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August 27, 2007

Rats, Ship, Sinking
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:17 AM * 73 comments

Word is that Alberto “Torture is Fun” Gonzales is resigning. That’s good. It won’t be possible to impeach him any more, but he can still be prosecuted.

Further rumor is that he’s going to be replaced by Michael “Stupid, Incompetent, Unqualified, Pick Any Three” Chertoff of Homeland Security. That’s less good.

Still, they’re bailing out. Getting while the getting is good. Handwriting, wall, you know the deal.

Comments on Rats, Ship, Sinking:
#1 ::: Zeke ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:23 AM:

A vigorous good riddance to Gonazles, who disgraced so much more than himself. In Chertoff's case, it should probably be "pick any three" -- here's hoping that the Congress remembers that it's an actual branch of government and refuses to confirm another toady for AG.

#2 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:34 AM:

And I thought, "huzzah!"

And then I thought, "oh. What are they covering up with the timing of this announcement?"

And then I thought, "whom will they replace him with? And is this the time that Lieberman thwarts oversight by swapping his allegiance in name as well as fact to the Republicans, so they can confirm the next rat?"

Damn, I feel cynical this morning.

#3 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Glah. "With whom will they replace him?"

Too early to be grammatical, apparently :-P

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Cans of worms. Fried in batter. Yum!

#5 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Oh my, I don't think Chertoff would be an improvement. (Yes, I realize I'm working with different criteria than W.)

NPR said that the policy in the Bush White House is that anyone who hasn't resigned by Labor Day will be stuck on the sinking ship until the end of term. (Ok, they didn't put it like that.) If that's the case, I'm surprised there haven't been more resignations. I can't imagine that the Bush Administration is a fun place to be at right now. (I do feel compelled, though, to point out that this is a situation entirely of their own making.)

Here's hoping for someone competent in a way that advances the cause of justice.

BTW, does anyone remember that at the beginning of W's first term, the administration was explicitly saying that the adults have come back to run the country?

#6 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:47 AM:

Great. Now I'm going to have to come up with a picture of Gonzo in handcuffs. I just can't keep up with these guys.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Excellent suggestion, Zeke. I've made the change.

#8 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:59 AM:

The word of the day is "Schadenfreude" (step-daughter of Elysium).

#9 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:14 AM:

I'm almost feeling sorry for Bush, because he's starting to run out of (unindicted) cronies to promote.

Still not actually sorry.

#10 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:14 AM:

OT, but since this is Jim's thread: Reading this newsweek interview of the doctor who stayed in New Orleans Memorial Medical center during Katrina gave me flashbacks to Jim's triaging posts. Pretty gruesome.

Back on topic. Does Gonzales resigning mean he won't have to answer any more of those pesky Congressional inquiry questions?

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:15 AM:

JC @ 5... at the beginning of W's first term, the administration was explicitly saying that the adults have come back to run the country

That depends on one's definition of 'adult'...

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:36 AM:

mayakda @ 10

Well, they can still subpoena him. I don't think it will make much difference, since he wasn't answering the questions when they had him in before.

#13 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:50 AM:

For some reason the song Rattigan plays near the end of the Great Mouse Detective is coming to mind.

"Goodbye so soon
And isn't this a crime?"

#14 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:56 AM:

The man who will be acting AG, Paul Clement

Former clerk for Silbermann and Scalia.

#15 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:12 AM:

#14: Argh! That's almost like Bush resigning and ....

#16 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Actually, it's still legally possible to impeach him. It would have the result of "disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States".

#17 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:26 AM:

Serge@11@JC @ 5... at the beginning of W's first term, the administration was explicitly saying that the adults have come back to run the country...
That depends on one's definition of 'adult'...

I think it must be the same adults who run adult book stores: Maybe they're just sleazy, ethically challenged money-grubbers who are taking advantage of people for profit, but one has a sinking feeling they're really a money-laundering front for seriously harmful illegal activity.

It sucks that they told us this in 2000 and we didn't listen. And it's a damn shame when whitehouse.com is a nicer place to be than whitehouse.gov.

#18 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:26 AM:

I should add that it would be politically impossible and would smack of vindictiveness. But, hey, go for it.

#19 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:28 AM:

If we wanted to be vindictive, wouldn't be just get him disbarred?

#20 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:32 AM:

#14: Paul Clement

Yes, but what's his Wikipedia username? :-)

#21 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:33 AM:

It is actually possible to impeach an officer of the United States after he or she has left office. It happened to Sec. of State William Belknap, the only cabinet member to ever be impeached; he was not convicted. (It also happened to Senator William Blount, who had already been expelled from the Senate; Blount was convicted.)

Out-of-office impeachment is not purely a symbolic act: conviction on a federal impeachment prevents the convict from ever holding federal office again. Given the non-zero number of Iran-Contra felons who joined the current administration, this is not a small consideration.

#22 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:57 AM:

So they've run out of crooked lawyers and are having to start on the equine relocation specialists?

#23 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:57 AM:

I am reminded of a song from my childhood, sung to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell."

We hate to see you go, We hate to see you go, We hope to heck you never come back, We hate to see you go.

Let me be the first say it -- Neener neener neener! Bye - bye!

#24 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:01 PM:

If we wanted to be vindictive, wouldn't be just get him disbarred?

No. It wouldn't do a thing to his lecture circuit income.

#25 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:09 PM:

To #2 -- Keep in mind that the President can appoint a new AG for one year without Senate confirmation if he acts fast and makes the appointment during the current Senate recess. That's how John Bolton got his UN gig.

Good thing I brought home an unused air-sickness bag from my last plane trip. I'll have it by me as I read the news over the next week or so.

#26 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Michael #25: I'd forgotten that. Maybe Harry Reid will show some sense and cojones and call for the Senate to return from recess immediately. (And maybe mice will nibble on the green-cheese moon. :-(

#27 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:16 PM:

#26: The latest news is that Gonzo's resignation doesn't take effect until September 17, when Congress is in session; so there will be no recess appointment. He does have three weeks left to shred, though.

#28 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:19 PM:

An acting AG can serve for up to 200 days without Senate confirmation.

Also, when the Bushes came in to the White House, their exact phrase was, "The grownups will be in charge", not "The adults". There's a different nuance to 'grownup' - and it doesn't necessarily imply maturity.

#29 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Take a moment to read the slacktivist's take on this story.

#30 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:46 PM:

#28: In my sub-dialect of English, "grownups" is the word children use. Spoken by an adult, it implies that the adult is talking in simplified language to children.

That should have been a warning, right there.

#31 ::: DaveMB ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:53 PM:

It is not quite true that someone impeached and removed from federal office is ineligible for future federal office. The voters retain their sovereignty for elective offices.

#32 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 01:28 PM:

I say good riddance to the rat b*st*rd.

#33 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 02:00 PM:

#30: Wow, you're absolutely right. I'm chagrined that I never noticed that.

However, I did think it portended bad things when they made a big deal of the "outgoing administration vandalized White House offices" story. Yes, it was eventually revealed to be a hoax. But the Bush White House kept saying they had no comment, as if they simply had no clue whether their offices had been vandalized or not. They could have stopped the hoax quickly, but they chose not to. Of course, I never suspected just exactly how bad the things it portended would be.
(i.e., if you asked me at the time, I would have told you that this administration was more interested in hurting political enemies than governance. But I would have never have predicted the length to which they'd go.)

#34 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 02:03 PM:

Cross-posted from my place:

Greg Sargent at TPM's Election Central declares Rahm Emanuel's response to Alberto Gonzales' resignation the Quote of the Day, and it's hard to argue against him:

Alberto Gonzales is the first Attorney General who thought the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth were three different things.

Yep.

#35 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 02:07 PM:

#22: Dave Bell, you may be thinking of former FEMA Director Michael Brown (""Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job"), rather than Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. An easy error to make. Both men were involved in the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

#36 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Here's what Matthew Yglesias thinks Bush will do about AG's replacement:

... my best guess is that Bush will go out of his way to pick somebody fairly controversial -- someone whose confirmation liberals will find outrageous -- and then start loudly and immediately declaring that each hour's delay in confirming his nominee is putting thousands of lives at risk. The hope would be to generate one of these situations where all the Republicans plus maybe a dozen Democrats vote to confirm, and then progressives spend the next month arguing with themselves over it, and even the Democrats who reliable agree to surrender on anything terror-related get criticized in fall '08 for being soft on terror.

Seems very likely to me. Bush seems to relish this sort of theater, and the Democrats seem unable to stand up to him.

#37 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 02:52 PM:

I get the feeling that Gonzáles may be positioned by the Rabid Republican Right as a 'martyr' to 'political correctness' and thus as a heroic figure who should be in the Senate or on the Supreme Court.

#38 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Fragano @ #37, I think you're wrong in guessing the Supreme Court. The social conservatives in the Republican party thought he was "too moderate" for them, because he was squishy on abortion. Remember what happened to Harriet Myers; it would be the same thing.

#39 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Applicable music/lyrics...

1) Regarding Gonzales and Rove in particular:

You gotcher dead skunk
In the middle of the road...

2) Applies to the whole coterie of them:

If I could live my life
Half as worthlessly as you
I'm convinced that I'd wind up burnin' too."

No, it is NOT Schaudefreude. The Chief Thief and Malevolence-disseminator is still in-place presiding over the worst raping ever of the United States. The ones who have left the "ship of state" don't look anything like a rat in any imminent danger of drowning, being drowned, or being attacked wither vermicides, pesticides, hunting felines, or bored sailors, or hungry sailors. The ones still ON the ship of state seem to continue to have immunity for every act of gnawing through the timbers, chewing up passengers' fingers and lips and toes and otherwise gnawing on them, eating up the food supply and drinking the potable water, befouling the food supply and all areas of the ship in general... the rats OWN the place...

where the rats run around like they own the place...

#40 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Still, celebrating the little victories can be good for morale.

#41 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:05 PM:

Linkmeister #38: You're probably right. The Senate then...

#42 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 05:57 AM:

#39: Paula, if this is the `worst raping ever' of the United States, the country is getting off pretty well. Compare to, say, what Cromwell did to England, or what's happening now in Zimbabwe, and it becomes plain that this is a blip in comparison. A nasty blip, and definitely not good, but still a blip.

#43 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 07:50 AM:

From McClatchy:

The following individuals have resigned from the Bush administration amid the furor following last year's firings of nine U.S. attorneys and the perceived politicization of the Justice Department.

Justice Department officials:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - Resigned Monday, effective Sept. 17.

Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff - Resigned in March.

Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counselor - Resigned in April.

Michael Battle, head of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys - Resigned in March.

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty - Resigned in May, effective late this summer.

Michael Elston, McNulty's chief of staff - Resigned June 15.

Tim Griffin, interim U.S. attorney for Arkansas - Resigned effective June 1.

Bradley Schlozman, former acting civil rights chief and U.S. attorney for Kansas City - Resigned from a Justice Department post in mid-August.

Wan Kim, chief, Civil Rights Division - Resigned Aug. 24

White House officials:

Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, White House's top political adviser - Resigned effective at the end of this week.

Sara Taylor, political director -- Resigned in May.

#44 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:58 AM:

From the CNN article:

"Some senior administration officials floated Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff as a possible replacement, but others waved CNN away from Chertoff, saying that his nomination could run into problems because of his role during Hurricane Katrina."

This suggests to me that Chertoff is a decoy, presumably so that people will be relieved to see somebody only slightly better qualified for the job actually getting the position.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Fragano @ 41

The Senate would be appropriate. After all, one of Bush's spiritual (?!) predecessors once appointed a horse to the Senate, no reason it has to be a whole horse.

#46 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Nix @ 42 - Care to elaborate the dire things Cromwell did to England - apart from entrench Parliamentary democracy and (reluctantly) agree with the execution of the most arrogant, mendacious monarch ever to be on this throne (and that is saying a lot) The similarities between President Bush and Charles Stuart are alarming. You might care to consider a similar resolution.

I suggest anyone who compares Oliver to Mugabe really has little understanding of either situation.

#47 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Martyn: you mean other than starting a war which resulted in between 100,000 and 150,000 casualties? Sure, those casualties eventually had a good effect on the constitution of the country, but for the people who paid for those changes, the times must have seemed pretty bad.

#48 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Jules #47:

Not to mention the destruction of quite a bit of liturgical art.

#49 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:23 PM:

James McDonald @43:

So, were all those resignations attempts by the administration to serve up sacrificial lambs, or did they resign in protest to what was going on in the Justice Department?

Also, has anyone seen the news reports about good Idaho Senator Craig (R)? It seems he got busted in an airport bathroom for soliciting from a policeman in the adjacent bathroom stall.

#50 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Despite what some of the memoirists would have you think, Oliver Cromwell did not in fact start the English Civil War. Certainly he played a significant role in ending it, but the way people refer to it as Cromwell's work probably would have come as a bit of a surprise to the actual commander of the New Model Army. These accounts are all colored by hindsight based on knowledge of the Protectorate--which was oppressive, but not exceptionally so for its times. If you want to talk about "what Cromwell did to Ireland", now, that's a different matter.

#51 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:37 PM:

It's kind of hard to look at that list and not think that, by embroiling the Justice department in a politically-driven controversy, the Bush administration has probably made it a lot less effective at its real job, which includes fighting both crime and terrorism. At least, the times I've worked at organizations where there was a lot of churn at the top, those organizations have become way, way less effective. I really hope we don't end up paying for this in a big way. Just because politicians and media love to pump up fear of terrorism to score points/win audiences, doesn't mean there aren't genuine threats to worry about!

#52 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:41 PM:

John L #49:

What is it with all these inappropriate gay solicitation scandals hitting the Republicans? Was this crap going on during Bush's power years, but just being deftly silenced in ways that don't work now that they're no longer so powerful? Or is the loss of power the sort of pain you have to drown by soliciting random guys for sex?

#53 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:49 PM:

albatross #52: Maybe it's that our news media have decided that, while they sure do like Republicans, maybe they don't like quite so many as we have now, so they've started covering their sex scandals.

#54 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Bruce Cohen #45: Caligula, at least, only made war on the sea.

#55 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 03:25 PM:

albatross @ 51

I've been wondering if the desired effect wasn't to make the DOJ far less effective at going after corporate criminals like Enron.

#56 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Nix #42

#39: Paula, if this is the `worst raping ever' of the United States, the country is getting off pretty well. Compare to, say, what Cromwell did to England

The wasn't anything done to the USA, which wouldn't come into existing for another century and a half...

or what's happening now in Zimbabwe,

Again, that's not the USA.

I was using shorthand for "this is the worse raping of US -law- and the citizenry of the USA ever," not "this is the worst thing that has happened in world history." There are reasons I used the word "raping" -- rape is not murder, it is not general warfare, it is morally outrageous and held as contemptible by the general public. The English Civil War involved a major difference of opinion over legal matter and form of government. The Roundheads put the monarchy ino hiatus, and weren't trying to impose any more state religion than already existed. Rape involved domination, and what the agenda the the so-called Christian extremists associates of the Schmuck promote and the anti-populist agenda that the Pluto/kleptorcrats of Schmuck's regime impose, involve imposing state religion and removing any implementation of the concept "government of the [general public] people, by the people, and for the people, as opposed to the fascists in control and their friends, in contravention of the -words- of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. They haven't overtly burned the Constitution, and they claim they are complying... which in some ways is more dangerous, they've subverted and pulled all the noxious stunts done in 1984 of redefining words and terms and clauses to denote what they want the words to denote....

and it becomes plain that this is a blip in comparison. A nasty blip, and definitely not good, but still a blip.

How much will be left by the time they depart? What will be left to preserve that they didn't cause to be destroyed? How much of the archives of Baghdad and the ruins of Mesopotamia were looted and destroyed and the provenance lost, because Mr Cheney's interest in archeology and history other than his own pet projects if any, is non-existent? How many people are dead, and how many maimed, and how many hate the USA because of the temerity of the Schmuck to attack a country which was not the source of the 9/11 mass murder plot and plotters and implementors? How many people in the USA have been denied healthcare because the federal government spent the funds instead on an ill-conceived misguided crusade full of intentional misinformation, how many US and British and Japanese and all the others countries that sent anyone to Iraq, citizens are dead from the chaos and nihilism erupting in the wake of the self=evacuating of the Iraqi government that existed before the invasion?
How much of the federal lands opened to strip mining and clearcutting etc. without any requirements for the contractors to do any effect conservation of what they aren't exploiting or to do any effective cleanup as regards clean water and wildlife habitat preservation and stabilizing hillsides, etc., are going to look like anything other than ecological wrecks and future strains on the US taxpayer wallets to prevent from there being even worse ecological consequences? What's the cleanup bill on the taxpayer going to be, and how does one set a pricetag on the loss of wildlife habitat of "old woods" and wildlife forage, when the land goes from "unused" to full of mine tailings, clearcut erosion, etc.?

And what about the effects of that piece of slime Alito on the Supreme Court, and rightwing Kheristian proselytizing judges and upper military spreading out from stomp on uppity women trying to sue for equal pay when they find out only after decades that they have been getting shorted on income compared to male coworkers to mandating death by toxemia because not aborting a doomed fetus take precedence over preserving the life of a woman with a problem pregnany who's past the fifth month....

What's even going to be -remaining" that's got any worth left to it?!

#57 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Better examples than the ones I used above:
- The US Executive Branch has been with malice aforethought not only dismantling regulations, but driving out all the competent concerned-for-the-wellbeing-of-workers-and-schoolgirls'-interests-and-minority-voters people who not only did enforcement of regulations for mine safety, civil rights, Title IX, fair housing laws, fair labor practices, but got rid of all the DATA COLLECTION protocols and expertise, too. That is, the fascists have been doing a massive dismantling and extermination campaign intended to leaving NOTHING left of the government infrastructure to start rebuilding regulation of industry and imposition of ANY restrictions on employers, or any requirement for equal opportunity for promotion, equal pay, equal access to jobs.. and destruction of all ability and recording methods for collecting data about e.g. the status of women and minorities in the workforce.

Since the data provides a basis for proving discrimination, if the data collection system disappears and there is no data, there's no way to go forward with any PROVABLE case of systematic bigotry/discrimination. And the Schmuck has been presiding for the past six years over an agenda that includes doing that, destroying any and all mechanisms to provide any substantiation regarding unfair labor practices, religions discrimination especially including favoritism (as at the Air Force and Navy Academies...), etc.

And once all the government infrastructure that took -decades- to build up for competence, knowledge, procedures, data bases, data collection, data distribution, methods for the public to request access to information, etc., are gone, trying to rebuild is starting from scorched earth and a complete lack of experienced people....

#58 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Paula @56, I'm not disagreeing with you! This may be the `worst raping ever' of the US (although perhaps the Civil War had both longer-lasting consequences and was more destructive, you'll need a historical vantage we don't have to be sure).

There's also no denying that the damage that the current malAdministration has done to some other countries has been horrifying: but that's not a rape of the *US*, it's a rape of, say, Iraq (and I suppose of Afghanistan, although given that it was basically about as raped as a country could be even before the US came near it I'm not sure the US could make matters very much worse there).

It's just that *compared to what various leaders have done elsewhere* the US is getting off pretty damned lightly; bad, nasty and deranged leaders can do a *lot* of damage, right up to leaving nothing of the country but rubble with people starving amid the ruins. I don't think the US is anywhere near there (thank goodness), nor will it be.

(The terrible blow-the-top-off-this-mountain mining technique was in wide use before Bush, alas. And should the antiwoman antiabortionist maniacs succeed in the sort of total ban they seem to want, the immediate consequences will be 1) a great increase in the death rate, admittedly, but 2) a huge and rapid backlash which would doom the political fortunes of such nutters, hopefully forever.)


Rebuilding from scorched earth is hard, but not impossible: the Bush administration didn't fire everyone, nor did they kill the people they got rid of (at least not most of them), and say what you might about the US's civil service, it's used to firing and rehiring silly numbers of people whenever the political winds change.

(Though perhaps, as a UK citizen with a travel phobia, I have an excessively detached view of matters on the other side of the pond...)

#59 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:29 AM:

Add to the things that Shrub and company are doign: rewriting reports to make the reports fit their political goals, including holding on to reports for several months in the process. There's a post up at The Next Hurrah dealing with this. All part of bringing us the thousand-year Reich Permanent Neocon Republican Majority they wanted so much.

#60 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 12:41 PM:

#59 PJ:

They may indeed have produced a permanent shift in US politics, but I don't think it's the one they intended.

#61 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 07:09 PM:

The problem I see is in the damage to our laws. My pipe dream is that all legislation passed during the Bush Years would be regarded as "poison" and subject to extensive review. I *know* it's a pipe dream, would throw out some perfectly good legislation with the bathwater, and is otherwise A Really Bad Idea, but I like to muse on it, anyway.

What brought this on is I have trouble seeing people in power voluntarily giving up power - especially if the power they have at hand is something thay can legitimately say isn't their fault. There are so many *good* uses that can be made of (unAmerican Law X), it would be a shame to get rid of it, and we'd only use this power for good, anyway.

That's what worries me. Also, some of the really active Constitution shredders (I'm thinking particularly of Cheney) came out of the Nixon years thinking not "lucky for us he was caught and a stop was put to it," but "too bad he was caught and a stop put to it - let's correct that little problem."

#62 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 10:53 AM:

What worries me most about the current administration is the godawful things it's done which a normal person couldn't have imagined in advance--not just starting a war for no very good reason, but completely botching the occupation, and not just abandoning a disaster-struck city, but forbidding aid to come into it.

I keep thinking there are time bombs waiting, not to mention that they've got over a year in which to do who knows what.

#63 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 10:54 AM:

What worries me most about the current administration isn't the godawful things it's done which a normal person couldn't have imagined in advance--not just starting a war for no very good reason, but completely botching the occupation, and not just abandoning a disaster-struck city, but forbidding aid from coming into it.

I keep thinking there are time bombs waiting, not to mention that they've got over a year in which to do who knows what.

#64 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 03:02 AM:

Tony Snow is leaving as well.

But he said his decision to leave was for financial, not health, reasons. "I ran out of money," said Snow, who earned much more in his former job as a Fox News commentator than at his government salary of $168,000 a year.

"We took out a loan when I came to the White House, and that loan is now gone. So I'm going to have to pay the bills," said Snow, who is married with three children.

Say what? He borrowed money to live on because his $168K per annum salary was insufficient?

Jeepers. If I ever got to live high enough on the hog that $168K wouldn't cover the expenses, I hope to heaven I'd cut some of the expenses.

#65 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Linkmeister #64:

I don't think there's any salary so high that you can't get used to it and accept ongoing expenses that require that income. In the DC area, especially in the last few years, it wouldn't have been that hard to buy a house whose mortgage payment took up most of that salary. And all kinds of other expenses (daycare, private school tuition, restaurants, even groceries) are inflated by the housing prices.

#66 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Oh, I know about DC prices (or knew, anyway), but still. Maybe you don't need the 2.5 acre lot. We made do with a 3/4 acre one in Annandale in the 1960s. Paid $26.5K for it, too.

#67 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 12:22 AM:

He has even more expenses than usual since he's being treated for cancer right now.

#68 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 02:13 AM:

Well, as a high-end government employee wouldn't he have had some of the best health coverage available? He'll lose that and be paying a la carte now, I suppose. Boutique health care in the private sector ain't cheap.

#69 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 01:39 AM:

Dollars to donuts he goes right back to work for Fox, and I imagine they've got a decent health plan. 'Course, the insurer might call the cancer a pre-existing condition and refuse to cover him.

I wouldn't wish that on anybody, but it takes a little more restraint not to do so with a Bush mouthpiece.

#70 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Linkmeister: Pre-ex certainly doesn't count if you change employers under the same health plan, and commonly doesn't if you change plans because you're changing employers; Snow, unlike many of us, probably doesn't have to worry about being a peon with a plan that would make difficulties over such a change. wrt not making enough, see the ML discussion a while back about trust-funders who had difficulty getting along on (IIRC) $15K/month \net/.

And there are Republicans who get outsize tastes even without spending most of their life in the private sector; former Massachusetts governor Paul Celucci ran up $700K in debts in ~20 years of public service.

#71 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 03:00 AM:

It appears Tony Snow isn't a very smart man, at least financially. From Slate:

When Snow came to the White House after several years at the Fox News Channel, it was clear that he had relied entirely on others to save for his retirement. Snow conceded: "As a matter of fact, I was even too dopey to get in on a 401(k). So there is actually no Fox pension. The only media pension I have is through AFTRA [a union]." Even though his employer provided a 401(k) and would have matched contributions, and even though he was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars, Snow had not shown either the interest or financial capability to manage his own retirement benefits.

Ah, but has he learned anything? Further down in the same article:

Snow conceded that he has been very lucky to have the government fund his health care. "I've been lucky I work at the White House, I've had the use of diagnostic care. I'd like to find ways to help those who, for whatever reason, … don't get diagnostic treatment, don't take care of themselves, may not have the resources that I've had at my disposal," he said. But that hasn't made him rethink his opposition to using federal resources to expand coverage for fellow cancer sufferers. "That does not mean that I'm going to be necessarily banging the tin cup for federal funding. It may be that I'll go out, try and raise some money myself to try to help people directly."

Gee thanks, Tony.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 10:13 AM:

linkmeister @ 71

Talk about someone who just doesn't get it!

#73 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 02:48 PM:

For the sake of his wife and kids, I hope he's got the sense to have a large life insurance policy.

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