Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 4-24-07: DoJ Scandal Primer -- Your Guide to the Long Hot Summer; RFK, Jr. and Mike Papantonio Break It Down on Air America

Image: Themis, Goddess of Justice

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [warns] that the Justice Department faces "a crisis of leadership perhaps unrivaled in its 137 year history ..." Raw Story, 4-19-07

Leahy: "Investigations have already pulled back the curtain to reveal unbridled political meddling, Katrina style cronyism, and unfettered White House unilateralism that is directed at one of our most precious national assets. Our law enforcement - our legal system. ... We need the facts to pursue the facts until we get the truth." Crooks and Liars, 4-19-07

Hard Rain Journal 4-24-07: DoJ Scandal Primer -- Your Guide to the Long Hot Summer; RFK, Jr. and Mike Papantonio Break It Down on Air America

By Richard Power

Karl Rove hasn't testified yet. Harriet Miers hasn't testified yet. The fate of the "five million e-mails" that were "lost" has yet to be determined.

But the US mainstream news media wants you to put the DoJ scandal behind you. Despite his "critics," it says, Gonzalez will "survive."

Meanwhile, the Cult-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party is grandstanding, beating its collective chest, and calling for Gonzalez's resignation over his "mishandling" of the eight US attorney firings.

Of course, both the US mainstream news media and the Cult-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party want you to know that "there is no evidence of any laws being broken."

But this scandal isn't about Alberto Gonzalez, or the mishandling of the firing of eight US attorneys, or even the impropriety of firing those eight attorneys in and of itself, this scandal is about the systematic politicization of the DoJ and the manipulation of the federal criminal justice system to a) thwart investigations into Bush-Cheney crony corruption, and b) provide cover for the Rove machine's efforts to manipulate elections, both directly and indirectly.

We already know that one person was falsely imprisoned in Wisconsin (where the US Attorney kept his job). (TPM Muckraker, 4-4-07)

We already know that the firing of at least one US attorney was linked directly to Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and _resident George W. Bush (Albuquerque Journal, 4-15-07).

We already know that the whole idea of purging the US Attorneys originated with Karl Rove (Daily Kos, 4-13-07).

We already know that US attorneys were ranked on whether or not they were loyal "Bushies" (McClatchy, 1-26-07) and that one of the indicators was membership in the Federalist Society (Think Progess, 4-13-07).

We already know that young graduates of Pat Robertson's Christian fundamenalist, right-wing ideologue law school were put in positions of high authority within the DoJ (Carpetbaggers, 4-9-07). We already know that one of them, Monica Goodling, has threatened to take plead the fifth amendment. We already know that four career prosecutors in Minnesota took voluntary demotions to get away from Goodling's overbearing and Bible-thumping friend, Rachel Paulose (Think Progess, 4-6-07).

We already know that "since 2005 ... Bush has appointed at least three U.S. attorneys who had worked in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division when it was rolling back long-standing voting rights policies aimed at protecting predominantly poor, minority voters." (Raw Story, 3-23-07)

We already know that investigations were either thwarted or trumped up in states considered vital to electoral college victory margins (e.g., Missouri, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Arkansas, California, Washington and Michigan). (Firedoglake, 3-21-07)

Think back to the year leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections, the word on the street in Beltwayistan was that there were as many as seven or eight members of Congress, including one Senator (Conrad Burns), and one Democrat (William Jefferson), who were going to get indicted.

The fallout from the Abramoff and Cunningham scandals were going to take down others.

Tom Delay was going to go down. Remember, indeed, he resigned from the leadership and then from his seat itself. Not just because of the state indictment in Texas, but because of a federal criminal investigation.

There were similar stories about Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), then Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and others.

But lo and behold all of it went away.

Only the Dukster and Bob Nye went down, and they went down fast.

What happened? Duh.

And then there was Rove's imminent indictment in the Fitzgerald investigation of the Plame affair. Five trips to the Grand Jury, and no indictment?

And then there was the mysterious sealed envelope Fitzgerald was supposed to have come away from the Grand Jury with? Does it exist? If it does, whose name is in it?

CREW's Melanie Sloan has called on Fitzgerald to reopen his investigation, based on the revelations concerning Rove's "lost" and/or "deleted" e-mail. (Raw Story, 4-13-07) Do not bet against CREW or Melanie Sloan.

And, if it is confirmed that inappropriate influence was exerted on other US attorneys throughout the country, then the question must be asked, and it must be asked of Fitzgerald directly and under oath -- what influence, if any, was exercised on his investigation into the betrayal of US secret agent Valerie Plame's identity?

My friends, it is going to be a long hot summer. It better be a long hot summer. If it isn't, we are all going to be in hell soon enough, because if this initiative to politicize the DoJ is not reversed and avenged, no one will be safe to utter any political opinion or challenge any official impropriety. Abuse of power and obstruction of justice will have been institutionalized, and established as the norm.

To follow fast-breaking events and escape the mind-warping disinformation being pumped out by GE, Disney, Sony Viacom, Murdoch, Time-Warner, etc., use Buzzflash as your portal into the prioritized and unspun flow of headlines, consult Think Progress for the reality-based timeline of unfolding events within the scandal, consult Talking Points Memo for real-time, in-depth analysis, and tune in Air America for the big picture. (Words of Power will weigh in from time to time to provide context and continuity.)

Here is a marvelous dialogue between Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papantonio on the 4-21-07 edition of their Air America show, Ring of Fire. Imagine how different the USA's political culture would be today if this kind of analysis was available on TV network and cable news.

Papantonio: Patrick Leahy has compared these missing e-mails to that eighteen minute gap on the Nixon Watergate tapes. It's stonewalling, there is no other way to put it. Because -- and this is what everyone is missing, I do not know why they do not connect these dots -- if you assume that Karl Rove and Gonzalez and George Bush and Dick Cheney make decisions to get rid of people like Carole Lam, Daniel Bogden, Bud Cummins and those people, they were making a decision to interfere with the investigations of Republicans and Republican cronies. So they say, "Let's get rid of them." If we assume that they got rid of those people because there were going to be ongoing investigations into Republicans and their cronies, if they did it with that intent, then they have some real problems. If you then destroy the records that surround that decision, I mean it is obstruction of justice, it is no different than the [John] Mitchell, [H.R.] Haldeman, John Erlichman days when they destroyed documents. How could you see it as anything different?

RFK, Jr.: Well, you are right. Carole Lam, who was out in San Diego, earned the Republican ire by investigating and prosecuting successfully Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Daniel Bogden, the US Attorney for Nevada, was investigating whether or not Republican Governor Jim Gibbons had accepted unreported gifts and payments from a company that then was awarded secret military contracts. Bud Cummins, the US Attorney for Arkansas, was investigating conflict of interest [involving] ...

Papantonio: Matt Blount, Missouri Governor, Republican.

RFK, Jr.: Right. Paul Charleton, US Attorney in Arizona, was investigating Republican Rep. Rick Renzi for corrupt land deals.

Papantonio: Carole Lam got Duke Cunningham, but what about Brent Wilkes, Dusty Foggo and Rep. Jerry Lewis [R-CA]? The investigation was not really over.

RFK, Jr.: And then there is this larger issue that these are the same people that refused to take on these phony cases that the White House was ginning up against Democrats and black people who had supposedly engaged in voter fraud. It turned out that none of those cases had any basis. And yet, these US Attorneys were ordered to find cases and prosecute them, in order to manufacture this kind of national fear that this was actually an issue. And they refused to do it, and then they put in place the guys who would. The scary thing, as Paul Krugman has pointed out, is that OK, it is scary that they fired these guys for political reasons, for failing to prosecute Democrats, but what happened to the other guys, the ones who didn't get fired? They were doing what they were told.

Papantonio: Let me point something out here. If you listen to the talking heads -- and it is always the same talking heads, with the same speeches, because it all emanates from Grover Norquist -- they're all saying the same thing, "What's the big deal? There has been no showing that there has been any law broken here." Well, that is just absolutely wrong. If you show that Carole Lam has an ongoing investigation, Daniel Bogden wasn't done with his investigation, Bud Cummins wasn't done with his investigation, and then you add to it that this bottom-feeding Karl Rove directed that the e-mails be destroyed -- this is serious stuff. Let me tell you what the RNC thinks about Karl Rove, their own guy -- the RNC actually shut off Rove's ability to delete his own e-mails, because they were so concerned about what a crook he was. The RNC did that. They said Karl Rove may not have permission to delete his own e-mails. I can promise you, those e-mails are still in existence somewhere. You do not just get rid of e-mail, it is somewhere on the server. There are other places these e-mails are stored. They can take that server and go back and figure out what was said in those e-mails. So what do you do? You put Karl Rove in front of the Congress or the Senate, you have Karl Rove testify. You know he is going to lie, he can't help himself, it is what he does. And after he lies, you have these e-mails surface, and then you are going to have an obstruction of justice case. Section 1503, Title 18, USC is built for Karl Rove and his attempt to obstruct justice here. This story is about the e-mails that are missing.


Hard Rain Journal 4-13-07: Imus is Offered as a Sacrificial Goat, Meanwhile the Bush-Cheney Stonewall Implodes -- It is Going to be a Long, Hot Summer

Hard Rain Journal 3-25-07: DoJ Purge Update: Four Blockbusters that Have Not Hit -- YET

Hard Rain Journal 3-7-07: Justice Not Just Blindfolded, But Bound and Gagged?

Hard Rain Journal 2-16-07: What Happens When a Whole Nation is Dragged into Room 101? Remember, 2+2=4

Hard Rain Journal 2-13-07: Is the Mainstream News Media Ignoring the Biggest Obstruction of Justice in US History?

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: richardpower@wordsofpower.net. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net

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