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April 14, 2007


So if Gonzales doesn't resign; can (and when) will congress impeach him?

Earlier we had tossed chips on the scale... was Ashcroft run off or did he leave...

this paragraph from Metcalfe

"More recently, of course, the DOJ-White House distance hit its all-time high-water mark under Janet Reno, especially during Clinton's second term. And even John Ashcroft made it clear to all department employees that, among other things, he held that traditional distance in proper reverence; he proved that this was no mere lip service when, from his hospital bed, he refused to overrule Deputy AG Comey on what is now called the "terrorist surveillance program." Especially in the wake of 9/11, which strongly spurred the morale and dedication of Justice Department employees, myself included, I saw only a limited morale diminution in general during the first term."

I'm thinking the scales tipped to show Ashcroft was run off... not willing to get into bed with Rove's wishes.

So nice to hear adults (Metcalfe) talking about this thing. Makes so much more sense now. Too bad he had to cap his career with Justice on such a low note.

The analysis in the said opinion is not often enough supported by any concrete examples.
The case in point is the following assertion:

And heaven help anyone, career or non-career employee, if that "consensus" did not include whatever someone in the White House might think about something, be it large, small or medium-sized.

The little credibility that he has built is lost, when in answer to following (self-asked)question:

Does this mean that at least some of the eight replaced U.S. Attorneys made the list because they failed to get along in a sufficiently deferential fashion with such Main Justice appointees?

he says:

I'd certainly bet the oldest of my two cars on it, perhaps even the newer one, based upon what I've seen over the years and what I've read in e-mail form more recently.

...and then goes on to (presumingly)support his thesis by not sighting any real example.
The only real evidence sighted, are the already available e-mails,thus ensuring he didn't add anything to the sum total of information that is verifiable.

simple a,

Analysis? Real evidence?
I agree with you that the article is opinion.
I wonder why you cannot accept opinion and observations.
Why do you need more concrete examples?

If you must criticize, I must edit; note that citations are not sighted and citations are not necessary in a question and answer conversation (opinion and observations).

I'm (presumingly) waiting for the former director's book/thesis... it will be full of citations and footnotes.

His editors will even correct the (gasp) error "oldest" and replace it with older as he says he has only one car to wager.

For now let's relax with conversation. Some other tomorrow we'll get down to some scholarship.

We all need editors.

I still boggled when Tweety had Chandrasekaran on to talk about his book in one segment of Hardball, then had Kate O'Beirne on as a commentator in a later segment. And that O'Beirne, during the Libby trial, repeatedly insisted to Matthews that one could be held responsible for one's spouse's actions.

Oh, and 'simple': if anything, Metcalfe's hypothesis is slightly different from what we presumed: that the 'consensus' model essentially gave veto power to the good little Bushies straight out of We're In Charge Till Holy Lord Jesus Returns Law School.

On njr's point, I now wonder if Ashcroft might have been caught in the pincers between the Thirtysomething Bushies beneath him at Justice and those over at the White House, working in concert.

EW - I'm not one of the nitpickers on spelling, punctuation etc., all I generally care about is the substance; so I cringe at doing this. It is Paul Charlton, not David. He was an extremely good and principled USA here, and is a really nice guy. Paul was absolutely right in his stance on the taping of confessions in the first place; but, despite that fact, he bent over backwards to reach an agreement with the idiots at DOJ Main who did not want it. I was involved in one of the seminal cases in American history on false confessions, and there is no question whatsoever but that taping is the proper standard. And there WAS an agreement within which Paul was operating in the parameters of, and they still dumped on him. I might also add that the trope about him refusing to implement the death penalty is also BS. The cases at issue had inherent and substantive flaws (not to mention they involved crimes by Native Americans on reservations whose sovereign governments do not believe in the death penalty) that, at least in my opinion created an ethical duty on a prosecutor not to seek the death penalty. As you are aware, there are ethical guidelines on how a government prosecutor exercises his or her discretion, and that is exactly, and properly, what Paul did. Neither of these canards can properly explain his termination.

",,,worse than Meese or Mitchell" Ouch!

Hi Marcy - I so admire your work!

Seeing as the missing emails are, in the end, a matter for Archives under PRA, I recalled the Archivist dismissal flap!


Archivist's Resignation Questioned
Democrats Seek Reason for His Being Pushed Out
By George Lardner Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 26, 2004; Page A17

Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin was pushed by the White House in December to submit his resignation without being given any reason, Senate Democrats disclosed last week at a hearing to consider President Bush's nomination of his successor.

The Democrats said the White House should explain why it asked Carlin to resign. He said in a letter to Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales called him Dec. 5 and told him "the administration would like to appoint a new archivist." Carlin said, "I asked why, and there was no reason given."


Carlin said in his July 22 letter to Levin he would like to remain in his post for four more months so he could complete several initiatives he had undertaken. They include getting congressional funding for development of "a groundbreaking system that will allow the government to manage and preserve any kind of electronic records, now and in the future."


Argh. Right bmaz, thanks for the correction, no slight to CHarlton intended. And yes, he seems like he was a great USA.

I do wish Kyl and Ensign had made more of a stink. I think even they knew this was really really wrong. How much do you put up with, for a party, really?

So I guess they replaced the archivist not too long after Cheney declined to submit to ISOO protocol (under the direction of the Archivist), and instead opted to declare himself a fourth branch.

And when ISOO finally couldn't stand it anymore and insisted on getting a ruling on Cheney's stance, who did they have to call on to get it? Yes, AG AG. Think he'll get around to that any time soon?

I am very suspicious of the metaphysics of leadership styles and historical significance.

Agencies are grimy places. Big collections of specifics.

You cannot tell the story in the abstract.

We should stop looking for revelations, and settle for stories.

simpleaccount, I am not clear what inference you are drawing from your 19:33.

Ew - I don't know that much about Ensign, but, although it may have been after the fact, he did seem pretty pissed off and supportive of Bogden. You would think he might could have done a little more on the front end though. As to Kyl, that is right in my wheelhouse; he is a pompous, duplicitous jackass. Locally, for consumption of the Phoenix and Arizona press, he acted and sounded outraged and supportive of Charlton both publically and privately, and then, typical of Kyl, went back to Washington and proudly toed the Bush administration line. Kyl dresses and acts very smooth and sophisticated, but he, in reality, is not very bright and never, ever, deviates from the right wing ethos. He is a contemptible man that he will screw his home state to support the right wing agenda every time. Other than that, I really don't have any opinion on Kyl.....

ah yes, the Heritage Foundation kiddos. Reminds me of a scene in the PBS Frontline production 'The Lost Year' where you see clueless frat kids in their polos, Jams, and doc maartens huddling together as they stroll through a gutted palace.

On consensus. We have all made analogies between the present administration and the early years of Hitler and the later years of Stalin. The conesensus smacks of Brezhnev. This is how things were done in the old USSR. When absolute brutality wasn't required, simple consensus and CYA (directed of course from the top) was the stand measure. Apotheosis of mediocrity. Rove really wanted to establish a soviet-style regime, and almost succeeded.

OT: I was impressed by this Los Angeles Times article by Richard Serrano, on the USA scandal, for the sheer quantity of revelations unearthed by bloggers just the day before.

Bloggers truly are leading this scandal, pushing it forward. The reporters can't ignore them, even when they try to diss the controversy with stories like this. (The story never goes near the obvious question: why was White House e-mail sent to outside RNC servers, if not precisely to avoid being archived? I love the detail about juries not believing corporations which claim to have lost e-mail.)

Increasingly, bloggers are directing the investigation. I have faith in the collective insights in this community. This could turn into revenge of the nerds, and not a day too soon.

I assume you have read the Chandrasekaran book as well, emptywheel. First rate reporting, amazing sources. I was completely dazzled by it.


Thank you for correcting my usage of the word "sight".
I also hope,you understand that i didn't point out any grammatical errors in the text.
John Casper'
As Daniel Metcalfe was an experienced Department of Justice official and served under MR Gonzales during the relevant time period,he was in a position to observe specific acts by political appointees.But instead of detailing those acts,he merely describes their nature.This is exemplified in following passage:

"I attended many meetings in which this total lack of distance became quite clear, as if the current crop of political appointees in those offices weren’t even aware of the important administration-of-justice principles that they were trampling."

I ,personally, am unable to conceptualize how the said appointees behaved in those meetings.As he doesn't offer any description of circumstances and the resulting response of political appointees you are unable to judge for yourself.You not only have to trust his truthfulness but also his judgment.

Abu's op-ed is up at (of course) WaPo. It's not as bad as you'd guess. It's worse. The story now is that Gonzales knew everything that was going on but had absolutely nothing to do with it. Or something. I think I pulled a muscle by rolling my eyes too hard.

Abu's op-ed is up at (of course) WaPo.

Did Fred Hiatt identify him as the Attorney General?

read the comments. 12 pages of comments calling bullshit, and it's only 6:30 am in wapo land. one person claimed to have found THREE pro=gonzo comments, but that number is in dispute (heh)

If I was a wapo subscriber, I'd be waiting on the porch to throw this piece of shit back at the guy who threw it on my lawn

but I'm sure tokyo jodi the worm tongue is immpressed with gonzo's candor or something

Re: Archivist termination.

I was re-reading John Dean's "Worse Than Watergate" yesterday and he specifically discussed Bush's avoidance of Texas law on archiving his papers as Governor by sending them to Bush I's library and claiming they were federal property.

This "complying with law" stuff and turning over documents is a real problem for this administration.

Just a note about the book: Dean had it nailed in 2004; very prophetic.

OffTopic, maybe: I wondered who installed the secret network of deletable emails, and if it involved some of the experts in Laura Rozen's article two weeks ago in AmericanProspectOnline.

I found the Metcalfe interview colorful. One pointer discretely contained was to a political affirmation that appeared to be the item to which Metcalfe objected, arriving near the end of his career at the agency, a kind of decision point for him, to retire rather than join the political process overlay. A websearch yielded what may be the article to which he objected; and it seemed to have to do with DoJ's making a political denial about justification for coercive interrogations.

tokyo freepatriot the worm tongue,

actually I think that Mr Gonzales is not very bright. Or he could just be ADDHD and nervous on camera.

I really don't know.

He has caused most of this fuss about nothing because he acts and speaks like an idiot.

Tokyo Jodi, he's the god-damned Attorney General of these here UNITED STATES. He's supposed to be qualified! Of course he's not very bright. He doesn't have to be, he's a "LOYAL Bushie."

Tokyo John Casper,

first and mainly, you shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain.

Second, you are right about his smarts, but that goes across the entire political spectrum. That is why the country is so screwed up.

WO- thanks, but do you know what happened to:

" Waxman requests e-mail from RNC servers
By Klaus Marre
April 04, 2007" ??????


has anything come of this? thanks in advance.

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