Congress Drops White House Demands Along With Its Pants

In the dance this administration orchestrated over the still-warm corpse of American values, ‘abhorrent’ has come to mean ‘offensive to the mind, but allowable.’ Most of us were flim-flammed by the wording, victims of adminispeak; in common context, the synonyms are repulsive, detestable, obscene and repugnant.

The Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004.

In the dance this administration orchestrated over the still-warm corpse of American values, ‘abhorrent’ has come to mean ‘offensive to the mind, but allowable.’ Most of us were flim-flammed by the wording, victims of adminispeak; in common context, the synonyms are repulsive, detestable, obscene and repugnant.

Which, by no means means we by no means do it. (sigh)

Post) But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general
in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this
one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials
briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation
techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new
opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit
authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful
physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated
drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the
legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B.
Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after
bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed
as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told
colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the
world eventually learned of it.

And that’s the best possible reason for Congress to insist upon Jim
Comey as the new Attorney General instead of the disingenuous and
judicially impaired Michael Mukasey. If the administration approved
Comey’s elevation to deputy AG, how could they argue against his

Not only did ‘the world eventually learn of it,’ but the United States Congress learned of it as well and their reaction was to ‘bring ‘em on’ with
further legalizations. At every turn in the twists and turns of a
nation’s conscience swinging in the wind, Congress caved—abetted by
Democrats terrified of being called soft on terror—dropping their
political pants by consistently supporting an administration they
publicly rebuked.

It boggles the mind.

The fecklessness of Democrats allowed abu-Ghraib and Guantanamo, as
well as patently illegal ‘renditions’ of prisoners to countries where
no rules at all prevailed. It’s an academic difference. When
one is tortured to the point of death, it matters not a damn where the
torture occurred. That was the bottom line; anything short of ‘organ failure or death’ was not torture.

“We do not torture” was perhaps George Bush’s most perfidious and
treasonous statement and he continues to repeat it to this very day.
The first definition of treason is “a crime that undermines the offender’s government” and it becomes immediately apparent that my use of the term in this context is both accurate and appropriate.

So Pat Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was going
to tighten his belt and insist upon getting a whole string of documents
from the administration before he’d let out his breath to hold
confirmation hearings on the aforesaid Judge Mukasey.

That was then, this is now.

(New York Times)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — Backing away from a fight with the White House,
Senate Democrats are suggesting that they will not hold up confirmation
of President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey,
despite differences over Senate access to documents involving Justice
Department actions.

In a letter to Mr. Mukasey made public
Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick J.
Leahy of Vermont, said he would go forward with the confirmation
hearings without the promise of the documents.

One can sense Senator Leahy getting ready to drop his pants. They are not yet dropped, but his belt is loosened. Strike one called, on the inside corner.

committee had for months been pressing the White House for access to
files and e-mail messages about last year’s firing of several federal
prosecutors for what Democrats maintain were political reasons, and
about legal justifications for the domestic eavesdropping program run
by the National Security Agency.

In the letter, dated Tuesday,
Mr. Leahy said he had hoped that the White House would “work with us to
fulfill longstanding requests for information so that we could all
agree about what went so wrong at the Department of Justice and work
together to restore it.” Instead, Mr. Leahy wrote to Mr. Mukasey, “they
have left you to answer the unanswered questions and left longstanding
disputes unresolved.”

Strike two, a sinker ball at the knees. And with that bold and fearless statement, the Senator’s pants hit the floor.

It stuns me that a razor-thin Republican majority in the Congress
produced a six-year juggernaut of political will and yet an equally
slender Democratic majority can’t tie its own shoelaces. But then
perhaps I am just too easily stunned.

Pat Leahy is a hell of a nice guy, the epitome of everyone’s favorite
uncle, fair-minded and moderate of tone as well as elegantly mannered
and lucid in his careful explanations. He is just such a sweetheart. If only he had balls.

Guys like Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich are nobody’s sweethearts, but dammit they get things done.
Awful things, coercive and illegal and unrepentant self-serving things,
but every time they come to bat they hit homers. After the game, many
of them go to jail, but by god, they come to play.

Democrats are institutionally unable to get over their need to be loved, taken seriously and trusted
with governing the nation. They are so timid. Have you heard Harry
Reid’s tentative stammer and watched Nancy Pelosi’s relentless am-I-doing-ok
smile? They are like 9th grade runners-up to the King and Queen of the
Prom—all subservience, timidity and blushes in the unexpected company
of those others, who always knew they belonged. Harry and Nancy don’t yet know it, can’t believe it.

writing in the Wall Street Journal) “The director of an organization
purporting to protect constitutional rights has announced that his goal
is to unleash a flood of lawyers on Guantanamo so as to paralyze
interrogation of detainees. Perhaps it bears mention that one
unintended outcome of a Supreme Court ruling exercising jurisdiction
over Guantanamo detainees may be that, in the future, capture of
terrorism suspects will be forgone in favor of killing them. Or they
may be put in the custody of other countries like Egypt or Pakistan
that are famously not squeamish in their approach to interrogation–a
practice, known as rendition, followed during the Clinton

Followed during the Clinton administration
These mind-boggling tortures occurred under Clinton? Where was Bush
these past five years, down at the ranch? You going to let that slide
by, Senator, for strike three and not  a single swing of the bat?

No matter, Mukasey’s ‘unintended outcome of a Supreme Court ruling’ is that we may just have to say to hell with it and kill our captives. How’s that for judicial interpretation?

The Supreme Court has (since its unfortunate decision to seat him as
an unelected president) barred George Bush at every opportunity from
further destruction of the Constitution. Pat Leahy, if he can get his
pants back up above his knees, might inquire into Mukasey’s feelings
about the court.

(Mukasey) What is to be done? The
Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005
appear to address principally the detainees at Guantanamo . . . the
Supreme Court’s recently announced determination to review cases
involving the Guantanamo detainees may end up making commissions, which
the administration delayed in convening, no longer possible.

was certainly the court’s intent, although Bush’s various (David
Addington composed) signing statements pretty much negate congressional
laws. If there was such a thing as strike four, signing statements
would be it. Presidents are supposed to follow the law, not interpret
it, which is the job of courts. Just a small point, but another high crime and misdemeanor.

By the way, Michael, the administration ‘delayed’ convening
those commissions because they couldn’t find military lawyers
sufficiently corrupt to carry them out. They still can’t.

again) There have been several proposals for a new adjudicatory
framework . . . have urged the creation of a separate national security
court staffed by independent, life-tenured judges to deal with the full
gamut of national security issues, from intelligence gathering to
prosecution . . . more limited proposals address principally the need
to incapacitate dangerous people, by using legal standards akin to
those developed to handle civil commitment of the mentally ill.

at its most charitable and benign reading, but we haven’t heard of
‘national security courts handling commitment of the mentally ill’
since 1930’s Germany. Fascist Germany in its courageously democratic
beginnings, Nazi Germany up to, through and after the fall.

one last time) These proposals deserve careful scrutiny by the public,
and particularly by the U.S. Congress. It is Congress that authorized
the use of armed force after Sept. 11–and it is Congress that has the
constitutional authority to establish additional inferior courts as the
need may be, or even to modify the Supreme Court’s appellate

Hike up your pants, Pat. Steady
yourself on Chuck Schumer’s shoulder if need be or call as a witness
the guy you should be confirming–James Comey. He’s 6’8” and has balls
enough to bring justice back to the Justice Department.

You might want to take a very long and careful look at replacing
puppy Gonzales with Rottweiler Mukasey. Establish additional inferior
courts indeed. Modify the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction, over
the dead body of jurisprudence.

(Washington Post)
"Everyone was afraid to talk to one another. Mukasey told us not to,"
said Randall B. Hamud, a San Diego lawyer who represented Osama
Awadallah, a California college student. "He wouldn’t let me show him
my client’s injuries, which he got in detention," Hamud said. "Suspects
were shoddily treated. They were in chains and quivering because they
were so afraid of the guards, and Mukasey said nothing."

was the only defense lawyer among many contacted by The Post who had
strong complaints about Mukasey’s conduct during that time. He urged
the Senate Judiciary Committee to review the sealed transcripts. "If my
experience was atypical because he was in a bad mood, then that’s one
thing," Hamud said. "But if not, then you have to ask serious questions
about his ability to be attorney general of the United States."

Senator Leahy? Ball’s coming in off the mound. Please, Pat. Please, at least swing at it.

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