Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

DHS Appointee: Is Michael Chertoff's track record enough to succeed, or does it say volumes?

He learned the wrong lessons. And he is Bush's best choice. Last week we saw Gonzalez go through the motions before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As if DoJ was getting Ashcroft II. Gonzalez's remarks sent a chill up my spine.

This week, we've got a new DHS Appointee. Great. He's been an Appellate Judge. In charge of 800 people. His new job will be over 100,000 people.

They say he's a fast learner. But "what does he learn?" He sat by and let the post 9-11 detentions at the Bureau of Prisons go full speed. He was there taking notes as the roundups occurred in Guantanamo. Apparently he was even involved in the Patriot Act.

Today, his legacy leaves us with: Torture in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; increased surveillance for just "looking the wrong way;" and round-ups and abuse in the prisons.

This is a man who sat by, has this legacy on his hands, and they want to give him more power to do nothing but watch, as he did before?

Even those praising him seem, at second glance questionable. The former Solicitor General sang high praises for him. Uh, isn't this the same Solicitor General's office that claimed "We don't commit torture" before the Supreme Court?

Either the Solicitor General's Office is out of touch, or making misleading statements. Either way, I'm not putting much weight on anything anyone [past or present] in the Solicitor General's Office says. They're either clueless or liars.

Their endorsements are as hollow as a Bush appointee's promise to protect the constitution.

Under Michael Chertoff we stand to have more of the same, and expect the abuses of DoJ abroad will now be more acceptable domestically.

DHS is a mess. When I hear that Chertoff "is the man" for the job because of his involvement in the Whitewater investigation, and Senate's Judiciary and Banking Committees, I'm not all that persuaded he's got a strong track record.

Sure many like him. But "being liked" is far different than "doing the right thing." If he truly wants to stand on his record on the Senate Committees, we need to really go back to the legacy of Enron and 9-11.

I haven't seen a massive sweep of the corporations under Bush or the SEC Chairman. It's been Elliot Spitzer in New York who's doing the work.

Nor have I seen the banking committee injecting its wisdom to get this economy going. Rather, it's been the distraction of 9-11, the war overseas, and the massive deficit spending that saved this economy from debt-deflation.

On top of this, we have the problem with the disagreements in the Detroit office over the post 9-11 prosecution. If there were genuine and material problems with an issue . . . yet Chertoff still let the case go forward, is he really going to be the right one to stand up and say, "This is the right thing."

I don't see him doing that to the President. The man just gave up a life-time position on the Federal Bench.

Plus, I question the detailed work on Whitewater. Sure, Ken Star got indictments. But was it because a crime was committed, political jockeying, or some games of "no win" before the grand jury?

And where was he when the abuses were occurring in Guantanamo? We have records that it was known in 2002 there were problems. Senate Staffers visited Guantanmo in November 2002.

Today we've heard that the appointee has "close, good relations with the Senate and understands Congress. Indeed, where was Chertoff when the Senatorial staffs visited Guantanamo in November?

Chertoff's "qualifications" also make him the most dangerous. He seems to be so well qualified, we can only wonder "Where was he when he had the chance to stand up to the Constitution?"

It looks like his silence, inaction, and cow-towing to the President post 9-11 got him a Federal Bench and the Senate went along with it. Chertoff was there when things went bad. He's back. Things are still bad.

I don't expect miracles out of Chertoff. But I do wonder who's going to step in and make sure DHS gets cleaned up before DHS cleans up the constitution. Despite Gonzalez's sweating, Chertoff also looks as though he'll be rubber-stamped.

They don't make many constitutions out of rubber. This one is already on fire.

We shouldn't be comforted with comparisons to Hitler. Yet, like Bush, we have no other option.