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June 02, 2007


I am so mystified by all of this. I am old enough to remember Watergate and the CIA scandals of the 70s, and congress's attempt to pass legislation which would require more accountability--for the CIA--to oversight. The FBI, after the death of Hoover, as well. But, wtf is going on that not even Congressmembers can find out what is REALLY going on!!!!! Something is broken in the Emerald City and you don't have to take off your colored glasses to see it.

I watched a clip on frontline recently in which a former CIA lawyer was deconstructing Abu's 2006 testimony to Schumer, and to her, it seems clear that there are "programs" (entire secret agencies?) that not anyone in Congress knows about, or can find out about.

Which is the real reason Abu will stay until Jan 09, unless Congress can develop the courage to impeach him. He is a firewall for things much more significant that Rove's little election tampering schemes. He is the current equivalent to the H20gate plumbers---they are hiding things which are waaay more nefarious. The only thing we seem to have going on in our favor is their unrecalcitrant hubris and the consequent stupidity.


I am grateful for your mastery of the details of the Plame matter and the DoJ matters, which you share with us here and at FDL. The Libby jury, given details and asked to form judgments, found crimes. The American public and the MSM, being deliberately misled as to details by the administration, is assured that there is "nothing to see here, just move along," and unfortunately, as you note in your post, the Dems in Congress are not acting aggressively to create a counter-narrative based on the details and the facts.

Sen. Whitehouse has only been in office a few months, and so the institutional prerogatives of the Senate make him a junior member of the club, which is a shame. The Congress (both houses) could use an "investigations czar" who would focus the questioning on the Dem side, and defuse the BS from the Rep noise machine, on all of the oversight hearings, and he would be my nominee

EW -

Hi, my name is cricket and I too am a oversight addict. I religiously read your blog and over at the lake, among others.

Just a quick correction - the incident in question took place in a hospital room, not a hotel room. I know you know that.

Woodhall Hollow - I happen to agree with that ex-CIA lawyer. I don't think they ever dumped the TIA; in fact, I think they gave it some steroids and took it totally dark.

Well, it seems to me that much depends on Mr Ashcroft's williness to get involved in this mire the Democrats are stirring up, or get to involved with the Democrats themselves..

I wouldn't be surprised if he says:

~Hey, I was a sick puppy, with pain, under opiate medication, and so my memory isn't just fuzzy, it is full of blanks, strange dreams, and illusions.~

The real question is not to ask what happened in the hospital room but why Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith refused to certify to the legality of the "programs"? What caused them grief? Why didn't DoJ blow the whistle when Bush authorized the "programs" to continue despite DoJ objections? Why did they allow the "programs" to continue for years before objecting? How many citizens constitutional rights have been trampled as a result of the "programs"? How many "terrorists" have actually been caught through the use of the "programs"?

IMO, the only way this can be investigated is through a special counsel-grand jury process with all the authority and classification to dig through the shit. This is the most serious violation of the constitutional compact between citizens and the government and a precusor to dictatorship. Hiding behind the skirt of national security is always the first and last refuge of authoritarians. History has proven time and again that powers given to the state never return.

I don't hold any confidence in Rockefeller - of the hide the letter in the office safe - fame. His personality and courage does not suit the hardball tactics of Shooter and his minions. Exhibit A is the minority of the minority report on Wilson-Plame - see Joe Wilson's response stating clearly the utter nonsense of the minority to continue to obfuscate facts. Did Rockefeller ever provide such a minority note when Pat Robert's ran the stonewall and kabuki? I am actually rather sceptical that the Dems really want to shed light on this dark matter but play the game that they are trying to do something and let it go. This is an issue between the state and citizens and the constitution and the rule of law. The Dems too, IMO, want a more powerful state at the expense of the rights of the citizens. Or is it that they have yet to come to terms with their majority position in Congress and how they were treated when in the minority and are still fighting their own shadows? Its clear that Dems get rolled easily while the Repubs know and play well the game of hardball.

So the question is do citizens have any other way to challenge the unconstitutional power grab by the government to spy and detain citizens with no legal oversight and habeas corpus protections or reasonable cause?

Since it is a little slow today, I am going to tell a story. Mine are neither as good, nor as rich, as Sara's; so I apologize in advance for that. In 1981-1982, I was living in Tucson Arizona and attending graduate school (organic chemistry and physics for those thinking I am solely a legal imbecile). While in Tucson, I worked for Mo Udall and his re-election campaign. My mother had long been friends with Mo and his brother Stewart, and there were several very hot girls working on the local portion of the campaign, so I eagerly signed on. At any rate, our big be all to end all fundraiser before the election was a tribute dinner for Mo, honoring his twentieth year in Congress, to be held at the DoubleTree Resort in Tucson. The named guests headlining this gala event were Robert Redford and, wait for it,.... an up and coming Democratic star to be, the young Governor of West Virginia, Jay Rockefeller. I still have to this day, somewhere in a box, souvenir t-shirts with the silk screened likeness of Mo in the middle and Redford on one side and Rockefeller on the other. Redford and Mo consumed most of the oxygen the entire day, but they kept trying with every ounce of energy to put Rockefeller on an even plane, because the grooming had already begun for his Senate run two years later. This night was to be part of Rockefeller's national coming out in anticipation of the Senate run. I, along with several of my friends, had a chance to really talk to Rockefeller during a couple of different points in the day, because everything concentrated on Redford and Mo no matter what we did. Rockefeller was literally left alone a couple of times, and that is when we would go over. At any rate, the consensus opinion among all of us was "man, this is the nicest and brightest guy, but what a fucking milquetoast". Some things, apparently, never change.


separate rockefeller from his wife

and see if he has a brain of his own.


That's the problem with dynasties. People will elect "names" based solely upon recognition of some ancestral fame and hope that there is magic in the bloodline.

Sometimes that happens, but I'd like to surmise that not all of the Bach children were musically gifted and not all of the Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller descendants have the nerve to be cut-throat robber barons. Perhaps not all of the Bush clan are alcoholics... unless a litter is entirely runts.

Fame depends as much upon timing and opportunity as individual skill, and genetics confounds the bloodline anyway.

I'd rather not see ANY family names enshrined. Why give somebody a sense of entitlement? Entitlement based solely upon birth and not upon education or experience or ability? Unearned? I don't care if someone was raised and groomed for leadership based upon name alone... that isn't a good enough reason to elect a pedigreed dog. (If Barney Bush dug up the missing WMD, would he be elected as America's savior?)

Nobody's blood is "better".

Dynasties were important in the long dreary age of priest-kings, where the king had to claim direct descent from a god or legendary founder so that his followers would accept his own semi-divine nature. How many Caesars established temples to themselves? How many were insane or inept and only held power because of their name?

How much is Bush's Library going to resemble one of those temples? What are the odds that George P. is being set up for future office-holding? After all, there is a dynasty to be maintained! :pfffft:

Does the seniority system really allow for good governance? One would like to assume that people wouldn't continue to get elected if they were good at their jobs, but here again name recognition is more important than ability, and some politicians are well past their sell-by date. Just because someone continues to get elected doesn't mean that they have the skills to run whatever committee they were assigned to when they first entered Congress.

The ONLY reason to push a Rockefeller or Roosevelt into office is laziness on behalf of the campaign staff. They can plaster a known name on placards and not bother with taking positions upon various issues or educating the public as to the qualities which make their candidate a superior choice.

If America had had the Bush clan earlier in history, rather than Adams and Roosevelt, we might not have survived as a democracy. However, if we did survive, we'd probably have had a Constitutional Amendment declaring that one President from a bloodline was enough: no dynasties!

And if we held to the idea of equality and individual worthiness, Congressional committees could be formed and led each term by those best suited for the task, not just those who outlast the others or have the right family connections.

hauksdottir - I agree with your premise. However, in Jay Rockefeller's defense, I meant it when I said that he came off as extremely bright and genuinely nice. At least then, and I imagine still now, his heart was really in the right place. He was very active in the Peace Corps and other like things. I have no problem with Rockefeller as a politician, even as a senator; I do, however, fully agree with EW that he is the wrong man to lead the SSCI. You need somebody unafraid to cause waves if it is necessary. A Kennedy, Feingold, Whitehouse if he had enough senority; someone like that. Somebody that has the cojones to actually watch the watchers. Rockefeller is a decent chap, just not for this job.

Thank you Marcy for your tireless efforts to keep us informed.
I have no confidence in Rockefeller. He comes across as to institutionlized. He is not the right person for this chairmanship. Wholeheartedly, concur that Whitehouse should be appointed to an investigatory role based on his prosecutorial demeanor and his ability to communicate.

When I watch some of these folks on tv, I wonder, "why they are representing us?" I never supported term limits before, but I am all for them now.


We do need intelligent and genuinely nice people in government. If Congress is to serve the people of this country, someone needs forethought to avoid unpreparedness for disaster and compassion for taking care of aftermath of those calamities which couldn't be prepared for.

With intelligence, Katrina wouldn't have destroyed a city. A nice person would have helped with more than words.

With intelligence, America would never have illegally invaded a sovereign nation based upon a crumpled tissue of lies. A nice person would examine the horrors of white phosphorous, torture, depleted uranium, used againt millions of displaced and wounded and dead human beings and utilize every legislative tool and trick at his disposal to bring all our troops home immediately.

With intelligence, Congress wouldn't allow emotional fear-mongering to rule over a lawful tradition extending back hundreds of years. A nice person would react against invasion of privacy, data-mining, the stripping of our basic rights, rendition, and the establishment of a secret police force at the behest of a tyrant.

If a single senator or representative can put a secret hold on a bill, keeping it in committee forever and ever... why do we not have a single member of Congress with the minimal courage to hide behind the anonymity of a secret hold and stop allowing Bush to run roughshod over the Constitution these guys are all sworn to defend?

All these programs to build new toys for the military or new buildings and computers for the domestic spying cost money. Impeaching Cheney might take 67 votes. Stopping the authorizations for his pet programs takes 1 person.

They all want to be liked, but surely it is more important to be respected?

Hauksdottir - Again, I agree completely. But, they will not all be perfect on all issues to all people. What I am saying is that, all things considered, I personally think Rockefeller, from what I have seen, has been a pretty good senator; both for his state and the country. He is just the wrong man to be holding this particular job, the head of the SSCI. Conversely, I know about senators that are genuinely bad. I have two of them. Kyl and McCain. Take you pick; just take them. Please. As to the lovely little ruse where a senator can place a one man stop on an entire piece of legislation (which I think is a bad thing to start with) John Kyl is the schmuck who put the hold on the recent transparenct legislation. So, i know bad when I see it, I see it every day.


I knew you'd recognize which senator placed which hold. I don't fight fair. ;^)

I don't like that ruse, either. There should be better, more honest tools to accomplish what must be done. But if you don't have a spiffy new toolbox with widgets for everything, you use what you lay hands on.

I'm fortunate to have Barbara Lee as a representative. She is strong enough to stand up for her convictions and she listens to the mood of the people. She sends emails explaining why she was going to propose this or sign that and holds town hearings all over her district. When Al Gore spoke at an environmental rally in Berkeley, Lee was the introductory speaker and she was almost as passionate about our need to act.

Lee is practical, too. A few weeks back, we had an oil tanker destroy 3 levels of "the MacArthur Maze" (a junction where multiple freeways intersect), and many of us remember the problems caused during the Loma Prieta earthquake. Within hours, Lee had sent emails explaining what happened, the alternative routes, the mass transit options and what they were doing to help, complete with maps, phone numbers, weblinks. A couple hours after that Peralta (state rep) sent emails with even more information. The newscasters were amazed at how smoothly people were adjusting (I guess they wanted stories of fear and anger), but nobody made the connection between informed choices and lack of panic. Schwarzennegger may be a Republican, but he used the state's clout to get the mess cleared and the freeways repaired ASAP (a snarl at the Maze affects the entire traffic flow throughout the Bay Area). Compared to New Orleans, this is what government is supposed to do when lives, safety, health are at risk. Getting accurate information sent out was the vital first step.

Feinstein has been a thorn in my side for decades. I worked on the Yosemite Master Plan (1972?) and we tried to remove the Hetch Hetchy Dam. She proclaimed that it was "a beautiful dam", when what she meant was that the #3 million/year San Franscico made selling electricity was beautiful money. There are only 3 such valleys in the world, and we flooded one of them out of greed. Reclamation would have been so much easier then. sigh. Her "pottery barn" approach to Iraq was galling, too. OTOH, she is reliable on women's rights.

Boxer is wonderful. She is prepared, articulate, politically savvy... and she doesn't just cater to big money donors. There is an awareness of the blogosphere as a movement, not simply an ATM machine. I like the way she comes to a hearing with charts and facts and piles of signatures backing up her arguments.

If we manage to get a decent, properly elected President, he or she will have to staff dozens of positions with competent people. I wouldn't mind losing Feinstein to an ambassadorship somewhere, but hands off Lee and Boxer!

So, you have my sympathies with Kyl and McCain. Both are vulnerable and a good candidate with the right appeal could unseat them. Even in Arizona.

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