Monthly Archives: April 2007

Daily Show Genius

In light of the previous post, we have to say that the folks at the Daily Show are the best political scientists around.

Posted in Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | Comments Off on Daily Show Genius

Gonzales & the 8: Much Worse Than We Think?

If this latest Murray Waas story, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Secret Order By Gonzales Delegated Extraordinary Powers To Aides, has any truth, then the perversion of the course of justice at the DOJ was not just a quiet conspiracy but an open and notorious hijacking of the legal order.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides — who have since resigned because of their central roles in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys — extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department. A copy of the order and other Justice Department records related to the conception and implementation of the order were provided to National Journal.

In the order, Gonzales delegated to his then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, and his White House liaison “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration” of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department, including all of the department's political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation. Monica Goodling became White House liaison in April 2006, the month after Gonzales signed the order.

The existence of the order suggests that a broad effort was under way by the White House to place politically and ideologically loyal appointees throughout the Justice Department, not just at the U.S.-attorney level. Department records show that the personnel authority was delegated to the two aides at about the same time they were working with the White House in planning the firings of a dozen U.S. attorneys, eight of whom were, in fact, later dismissed.

And, of course, this:

The senior administration official who had firsthand knowledge of the plan said that Gonzales and other Justice officials had a “clear obligation” to disclose the plan's existence to the House and Senate Judiciary committees — but the official said that, as far as he knew, they had not done so.

I ought to be inured, but both parts of this — the order, and the cover-up, are so raw that I actually find it hard to believe.

Although it sure ties up a lot of loose ends…

Read the whole thing. Weep. Then get even.

Posted in Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | 1 Comment

I Like Being Inspired by Presidential Candidates

What Richard Robert said: John Edwards sure can give a very inspiring speech.

Plus, I would really enjoy voting for a candidate who says stuff like, “On my first day in office, you have my word that Guantanamo will be closed”.

Have any other candidates taken that pledge?

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 8 Comments

How to Figure Out French Politics

Think, “French Daily Show but with puppets”: Les guignols de l'info. Usually hilarious, but as with Le Canard Enchainé it helps a bit if you have some grasp of the basics…

Posted in Politics: International | Comments Off on How to Figure Out French Politics

Stuff You Find Online

Ex MI6 agent and continuing thorn in the side of the UK spy establishment Richard Tomlinson has a blog entitled MI6 v Tomlinson.

Posted in Blogs, UK | 1 Comment

Tell Me Again About the ‘Good News’ from Iraq

One of the more tiresome talking points from the administration and its fellow travelers is that the (so-called) liberal media just doesn't report enough of the good news from Iraq. You know, all the great new schools and hospitals. The electricity that now works four hours a day. And so on.

Well someone went out and looked at some of the so-called good news (the parts in the areas where it isn't suicidal to go look) and found that the news wasn't all that good in many cases: Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling.

Failing to build in mechanisms for maintenance is one of the most common errors in development assistance. And here, as in everything else to do with Iraq, this administration has not only failed to learn from experience, it has demonstrated a total lack of interest in it.

Yes, more money down the rat hole. And remember that we're borrowing to pay for all this while giving the richest 1% of the population big tax cuts. These deferred taxes mean that my kids will be stuck with the bill.

For an equally depressing example of administration cluelessness and financial waste that hurt people — in this case the victims in New Orleans, see this exposé of how the U.S. failed to utilize foreign assistance for Katrina — in some cases turning it down, in others just letting it rot.

Posted in Iraq | 1 Comment