Tuesday, July 24, 2007



It really pays to elect smart people to office. In the past 7 years we've seen what happens when you elect not so smart people. It has been really satisfying to watch freshmen like Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse effectively holding the evildoers in the Bush Regime accountable when they come before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Today he got another crack at Bush's hapless hack of an Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. Remember, last May Republican James Comey-- once Deputy Attorney General when Ashcroft was in charge of that dysfunctional department-- accused Gonzales, in sworn testimony, of "attempting to strong-arm the former attorney general into reversing a decision Comey had made to hold up the approval of an anti-terrorism program because of legal concerns. Ashcroft had transferred power to Comey while he was in the hospital." (At the time, Gonzales was working directly for Bush in the White House.)
Gonzales revealed today that he and Andrew H. Card Jr., then White House chief of staff, had decided to approach the bedridden Ashcroft on March 10, 2004, after an "emergency meeting" hours before with senior congressional leaders in the situation room in the White House.

"The consensus in the room from the congressional leadership is that we should continue the activities, at least for now, despite the objections of Mr. Comey," Gonzales testified. "There was also a consensus that it would be very, very difficult to obtain legislation without compromising this program, but that we should look for a way ahead."

Gonzales added: "It is for this reason that, within a matter of hours, Andy Card and I went to the hospital. We felt it important that the attorney general knew about the views and the recommendations of the congressional leadership, that as a former member of Congress and as someone who had authorized these activities for over two years that it might be important for him to hear this information."

Gonzales said he knew that Ashcroft was seriously ill; he had had his gallbladder removed the previous day and was in intensive care.

Both Democrats and Republicans seemed astounded by Gonzales' inability to tell be straight-forward about anything substantive. Gonzales contradicted himself repeatedly, exasperating the members of the Committee. "Gonzales came under withering criticism from the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), and from its top Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.)."

Leahy told him bluntly that he has lost the confidence of the Congress and of the American people and that he just doesn't trust him. "Specter said there was 'evidence of low morale' at the Justice Department and blasted what he described as Gonzales's lack of 'personal credibility.' He called the department 'dysfunctional." Specter raised the prospect of calling for a special prosecutor to press a potential contempt-of-Congress citation over the White House's refusal to provide certain documents and sworn testimony regarding the firing of nine federal prosecutors last year. He denounced the Bush administration's stand that it would prohibit the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from pursuing a contempt citation."

Andrew Cohen, writing in this afternoon's Washington Post, makes the case for why "Gonzales Gonzales deserves to be fired for his testimony Tuesday alone; for morphing into Jon Lovitz's famous 'pathological liar' character (or maybe just one of the Marx Brothers) as he tried to dodge and duck responsibility before the Senate Judiciary Committee not just for his shameful leadership at Justice but also his shameless role in visiting an ailing John Ashcroft in the hospital to try to strong-arm him into renewing the warrantless surveillance program. Can anyone out there remember a worse, less-inspiring, less confidence-inducing performance on Capitol Hill? I cannot. No reasonable person watching Gonzales' tragically comedic performance Tuesday's on Capitol Hill-- especially his miserable exchange with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in late morning-- can any longer defend his appalling lack of competence, courage and credibility." Watch the bobbing and weaving video at Think Progress.

But just as shocking, to me, was hearing Senator Whitehouse's questioning of Gonzales. I heard this on the radio when I was driving. I had to pull over and shut my car off so I could pay attention at what sounded absolutely startling-- the FBI trying to keep the "nefarious" Gonzales away from a doped-up Ashcroft in his hospital room.

After Russ Feingold accused Gonzo of "misleading Congress again and again" and the accused him of not adhering to a high standard of truthfulness in his past congressional appearances, Gonzales sheepishly admitted that "Obviously, I've not always met that standard." OK, obviously the Senate should do something about this-- like hiring a special prosecutor and getting to the bottom of his absurd web of lies.

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At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is not a single question asked of Gonzales that he was unable to answer. He refuses to answer. Keith touched on his new version of "I don't remember". I am recused and can't answer is his new mantra.

Gonzales is the keystone to the Bush Administrations crimes. That is, of course, the reason why he won't be leaving before Bush. The problem for Bush is the next President. I know he thinks he's protected because he "sealed" the presidential records when he first came into office but of course the next guy can just unseal them. What hasn't been shredded by Cheney, that is.

I take some comfort in the knowledge that with every one of these events, like the one we saw today, more and more Americans understand the truth of Bush.

I do have one question though. How much longer do you think Dems in congress are going to take it up the ass like this before they do something about it? {and i don't mean censure bills that are going nowhere or contempt of congress resolutions that aren't going to be inforced anyway}

At 7:40 PM, Blogger blank said...

It is tragic, what is happening to Justice, and the President supporting it. Ashcroft covered up statues while Gonzales is covering up far more.

At 9:08 PM, Blogger An Aware American said...

This is off topic but as good a place as I can think of to get some information. I'm trying to dig up what I can about Ron Paul and his record on issues. I seem unable to find a objective site on the subject.

Any links would be appreciated.

Coming to you from inside S. Oregon's Propaganda machine.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Russ, since Ron Paul's entire campaign is based on a tissue of lies-- the main one being that he has been something other than a rubber stamp zombie-- I did a post showing what his record is really about. I hope this helps. More recently I mentioned that he could well lose his congressional seat as well as the presidential race.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitehouse has been remarkable in the his questioning the last two hearings. He has done creative research, which fully explains that Cheney and Bush have controlled the DOJ. Other Dems including Feinstein, Schumer, Leahy and Repug Specter were quite good. It's time to bring in Fitzgerald.


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