Thursday, May 03, 2007

Paul Krugman was right. And that wasn't an accident.

* Tristero:
"When asked, Duncan once responded that Jon Chait was his favorite columnist, an opinion Duncan has changed. Me, it's a slam dunk: Paul Krugman for all the obvious reasons. He doesn't waste my time obsessing over someone's hair. He writes clearly and can rise on occasion to eloquence. But most importantly, when it mattered, he refused to avert his eyes, refused to buckle under to intimidation, refused to deny reality. For years - literally - Krugman's was the only consistently sane column in the upper echelons of the mainstream American press. It still is unique because Krugman is, unlike nearly every other American political columnist, actually qualified to opine in detail on a rather important subject, economics. Most importantly, he was right. And that wasn't an accident.
As I've said before, there is a serious intellectual crisis in this country. Bush/Iraq - especially the failure of the media to catch on before it was too late - is a direct consequence of that. That folks like Chait still command enough respect to have the opportunity to write cover articles for the New Republic - on any subject - while those who were absolutely right about this debacle from the start are still all but completely ignored by "respectable" opinion-making journalism should be cause for genuine alarm. Without truly intelligent, educated, and street-smart voices available to raise a ...hullabaloo before it's too late, this country is almost guaranteed to repeat the spectacular debacle of Iraq in the near future. And I don't see enough of those voices in the mainstream political discourse."

* emptywheel continues to blog up an awesome storm. she is amazing.

* emptywheel:
"I wanted to make several points about this (attorney-gate) chronology (besides offering a teaser to show that Comey's testimony should be very damning for BushCo). First, the Administration was plotting this USA firing for quite some time--as long ago as 2003, after presumably having great success with the Black firing in 2002. They made initial steps to fire USAs in early 2004, even before Bush won re-election. And then they tried again, in 2005, apparently using the election as an excuse to consider the firings. But they didn't implement the plan--at least not yet.

That timing suggests two things. First, the continuity of the plan--through two Attorney Generals and several Deputy Attorney Generals--shows that the plan itself is the Administration's plan, not Gonzales' (though of course, Gonzales may well have been involved as White House Counsel). Second, they wouldn't or couldn't implement the plan while Comey was DAG. I'm not saying they held off because of Comey. But he had certainly proved himself to be troublesome enough by February 2005, when Sampson first developed his list of USAs to fire, that they couldn't rely on him to go along. And I'm just guessing the very short and squirrely-looking Sampson didn't have the guts to show the very very large Comey that list grading Comey's buddy, Patrick Fitzgerald, as "undistinguished."

And look how deliberately they moved, after Comey resigned, to pull off their USA firing (and general politicization of DOJ). They used the PATRIOT Act reauthorization to minimize the power of the Senate to prevent political USA firings (and also to make it easier to have dual appoint USAs). And then they restructured the personnel authority within DOJ to make sure the AG--and the White House--were insulated from what they were about to do. Gonzales' order giving Sampson and Delilah Goodling personnel authority coincides remarkably well with Bush's signing of the PATRIOT Act. But I'm sure there's no connection.

From what we know of the lists, it appears Sampson may have considered Comey's counsel on the USA firings, insofar as he put loyal Bushie Kevin Ryan on his own list in early 2006. But fairly quickly, Ryan was removed from the list, only to be put back on it on December 2, after bad press, complaints from judges, and a disastrous review forces the issue.

And finally, there's this. What the hell was Sampson thinking when he contacted Comey in January? Was that just an attempt to dissuade Comey from testifying, or did Sampson really ask for his help!?!?!? Regardless of what Sampson was thinking, I think Comey's subsequent comments--such as the email reassuring Charlton just 10 days later--were designed to really undermine Gonzales and Sampson's lies about why they fired the USAs.

All of which is my long-winded way of saying that tomorrow's testimony might be fairly interesting."

* scott: "Communists always think everyone is as miserable as them."

* tpmm:
"Tired of waiting for a response, Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) issued a subpoena for any of Karl Rove's emails in the Justice Department's possession that might be relevant to the U.S. attorney firings. That includes emails sent from Rove's White House account (which apparently doesn't get much use) and emails from his account issued by the Republican National Committee."

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