Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gonzogate ~Take Me To Your Mind-Meld Leader

'Berto must be awfully grateful to that insane Korean kid at Virginia Tech today. The sensational news of the shooting deaths at the school has well & thoroughly muscled aside any particularly detailed treatment of his own dismal performance in testimony before Congress in the media today.

Arriving home too late to find anything being broadcast but the aforementioned shooting, your Demon Princess had to piece together various print news accounts--a poor substitute for actually being able to observe what Dahlia Lithwick for Slate calls "the face"--imperturbable "bemused puzzlement" interrupted only by "earnest seriousness" while not saying a damned thing that credibly allays suspicions that the DOJ was playing politix with prosecutions in advance of last November's Democratic party election sweeps.

Except to admit that would have been very wrong, & he would never do anything very wrong.
DP was also not particularly surprised to hear that, according to this article, 'Berto was such a very hands-off & remote administrator that he, in fact, was really not there at all.
Maybe he was too busy running the Geneva Conventions through the shredder in the backroom, or tweaking his torture memo, or orchestrating the illegal and covert amassing of information on American citizens to have been bothered by relatively low-level concerns like replacing prosecutors in key states before last November's elections.
"Gonzales struggled Thursday to convince skeptical senators he did nothing improper in firing eight federal prosecutors, losing ground as a second senator from his own party joined the calls for his resignation.
"Even with the White House offering fresh support, it was a long day for the attorney general. Seventy-one times he fell back on faulty memory, saying he could not recall or remember conversations or events surrounding the firings. During breaks in the hearing, sign-waving protesters rose from the audience calling for him to resign."
"Gonzales has provided differing versions of the events surrounding the dismissals, first saying he had almost no involvement and later acknowledging that his role was larger — but only after e-mails about meetings he attended were released by the Justice Department to House and Senate committees.

"There was no doubt about the stakes involved for a member of
President Bush's inner circle, and support from fellow Republicans was critical to his attempt to hold his job."
One of the weirder moments in the hearing came when Lindsey Graham tried to out-lawyer Gonzales by not-so-subtly reminding him of the defense tactic Graham himself preferred, and proceeded, in fact, to testify for Gonzales:

"Calling most of Gonzales' explanations for the firings 'a stretch,' Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham asked whether the dismissals simply came down to personality disagreements the Justice Department and White House had with the former prosecutors.
But since unfortunate, hapless & earnestly tone-deaf 'Berto is accustomed to having to answer to the White House only, he rebuffed Graham's kind offer of an interpretation Graham clearly thought he could work with, and instantly Graham repaid him with a bitchy shot of lethal of D.C. snark:
"You said something that struck me — that sometimes it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time,' said Graham, a Republican. "If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?'"
Likewise, when the hearing opened, 'Berto's tone-deafness was fully on display in his interactions with Republican Arlen Specter, who, famous as he is for thundering statesmanlike pronouncements & threats, they always turn out to be neat tricks of kabuki theatre that collapse into abject obedience to the party master. I imagine 'Berto, like the rest of us, really cannot take Arlen Specter's thundering seriously anymore, but made the mistake of trying to interrupt him & talk over him--tsk, tsk, for which offenses Arlen postured & waved his fist (metaphorically), producing some dramatic moments.

The Washington Post has some good articles, but one of my favorite rundowns of the historic event is Dahlia Lithwick in Slate and what she has to say about lack of evidence--it is 'Berto's position that Congress, not he, has the burden of proving that what he did was wrong, & we all know by now that George W. has reported something like 5 million potentially relevant e-mails missing from White House records, & additionally, those funnelled by Karl Rove, the Treasure Trove, through a Republicon National Committee account for the precise purpose of keeping them out of the mix.

Dahlia also points out the sheer stupidity of what little Gonzo did say--apparently the topcats in charge comprise a universal mindmeld that only true believers can hear; they communicate with the little people in concensus-speak such that no one of them has to take the blame for anything, & most especially anyone called before the Senate to testify.

And, to remind us all what the fuss is about this time, this article appearing today in the Baltimore Sun treats what is, in truth, the latest in a long string of scandalous abuses of democratic process to issue forth under the auspices of America's Attorney General. "Administration Tried to Curb Election Turnout in Key States.",0,23441.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines

Read more here, at NPR, including an excellent list of who in the White House is involved (separately).
The hearings today resulted in one GOP Congressman's call for 'Berto's head.
My guess is that 'Berto is going to try to tough it out & retain his post, but if need be, he'll fall on his sword to protect Bush ~ or more precisely ~ Bush's brain, Karl Rove, as did that other good neocon soldier, Scooter Libby.
God, I really hate to think what would have happened to this country if the Neocons had managed to establish a competent & convincing dictatorship.



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