Posts Tagged ‘Alberto Gonzales’

Poor pitiful me

The perpetrators now want us to view them as victims.

It’s now Alberto Gonzales asking “Why are people so unkind?“, but as Krugman notes, the same refrain comes from other parts of the Bush administration. The people who, as part of their job, actively made decisions and implemented politically-motivated policies that ranged from putting American lives in danger through to merely being highly unpopular and illegal, now want the world to feel sorry that nobody likes them any more.

I’m torn between wanting these people to keep begging for sympathy and publicly expose their foolishness and hubris, and wanting them to just go away.

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The Department of Justice’s ethics office has found that staff of the Department of Justice (in particular, the favoured lackeys of Alberto Gonzales) broke the law by making hiring decisions on political grounds [PDF of full report].

Among the wonderful revelations from this report – Monica Goodling, an aide who rose quickly in the Gonzales DoJ, refused to recommend the hiring of an experienced prosecutor of terrorism cases because his wife was a Democrat. Because, you know, the only thing that matters more to the Bush administration than winning the war on terror is winning in politics.

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This nifty Venn diagram from Slate maps out the people involved in the five most notorious scandals of the Bush administration. The inept lickspittle Alberto Gonzales goes 5 for 5.

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after almost two weeks:

In a written response to questions from Senate Democrats today, Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey refused to explicitly say whether he believed waterboarding to be torture. In the four-page letter, Mukasey called the interrogation technique “over the line” and “repugnant” on “a personal basis,” but added that he would need the “actual facts and circumstances” to strike a “legal opinion”:

Hypotheticals are different from real life and in any legal opinion the actual facts and circumstances are critical.

This written response follows on from his Alberto-esque performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Speaking of the man who would be Mukasey’s predecessor, if Congress was willing to tolerate his hedging on torture, Kagro X notes a time when Gonzales made use of the “hypothetical” reasoning to avoid answering questions.

Fortunately, it looks like Congress won’t be taken for a ride this time. The very least the Democrat-controlled Congress can do is to insist on an Attorney-General who will give straight answers while attempting to get the job.

Like the wise man says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

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Shed a tear

See what happens when you fire everyone who doesn’t love you.

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"I’m afraid I don’t recall why I am resigning"

At long last, Alberto Gonzales has resigned.

After showing a strong tendency toward stupidity, at least he hasn’t been overplaying the “I’m doing this to spend time with my family” angle, although they do get a mention.

On the other hand, Gonzales’ President is still not short on stupidity. Apparently, everyone has been really unfair to the A-G. Just because he politicised the Department of Justice, then faked memory problems and lied in sworn testimony, doesn’t mean anyone should be calling him names like “incompetent” or “perjurer”.

As noted on JURIST, the resignation doesn’t get Gonzales or the Bush administration clear of all the Justice-related dramas (especially the US Attorney firings and bypassing FISA), but it does take away the possibility of impeachment for Gonzales.

The critical question now is how Congress will handle the appointment of a new Attorney-General. After giving ground on both Iraq and the amendment of FISA, they absolutely have to stand strong in preventing another Bushie from filling Gonzales’s vacancy. An independent Department of Justice is critical to Congressional oversight of the White House – if Congress can rely on the DoJ to assist with enforcing subpoenas on current and former White House employees then it should add to the pressure on the President’s staff to comply with attempts for accountability.

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Hug a Bushie

Greg Sheridan thinks Paul Wolfowitz is lovely. And it looks like he thinks that because Wolfowitz told him that he is. Unfortunately, he probably should have asked around a bit:

PAUL Wolfowitz is a lightning rod for much of the hostility from those legions of people who hate the Bush administration. The arch neo-conservative, one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq, the man most associated with the decisive use of US power, he talks most passionately of development in Africa. This reflects his last big job, president of the World Bank.

He was forced out of this job for allegedly organising an over-generous promotion out of the bank for his partner. It was an absurd charge and the bank ultimately decided he had behaved ethically. Nonetheless there was a kind of frenzy of hostility to Wolfowitz, really from the day he started at the bank.

Greg, you might have started by reading your own newspaper:

The 4 things Wolfowitz did wrong


He violated the code of conduct

He broke the staff rules

He broke his contract

He damaged the bank

Sheridan’s claim that Wolfowitz is, and was found by the World Bank to be, squeaky clean, is absurd. Even if you give Wolfowitz credit for his work toward stability and economic development in Africa and his anti-corruption initiatives while at the World Bank, there is plenty that he deserves criticism for – including the fact that he himself contributed to corruption in the organization by involving himself in setting up a rapid career progression for his girlfriend, as well as setting up some loyal Bushies with cushy, tax-free jobs, and diverting the World Bank’s resources away from climate change issues. Let’s not even start on his involvement in developing the doctrine that led America from the tragedy of September 11 to the doomed invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with the terrorist threat.

Sheridan’s crush on all things American appears to have coloured his perceptions of everyone and everything from the US of A. It’s the flipside of the mentality Shaun Cronin has written about, in which any criticism of American leadership or policy is anti-American. In Sheridan’s case, America is wonderful; therefore, all people from the USA are wonderful, even someone with as dubious a track record as Wolfowitz. Consequently, he must have been misunderstood and persecuted, the poor man:

He looks well and he seems to have absorbed all the strife that befell him. He agrees what happened to him was an injustice, but says: “I don’t feel particularly bitter or resentful, I manage to get on with other things. I’ve developed some of the feeling for Africa that I’ve long had for Indonesia. It would be exciting to be able to help.”

Andrew Bolt has been getting in on the scandal denial lately as well. In a blog entry pointing out the atrocious inaccuracies in a piece by Patricia Maunder about Jon Stewart’s satirical targets, Bolt threw in a howler of his own:

– Gonzales had to testify to Congress about allegedly sacking eight US attorneys from the Justice Department. No scandal involved.

There are a couple of issues here that make Bolt’s claim an outrageous distortion of reality. First, Gonzales has had to testify before Judiciary Committees several times lately, in relation to two separate issues – the US Attorney firings and the authorization of the warrantless domestic surveillance program, which happened while Gonzales was White House Counsel. So it’s not just a single scandal. And second, it’s a bit of a scandal when the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman asks for the nation’s top justice official to be investigated for “inappropriate conduct” when giving sworn testimony (and lest anyone try to spin this as a Democrat witch-hunt, note that Republican Senator Arlen Specter has been as derisive of Gonzales’s credibility as anyone). Here is a top-six list of the biggest lies in Gonzales’s testimony.

I think we have reached a point where the flaws and limitations of many who have worked in the Bush administration, including both Wolfowitz and Gonzales, have been laid bare. Some might argue that they have brought some positives that offset their problems – a view I would strongly disagree with, but could at least understand. What I don’t quite get is this willful ignorance, accompanied by complete misrepresentation of the facts, demonstrated by two Australian commentators to the obvious failings of these flawed gentlemen.

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