10 Companies That Pay Little to No Tax!

Interesting graphic. Please share this with your audience by clicking the image. Let’s stop corporate corruption and loopholes once and for all!Tax Loopholes 600
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 by rick |
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10 Incredible churches infograph…

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Friday, January 27th, 2012 by rick |
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It’s Not Just the Torture – Dig Deeper

There is much gnashing of teeth today in the blogosphere over the release of a Senate report on the genesis and potentially criminal conduct of Bush administration torture policies. But don’t just follow the shiny torture object – look deeper – the most egregious crime was using torture as a tool to establish a false connection between al Qaida and Saddam Hussein.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

SparkyThe explosive results of a Senate investigation on the genesis and conduct of Bush administration torture policies were released yesterday. The report sheds a lot of light into the official decision making process to engage in interrogation techniques that very clearly cross the line to torture. In fact, the report (and analysis of the report here, here, here, and here) lays out what appears to be a compelling case for immediately convening a war crimes tribunal. Yet President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, responding to questions this past Sunday regarding the release last week of CIA torture memos, very forcefully reiterated that the administration will not pursue prosecution of former Bush administration officials and advisers who designed and/or approved the torture programs and techniques.

Most of the punditry this morning is orbiting around the torture aspects of the congressional report. But there is a subtext to the report outside of the decision to torture that demands further exploration: the Bush administration’s single-minded focus, post-9/11, to take down Saddam Hussein. While the decision to torture is certainly prosecutable, in terms of real impact, using torture to falsely make a tenuous al-Qaida connection to Saddam (and therefore justify the invasion of Iraq) is at least as egregious in scope. While hundreds, or possibly even a few thousands, of alleged “bad guys” may have been tortured by the CIA and other agencies in order to extract intel, and yes, a few might have even died in the process, untold hundreds of thousands have died or been permanently maimed during the prosecution of a war based on a mountain of lies.

In his 2004 book, Against All Enemies, Richard Clarke gave us the first glimpse into the beginnings of building this public narrative of lies and justifications for Iraq, in this exchange with George W. Bush on September 12, 2001:

“…see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred…”

“Absolutely [Mr. President], we will look…again.” I was trying to be more respectful, more responsive. “But, you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of al Qaeda, and not found any real linkages to Iraq. Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen.”

“Look into Iraq, Saddam,” the President said testily, and left us…

In August, 2006, an inquiry by the Inspector General of the Army interviewed Major Paul Burney, MD, a psychiatrist who was assigned to oversee the detainee interrogation program at Guantanamo Bay in 2002. Dr. Burney testified (page 41 of the report):

(U) At the time, there was a view by some at GTMO that interrogation operations had not yielded the anticipated intelligence,290 MAJ. Burney testified to the Army IG regarding interrogations:

[T]his is my opinion, even though they were giving information and some of it was useful, while we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between AI Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between AI Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.291

(Perhaps it would be useful to investigate who the “frustrated people” were – I suspect that the names Cheney and Rumsfeld might pop up in such an investigation.)

Though it takes awhile for the report to establish a timeline for approval and implementation of torture techniques, it’s clear that the ball was rolling in late 2001, when involvement by the Department of Defense’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) was requested by the DoD’s Office of General Counsel. JRPA manages training for U.S. military personnel on resisting torture techniques. And the agency was now being requested to develop an interrogation process for detainees captured by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan in late 2001.


Here are a couple of reasons: 1) Detainees weren’t giving up any actionable information on al Qaida. 2) Detainees weren’t giving up (or making up) information that would further establish the connection between al Qaida leadership and the government of Saddam Hussein.

It did not matter that personnel assigned to JRPA characterized torture techniques as essentially useless in extracting actionable information. Very early on, JRPA was clear that using torture never resulted in extracting useful information beyond what the torturee thought interrogators wanted to hear, whether or not there was any truth to the information.

The bottom line: the whole game was initially constructed to make the linkage between bin Laden and Saddam, because U.S. intelligence could not, in the aftermath of 9/11/01, make the connection. The development of Bush administration policies on torture had very little to do with actually preventing another attack on U.S. soil.

It was always about Saddam, from the very beginning. Maybe that’s where prosecutions should lead.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Why They Didn’t Use Snakes on Abu Zubaydah

I’m just saying, how do you find the time to bring in caterpillars, much less the evil and effective snakes as an enhanced interrogation technique when you are busy waterboarding the guy 83 times in one month. Abu Zubaydah got off easy – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed got the waterboard 183 times in one month.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

We saw the memo outlining authorized methods of enhanced interrogation under the Bush Administration. When I say they used insects on Abu Zubaydah, I wondered as an aside why they didn’t use snakes. Hey, if Indiana Jones hates snakes, even Chuck Norris would hate snakes, right? Well, now we know. They were too busy waterboarding Abu Zubaydah to deal with snakes. They waterboarded Abu Zubaydah 83 times in one month, which doesn’t come near the 183 times they waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in one month. Emptywheel at Firedoglake has the links to the CIA memos where this is detailed.

Man, that’s a lot of waterboarding. I’d hate to have to pay that water bill. And I’d hate to have to be the one to figure out the gibberish that crap produced. As to defending the practice, only a Rush Limbaugh could even try, and as head of the Republican Party he surely will.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Blogger’s Butt: May be a Hoax

The dreaded condition Cello Scrotum has been officially debunked today, and doubts have been shed on Guitar Nipple. Here’s hoping that Blogger’s Butt is also a hoax, as such news will be welcome around the globe. Stock in pajama manufacturers are expected to go through the roof with this news.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Blogger’s Butt is a condition widely discussed on the internet, so much so that there’s advice here and here on how to prevent it. But after today’s revelations about Cello Scrotum, one wonders whether Blogger’s butt is actually a hoax. For the latest information on Cello Scrotum, we go to Yahoo News:

“Cello scrotum,” a nasty ailment allegedly suffered by musicians, does not exist and the condition was just a hoax, a senior doctor has admitted.

Back in 1974, in a letter to the British Medical Journal, Elaine Murphy reported that cellists suffered from the painful complaint caused by their instrument repeatedly rubbing against their body.

The claim had been inspired by reports in the BMJ about the alleged condition guitar nipple, caused by irritation when the guitar was pressed against the c

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Let’s Play! Name this GOP Entitlement Syndrome!

Following the example they have set in Coleman v. Franken, of filing endless appeals, Jim Tedisco in the NY-20 special election is going further, declaring victory with fewer votes than his opponent Scott Murphy. There’s a GOP Entitlement Syndrome developing, and the CDC should be called in. Democracy as we know it is at risk.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Trailing Democrat Scott Murphy in the vote count in the special Congressional election in District 20 in New York, Republican Jim Tedisco has asked the court to declare him the winner. Yes, it boggles the mind, but he’s a Republican, so he feels entitled. Heck, Tedisco felt entitled to challenge the election results before election day was even over, so this reach for an entutlement should surprise us no at all. From the Register-Star in New York:

20th Congressional District candidate Republican Jim Tedisco submitted a petition to the Dutchess County Supreme Court Thursday asking the judge to declare him the winner of the extremely close special election race, despite the numbers currently being in favor of his opponent, Democrat Scott Murphy.

According to The Associated Press, Murphy leads Tedisco by 178 votes district wide – 79,452 to 79,274. The only ballots that have not been counted are those challenged by each candidate’s lawyers, and while Tedisco’s office has said the challenges are roughly evenly split between the two camps, Columbia County lawyers for Murphy have only challenged 22 ballots, while Tedisco’s have challenged 258.

Tedisco is also asking the court to authorize recanvasing of all machine ballots to acquire the “proper” tallies. He would like them to reassess the validity of absentee votes already counted, and keep ballots challenged by Tedisco unopened. County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Virginia Martin said this new development could result in the election taking quite a bit more time to be decided. She would not venture a guess on how long it will be before the 20th District has a representative in congress.

Beyond that we desperately need a name for the Republican Entitlement Syndrome that seemingly dictates that Americans are not allowed to have deomcratically elected representatives until the Republicans get all their legal whining out of the way, it is time to recognize this as the biggest feature of the Republican strategy going forward. No plans for the nation’s future, no cures for economic problems, and no coherent leadership. They are offering us sex-crazed teabagging parties, a dose of “Just Say No” to everything not proposed by Republicans, and withholding democratic representation through childlike legal fits.

Let’s get a name for this trend. I’ll start off. How about “Just Say No to Democracy?” It fits with their other stances, no?

They are also writing about this development at DKos.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Lying Continues at Ted Haggard’s Former New Life Church

HBO is coming out with a documentary about Ted Haggard’s life after the gay sex scandal, and lo and behold what should appear? Another male sex partner for Ted, this time a church volunteer. No word on whether the relationships happened in the same time period, but there’s an awful lot of lying and covering up at the New Life Church.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The New Life Church took a big hit in 2006 when its Pastor, Rev. Ted Haggard, was caught with a male prostitute. Boy, we on the left had fun with that one, a man who preached with all the other Right Wing Christian Mullahs about the evils of homosexuality found to be paying for a little man sex. Hypocrisy is always a good thing to put up front and center in one’s blog. But the real evil here was Haggard lying to himself, lying to his congregation, and lying to the world when he preached hate about homosexuality. All that lying harmed real people, including the members of the New Life Church.

Well, in the two years or so since the Haggard scandal the New Life Church has recovered some of its reputation, at least until the other day when it was found out that they paid someone off to keep quiet about his relationship with Ted Haggard. But, oops, that’s not how they’re telling it. The responses from Brady Boyd, Ted Haggard’s successor at New Life, are so contradictory as to constitute lies, not that anyone reading this would be surprised at a liar in the pulpit at New Life. Here’s the first part of the article from the Chicago Tribune:

Boyd said an “overwhelming pool of evidence” pointed to an “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” that “went on for a long period of time … it wasn’t a one-time act.” Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.

Reached Friday night, Haggard declined to comment and said all interviews would have to be arranged through a publicist for HBO, which is airing a documentary about him this month.

Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly.

Boyd said a Colorado Springs TV station reached him Thursday to say the young man was planning to provide a detailed report of his relationship with Haggard to the station. Boyd said the church preferred to keep the matter private, but it was the man’s decision to go public.

There’s the contradiction there, in the space of just two paragraphs. First Boyd said the settlement with the young man who had the affair with Haggard came with the condition that the young man not speak about the affair. Then he said speaking about the affair was entirely the young man’s decision. Well, which is it? It is yet another marker of the deterioration of the news industry that the reporter at the Chicago Tribune, Eric Gorski, didn’t even ask. Gorski did get, later in the Tribune story, a repeat of the contradiction by Brady Boyd:

Anticipating criticism of the settlement with the former church volunteer, Boyd said Friday that it was in the best interests of all involved. He would not name the volunteer or the settlement amount.

“It wasn’t at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story,” Boyd said. “Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance – certainly not hush money. I know what’s what everyone will want to say because that’s the most salacious thing to say, but that’s not at all what it was.”

He said that “secondarily, it’s not great for our church either” that the story be told. Boyd said Haggard knew about the settlement two years ago.

In a letter e-mailed Friday to New Life Church members, Boyd said of the settlement and agreement not to talk: “This decision was made not as an attempt to conceal wrongdoings, but to protect him from those who would seek to exploit him. His actions now suggest that he has changed his mind.”

Again, there’s mention of an agreement to keep Ted Haggard’s affair with a male member of the New Life Church hushed up, and again Brady Boyd denies that the arrangement was anything more than in the best interest of the young man involved. Now that same young man has decided it is not, and though Brady Boyd claims the church has legal standing to take action against the young man for making his affair with Haggard public, Boyd also claims in the article that there was no such agreement. There are blatant lies here, and those lies were told to the members of the church, not just the press. I guess that’s one of the big things I don’t get. How many lies do the members of the New Life Church accept before they get an inkling that the church and those who run it are there not for spiritual enlightenment, but to do anything possible to save their skins.

Meanwhile, HBO has a documentary about Haggard putting together the pieces of his life, and that documentary is flawed as well, since it evidently has nothing of this past affair. Haggard is going on Larry King and Oprah this week, and now they’ve got some good questions to ask him. In the end, and this is predictable, Brady Boyd does not blame New Life Church for its payoffs, nor Ted Haggard, nor even the young man Ted Haggard screwed. He blames HBO, and the publicity of the HBO documentary.

Boyd said he had spoken to the man once and came away with the impression that he was speaking out because of the documentary. “I think what caused this young man to be a bit aggravated was Ted being seen as a victim, when he himself had experienced a great deal of hurt,” Boyd said. “I seriously doubt this man would have come forward if the documentary had not been made.”

Whoever is a victim is in this sordid mess, there are lots of perpetrators, and Brady Boyd in covering up misdeeds by his former Pastor Ted Haggard is one of those perpetrators. Will Brady Boyd ever learn that God deserves the truth? I doubt it.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Get Your Popcorn Out, The Teabagging Adventure’s About to Begin

The teabaggers are ready to go and you should get your popcorn ready. The crowds will be boistrous and there’s sure to be whack job comment sreported all over. The head astroturfers are counting on rallying the whack job Republican base, and we can expect little connection with reality and maybe a dose of racism in the mix.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I’m going to predict that this Republican sexcapade (Hot Lesbian Action in Virginia GOP circles!) masquerading as a Teabagging patriotic thing is going to turn out to be a bunch of nothing today. but there’s a little room for drama here. No, Marilyn Chambers will not be appearing at the Alamo with Glenn Beck. Beck, though, might just blow another gasket, and he seems to have an inexhausible supply of them, so I’m not sure Glenn Beck will go insane, or at least to the point getting hospitalization. Yesterday Beck was on a tear advocating secession, though he refrained from the real tears this time.

jack again There’s my son Jack to the left, rubbing his hands with glee. He doesn’t get any popcorn, since he has no teeth, after all, but he will join me watching the right-wingnuttery this afternoon.

This is all about Faux populists led by FauxNews backed up by funding from Gingrich and Dick Army of course. It is an astroturfed grassroots movement, and that’s been shown many times. But who are these people attracted to the teabagging? It appears they are the same people clinging to the conspiracy theory that Obama wasn’t really born in the Us, that he’s a secret Muslim, etc. Check it out – teabaggers in Cleveland, 100% of those asked, held strange conspiracy theories as truth. There is a racist coloring to this astroturfing, and as such there’s no surprise that they are attracting members of Stormfront in droves, so that they might recruit to swell their rank ranks. All this teabagging is causing a whole bunch of trouble in Congress, where leaking envelopes of the stuff are attracting security concerns, but the Republicans don’t care. This sex-crazed teabag stunt is the only idea they’ve got.

Ideas? The Republicans are void of ideas. Some Republicans might be struggling to find some ideas with which to center their party, ideas other than sex-crazed orgies, but there’s no success on that score in sight. I’m guessing there will be more fracturing of the GOP before there is any unity, and that unity might end up with a lot smaller base than the Republicans enjoy now. The infighting that has occured so far between some Republicans and their leader will pale in comparison with what’s to come. As Juan Cole aptly notes, the Republicans are freaking out in response to virtually ever move from the Obama White House, not that I’m crying tears over that. Heck, that’s why I’ve got the popcorn, after all.

The real problem for Republicans and this stupid faux anti-tex movement is that Americans don’t agree with them, in huge numbers. That’s according to a recent poll where huge numbers of Americans say they don’t mind an increase int he size of government with the aim of getting us out of this recession. From USA Today:

A USA TODAY analysis of the survey finds demographic divisions when it comes to what the federal government should do.

– The largest group, 37% of respondents, is comfortable with big government and solidly behind Obama. Nine of 10 approve of the job the president is doing and 85% endorse the government’s expanded role to deal with the financial crisis. Nearly all of them see big business as a more foreboding threat to the country than Big Government.

This group is mostly Democratic and includes the most liberals. It has more women than men and is slightly younger and better educated than the sample as a whole.

“I don’t worry about Big Government,” says Lillie Thomas, 74, a retired hotel housekeeping supervisor in Las Vegas. “We should try to help people get back to work and get better health care.”

– At the other end of the spectrum is a smaller group that is solidly against the expansion of government and Obama’s approach. Even the plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, supported by at least three of four people in every other group, is backed by just 8%.

Members of this group, which includes 21% of respondents, tend to be white and male with education and income levels above the average. They are overwhelmingly Republican and mostly conservative.

Letting the market work – even if that means allowing automakers such as GM and Chrysler to fail – would be better than giving the government a say in the companies’ leadership and direction, says John Cronkwright, 40, a civil engineer from Liverpool, N.Y. “If we start telling these companies, –You’ve got to make this product and that product,’ that’s not really the American way of free enterprise,” he says. “That’s more toward socialism.”

– In the middle is a group that supports Obama’s plan but without much enthusiasm. Most say the government needs to take action to fix the country’s economic problems; they also want government’s reach cut back when the crisis is over.

These reluctant supporters, 15% of respondents, make up the most bipartisan group. A majority are Democrats but nearly four in 10 are Republicans. They are evenly divided between men and women, and the group reflects the national average in income and education.

Pedro Navarro, 21, lives in Muskegon, which has the highest unemployment rate of anywhere in hard-hit Michigan. He is working in a factory that makes truck parts but has seen friends and family members lose their jobs. As for the rescue plan for Detroit, “I believe it’s warranted to keep the auto industry up on its feet. Otherwise, the industry will pretty much go under.”

Even so, he worries about the government wasting money, and he says it “should step back a little bit” when businesses regain their footing.

– The final group is conflicted and uncertain. They both approve of the job Obama is doing and oppose most of the initiatives he has proposed. This group, 27% of respondents, has the lowest average income and education levels of the four groups as well as the largest proportion of women.

“I’m not sitting where I can see all the ins-and-outs,” says Edna Baatile, 60, of Tulsa, a former human resources manager for American Airlines. “I guess I just have to keep praying every day for the president and his advisers that they make the right decisions, because nobody knows.”

Yeah, that group where the teabaggers fall is about 21% in this poll. They don’t even want to help homeowners rooked out of their homes and life’s savings. Realpolitic would say that’s a bad way to attract voters. But FauxNews is egging these folks on today to be heard! They’ll be carrying their misspelled signs and hollaring about some inane conspiracy theories and generally showing the true face of the Republican Party nowadays, the Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber and George Bush face of it. Failure. Man, this is going to be a good thing for Democratic chances in 2010!

Let me be clear on one thing. I do not predict violence from these people today. Insanity, yes, especially from Glenn Beck. But I do not predict violence, as much as Beck might hope for it for reasons of boosting his ratings.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Was Bush’s NSA Surveillance Watching Me?

We learned on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown last night that the illegal NSA wiretap program was far more widespread than reported, and certainly more widespread than the Bushies admitted to. I’m an ordinary citizen who, by virtue of publicly criticizing Bush, just might have been a target. How do I find that out? I expect few answers.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Keith Olbermann’s Countdown broke the story last night, with Russell Tice, former NSA analyst, stating explicitly that the Bush Administration (illegal) wiretap surveillance program was monitoring journalists. DailyKos has a good diary on the subject, but here’s the transcript of the Olbermann show from mediabistro.com:

OLBERMANN: I mention that you say specific groups were targeted.
What group or groups can you tell us about?

TICE: Well, there’s sort of two avenues to look at this. What I just mentioned was sort of the low-tech dragnet look at this. The things that I specifically were involved with were more on the high-tech side. And try to envision, you know, the dragnets are out there, collecting all the fish and then ferreting out what they may. And my technical angle was to try to harpoon fish from an airplane kind of thing. So it’s two separate worlds.

But in the world that I was in, as to not harpoon the wrong people in some – in one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations just supposedly so that we would not target them. So that we knew where they were, so as not to have a problem with them.

Now, what I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7, and you know, 365 days a year, and it made no sense. And that’s – I started to investigate that. That’s about the time when they came after me, to fire me. But an organization that was collected on were U.S. news organizations and reporters and journalists.

OLBERMANN: To what purpose? I mean, is there a file somewhere full of every e-mail sent by all the reporters at the “New York Times?” Is there a recording somewhere of every conversation I had with my little nephew in upstate New York? Is it like that?

TICE: If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything. Yes. It would be everything.

OLBERMANN: Do you have a sense of why, as you discovered this? I mean, do you have a sense of what this was, if it was used, to what end?

TICE: I do not know. I do not know what was done with the collection. I’m sure the information – the collection was digitized and put on databases somewhere. I don’t know what was done with it from that point.

OLBERMANN: And this bait-and-switch sort of idea, that this – this is the discard pile, we are not going to look at the media, and then it becomes apparent to you that the discard pile is in fact the save pile.
How did that become apparent to you?

TICE: Well, as I was going for support for this particular organization, it sort of was dropped to me that, you know, this is 24/7. Because I was saying, you know, I need collection at this time, at this point for, you know, for a window of time. And I would say, will we have the capability at this particular point? And positioning assets, and I was ultimately told we don’t have to worry about that, because we’ve got it covered all the time. And that’s when it clicked in my head, this is not something that’s being done on a onesy basis, onesy-twosie. This is something that’s happening all the time.

I don’t normally shill for TV programs, and I rarely get the chance to watch Olbermann, since his show is on during our dinner hour, but he’s got more of an interview with Russell Tice tonight.

The conclusion? The Bush Administration illegal wiretap program targeted journalists. Did it also target those who write blogs? Sure, I know they read this blog, and it is pulbic, so I’ve no problem with that, really. We put it out there to be read, after all. But we’ve been decidedly critical over the last five years in our relentless pursuit of Mr. Bush’s policies. We began using pseuonyms, but it wouldn’t have been hard for the NSA to figure out our identities, and besides, both Richard Blair and myself have been using our own names for a good long while now. So I wonder, have they been monitoring me?

Heck, they’re not going to find much. But there’s those calls I made a couple years ago to my cousins of Lebanese extraction last year on the occasion of my great aunt who died in Florida. We made arrangements to meet. Did they listen in and then watch us, a family gathered for bereavement and her burial in Kentucky. Perhaps they caught me on the phone asking Mom for her recipe for stuffed grape leaves or kibbe. Did they think those were code words or something?

OK, I’ll be serious. I know there’s a strong possibility my phone calls were listened to. Over the years we at ASZ have noticed many people in various areas of government, including the NSA, reading this web site. I do not doubt in the least that someone from the NSA will watch the site today after they pick up some juicy key words in their google sessions. My question is whether they have ever collected information about my phone calls and how I find that out, and I suspect that will take a full-blown investigation to answer. All the more reason for the Senate to confirm Holder soonest, a process the Republicans there are holding up. Could this be why they are dragging their heels, because they know Holder will find illegalities all throughout the Bush Administration? If anyone reading this is surprised at that possibility, then they are naive. Republicans have, after all, shown themselves to have one policy over all others, a desire to protect themselves and their own, and to hell with the rights of Americans.

Obama is rolling back some of those Bush policies that abused the protections we are provided by our constitution. This can’t happen fast enough.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Alberto Gonzales Can’t Find a Job, Whines

Alberto Gonzlaes has decided to write a book. It will consist of several hundred blank pages, as he simply doesn’t recall much of what he did during his tenure in the Bush Administration. What is pitiful is that Gonzales compares himself to victims of the War on Terror, because the Senate picked on him, I suppose. Shameful and pitiful.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Republicans have been unable or unwilling to protect their own, and have not found a nice, cushy job for amnesiac and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Poor Alberto Gonzales. He’s whining to the Wall Street Journal about his treatment on Captial Hill and et cetera, and has now decided to write a tell all book. (OK, the jokes about how he could possibly write a book if he “can’t recall” are cheap, if accurate.) Gonzales, famous for tracking down John Ashcroft in order to justify violating the constitution with the NSA domestic surveillance program, is now whining because, as a lawyer charged with knowing the law, he’s got a track record of not recalling how he violated the constitution. But the whiney complaints are good reading, at least when in a Wall Street Journal blog:

Mr. Gonzales has been portrayed by critics both as unqualified for his position and instrumental in laying the groundwork for the administration’s “war on terror.” He was pilloried by Congress in a manner not usually directed toward cabinet officials.

“What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?” he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.

During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that “for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.”

This is pretty much the most clueless statement I can imagine. The treatment Gonzales received concerned the program of politicizing the department he was in charge of, the Department of Justice. It came after a string of answers which showed Gonzales either didn’t know at all what was happening in his own DOJ, or was purposely misleading Senators with a string of “I do not recall” answers. Gonzales now doesn’t just fail to recall, he fails to understand the enormity of his incometencies. Look for no responsibility taken in this book.

Worse here is that Gonzales compares himself to the real victims in the War on Terror, the men and women who died on 9/11, the soldiers who died because of Bush’s policies, the tens of thousands of Iraqi dead. . . those are victims of the “War on Terror.” Mr. Gonzales is at worst complicit in some of those deaths in that he helped justify some ugly policies. At best, Gonzales is merely a bumbling incompetent, and thus his is not a tragic story. Tragedy requires one fall from great heights, after all, and while Gonzales’ role in the Bush Administration was a high-ranking one, it was still a role in the failed and incompetent Bush Administration.

The interview with the WSJ is a bit pitiful and self-serving, of course. Gonzales is a Republican, after all. Here’s another excerpt:

Among other things, Mr. Gonzales said Tuesday that he didn’t play a central role in drafting the widely criticized legal opinions that allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to use aggressive interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects and expanded the president’s power to hold “unlawful combatants” and terrorism suspects indefinitely. He also said he told the truth to Congress about a classified eavesdropping program authorized by the president, and admitted to making mistakes in handling the U.S. attorney firings while maintaining that he made the right decisions. He says that while he bears responsibility as former Attorney General that “doesn’t absolve other individuals of responsibility.”

Mr. Gonzales, 53 years old, doesn’t have a publisher for his book. He said he is writing it if only “for my sons, so at least they know the story.”

This last bit seems a bit poignant. Gonzales gives excuses about his behavior concerning the NSA program and the torture policies of the Bush Administration, and then cops a little responsibility about the US Attorney scandal. I’m surprised he admits to anything, really. This guy is universally considered a liar and an incompetent, after all. But it is poignant because it appears Gonzales knows that the only ones he can convince about his good name and reputation are his own sons. How far he has fallen.

Let’s not let Alberto Gonzales off the hook, though. He was a lawyer with a degree from Harvard when he was hired by President Bush. He’d worked for Bush in Texas, so likely knew what he was getting himself in for. There are no excuses for the damage he did to our constitution, and while Alberto Gonzales’ sons may indeed believe his accounts, it is unlikely anyone else will. I’m just wondering where the man finds a publisher who will touch the book.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized
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