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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gonzo is Gonzo

There has to be some reason why Alberto Gonzales is still the Attorney General. He's hung on beyond all rationality, clinging to the position despite the fact that pretty much all he's doing from dawn until the late hours is defending himself. It can't be fun and there's no possible way he can be effective. The big attorney purge as spread into an investigation into warrantless wiretapping and shows no signs of ever going away. Any sane person would've quit a long time ago. Seriously, what's the deal?

It can't be that the job's so great. He's only got a year and a half to go anyway, with full pension no matter what. He's set. Is he worried about his career after the White House? Obviously not. Every time he winds up in front of a Senate committee, he makes a complete ass of himself -- being a well-known liar may fit the lawyer joke stereotype, but who wants to be represented by someone who's proven they suck at lying? Could he be a law professor? Maybe, but it's hard to see some kid fresh out of law school bragging that he'd studied under Alberto Gonzales. Back to the judiciary? Don't make me laugh.

The most common hypothesis I've seen is that Bush is letting him stay because he knows where all the bodies are buried. But that doesn't make any sense -- as I pointed out earlier, the job must suck. Keeping the position could hardly be called a reward for loyalty.

In any case, it's clear that Gonzo's not going anywhere under his own power. If he's finally convicted of something, they'll have to chase him down like a carjacker on COPS.

At present, Gonzales is doing great harm to his agency. In an op-ed in the Denver Post, Justice Department attorney John Koppel writes:

As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.

The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.

In the course of its tenure since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has turned the entire government (and the DOJ in particular) into a veritable Augean stable on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties, international law and basic human rights, as well as criminal prosecution and federal employment and contracting practices. It has systematically undermined the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism, and it has sought to insulate its actions from legislative or judicial scrutiny and accountability by invoking national security at every turn, engaging in persistent fearmongering, routinely impugning the integrity and/or patriotism of its critics, and protecting its own lawbreakers. This is neither normal government conduct nor "politics as usual," but a national disgrace of a magnitude unseen since the days of Watergate - which, in fact, I believe it eclipses.

I love the Augean stable reference. For those who aren't familiar with it, cleaning the Augean stable was one of the labors of Hercules. Koppel's saying that government is full of horsecrap and it would be a herculean task to clean it all out. Alberto Gonzales is obviously not up to the task -- fox, henhouse, etc.

And now, Gonzales and the White House have brought the nation to the brink of an honest-to-goodness constitutional crisis. All to keep a man -- who can't possibly be effective -- employed.

Raw Story:

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday formally recommended criminal contempt charges against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and chief of staff Joshua Bolten for their failure to comply with an investigation into the firing of eight US Attorneys.

The charges were presented in a resolution that, if passed by the House as a whole, would present a case for criminal proceedings to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia. But the justice department has said it will not purse the charges because the White House has invoked executive privilege. The House Judiciary Committee voted 22-17 along party lines to send the Democratic measure to the full House, which The Associated Press reported is expected to consider the citation after its August recess.

If the Attorney for DC refuses, the Congress could find them in contempt themselves, send out the Sergeant-at-Arms to get them, and put them in a cell in the Capital basement -- seriously.

Again, the question comes up; in the face of the consequences, why are Miers, Bolton, Gonzales, etc. still hanging on? Why on Earth wouldn't you cave? It's so damned obvious that they're covering up a crime -- since when is doing that, to your own detriment, a good idea? Why are all these people loyal to this stupid, criminal, and incompetent administration?

My answer is simple; they're crazy. Gonzales and Miers and Bolton and Cheney and Bush, right down to the guy who empties the trash in the Oval Office -- all complete lunatics. Think about it. What about any of this showdown with Congress is in any way rational? Think about Gonzo's testimony recently. It's so full of such obvious contradictions and lies that even the most pro-Bush Senators were visibly angry with him. Who but a madman would expect anyone to believe any of it?

Here's my solution to all of this. We build another White House. But first, we wait until they're all in the original for some top level meeting, lock the gate and put a sign out front that reads "Washington D.C. Home for the Hopelessly Confused." Then we staff it with psychologists, brain doctors, and special-ed teachers, hold a special election, and go on with our lives.

Call it a national intervention. It's the only way they'll all get the help they need.


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