Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The DOJ As BushWorld's Titanic

Ill: 1912 Postcard

Musical deck chair rearrangements ensue in the race to see whom, exactly, will leave Gonzales' Department of Justice with some shred of credibility & integrity intact. If anyone ~

~And more bad decisions from the mind of Bush ~

Today's scandalous bits coughed up from the swirling black hole that is the Justice Department under Alberto Gonzales:

1. Today the Department's #2 man, Deputy AG Paul McNulty, announced his resignation, per the WaPo (Title bar.)

"McNulty began work as Gonzales's deputy in November 2005. McNulty became a central figure in the furor after he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in February that the White House played only a marginal role in the dismissals -- a characterization that conflicted with documents later released by Justice and with subsequent testimony.

"He also said most of the prosecutors were fired for 'performance-related' reasons. That statement angered many of the former U.S. attorneys, most of whom had sterling evaluations and had remained largely silent about their departures."

McNulty says his decision to leave has nothing to do with it, of course.

Senator Leahy says he looks forward to McNulty's testimony. Time says McNulty's resignation is his way of saying, "hasta la vista, baby" (or something like it), and throwing "Gonzales under the bus." Gonzales was making preemptory noises today, claiming that if anyone knew that the prosecutors were being fired, it was McNulty. (McNulty has claimed that Monica Goodling kept him out of the loop).

2. Speaking of whom ~ Curiouser & curiouser as we watch a naiif as pure as Alice herself fall down the rabbit hole. If McNulty is to be believed (& I take no position on that), Monica Goodling & Kyle Sampson were off in their own little Baby Republicon constructa-world playset domain in communicating directly with the White House, & failed to keep McNulty briefed.

Now that Monica is going to testify before Congress, the DOJ is conducting its own (pre-emptory?) investigation of Monica, who, it now says, acted illegally in requiring GOP &/or even more extreme political party "cred" such as membership in law group the Federalist Society before she, a newly minted lawyer herself & with no experience with anything that suggested she should be in charge of hiring litigators, would consider hiring them.

(As to the latter "cred," as informative aside, when your DP was in law school, students in the Federalist Society were whispered about, it being roughly akin, in our minds, to membership in the Ku Klux Klan, some random satanic cult or Hitler Youth. Now even the Supreme Court is infected. My, how times have changed).

Purportedly, Little Ms. Goodling had a second hiring criteria: she is said to to have asked candidates in job interviews whether they had ever cheated on their wives, too. I almost feel sorry for her at this point. How touchingly naiive to think that a man inclined to philander would be honest about it! --but the real lesson, here, Monica, is that brass-knuckle politix, especially the way Rove plays them, is no place for an innocent, no matter how morally self-righteous.

3. Gonzales as ghoul, hovering in the nighttime hours over the hospital bed of then- Attorney General John Ashcroft in hopes of getting him to sign a presidential order to authorizing a domestic spying program that Ashcroft & James Comey, then #1 & # 2 at the DOJ, believed not-up-to-legal-snuff. (Yessir, the one we have now--er, the one we know about, thanks only to the "traitorous" New York Times ). James Comey testified today that he had to intercept Gonzales & Andrew Card at the hospital & insist that they leave Ashcroft alone.

If you need a refresher as to how Gonzales came to be AG now, this is a must-read. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/washington/16nsa.html?_r=1&ref=washington&oref=slogin

4. And, another resignation (in protest) by the only Democrat on a panel of civilians set up to oversee protections of personal privacy. Seems that the White House absolutely cannot resist what seems to be an overarching Administration-wide compulsion to manipulate (originating where, we wonder):

"The Bush administration made more than 200 revisions to the first report of a civilian board that oversees government protection of personal privacy, including the deletion of a passage on anti-terrorism programs that intelligence officials deemed "potentially problematic" intrusions on civil liberties, according to a draft of the report obtained by The Washington Post.

"One of the panel's five members, Democrat Lanny J. Davis, resigned in protest Monday over deletions ordered by White House lawyers and aides. The changes came after the congressionally created Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board had unanimously approved the final draft of its first report to lawmakers, renewing an internal debate over the board's independence and investigative power."


5. Icing on the cake. Proving that even in the midst of a profound crisis, apparently Bush is incapable of learning ~

Even while his great friend Paul Wolfowitz, appointed by Bush to further the extremist neocon agenda at the World Bank (as Bolten did before him at the UN), Wolfie behaves very, very badly, engaging in an affair with a married woman at work & arranging for salary increases for her. (What is this ~ Peyton Place? I know we've regressed a lot under Bush, but this is something straight out of the '50's!) Wolfie continues to fight it, but he does not at all belong at the World Bank. Never mind messing up things even more by doing stupid & arrogant things like making everyone else at work deal with his sordid little affair. No class, no class at all.

Unperturbed, Bush wants to make yet another appointment of a man whose career history has been entirely antipathetic, not to say downright arrogant toward, the very agency Bush wants him to head. In other words, another major disaster waiting to happen.

Bush wants to appoint Michael Baroody to oversee the work of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, & already he starts with a handsome payment as "severance," $150,000, from the National Association of Manufacturers, for whom he was a Senior Lobbyist.

"Mr. Baroody said in the letter that the payment would NOT prevent him from considering matters involving individual companies that are members of the manufacturers’ association, many of whom are defendants in agency proceedings over defective products or have other business before the commission. Nor would it preclude him from involvement with smaller trade groups like those representing makers of home appliances and children’s products that have alliances with the association." http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/washington/16safety.html?ref=washington



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