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March 23, 2007


In the first December 4th email, it says, "We're a go for the US Atty plan. WH leg, political, and communications have signed off..." Do we know who these three [WH leg, political, and communications] are? Did I miss that being clarified?

My guesses were:
* WH Legal = Harriet Miers,
* political = Rove [? Bush]
* communications = Tony Snow [?]

nothing like that Bush loyalty, eh?

* WH leg = Harriet Miers, William Kelly
* political = The famous "Karl's Shop"
* communications = Josh Bolten, Tony Snow

Meanwhile Tony sings day in and day out that Congress "is going to get everything they need to find the truth" *under the president's generous offer* -- except the missing e-mails of course. Those e-mails will be the end of this administration. IF, and its a very big if, GW was not fully in the loop. Those e-mails will gut organizational cortrol for GW and Dick. There's where the final firewall will come up. I'm looking for a long bloody fight over those 3 weeks worth of e-mails.

Of course, in addition to voter suppression and dirty tricks, there is another reason to insert "loyal Bushies" into the Justice system.

Why seek out such loyalty now, at what ought to be the closure of Bush's time in office? Loyalty to the MAN and not to a platform, agenda, or party? If these were all PNAC-followers, worrying over the next administration, it would raise fewer warning lights than loyalty to the Chimperator himself.

If Bush bombs Iran and declares martial law, including suspending/delaying elections, in the following dust-up he'll need all that personal loyalty to keep his hold on power. Presidents-for-Life get elected by wide margins. Corruption of the judicial system, from the Supremes who installed Bush down to the least clerk, is an essential part of maintaining power.

Gonzales needs to go, for his suspension of Habeas Corpus among other crimes against our Constitution. Miers and Rove and the other enablers need to go. But most of all, we need to impeach Cheney and Bush and nip this king-complex in the bud. Empires built on force of arms and personal loyalty fall apart quickly and messily. This Administration has proven quite adept at destroying institutions, agencies, systems, and even the military. Broken. Replaced with what?

Think about the word corruption.

Corruption is not simply the abuse of public office for private gain. It isn't simply a state of impurity or illegality. It is a process. It is decay, spoil, decomposition, rot, destruction. A PROCESS.

Even an ediface such as our legal system, carefully built on case law and precedent for century after century, can fall apart when loopholes and weaknesses are created for exploitation and the internal safeguards are dismantled. Something that falls apart from inside is much harder to patch back together.

Like metal-eating rust or flesh-eating bacteria, corruption is a process that once begun is difficult to contain or cure. Amputation may be enough to save the patient, the body politic, but not always. Delay and hand-wringing and blame-passing allow the situation to get worse as the taint spreads. Buildings shifting to rubble and documents turning to dust are fodder for romantic poets eons later, but when institutions collapse it is hell for the living.

deep sigh

"Bush, Karl Rove, the president's deputy chief of staff, and other Republican political advisers have highlighted voting rights issues and what Rove has called the 'growing problem' of Democratic election fraud since Bush took power in the tumultuous election of 2000, a race ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court," write Greg Gordon, Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor for McClatchy.

One consistent strategy the Karl Rove applies is "attack at the enemy's strength." The converse is also true, attack the enemy at our weakness. Perhaps I have a horrible gift for the obvious, but the above snip shows Rove's perception of his hand. He's stacking the deck as a peempitve strike against his weakness. He knows that he has been playing quarterback during the period of the broadest, and most carefully orchestrated period of voter fraud in history. He's attacking at his weakness.

When I hear him or any neocon speak about Democratic election fraud, I can't help but think of the accusing spouse. My dad alway used to say the spouse that does all of the accusing is the one doing all of the cheating.

Thanks ew. I'm probably reaching here, but iirc, a lot of the fired USA's have stated: "I serve at the pleasure of the President." I didn't think much about it until reading your post, but they were trying to say "I serve at the pleasure of the President, not the Attorney General operating independently of ANY evidence of Presidential involvement in the decision to fire me."

One of the subtexts to this affair has been the extent to which the Bush administration has expressed its contempt for our Constitution, our laws and our republican form of government in ways which more closely resemble a third-world dictatorship than a modern democracy.

I missed this item the other day, but with an H/T to Laura Rozen at warandpiece.com, it would appear that the rule of law is more robust in Pakistan than it is here:


The comparative silence of the leading figures of the American Bar is deafening and damning, when you consider how much more personal risk those speaking out and putting their careers on the line in Pakistan are taking. I would love to be proven wrong but as a practicing lawyer I've got to say my e-mail inbox and telephone lines haven't exactly been buzzing with jeremiads from outraged brothers and sisters at the bar.

It is simply not possible that there is any other author to this Attorney Plan than Karl Rove. Anything that has to do with voting is, by definition, from Karl's Shop. That's what Rove's shop is for, and this may be the first time I know of when the scandal is so close to the source...

Kyle Sampson knows plenty. Unfortunately, he's not yet really a disgruntled fall guy, as he still seems to be in some lateral job in the department. He doesn't exactly seem like the kind of guy who will shout out the truth for the good of the country. He's more like someone who will squeal when cornered...

Well, this morning I am thinking back to my first desperate attempts at finding validation of what I considered was "Bush's sickeness and immorality." What I found spurred me on all the way through the Libby court hearings. (these blogs...thank lord saved my sanity and validated my truth). I was certain that the Plame affair would have the teeth to see him impeached.

I cannot believe that there is yet one more controversy. I am so concerned about the fact that the whole nation seems paralyzed and unable to impeach this administration. It has been more than just "slow". It has been controlled. The fact that he has yet to be impeached is not about spineless democrats or spineless citizens. In my humble opinion it is evidence of the sheer magnitude of his use of power and control (the whole administration's use of power and control). We are not spineles but we have all been "controlled and suppressed". We as a nation are like that little boy kidnapped by a pedaphile and then unable to run away.

We need to think of this situation as requiring a plan of escape.

I hate to sound like a broken record on this point, Katie, but please bear in mind that so long as there are 33 Republicans and Joe Lieberman willing to vote to leave Cheney and Bush in office, impeachment is not only ineffective, it may actually be counterproductive. Given the number and magnitude of "High Crimes and Misdemeanours" already committed, to fail to remove them will make them effectively invulnerable.

There are many other means short of impeachment of curtailing their power. Moreover, at the same time we are building a national consensus, without which there can be no removal of these malfeasors from office. Keep the faith, and keep your powder dry.

John Casper-regarding 'they serve at the pleasure of the President'; there's a post over at Balkinization by Marty Lederman where he made the catch in Bush's first presser on this where he made the slip and instead said

'They serve at OUR pleasure'

The Bush people don't like to told no. Using U.S. Attorneys as political henchmen is indefensible.

Getting rid of Gonzales will help the administration in other ways, too. When the next episode of something hitting the fan occurs, it will be conveniently blamed on someone who is no longer there.

FISA violations, widespread contracting corruption, the reprehensible endorsement of torture--and who knows what else. A fired Gonzales will serve as a convenient firewall for the rest of the Administration.

Just Thursday Alberto Gonzales once again told us he is working tirelessly to be sure he has every American's back covered…especially our children. Should his alleged lying about the firing of U.S. Attorneys make us feel better?

I don't know about anyone else but I've always been suspicious of the guy that seems to go out of his way to tell you he's "got your back covered".

See a sarcastic visual that demonstrates how many Americans feel when the Attorney General reassures us that he's got our backs covered...here:


Dewitt Grey,

I am not saying that impeachment is the only answer, just that the amount of power that this administration has used successfully is breath taking and will require much planning and thought to curtail. In the beginning I was hell bent on impeachment. My biggest concern is that many of the folks involved in this administration were involved in the Reagan and Bush senior's administration. That is that they have been exerting their form of control all along. We need to consider the long range effects of the fact that so many of those involved in Iran Contra were left without consequences and managed to continue their work.

My big point is the amount of power and control, the reach of this administration is very frightening when you consider how far and long those fingers are and how much time they have had to implement this plan.

This is off topic but thought some of you should look at it.

Jessica Stern (Harvard's Hennedt School of Government) researches and writes about terrorism. The compromise she has made to continue researching terrorists (i.e., not learning their true names so as to make her notes less valuable to federal investigators) reminded me of Judy Miller and Curveball--although I do not think Jessica Stern's articles have been compromised by political water-carrying for the administration.

Also wondering what AG Ashcroft wanted from Stern's notes in January of 2001. See article excerpt below.

from The Harvard Crimson:

Stern is not the only terrorism researcher to feel that institutional review boards unnecessarily limit her. Scott Atran, a Middle East ethnographer at the University of Michigan, recently sent an essay to his colleagues about his struggles with the IRB process.

“Now it’s getting next to impossible to even talk to people who are dying to kill in order to better understand why they die to kill, or just why they want what they want,” Atran wrote in the unpublished piece, which he provided to The Crimson.

“My own view is that most of this is nuts,” Atran wrote. “How is anybody in academia ever going to have as much as possible to offer in this whole mess—though people in academia keep complaining that the government doesn’t pay attention to serious scholars—if no one can even talk to the people most involved?”


The government seems to be paying attention to at least one serious scholar.

In January 2001, having only been in office three days, U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft subpoenaed Stern’s notes from an interview with an alleged American bioterrorist.

Stern turned to the Harvard General Counsel’s office but, she said, the University refused to help.

“They said, ‘Well, we can’t help you. You’re going to want to hire a lawyer,’” Stern said, recalling her conversation with the General Counsel’s office. “They said, ‘The publisher should give you a lawyer. We’re not going to protect you.’”

Through her cousin, Stern found David O. Stewart, a lawyer in the Washington office of Ropes & Gray, a firm that also happens to represent Harvard.

“Harvard has plenty of lawyers,” Stewart said in a phone interview, grasping for an answer as to why Harvard wouldn’t represent Stern.

The University would not confirm the details of the case, but head lawyer Robert W. Iuliano ’83 said in a statement that “the Office of the General Counsel, however, takes seriously the importance of protecting faculty research notes and data from inappropriate disclosure.”

Stewart convinced the government that Stern’s notes would not aid its case. Still, “it was awful,” Stern said about the experience.

Following the review board’s advice, Stern has developed a system where she does not learn the names of many of the people she is interviewing—preferring to use pseudonyms—thus protecting the privacy of her interviewees and making her notes less valuable to federal investigators. [excerpted from article]

that's Harvard's "Kennedy School of Government". I swear, something's wrong with my computer.

Congress has just begun to hold hearings after 6 long years of corruption. The Dems have been in the majority for just three months. I get tired of hearing about the "spineless democrats". There has been no venue for them to take back control until now. I followed the Nixon impeachment hearings closely. Things have to get ALOT worse for the US to be in the same shape we were back then and then the Dems had a larger majority in the Senate. The Bushies are backing themselves into a corner, they will become very dangerous. They will fight every supoena every step of the way. At least no one is calling for Cheney to resign anymore, perhaps that is part of the plan.

Gamblers have a term for the behavior the bush administration is showing, both on Torquemada Gonzales and the Iraq war: On Tilt. Rational behavior is gone, replaced only by a desire to keep betting, counting on the Gambler's fallacy that since the path has been so spectacularly wrong so often, it has to go right SOMETIME. Gamblers also have a term for those who go On Tilt. Marks.
Torquemada will not be a fall guy simply because Bush will not let him fall. It would be an admission that he prises political ease above personal loyalty, and I doubt Bush will ever do that. And if he does, he probably knows he would create so many weak morale links (am I next?) that it would be the end of him. Bush is now approaching Watergate dynamics, when people start flipping. Perhaps Kyle Sampson will be Bush's John Dean? Ah, well, I can hope.

2strange, they've had control of Congress for nearly three months.

When people talk abotu 'spineless Dems', they mean that the Dems are still thinking like the minority party - worse, like anything they do will be DOA - and that some of them don't seem to understand that that behavior will continue to keep them in the minority. It's almost as bad as Arlen 'Talks Big and Folds Always' Specter.
Think Pelosi saying that impeachment is off the table, even before it's been brought up.

Kyle Sampson's role is going to be to draw all of the heat to the DOJ and away from Rove, Miers, etc.

I think the etiology of why we don't want to know the "why" of terrorism is the fear that we will find a common thread to ourselves. We need to seperate "the terrorist" from ourselves (the ultimate act of invalidation) before we can violently attack them. I would argue this is the etiology of all violence. But our lack of desire to study it's origins seems much like our refusal to really understand why the united states of america produces the largest number of serial killers per capita among other civilized countries. We don't want to know the truth because then we would have to face something about our society.

Dr. Lewis wrote an interesting book after interviewing 14 serial killers on death row. She found that about half of them stated in their pre jail interview that they had not ever been abused as children. The other half admitted to some abuse but their reports seemed to suggest that they had not suffered severe abuse. Our statistics about childhood abuse and it's connection to anti social behavior is gathered in these types of interviews. We ask the parents, we ask the kid, we ask the perpetrator.

But instead of accepting this view Lewis decided to look at social service records and to interview the families, friends and neighbors of these death row inmates. What she found was that each and every one of them had been not just abused but severely abused according to the records kept. The ones who reported no abuse were the ones who had suffered some of the most horrendous abuse (sodomy, severe beatings and severe injuries). This is how it was discovered that Dahlmer had been raped and sodomized repeatedly for much of his youth. These inmates did not see themselves as abused. When interviewed they were unable to validate the abuse and minimized it significantly.

My theory is that invalidation is one of the key factors in terrorism, and in all violence. It is both a cause and a symptom. When we go to war we invalidate the lives of the enemy. We turn them into objects and seperate our lives from theirs. We also do this with the lives of the soldiers. We call them soldiers not people. We do not want to see them as human like ourselves.

When terrorism occurs the cause becomes more important than the lives lost, the message more important than the messenger. If there is a fire and we tell our friend "hey there's a fire!!" and the friend says "so??", and stays put in their seat, most of us would escalate our behavior until that person understood the gravity of the situation. We NEED truth to survive. I believe that terrorism is a message that must be heard but it has nothing to do with religion. Just as I believe serial killers have a message that must be heard.

In domestic violence one of the symptoms most often observed in battering and child abusers is the behavior of minimize, deny and blame. We minimize the violence: "I didn't hit you that hard", "Only a couple thousand have died in this war", or we deny: "I didn't hit you", or "we never bombed them, we didn't do it" and last but not least blame: "it was your fault, I wouldn't have hit you if you had just done what I told you to do", or "we wouldn't have bombed them if they had just cooperated with the inspectors."

We don't want to know because we might have to change. How is George going to convince us to keep killing them if we actually find out that they are people just like you and me?? and that their lives, not their religion or race, has led them to the behaviors that they exhibit.

And even worse if we found out that we are capable ourselves of this kind of behavior when we are backed into similiar corners. We have solved way too many of our problems by using violence...we have legitimized the tool and refuse to accept the truth about it's consequences. We invalidate the damage. Ask any war vet about how they are treating ptsd. Therapy works but it costs money...so instead we feed them pills and then assume the vet had a weak constitution in the face of violence, instead of actually blaming the violence. Just like the batterer says "you just bruise easily."

Maybe someday we will learn...cheers to all those who are willing to face the truth despite the invalidating environment.

Well said Katie. Your thoughts reminded me of the Sting line, "I'm sure the Russians love their children too..."

On the topic of spineless Dems. As many of you know I'm more or less joined freepat on the rant. They needed to step up hardcore from day one. I HATE this excuse "bush will veto it anyway" MAKE that fucker veto it. MAKE the remaining repubs be obstructionist. Show the people who is trying to move things in the right direction. Then they will vote more Dems in next time. The road to hell is paved with excuses. Make this president use his damned VETO.

possible revision, Mickey?

communication = Cathy Martin ???

how many white house flacks are named Cathrine Martin?
is this the same Cathy Martin in Cheney's "communications operation"... the one who testified in Libby trial?

FLAKKING PURGEGATE....Brad DeLong flags an email from last night's document dump that was highlighted by one of Josh Marshall's readers. A White House flak (Catherine Martin) wants to know who's on the purge list and a DOJ flak (Tasia Scolinos) answers.

I've always thought Pelosi's claim that impeachment is off the table was because she didn't want to give Repugs the chance to say, at the onset of her command, "See? We told you so. All Democrats want is a vendetta." I believe, when the time is right, impeachment will become front and center.

Pelosi is a serious person, she's no Newt. Of course she cannot be pushing for impeachment when she stands to possibly gain from it. Sheesh - the press would make mincemeat out of her if they could paint her as power mad.


That could be a risk Pelosi may have to take. Besides, when has the Press noted the Bush Administration power grab?
I don't think Pelosi has adjust her actions based on any fear of our "liberal" press, do you?

Well, I hope that if Gonzales is proven to have "lied to Congress" about his involvement in the firings given his attendence at the November Meeting, that what will happen is a mass demand on the Democrats in the House to drop impeachment resolutions regarding Gonzales into the Hopper -- we need a good hundred of these, all at once, with a mass E-mailing, phoneing and snail mailing of them to force Conyers to open impeachment hearings -- but only on Gonzales. Lying to Congress is a pretty good impeachment charge against an AG. I suspect they can get more Republican votes in the Senate against Gonzales than they could against Bush or Cheney.

I would put forward the fact that Conyers would probably be more successful getting Rove as a witness in an impeachment hearing against Gonzales than in virtually any other forum. Executive Privilege has little merit if the subpoena is about something actually criminal, and Gonzales lying to congress is actually criminal. He was under oath.

I am not an impeachment advocate on Bush and Cheney -- what I really want is a very legitimate 2008 election (I support Gore/Clark), that gives us enough of a mandate to govern legitimately. (Gore is apparently at 70% approval in the polls these days). I am willing to put Bush in the barbar's chair week after week and have a little taken off of him at each sitting, and then have a real election.

Back in the Watergate times, particularly after the Saturday Night Massacre, the question Republicans asked other Republicans as a part of the psychological process of moving toward impeachment was not about "guilt" -- but "can he govern?" We need to reprise versions of that question now so as to encourage them. If the two petulant little kiddie acts Bush put on this week don't convince, don't make them wonder when he is going to blow up more frogs, one has to wonder. (When is someone going to do the cartoon that puts him in kiddie pants, all day sucker in hand, with mary janes on his little feet and bulky, slid down socks, stamping his feet and demanding that wounded vets salute him as Commander in Chief?) We don't want Cheney as a replacement, we don't want Bush out of office, what we want is disempowerment, and then a fair election. So impeach Gonzales -- that is a way to let all the dirt fall on to the table, and force the boy to work hard to serve out the rest of his term.

I would remind that during Watergate another precedent was set -- when the Senate approved a new AG, it extracted promises as part of confirmation. This is essentially why Elliot Richardson resigned -- he could not follow Nixon's orders and keep his confirmation promise, and it is how Watergate Special Counsel Jaworski got appointed and remained in place. If Gonzales is removed, Leahy can extract the same sort of promises from a replacement.

I fell off the couch laughing last week when Barbara Boxer did her little act, "Elections have consequences" -- now I control the clock and the committee rules. It may not be much -- but start asking Republicans that simple question, "Can he Govern?"

NYT is obscenely unrepentant for its role in protecting the White House's outing of an American covert agent.

It is simply appalling -- after all they have done, the way they failed their readers in uncritically repeating administration lies to bolster support for the Iraq invasion -- that they would now choose to publish (and front-page) a lengthy article that purports that politicians and newspaper writers should be exempt from prosecution after breaking the law, and implies it was Fitzgerald's fault Libby went to court, and not due to Libby himself. It is like a drunk driver blaming the cops for his arrest.

That the author goes on to repeat the falsehood that the case somehow diminished the power of the Free Press by making it more difficult to publish illegal intelligence info and laments that Libby's prosecution will discourage the press from acting as a shit-stained paintbrush that those in power can use to smear their enemies without dirtying their own hands, is simply an insult.

"We're a go for the US Atty plan. WH leg, political, and communications have signed off..."

About the guesses above as to who signed off for WH leg, political, and communications. For communications, don't ignore the emails between Scolinos - DOJ communications - and Kathy Martin - Cheney communications.

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