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April 25, 2007

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It seems to me, that to Cheney/Rove/Bush, Bloch is basically a pissant and they would have punted him in a heartbeat long ago if they really had this animosity. Certainly it would raise eyebrows to do it now, but there sure was no such impediment before. So what gives? My gut says this Bloch led inquiry is a WH organized dog and pony show to look serious and then issue findings of "nothing improper was proved/found; nothing of interest here, now move along". On the other hand, if it were an organized gig, I would have expected a bigger charge of GOP frontmen to have been talking it up more as "a good, fair inquiry yada yada yada" and they seem, especially the GOP Congresscritters, to have been kind of blindsided by it mostly. Curious. I also am somewhat swayed by the fact that David Iglesias thinks the Bloch group will do their job appropriately and that Iglesias trusts and respects Bloch's #2 man, a fellow Reservist JAG with Iglesias. I am struck so far by Iglesias' seemingly intellectually consistent principles and actions, as well as refusal to mince words (hell he even admitted he was thinking about a book, nobody else would have done that until the deal was signed and in the can). He seems like the real deal. I am a born skeptic and, so far, he passes the test. Conclusion: Until proven otherwise, this is still a dog and pony show.

bmaz

Trust me, though, there's a great deal of mistaken appearances within this USA scandal. Though I have the same impression you do about Iglesias, I'm reserving judgment on everything. Having Novak and Barnes peddling your woes certainly doesn't help one, but in this thing, the one thing I'm sure about is that everyone within one office of Gonzales (and Gonzales, of course) needs ot be fired. Beyond that--who knows?

Bloch, I suspect, is a hero wanna-be. He sees what he wants to see, and apparently barrels into the fight with fists flailing -- and it is his way or the highway! This feels too much like the dog and pony show.

I agree with BMAZ to an extent, but I think Iglesias will realize that he has been had eventually. So long as Bloch is there, I doubt that his JAG friend can do much of anything except be a friend.

EW, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the depth of your writing and analysis, both here and elsewhere.

Bloch's "ongoing investigation," as the exclusive agency authorized to investigate this crap, is an attempt to slow the USCongress. He may not know it, but Bloch's being used to create the appearance of an investigation. The year-ago dustup could very well have been created as part of this plan: "When the investigations get too close, Karl, we'll put Blochhead on yer case, heh heh."

It could happen.

The Novak article is bizarre. For example:

Bloch, a devout Catholic, has been under fierce attack for three years in leading the independent investigative agency because of his interpretation of statutes covering worker protection of sexual orientation. He also has been publicly accused of hiring too many Catholics. Clay Johnson, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and another Texan brought to Washington by Bush, joined the attack on Bloch. The case became a cause célèbre on the right when Bloch was told by a prominent Catholic layman close to Bush that it would be better if he just resigned.

Some kind of interdenominational sunni vs. shia, catholic vs. evangelical squabble?

And then this:

The liberal groups stoking the controversy reportedly did not expect any of their complaints to go anywhere, but they did not count on White House officials' championing their cause and attempting to purge Bloch -- who refused to go quietly. Not only did the White House not come to Bloch's defense, it initiated a full investigation into his official conduct, demanding an exorbitant amount of money from his agency's budget in order to do so.

And then the fact that's it's the "Novak-Evans Political Report", which seems to be pointed more towards insiders than to be an editorial instrument to influence public opinion.

But I still fear the whole thing is just Rove having 'Vak plant this as a "shiny object" to aid in the acceptance of the ground rules which will lead to the whitewash.

Well maybe Bloch is trying to gain political and professional points. It does sound like a little guy suddenly seeing an opportunity to be a contender and grabbing for it.
That could explain the "exclusive agency" comment. He wishes.
Of course the term "agency" might be his way of saying department, and still doesn't preclude congressional investigation, nor federal law enforcement.
The fact that Rove would see this as a chance to withhold evidence could be a separate case of opportunism...

They don't want Bloch to be gone really, just afraid of being gone, that way they can have someone in place who really won't investigate anything. Now he can keep his job by doing something superficial.

Busholini is so fond of saying that appointees serve "at the pleasure of the President", someone should remind him that the President serves at the pleasrue of the people and WE ARE NOT AMUSED.

Hmmm, can't be replaced... 5 year term... not even for malfeasance??? Lots of positions have terms, but if you mess up big time and the big one wants you gone, you can go poof, or not...

In an exquisite piece of timing, Daniel Schulman at MoJo has a new feature piece out today about Bloch/OSC and, ya know, Sibel Edmonds et al. Sibel doesn't think very highly of Mr Bloch...

I wonder how this got started. Often in bureaucratic situations, a person of Iglesias's rank will get it started not with a complaint but with a phone call to someone he knows. Maybe Iglesias knows someone at this group: apparently either Bloch or the deputy is a reservist like Iglesias and even if they did not know each other, it is a great calling card, especially for Iglesias, a real lawyer. It is reasonable to think that Iglesias could have met Bloch in the course of their duties.

So, he may very well have talked to Bloch first, then complained. That may well give him some reason to believe that Bloch will act.

Preview is our friend.

I meant to point out that Iglesias is a real military lawyer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Iglesias_%28attorney%29 contains the following: "In 1986, the year he joined the corps, he was called to represent two men accused of assaulting a fellow Marine at their base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.The case was the inspiration for the play and movie A Few Good Men. "It was one of those things when I look back, I can see the hand of the Lord in it," David says."

It all sounds like a set-up. Just what kind of set-up, that's the question. The fact that information is coming from Novak, and the type of information are both highly suspect. The WH really doesn't like Bloch, they investigated him and really wanted to get rid of him, so he must be truly independent. Weak.

And yeah, it's nice that Yglesias isn't completely corrupt. But he's still an evangrepub, and I believe TPM might have pointed out a couple of weak voter fraud investigations that went through earlier in his tenure (could be wrong about that). He just didn't cross the line. He's being helpful, and he wants Gonzo and his gang gone, and probably Rove too, but it only goes so far.

My guess is that Bloch has been remembered at an opportune moment by Rove and they're burnishing his independent credentials, but that Bloch will be only too happy to make the deal that Congress won't--have Rove and Miers testify in private, not under oath, and with no transcript. Then Bloch will issue a report, which will seem "very critical," Gonzo and some others will go, but it will be exactly the spin that the WH wants.

Doubt that will be good enough, with the supoenas flying fast and furious. Guessing that Condi will be a quicker study for her appearance than Gonzo was, even with ew's "Gonzo strategy" theory taken into account.

Hmmm, can't be replaced... 5 year term... not even for malfeasance???

That's the exception. He mentioned it in the interview with John Roberts. He can be removed only for malfeasance. They tried to do that, but failed. Of course, as we know only too painfully well, that definitely does not prove he's not guilty of malfeasance!

Not really disagreeing with the thesis here, but I'm tellin' ya, Bloch's priority is to protect the RNC and VRWC, not the Boy Prince or the Dark Vizier.

If he can keep Karl Rove out of trouble by distracting us with a slow but steady stream of underlings, then so much the better, because Karl knows where all the skeletons are. If this were an old-fashioned war Karl wouldn't be allowed to leave the country for fear of being captured and interrogated by the enemy. In fact if Bloch can keep Rove out of trouble by throwing the President under the bus I predict he won't hesitate. And if it turns out that Rove has to go then they will try to take care of it quietly, with dignity, in a manner befitting a long-respected capo of la famiglia.

I think the Republican bigwigs have finally figured out that the last six years have given Congress everything it needs to thoroughly decimate -- perhaps literally -- the Republican party. This is their retreat strategy.

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