is the end of the Cold War. There are some major American businesses that've configured their operations to make money off the state of permanent war. It's literally cheaper to buy the government than it is to reconfigure the way they do business.

Another thing that's driving it is the growth of the internet. There's a class of privileged people who get privileged jobs. Public service ads that say "To get a good job, get a good education" don't mention that you have to get a good education in the right place, and look for a job in the right place. Since members of the privileged class are already in the right place, everything naturally flows toward them.

Or rather, it used to. The internet's been starting to change that. You can tell, because people coming up through the ranks in computer and online businesses are sometimes funny-looking, or foreign, or female or colored, or otherwise just plain wrong. (Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.) Worse, these new systems enable ways of organizing work, capitalization, information flow, and other essential processes, without necessarily doing business in the places where the privileged class hangs out.

This is deeply threatening.

The elitist Republicans operate on three principles:

1. Encouraging and maintaining the existence of cheap labor.

2. Providing themselves and their buddies with better, more powerful, and more richly compensated jobs than their natural talents and industriousness should entitle them to hold.

3. It doesn't matter what's right; it only matters who wins. If they have any say about it, it'll be them.

Here's one among the many, many theories I derive from this: When the stock market is thrashing up and down (mostly down), or when the companies they run fail to make their projected profits, the way these guys reassure Wall Street's investor class is via mass firings within their organizations.

Looked at from the outside, this makes no sense at all. Either those people were doing productive work, in which case they've just cut muscle not fat; or they weren't doing productive work, in which case the first people to be fired should be the ones who hired and managed them. The latter never happens.

Why do they really do it? I believe they're invoking and demonstrating their shared membership and shared class interests. The way the game goes, it's far more advantageous overall to maintain membership in that privileged class than to run a business in an efficient and profitable fashion.

I've wandered far afield. I have no particular conclusion to draw, except that Steve Brust was right, in a conversation we had years ago, about the directions that certain lines of thought will lead you.

#35 ::: Hal O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 12:50 AM:

"The predictable reaction of the Repubs... has been Clinton Did It Too."

And my predictable reaction is, "So? If Clinton were to jump off the Empire State Building would you jump off the Empire State Building?"

You'd think these people never had mothers. Sheesh.

#36 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 12:58 AM:

Zonk @ 20 - The Clintons did not take office. Bill Clinton did.

TNH @ 34 - Whew. You just articulated a lot of what I've come to believe more and more over time. I don't know whether to be energized to drive for change, or to despair. (Or simply to violate as many items in the Spelling Reference above as possible - when did that show up?)

#37 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 01:29 AM:

TNH @ #34
Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking

That is one of the most insightful statements I've read in years.

#38 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 01:36 AM:

TNH, #34: This is a characteristic I first noticed in Bush, but which is spreading through the heavily privileged levels of the Republican party: they literally don't care what they say, as long as it gets the effect they want.

This is part of that whole "creating our own reality" thing, isn't it? And to the extent that people continue to vote for them, it is working.

Hal, #35: *snork* And here's a followup, if that doesn't shut them up: "And Clinton got impeached. So what you're saying here is that Bush should be impeached too."

Special note: DO NOT use that followup in a serious argument -- it's only for quick, flip back-snark with people whose opinions you know you can't change. In a serious argument, you do not want even to begin to suggest that their talking point is correct; stick to pointing out its inaccuracy and asking them where in the world they got such lousy information.

#39 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 01:49 AM:

Hal O'Brien, #35: They not only don't have mothers, they apparently don't have the brains God gave a rocking chair. I've always seen the "Clinton did it too" argument--and its effectiveness--as a lovely example of why people keep using fallacies: because they work. This one is a variation on the old "tu quoque" argument, the playground "you're another!" response. It's so flaming stupid that it makes me want to beat my head against a wall when I realize that people are actually taking it seriously. Again. "Old dog. Still hunts." Gack.

#40 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:36 AM:

I wonder when Rove knew that the Republicans were going to lose at least one house of Congress.

Thing is, if they had actually wanted to remove all 93 attorneys they could easily have done it two years ago, at the start of Bush's 2nd term. Then it might have been unprecedented but it wouldn't have been odd.

"Gives the new attorneys a full 4 years," "the past attorneys have served a full term,"... no one would have blinked, much, other than perhaps about Lam.

So why were they doing this now? Sure, it's mostly about the corruption. But I'd also guess it's partially motivated by all the Republican unemployment. All those former staffers floating around, and K-street no longer able to absorb them: the administration needed to create jobs, and in their usual incompetent way, they did.

#41 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Stefan@10--I think Karl Rove may be hankering after a job at Haliburton HQ in Dubai.

tnh@34--I love your parenthetical remark, "Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking." And, "they literally don't care what they say, as long as it gets the effect they want." You know, you might almost be quoting cranky Ozzie Spengler. Who was an awful person, but knew something. Worrisomely, he thought that by the time a culture got to stage, it wasn't coming back.

#42 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 03:19 AM:

Zonk: And Reagan fired all of Carter's Attorneys general, it's traditional.

#43 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 04:45 AM:

The nominal ability to take an action doesn't mean that specific examples of taking that action are always proper. As an inexact analogy, even though under "at-will" employment rules* you can legally be fired for "no reason", if you're fired because you wouldn't keep quiet about your boss embezzling money from the company, other people may still conclude that he's a crook.

To me it seems odd that the custom is to fire all the US Attorneys at the start of a new term - since after all they're supposed to be non-partisan public servants - but it's obviously not in itself unseemly. You're not, after all, singling out particular US Attorneys on the basis of their partisan loyalty.

This does seem the definition of machine politics: the use of all levers of power at your disposal in support of your continued political success. Even those powers established in service of justice or the public good. The idea that you're supposed to actually administer public agencies for their stated purpose seems to be alien to these guys.

(* A euphemism much like the Clean Skies Act, since the only "will" that matters in this distinction is that of the employer.)

#44 ::: Francis ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 05:53 AM:

(Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.)

Profound and I'll have to remember it. In the interests of pedantry rather than pithiness, I'd expand it to "Never believe in a meritocracy where everyone shares traits not directly relevant to the job". (I'd be just about prepared to believe in a meritocracy of models in which no one was funny looking - but not one of artists where everyone looked like an art school student).

And there are two times that firing people as a company in response to poor profits can make sense - when market has been contracting (in which case it should have been done earlier although I have sympathy with the results being a wake up call - and the managers should go with the department) and when the organisation has been trying to break into a new field and failed.

#45 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 06:54 AM:

TNH @34: Hear hear, nicely put.

I've only got one quibble. The behaviour of large corporations that you describe is not a Republican thing: it's a *managerialist* thing. i.e., it's what `professional managers' do (the sorts of people who believe that it doesn't matter if you don't understand what the people you're managing are doing, and that you should naturally earn more than everyone under you because, well, because you're just naturally more gifted or they'd be your boss).

I know you've discussed this MBA syndrome before, but I just thought I'd chime in from the peanut gallery. (Your excellent post from years back on the MBA willpower-makes-it-so belief system really opened my eyes and increased my cynicism. I've subsequently had several bosses tell me things that indicate that they follow this belief system; statements that `there can be no question' that something not mandated by physical law Will Happen, that sort of thing. Generally the things that there is No Question about don't in fact happen.)

#46 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 07:39 AM:

Teresa at #34 calls the Republicans "the elitists", but doesn't mention the quality of elitists that, for me, defines the word: that they believe the rules that apply to you do not apply to them. That's what raises the philosophy of Elitism above that of mere cliqueism. "Clique" just means "I have friends and I like them". "Elite" or "Elect" means "Me and my friends are special people, so the same rule that says it's bad when *you* do it doesn't mean it's bad when *we* do it."

It accounts for IOKIYAR, and also for "Clinton did it too!". CDIT does mean that anyone who thinks it's bad should have spoken up if Clinton did it; if they didn't then they're big hypocrites. But it does *not* mean it's bad when Republicans do it. So they really can have it both ways, thanks to the power of Elitism.

(I don't even know what the dictionary definition of the word is, but this one works for me. Like my personal definitions of Fascist and Terrorist, it's broad enough to describe all the canonical examples, and constrained enough not to be a contentless insult)

#47 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 08:19 AM:

#34 Teresa, thank you.

Many people forget that the current president's first politcal job (besides being "the kid") was as his father's "loyalty czar" on the Sr. Bush's presidential re-election campaign.

So when someone doesn't toe the line, they get the axe. When they do toe the line, they get the Presidential Medal of Freedom, even after they've screwed everything up.

#48 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 08:26 AM:

We've come up with a standard answer
when any of our crimes are brought in view,
it spreads throughout the nation like a cancer,
it covers every briefing like the dew,
we use it with the skill of a great dancer:
'It doesn't matter, Clinton did it too.'

We're pushed and prodded to admit our crimes,
we're asked and asked exactly what we knew
and when we knew it, we abhor such times,
we liked it when hard questions came but few.
Meanwhile, our spokesman, like a slug just slimes:
'It doesn't matter, Clinton did it too.'

The priest who blesses at the sacred grove
answers most quickly when we there halloo;
he looks remarkably like one Karl Rove,
past master both of lies and ballyhoo.
He bellows until he's turning almost mauve:
'It doesn't matter, Clinton did it too.'

#49 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 08:36 AM:

I was going to do a take on "Blame Canada" from South Park, and changing it to "Blame the Clintons," but other than switching Canada to Clintons and "country" to "political force" and the hockey and Anne Murphy references, there wasn't anything else that needed to be changed to work.

The smut we must stop
The trash we must bash
The Laughter and fun
Must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before someone thinks of blaming us!"

#50 ::: Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 09:09 AM:

One of the many side effects of this mess is that every single one of the remaining US Attorneys is going to be presumed a political hack. The evidence is now clear that the Bush administration reviewed every one of the US Attorneys for political compliance, and fired those who weren't hackish enough for them. Any Democratic (or even Republican) politician who might be indicted for anything over the next couple of years will instantly be able to brush off the indictment as purely political.

I live in the state of New Jersey, which is sadly known for the relaxed attitude it has toward political corruption. The last few years, though, have seen some movement toward reform -- helped in part by a US Attorney, Christopher Christie, who seemed as willing to go after Republicans as Democrats. (And despite the general dominance of politics in this state by Democrats, we don't seem to lack for corrupt Republicans...)

Now, I have to say, I personally see Mr. Christie's efforts in a different light, for the simple reason that for a Bush US Attorney, failure to be fired has to be seen as some kind of a black mark. I can't imagine that New Jersey is the only place where the authority of US Attorneys is going to be diminished.

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Fragano @ 48... our spokesman, like a slug just slimes

He does that, doesn't he?

#52 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 10:14 AM:

It's not just the US Attorneys. Every single federal government employee hired after January 20, 2001 needs to be reviewed for political hackery, and every dismissal or resignation from a federal government job after January 20, 2001 needs to be reviewed for politically-motivated termination. Without this deBushification we will, at best, have thousands of Linda Tripps infesting the civil service for decades.

#53 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 10:21 AM:

Y'all are smart.

One teensy tiny little quibble: In Jim's original post he called the Patriot Act "ill-thought out." It's easy and sensible to think along those lines, but I think dangerous--that act was very well and very carefully thought out. Just with the very very wrong goals.

Other than that, lemme give a big "uh-huh, yeah, totally!" to most of the points here.

#54 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Has it dawned on anyone that the reason Rove wanted to oust all 93 US Attorneys in midstream was to short-circuit the Scooter Libby case? Patrick Fitzgerald IS the US Attorney for Illinois.

Really, can anyone tell me what happens to a case if the prosecutor handling it is dismissed or fired?

#55 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Lori @ 54

I'd be interested in what would have happened to the attorneys he was supervising on that case.

#56 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Stefan Jones #10 and Jon Meltzer #52:

DeLay was an irate exterminator before he was in Congress, he campaigned on an anti-environmental platform that he ought not to have any restrictiosn on what noxious poisons he applied where and how.

So, "rat poison" is something he worked with, I wonder if he's got jobs lined up for Rove et al, in Dubai.. and if the vermin in US Government were assisted into their positions by DeLay....

Julie L #11

Abu Ghraib and Gitmo didn't have any of Dobson's buddies incarcerated in them...


Generally regarding "Clinton did it!" -- that technique is a close relative of both "Baffle with Bullshit" and derail/sideline the discourse as debate tactics. It's both trying to defocus and refocus the discussion off an issue and shove emotional noise in to blow the forum up and terminate inquiry and analytical investigation and concern, and move what's left over into a black hole.

The cravens of the news media are started to turn vulture, however... Newsweek, was it, called nn Cltr the Prs Hltn of politics this week... I'm not sure which of them is viler and has benefitted more from -ptui- journalists -ptui- who decided that pair of noxious bimboes were deserving of any admiring public attention on a routine basis.

The news media is also starting to look at the mouthings of the Executive Branch with a degree of dubiousness regarding the honesty and truthfulness and intentions of the Executive Branch, and starting to note differences between claims and actual part events/performance.

It's nowhere near enough, and it's very belated... is this a case of rats, sinking ship, run rat run for some other hold, or rats swimming away>

#57 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 11:20 AM:

Gonzales out -- Patrick Fitzgerald for AG! (It would be worth it just to watch the wingnuts go crazy - crazier...)

#58 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 11:23 AM:

I saw Rove on the news last night, and he wasn't just saying "Clinton did it too" -- he was emphasizing that Clinton fired 120 (or some number like that), while Dubya axed a mere 8. No proper change-of-terms political context, of course.

By now, it's no real surprise when *another* Bush appointee deserves firing -- or resigns, with no admission of guilt -- but it made me wonder whether any other administration has been so thoroughly riddled with incompetent and/or corrupt (indictable) officials. Harding's, maybe?

#59 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Under the radar previously...

"Bush removal ended Guam investigation
"US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist
"By Walter F. Roche Jr., Los Angeles Times
"August 8, 2005"

"WASHINGTON -- A US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff...but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after....

"....Black was directing a long-term investigation into...corruption in the administration of then-Governor Carl Gutierrez. The probe produced numerous indictments.....

"Black, 56, [had been] acting US attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands since 1991 [appointed by President George H. W. Bush].

"His replacement, Leonardo Rapadas....had been recommended for the job by the Guam Republican Party. [Lobbyist for Gutierrez] Fred Radewagen... said he carried that recommendation to top Bush aide Karl Rove in early 2003.

".. Rapadas recused himself from the...corruption case involving Gutierrez. The new US attorney was a cousin of ''one of the main targets," according to a confidential memo to Justice Department officials...."

In other words, Rove/Schmuck's hatchet man got the US attorney who was rooting into the muck in the Pacific involving slave labor-like factories with forced abortion, DeLay junkets there and such, that involved Abramoff, removed from investigating any further into the stinky stuff, and replaced him with someone with literal blood ties to a chief perpetrator....

#60 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 11:44 AM:

And more corruption-taint indication:

[federal documents, no copyright infringement quoting in whole]">

Reports Issued

Allegations Relating to the Selection of the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

In June 2006, the OIG’s Oversight and Review Division issued its report regarding allegations raised by Frederick Black, the former interim U.S. attorney for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Black alleged that he was replaced as the interim U.S. Attorney because he called for an investigation of Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff and because he supported applying federal immigration law to the Mariana Islands, a position Abramoff opposed.

Our investigation found that another person, Leonardo Rapadas, had already been chosen as the nominee for the U.S. Attorney’s position in Guam pursuant to the normal selection process well before Abramoff tried to become involved in the process. We concluded that Abramoff played no role in the selection of Rapadas. However, when informed of the White House’s decision to select Rapadas, Abramoff attempted to take credit with his Guam contacts for the selection, even though Abramoff had played no role in it.

Our report describes the selection process for the Guam U.S. Attorney position and the timing of key events in the process. We concluded that Black’s call for an investigation of Abramoff was not related to his removal as interim U.S. Attorney, and that Abramoff did not have any influence on Rapadas’s nomination. Moreover, we found that the Department offered to provide support for any investigation by Black’s office regarding Abramoff, but Black acknowledged that he placed any such investigation on the “back burner” because of other ongoing investigations into alleged political corruption in Guam.

We also determined that Black’s support for a recommendation contained in a May 2002 internal Department security report advocating the application of federal immigration law to the Northern Mariana Islands did not affect the appointment of Rapadas because he had been selected as the U.S. Attorney nominee 2 months prior to the issuance of the report. In addition, we found no evidence suggesting that those involved in the selection of Rapadas were focused on this immigration issue.

Finally, the OIG report concluded that the evidence did not support a series of other allegations raised by Black, including that Rapadas’s background investigation was insufficient or that the Guam USAO had abandoned public corruption investigations. "


Report of Investigation into Allegations Relating to the Selection of the U.S. Attorney
for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

Special Report
June 2006
Office of the Inspector General



Report of Investigation into Allegations Relating to the Selection of the U.S. Attorney
for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

Special Report
June 2006
Office of the Inspector General

This report describes the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) investigation regarding allegations raised by Frederick Black, the former interim U.S. Attorney for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Black alleged that he was replaced as the interim U.S. Attorney because he called for an investigation of Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff and also because he supported applying federal immigration law to the CNMI, a position Abramoff opposed.

Black had served as the interim United States Attorney for Guam and the CNMI since 1991. On November 19, 2002, President Bush nominated Leonardo Rapadas, a lawyer in the Guam Attorney General’s office, to be the Presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney for that district. On May 22, 2003, Rapadas was sworn in as the U. S. Attorney and has remained in that position since then.

The OIG learned of Black’s allegations in July 2005 from Noel Hillman, at that time the Chief of the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Hillman notified the OIG that Black had recently been interviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agents assigned to DOJ’s investigation into Abramoff’s activities. In that interview, Black stated that he believed he had been replaced as the U.S. Attorney because of political controversy he caused in the fall of 2002 by calling for an investigation of lobbying fees that the Superior Court of Guam had paid to Abramoff. Black also alleged that he may have been replaced in order to prevent the implementation of a recommendation contained in a May 2002 security report prepared by a DOJ security specialist regarding the applicability of federal immigration law to the CNMI, which Black supported and Abramoff allegedly opposed. During the FBI interview, Black also raised various concerns regarding the appointment of Rapadas as the U.S. Attorney and the management of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Guam and the CNMI (USAO-Guam) after Rapadas’s appointment.

#61 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Serge #51: He does indeed.

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Fragano, doesn't Cthulhu leave a silvery trail as it/he/she goes about? Kind of like the one-eyed shapeshifting aliens in It Came From Outer Space? The difference is that the latter were benevolent, unlike Dick... I mean... Cthulhu.

#63 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Anyone who wants to see and hear exactly what Teresa is talking about, turn on CSPAN right now and see one James Knobell testifying in the Plame hearings.

#64 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 01:19 PM:

The committee also has streaming video on their website:

Knodell is not doing well. They haven't done any investigation in the two years he's had the job, and he has to talk to 'senior management' first.

They're getting into classification now.

#65 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Does anyone else wonder that the timing of the premature launch of the October Surprise confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to a laundry list of heinous terroristic crimes (including 9/11) may be due to the dire need of a distraction away from the current Administration scandalanche?

#66 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:14 PM:

#59: Abramoff's shady island deal may be the Third Rail that takes out Rove and Gonzales: Gonzales for doing the peeing, Rove for holding on and helping him aim.

#67 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Serge #62: I believe he does. Of course, following it could lead to an undisclosed location, or R'lyeh, whichever comes first.

#68 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Time has an article on line about "Cheney's Fall from Grace",8599,1597226-1,00.html


The Pinocchio Presidency....

"You can see the strings on me!"

But somehow, the mass commercial media has the moral compass of the slimier varieties of camp followers, and don't go after the Schmuck, or voice anything that sounds like, "Figurehead!"

#69 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:41 PM:

I wonder what effects are, if anything, of the tabloid The Globe's continuing headlines and stories alleging that Laura Bush and her husband's marriage is little more than a legal fiction held together for the sake of appearances, and that as soon as the political appearance expedience applicability and image requirement is gone, the divorce proceeding will officially commence.

The publication is a stock item on the racks of checkout counters of just about every supermarket in the USA, spread all over the country. Regardless of whether someone notices it consciously or not, if they're semi-literate and standing in line, most people are going to have it hit them at least subconsciously.

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Well, Waxman is holding the hearing open (i.e., it ain't over yet) while they fact check Victoria Toensing's (self-serving) /testimony/ /statements/ lies. (She kept saying that Valerie wasn't covert, and Vickie claims to know this because she 'helped draft the law'. Oh, and there needs to be a list of NOCs so they aren't outed accidentally. Jeebus, that woman is dim.)

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Paula @ 68... "You can see the strings on me!"

And is the puppet master?

#72 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Waxman's one of the few heroic people in US Government these days, and has been throughout the entire nightmare regime that's holding the world hostage for its noxious agenda.

The regime has effected much that is evil, and little that I regard as postive:

Objective data includes:
- rise in US poverty and hunger rates measured to objective criteria regarding e.g. intake of nutrients and family income measured against cost of living looked at NOT doing the averaging that moves the curve values around because the top 20 percent, top ten percent, and particularly top 1 percent, have had their income and assets increase dramatically in the years since the Schmuck got appointed to the White House
- drop in standard of living of the -majority- of the US populace comparing, again, cost of living and availability of resources etc. against income and access to health care, time spent commuting to/from work, amount of leisure time, inflation-and-cost-of-living-adjusted hourly wages for what percentage of the population, number of hours worked compared to paying for housing and food and transportation....
- reported violent deaths in Iraq
- crime rate reporting in the USA (murder rates have been going up, resources diverted to the Homeland Security inanities have cut funding for suppression of "ordinary" crimes and criminals and deterring drunk drivers (they kill lots more people yearly in the USA than Osama bin Laden murdered on 9/11) (but then Gorge has that DUI that he couldn't get expunged from his record, and his wife ran a stop sign and lethally hit the car in front of her when she was in her late teens....)
- the loss of hundred of thousand to millions of books and manuscripts in Iraq, the looting of archaeological sites, the continuing damages to power distribution facilities and public works facilities and the general level of civil warfare in Iraq,
- the rampant burgeoning growth of identity fraud and spam and scams particularly on the Interneet and the enacting of such bad joke intentionally toothless and ineffectual legislation as "Canned Spam" which took -away- legal tools for victims to defend themselves,
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-Constituational attitudes and wording and promoting the RIAA and MPAA running a protection racket for the big music and film cartel multinationals, while denying the creators of the content and those who perform it, the benefits explicitly discussed within the body of the US Constitution itself
- the extension of copyright to life plus 70 or 75 years, which looks like it's directly contrary to the "limited time" exclusive rights granted to creators in the Constitution, and the Constitution stating specifically that patent and copyright law exist to make inventions and content available to the PUBLIC, and that rewarding the creators and publishers promotes the AVAILABILITY of inventions and intellectual property--that on the basis of facilitating and promoting and encouraging AVAILABILITY, the creators get exclusive rights for again a LIMITED amount of time.
- censorship of federal information on the basis of arbitrary and capricious religious bigotries and attitudes and with judges who throw cases our of court citing things like executive privilege and ALLEGED damage to the national interest.. yeah, it's damage to the Executive Branch of the US Government's perpetrators of these outrages, if it ever got revealed in an open honest court under oath just how much the Executive Branch has been raping the Constitution and Bill or Rights and suppressing the very ideals and values the country was founded with
- gag orders on federal employees about salmon, global warming, condoms, reproductive health, medical uses of marijuana....
- etc. etc. etc.

#73 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Black was demoted, fought it unsuccessfully as above, and the investigations he was pursuing, terminated.

Stonewalls have less stopping power than Rove has effected regarding terminating investigations....

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Fragano @ 48

Very nice. You know someone ought to publish a book of poems and drawings from the Bush Dynasty, like they sometimes publish anthologies of work done by soldiers in wartime. I'd nominate that poem for such a book.

#75 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Has anyone else been bemused by the fact that BBC is showing a handsomely-mounted series about the death of the Roman Republic by corruption just at this time? I mean, it's not hard to draw parallels between Shrub and his pals and the cabal that was on the winning side of the civil war. It might be worh a couple of hours of my time to research specific parallels (does Cheney = Marcus Antonius?). But were those parallels intended by the Beeb?

#76 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Teresa @ 34

I think another reason for the enforced "downsizing" that both CEOs and Wall Street seem to love is that when the race to the bottom for cheap labor began in earnest during the 90's the elite we're talking about developed a taste for the blood of their social inferiors, the economic blood, at any rate. Their rhetoric goes something like, "Someone has to make the hard decisions, that's why we get paid the big bucks." Where "hard decisions" is code for "lots of people get hurt."

This rhetoric reminds me of the sort of thing the CIA cowboys like Ollie North used to say with great glee, "We have to make hard decisions to protect our country." It seemed like that meant that whenever there was a choice to be made, the more dangerous and destructive choice would be made, the one that hurt the most people. This sure sounds like the sorts of things the Bushies have been saying.

My theory is that this sort of decision-making is addictive to a certain kind of sociopathic personality, a kind often found in high managerial or political positions. They literally get off on doing it.

#77 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Bruce Cohen #74: I blush.

#78 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Earl, #65, two senators watched the hearing via closed-circuit TV. I don't think it's too planned.

#79 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 03:02 AM:

You do realise that the Iraq Adventure has left the United States defenseless against Martian invasion?

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 07:37 AM:

Dave Bell... From Marvin the Martian? Quick! Somebody call Bugs Bunny!

#81 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 07:55 AM:

I was thinking more of the example of Doxtor Who and, in particular, the preparedness of the Royal Tank Regiment, as partially shown in the Confidential: Tank Tales piece on that page.

UNIT never had APFSDS available: it would have made things so much easier.

#82 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Oh, and there needs to be a list of NOCs so they aren't outed accidentally.

You mean there isn't already? What a relief. Now I just have to catch this drop of sweat before it hits the floor.

#83 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Damn it, Jim, I'm a zombie, not a doctor!

#84 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Oh, crap. Wrong thread. I'm so sorry.

#85 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 10:33 AM:

The headline this morning on CNN reads: FBI: Foreign extremists sign up to drive school buses

My first thought was "Wow. They'll say anything to get Gonzales and the prosecutor-firing scandal off the front page.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said "parents and children have nothing to fear."

Asked about the alert notice, the FBI's Rich Kolko said "there are no threats, no plots and no history leading us to believe there is any reason for concern," although law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to watch out for kids' safety.

The bulletin, parts of which were read to The Associated Press, did not say how often foreign extremists have sought to acquire licenses to drive school buses, or where. It was sent Friday as part of what officials said was a routine FBI and Homeland Security Department advisory to local law enforcement.

#86 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Meanwhile, on those firings:

Gonzales apologizes to prosecutors

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales apologized to the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys in a conference call Friday as he tried to hold on to his job amid the scandal over the firings of eight federal prosecutors.

In another move to repair his credibility, Gonzales named a respected U.S. attorney from Virginia, Chuck Rosenberg, as his interim chief of staff to replace Kyle Sampson, who stepped down because of his involvement in the controversy.

But pressure for Gonzales' resignation continued to build.

In recent days, the Justice Department and the White House have been forced to defend the firings after internal e-mails revealed a coordinated effort to root out U.S. attorneys who'd fallen out of favor with the administration.

Administration critics and allies alike were startled by the degree to which politics appeared to be driving the planned purge of the Republican appointees in the months before the 2006 congressional elections. In one e-mail, one official said the plan was to replace "underperforming" U.S. attorneys and retain the "vast majority" who were "loyal Bushies."

On Friday, Democrats seethed when the Bush administration missed a deadline to turn over new documents in a congressional investigation into whether the firings were part of a larger effort to politicize the department. More Republicans also publicly questioned Gonzales' independence from Bush and his management of his staff.

Across the country, morale within U.S. attorneys' offices deteriorated, leaving many feeling misled by the Bush administration.

"They feel a strong sense of betrayal," said a former Bush administration Justice Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his friends in the administration.

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 11:22 AM:

I'm president, and so was my good pater,
I'm the decider, I get to governate,
I get to speak and to pontificate,
and bask in the approval of my mater;
I merely smile at each Democratic baiter,
I know how to decide and how to deliberate,
those who dislike me are full of hate;
and anyone who points at facts is a traitor.
I find presidenting is awesome and neat,
I want a nice war, and by George I've got one,
and I just won't listen when you call me a name.
I've got reality and truth thoroughly beat,
this is my hour and my time in the sun,
and, as for the country, well that's just a shame.

#88 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 11:26 AM: agrees with Making Light:

March 16, 2007 | Whatever else Bill Clinton is or was or someday may become, he will forever remain the favorite scapegoat for Republicans in trouble. When they're caught, they always point at him -- just as they are doing now in the midst of the scandal over the political dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys and growing demands for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for his role in the matter.

From the Drudge Report to the Fox News Channel to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the usual suspects are shrieking in unison:

Bill Clinton fired a lot of U.S. attorneys too! In fact Clinton was worse because he fired all of them at once! And the Democrats didn't complain when Clinton did the same thing!


As a method of escaping responsibility and distracting gullible commentators, the Clinton dodge is now a classic maneuver for Republicans and conservatives. Back in 2002, when Bush was in trouble over his friendship with Enron's Kenneth Lay, the right-wing media insisted that Clinton had once hosted a White House sleepover for Lay. That diversion was an utter falsehood, as any of those who repeated it could easily have determined. It's a fake this time, too -- and it shouldn't distract anyone from holding Gonzales, Karl Rove and all the other authors of the current disgrace to account.

#89 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 11:43 AM:

From # 86: Administration critics and allies alike were startled by the degree to which politics appeared to be driving the planned purge of the Republican appointees in the months before the 2006 congressional elections.

Yeah, right. As startled as Inspector Renault was to discover there's gambling going on in this establishment.

Any official who was truly startled by this revelation should be thrown out of office on the grounds that he's had his head up his posterior for the last six years.

#90 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Aconite @ 84

No sweat, it's all the same in the zombie's stomach.

#91 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Aconite @ 89
Any official who was truly startled by this revelation should be thrown out of office on the grounds that he's had his head up his posterior for the last six years.

Oh, dear me, no. That's a requirement for taking office in the first place.

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2007, 07:38 PM:

The President called to his men.
Said he, "Folks, we need to extend
our culture to heathens,
so give me no reasons
why not to, for that is my yen."*

*This poem is an earnest of my solemn vow never to write any poem more respectable than a limerick about Shrub. Until the mortuary ode, of course.

#93 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 05:12 PM:

So it begins: KDKA in Pittsburgh asks why their US Attorney has only prosecuted Democrats. Have only Democrats committed crimes, or is that US Attorney a corrupt political hack? Well, she wasn't fired by the Bushies.....

#94 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 06:20 PM:

#93: For this to work, we need a whistle-blower, James. One of the ones who WASN'T fired has to fess up to pressure or secret orders.

Just one. Then the house of cards will fall and Rove and Bush will die of papercuts.

#95 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 06:56 PM:

I wonder if the US Attorney in New Hampshire (who slow-marched his way through the Phone Jamming scandal) might be tempted to confess.

I expect that most of the orders weren't couched as orders. More on the order of "Maybe you should look into X" or "Y probably isn't worth bothering with" from someone at Justice or a senator or congressman.

All deniable.

"Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?"

#96 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 08:25 PM:

The interesting (and disturbing) phrase in that video that I hadn't come across before is administration initiatives--as in, the US Attorneys were fired for not fulfulling these initiatives. The video says that phrase is from Gonzales/Miers memos.

Seems to fit into the deniability requirement JDM mentioned at #95, as well as being really frickin' creepy as word choices go. What are these initiatives?

(On re-reading, maybe I shouldn't have used that slash...)

#97 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 08:53 PM:

"Dis here's a nice AG job youse has got. Be a pity if something nasty was to happen to it."

#98 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Earl @ #65:

"October surprise" was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the "confession" headline. Further reading suggests to me that the "confession" is pretty much a pile of steaming crap; I was surprised that he didn't confess to instigating global warming and the AIDS epidemic while he was on such a (torture-induced?) roll.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:07 AM:

This poem is an earnest of my solemn vow never to write any poem more respectable than a limerick about Shrub. Until the mortuary ode, of course.

"Ode to a Public Urinal, Otherwise Known as the Tomb of George W. Bush"?

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Susan @ 98... I was surprised that he didn't confess to instigating global warming and the AIDS epidemic

That's because those are Clinton's fault, even though global warming doesn't exist.

#101 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 11:08 AM:

#98: The first thing that came to mind when I heard about the "confession" is that torture can make anyone say anything. Now, mind you, I don't know that torture was involved in this case. But that was the first thing that came to mind. (I mean, where does one find the time to be involved in all of those attacks?)

As for the US Attorneys, someone raised an interesting question on NPR over the weekend. If they dismissed these 8 attorneys because they were unwilling to compromise their independence, what does that say about the 85 attorneys that they kept?

#102 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 11:24 AM:

Implausible deniability.

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 11:49 AM:

JC @ 101

Some of them did what was wanted. Most of them probably weren't conspicuous in what they may have done or not done, but I'd like to see all the cases involving voting problems of whatever kind, and all the ones involving Democratic political figures, reviewed by someone without a dull axe.

#104 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Voting problem, yeah, sure, voting problems, did any of those US attorneys look into vote fraud in Ohio or Florida or other places that favored Republican candidates?

Wanna buy a bridge? How about some investments in collecting part of alleged frozen funds in Nigeria, etc., or doing typing at home, or envelope stuffing, or getting Gift Cards in return for having your email address forwarded to every current and future spammer and malicemail generator in existence now or until something may happen to exterminate the gangs of spammers and scammers and the Repugnicraps patrons of the same...


Waxman or Leahey for President!

#105 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Influence peddling specialists...

"Did a Rightwing PR firm bribe NYT, WSJ, MIT and others? UPDATED
"by dopper0189
"Sun Mar 18, 2007 at 07:01:23 AM PDT"

#106 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 02:01 PM:

How about some investments in collecting part of alleged frozen funds in Nigeria

I just got an e-mail addressed to 'Nigrian Scamme Victim', wanting to help me recover my lost money. It was, um, not well written.

#107 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 03:06 PM:

When does Fumigation Time come to the Executive Branch and their appointed executing judges and attorneys and other appartchiks... ironically, one of the vermin that took over DC and which vermin was one of the few sucked out, was DeLay, Mr-how-dare-the-EPA-restrict-the-use-of-noxious-lethal-poisons-for-making-greener-lawns-and-killing-anything-that-moves.

"Senator Schumer: "We Do Have Evidence Gonzales Lied Under Oath
"Crooks and Liars..."

"Sunday 18 March 2007

#108 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Gonzales is far from on my list of Admired Persons... but he's an appatachik, he isn't the one who came up the polices and directed them be carried out. He isn't the kingpin, he isn't the person the buck stops at. Disposing of/removing Gonzales is not going to change the cults of corruption and deceit and meanspiritedness and intolerance and censorship and information distortion and spreading of smears and lies and deceit and slime and the noxious belligerence-bullydom that infest the US Executive Branch and everything it exercises sovereignty within and without its legal span of control.

Only the removal of the Schmuck, Cheney, Rove, and everyone else stinking of what in fantasy novels would be called great darkness, or rot, will effect a substantiate and effective change.

#109 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 03:29 PM:

P J Evans 106:

But was it written in crayon on brown paper and sent as a manuscript for submission?

#110 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Xopher @ 99

I'd say that if we want to make damn sure he doesn't come back to haunt us that we should cut off his head, fill his abdominal cavity with salt, and bury him at a crossroad at midnight with a stake through his heart. Other techniques should be considered too.

#111 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Re: #99, #110: I'm visualizing a memorial sculpture, big enough so that when it's buried head first, up to its waist in the lowest spot of New Orleans, the feet will be sticking above the water for at least the next 75 years.

#112 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 05:31 PM:

P J Evans #106: I got one which began 'I am Henry and Francisca'. Clearly an identity problem.

#113 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Bruce @ 110:

A head of garlic stuffed in his mouth? (Pre- or post-mortem is something I leave to others.)

Fragano @ 112

I normally delete without reading, but that one got my attention for its brazen quality.

#114 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 111: I'm visualizing a memorial sculpture, big enough so that when it's buried head first, up to its waist in the lowest spot of New Orleans, the feet will be sticking above the water for at least the next 75 years.

While this would create some logistical problems for Xopher's suggestion @99, I could see getting around that and benefitting the local economy with specialty tours on boats.

#115 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 06:24 PM:

P J Evans #113: Occasionally, they can be amusing. Or lead to amusement. I replied to one fellow, claiming to be the son of Jonas Savimbi, by stating that I was glad that he had contacted me and informed me of his location as Savimbi had tried to kill my brother (my baby brother was in a helicopter over southern Angola when one of Savimbi's boys fired a shoulder-launched rocket at it; fortunately it missed). I indicated my desire to visit him. For some reason, the pseudonymous yahoo account I used didn't get a reply.

#116 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Xopher @ 99

Does it have to be real public urinal, or will an art exhibit at the Armory do? Seems like if we don't insist that it still be used for its original purpose it will be easy to make sure the salt doesn't wash away, or some other safeguard be neutrailized. On the other hand, if it's a real urinal, it's some much more degrading, so there's a tradeoff.

#117 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 06:51 PM:

What I actually meant is that W's tomb will be a urinal as far as I'm concerned, whatever physical form it may take. All the ideas here are wonderful though. I personally favor a bronze sculpture of him kneeling on a wooden box, naked, with his wrists and ankles tied together and to each other, electrodes (bronze, not real) clipped to his nipples and scrotum, a noose around his neck, and his mouth open.

Inside the mouth there should be a drain that empties into the sewers.

#118 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 07:01 PM:

I see that one terrorist confession hasn't been enough to distract the hounds from Gonzalez, so another has had to be produced.

We could start a pool on how long it takes before we get a confession from a Guantanamo detainee that claims responsibility for Hurricane Katrina.

#119 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Xopher @ 117: I fear that would make the more decent folk feel dirty afterwards, which is not the effect we're after. Besides, it would make it difficult for the ladies not to get our feet wet.

#120 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #118: Perhaps we should start a pool to see how long it will take for a detainee to claim responsibility for unleashing the Black Death.

#121 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Fragano @ 115

I got one once that was an 'heirs of Concorde crash' letter. They claimed the large-sum-of-money had to be disbursed within n years of the crash, and never noticed that it was already at n+2 years after that date.

I figured they failed either reading comprehension or arithmetic, but they could just have been recycling an old 419 letter.

#122 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 11:04 PM:

In this day, in this time, mere salt and spine-severing are hardly the limits of art.

If you want symbolic, you could put the traditional six parts of the corpse in six different deep ocean subduction zones; you could just leave it in the exhaust plume from test firing any large rocket engine. You could get all rococo and apply molten sodium and LOX, all quietly green and Gaiaic and insert, after grinding, those mortal remains into an anaerobic digester with however many hundred tons of pig shit as you felt necessary and appropriate.

#123 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 11:54 PM:

I'm certain that several of the detainees have already confessed to setting Hurricane Katrina.

Once Stalin received a delegation of workers from the Urals. When the workers left, Stalin looked around for his pipe but did not see it. He called the Chairman of the KGB Lavrentiy Beria and said, "Lavrentiy Pavlovich, my pipe disappeared after the visit of those workers."

"Yes, Yosif Vissarionovich, I'll immediately take proper measures."

Ten minutes later, Stalin pulled out a drawer in his desk and saw his pipe. He struck a match, puffed out a ring of smoke, and dialed Beria's number.

"Lavrentiy Pavlovich, my pipe's been found."

"What a pity," Beria said. "All of them have already confessed."

#124 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:54 AM:

Graydon @ 122

I was going for traditional methods that proved their worth in the past at preventing hideous and unnatural evil from returning from the dead. So the more high tech solutions may need a little more long-term testing. But I really like the pig shit.

#125 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:21 AM:

@118, on the confession--

Anyone else read about how Khalid had the "Plaza Bank in Washington" on his confession list, even though Plaza Bank was founded in 2006?

Last week after reading about this on a blog, I went to google's news and checked to see what, if anything, was said about this. Almost nothing: a Seattle paper noted it with a "He said 'Plaza Bank,' but obviously meant some other building."

Now it looks like a few alternative press sites mention it, but nothing more than that.

#126 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:03 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 125

Why, this is terrible! It means the terrorists now have access to time-travel technology!

#127 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 06:33 AM:

P J Evans #121: Or they just hoped greed would overcome sense. That's the basis of the entire 419 industry.

#128 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Paula, while I agree that the filth runs right to the core, I am hoping that what we are seeing is a slow, steady, effective paring out of the putrescence, rather than a quick swipe with a blade that cuts out a hunk but leaves it intact to be reattached somewhere and fester further. More and more proof, more lies exposed, the whole house of cards brought down, card by card, starting at the bottom and working to the top.

#129 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 10:35 AM:

#128, Nancy C.

The issue to me is that of ignoring and overlooking perniciously the primal sources of evil within the US Government today in favor of scapegoating selected effectors of their directives when the public and political pressure demands SOMETHING be done and someone's virtual head roll.

That is, Gonzales is a directed hatchet who enjoys being wielded to remove those who fail to put the Schmuck's agenda over little things like what used to be truth and honesty and the American way and Justice, Libby was a participant catspaw to Cheney and Schmuck's plot for revenge upon Ambassador Wilson for publically questioning I/l D/u/c/e the leadership of the Schmuck and his warmongering and his allegedly unquestionable evidence that was the claimed justification for invading Iraq, the revenge of stripping naked a covert CIA operative and her works and thereby detroying her career and identity as executive CIA operative... Cheney and the Schmuck and their associates' actions and the effects of their actions I can't consider as other than Evil, destroying someone's career to punish the person's spouse is vile, is that any positive thing to be said about it? Outing a CIA operative putting in danger all the foreigners who dealt with her, all the US citizens who were involved in it as cover operations, the entire operation, all the interests that had been served and information gathered past the point of the outing of Valerie Plame/Valerie Wilson... it was done for pure and sheer and simple vicious SPITE.

I don't consider it an exaggeration to say that that particular spiteful act of the US Executive Branch of outing Valerie Plame and then playing hypocritical coverup games

(Anybody else remember Schmuck's hypocritical comment about finding who was responsible and dealing with them?... that seems to have been about as serious as "kill the umpire!" yells at baseball games, or rather, LESS serious.... there are people who have assaulted umps for calls the committers of the assaults objected to... Libby's scapegoating seems a more ceremonial-for-show-when-forced-to-make-a-gesture thing by the Executive Branch than anything else, there has been nothing whatseover done to indicate the slightly bit of contrition or interest in doing a true, serious investigation and punishment and meting out of Justice and house cleaning....)

is evil. But are those who direct the evil being pointed out as the perpetrator and first causes of these outrages?

I served six years in the military. The mantra that the Commander is responsible for the actions of the subordinates and has the blame for keeping people in place who are incompetent, who act illegally, who commit illegal acts, who break the law perniciously, who outrage the local community.... is hammered into people in the military. Sacking the boss is the usual response when really bad things happen at a military facility--because if the boss was not the person who knew about or even directed the bad things, the boss failed to be competent enough to notice/suspect/prevent/CORRECT the situation and show -leadership- to change the situation.

The boss not doing anything is a sign or one ore more of incompetence, ineffectualness, lack of control and interest, powerlessness, active or passive participation in the bad stuff, lack of concern, OR, the boss did try to do something and was prevented--that last case, for example, decades ago there was a base commander at an Air Force base who sent a letter to his higher up, objecting to a directive to keep flying a particular type of attack plane past 50,000 hours of airframe air time.

The plane's design life was tat 50,000 hours. High Headquarters was extending it. The base commander, a colonel, objected in an official what's call "Cover Your Ass" (CYA) memo/letter, stating that the structural failure was going to start occuring on the planes, that the 50,000 hours of flight meant that the planes were going to start coming apart from e.g. metal fatigue.

Higher Headquarters sent him a letter reiterating the waiver and to keep flying the planes...

And within a few months, the base had at least four crashes of that model of plane, some of them fatal, where the airframes of the planes had had catastrostrophic failures.

Higher Headquarters tried to pin the blame on the colonel, on the basis of it all happened "on his watch." He pulled out his letter in which he objected to the direction to fly planes which were past their structural integrity life expectancy... and the attempt to scapegoat him failed, he was promoted to general instead and presumably someone within Higher Headquarters was found who could have the blame pinned on him for directing continuing to fly planes which were no longer structurally safe to fly and which had therefore crashed destroying the expensive equipment and injuring or killing expensive to train and replace pilots...

#130 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Also--without a change of "leadership" there is not going to be, I am convinced, any substantiative change to evil-business-as-usual. Without a change of managment at the top the same values and attitudes and methods reign, what changes is surface paint if that, business as usual.... I remember -that=- from my military days--change the organization name and the administrative reporting channels and change the stationary, don't actually change how things run, it's called appearance change--change the name, change the paint, no change in people or the procedure manuals or what would be called the playbooks in football.. the particular strategies to use might change a bit--again, what's going on is change for the sake of -appearance-, to fool Other People into THINKING that there is change, when there actually aren't any real substantiative changes being made.

So long as Schmuck and Cheney are in there, with their guiding evil genius staffer Rove, there is not going to BE any move toward Goodness and honesty and decency and any of the values of the people who founded the United States of America. So long as Sauron and Saruman hold their tenancy, anyone they appoint, owe their allegiance to Sauron and Saruman, and if not originally evil, are going to be tainted, if not consumed by it, and further -spread- the pollution and vileness.

Rove = Wormtongue?

#131 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 11:00 AM:

How about treating the GOP like the Justice Department did the Teamsters in the 60s and 70s? Thorough investigations, trials, and close supervision.

#132 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 11:29 AM:

#129: This ties into something that I've noticed that I haven't seen the media comment on. Bush et al. keep saying that they "take responsibility" for X or Y, but I never get the sense that they know what it means. That is, I don't see them making changes to make sure that X or Y never happen again. I don't see them confronting the consequences of X or Y. They behave as if taking responsibility ends at having uttered those words.

#133 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 12:00 PM:

P. J. Evans 131:

The Justice Department reports to via Gonzales directly to Saruman and all those US Attorneys are his appointees, and most of the judges are members of or appointees of/beholden to Saruman and/or Republican Party/Republicans/rightwing -religious-fanatics

You expect organizations which are agences of a crooked regime and with executives from the ranks of or selected specially by the crooked regime and/or the political party it's integrated with, to do any sort of honest and unslanted and uncensored/unredacted-to-protect-proprietary-interests-and-higher-ups investigation and trial and oversight? Hasn't more than six years of stonewalling and blocking of any substantive investigation and allowance of oversight into actions of Repugnicraps and of Schmuck regime activities demonstrated that?

#134 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Who said anything about having the Justice Dept doing the supervision? I haven't figured out who should - I'm not sure there's any organization I'd trust with it - but possibly bloggers should be doing it. We've learned a lot in the last couple of years.

#135 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:07 PM:

#134 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Who said anything about having the Justice Dept doing the supervision? I haven't figured out who should - I'm not sure there's any organization I'd trust with it - but possibly bloggers should be doing it. We've learned a lot in the last couple of years.

I want the force of legal authority involved and the assurance that there will be official penalties and conditions applied... the blogosphere's credibility and its ability to apply legalling binding judgment and action against perpetrators is limited to say the least. The blogosphere's credibility is nonexistent in general, and there few if any credentially generally socially accepted-as-binding Authorities involved... one can get opinions from any and all from the Army of God to the Southern Baptists at with their tenets of female submission to master and husband as one of the defining values of their faith, to Trotskyists, to radical pagan lesbians (what still exist of them, I was astonished some years back to discover that many of them had mutated into aspiring to convert to Orthodox Judaism because of the perception of Orthodox Judaism being a child-centric faith to securely raise children in....

Opinings by bloggers have rather less legal standing for imposing sanctions than some imam or mullah over in Asia imposing a fatwa against the wearing of bikinis outside the women in the community of his own followers...

Commentary on Making Light during Schmuck's tenancy of the White House has overall been highly critically negative about the Schmuck and his words and deeds and actions and the effects of them... and hasn't had any noticeable results as regards constraining, limiting, or terminating his continuing to act and speak in ways that the objectors here found and find heinous and vile.

#136 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Paula, I don't disagree with you one whit about those people. I just don't think we can get them out of power in one fell swoop. Investigations, exposes, revelation of the truth, and of the depths of the corruption, depravity, and treason take time. And we need those investigations, to persuade everyone who doesn't pay attention the way you do and the way I do to see those putrid cancers for what they are. You want top down, I want bottom up, because I think it's more likely to happen, and may have even started.

I want those people whimpering themselves to sleep every night, and crying when they wake up in the morning. I want them stripped of the money and power that give their lives meaning. I want their names used to curse unto the seventh generation. I want snakes to gnaw on their hearts til they die lonely, bitter deaths. I want all of them, and all of their cohorts, and all of their handlers, and all of the people who made it possible to rape my country, removed from office and and unable to get a job in a government, even a job such as upclose, by-eye, sewage line inspector, ever again.

#137 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 06:07 PM:

P J Evans @ 134

Call in Roto-Rooter. If they can't deal with this shit, no one can.

#138 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Bruce, I considered re-routing the Potomac for a while. You'd have to put /levees/ /dikes/ a whole lot of sandbags around the museums.

#139 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 135

Paula, I understand and deeply sympathize with your outrage and need for a righting of these very evil wrongs. I wish I could share a belief that we can ever get a satisfactory outcome from any legal process. One of the things that I learned from my time in the military is that all hierarchical organizations develop different cultures and different understandings of their goals and constraints at different levels of the hierarchy. Replace the person in position at the top of one piece of the tree, and the people more than two layers below rarely notice beyond the need to relearn the chain of command for their next promotion board.

The other thing that happens, especially in highly adversial and politicized systems, is that once any sort of action is taken, no matter how vile, subsequent use of the same sort of action by any faction is much easier to justify. So just removing the Voldemort Party from office doesn't mean we won't see such tactics used again by somebody else who is morally deficient enough to use the sort of excuse that "Clinton did it."

I think the event that finally destroyed hope in me that we weren't going to be the next Roman Empire was when Ken Lay died, and his widow, who was complicit in his acts, if only by profiting knowingly from them, got all his ill-gotten gains with a free pass, and no chance they can ever be recovered for the victims from whom they were stolen.

We may, by luck and sheer determination, emerge from the Age of Kleptocracy; I would like to believe it, I just don't see how. But please don't be swayed by my cynicism and despair. If you can set a fire under enough people, maybe it can happen.

#140 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 06:31 PM:

P J Evans @ 138

Go right ahead. My oldest son and his wife used to live a couple of blocks from the Mall, but they moved last year to Baton Rouge, LA, where they only have to worry about hurricanes.

#141 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 07:02 AM:

I wonder if the entire Attorney Firing Scandal wasn't based on just trying to fire Carol Lam before she dug too deeply into the Repub Bribeocracy, while the others were just a smokescreen so it wouldn't be too obvious?

#142 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 09:29 AM:

#141 -- Black who was digging into the Marianas human trafficking and the roles of Abramoff and DeLay, was jettisoned many months before the current issue celebre... and the fascist plutocrats removed soemthing like a total of four DOZEN US attorneys, most apparently because they were digging into areas the fascist plutocrats wanted untouched, since their seizure of the Executive Branch of the US Government, and their replacement of prosecutors with their party apparatchiks.

Their BS smokescreen of "prosecutors serve at the whim of the m/o/n/a/r/c/h Executive Branch head" belies the concept of -laws- and balance of power etc.

#143 ::: Jon Meltzer sees the usual spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 05:47 PM:

People still say "phat"?

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