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November 01, 2007


EW, I write just to say thank you once more. You shine the bright light of good historical reasoning and astute political and analysis on these dark subjects. I hope the SJC staffers are reading you right now.

That said, do you have a way to explain DiFi's moves, if we exclude the tinfoilhattish 'they have something on her husband' interpretation?

you are a juggernaut, EW!

a whole slew of fresh, largely-
unreported mukasey insights, last
night, and into this afternoon!

great stuff. . .

isn't it possible that schumer (and
perhaps, less-plausibly, di fi) have
settled on allowing a nominee that
is slightly better than the existing
full-on-political-hacks now helming

isn't it possible that this is less
about nefarious deals, and more about
trying to protect the rank-and-file
long enough to get to 2008?

the sad -- and least common denom-
ating -- end game may simply be to
get someone -- anyone -- in there,
before ALL the real talent is gone:
disgusted, departed -- and justice
is then decades (as opposed to years)
away from being the non-political
law enforcement arm, it once was. . .


i think so. tragic; but possible.

Being originally from St. Louis, I always check and see what is on the front page of the venerable St. Louis Post Dispatch, to see if:

"some Soccer Moms who might otherwise be ignorant that men are being tortured in their names may just discover that their government is doing reprehensible things"

unfortunately, todays "Top Story" is

"A year later, couple still searching for lost dog"


I kid you not. And it keeps reminding me why I left and stayed away.

My money is on DiFi and Schumer selling out the Constitution and country. Straight up bet. Any takers?

On the second day of Mukasey's testimony before the SJC, right at the end of Schumer's questions, did anyone else hear Schumer turn and say in an aside to a colleague or a staffer, "I'm so angry"?

I'd have to look at their exchange again to see whether there was anything obvious that early in the hearing to spark that comment, but it really struck me at the time.


I was doing day job stuff at the moment. That's very curious--I wonder if Schumer felt like he'd been cheated by Mukasey?? Or bested by Bush.

I think this information is new to the discussion. If not, apologies for repeating.

Senator Kennedy has announced his No vote in a diary on Daily Kos.

Yeah, because that would be a real shocker....

EW, I'm off to sleep just now but I will check our records tomorrow (modest discussion board where we follow these things). If anything had occurred at that point to cause that reaction, I think it would have been more the preceding exchange between Leahy and Mukasey, not specifically Schumer's exchanges with him. But it was odd -- that was sort of what woke me up to the fact that Mukasey was running into trouble.

So Mukasey, the former SDNY man, was Schumer's offering, eh? I'd either forgot or not really incorporated that fact. I hope that doesn't mean that I'm as stupid as David Addington.

NY Attorney General Sues First American and Its Subsidiary for Conspiring with Washington Mutual to Inflate Real Estate Appraisals

The applicable law is NY State's version of FIRREA. Evidence includes a lot of e-mail traffic(!) among the appraisers. I'd say WAMU (love that nickname!) has been placed on notice. Btw, this story is apparently the headline at Seattle Post-Intelligencer, according to comment over at Calculated Risk's blog. I suspect any interested lawyers, etc., would be real welcome over there at this story heats up.

And EW, thanks for that point about the torture questions becoming practically a shiny object in the Mukasey hearings. What debased times we live in! Blumenthal's article over at Salon did help me to see how that emphasis does point back to the more important governance issues.


Oh yeah, Cuomo's gonna have fun--I read through the filing but got into the Mukasey before I did a post.

And if he has follow-on business, like he did on the student loan scandal, things could get interesting...


Oh yeah, Cuomo's gonna have fun--I read through the filing but got into the Mukasey before I did a post.

And if he has follow-on business, like he did on the student loan scandal, things could get interesting...

Dear Ghu, please help DiFi get the message this time ....
In the e-mail I sent her, I laid out reasons to vote against Mukasey, using several of the points that have been laid out here.
I hope that something sinks in along the lines of 'this is not a good time to be 'bipartisan'. But I'm not going to take bmz's bet.

i don't trust sen schumer any more than i trust sen lieberman.

they are both amoral slicks

who, regrettably for the national interest, really, really believe they know have access to political "truth".


schumer and lieberman are both really, really wrong.

it's time to get rid of a lot of congresspeople,

schumer included,

who lack the capacity to act in the public interest.

I ain't taking bmaz's bet either. However...there's a whole lot of time between now and next Thursday's vote for more Mukassy screwups. Here's to hoping!

"details of a classified program he has not been briefed on."

This has been bugging me all damned day. Why would anybody have to get "read into" a program that included waterboarding before they could conclusively say "hell f*cking no, it's torture."

But getting "read into" this program might just as well be any other program -- including domestic spying. If he can't take a conclusive stand on something as obviously wrong as waterboarding without being "read into" it, he can't and won't take a stand on anything else that's pretty damned wrong like spying on Americans.

What I want to know is what they have on Mukasey that he did the head-spinning turn-around from a Schumer-pick to three-day-old fish.

Mukasey went from blocking with his hands to the chest on Monday, to delivering rake-handle forearms to the jaw on Tuesday. He knows what he did. He'll understand if Shumer cracks-back on him next week.

But, DiFi, she'll sell US out the very second one of the Gooper Strict Daddies raises his voice to her.

I was sailing along on these post, having that once exciting stir of hope, but then I read "the bet". THUNK. I hit the wall.

Thank bmaz, I hope I don't dream of di fi and schumer. I know your point is valid about past patterns of behavior. In all fairness E.W did some nice foreshadowing with her pessimism. goodnight all.

Rayne, I have had the same comment digging at me all day, too. It was like Bush was offering that up as some kind of valid reason for supporting Mukasey, which says a lot about Bush's own values and where they lie. Never mind that waterboarding is a form of torture, or that anything else you are choosing to do is destroying our country. You have to be 'read in' to something to truly understand it...

Yeah, right...

This just about sums up where we stand today. Torture is just a joke to the Bush Republicans. Republican "strategist" Rachel Marsden on CNN: "One man's torture is another man's CIA-sponsored swim lesson." What the fuck is wrong with these people? Seriously.

There is a CLC article on Schumer's associate's proposed promotion to FEC there; article is about 5 weeks since publication. There seems a dysymmetry to the tradeoff between AG and FEC; maybe Schumer could ask for more, something like no perielection prosecutions in NY, but that would be difficult to reduce to writing as a political covenant.

My money is on DiFi and Schumer selling out the Constitution and country. Straight up bet. Any takers?
Posted by: bmaz | November 01, 2007 at 19:50

No bmaz. I won't take that bet without odds but I will write them both tomorrow and tell them why they should vote no on Mukasey.

Until Impeachment you all have your oars out of the water.

Some soccer moms formally worked at the UN in Geneva... Let's hope torture and his position on the AG's come to light for all, not just soccer moms...

Leahy called it when he asked Mukasey if somebody "got" to him between the first day of testimony and the second day of testimony. Mukasey denied going over to the WH and said he had dinner with his family on the night in between.

So maybe it was an early morning breakfast meeting when Mukasey got woodshedded?

The guy who testified on the first day, was the guy Schumer thought he was nominating and the guy Schumer sold to his colleagues.

However, in their usual presto chango fashion, the WH truned him to the dark side in only 24 hours. They must have some great brainwashing operation going in the basement of the WH.

I did predict that Mukasey would get punked. What I did not realize is that he might get punked even BEFORE becoming AG.

I wonder how they flipped him so fast?

Breakfast at Addington's. It may be missing the charm of Peppard and Hepburn, but clearly a revised script was presented.

Great question LHP. I don't doubt that at the beginning Mukasey was the acceptable compromise candidate Schumer expected him to be (and you did as well IIRC). You almost wonder if the WH sabotaged their own nominee. At least they know what they have going with Keisler, maybe they worried Mukasey wouldn't fall in line. So they tell Mukasey to shape up on the 2nd day or else they withdraw the nomination. Mukasey tries to toe the line, but in so doing he presents himself as the President's Man and not the public's Attorney General. Perhaps the WH is testing just how much they can get away with with this Congress?

LHP, it is not just in this matter that that has happened, but I often wonder the same thing... Are they drugged some way and forced to listen to Cheney speeches about the UE for hours on end? Are they promised the moon and stars and everything in between? Are their families threatened somehow, to force their cooperation? Inquiring minds want to know!

On another level, what the hell keeps seemingly intelligent people in line with this administration's dictums? Are they just all so isolated or insulated from the real world that they truly believe that what they are doing is good?

It truly is amazing...

Well Phred, as you know, I have said from the second he was nominated, that the Administration might just be running a play with the Mukasey nomination and might torpedo it themselves if he really got close to confirmation (although I predicted a flank attack by Hatch and Kyl). Over time, I have come to conclude they just don't care and only want to divert attention onto Mukasey and away from the real issues behind Mukasey; it is just a game to see how much attention can be diverted and how much political gain can be obtained out of the situation irrespective of how it turns out. Stupidly enough, having a running argument on Mukasey's nomination, or the fact there is no confirmed AG if Mukasey is scuttled, or the thought of a recess appointment, really does take attention away from the real reason we are where we are at, i.e. the failed and criminal policies of the Administration. Only in this looking glass world of Bush and Cheney would this be the case.

Leahy a NO on Mukasey!

Yep, bmaz, I know :)

sojourner, fwiw, I don't think there's any blackmail required. I can imagine Mukasey wanting to be the next AG in the hope of doing some good. I can imagine after the first day of testimony, the WH telling Mukasey they would withdraw his nomination if he didn't change his tune. Then Mukasey has a choice, change his tune in the hopes once he gets in he can still do some good, stick to his guns and be withdrawn, or withdraw himself in protest of the WH strong-arming. To give the man the benefit of the doubt, it is possible he chose the former without having slugged back the kool-aid. 'Course slugging back the kool-aid remains on the table here.

But I think ultimately bmaz may be right. Mukasey's nomination buys time to keep everything humming along as is over at DoJ, which is just what the WH wants. As has been noted pretty much everywhere at this point nothing will get solved unless they impeach Bush and Cheney. Failing that, we are all left to ride this out until the election. But then what happens?

I don't think Schumer foresaw any of this, nor did Mukasey and BushCo.
Whitehorse asked a very astute, focused question in the Senate Hearings, and the repurcussions were unexpected.

But I don't see how Schumer can vote to support Mukasey in a year when the American Bar Assn is focusing on a World Justice Project.

The WJP defines the rule of law as:
I. A system of self-government in which all persons, including the government, are accountable under the law;
II. A system based on fair, publicized, broadly understood and stable laws;
III. A robust and accessible process in which rights and responsibilities based in law are enforced impartially; and
IV. Diverse, competent, independent and ethical lawyers and judges

See: http://www.abanet.org/wjp/
See Also: http://www.abanet.org/initiatives/

This is NOT about Mukasey -- who appears to be a judicious, scholarly, well-intentioned man. But if the Dems
support Mukasey, they sabotage one of the key initiatives of the American Bar Association. (!)

I may regret these comments on Tuesday, but I'll wager that Schumer knows this deal went sidewise, so all bets are off.
In fact, bmaz, I'll bet you that at least two Republicans vote against Mukasey, as well.

It appears that Bush is near meltdown mode over the prospect that Mukasey isn't approved. Hmmm... Sh*t, meet fan.

My guess: from Schumer's pov and maybe also Feinstein, this nomination has to do with building financial litigation, which is going to have a big impact in NY and CA, the home of much of the national mortgage industry.

ReaderOfTeaLeaves, why can't the ABA simply argue that the U.S. should join the ICC, the way the rest of us have?

ROTL - I should have read this before I commented above on that thread, but this is it imo, Whitehorse asked a very astute, focused question in the Senate Hearings, and the repurcussions were unexpected.

Here's how I think it went.

Everyone knew that Bush would not put up anyone who would crack down on programs and personnel and many Dems, like Clinton and Schumer and Reid and Feinstein and Pelosi etc. etc. would be very uncomfortable with where those investigations might go if they really were thorough.

OTOH, Dems wanted someone who would tamp down the lawsuits against Dems and against voters (all they really care about - them going to jail and/or their voters being expunged).

A few other Dems were simply worried that DOJ is such a fast failing institution it needs someone and they were hoping for a few minimal improvements, knowing they wouldn't get maximal improvements from a Bush selection.

So the Mukasey selection was already a result of lots and lots of deal making. As such, the die was cast. No one had bothered to involve a Junior Senator like Whitehouse on the machinations, so he asked the "wrong" questions. Questions that actually highlighted the nature of the deals being made.

That caused problems, but the deal has been done already. This way, they give "cover" to their Dem candidates, while also proving that none of those Dem candidates lead the party - which has become a protorture party just as much as the Reublican one - and in particular, they give Hillary cover.

I'm guessing if Schumer was "so angry" it was about Whitehouse asking the question.

skdadl, the ABA could. But clearly there are members for whom this is important to emphasize as a topic. From the little that I hear, it appears that some of the members most determined about this do a lot of law related to international commerce; others because they feel strongly due to personal backgrounds.

Mary, wow, what an analysis. You see far deeper than I do. I'm both chilled and awed.
But the cat's out of the bag now.
Schumer will look like a cretin if he supports Mukasey, IMHO.

So Whitehouse is in the doghouse, eh?

Mary, Oh ,my. at 18:44, I wrote that Schumer would be a 'cretin' to vote for Mukasey.
Then I clicked to TPM. The news came over at 18:44 that Schumer will vote for Mukasey.
AFAIK, this underscores your comment. Oh, my...

I hope the Internet daemon's don't mess with me for my bad prediction, Yikies.

Some news of the day that I don't think is o/t, and against which the actions of some Democrats look less mysterious, if also no less deplorable:

Citigroup CEO Plans to Resign As Losses Grow

Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Charles Prince is planning to resign at a board meeting on Sunday, according to people familiar with the situation, as the bank faces big new losses from distressed mortgage assets.

It would make Mr. Prince the second major chief executive in finance to leave his job in a week, following the ouster of Merrill Lynch & Co.'s Stan O'Neal.

… People familiar with the matter said the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the bank's accounting for its off-balance sheet investment funds that have recently attracted scrutiny.

… Just a few weeks ago, board members including Robert Rubin, the influential chairman of Citigroup's executive committee, expressed support for Mr. Prince and said that his job wasn't in jeopardy. "I think Chuck's going to be here for a lot of years," Mr. Rubin said in an interview last month. A spokeswoman for Citigroup declined to comment Friday.

[… and finally … ]

The SEC is reviewing how Citigroup accounted for certain off-balance-sheet transactions that are at the heart of a banking-industry rescue plan, according to people familiar with the matter. The review is looking at whether Citigroup appropriately accounted for $80 billion in structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, these people said. SIVs are off-balance-sheet entities that have invested heavily in mortgage-backed securities. A plan pushed by Citigroup and other banks would set up a new "superconduit" to buy assets from SIVs.

[My emphases above] So, in the same week, we have the CEOs of both the country's largest bank and the world's largest financial broker resigning in the wake of 10- and 11-figure loss reports and SEC investigations of the same magnitudes at both places (also here) You also have the country's largest savings and loan, Washington Mutual of Seattle** —i.e., a leading source of the mortgages that go into those mortgage-backed securities— being named in connection with fraudulent (and coercive-sounding to this nonlawyer) business practices in a lawsuit by the AttGen of NY.

These alone would be a lot of traffic potentially heading courtward for one week, but I'm sure there's more in recent news, and yet much more in prospect as the loan reset wave clears its awful way through consumers. I'm just cherry-picking to make the point that some very large financial interests on both coasts are exposed right now to more trouble than one often sees at one time, including possible legal trouble. The instances I've named are just the first indicators that there might be some real desperation out there.

What Feinstein and Schumer are doing might not be any more nefarious, from the perspective of a law-abiding official who has a constituent that is clearly at risk of legal trouble, that is, than trying to see to it that the new AG is familiar with that world, or they might have some deeper and less sorta defensible obstructionist agendas at work. Whichever, my guess is that it's this kind of in-the-moment, pragmatic but short-sighted thinking that has caused these two Senators in particular to miss the larger picture, by which I'm not sure the Senate should really be giving Mister Bush anything he wants.

If nothing else, I think we're seeing what a bottleneck it is to have an administration in place that insists on service to all sorts of weird obsessions and indefensible objectives, compounded with the inability of our representatives and business leaders to be forthright about their situations. Something ought to be done at least about the former.

** Over the last year, between 5 and 8 of the top 10 subprime lenders and 3 of the top 10 of all mortgage lenders in the US were based in CA. During that time, WaMu was consistently in the top 10 in both categories as well.

Do ya think Arnie will feel any political heat for not regulating them?

What with the Calif. energy crisis which led to his rise to governator it would appear he's in deep with all the Republican financial industry scum there is. Why would he go that route? What's in it for him?

Or, is he really unaware of what's been happening?

The Democratic 110th Congress has done precisely what exactly that comports with anything wished on blogs like this? I can’t find anything they’ve accomplished.

Empty Wheel, let's be very clear. It's not just DiFi (in reality the San Fran Republican) who disappoints Dems, it's Dems who disappoint Dems on every substantive vote enabled by the Apathetic American people who are continually focused on Britney on every substantive House and Senate vote in the 109 and 110th congress. And the hits are going to just keep on coming. Mukasey on Tuesday, Telco Immunity on Thursday complements of your consistent Bush rubberstamp Senate Judiciary Committee.

Chuckey the Schumer has developed a virtual laryngectomy on his vote for Mukasey when he is confirmed Tuesday.

No particular lobbying group had to get to these Bush enabling “Democrats”. The little putz from Texas snaps his fingers and they jump whichever way he wants.

People who aren’t following Britney 24X7 which most of your country does who is oblivious to any of this, are finally waking up that representation by Democrats in the House and Senate is a total delusion just as it has always been.

I’ll say one thing for the Republicans–they may be ideologically stupid, and an undisguised shafter of the midle class for the very affluent economic class, but they know how to stick together, rubber stamp their president and cow the other side and they do so with a near perfect record and a perfect record on all significant votes.

Mukasey was an abusive judge--his material witness rulings were an endorsement of rounding up hundreds of people, holding them incommunicado without charges,and beating many of them, and he will carry this abuse into DOJ pushing the anihilation of your rights and the Imperial Presidency. He will be worse than Gonzales, because he will further Bush agendas, and he has more sophisticated federal legal experience which wouldn't be difficult, since Gonzales had absolutely zero federal legal experience.

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