Friday, March 30, 2007

Sara 'Scooter' Taylor out

With the Scooter count now at 3, how many more aides have to get thrown under this bus before their bosses start to take some responsibility? Evidently, a few more at least, as Gonzo still isn't backing down

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged Friday confusion about of his role in firing eight U.S. attorneys but said he doesn't "recall being involved in deliberations" over which prosecutors were to be ousted.

"I believe in truth and accountability, and every step that I've taken is consistent with that principle," Gonzales said when asked why he is not heeding growing calls to resign. "I am fighting for the truth as well."

So it looks like he's still toeing the "I'm not a crook" line, so if you had today in your how long will the Attorney General last office pool, it doesn't look too good for you.

In case you've been under a rock for the last few weeks, here's a summary of the shenanigans. Oh,and should we really be accepting something that's not in public, and is this an under oath kind of thing?

In unrelated news, here and here are my favorite political cartoons from the Salt Lake Tribune's archive for the past few weeks. And here's Helen Thomas's take on Bush's presidential temper tantrum of late.

Red Thumbs

As it became apparent to Nixon, Liddy, Haldeman, Erlichman, Et al., that the furor of Watergate was not just a passing media frenzy, they sought out more clandestine means of communication, rather than putting a stop to what would eventually lead to their collective resignations, and one of the most lasting, and damaging scandals in the history of our government. A broad effort was launched to keep questionable White House behavior out of documented letters, off of official phone lines, and out of the public eye. Elaborate means of communication developed, the likes of which put Tony Soprano's basement air conditioner sit downs to shame.

That was 1972.

In 2007, as US News reports, the White House has more advanced options for keeping dirty tricks from the light of day.

...just a week after E-mails in the U.S. attorneys case became a main focus of congressional Democrats probing the firings, several aides said that they stopped using the White House system except for purely professional correspondence.
Obviously the White House cannot become so completely disconnected and still function in this age of instant communication, so what is the modern equivalent of Liddy's late night public phone booth calls of Watergate fame?
At least two aides said that they have subsequently bought their own private E-mail system through a cellular phone or Blackberry server. When asked how he communicated, one aide pulled out a new personal cellphone and said, "texting."
How proud we can all be. To avoid transparency and accountability, the offices of the leaders of the free world now communicate on the level of a 14 year old girl with a crush.

BING! "karl- goin away party for A.G. 2nite? lol :) Love-gwb"
BING! "u bet. hit me up @ ""

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Standard-Examiner on Watch

Sunday's Salt Lake Tribune front page story of declining support for the war among members of the LDS church met with little fan fare. Understandable, as a slight decline of support is not exactly the earth-shattering ideological shift most anti-war Utahn's would like to see in the LDS trenches of a state that has been more red than a baboon's ass for nearly a half century.

Still, it seems to have caused at least slight alarm in one of our local pushers of print media. In the week since the article hit the front page of the Tribune, Ogden's Standard Examiner has loaded it's own commentary section with two separate fact-challenged opinions, on two separate days.

The first, "History Teaches Us Middle East-Centered Conflicts Require Fortitude," written by Neil Humphreys, Layton resident, and pastor of the Westminster Church in Fruit Heights. Mr. Humphreys "takes us to school" with a little history lesson of the middle east (thought he only catches about 20% of the actual history), as justification for a continued "resolve" to bang our heads against the Sunni and Shi'ite wall in Iraq. He sums up for us with a witty untruth regarding the 1972 presidential election:

The new campaign doctrine is to win elections by losing the war. But what is remarkable for me is the lack of memory by my own political party. When the Democrats played the anti-war card 40 years ago during a presidential election, the result was victory for Richard Nixon.
Actually, Mr. Humphrey's, Nixon ran on the "Out of Vietnam" ticket as well. He got elected because he was a good liar, and his opponent was better at self-sabotage than campaigning. Nixon himself preferred the "resolve vs. defeat" argument, much like the one in your own commentary.

The second Standard opinion piece, "We Cannot End Wars, But We Can Choose Correctly and Feel Peace," was written by Chuck Goldberg, an ordained minister who's son was killed in Iraq. Goldberg levies this gem on us:
Since we are not privy to the military intelligence provided to the president and his war planners, we can't know for sure if switching the focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein was misguided or not... It really doesn't matter. If the draft were still in place, then some huge moral questions come into play. However, we have an all-volunteer force. That means no matter how questionable or immoral the conflict, everyone there knew the risks going in and joined anyway. Thus, what's the problem?
Let's just kind of not talk about this one, ever again.

I appreciate the Standard-Examiner as a media organization for choosing such timely and topical commentaries for their opinion page, and I am sure they plan to offer equal page space to the other side of this argument in the very near future (there's still one more day in the week guys!).

The declining pro-war sentiment in the typically stubborn and ideologically stagnant base of the LDS church is something of note. It tells us not only of the continued unpopularity of this war and it's political supporters, but also of the rising awareness in Utahn's, hopefully both LDS and non, of the tragedy that is this ongoing war, and the hubris and misdirection of the Bush presidency. It is an important conversation, and a welcome change many would like to encourage. The Standard-Examiner owes it to Utah, and the nation, to present both sides of this public debate.

Until it happens, we'll be watching.

Follow ups

Because things don't just stay the same after we read about them the first time, here's a couple of follow ups to stories from the last few weeks.

Rocky v Hannity -

First it was off and now it's back on.

Each will make a 30-minute presentation, then get 15 minutes to pitch questions at his opponent. The final 15 minutes will go to the moderator for questions. The Rocky-Hannity encounter came unexpectedly today, arising out of call the mayor initiated to the Doug Wright Show. When the mayor accused Hannity of ignoring his requests for a rescheduled debate, KSL put in a call to Hannity.
The Fox News commentator responded. "Is the mayor really there or is he holding a protest or having a press conference?" Hannity asked KSL.
"He's right here," Doug Wright responded.
"Hey, Sean, I'm right here doing the city's business," the mayor said.
"Oh, it's about time," Hannity quipped.

This should be something to see, if anyone gets word on tickets, let us know.

Sen. Bennett on board for campaign electronic reporting

He's dropped his amendment in exchange for a hearing on his issue soon.
"I'm not trying to gum up the works," Bennett said, responding to an editorial in The Washington Post complaining about his amendment. "I'm not trying to sneak anything past anybody."
Rules Chairwoman Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., promised Bennett she would hold a hearing on his coordinated campaign bill within the next three months, possibly in April.

This is what I thought he should do all along, the bills didn't seem too related, and risking the bill for the amendment wasn't worth it, so perhaps he was willing to kill it in order to get time for his idea. I can't complain about that, it's politics, I'm glad he's changed his mind though.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Looks Like The Plan May Be Working..."

White House news feed, March 20, 2006:

Fact Sheet: Strategy for Victory - Clear, Hold, and Build - Today's Presidential Action

Today, President Bush Discussed The Strategy For Victory In Iraq And Profiled The Northern Iraqi Town Of Tal Afar. Once a key base of operations for Al-Qaida, Tal Afar is a concrete example of progress in Iraq.

Tal Afar Shows How The Three Elements Of The Strategy For Victory In Iraq - Political, Security, And Economic - Depend On And Reinforce One Another.
MSNBC, today:
Revenge killings: Police and hospital officials said off-duty Shiite policemen enraged by massive bombings in the northern town of Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents there on Wednesday, killing at least 45 men.

The policemen began roaming the town’s Sunni neighborhoods on foot early in the morning, shooting at Sunni residents and homes.

A senior hospital official in Tal Afar said at least 45 men ages 15 to 60 were killed and four others were wounded.
So how's that surge workin' out for ya?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bennett puts the brakes on campain finance reform

By adding an amendment to a bill that simply aims to cut down or eliminate the lag in public disclosure of senate campaign finances online, Bob Bennett is really risking the bill's overall chance of passing. The obvious answer for me, if I were Sen. Bennett, would be to pass this bill, then introduce further legislation allowing candidates and parties to coordinate ads (depending on the wording of that it could be either good or bad, it would have to include accountability of the candidate for what the party is saying in it's ads for me to consider it campaign reform, otherwise it's simply giving the candidates a shield to say whatever they want in ads by giving them the "I didn't run that ad, the (insert political party here) party did" out).

But as Matt Stoller points out over at MyDD, passing the bill, or getting it a vote in the full Senate is more important than haggling about Bennett's amendment right now

We need to make sure that all Democrats on the Rules Committee show up at tomorrow's hearing to defeat the bill, and to persuade as many Republicans as we can to oppose Sen. Bennett's efforts to gum up the works with a more controversial provision that can be handled separately. So, if one of these Senators belongs to you:

Dems: Feinstein (CA), Byrd (WV), Inouye (HI), Dodd (CT), Schumer (NY), Durbin (IL), B. Nelson (NE), Reid (NV), Murray (WA), Pryor (AR)
Reps: Bennett (UT), Stevens (AK), McConnell (KY), Cochran (MS), Lott (MS), Hutchison (TX), Chambliss (GA), Hager (NE), Lamar! (TN)

Then call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at 1-800-459-1887, ask to be connected to his or her office, and just say something like:

Hi, I was hoping I could speak with someone about Sen. [Feingold if (D), Cochran if (R)]'s electronic disclosure bill? [wait] My name is [X], and I live in [Town], [Your State]. I regularly follow politics online, so I was hoping that the Senator would make sure to support S. 223 at tomorrow's hearing, and to make sure it will be voted out as a clean bill. Does s/he have a position on it? Is the Senator a co-sponsor?
Two minutes; in, out, done.

But for those of us whom Bennett is representing, we can add a little bit of "and don't risk this one by attaching your amendment" to help ensure this passes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Presidential Health Care Forum

Nothing to ad to what went on inside the union sponsored Presidential Health Care Forum, in Las Vegas, that you can't find, or haven't already read, elsewhere (Taylor Marsh has the best live-blogging script of the event). Nothing that would make or break a political career occurred here. Or so it might seem...

The candidates hit the parking lot at nearly the same time, so it was not possible to catch all of their arrivals and comments to supporters cheering them on as they entered the arena. Hilary had drawn a large crowd (large for 8am Saturday morning in Vegas, at least), the Edwards camp was (sadly) non-existent, and a few had come to show support for Kucinich, Dodd, and Richardson. By sheer timing and luck of a parking spot, we found ourselves walking through the Obama crew just as he arrived. They lined the street with signs and flags, and the excitement of the crowd was impossible to ignore. Standing across from the Obama crowd were a few lonely protestors holding KEEP NEVADA RED and WE CAME FOR THE MINDLESS LIBERAL WOMEN signs, shouting "OBAMA WHO?". I admired their bravado, but found myself wondering what possessed them to protest against the candidates at the forum, when their own candidates were absent (get to that in a second).

And then, in what seemed just one, early event proceeding the long campaigns we can all look forward to, something happened that changed, for me, the very nature of what is happening around the nation. Obama's van entered the parking lot closer to the protesters than the supporters, and came to a stop. Obama nearly leaped from the van, and shook the hands of the KEEP NEVADA RED guys, exchanging a few words we could not hear, before turning to his supporters and getting lost in a sea of cheering and hand-shaking. As I stepped in closer myself, hoping to catch a word or two from a candidate still fresh in the beginning of a campaign, I could see, over the crowd, the KEEP NEVADA RED guys just standing, silently watching the swarm around Barrack Obama.

Keep your eye on the guy, that's all I'm saying. He bombed at the forum that day, giving off the perception he wasn't prepared to address health care (he did promise his plan would be out in a few months), but the man's got something, he knows how to use it, and it's contagious.

The union sponsored event was positioned as an early jumping point for candidates to get their health care plan out for public digestion. Invitations were sent out to all 2008 Presidential candidates. In attendance were Obama, Edwards, Clinton, Richardson, Dodd, and Kucinich. Invitations were sent to all candidates. In attendance were... Hey! No republicans!

Republican's seem to believe that health care will lay low during the 2008 elections, but the Democrats have grasped the fact that this issue holds sway with a growing number of voters. They are banking on it becoming one of the key issues of the election, outside of the Iraq Catastrofuck, and I believe they will not regret the decision to focus on it early, and throughout their campaigns.

The Republican "void" at the forum stands as one more small, quiet piece of large screaming puzzle that is the Republican Party's lack of connection with the people of America. It's going to cost them.

I'm surprised it took so long, UT backs Gonzo

Or at least Chris Cannon and Orrin Hatch do. Is it surprising that the same senator that would defend his local USA would support the DoJ removing others? And Chris Cannon saying you can fire people for political reasons on FNC, did that shock anyone? It doesn't look like much changed from the Utah Republicans while we were in Vegas.

Update [from like 18 seconds after the original post]

It looks like things are starting to get interesting, and I thought we'd get at least to April before the 5th came out on this one.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Health Care and Hippies

The Sidetrack will be closing up shop for the next three days while the crew (Yep, all THREE of us) experiences the Fear and Loathing of Las Vegas.

Friday and Saturday morning, we will be stalking candidates at the Presidential Forum on Health Care (Center for American Progress). Confirmed attending candidates are:

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)
Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Then (and possibly even more exciting) we will be catching a little Dave Matthews Band at the MGM Grand.

Back monday. 'Til then...
P.S. If Gonzales finally resigns, someone CALL US!!!

Romney hearts Rocky

Ok well, maybe not hearts, but he endorsed him in 2003. I wonder what Romney's supporters are going to say about this. He's already been called a flip flopper, and now this. In case you haven't seen what Rocky's been up to lately, take a look at this, that's not something a Republican candidate for President should tie himself to. It's looking more and more like Republicans are going to have more problems with Romney than just him being a mormon.

Edwards - I'm hoping for the best

The press conference is coming up soon. This comment from the TPM Election Central puts it best.

The very qualities that would make him drop out of the race because of his wife's health would make him a great president. Our prayers are with Sen. Edwards and his lovely wife, Elizabeth. - Mrgavel
UPDATE (Jasonthe) 10:21 MST: A Biopsy shows that Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has returned, but they are optimistic treatment will keep it from spreading. "We are actually encouraged as we get more and more test results," Elizabeth said. "I do not expect my life to be significantly different."

She visited the doctor after she cracked a rib, the same rib where the new cancer was found. "Is this a hardship for us," Elizabeth said, "of course it is. But this campaign is not about John or Elizabeth Edwards. Every campaign stop, someone cries on my shoulder about the state of their lives. We need to get this next election right."

Edwards said this changes nothing for his campaign. "We have fought this before, and we have no intention of cowering in the corner. The campaign will go on."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

DOJ Deja Vu, and "Political Surrealism"

In light of the DOJ ongoings, subpoena authorizations in the house, and the POTUS's temper-tantrum of a press briefing yesterday, I thought it a fine time to brush up on my Nixon/Watergate trivia. I didn't get far before finding this, and I'm out for the day. Done. Politics is weeeeeird, man.

Would Utah vote for Mean Jean

With Rep Jean Schmidt (R-OH) causing problems again saying Walter Reed was blown out of proportion by the media, and that everything is really ok there, it's hard for me to remember that she has only really been in national news for about 2 years now. In that 2 years she has managed to put enough bad quotes into the media that it seems like she's been around forever. Watching her Congressional career has made me wonder how she's managed to get elected twice. What part of her do voters in Ohio's 2nd district see that I'm so clearly missing?

Here's a good summary of what I've seen over the past 2 years (although I'd argue that 6th dumbest congressman, she's easily in the top 5). But then I look at what we have here in Utah, and I can't say that things look much better. We've got Chris Cannon, Rob Bishop who should just wear a Republican Rubber Stamp t-shirt (except for lower student loan rates, and when the FBI wants to know what you got at the library, you sick bastard you) (oh, and seriously Rob, stop sending me mail, I was complaining about what you were doing when I sent that email, so why do you find it necessary to keep me up to date when you're still doing the same stupid things), Orrin Hatch who ran on term limits in his first campaign - 30 years ago, and Bob Bennett who fights vigorously for the rights of banks. So ya, that's the negative side of everything, but it seems that some Republicans in Congress have the luxury of not being held accountable for what they say or do. In Ohio, it was a close election yes, but Schmidt won a second term. In Utah, it seems as if Republicans can do no wrong, some wouldn't even come out and say that Divine Strake was a bad idea 'until all the research had been done'. But a year and a half from now, they'll get reelected, unless we as voters hold them responsible. I'm not even suggesting switching parties, if you're a republican you can vote these people out in primaries and not lose control of you're seat. But the bottom line is hold the people you elect to represent you accountable for the things they do and say, otherwise they'll just keep doing the same things.

Update: On the comedy side of things, seriously, I would have paid money to see this.

Mayor Rocky vs Fox News

Rocky Anderson's debate with Sean Hannity is something that I personally would like very much to see happen, but at this point, it seems doubtful. But true to FNC style, Hannity wasn't going to let it look like he wanted out.

* Hannity said on his radio program Monday: "First, he [Anderson] said he wanted a joint press conference instead of a debate. If it's just a press conference, I might as well just send a video."
* But here is a March 12 e-mail from Eileen Lofrese, Hannity's producer, to Patrick Thronson, Anderson's communications director: "For the sake of bipartisanship I think it is best to refer to this as a 'Joint Press Conference' and not a 'Debate' and I will relay that to all parties intending on broadcasting this educated and civilized forum for the voicing of opinions and conflicting viewpoints."
* Thronson responded: "Mayor Anderson cannot agree to any other format than a structured debate format, with a moderator. Mr. Hannity has repeatedly expressed his desire for a debate on the Iraq War and impeachment, not a 'press conference.' We are mystified as to why he has now apparently changed his position." Lofrese then apologized and said the misunderstanding was her mistake.

It seems that Hannity's people tried to set the rules of the debate (press conference?), and then disagreed with their own rules, blaming Anderson's people for setting the rules. I'm not sure where, outside of FNC, that makes any sense. This was my favorite.

* Hannity also said he has been trying to contact Anderson to work out the details, but "Rocky can't get back to me. He doesn't have time." The e-mails show a different picture. Thronson wrote to Lofrese on March 13: "Any more word on the question of media exclusivity?" Then, on March 14, he again wrote: "Haven't heard back from you, and just wanted to make sure we were all in the same loop on this event. Is Fox willing to budge on media access?" Lofrese then wrote, "We're working on this. We'll get back to you shortly." She never did, and when Thronson sent another e-mail Monday asking where everything stood, he got an auto-response saying she wasn't available.

With the debate seemingly off, Anderson took to other FNC outlets, and ended up on the receiving end of one of Bill O'Reilly's, I'm not sure I can put words to what that man does, but you know what I mean. [Video]

"You don't know what you are talking about!" O'Reilly countered. "You are foolish and you are subverting your own country. . . . You are a kook."

Anderson smiled at the retort: "Classic Bill, isn't it? [You] invite guests on to call them names. . . . Where I'm from, we ask people questions and give them the courtesy of answering without being interrupted."

Now I can't imagine that anyone was terribly shocked by the way O'Reilly or Hannity have acted here, or Fox News in general for that matter. But it is nice to see someone standing up to them, challenging their rhetoric, and engaging them in places their talking points won't take them. It's been a string of dents in FNC's credibility as a news organization lately, this will keep that momentum going, hopefully we will see the end of them reporting soon, then we can get back to deciding.

Oh, and just in case anyone still thinks there's any reason for dems to take their message to FNC to "appeal to a wider audience" or something like that, remember, this isn't an audience that will buy what you're selling.


Tags Revamped

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Congressional Oversight, Chris Cannon Style

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform met yesterday to address scientists' claims that the Bush Administration had watered down their research on climate change and censored their conclusions.

From the LA Times:

The accusations led Democrats and Republicans at the congressional hearing to accuse each other of censorship, smear tactics and McCarthyism. Democrats focused on an oil lobbyist hired by the white house, despite his lack of scientific training, to edit documents to be released regarding global warming.
Republicans in turn targeted a NASA scientist, accusing him of politicizing his research, and ignoring "uncertainties in climate change." They disagreed with his claim that public funded scientists had a right to free speech.

Then, in what was most certainly a lively, and interesting debate, our own Chris Cannon gave birth to this lovely gem of political insight.
"Free speech is not a simple thing and is subject to and directed by policy," said Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah).
Ah Christpher, you make us so proud, with your complete lack of regard for the Constitution of the United States, and distorted take on the nature of democracy in government.

We cannot allow the GOP to turn this into a constitutional debate on the nature of free speech. The question should remain, simply, did the administration hamstring publicly funded scientists in order to squelch the severity of conclusions regarding climate change? The rights of publicly funded organizations are not in question here, but rather the rights of millions of Americans who, through their tax dollars are funding research, the conclusions of which we have a right to know, without heavy handed editing from an oil lobbyist on the White House bankroll.

The only right being trampled on is the right of a free citizen, through collective public funding, to collect facts and be informed, on any issue, regardless of the conclusions the information may lead to or how it may effect public opinion.

The attempt to frame this as a constitutional dilemna by Cannon and the GOP is an attempt to blur the original purpose of these oversight hearings entirely.

The American people, quite literally, are paying these researchers to provide us with any information that stems from their work. And we are paying you, Christopher, to then represent our interests, in light of the information at hand. We are not paying you to question what we have a right to know or not know, we are not paying you or the body of the GOP to shelter administration policy at the cost of an informed public. We do not need protection from the reality scientific research may shed light on, we need protection from people like yourself, and those who voted for you.

(More on the Congressional Hearings)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Is Gonzo . . . Gonzo

It looks like the writing may be on the wall with this one. Between this, Plamegate going to the hill, the FBI going a little overboard it's been a rough month for the white house. . . . oh, and I think there's still something going on in the middle east too.

Friday, March 16, 2007

SE's Gibson doesn't like how you're acting

Utah local media still catching up?

In the viewpoints section of this morning's Standard Examiner, Doug Gibson
explains that the "newly powerful extremists" (that would be us) in the Democratic party have "taken to 'seizing' congressional offices and generally behaving rudely to politicians. We do this, of course, because we don't like the war in Iraq, but evidently by doing this, we have harmed the Democratic Congress by reducing them to "a very small dog with a high-pitched, frantic bark that patrols the family’s front lawn."

Now Gibson's neglect of everything else the current Congress is doing that the previous didn't (i.e. oversight, I heard something was going on with the Department of Justice or something like that) aside, he is still missing the point on what's wrong with the war. The war should not have happened in the first place. Yes Saddam was a terrible, ruthless dictator, and yes the world is a better place for his being gone, but at what cost? Is it worth over 3,200 American soldiers lives, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the thinning of our military leaving us potentially unable to respond to other threats worldwide? I find it interesting that someone who would point out

The Democratic Party Net extremists are also harming the new Democratic Congress. Has anyone noticed how weak Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid look leading the House and the Senate? This is particularly true on Iraq.
would not realize that the positions he supports and the Republicans with whom he agrees are making them look weak on a much larger scale. I realize the way my thoughts on the war make me look to conservatives, and I still want to cut and run. I still want my presidential nominee to realize that voting to authorize this war was not the right thing to do, and I want them to admit that. And while Gibson is busy pointing out that he disagrees with that, he's not asking himself whether, now that he's got the war, and the surge, was it worth it, was it the right thing to do 4 years ago if he knew then what he knows now (WMD, ties to 9-11), is this war worth what it has cost us as a nation? I know my answer, and that's why I want Congress to voice it's disagreement with the war (although something more binding would be better, in my opinion), that's why I want the people who planned it, started it, and even approved it to realize their mistakes and admit them, and that's why I want this war to end. I don't want to wake up to anymore of these stories unless someone can explain to me why it's necessary to continue using reason, not talking points. I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Call


Gonzales is Not Enough

Though it's going to be great to watch the man behind The Patriot Act, legalization of torture, and the loss of Habeas Corpus, go down like a steel turd, it can't be enough.

Jonathon Singer, of MyDD:

For the first time in the last six years, there is now direct proof, documentary proof, that could implicate George W. Bush in some of the widespread impropriety within his administration. And though the Bush White House may believe in the at best controversial axiom that if the President does it, it's not illegal, there is more than enough precedent in American history for holding a President accountable for his own actions.

As the White House positions yet another fall guy for yet another obstruction of justice, we need to keep in mind that there is more to the story here. It will be nice to see Gonzales go down for the Attorney General he has chosen to be, even if they replace him with the next talking head in line. But it can't stop there.

This administration has no respect for the DOJ, the UN, the Geneva Conventions, or the American People. Logically, one would have to assume, there has to be a point we must eventually reach (if we haven't already) where American's can all agree upon a vote of no confidence in this President and his people.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blue Dog Democrats

Thanks to Matt Stoller of MyDD, we now have a list of "Moderate" Blue Dogs.

Feel free to let them know what you think of their "moderation."

Michael Arcuri (NY-24)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Melissa Bean (IL-08)
Dan Boren (OK-02)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Bud Cramer (AL-02)
Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20)
Baron Hill (IN-09)
Tim Mahoney (FL-16)
Jim Marshall (GA-08)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
John Peterson (PA-05)
John Salazar (CO-03)
Joe Sestak (PA-07)
Heath Shuler (NC-11)
Gene Taylor (MS-04)

Gonzales Takes Us To Nixon Country

In his press conference today, Alberto Gonzales made an attempt to frame the argument under questions of White House involvement in a seemingly politicized Dept. of Justice. He admits to mistakes. He admits he was aware of a conversation once taking place where the idea of firing all 93 federal prosecutors was passed around the White House. He claimes he "instantly rejected the idea," and that all of this controversy over the 8 attorneys who were fired is simply a misunderstanding, not a violation of public trust, or DOJ officials misleading Congress, simply poor inter-office communication.

The attorney general and all political appointees serve at the pleasure of the president of the united states. I would never support an effort to circumvent our constitutional role.
He asserts that his department, and top aide Kyle Sampson, were simply involved in ascertaining weak performers, but makes great effort to distance himself from such a simple, and legal act (were it the case):
I regret that information was not adequately shared to individuals providing testimony to the congress. I never saw documents. I never had a discussion about where things stood. All that I knew was that there was an ongoing effort by Mr. Sampson to ascertain where we could make changes throughout the country.
Why distance yourself from "ascertaining areas of weakness," Mr. Gonzalez? Unless you yourself suspect that things were not so cut and dry, that perhaps things are not as innocent as you claim. And why make a fall guy of Mr. Sampson if Mr. Sampson and your staff are guilty of nothing more than poor communication? Seems extreme, if your hands are so clean.

A larger question looms behind all of this of course. If these allegations are more than just a "communication problem" in the DOJ, if the department has been pulled into the obvious political tactics and inherent deceit of the Bush/Rove White House, how can they be effective? Should an issue of corruption or abuse of office arise, how can Gonzales and the department he has "led" be counted on to protect the public interest? Gonzales explains:
When you have 110,000 people working in a department, obvious I am not going to be aware of every decision that is made... We do not have an adequate system of communication throughout the country. These attorneys were not told why were were going to make the changes, and I regret that that didn't happen. I stand by the decision, and I think it was the right decision.
Unfortunately, because of this and this, we have no reason to trust the Attorney general of the United States. Or the White House.

This is more than an issue of a communication barrier or an oversight in providing complete information. This is a coercive, Nixonian administration polluting every aspect of the American system with no regard for the public interest other than placing great importance on us not finding out. There is no confidence left for them to abuse. All of this has gone on just long enough.

Gonzalez must resign. Not just for the 8 prosecutors fired for political gain, and not just for lying to congress, and filleting our constitution, but for turning the Department of Justice into another wing of the White House, and perverting the very nature of the word "Justice."

In lighter Ass-Hat news today, while CNN, MSNBC, and even local news stations covered the firings and Gonzales briefing, Fox News was reporting that Angelina Jolie plans to adopt again, and employers fear lost productivity during the NCAA tournaments. Thanks Fox News.