Archive for March 20th, 2007

I Think You Should Be More Explicit Here In Step Two…

miracle.jpg

Crooked Timber posts something that is perhaps unintentionally revealing…

Last night’s edition of BBC’s flagship programme Newsnight contained fictionalized scenarios from the future of Iraq prepared by a pessimist… and an “optimist”—Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania. Brendan is an old friend of mine, but, as an adviser to the Kurdistan regional government, he’s been a keen promoter of something like the “decent left” agenda. His “optimistic” scenario has Iraq descending even further into the mire of sectarian killing, US withdrawal and Iranian and Saudi invasion … but then the character who utters his script tell us: “we were at the brink, and then, for some reason—a miracle—we stepped back”.

Yes, on the one hand, this is exactly the same kind of deluded magical thinking the Bushies practiced in lying us into Iraq – not only was Saddam a dangerous genocidal maniac with enormous stockpiles of nukes and Scary Biochem Weapons that he was preparing to give to his good buddies in al Qaeda, but the invasion and occupation would be a cakewalk, with the Iraqis laying down their flowers and candy just long enough to snap a Jeffersonian democracy in place.

Essentially, O’Leary is admitting that the only way we can have a positive outcome in Iraq is if a miracle occurs. I think his analysis is spot on.

March 20th, 2007 at 09:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,War

Subpoenirony

So, let’s say that the Bush administration intends to fight Rove and Miers’ Congressional subpoenas all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Wouldn’t it be rich if they simultaneously ensured that:

A) No presidential aide could ever be subpoenaed to testify against their will, and:

B) The Republicans don’t get the chance to benefit from this precedent again for the next 20-30 years?

3 comments March 20th, 2007 at 07:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Judiciary,Politics,Republicans

I Wish I Could Be Middling…

Yeah, right…

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald was ranked among prosecutors who had “not distinguished themselves” on a Justice Department chart sent to the White House in March 2005, when he was in the midst of leading the CIA leak investigation that resulted in the perjury conviction of a vice presidential aide, administration officials said yesterday.

The ranking placed Fitzgerald below “strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty” to the administration but above “weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.,” according to Justice documents.

The chart was the first step in an effort to identify U.S. attorneys who should be removed. Two prosecutors who received the same ranking as Fitzgerald were later fired, documents show.

Okay, I guess I can see the “loyalty” thing, but that really shouldn’t be at the top of a prosecutor’s priorities list…

Mary Jo White, who supervised Fitzgerald when she served as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and who has criticized the firings, said ranking him as a middling prosecutor “lacks total credibility across the board.”

“He is probably the best prosecutor in the nation — certainly one of them,” said White, who worked in the Clinton and Bush administrations. “It casts total doubt on the whole process. It’s kind of the icing on the cake.”

Mary Jo White is a pretty good attack dog in her own right – in a perfect world, she would be a great replacement for Gonzo.

But hey, maybe Fitz’s low ranking has nothing to do with the Plame case – maybe they let him handle the ame case because they believed their own ratings and thought he really was mediocre. I know, it’s just too perfect to hope for, but it’s as good an explanation as any for why someone as sharp and independent as Fitz got anywhere near that case.

(h/t Caro Kay at MakeThemAccountable.com)

March 20th, 2007 at 11:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Libby/Plame,Politics,Republicans

Insane Movie News

This could be either very good or very bad…

“Across the Universe” stars Evan Rachel Wood as Lucy, an American teenager, and Jim Sturgess as Jude, a British import, who fall in love during the turbulent 1960s. The movie, set to 35 Beatles songs, seems to spring from Ms. Taymor’s experimental sandbox, combining live action with painted and three-dimensional animation and puppets, and featuring cameos by Eddie Izzard, dressed as a freakish Mr. Kite; Bono, singing “I Am the Walrus”; and Joe Cocker, singing “Come Together.”

Oh my.

2 comments March 20th, 2007 at 11:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Weirdness

Well, This Is Interesting…

I’m sure someone’s probably covered this by now, but here’s a 2/20 e-mail from maybe-not-quite-so-good-soldier-anymore Bud Cummins to fellow purgees Lam, McKay, Charlton, Iglesias, and Bogden:

Mike Elston from the DAG’s office called me today…. The essence of his message was that they feel like they are taking unnecessary flak to avoid trashing each of us specifically or further, but if they feel like any of us intend to continue to offer quotes to the press, or organize behind the scenes congressional pressure, then they would feel forced to somehow pull their gloves off and offer public criticisms to defend their actions more fully. I can’t offer any specific quotes, but that was clearly the message…. He mentioned my quote on Sunday and I didn’t apologize for it, told him it was true and that everyone involved should agree with the truth of my statement, and pointed out to him that I stopped short of calling them liars and merely said that IF they were doing as alleged they should retract. [I assume the quote must have been something along the lines of “I was not fired for performance reasons, I was fired to make way for Tim Griffin”] I also made it a point to tell him that all of us have turned down multiple invitations to testify. He reacted quite a bit to the idea of anyone voluntarily testifying and it seemed clear that they would see that as a major escalation of the conflict meriting some kind of unspecified form of retaliation.

I don’t personally see this as any big deal and it sounded like the threat of retaliation amounts to a threat that they would make their recent behind doors senate presentation public. I didn’t tell him that I had heard about the details in that presentation and found it to be a pretty weak threat since everyone that heard it apparently thought it was weak.

I don’t want to stir you up conflict or overstate the threatening undercurrent in the call, but the message was clearly there and you should be aware before you speak to the press again if you choose to do that. I don’t feel like I am betraying him by reporting this to you because I think that is probably what he wanted me to do.

So, basically, the DOJ wanted Cummins to pass along their empty threats in an effort to keep the other purged USAs quiet and for-the-love-of-God off the witness stand. At this point in the chronology, it’s pretty clear that the poor-performance excuse for the firings is a transparent tissue of lies.

1 comment March 20th, 2007 at 07:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

IANAL

I Am Not A Lawyer, but I have decided to try to wade through the Ginormous Justice Department Document Dump in search of gold anyway. So far, well… not so much. But one thing I have noticed is that the purgees seem to roughly break down into “problem child” (Lam, Charlton, McKay) and “good soldier” (Cummins, Ryan, Chiara) categories. It’s pretty easy to tell which are which from the DOJ staffers’ attitudes towards the purgees:

On Carol Lam [From outgoing Principal Associate Deputy AG Bill Mercer, in response to a “So sad – I am not adjusting well to this change” e-mail]:

What that Carol Lam can’t meet a deadline or that you’ll need to interact with her in the coming weeks or that she won’t just say “O.K. You got me. You’re right, I’ve ignored national priorities [like covering for Duke and Dusty?] and obvious local needs. Shoot, my production is more hideous than I realized.”

Or that I’m not going to send you as many of these humorous missives?

On Paul Charlton [To Gonzo’s Chief Of Staff Sampson]:

In the “you won’t believe this category,” Paul Charlton would like a few minutes of the AG’s time. I explained that he had already been given extensive, unusual process and that I did not think that it was a good idea for him to press this, but he insisted on me making the request.

(Sampson’s response in its entirety: “Denied.”)

On John McKay:

Even when he is in Ireland he causes problems! He needs to stop writing letters.

By contrast, the DOJ’s relations with the good soldiers are much more cordial. Kevin Ryan sent Michael Elston at DOJ (the source of the first wave of docs) a “You have been a gentleman in your dealings with me and I appreciate it” e-mail and assures DOJ that he’s a “company man” and is trying to stay out of it; Bud Cummins sent a lengthy e-mail (he has a Yahoo account, heh) offering to testify on DOJ and his replacement’s behalf; Chiara also did everything she could to stay out out of it.

Chiara’s initial “Whyyyy?” e-mail to Deputy AG McNulty is pretty sad, though (emphasis added):

I continue to vigorously pursue employment. In addition to applying to numerous public agencies and organizations, I am now working with a “headhunter”. Who knew this could be so difficult?

(…)

FYI: Everyone who knows about my required resignation… is astonished that I am being asked to leave. Now that it has been widely reported that departing USAs have either failed to meet performance expectations or that they acted independently rather than follow DOJ/EOUSA directives, the situation is so much worse. You know that I am in neither catagory [sic]. This makes me so sad. Why have I been asked to resign? The real reason, epecially [sic] if true, would be a lot easier to live with.

That really is pretty shitty, even if she is a Republican. It looks like things were patched up pretty amicably, and the DOJ pulled some strings to get her a new job, but I haven’t seen anything in between explaining why she was fired, and on 3/4 she asks DAG McNulty to “reconsider the rationale of poor performance for my dismissal.”

3 comments March 20th, 2007 at 07:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Wankers


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