Has Everyone Drunk the Kool-Aid? New AG Nominee Is Right-Wing Nut

Crossposted at Invictus

So Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey said he was against torture in his confirmation hearing, and the liberals are ready to fall all over him. His confirmation as Bush’s new attorney general is presumably a given. Never mind that he refused to comment on the secret 2005 Bush Administration memorandums authorizing harsh, “enhanced” interrogation techniques by the CIA. Listen to Mukasey get all huffy at his nomination hearing today:

When Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, suggested in his questioning that the 2005 opinions might authorize torture, Mr. Mukasey stopped him. “You characterize it as torture,” he said. “I do not know of such a policy and I hope not to find them.”

Nor would he comment in detail on the legality of the so-called warrantless wiretap program that was authorized by President Bush shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been harshly criticized by civil liberties groups and lawmakers from both parties as possibly unconstitutional.

“I am not familiar with that program,” said Mr. Mukasey, who knew enough about the program to refer to it as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the name preferred by the White House.

Why, even Glenn Greenwald has nice things to say about this best-of-a-bad-bunch rightwinger, because Mukasey bucked the Administration by allowing accused “dirty bomb” plotter and U.S. torture victim, Jose Padilla, the right to talk with his attorneys, or to challenge the evidence against him. Never mind that Mukasey upheld the indefinite detention of “enemy combatants” like Padilla. Never mind that Mukasey wants to initiate an entire new “national security court” for Bush’s “war on terror”, explaining that “conventional legal rules” are not “adapted to deal with a terrorist threat”. Of course, Greenwald allows, “Judge Mukasey’s respect for the Constitution and the rule of law should not be overstated.”

Now that’s an understatement.

Mukasey is an adviser (along with his white-collar criminal defense attorney son) to arch-militarist and scary GOP presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani. He wrote a paean to the Patriot Act in the Wall Street Journal, where he red-baited the American Library Association, and then threw out this sinister challenge to the primacy of the Bill of Rights:

A bill of rights was omitted from the original Constitution over the objections of Patrick Henry and others. It may well be that those who drafted the original Constitution understood that if you give equal prominence to the provisions creating the government and the provisions guaranteeing rights against the government–God-given rights, no less, according to the Declaration of Independence–then citizens will feel that much less inclined to sacrifice in behalf of their government, and that much more inclined simply to go where their rights and their interests seem to take them.

So, as the historian Walter Berns has argued, the built-in message–the hidden message in the structure of the Constitution–is that the government it establishes is entitled, at least in the first instance, to receive from its citizens the benefit of the doubt.

So, conventional opinion says Mukasey is a good guy, better than Gonzales, someone who will not politicize the Justice Department, is against torture, and also independent from the Bush circle — hell, even Chuck Schumer likes the guy (he even suggested Mukasey to Bush as a possible Supreme Court nominee a while back). But if there ever was a poster boy for the degradation of political discourse and sensibility, and the failure of two-party politics in the age of American adventurism and imperial hubris abroad, it’s Michael B. Mukasey.

A little dose of cynicism might cure an overdose of the Kool-Aid, which has the media snoring, and even leftie liberals prattling over business-as-usual in this dangerously oblivious land.

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    • Valtin on October 18, 2007 at 6:01 am
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    you just want to spit into the wind for the hell of it. Conventional American politics is a cesspool, and there’s no denying it.

  1. and the few answers he gave and just got this sinking feeling that he’s really into the unitary executive stuff.

  2. it’s good to see you posting here, and especially this good insight.  You do great work.  I couldn’t stare the gorilla in the face so often as you do and am but beholden to you for your coverage of this and similar issues.

    Maybe you’ll cross-post here on a regular basis?  I hope so.  I logged out of the big orange junior high school, it got to be too much.  While I have maintained my hotlist it seems more fruitful to keep a dialogue going here.

    Peace to you.

    • DWG on October 18, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    I cannot think of a single living republican qualified and suited to be AG.  It is a choice between evil and eviler, dumb and dumber, slime and slimier.

    • skymutt on October 18, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    At least, unlike the lightweight Gonzales, he is qualified in terms of experience and knowledge of the law, and he doesn’t have any glaring aspects to him that would lead me to say “no way, not that guy”.

    He’s like Bob Gates was– not someone I would choose, but quite acceptable under the circumstances.  Just like Gates, Mukasey should be confirmed quickly; Democrats should pick their battles, attacking the Republicans aggressively or seeking cooperation across the aisle, depending on the issue.  Mukasey is a no brainer “cooperate” issue, to my eye. 

    Right now, I see a rudderless, strategy-free Democratic Congress, and that’s why they are consistently failing.  It looks like they’re going to fail on FISA and the SCHIP veto override too, by just a few votes in each case.  In such a weak political position, where they are losing nearly every legislative battle, fighting Mukasey isn’t an option anyway.  Just be thankful that it’s not somebody worse.

  3. I watched most of the hearing yesterday. I also had watched the Frontline piece the night before about Cheney and his lawyers, which detailed how the Unitary Executive was elevated to the throne via legal opinions and signing statements. Consequently I was especially senstitive to anything Mukasey might say in that regard.

    As I listened to his responses, particularly those responses to the heinous questions of Lindsay Graham regarding torture and the responses to Feingold regarding our 4th amendment rights, I came to the same conclusion as you, Valtin.

    I can’t imagine that Cheney would allow Bush to nominate anyone independent enough to foil his long executed plans to give the President unlimited war powers. While he may prove be a better and more competant manager of the DOJ, I still believe he will work on behalf of the Vice President rather than behalf of the American people.

    The fawning over him by Lieberman and many of the Democrats was revolting. I hope we are wrong; I hope we are proved wrong by his eventual performance. We shall see, I guess.

  4. they are in has no Party, no Law, it’s a pit they all dug to keep the people out while they wallow in their ruling class shit and call it government. As the rocks are turned and the crawlies exposed over they just dig a new one out of the pool and try to clean them up with whitewash and continue on, with their absurd faux imitation of a a representative system. 

  5. Amy and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) conduct Mike “Ugly as Sin” Mukasey’s confirmation post-mortem. Ratner’s reaction to Mukasey’s syphillitic powers of reasoning and dem Dem senators’ performance is HOT ‘n’ righteous.

    “Abandon hope all ye who enter here”

    Full 18 Oct segment (~ 00:30 min.) showcases DiFi, Herkle, Durbin, and Leahy’s leading questions
    permalinkMP3 audio

  6. the judge in the Larry Silverstein vs. companies that insured the World Trade Center.  Yes, I know it could be pure chance that he wound up presiding over this case, but if he is a loyal Bushie and reliable RW Kool-Aid drinker my spidey senses tingle.

    Google “mukasey silverstein insurance case” and see what you think…

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