Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales Gone

I wish I had a stopwatch handy to clock CNN today. If the story about NFL superstar/dogfighting fan Michael Vick's guilty plea has not drawn more time than Alberto Gonzales' resignation, it's a darn close second....I've not heard much in the way of insightful commentary about who the heck Bush is going to nominate to replace his longtime legal lieutenant (who years ago helped keep news of Bush's DWI suppressed). People I know at the Justice Department have been saying for months that the agency cannot attract lawyers to fill all the recent vacancies at the top. So who's going to want to take the A.G. slot? (Hey, what's Rick Santorum doing these days?)

Bush's choice is clear. He can go with a crony (if any are left) or a Cheney-bot, though doing so will trigger a major clash in the Senate (unless Bush tries to pull a sneaky recess appointment). Or he can find a graybeard that establishment Washington will drool over. ("Jack Danforth! What a superb move.") The downside of the non-crony option: having someone who cares more about the law than the Bush administration in charge of the Justice Department. Who knows what sort of trouble that could cause? There may be a move in-between these two option: Senator Orrin Hatch. Though a conservative Republican, he's not exactly a crony. And he's no above-it-all mainstreamer, but he's popular enough within Washington. Most important, he can be confirmed. In fact, Bush's best bet would be a current or past senator. Few would be turned down. (Even John Ashcroft got seven Democratic votes.) But does Hatch want the post? This is no slam-dunk. Cleaning up--or covering up--Gonzales' mess could get in the way of a down-the-road Supreme Court nomination for him.

Here's my "Capital Games" column from on the Gonzales retreat:


Is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who today announced his resignation, a man of his word? Consider his comments of recent months.

March 13, 2007:

I've overcome a lot of obstacles in my life to become attorney general. I am here not because I give up. I am here because I've learned from my mistakes, because I accept responsibility, and because I am committed to doing my job. And that is what I intend to do here on behalf of the American people.

March 14, 2007:

I work for the American people and I serve at the pleasure of the president of the United States. That's a decision for the president to make [whether I remain attorney general]. Obviously I am focused on looking to see what happened here in this particular case with respect to these U.S. attorneys and making sure that it doesn't happen again, making sure that Congress understands what happened....But I'm also focused on the other issues that the American people care about, like child predators and gangs and drug dealers, things of that nature. So I've got a lot of responsibilities as attorney general, and I'm focused on those responsibilities.

March 22, 2007:

I'm not going to resign. I'm going to stay focused on protecting our kids. There's a lot of work that needs to be done around the country. The department is responsible for protecting our kids, for making our neighborhoods safe, for protecting our country against attacks of terrorism, to going after gangs, going after drug dealers. I'm staying focused on that.

April 19, 2007:

I believe I can continue to be effective as the attorney general of the United States.

April 21, 2007:

[I will remain attorney general] as long as I can continue to serve effectively....There are a series of priorities, a series of objectives, that I want to see accomplished, and we are working as hard as we can to achieve those objectives.

June 1, 2007:

I know that I only have 18 months left in my term as attorney general, and that really does not feel like a lot of time to accomplish all of the goals that are important to me. So often Washington seems to run at a marathon pace, but I intend to spend the next year and a half in a sprint to the finish line.

June 11, 2007:

I'm focused on protecting our kids....I am focused on the next 18 months. I don't expect the department to crawl or walk slowly toward the finish line.

July 24, 2007:

From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations [regarding the firings of the U.S. attorneys]. I could walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I am doing.

While fending off attacks, Gonzales declared (1) he was not a quitter; (2) it was up to George W. Bush whether he stayed on as A.G. or left; and (3) he was committed to working hard as attorney general to protect the American people, particularly safeguarding the nation's children from Internet predators.

Well, he is quitting. And in a brief public statement today--no questions, please!--Bush said he was "reluctantly" accepting Gonzales' resignation, suggesting that Gonzales had decided to skedaddle on his own. Though Gonzales in a brief statement gave no reason for his resignation--as if one was needed--Bush explained his consigliere' s departure by saying "his good name was dragged through the mud for political reason." Bush did not explain what partisan motives have spurred Republican Senators Tom Coburn, John Sununu, Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Jeff Sessions, Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Gordon Smith, George Voinovich, Charles Grassley, Lamar Alexander, Arlen Specter, and Lindsey Graham to question Gonzales' credibility and performance, with several of them calling for his resignation. And, finally, what about the children Gonzales was so committed to protecting? Sadly, they will have to get on without him.

With research assistance from Matthew Blake.

BACK TO THE FUTURE. Talk about someone who must not have a lot to do these days. See this press release from the McCain campaign:

ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced that the Honorable Robert Mosbacher will join Senator McCain's team and serve as a general chairman.

As general chairman, Mosbacher will be closely involved in the daily workings of the campaign, and assist with fundraising, strategy, and message development.

Previously nominated Secreatry of Commerce in 1988 by former President George H.W. Bush, he was confirmed 100-0 by the United States Senate. While Secretary of Commerce, he was point man for NAFTA and later was awarded the Aztec Eagle Award, the equivalent of the Medal of Freedom, by former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo.

Mosbacher also served as general chairman of the Republican National Committee and created the Team 100 program. Additionally, he served as finance chairman for former President Gerald Ford and Executive committee member for President Ronald Reagan.

Posted by David Corn at August 27, 2007 01:57 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

My guess is ex-Solicitor General Ted Olson. Lost his wife on 911. A Bushbot "true believer" and confirmation a given. I think the only problem is Ted might be too honest for the Busheney cabal.



capt said...

Poll: Young voters disenchanted with Republican party

Two larger-than-life politicians, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, charged into the California governor's office with the help of young voters, many of whom were drawn to the Republican Party by a message of sunny optimism.

But what those two very different Republican politicians did to attract millions of young adults looks to be a feat the Grand Old Party may not repeat anytime soon - either in California or on the national level in the 2008 presidential election.

A Democracy Corps poll from the Washington firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner suggests voters ages 18 to 29 have undergone a striking political evolution in recent years.

Young Americans have become so profoundly alienated from Republican ideals on issues including the war in Iraq, global warming, same-sex marriage and illegal immigration that their defections suggest a political setback that could haunt Republicans "for many generations to come," the poll said.


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All we have to do is keep the young folks from becoming as disenchanted with the Democratic party and we have it made.


capt said...

A Petition: HERE

Finally, Alberto Gonzales has resigned from his post as “Enabler General” for the imperial Bush presidency. Good riddance.

I just signed a petition to urge my senators to insist on a new attorney general who will represent the interests of the American people and defend the Constitution.

Will you join me in signing this petition?

capt said...

Human stem cells fix heart damage in lab rats

"No one had ever grown human heart muscle back in an injured animal," Murry said. "We're pretty pleased."

Human embryonic stem cells have been used to regrow the heart muscles of rats that had survived lab-induced heart attacks, scientists from the University of Washington and a private biotechnology company reported Sunday.

Because the rebuilt heart muscle halted the progression of heart failure, the findings offer encouragement that treatments based on embryonic stem cells someday might be used to help people who suffer heart attacks, a leading cause of death in the U.S., said Chuck Murry, a UW researcher and an author of the study.

Unlike many tissues in the body, heart muscle cells don't regenerate. So when heart attacks cause heart cells to die, they are replaced by scar tissue, which doesn't beat. Often, that leads to outright heart failure and death.


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Maybe with this new breakthrough people that have concerns will see that throwing away the blastocyst that can save a life is insane.


David B. Benson said...

Well, if the majority of the so-called Demos could actually hold to progressive policies, then there would be hope.

The Joe Bidens need to be turned out to pasture, at least for the dis-service they have done to blacks and other poor people...

capt said...

Biden, Lieberman and the bulk of the DLC.

In a more perfect world.


capt said...

Liberty is not for these slaves; I do not advocate inflicting it against their conscience. On the contrary, I am strongly in favor of letting them crawl and grovel all they please before whatever fraud or combination of frauds they choose to venerate...Our whole practical government is grounded in mob psychology and.. the Boobus Americanus will follow any command that promises to make him safer." --H. L. Menchen -- 1956. --

O liberty! O liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!: Madame Jeanne-Marie Roland

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understands the minds of other men and women. Learned Hand

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself: Thomas Paine

Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one's thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down: Frederick Douglass

He who dares not offend cannot be honest: Thomas Paine


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Carey said...

I don't know. I kind of like Joe Biden. How involved is he with the DLC?

Biden, of course, is not a real candidate, but he qualifies. He's a good basic person. He does have a rather runny mouth with a foot or two constantly stuck in it. Biden's undoubtedly moving into position for a prime spot in the next administration like Secretary of State.

capt said...

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Joe Biden’s history of plagiarism and “stressless scholarship” gave plenty of ammo to his enemies, one of them choosing to circulate a so-called “attack video” to demonstrate Biden’s outright plagiarism of a British politician’s speech. But this appropriation from Neal Kinnock was not the first occurrence of unacknowledged lifting by the senator from Delaware.

In 1965 Biden plagiarized while writing a paper as a student at the Syracuse University Law School in a legal methods course which he failed because of that copied paper. Such “stressless scholarship” as it is euphemistically called has become all too common in the modern Internet era with countless cheatsites and “research services” offering to sell students papers on topics from A to Z.


capt said...

Biden: Ethnic cleansing a legitimate U.S. policy tool

The foreign policy community has been subjected to considerable rigorous scrutiny by various, generally liberal commentators of late. The proximate cause of the exercise was the New York Times op-ed column from born-and-raised community residents Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon, Iraq invasion supporters who recast themselves as occupation critics in order to create an artificial and highly successful drama around their support for The Surge. The Pollack/O’Hanlon article didn’t at all mark the beginning of questions as to why the range of foreign policy opinion accepted by the institutional press as “serious” is so narrow, or why people who are continually, demonstrably and flagrantly wrong on foreign policy questions remain the primary source of opinion for the press, but it certainly kicked the conversation into high gear.

In the same way that the press recognizes the foreign policy community as its bellwether of acceptable and promotable views on the issues encompassed by the brand, the community recognizes certain politicians as being especially accomplished in the arena (which in turn has the press following suit). Indiana Republican Richard Lugar is the reigning king, although lately he’s threatened by Virginia Republican John Warner; on the Democratic side, the go-to guy is often Lugar’s opposite number on the Senate foreign relations committee, current chairman and presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has been praised by some in the community for his plan, developed in conjunction with Council on Foreign Relations president emeritus Leslie Gelb, to split the country into federal regions under a miraculously empowered strong central government. Biden describes it as an Iraqi version of the Dayton Accords, in which the U.S. imposed a “soft partition” plan upon the fractious children — “We even allowed Muslims, Croats and Serbs to retain separate armies…” of Bosnia.

The plan has a number of philosophic and practical flaws, beginning with the assumptions that the U.S. has both the right and the capacity to impose a particular form of government upon Iraqis.

Biden argues that because Iraq’s constitution already provides for federalization, his plan calls for no more than institutionalizing something that Iraqis have already agreed to in principle. In practice, though, the federal model, which would add semi-autonomous Shiite and Sunni regional federations to the existing Kurdish one, is opposed not only by most Sunnis, who would be left with resource-poor west-central Iraq for their fiefdom (with none of the ccountry’s 10 largest cities), and who nearly succeeded in scuttling the constitution because of the issue, but by Shia power broker and ardent nationalist Moqtada al Sadr and his millions of followers.

He assumes that the leadership of the various parties to the conflict — in his view, necessarily monolithic blocs of Kurds, Shia and Sunnis — are capable of uniting and controlling their constituent parts, and that they will negotiate the leap necessary to view the U.S. not as an occupying power but an honest broker. At the same time, he acknowledges that they aren’t monolithic: “Once federalism is implemented, the militias are likely to retreat to their respective regions to protect their own and vie for power“.

He says that minorities in the large mixed-population cities, which include Baghdad and, most problematically, Kirkuk, would be protected by international peace-keeping forces. But Baghdad, which Biden would designate a federal city, the capital of the federation, has more than five million residents and would require a peacekeeping force of more than 100,000. Kirkuk, which is the object of a fierce contest between its growing Kurdish population and the various non-Kurdish residents, has a population of more than a million, requiring a peacekeeping force of more than 20,000. Mosul’s mixed population of more than 2 million dictates a peacekeeping force of more than 40,000. Basra is more homogenous, but the city is riven by fighting between rival Shia factions, and its population of about two million includes more than 100,000 Sunnis and smaller numbers of Assyrians, Christians and other ethnic or sectarian minorities: add another 40,000 peacekeepers, and assume the militias would be more tolerant of them than of the undermanned British forces in the area.

Peacekeepers in the Biden plan also draw border patrol duty. At this point we’re looking at more than 200,000 peacekeepers, the great majority of which would necessarily be drawn from countries other than the U.S. because our forces have little local credibility, they’re not trained for peacekeeping and they’re exhausted: Joint Chiefs chairman Peter Pace is about to recommend cutting the U.S. presence in half in order to preserve the physical integrity of the Army, or to attempt to reclaim it.

And this is now. One of the most practical arguments against Biden’s plan is that another 15 months will have passed before Bush is gone and a new president could even begin the enormous diplomatic effort required to implement it under the best of circumstances. (On the plus side, Iraq’s population may have dropped significantly by then, lowering the number of peacekeeping forces dictated by the troop:population ratio of 20:1000.) So the plan seeks to impose, at an unbridgeable distance in time and capacity, a reorganization to which a great many Iraqis are irreconcilably opposed and which does not, in the eyes of many Iraqis who support it, preclude the pursuit of ethnic cleansing to its ideal conclusion.

Biden says that his is the only plan that offers any hope for preserving Iraq as a more or less unitary state and preventing an unmitigated disaster (by supplanting it with a mitigated one). But the effect of its promise is to make things worse; so long as anyone here holds out hope for a cure, the necessary amputation of the U.S. military presence can’t take place. In the unlikely event that the various Iraqi parties become convinced that a Biden-like, internationally enforced partition is in the works, their incentive becomes making sure that the conditions of the peace to be kept are to their liking: the Kurds must have Kirkuk, the Sadrists must have Baghdad, the Iranian-backed parties must battle the Sadrists for oil-rich Basra and the tourism gold mines of the shrine cities, the Sunnis must do whatever they can to prevent the consignment of their collective self to a permanent, welfare-dependent federal underclass. All that is already happening, of course, but the effect of the Biden plan would be to set a date certain for disaster to be averted or confirmed, depending upon the various parties’ frames of reference.

The original iteration of the plan calls for the withdrawal or redeployment of “almost all U.S. forces from Iraq by the summer of 2008? but for “a small residual force — perhaps 20,000 troops — to strike any concentration of terrorists, help keep Iraq’s neighbors honest and train its security forces.” And that’s the penultimate step, to be preceded by the crafting of a regional accord among Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan, the imposition of the federal entity, the creation of a “strong central government,” the allocation of oil resources and the creation and deployment of that 200,000-plus strong international peacekeeping force.

Again, none of that will happen between now and inauguration day in 2009. If the next president adopted the plan, he or she would have to maintain whatever U.S. presence is deemed necessary to preserve whatever degree of disorder exists at the time for as long as it takes to create the international and regional understandings necessary to implement the plan, assuming Iraqis agree to it. The upshot is that we will need to keep a large number of U.S. troops there for, assuming all else goes superbly well, however long it takes to reach the agreements plus the year or so necessary to assemble, train and deploy a peacekeeping force larger than most standing armies.

That would postpone a substantial U.S. drawdown until early in 2010, and even Biden thinks more than a year would be required; he published the plan in May of 2006, and envisioned its completion, as noted above, in the summer of 2008 — two years on.

What the plan does best is provide an excuse for not thinking about how to get out before 2010 or 2011, and about how to deal with the generally unattractive consequences specific to doing so (as opposed to the ones specific to not doing so). With a fair number of congressional Democrats already undisposed to push for withdrawal but uncomfortable with the administration’s fecklessness, the plan will probably start to acquire new adherents during the next few months and could well become the default position for recidivist Democrats, possibly including the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, by the end of the presidential primaries, with the result that we’ll continue stuck in a “get out/hang on” feedback loop while neglecting to adjust for reality, which will continue to come as an unpleasant surprise.

In the simplest terms, Biden’s plan means at least another three or four years of however many troops we can cobble together to keep in Iraq. If Iraqis think the plan might actually come into effect, they’ll redouble their ethnic cleansing exercises and their efforts to control the prime real estate. Sunni nationalists, which seems to include most of the insurgency, would regain their incentive to concentrate on driving us out before the deal was done rather than focusing on quelling the jihadi contingent with our support. If they don’t think it’ll happen, they’ll continue to make best use of our presence for as long as it lasts.

In short, the plan’s great advantage over the Bush administration’s plan is that it’s much more precise in describing the things it won’t accomplish. That’s not really good enough.


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Not just a plagiarist - I think he is wrong headed about more than a few things.


capt said...

Olbermann: "Does Bush Have Any Friends Left?"

at Rove and Gonzales are gone, Olbermann and James Moore, the author of "Bush's Brain", discuss the last of the Texas cronies, Clay Johnson III, who Bush hopes to promote to the head of Homeland Security.

As Bush's Texas gang continues to jump the sinking ship, Bush could potentially turn to another one in Clay Johnson III (Bush's old roommate and frat brother!) to run Homeland Security if Michael Chertoff would leave. James Moore weighs in on the relationship of Bush and Johnson and who might even still be willing to fill positions in this administration besides a loyalist. Johnson's resume includes no terrorism or security experience but he did sit on the board of Frito Lays! Check out the video to your right for more.


capt said...

New Mexico motorcycle officer dies escorting Bush

ALBUQUERQUE (Reuters) - A New Mexico motorcycle police officer crashed and died on Monday while escorting U.S. President George W. Bush and his motorcade from a political fund-raiser back to the airport, the White House said.
1. The officer, Germain Casey, crashed as the president's motorcade was arriving at the airport and his limousine passed by the scene where two other officers were performing CPR on the fatally injured man.
An ambulance in the president's motorcade stopped to provide assistance, as did a member of the White House medical staff. A local television station reported the officer had collided with another motorcycle.


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So sad.


capt said...

New Thread