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Ear to the Ground

Gonzales on the Downslide

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Posted on Apr 21, 2007
gonzales
sfgate.com

Beleaguered Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales worked the phones on Friday, throwing out lines to congressional bigwigs in the wake of his unconvincing performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but two more key Republicans aren’t buying his act.  In fact, they’re also suggesting that he step down.


L.A. Times:

Rep. Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, became the highest-ranking House Republican to call for Gonzales to step down, declaring Friday, “It’s time for fresh leadership.”

“There’s been an erosion of confidence certainly in the Congress in his ability to continue to lead” the Justice Department, said Putnam.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a Judiciary panel member, urged Gonzales to spend the weekend reflecting on his leadership, and then have a “frank” discussion with the White House.

“If he and the president decide that he cannot be an effective leader moving forward, then he should resign,” Sessions said. “As he said during the hearing, ‘It’s not about Al Gonzales.’ The bottom line is that he must do what is in the best interest of the Department of Justice.”

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By JNagarya, April 24, 2007 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

#65989 by Ernest Canning on 4/24 at 4:30 am
(57 comments total)

Re comment #65974 by JNagarya.  All of the Federalist Society jurists subscribe to the same radically subversive doctrines of executive power—views that led the Senate to reject the nomination of Robert Bork.  Starting with Clarence Thomas, the Federalist Society adopted the tactic of evading revelations of a nominee’s radical theories, prompting Senator Paul Simon (D.IL) to observe, “If evasiveness before the committee is rewarded, we warp the process.”

By the time of the Roberts nomination, the Federalist Society tactic of avoiding exposure of the nominee’s radical views had become so adroit as to prompt U.C.S.D. Law Prof. Peter Irons to liken questioning Roberts to trying to “nail Jell-O to a wall.” Unlike Thomas, the amiable Roberts displayed a superior intellect and a working knowledge of a wide range of constitutional subjects.  His recall was superior with one glaring exception.  Roberts could not recall whether he was ever a member of the Federalist Society.  Yet a 1997-98 Federalist Society leadership directory, obtained by the Institute for Democracy Studies (IDS), revealed that Roberts had been “a steering committee member of the group’s Washington chapter.” Alfred Ross of the IDS reported on Democracy Now! that the Bush White House made an “unprecedented series of calls to the national media to try to cover up [Robert’s Federalist Society] membership.”

At the time of the Thomas nomination, Senator Kennedy made an observation which I find especially chilling now that we have four Federalist Society “radicals in robes” on our nation’s highest court.  “If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation.  We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.”

There are many who have pilloried Ted Kennedy over the years who, if they achieve their blindered ends, will rue ever having done so. 

The subversion of the rule of law began with Regan and his “stealth candidates”—how to lie one’s way into office.  Maximize secrecy, maximize deceit.  Again, the Federalist Society is actually radical anti-Federalism—the opposite their cover-lie.  These are the people who never stopped fighting the Civl War; some of them never stopped opposing the “revolution” and its eventuation in such as the Constitution.  Their euphemisms for the civil war, their “downsizing of vo’t” ideolgy is essentially that of the Articles of Confederation.

They are sworn enemies of the Constitution, and have been working to undermine our system of laws—first by planting teir fellow travellers in the judiciary.  The latest abortion decision upheld an unconstitutional law based—like the Iraq war—on a stack of lies which were obviously a stack of lies, but which the radicals pretended are truths, or that whether the proofs are true or false is irrelevant.

The ultimate in activist judges.

—NPR reported that a Boston cop just plead guilty to shooting his partner.  They were having an argument about whether he was too drunk to drive.

I think that is sufficient evidence on which to determine that—yes—he was too drunk to drive.  He was also too drunk to have a gun.

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By cann4ing, April 23, 2007 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

Re comment #65974 by JNagarya.  All of the Federalist Society jurists subscribe to the same radically subversive doctrines of executive power—views that led the Senate to reject the nomination of Robert Bork.  Starting with Clarence Thomas, the Federalist Society adopted the tactic of evading revelations of a nominee’s radical theories, prompting Senator Paul Simon (D.IL) to observe, “If evasiveness before the committee is rewarded, we warp the process.”

By the time of the Roberts nomination, the Federalist Society tactic of avoiding exposure of the nominee’s radical views had become so adroit as to prompt U.C.S.D. Law Prof. Peter Irons to liken questioning Roberts to trying to “nail Jell-O to a wall.”  Unlike Thomas, the amiable Roberts displayed a superior intellect and a working knowledge of a wide range of constitutional subjects.  His recall was superior with one glaring exception.  Roberts could not recall whether he was ever a member of the Federalist Society.  Yet a 1997-98 Federalist Society leadership directory, obtained by the Institute for Democracy Studies (IDS), revealed that Roberts had been “a steering committee member of the group’s Washington chapter.”  Alfred Ross of the IDS reported on Democracy Now! that the Bush White House made an “unprecedented series of calls to the national media to try to cover up [Robert’s Federalist Society] membership.”

At the time of the Thomas nomination, Senator Kennedy made an observation which I find especially chilling now that we have four Federalist Society “radicals in robes” on our nation’s highest court.  “If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation.  We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.”

Report this

By JNagarya, April 23, 2007 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

#65956 by Ernest Canning on 4/24 at 2:16 am
(56 comments total)

“Re comment #65772 by JNagara.  While you are technically correct—the scope of any law is limited by the Constitution, the problem is attempting to get the courts to rule on the issue of constitutionality.”

Saw that with the effort to get the question of the constitutionality of US involvement in Viet Nam before the court.  Douglas’ dissents from repeated denials of cert. are inspiringly impassioned.  But the Court hadn’t the guts to accept the question, and answer it. 

“Under the Constitution, no “person” shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.  The Military Commission’s Act (the MCA) created military tribunals that are straight out of Kafka.  The accused can be convicted on evidence presented out of his or her presence (and out of presence of his or her lawyer).  It allows for someone to be convicted not only on hearsay but on evidence obtained by coersion.  The Act allows summaries of evidence as opposed to transcripts.  Translated from legalese, if the evidence is obtained by pulling out someone’s fingernails, the transcriptcan be edited to remove the screams.”

Anything goes, except compliance with law. 

“The MCA eliminated the right of habeas corpus (the right to challenge constitutionality of the procedure in a court of law) for non-citizens whom the President deems “enemy combatants.” It is a right that dates back to the Magna Carta.  A panel of Federalist Society jurists on the DC Court of Appeal upheld the statute.  The Supreme Court refused to grant cert.  Now the government has moved to dismiss all pending legal challenges by the Guantanamo detainees.”

The Constitution allows suspension of Habeas Corpus, but only in times of rebellion or invasion, if the exigencies warrant it.  None of those apply to our reality.  There is zero grounds for Bush’s suspension.

Even the totalitarian, and barbaric theocrats who ruled MA-Bay Colony had Habeas Corpus.  And Massachusetts is to this day accused of being “liberal” because, even though torture was legal, the person to be tortured had to be found guilty, on the evidence, first.

So not all religionuts are the same: Bush has a different approach.

“The concept of a “Unitary Executive”—the subversive principle that provides the foundation for the presidential signing statements that assert not that a President is “above” the law but that the President “is” the law—is one which was first advanced by Justice Alito and the Robert Bork founded, Richard Mellon Scaife funded Federalist Society.  There are four Federalist Society subversives now on the Supreme Court.  One more and you can kiss the rule of law, Good bye.”

I’m very much aware of the Federalist Society and its anti-Constitutional intents.  “How to Repeal the New Deal” is only their first goal.  They are actually radical anti-Federalists.  Is Roberts the fourth stealth Federalist Society “jurist”?

And am aware of Alito’s role in developing the “Unitary Executive” treason.

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By cann4ing, April 23, 2007 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Re comment #65772 by JNagara.  While you are technically correct—the scope of any law is limited by the Constitution, the problem is attempting to get the courts to rule on the issue of constitutionality.

Under the Constitution, no “person” shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.  The Military Commission’s Act (the MCA) created military tribunals that are straight out of Kafka.  The accused can be convicted on evidence presented out of his or her presence (and out of presence of his or her lawyer).  It allows for someone to be convicted not only on hearsay but on evidence obtained by coersion.  The Act allows summaries of evidence as opposed to transcripts.  Translated from legalese, if the evidence is obtained by pulling out someone’s fingernails, the transcriptcan be edited to remove the screams. 

The MCA eliminated the right of habeas corpus (the right to challenge constitutionality of the procedure in a court of law) for non-citizens whom the President deems “enemy combatants.”  It is a right that dates back to the Magna Carta.  A panel of Federalist Society jurists on the DC Court of Appeal upheld the statute.  The Supreme Court refused to grant cert.  Now the government has moved to dismiss all pending legal challenges by the Guantanamo detainees.

The concept of a “Unitary Executive”—the subversive principle that provides the foundation for the presidential signing statements that assert not that a President is “above” the law but that the President “is” the law—is one which was first advanced by Justice Alito and the Robert Bork founded, Richard Mellon Scaife funded Federalist Society.  There are four Federalist Society subversives now on the Supreme Court.  One more and you can kiss the rule of law, Good bye.

Report this

By JNagarya, April 22, 2007 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

#65584 by Mordecahai Shiblikov on 4/22 at 12:13 am
(Unregistered commenter)

“It was fun watching Gonzales testify.  He is such a completely inept liar.  I didn’t know the Republican party had such a thing.  They are among the greatest pack of practiced liars in the whole history of this country.”

The difference is that he had to testify under oath, with a transcript, as a public “spectacle”.  Our gov’t is to be conducted publicly, as a “spectacular” demonstration to the world of democracy—to the existance of which the rule of law is essential—in action.

Thus we see, illuminated by glaring lights, the criminally nihilist moral relativisim—absolutized lawlessness—that is “family values”.  A pseudoreligious claim of “divine right” over against the rule of reason and law.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2007 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

#65658 by Morf on 4/22 at 1:42 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

“The images are compelling; an apparently well-educated, yet
certainly troubled man is making his statement to the world.

“We listen and watch, waiting for his message to make sense, cohere,
to have any relevance at all.

“As we watch, we realize that we are watching something that is
truly terrifying. Is there anything more unnerving than witnessing
a fellow human being drift, even fall through life, in public,
without any bearings? Did this porr lost soul not have any friends?
Any advisors? Any counselors? No reference points or boundaries?

“His meandering statements, instead of cohering, become even more surreal,
incoherent and contradictory. His self-justifications even more abstract and shallow.

“He denies and denigrates those who tried to help him - in fact he
blames them for his own actions.

“Our gut reactions range from rage to unbelief, sorrow and grief to
pity. And back again.

“Our minds flood with questions - how does an individual arrive at
such a level of bland obliviousness? How could one of us exist so
disconnected from the rest of the world? From reality? From Truth?

“How many others like him are out there?

“Yes, the Alberto Gonzales Senate hearings have been truly frightening….”

“Family Values” is nihilist moral relativism.  That of which the “Family Values” liars accuse others is actually confession of and testimony to their own intents and actions.

Report this

By JNagarya, April 22, 2007 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

#65682 by Frostedflakes on 4/22 at 4:02 pm
(4 comments total)

Gonzales is a lying, partisan, neoconic ideologue and should be impeached along with Bush and Cheney. It is a crime to have the top police officer in America lack veracity and integrity. He is simply a political pawn of Karl “The Grand Wizard” Rove. Impeach them all and try to save America.

Why complicate it?  It is a crime for the top law enforcement officer to be not only a criminal, but also an active participant in and with the ongoing criminally treasonous enterprize that is the Bush War Crimes Family and Delusion Factory.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

#65657 by Kol Klink on 4/22 at 1:37 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

To JNagarya:  Gonzales commented recently that ‘I work for the American People and serve at the pleasure of the president.’

“That statement is true. But, it is also true that the president submitted Gonzales name to the Senate for the post of attorney general and the Senate confirmed Gonzales to that position. Our Constitution stipulates that the Senate can ‘unconfirm’ Gonzales by articles of impeachment.

“Our Senate does not have the authority to ‘arrest’ but does have the power to subpoena, take sworn testimony, and to impeach officials of the executive branch for a variety of reasons,i.e.; high crimes and misdemeanors, treason, etc.”

In the tradition of Congress is the “General Court”: before there was separation of powers, there was a General Court which enacted the laws, enforced the laws, and prosecuted violations of the laws.

Congress can establish courts to try violations of law.  But it can also act in that capacity—as it does when making laws; as it does when impeaching—preferring charges, indicting. 

It also prosecutes those charges.  And finds the defendant either innocent or guilty.  If guilty, it sentences.  And it can jail, beginning with for contempt.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2007 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

#65723 by Ernest Canning on 4/22 at 3:20 pm
(52 comments total)

“Re comment #65626 by lucky1951.  The answers to your questions are “no” and “no.” The Senate Judiciary cannot vote to remove Alberto Gonzales.”

Actually, they can vote to remove him.  Whether they could implement the vote is a separate question.

“But the sole power to remove is not exclusively in the President’s hands.”

“Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution provides: “The President, vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdomeanors.””

Correct.

“. . . .  Conviction in the Senate would not prevent subsequent criminal prosecution, though there may be difficulty in prosecuting Mr. Gonzales for war crimes with respect to his issuance of memoranda condoning torture because, after Justice Kennedy fired a shot across the bow of the U.S.S. Unitary Executive in the Hamdan case, noting that violations of the Geneva Conventions are subject to criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act, Gonzales scurried off to a then Republican controlled Congress which, in passing the Military Commissions Act, . . . provided a retroactive immunity for all crimes committed in service of the so-called “global war on terror” retroactive to 9/11/01.”

Which only succeeds in giving the appearance of legality to that which is a war crime—torture—because it is unconstitutional.  The Constitution prohibits _ex post facto_ laws—making legal after the ffact actions which were illegal at the time committed.

And that’s not the only problem with that “law”.  Torture is defined and prohibited in international law— in the chaninging of which the US is only one vote.  Even more immediate: the US is signatory to several treaties which define and prohit the war crime of torture.  Treaties become part of the law of the land.  The law of the land is the Constituion.  The Constitution cannot be altered by the Congress, by the Executive, or by both together, even with the approval of the Judiciary.

Torture is a war crime, even when and after Congress gives it the unconstitutional appearance of legality.

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By cann4ing, April 22, 2007 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Re comment #65626 by lucky1951.  The answers to your questions are “no” and “no.”  The Senate Judiciary cannot vote to remove Alberto Gonzales.  But the sole power to remove is not exclusively in the President’s hands.

Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution provides: “The President, vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdomeanors.”

Since the Attorney General is a civil Officer of the U.S., he is subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives.  If a simple majority voted to impeach, he would face a trial in the Senate, where a 2/3 majority would be required to convict.  If convicted, Mr. Gonzales would be removed from and disqualified to ever again hold any federal office.  Conviction in the Senate would not prevent subsequent criminal prosecution, though there may be difficulty in prosecuting Mr. Gonzales for war crimes with respect to his issuance of memoranda condoning torture because, after Justice Kennedy fired a shot across the bow of the U.S.S. Unitary Executive in the Hamdan case, noting that violations of the Geneva Conventions are subject to criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act, Gonzales scurried off to a then Republican controlled Congress which, in passing the Military Commissions Act, not only reinstated the Kafka-like military tribunals, eliminating the right of habeas corpus to all non-citizens, but provided a retroactive immunity for all crimes committed in service of the so-called “global war on terror” retroactive to 9/11/01.

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By QuyTran, April 22, 2007 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

According to Sen. Specter Alberto Gonzales had damaging the Department of Justic. No, he’s not only damaging but destroying this Department, smearing and dishonoring the image of the U.S. throughout the world with his crimes. There’s absolutely no way for this damned guy to fly free to his safety shelter !

Report this

By Frostedflakes, April 22, 2007 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Gonzales is a lying, partisan, neoconic ideologue and should be impeached along with Bush and Cheney. It is a crime to have the top police officer in America lack veracity and integrity. He is simply a political pawn of Karl “The Grand Wizard” Rove. Impeach them all and try to save America.

Report this

By Morf, April 22, 2007 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The images are compelling; an apparently well-educated, yet
certainly troubled man is making his statement to the world.

We listen and watch, waiting for his message to make sense, cohere,
to have any relevance at all.

As we watch, we realize that we are watching something that is
truly terrifying. Is there anything more unnerving than witnessing
a fellow human being drift, even fall through life, in public,
without any bearings? Did this porr lost soul not have any friends?
Any advisors? Any counselors? No reference points or boundaries?

His meandering statements, instead of cohering, become even more surreal,
incoherent and contradictory. His self-justifications even more abstract and shallow.

He denies and denigrates those who tried to help him - in fact he
blames them for his own actions.

Our gut reactions range from rage to unbelief, sorrow and grief to
pity. And back again.

Our minds flood with questions - how does an individual arrive at
such a level of bland obliviousness? How could one of us exist so
disconnected from the rest of the world? From reality? From Truth?

How many others like him are out there?

Yes, the Alberto Gonzales Senate hearings have been truly frightening….

Report this

By Kol Klink, April 22, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To JNagarya:                          Gonzales commented recently that ‘I work for the American People and serve at the pleasure of the president.’
That statement is true. But, it is also true that the president submitted Gonzales name to the Senate for the post of attorney general and the Senate confirmed Gonzales to that position. Our Constitution stipulates that the Senate can ‘unconfirm’ Gonzales by articles of impeachment.
Our Senate does not have the authority to ‘arrest’ but does have the power to subpoena, take sworn testimony, and to impeach officials of the executive branch for a variety of reasons,i.e.; high crimes and misdemeanors, treason, etc.
Mr Waxman has recently sent letters to several members of the executive that request them to ‘appear before committee to give testimony voluntarily.’ If those asked refuse then Mr Waxman will issue subpoenas that will require testimony involuntarily.
The wheels of justice turn slowly but that is for the good of all citizens. Our Constitution is a brilliant piece of work and is proving its worth in the current situation America finds itself in with our incompetent executive branch. The current administration are fortunate that they are not subject to the unconstitutional rules that they have applied to others. That is, being jailed with no charges, no sentence, no court date, no trial, and no evidence. Being denied recourse to council. Rendition to foreign jails for torture, etc. Perhaps as these proceeding go forward the incompetent Gonzales and the assorted other crooks, swindlers, liars and miscreants that have been elected and appointed will begin to understand the real worth of our constitution to not only themselves but to all Americans. But, they are a cinical lot, so I believe that their coming experiences will teach them only one thing - dont get caught.

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By James Yell, April 22, 2007 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How about he do what is right for the American People. This creature of Baby Bush has dishonored the service of our country as its chief law inforcement agent. He has embraced the devices of the Nazi criminals and said they are our devices too. Torture, holding people without having to justify that they have committed crimes, everything this Administration has done in its terms in office has been to put in place a process to nullify our Constitution and break our laws and democracy in the process. Impeach Bush/Cheney now.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2007 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Congress and the Executive are co-equal.  If the DOJ can constitutionally invade Congress by unannounced raid, as Bush, et al., claim, then Congress can do everything aboveboard while investigating the DOJ, and gathering evidence, including public “spectacle” testimony under “spectacluar!” oath by those who also committed and commit their crimes in broad daylight, and publicy.

So I suspect Congress, inheriting a democratic tradition, can issue not merely subpoeae, but also warrants for arrest.  Gonzales can be “resigned” without his cooperation.

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By lucky1951, April 22, 2007 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

Does anyone know if Gonzalez can be removed by the panel that questioned him? Or can he stay as long as his buddy the prez continues to have “confidence” in him?

Report this

By lucky1951, April 22, 2007 at 1:32 am Link to this comment

Can Congress or the Committee that questioned Gonzalez force him out? Or is all the power in Bush’s hands?

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By M Currey, April 21, 2007 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gonzales should leave, anyone who cannot remember any of his meetings should give the job to someone who can do the job and know what his job is.

Madder than a wet hen, from the state of Washington city of Vancouver.

Report this

By JNagarya, April 21, 2007 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

“Beleaguered Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales worked the phones on Friday, throwing out lines to congressional bigwigs in the wake of his unconvincing performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but two more key Republicans aren’t buying his act.  In fact, they’re also suggesting that he step down.”

“Beleaguered”?  Desperate.  Bush doesn’t let Gonzales go, both Bush and Gonzales go.

Bush let’s Gonzales go, Bush goes also.

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By QuyTran, April 21, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

A dog before dying will always bark with sorrowful screaming !

Report this

By Robert Hutwohl, April 21, 2007 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Further, his process of “worked [working] the phones” is perhaps self-condescending. I mean, he should be going out there to vindicate himself through ethical policy and legal work and take what little time he has in SHOWING that he is capable of moral endeavor. This is what he said he wanted to do at the hearing before the Senate.

By pleading with other Republicans to save his position in office he is merely proving his desperation. That will lead to a downward spiral or not even a spiral but rather straight down to the pit.

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By Mordecahai Shiblikov, April 21, 2007 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It was fun watching Gonzales testify.  He is such a completely inept liar.  I didn’t know the Republican party had such a thing.  They are among the greatest pack of practiced liars in the whole history of this country.

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