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Bedtime for Gonzo

August 28th, 2007

How much do you want to bet that as Gonzales retires, the White House will try to dismis all investigations in regards to the Justice department, effectively saying, “Hey, Gonzales is gone now, the matter is closed”?

I’ve had enough of the post-resignation testimonials about Gonzales to make me seriously ill, particularly from the president himself. A lot of right-wingers seem to be sighing with relief, glad to see him gone, but at the same time chiming in on the whole he-was-an-honest-guy-smeared-by-the-Democrats meme. As if illegally, brazenly corrupting the Justice Department with partisan politics was not bad enough. As if the USA firings and the subsequent, multiple lies under oath weren’t a problem (do I even need to mention the Clinton impeachment here?). As if Gonzales’ shameless advocacy for torture wasn’t enough of a brand of illegitimacy.

Gonzales fought to hide Dick Cheney’s allowing energy industry leaders to write government energy policy. He has been a force behind the more abusive elements of the “PATRIOT” Act and other violations of Constitution rights since 9/11, including warrantless wiretapping–which in order to push through, Gonzales went to the hospital bed of John Ashcroft to pressure him to sign his approval for it. Yeah, a real saint. And let’s not forget that this is the guy who tried to argue that Americans don’t have the right to Habeas Corpus.

It is ironic that right-wingers are all teary-eyed about how badly those goddamned vicious liberals are mistreating this great man, when Gonzales himself claimed that the Geneva Convention’s use of the words “outrages upon personal dignity” and “inhuman treatment” were so vague that we should be allowed to torture people.

And how did this great legal mind get his start? By doing dirty work for his boss, Texas Governor George W. Bush. Bush, you see, had been arrested for drunk driving years before, and wanted to cover it up. But he ran into trouble when he pulled a PR stunt. Bush had received a call to jury duty, and decided to make PR hay out of it. Saying that it was “a feeble excuse” to claim he was too busy or too important for the task, he went to court. He failed to fill out the legally required part of the juror’s form that required a listing of his criminal record, but that wasn’t the scandal. No, it was when Dubya, by chance, was assigned to a drunk-driving case, and realized that he would be asked, under oath, if the had ever been arrested for drunk driving.

Alberto Gonzales to the rescue!

…before the case began, Gonzales asked to have an off-the-record conference in the judge’s chambers. Gonzales then asked Crain to “consider” striking Bush from the jury, making the novel “conflict of interest” argument that the Texas governor might one day be asked to pardon the defendant (who worked at an Austin nightclub called Sugar’s), the judge said. “He [Gonzales] raised the issue,” Crain said. Crain said he found Gonzales’ argument surprising, since it was “extremely unlikely” that a drunken-driving conviction would ever lead to a pardon petition to Bush. But “out of deference” to the governor, Crain said, the other lawyers went along. Wahlberg said he agreed to make the motion striking Bush because he didn’t want the hard-line governor on his jury anyway. But there was little doubt among the participants as to what was going on. “In public, they were making a big show of how he was prepared to serve,” said Crain. “In the back room, they were trying to get him off.”

Gonzales lied about this episode when he was being reviewed by the Senate for confirmation. An auspicious start to his stint as AG, just as was his start in politics in Texas.

While working for Bush in Texas, Gonzales was also hip-deep in another Bush scandal, again involving perjury. In this case, Gonzales helped Bush get excused from testifying in a corruption case. Bush was heavily involved in Texas political corruption. In 1996, Eliza May was appointed as director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission, and started doing her job all too well. She started investigating a funeral home business that had given sizable donations to Bush and his father. The business’ representative went to Bush’s chief of staff, and May was soon fired from her job. She filed a whistleblower lawsuit, and Bush was subpoenaed in it; Gonzales help get Bush out of having to testify, in a way that Bush literally perjured himself (but, like so many other times Bush broke the law, was never prosecuted for). In that case, Gonzales also received a memo which noted that two Texas funeral commissioners had ties to the funeral home–illegal, but Gonzales did nothing. His defense? Even back then, Gonzales was using the “I forgot” excuse, and claimed he didn’t recall such a memo.

This is the great man that the president is memorializing tonight. A criminal, a liar, a corrupt political crony.

In other words, his kind of guy.

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  1. Tim Kane
    August 28th, 2007 at 22:19 | #1

    First time commenting under the new arrangement. Hope it works.

    I have my own theory about what’s going on with the whitehouse resignations.

    I think they are de-texas-ifying the White House in order to de-toxify the Republican party in time for the next election cycle.

    The theory is, the public has a short attention span, and week in politics is like a year in ordinary time. If you strip all the Neocons and Texas radicals out of the White House, and make it look more like a retro-rational-Republican white house, more than a year before the next election cycle, then the next Republican nominee won’t have to run as a continuation of the Texas Mafia White house, but look more like the old “grown up” “responsible”, “sane”, “Republicans of yesteryear”.

    After 7 or more years of irresponsible, irrational radical and destructive policies, I think the Republicans are shifting gears, and are going to attempt to give us 9 months of sane policies. Then the public will seemingly have to choose between seemingly sane Republicans or Democrats they will try to paint as radical, irrational, reactionary, etc… you name it.

    Instead of more Bush, they’ll try to pawn of the next guy as offering more Eisenhower. That sort of thing.

    Actually, I really think this is what’s happening. It is pretty clever when you think of it.

    It indicates to me that there is a Republican hierarchy behind the scenes that does control things. I believe that that ‘subterranean council’ was exposed on a Frontline documentary a few years ago, when they interviewed George Schultz and he talked about how they “gathered the usual suspects together” to interview Bush to determine if he could be their guy to run for the Presidency. Then they then provided him with over $60 million dollars in his run. And when he suddenly had his back to the wall after losing New Hampshire – pulled out all the stops, running through nearly his entire war chest for the then critical Michigan and South Carolina campaigns and claiming McCain’s Bengali daughter was the result of an affair McCain had with a black women- they found another $60 million for him.

    They’ll spend the next year putting lipstick on their pig, and you never know, it might work.

    Come to think of it, I am not so sure these resignations are good for us. We need a powerful reaction to the Bush years to give us the supermajorities we need in both houses to undo all the damage from the Bush years and to fix health care.

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