Friday, April 06, 2007

The fingerprints of Vern Ehlers?

Ever since the scandal broke regarding the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys and the fact was revealed that one of those eight was Margaret Chiara, the U.S. Attorney for the Grand Rapids district for the last five years. I've been wondering what her role was in all of this. There hasn't been a lot of chatter regarding why she was fired and Chiara was, on the surface, someone you'd think the Bush team would have had no problem keeping in her post. From the Kalamazoo Gazette:

Chiara was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in 2001, filling the role as the government's chief law enforcer for the Western District of Michigan, which spans 49 counties, from the Indiana border to the Upper Peninsula. The former policy director at the Michigan Supreme Court, Chiara has led a varied career that had her studying to be a Catholic nun, a teacher on two continents and then a private practice attorney and county prosecutor in Cass County.


So, given that Bush appointed her, she had a solid resume and she had even studied to be a nun, I think it's safe to say we certainly know that Chiara wasn't exactly a liberal extremist. She also seems to have been damn good as a U.S. Attorney. More from the Gazette:

U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell:

"I was shocked to learn that her resignation had been requested. She's clearly part of a larger pattern.''

In previous Justice Department firings, officials cited poor performance among the U.S. attorneys. However, most had positive job reviews and had run into political trouble over such issues as the death penalty and immigration, according to a recent Washington Post report.

Bell said Chiara is one of the best U.S. attorneys he has observed during 20 years on the federal bench. He said Chiara did nothing that should have prompted her firing.

Typically, most Republican stalwarts have followed the AM right wing radio command that this is nothing but a Democratic Party witch hunt. As usual it gets chalked up to "criminalizing politics" which is really a nice cover for widescale corruption and a political patronage system that rivals anything cooked up by the mafia. We can always expect the Republican Party to entrench in a scandal and protect its own even when felonies have obviously been committed. G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North can be forgiven for jeopardizing the sanctity of our democracy (when Liddy and others broke in to Democratic Party headquarters on behalf of President Richard Nixon) or even our national security (when North was a player in giving U.S. arms to IRAN, cutting deals with the terrorist organization Hezbollah and illegally funding right wing militias in Nicaragua).

However, even some prominent Republicans have slowly been peeling away from the party line spin and have called for Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to step down for his role in the firings and his impotent and mangled response when the story broke which included lying the Congress. Gonzalez is expected to testify next week and the talk has been that many expect Gonzalez to quit before then (since he's liable to only make things worse by lying under oath yet again). Just today U.S. Congressman Vern Ehlers (R-Grand Rapids) has called for the Attorney General to resign:

Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers of Grand Rapids says he thinks U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should step down.

[snip]

Gonzales is under fire from the Democratically-controlled Congress for the recent firing of eight U.S. attorneys, including one from West Michigan.

Ehlers won't comment on the merits of the firings but says he disapproves of the way Gonzales carried them out.

Ehlers is quoted here:

"Since he's such a close, personal friend, he's hurt the President by what he's doing, he should have the politeness to offer his resignation. I don't know if he has or not and the President is still holding it, who knows. But I think he's damaged himself and the President through his actions."


So, either Ehlers knows how much this scandal is eroding whatever scant support his party now holds or he knows something else.

I'm guessing the Republicans in Grand Rapids--like Ehlers--have a much better idea than we do what the politics were behind Chiara's firing.

But it's also worth mentioning that, at least according to Rove's PowerPoint presentation, Vern Ehlers is thinking of retiring in 08. Not something that was generally known here in MI. But there you have it. Retiring GOP Rep getting fed up with the GOP shenanigans?


Or is it that Vern knows his fingerprints are all over Chiara's firing? Chances are decent that Ehlers was doing some leg work on behalf of Pete Secchia or some other West Michigan Mafioso player and made some calls to quash an investigation, which is the underlying reason in every case of a fired U.S. Attorney so far. We already know Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather Wilson were guilty of the same thing. Chiara's been one of the last remaining mysteries but given Ehler's recent willingness to throw his party's Attorney General overboard, I think we should be asking ourselves why such a consistent party line Republican has found to will to buck the system. Is it because he's finding independence in his pending retirement, is he merely playing to the hometown crowd and backing a fellow Grand Rapids Republican to win some votes for his next run or is trying to stop an investigation before it finds his fingerprints on the knife in Margaret Chiara's back?

The irony would be, that if this turns out to be true, that Ehlers was just named to chair the U.S. House Administration Committee, a nondescript name for something which used to be called the House Oversight Committee which tried to make sure that ethics violations committed by members of Congress were dealt with, something the Republicans in the Congress haven't wanted to do given that Ehlers was named to the position when the current chair, Republican Bob Ney of Ohio, was the third Republican to step down for taking bribes in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Surely, Ehlers is smart enough to know that whether or not he does plan on retiring, any whiff of scandal could put this seat in play for the Democrats and that perhaps the best thing to do is to try to throw the Attorney General overboard and hope that ends the willingness of the media to dig any deeper into this. I think somebody needs to do some digging and I also think it's time to dust for fingerprints...

16 comments:

truthfulpat said...

The Attorney General of the United States should be brought to justice for already lying to The United States Senate. The Grand Ole Party Press chided him softly for doing so.
Of course the Grand Ole Party Press has also said Congress should shoulder the blame for Walter Reed and the scandalous treatment of vets by the VA, one of the largest organizations in the U.S. Government. I guess Peter Sechia didn't tell Editor Crawford, his close pal that The VA director named Nicholson is the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and has absolutely NO qualifications for the job. Gee, wonder why good ole Vern didn't know about this one either.

Children's Dad said...

Having a slow news week?

Nothing will come of the firings as they all work at the convenience of the president. Just like the many democratic presidents AND republican presidents that have come before, hiring’s and firings have come and gone for whatever reason. Does it not look strange that the only ones really making a stink are from the party not truly in power right now? The ones fired are saying little or nothing about it as they know that this is just business as usual in the political arena.

In fact all this noise about so little makes me wonder what is going on that the noise makers don't want us to really know about. this all could just be a distraction to keep the media from looking at something else.

Suck it up Dems, your time in office will come soon enough and anything you raise a stink about now will just bite you in the butt then. Crying so loudly about nothing just reduces your power when you really can use it for the good of the country.

Pol Watcher said...

No sooner did I predict the usual suspects mimicking whatever the Fox news spin was when CD shows up to prove me right. What do Senators John Cornyn, Arlen Spector, Gordon Smith, Norm Coleman and John Sununu and Congressmen Dana Rohrbacher, Vern Ehlers have in common? They are all Republican office-holders and they ALL disagree that this is just "noise" and "business as usual." Are they not from the "party truly in power" to which I guess you mean the party which holds the executive branch (by a thread) but neither branch of the Congress and arguably the Supreme Court (which shouldn't matter since the right wing judges surely don't count as activists)? Are they Democratic Party plants? Or are you just completely full of **it?

But hey, I'm sure this story which is splashed ALL OVER the pages of every newspaper just to cover up the fact that everything's going GREAT in Iraq! Just like John McCain and Tim Walberg said. Or maybe corruption in politics is no big deal since we're so used to seeing it from the last 12 years of Republican rule intent of making America run as successfully and ethically as Enron.

As you might realize, NO one is arguing the President can't fire his employees. The issue here is why would Attorney General Gonzalez and others LIE or take the Fifth about doing so and why were they intent on covering it up by saying these people weren't doing a good job despite recent evaluations that proved otherwise? Why didn't they just tell the "truth" in the first place? Why did they HAVE to invoke the provision they SNUCK IN to the Patriot Act as the last minute to make sure the Senate couldn't hold confirmation hearings on the new appointees? Will you have ONE answer for that or will you find some way to make out this about the right wing obsession with Bill Clinton?

lonevoice said...

pol watcher,

why don't you spend more time on local matters, like the comissioner who won't pay his taxes, yet wants us to build him and his little buddy the sheriff a new jail, or why would he two years in a row get traffic tickets for expired plates, he doesn't know when his birthday is?

Or is it that he feels he has a pass from his buddy in the prosecutors office, who has yet to win a felony jury trial or his good friend at the jail.

You rail and rail about local corruption and then have the gaul to say the local state police post should be closed. Again I ask if that happens who will watch the local sheriff to may sure he obeys the law?

Why don't you look into the hangings at the jail, why were they allowed to happen?

Here is something else that you might take the time to put in your apparent 20/20 vision, why did the owner of the local rag not pay his loan from Main St. Bank in his defunct Meadow Run Trailer Park? Did he ever pay the city of Hasting what he owed them, or are you just interested in the other guys?

I stated it before Pol Watcher, you have the smell of the fourth estate all over you.

As it relates to the GR Att. General, you might want to ask this question, why was she and her life partner being driven to Grand Rapids every day from Lansing on our dollar. That may be some of her being fired. If you are going to take the time to post this type of story then get all of the facts, or does that not meet your standards for writing?

TS

agnosticrat said...

TS,
You sound like a child when you don't get your way. Everyone gets to blogg, you can too.
C.D.
Slow news day?
Hardly
Climate report: World's poorest will suffer most

Counselor to Gonzales abruptly resigns

Gingrich admits -- in Spanish -- 'my word choice was poor'

3,000 Guard troops await deployment to Iraq

Iranian diplomat alleges he was tortured by CIA

Saddam’s pre-war ties to al-Qaeda discounted

Calif. immigration rally to protest Bush plan

U.S., militiamen in bloody fighting in Baghdad
Two American soldiers killed in separate roadside bombings in Iraqi capital

I guess since there have been no indictments, any conservative would consider it a slow news day.
Maybe next week!

Boggsone said...

TS: I have a great idea. Let's test the hangings at the County Jail. We will need a volunteer and everyone is pointing at the seeker of truth. I got the rope, and you got the desire to self destruct! What better way to figure out what's happening than watching you do what you have always wanted to do anyway, right?

Children's Dad said...

Pol, for this once, I do agree with truth seeker. You SHOULD get ALL the facts prior to typing. Stop your rant for a moment and think, do you imagine that each of the fired individuals WANT their case examined in the public eye? Maybe AG Gonzalez is sensitive to their situations more than the liberal screamers. I am betting that Chiara does not, no matter how much mileage the dems might get out of it. And considering the silence the others are demonstrating, I bet it is the same throughout.

Open your eyes to the big picture here. I still maintain that this racket just might be a distraction from something really important. Only those with limited sight or limited minds seem to be caught up in this.

Before you destroy someone’s career and life, think about it. Those making so much noise about this are certainly not.

Agno, "councilor" was an assistant AG to Gonzalez. She left to take some heat of from him. I believe she is the one that had refused to submit to a misplaced demand to testify against the AG. She evidently had enough.
The jury is still out on the climate warming due to human intervention. Seems that there is an even split between camps with the experienced authorities still on the "not true" side.
Who follows Gingrich anymore anyways?
More than 3000 troups await deployment but it is just a rotation. If they wanted to stay home they should never have enlisted.
What do you think the Iranian dip is going to say? Do you think he would even be allowed to keep his head if he said he was treated to first class treatment? get real.
Saddam had been supplying the Al Queda for years with training bases, weapons, etc... this was/is just a filler article to appease anti war activists.
If Hispanics were so upset over Bush's latest proposal, why just demonstrate in California? I was present at the protest in GR at the last one there and found that most were not even concerned. It seemed it was just used to get out of school/work/ etc...
Bloody fighting in Bagdad? only two dead? How bloody can that be? Seems the media is hyping things a bit. Ask a WWII/Korean/Viet vet what bloody fighting really is but get ready to lose your lunch.

Yes. It IS a slow news week.

Pol Watcher said...

CD, do you lie every time you open your mouth because almost every "fact" or opinion you spew is demonstrably false: The National review is calling for Gonzalez to resign so it must be they're part of the liberal media now too. I also suppose the jury is still out on gravity and the heliocentric "theory" of the solar system, huh? Also, you guys kept promising we'd win Vietnam as well, if only we'd thrown a couple hundred thousand more troops at the problem maybe we'd have pulled it out! Bush could have had his victory if he'd wanted at "Mission Accomplished" but they're building permanent bases so they don't want to leave so "winning" isn't possible since we need to stay there and make the oil keeps coming to us (yet another case of the US military being used to fight wars for corporate profit in the guise of national security so we have to keep pretending this has something to do with terrorism). Once again the Pentagon issued a report that Iraq had NO connection with al Qaeda (but our friends the Saudis do as well as parts of the Pakistan military which we supply with weapons). Yes, 2 dead in a REAL WAR is not a lot but in an occupation is a sign of a slow bleed which is the enemy's plan- the best for us to win is to get OUT and focus on SECURITY and a common sense foreign policy that doesn't ignore the real threats and also doesn't make up phantom ones. Oh, and Gingrich is hinting he's running for President and he's got Dobson's support so actually TONS of people listen to him.

Are you capable of making your point without lying? No, because your points always seem to contradict reality as 99% of people see it (things are swell in Iraq, no one is making a fuss over something on the front pages of every newspaper, etc.). You accuse me of not having facts but NOTHING you ever write holds up to the teeniest bit of scrutiny. My post on Ehlers is FILLED with facts that are objectively true and I have included links to REAL NEWS SOURCES and I'm sorry if reality contradicts your delusional opinions.

Pol Watcher said...

TS:
I can give a rat's ass about Mark Englerth's tax bill. If he doesn't pay on time then he pays fines which he has already publicly explained more than once so anyone bringing it up over and over is just acting like a troll and will probably soon get their comments deleted by me. The point has been raised, a credible answer given (even if it's one you don't like and even I think it's something that he SHOULD bring to a stop since it allows his critics to focus not on real issues but on personal ones).

To the people who oppose a new jail: just what DO you propose we do? Is your plan to sink good money after bad to fix a dilapidated structure? I guess I don't understand the anger. Until we see a plan I don't even have a clue what you're criticizing. I'm not the biggest fan of the sheriff since he thinks it's okay for citizens to walk around with uzis (at least until one takes out one of his officers I suppose) but doesn't think people should be allowed to smoke a joint- I'd rather give people a little weed than automatic weapons if my job was dealing with crime.

And if you have some info on Jacobs and Meadowstone, feel free to publish it on your own blog but it sounds to me like Whitewater which as you probably don't know turned out to be nothing more than a failed real estate venture where the people accused on wrong doing actually LOST money. This, like Englerth's tax bill, has been used for years to try to discredit Fred Jacobs but I haven't ever heard anybody bring it up who actually KNEW anything other than what they'd heard rumors of. If you'd like to start paying me a full time salary to become your investigative journalist then please drop me an email and we can start negotiating a salary and benefits ; )


And why is it you people think the State Police are supposed to be constantly looking over the Sheriff's shoulder. If you don't like the job Sheriff Leaf is doing then be prepared to support a credible alternative in the next election or start writing letters or making comments at County Board meetings now to point out WHAT he's done that you don't like besides being friends with people you also don't like- just what exactly IS the problem?

Children's Dad said...

Geez pol, go smoke your weed. No wait, irrational anger is one of the major signs of THC abuse.

That’s what I expected, when you hear something you don't agree with you have a childlike temper tantrum. I picked up a paper yesterday and there was nothing about this AG Gonzalez thing so it may be beginning to fade already. Time will tell. There is no sense in your frothing at the mouth over it. If he discharged these individuals improperly they can always dispute it just like the rest of us do. If they are successful he will pay the consequences for it. Nothing more, nothing less. To attack truth Seeker because he dropped a bomb on your rant is not called for.

And to attack me because you don’t like what you hear is not productive either. Try naming those that were discharged improperly. Then show where they are going public with their complaints. You only name those in politics that want mileage out of this, not those that have actually been harmed by the firings. Do you think this news examination will further any of their careers? If TS is correct, do you think that Chiara and her “life partner” wanted to be out of the closet in this way? If they misused government transportation or other services she should have been fired. That’s what would happen to you or me. Why not her?

And really, do you really think Newt could be successful in a run for the White House? I would think you would encourage it as it would peal off votes for a more threatening candidate like McCain. (I am neither conservative nor liberal but McCain gives me reason for pause – Nervous pause. I actually enjoyed Clinton’s entertainment – found a new love of cigars!). This is one of the big problems the Dems have every election and a large reason they fail most of the time. Seems like you would welcome similar dysfunction within the Republican Party to give you a better chance of gaining political control.

And if you remember correctly, White Water WAS much more than just a few people “losing money” over some failed investment. Some went to prison over it. The Clintons were getting money out of it and came very close (cost them over $10,000,000 in attorney bills which others paid for them) to going to prison themselves. Hilary was the receiver of “split options” game proceeds from the lead White Water convict. This is where someone purchases stock options both in the gain and lose sides and gives the winner to who they want to hand money too. They then eat the loser and the receiver (Hillary) cashes in the winner. Almost untraceable but she did get caught this time. She skirted, he paid with time in prison. And this was only one of the ways the Clintons were getting money through White Water. If you remember correctly, the Clintons let a nice woman go to prison for them. She did the G Gordon Liddy thing and went to prison instead of implicating Hillary in the stock split scheme.

And as far a deaths of servicemen in Iraq, we had more deaths due to road accidents in just this state durring the same time. Do you propose we pull everyone off the roads too?

Children's Dad said...

And one more thing for what it is worth. I drove by the State Police post about 1pm this afternoon and counted 9 blue cars, 1 blue SUV, and what appeared to be some type of trooper trailer. At better than $100,000 a pop, that alone is over a million dollars sitting there NOT protecting us.

This is a holiday and traffic is maxed. Must be this equipment is excess equipment and should be disposed of?

agnosticrat said...

C.D.
You are a heartless bastard. Just 2 soldiers, who's lives by your implication are worth less because they signed a piece of paper. Those 2 soldiers were the deceased from but one battle yesterday. But I am sure it does not matter that others were killed. Even if it were a hundred, by your standards they asked for it.
Their parents likely being informed of their deaths on an Easter holiday.
Their children being informed that daddy or mommie will not be returning, and the plans that have been made for their lives will be forever altered. Maybe an explination of the deathrate on the streets of Michigans highways will help them feel less pain. Particularly when it becomes apparent to them that their parent asked for it by joining the army, or national guard. I am sure it will help when they realize their parents didn't die in a "real" war.
Stop spitting on our troops!
Prick!

Children's Dad said...

Agno, you evidently have no military experience. Take it from someone who does, death IS part of the job and anyone that feels it isn't should never enlist. It was their decision to possibly have their families (including their children) informed that they would not be coming home. Don't dishonor them and their death with talk like yours. You make others see you as being like those that stood at the foot of the ramps when the Viet vets came home and had to endure taunts and spits, some even had things thrown at them. Most of those men were drafted while present soldiers voluntarily enlisted. Anyone that is rational knows that the Army deals death and doesn't plant flowers. Nasty part of life for sure but it is still reality. You belittle these good men AND their deaths by claiming they are not in a "real war". You belittle others by implying that because their parents won't be informed of their deaths on a holiday they are not as bad. You belittle the deaths of those 2 children up by Traverse City that died in a road accident that they are worth less than someone dying in something that isn't even "real". No Agno, it is you that is doing the spitting at the moment. But thanks to these men and those that have gone before them, you have the right to do so.

On another note, no news on the Gonzalez thing this morning. None on Channel 8 local, none on the Today show, none in the Tribune, and none - no wait! Something tucked WAYYYYYY back in the New York Times. Newt seems to have been on Fox News (something I don't watch) and agrees that Gonzalez should resign. Seems newt, like so many others is grabbing air time out of nothing. So many want to grab this free air time (gets their name and face in front of the public) that even Newt is scrambling for some. So far from what I have read as of present, the firings were not illegal in any way but what is disputed is the way they were done. And this public scrutiny makes things better for the fired? Does no one have any courtesy for these people?

Anyways, nothing will happen until Gonzalez sits in front of some judiciary panel on the 17th. There he will have to face up to anything done inappropriately or illegal. Until then, only camera hogs like Gingrich will have anything to say. Let’s wait and see what happens.

oldscrotum said...

For the umpteenth time, will someone please tell me where and when Vietnam veterans were spat upon? I've been looking for evidence of such a despicable act for nearly 30 years, and I still haven't found it.
I have found, however, a lot of use of this urban myth to falsely advance someone's point of view.
Yet someone not long ago here admonished Pol Watcher for not checking his facts. Physician, heal thyself!

Children's Dad said...

OHare/Metro. Both had this happening on a regular basis. So regular that airport personel would allow Viet Vets to disembark later when the protestors would leave. I witnessed this on several occasions when accompaning others to pick up family. I assume (maybe this is my mistake) that it was happening all over the country as it was being reported on national news at the time.

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