Same old Bush strategy: Blame Congress for holding him accountable

Bush Warns Against Iraq Timeline – washingtonpost.com:

“Here’s the bottom line,” Bush told the cattlemen’s spring legislative conference at a Washington hotel. “The House and Senate bills have too much pork, too many conditions on our commanders and an artificial timetable for withdrawal. And I have made it clear for weeks if either version comes to my desk, I’m going to veto it.”

Iraq is a disaster of Bush’s making. He can’t weasel his way out of that responsibility. Congress has, at least, decided to grapple with the question of how to end the disaster.

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Ken Starr finds an improper relationshipLaw.com – High Court Advocate Ken Starr Is Justices’ Summer Employer

Remember when Ken Starr spent years trying to prove an improper financial relationship by the Clintons, only to have a soiled dress fall in his lap to give him something to report after years of investigation?

Law.com – High Court Advocate Ken Starr Is Justices’ Summer Employer :

When former judge, solicitor general and Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr argued a key First Amendment case before the Supreme Court last week, he was there in his capacity as of counsel at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

But he was also playing a lesser-known role: As dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law, Starr is also the summer employer of two of the justices who heard the case.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito Jr. will be teaching courses for the law school’s summer programs — Scalia for two days in London and Alito for two weeks in Malibu, Calif., university officials have confirmed. Typically, the justices are paid several thousand dollars for teaching stints like these, representing one of the few opportunities justices have to make outside income.

The juxtaposition of Starr as advocate and Starr as employer has surprised Starr’s adversaries in the case before the Court, Morse v. Frederick. Starr represents, on a pro bono basis, high school principal Deborah Morse, who suspended student Joseph Frederick for displaying a banner with the message “BONG HITS 4 JESUS” across the street from the high school in Juneau, Alaska, during the Olympic torch run in 2002.

Scalia and Alito did not recuse themselves because of the financial relationship.

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Chickens approaching Bushie roost

House OKs Subpoenas for Top Bush Aides – washingtonpost.com:

A House subcommittee today authorized the issuance of subpoenas for top presidential adviser Karl Rove and other White House and Justice Department aides as it investigates the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, potentially setting up a constitutional confrontation with President Bush.

Oh, joy. Now, if only the Democrats will stand firm and Republicans who feel the call of duty to their country side with the forces of transparency, the President and his cronies will finally have to explain their bad behavior in public. Don’t hold your breath, but this is big.

A thought occurs. The other day, Karl Rove, who orchestrated smears on John McCain (“fathering a black child out of wedlock” push-polling), Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and many, many others said of the U.S. Attorneys scandal that it was just a lot of politics. President Bush echoed this, saying Democrats are trying to “score political points.” Let’s take them at their word and ask whether all the issues they have raised to attack their opponents, those proved false as well as the substantive ones, were “just politics” and therefore, similarly spurious?

Someday, some old Coulterite may recall these years as a Golden Age, but the sane folks will know that this was perhaps the lowest point in American history, when ideologues dismiss their own arguments as political hot air just to escape the consequences of their actions.

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I killed a fish today, oh my

A big fish

Genny wanted to go down to the lake fishing for the first time this year. We’ve been angling off the dock for several years and the best catch ever was a big perch. Genny had a big trout on the line once, but it broke loose as she brought it to the dock.

We spent the obligatory 20 to 25 minutes setting up her new rod and reel, purchased a few days ago when it was raining. On the second cast, a big fish hit my line. Genny was untangling a bird’s nest of line and didn’t see it, but the trout jumped and it was big. It took about five minutes to get it in the net, as it went running four times and tried to get back under the dock twice. Genny was shouting and hollering, waving the net to instruct me where to “make the fish go” and it got badly tangled and hooked both through the lip and eye.

It was an eight or ten pound trout.

Normally, we catch and release. The lure was stuck in the net, the fish’s head lashed to the lure. Genny ran to a neighbor’s to get some scissors (I’d neglected to bring anything, thinking we’d have the same luck as usual), but there was no getting this fish out of the net and off the hook without killing it. When she returned, she started to cry. We’d never killed the fish before. She ran up the bank saying she’d never fish again.

Kiera took the picture as I tried to get the fish loose.

Long story short, I ran up the hill with the fish in the net on a rescue mission. It didn’t work out. After I cut its head off to end its misery, the kids—Taylor had come downstairs from doing his homework—were raring to go fishing, again. Genny was leading the way. Taylor, underdressed for the weather in shorts, wouldn’t wait for me to get the fish head and lure out of the net, so he borrowed the neighbor’s and off they went.

So, I gutted the fish and went back to the lake. I found the kids cold and ready to come home. Genny said to me: “You don’t want to fish anymore today, because of what you did. Right?”

We walked up the hill and, seeing the fish in the sink, Taylor said “You know, if it had a head and was alive and swimming, this would be a beautiful animal.”

Yes, I said. Too bad. Thinking about how to cook this for dinner.

“I’ll bet the fish think of us like aliens,” Taylor said. “UFOs are bait, and we who live above take away the members of a fish family.”

Time to rip away the veil

For years, it has been clear to many of us that the good of the Bush team and not that of the country is the only motivation of public policy in the United States. The whole point of the professionalization of public administration in the early part of the last century was to create a government that, while guided by politicians, acted always in the best interests of the country based on objective standards, such as written laws and the Constitution.

The Bushies make their own law as they see fit. Here’s another example of putting loyalty to one’s party and personal supporters above loyalty to country and Constitution:

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald was ranked among prosecutors who had “not distinguished themselves” on a Justice Department chart sent to the White House in March 2005, when he was in the midst of leading the CIA leak investigation that resulted in the perjury conviction of a vice presidential aide, administration officials said yesterday.

The ranking placed Fitzgerald below “strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty” to the administration but above “weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.,” according to Justice documents.

Republicans, especially those of the Ann Coulter ilk, will characterize critics of this type of patronage as whiners who are bitter about losing an election, arguing that it is the right of the president to hire and fire whomever he wants as U.S. attorney. They are simply demonstrating that they want to take us back to the era of party bosses and government-to-the-highest bidder.

Anyone who supports partisan appointments based solely on loyalty to an administration in a sensitive position like U.S. attorney, particularly during a time of war, is not interested in the good of the nation. They are the kind of slow traitor who undercuts the nation until they can’t get away with it any longer.

It’s time for the country to toss aside its capacity to ignore these crimes, so there is something left of the United States when this era passes.