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Archive for April, 2007

Just have to make sure this is in my own personal echo chamber, from Hunter over at DailyKos:

There’s only so long you can go being scared out of your wits, and then it gets old, and a routine becomes established. It gets a bit harder to be scared. It gets a lot harder to be scared on cue, certainly, in accordance with whatever we’re supposed to be most afraid of for one particular speech, or one particular campaign stop. And, at long last, you want the people who are in charge of scaring you — er, sorry, “protecting” you — to begin treating things at least with the same seriousness as you are.

I think that’s maybe the beginnings of the post-post-9/11 world that Wolcott is pondering, a one in which the same old political ploys are perhaps taken, finally, to be as offensive as they actually are. It’s not a question of complacency, but simple sturdiness: we will not be afraid of every shadow, we will deal with each day as it comes and try to fight against terrorism with something a bit more substantial than mindless arm-waving. The American population knows the score, and wants grownups in charge — not people that are still, after five and a half years, running around telling us that in spite of their five and a half years of effort, if we only give them more support, and violate a few more laws, and invade a few more countries, it will all work out great.

Collectively, we need to start thinking about what the post-post-9/11 world looks like, a world where terrorism will certainly still exist. It can either be a world of arm-waving fear, or a world of informed resolve, and I think I have a strong preference which of those two things I’d rather hoist the American flag over.

My anxiety and terror after 9/11 led me to the blogs to start learning about what the fuck was going on. My subsequent anger over what Bush was saying and doing in response to it, including Iraq of course, led me to supporting Howard Dean in 2004. His and eventually Kerry’s loss envigorated me all the more to set things right, and with 2006 we finally regained some footing. I think this country’s definitely going to be headed towards a progressive upswing after the nightmare we have collectively witnessed. And it’s not even finished yet. No matter what, it’s safe to say that W. has secured himself a legacy alright, and I don’t even have to type it for you to know what I’m talking about.

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Boy oh boy do I hope that Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee in 2008. Why? Because he’s now made it abundantly clear with his rhetoric that he’d be nothing but a younger, crueler and more incompetent version of Dick Cheney. And anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to the polls should know that he’s scraping even further down in the bottom of the barrel than Bush.

I think Democrats would be wise to start pointing out the similarities to Cheney and Giuliani sooner rather than later, as the entrenched myth of Giuliani’s competence as an executive officer is much more formidable than that of Cheney as an assessor of intelligence. The myth of Cheney has been adequately demolished by the Iraq war, but Rudy’s remains somewhat in tact for a large portion of the politically disengaged. In the most recent issue of The Washington Monthly’s Scoop Rachel Morris does a superb job of illuminating these two men’s similarities by way of Ron Suskind’s book The One Percent Doctrine, and by reminding us of Cheney’s rhetoric leading up to the 2004 election:

Giuliani’s speech was about as pure an expression of the Dick Cheney worldview as you’re likely to find outside the inner recesses of the vice president’s psychological bunker.

For instance: “If any Republican is elected president … we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said. Later, he added: “Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it.”

This is precisely the logic that Cheney has deployed ever since 9/11, with catastrophic results for the country. In his book, The One-Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind describes a meeting in which Cheney succinctly set out his new doctrine: “If there’s a one-percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response … It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It’s about our response.” In a 2002 speech, Cheney pronounced that, “the risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.

More than anything, this is what Giuliani must be associated with than–much more so than his cross-dressing or his so-called liberal views. It will do more to remind the American people that a Giuliani administration would in essence be more four more years of Dick Cheney running the show. This recent American Prospect article does an excellent job of looking past these superficial and semi-sensational aspects of Giuliani’s campaign and reminding us what a sadistic prick the man has been and will continue to be.

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Treason

Tom Delay:

I think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are getting very very close to treason…For the Majority Leader of the United States Senate in a time of war, with soldiers dying on the ground, announcing that we have lost the war, is very close to treasonous. I looked it up while we were driving over here, the definition of treason, it’s the betrayal of trust. I have never in my adult life, nor in my understanding of history, seen something so blatantly outrageous…I am blown away by this attitude of the Democrats. To me it’s just a hatred of Bush…The American people are gonna eventually be fed up with this.

How detached from reality do you have to be to not understand that 60% of the public are sick of Bush, hence the reason Democrats are in charge and emboldened to stand up to Bush’s war? How antithetical to the principles of a functional democracy is it to call those who disagree with the president treasonous? It’s like they’re on a mission lately to drive voters away from the GOP for at least one generation, but quite likely to completely obliterate the republican party forever.

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That’s the gist of a letter sent anonymously by a group of concerned DoJ employees to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The original letter in pdf form is here. Here’s the key passages to me (bold emphasis is my own):

After choosing potential candidatest to interview the division personnell forwarded their lists to the Office of Attorney Recruitment Management for what was traditionally final approval. This is no longer a final step, however, because the list had to go higher–to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. When the list of potential interviewees was returned this year, it had been cut dramatically. (For example, many sections were left with fewer potential interviewees than vacant slots to fill; one section was not permitted to interview any of its choices for the Summer Law Intern Program.)

Needless to say, many people were upset and confused Why had so many potential interviewees been removed from the list? Top supervisors requested answers, and on December 5 a meeting was held with Michael Ellston, Chief of Staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. Many division attorneys and staff were present, and Mr. Ellston was offensive to the point of insulting. Claiming that the entire group had not “don their jobs” in reviewing applicants, he said that he had a “screening panel” go over the list and research these candidates on the Internet; he refused to give the names of those on his “panel.” Mr. Ellston said that people were struck from the list for three reasons: grades, spelling errors on applications, and inappropriate information about them on the Internet. When the meeting attendees protested that these interviewees had excellent grades, Mr. Ellston replied that a Harvard graduate in the bottom half of the class was more desirable than the top students at second-tier law schools. Althogh Mr. Ellston stated that he would entertain appeals to his decisions, few of these appeals were granted.

When division personnel staff later compared the remaining interviewees with the candidates struck from the list, one common denominator appeared repeatedly: most of those struck from the list had interned for a Hill Democrat, clerked for a Democratic judge, worked for a “liberal” cause, or otherwise appeared to have “liberal” leanings. Summa cum laude graduates of both Yale and Harvard were rejected for interviews

If Bush and Cheney are not eventually impeached over this, I have serious doubts about the viability of our democracy. This is nothing short of a coup.

More on this at The Gavel, Pelosi’s blog.

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and that word is fascism (Via TPMMuckraker):

Over the past six years, the Bush administration has aggressively reshaped the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Many career analysts and attorneys have either been transferred or driven out; their replacements are long on conservative credentials and short on civil rights experience.

According to Moore, his supervisor and the political appointees in the section consistently criticized his work because it didn’t jibe with their pre-drawn conclusions. That was bad enough, he said, but the real trouble came after he and three colleagues recommended opposing a Georgia voter I.D. law pushed by Republicans. After the recommendation, which clashed with the views of Moore’s superiors, they reprimanded him for not adequately analyzing the evidence and accused him of mistreating his Republican colleague, with whom he’d had frequent disagreements. But it got worse. Moore said that his Republican superiors even monitored his emails, eventually filing a complaint against him with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility for allegedly disclosing privileged information in one email (he was cleared of wrongdoing). Fed up, and worried that it was too dangerous to his professional future to remain there, he left.

Moore said that his experience was similar to others in the section who’d disagreed with conservative attorneys working at the Justice Department. Over the following year, all three of Moore’s colleagues who’d joined him in opposing the law either left or were transferred out of the section. The senior member of the team, Robert Berman, the deputy chief of the section and a 28-year veteran of the Civil Rights Division, was transferred to the Office of Professional Development — what Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has called “a dead-end job.”

You have to read the whole thing to fully grasp just how fucked up the DoJ is due to Bush’s installation of brainless loyalists. How is this not simply a coup at this point? They’ve infected the government with career yes-men & women, used their craven loyalty to subvert the will of the American people (that pesky thing called democracy), and are willfully disobeying the law!

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If there’s one thing I hate about the US Attorney purge scandal, it’s that the facts are so transparently chilling that there’s no need for commentary. I’ve been living in a world of blockquotes since the fucking thing broke. Here’s the latest bombshell via NPR

NPR now has new information about that plan. According to someone who’s had conversations with White House officials, the plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove. It was seen as a way to get political cover for firing the small number of U.S. attorneys the White House actually wanted to get rid of. Documents show the plan was eventually dismissed as impractical.

The Justice Department documents released today include a spreadsheet ranking all 93 prosecutors. The chart ranks them on whether they have Hill experience, campaign experience, and — in the last column — whether they’re members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

I guess there’s a bit of poetic justice in the possibility that Rove was probably right about the fact that it would’ve been a bit less suspicious to fire all 93. Of course coming up with all those replacements would’ve been hard work and we all know how much George “The Greatest Fuckup in US History” Bush hates that.

And let me just add for the record that the Republican party, especially the neoconservatives, own GW. He has been their sole propagandist icon of authoritarian political fealty. He is the one they were sure would sweep in all the sheepish of our flock and eventually purge the nation of the scourge of liberals and progressives. They were the boosters that got him elected, kept him from media and Congressional oversight thru intellectual dishonesty, schmoozing, bullying, and I would bet a couple of blackmail incidents. I know no one of consequence is reading this goddamned blog, but even if you stumbled across this site looking to vent your hatred of Tim and Eric, please–for the love of God–do something to make sure that everyone you know, including yourself, is fully aware of what a terrifying precipice this country is teetering on.

I’ll conclude with some of Bill Maher’s latest rant via Salon:

It turns out that the Justice Department is entirely staffed with Jesus freaks from a televangelist diploma mill in Virginia Beach. Most of them young women with very little knowledge of the law, but a very strong sense of doing what they’re told. Like the Manson family, but with cleaner hair. In 200 years we’ve gone from “We the people” to “Up with people.” From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And, come on, America is a big, well-known, first-rate country, and when we’re looking for people to help run it, we should aim higher than the girl who answers the phone at the fake abortion clinic. It’s not just that this president has surrounded himself with a Texas echo chamber of war criminals and religious fanatics. It’s that they’re sooooo mediocre. This is America. We should be getting robbed and fucked over by the best.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked at a hearing, “Should we be concerned with the experience level of the people who are making these highly significant decisions?” But in the Bush administration experience doesn’t matter. All that matters is loyalty to Bush and Jesus, in that order. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George W. Bush than Pat Robertson’s law school. The problem here in America isn’t that the country is being run by elites. It’s that it’s being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling just hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.

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