Friday, April 20, 2007

Gonzo goes to Congress

Fredo's testimony before Congress yesterday (if you can call saying "I can't recall" 74 times after preparing for five-plus hours a day for weeks "testimony") was quite the embarrassment. In any other universe, we would wonder why Alberto Gonzales still has a job (nevermind wondering why he was given the job in the first place). In Bush-world, however, it's just business as usual. Gonzales is the poster-boy for Bush administration incompetence and cronyism. These are the defining characteristics of the people Bush hires. It's a feature, not a bug. Just look at some of these clowns and the pattern is unmistakable:

  • George Bush himself:
    "As explained by Kevin Phillips in his book, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, George W. Bush's businesses fail but he makes millions. Among Mr. Bush's business ventures:
    • Arbusto, an oil exploration company, lost money, but it got considerable investments (nearly $5 million) because even losing oil investments were useful as tax shelters.
    • Spectrum 7 Energy Corp. bought out Arbusto in 1984 and hired Mr. Bush to run the company's oil interests in Midland, Texas. The oil business collapsed as oil prices plummeted by 1986, and Spectrum 7 Energy was near failure.
    • Harken Energy acquired Mr. Bush's Spectrum 7 Energy shares, and he got Harken shares, a directorship, and a consulting arrangement in return. Harken, under Bush, brought in Saudi real estate tycoon Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh as a board member and a major investor. Over the next few years, Harken would turn out to have links to: Saudi money, CIA-connected Filipinos, the Harvard Endowment, the emir of Bahrain, and the shadowy Bank of Credit and Commerce International. A 1991 internal SEC document suggested George W. Bush violated federal securities law at least 4 times in the late 1980s and early 1990s in selling Harken stock while serving as a director of Harken. This is essentially the same kind of activity that Martha Stewart is going to prison over. Except at the time of the investigation, Mr. Bush's father was president and the case was quietly dropped."
  • Donald Rumsfeld:
    "In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq."
  • Michael Brown:
    "From failed Republican congressional candidate to ousted "czar" of an Arabian horse association, there was little in Michael D. Brown's background to prepare him for the fury of Hurricane Katrina.

    But as the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brown now faces furious criticism of the federal response to the disaster that wiped out New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. He provoked some of it himself when he conceded that FEMA didn't know that thousands of refugees were trapped at New Orleans' convention center without food or water until officials heard it on the news.

    "He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm," said Kate Hale, former Miami-Dade emergency management chief. "The world that this man operated in and the focus of this work does not in any way translate to this. He does not have the experience.""
  • Harriet Miers:
    "MIERS ON THE CONSTITUTION....On her Senate questionnaire, Harriet Miers only took a stab at answering one question about her experience with constitutional law — and she blew it:
    At one point, Miers described her service on the Dallas City Council in 1989. When the city was sued for violating the Voting Rights Act, she said, the council "had to be sure to comply with the proportional representation requirement of the Equal Protection clause."

    But the Supreme Court repeatedly has said that the Constitution's guarantee of the "equal protection of the laws" does not mean that city councils or state legislatures must have enough minority members to match the proportion of blacks, Hispanics and Asians in the voting population.

    ....Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan...said she was surprised the White House did not check Miers' questionnaire before sending it to the Senate.

    "Are they trying to set her up? Any halfway competent junior lawyer could have checked the questionnaire and said it cannot go out like that. I find it shocking," she said."
  • Monica Goodling:
    "REGENT UNIVERSITY AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. Monica Goodling, a top aide to Alberto Gonzales, graduated from Regent University School of Law in 1999 and started working for the DOJ around 2002, under the godly leadership of John Ashcroft. Her rise to the present position looks meteoric. How exactly Goodling acquired the necessary experience in such a few years remains a mystery to me. Several hours of Googling gave very little but hearsay."
  • Paul Wolfowitz
    "According to the Post today, a World Bank internal message board is full of anonymous, bitchy complaints about Wolfie. China hates him too, and we learned that through unauthorized leaks to Fox News. And since the rest of the Western World hates the corrupt bastard, they’re less likely to donate the money the World Bank needs to loan to developing nations.

    In other words, his brief tenure at the Bank has been a resounding, embarrassing failure."

The list goes on and on. If this weren't so serious, it would be hilarious. The only people who leave the Bush administration without being under a cloud of suspicion are the ones who are asked to resign for having the spine to express an opinion that differs from the official party line, or leave on their own when they decide that their integrity and ethics are more important than blind loyalty to George Bush.

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