Eagleburger on Bolton

Posted 1 CommentPosted in United Nations

Former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger has this piece on United Nations ambassador designate John Bolton:

President Bush’s nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has generated a bad case of dyspepsia among a number of senators, who keep putting off a confirmation vote. That hesitation is now portrayed as a consequence of Bolton’s purported “mistreatment” of several State Department intelligence analysts. But this is a smoke screen. The real reasons Bolton’s opponents want to derail his nomination are his oft-repeated criticism of the United Nations and other international organizations, his rejection of the arguments of those who ignore or excuse the inexcusable (i.e., the election of Sudan to the U.N. Human Rights Commission) and his willingness to express himself with the bark off.

As to the charge that Bolton has been tough on subordinates, I can say only that in more than a decade of association with him in the State Department I never saw or heard anything to support such a charge. Nor do I see anything wrong with challenging intelligence analysts on their findings. They can, as recent history demonstrates, make mistakes. And they must be prepared to defend their findings under intense questioning. If John pushed too hard or dressed down subordinates, he deserves criticism, but it hardly merits a vote against confirmation when balanced against his many accomplishments….

These are but two examples of why I believe Bolton possesses the substantial qualifications necessary to be our ambassador to the United Nations. By now it should be obvious to all that the halcyon days when our advice was sought and our leadership welcomed because the security of others depended on the protection we gave are no more. I recognize that John’s willingness to speak bluntly has raised questions. Perhaps there was a time when those concerns had merit — but not now. Given what we all know about the current state of the United Nations, it’s time we were represented by someone with the guts to demand reform and to see that whatever changes result are more than window dressing…

Enough Said.

Give him an up or down vote.

Remember President Bush won the election last November and he wants John Bolton.

Hear this well Republican Senators (the President will enforce Party Discipline!).

Bear Flag League Round-Up Redux Part 1

Posted Posted in Bear Flag League, Politics

Justene over at Calblog is completing a quite exhausting treatise on Bear Flag League Members:

Bear Flag Roundup Part 1

The league is large and doing things like filing an amicus brief (yes, I will keep mentioning it until you have all read it). Who are these league members? For those of you not watching the NFL draft, here’s your roundup:

A is for Apple v. Does

Aaron has returned in Aaron’s cc: I’ll break the rules at the beginning and instead of sending you to one of Aaron’s post, take a look at the third, THIRD, year of buy a gun day.

Over at Absinthe & Cookies, Ith is on vacation. You can still get cookies, though. Angela has posted this recipe for Blackberry Jam Bars. She says to cook at 400 degrees and watch for dark edges. I appear to be the only person in the country who cooks by smell. I can tell you if the food smells done, close, or burning and I am generally more accurate than the timer or looking at it.

There are baby pictures at Accidental Verbosity. I love baby pictures.

American Digest is on a ten-day hiatus and has left a list of posts worth reading from his archives. If your new to the League or just new to American Digest, this is a cornucopia of good stuff.

Annika has a good report on Pope Benedict’s early burst of ecumenism.

B is for Bear Flag League

Baldilocks commisserates with Condi over her rusty Russian. Rusty Russian or not, it’s tough to confuse Da and Nyet. Condi forgot it was a secret. She really is running for President (please, please, please).

Beautiful Atrocities has lots of good stuff. (Note to self. Read Beautiful Atrocities more often.) This post though best fits the blog title.

Beekeeper gets extra points for mentioning the NFL draft. For some of his analysis, though, check out this post on Sacramento Unified School District’s latest move.

Below Street Level has been quiet for too long. He sneaks some good stuff in if you go looking.

Ben’s Law explains taxes. Someone needs to do it.

Body Parts shares an interesting glimpse into his neighbor’s life. There’s not enough people-watching left in this world.

BoiFromTroy is my only source for news on the Mayoral election. What is that a picture of?

Bear Flag Roundup Part 2

C is for California

California Conservatives 4 Truth reports on the growing acceptance of bloggers.

New member California Mafia falls into a moment of panic. It can’t be that bad.

At California Republic, Eric Hogue reports on the emptiness of the Democrats’ rhetoric on education.

Caltech Girl gets mega-points for mentioning AND analyzing the NFL draft.

Enjoy the pride in Citizen Smash’s post about his wife.

Cobb: Head over for conversation, stay for the comics.

Coffee with Cranky Beach has lots of good hiking photos, though they had trouble loading for me. This post is the most interesting observation of the bunch.

D is for Digger Causes Trouble

Da Goddess has a not-for-the-children joke.

David Brown is posting on Daily Pundit. I missed the memo. Show of hands — how many of you had Dads like this?

You should have seen the email list this week. There was infighting, to put it mildly. On a number of topics. Some of it spilled over into the public eye. By the way, Digger is the cause because he jumped first. He wasn’t the only one though. Even yours truly started arguing over who knows what.

Kasey is in charge of adding new League members. If it’s been quiet lately, get a look at this list of reasons.

Reminding me that I’m old, Drink This blogs about people I have never heard of until she gets to 1959 and Buddy Holly.

Bear Flag Roundup Part 3

E is for the Eastern Half Of the Western Sandwich

e-Claire is on the story of the Minutemen and the ACLU observers. The Minutemen project is a good idea that I fear is doomed to end badly.

Education Wonks host the Carnival of Education. Thusfar, I have spared you my rants on education and the strain it places on me when the girls have to do a 35 page report on the entire Civil War. Go read intelligent posts instead.

F is for Fun

Faute de Mieux follows stories that the rest of the League doesn’t pay that much attention to — like the EU constitution.

Feste has lost inspiration. Perhaps a few visits and a few comments will help.

I is for Individualism

Like many folks, I ordered a couple of Cardinal Ratzinger’s books from Amazon right after he was elected. Infinite Monkeys headed over to Barnes & Noble and found something that surprised me.

J is for Just Missed Him

I was supposed to have lunch with Jeff Doolittle a couple of weeks ago but blew him off to head to SF for a Fox News interview that got cut to about 20 seconds. I should have eaten lunch first. Jeff needs to post more entries like this one on poverty.

Lay Off Our Judges

Posted Posted in Federal Judiciary, Politics

Ted Olson former Solicitor General of the United States has this biting, but learned commentary on our independent judiciary:

….We might start by getting a firm grip on the reality that our independent judiciary is the most respected branch of our government, and the envy of the world…..

…This is not to say that some judges don’t render bad decisions. Arrogant and misguided jurists exist, just as such qualities may be found in the rest of the population, and our citizens and elected representatives are fully justified in speaking out in forceful disagreement with judges who substitute their personal values or private social instincts for sound jurisprudential principles. But the remedies for these aberrations consist of reasoned, even sharp, criticism, appeals to higher courts, and selection of candidates for judicial positions that respect limits on the roles of judges….

…No discussion of the judiciary should close without reference to the shambles that the Senate confirmation process has become. It does no good to speculate about how or when the disintegration began, which political interest has been the most culpable, or the point at which the appointment of judges became completely dysfunctional. That sort of debate is both endless and futile. The only hope for an end to the downward spiral is for the combatants to lay down their arms; stop using judicial appointments to excite special-interest constituencies and political fund-raising; move forward with votes on qualified, responsible and respected nominees so that those who have the support of a majority of the Senate can be confirmed, as contemplated by the Constitution; and remove the rancor and gamesmanship from the judicial selection process.

We expect dignity, wisdom, decency, civility, integrity and restraint from our judges. It is time to exercise those same characteristics in our dealings with, and commentary on, those same judges–from their appointment and confirmation, to their decision-making once they take office.

Hopefully, we will have some votes soon on the appeals court judges (Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown) voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committe last week.

I wonder if North Carolina judge Terrence W. Boyle, a former aide to retired Senator Jesse Helms, will ever get a hearing in the Judiciary Committee?

Come on Senators …… vote yea or nay!

City of Thousand Oaks City Manager’s Resignation Sparks In-fighting and Investigations

Posted 1 CommentPosted in City of Thousand Oaks, Politics

Flap previosuly reported on Phil Gatch’s, City Manager of the City of Thousand Oaks, resignation and the FLAP that ensued.

At this Tuesday evening’s Thousand Oaks City Council meeting the sparks flew and an investigation launched:

The controversy over the fate of the current Thousand Oaks city manager took a new turn during Tuesday’s city council meeting, dividing the council further.

Instead of resolving the issue in a closed session during the meeting, the council called for an investigation into whether or not state laws had been violated concerning the possibly coerced resignation of longtime city employee Phil Gatch.

According to letters obtained by the Thousand Oaks Acorn, Gatch, the city’s 64-year-old city manager, was pressured to resign by Councilmember Andy Fox on March 23.

When the action became public, residents protested, arguing that Gatch, a 38-year employee of the city credited with authoring the city’s general plan, deserved better. Many singled out Fox as the instigator, supported by council members Jacqui Irwin and Dennis Gillette.

“I don’t know Mr. Gatch but I know that what was done to him was wrong,” said Linda Brown, who was among more than 20 speakers, including several former city leaders, who spoke on Gatch’s behalf during the council meeting. “Lower level workers can have no faith in higher ranks if they see this kind of treatment.”

Mayor Claudia-Bill de la Pena requested that outside counsel be called in to review the circumstances surrounding what’s been called a forced resignation to ensure no impropriety. But Gillette balked at the idea of spending an unknown amount of money on an inquiry and criticized the mayor for wanting to single out specific council members.

City Attorney Amy Albano suggested that the district attorney would be the appropriate party to investigate possible violations of the Brown Act violations. The Brown Act is California’s open meetings law that requires government business to be conducted in the open. Elected officials are specifically forbidden to take action behind closed doors or outside the public forum. Albano suggested writing a letter to the D.A.’s office, but pointed out that the district attorney may already be looking into the issue.

“They don’t tell us when they do that,” Albano said. “They read the papers. They know what’s going on.”

Fox took the mayor’s idea further, calling for an investigation into possible violations of the Brown Act over the past two years—from the time Gatch was appointed to city manager.

“I welcome an investigation,” Fox said. “I didn’t violate any state laws or rules.”

Irwin echoed Fox, adding that closed session discussions on the issue that were revealed to the public were Brown Act violations and deserved further investigation.

Bill-de la Pena also wanted the inquiry to include possible violations of city code, but such an investigation must be conducted by an outside counsel, something that Fox, Irwin and Gillette voted down. Only Councilmember Ed Masry supported Bill-de la Pena’s motion.

Larry Horner, who served on the council for nearly 17 years, including four terms as mayor, agreed that an investigation would clear up rumors and offer a resolution. But he felt that rather than focusing on the past two years, the investigation should only address the current issue of Gatch’s employment.

“What’s past is past,” Horner said. “This situation appears to be a power struggle or a personal conflict. It should have been handled in an entirely different way.”

Albano will draft a letter on the council’s behalf to the D.A., she said.

Mayor Horner is correct that this matter should have been handled in a different manner. But, will the Linda Park’s crowd, including other council candidate wannabes and amen chorus allow slow-growth advocate Gatch to slowly fade into the sunset?

The Ventura County Star (free registration required) now reports that now the City Council has agreed to hire outside counsel to negotiate the possible resignation of the City Manager:

Two days after the Thousand Oaks City Council voted unanimously to investigate itself, City Attorney Amy Albano said Thursday that the city has hired outside counsel to negotiate the possible resignation of the city manager.

The resignation letter of City Manager Phil Gatch has fueled accusations that the 38-year city employee was pressured to leave by Councilman Andy Fox. This week, the council agreed to ask the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office or the state attorney general to investigate possible violations of the state’s open meeting law.

Although the City Attorney’s Office has the expertise to negotiate the terms of a possible resignation for Gatch, hiring an outside attorney is a good decision given the circumstances, Albano said.

“I believe the relationship between the council, the city manager and the city attorney, given everything that’s going on, has become awkward,” she said. “This was really done to lessen the awkwardness.”

The city has hired Melanie Poturica, a managing partner for Los Angeles-based Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. The city will pay $250 an hour for her services.

On Tuesday, the council gave direction to Albano’s office to contact the District Attorney’s Office to seek an investigation.

Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Pena has contended that some council members might have violated the state’s open meeting law based on conversations she had with Gatch, she said. Gatch told her he was pressured to resign by Fox, who apparently implied he had the three votes to fire him, she has said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Fox said he welcomed an investigation and said he believed that others, not him, might have violated the Brown Act.

It is unusual for a council to seek an investigation into itself, said Tom Harris, special assistant district attorney.

“It is my experience that it is relatively unusual for a city council to invite an investigation of this nature,” he said. “However, I do recall Thousand Oaks is a city that has done it at least once in the past.”

About three years ago, the District Attorney’s Office investigated allegations of potential Brown Act violations among some planning commissioners. The office concluded there had been no violations.

Harris said he is unaware of any other city that has requested such an investigation in the eight years in his position.

He said the District Attorney’s Office would consider the merits of a city’s request just as it would any other request. As of Thursday, he had not received an official request from the city.

The Mayor and her supporters did not win majority control of the Council in November 2004. She and Councilman Masry are in the minority and the majority wants to replace Gatch – big deal – let him go. He has served the City well but a majority of the council wants a new manager with a new direction.

Flap cannot help but think that the Major is sore because she simply is not getting her own way and by creating a FLAP she hopes to discredit sitting councilmembers. In the process she is making herself appear as an ineffectual leader and denigrates city government.

She needs to remember the November 2006 council elections are long off and voters will little remember these machinations. In fact, most residents do not even know or care who the City Manager is.

So, Mayor gather a few more headlines and make your supporters feel good and then step out of the way and allow the City find a new manager.

Canadian Adscam Scandel: The Gomery Publication Ban: Could we have been used?

Posted Posted in Canada, Politics

Canadian Blogger Angry in the Great White North has this opinion piece as to whether Justice Gomery may have manipulated the MSM and blogosphere to bring world attention to the Adscam Scandel:

This has been a thought that first came to me during the Gomery publication ban. It keeps popping up in my head, so I’m finally putting it in writing for your consideration.

Could Justice Gomery had intended to have what happened happen?

If you recall, or if you are just tuning in, a publication ban existed during the explosive testimony of Jean Brault, when it was first revealed just how extensive and criminal were the activities of the Liberal Party under the auspices of the Sponsorship Program. Instead of merely being an example of government waste, and an example of contracts being given out to friends, the allegations re-cast the program as a money laundering scheme designed to move millions from the government purse into the coffers of the Liberal Party, paying off party debt and positioning the party for the next election.

Jean Brault was facing criminal charges, and not wanting to taint the jury pool in Montreal, Justice Gomery instituted a publication ban. That made it illegal for any media outlet to report on the testimony. But what made it strange was that the hearings are being held in Montreal, and that the ban did not include banning the public from attending the hearings. So even though it was illegal for a local newspaper in Vancouver to report on the story, any Montrealer could go into the hearings (and the audience chamber is packed every day), listen to what was said, then leave and tell his friends and family.

Word of what was said was destined to be common knowledge in Montreal, if no where else.

What happened though was that Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters picked up the story, having had the details sent to him by someone at the hearings. Several Canadian bloggers (including yours truly) joined into to publish the material despite the ban, and over the next four days, hundreds of thousands of Canadians visited these various sites and learned what was said, and the allegations became common knowledge everywhere.

Noises were made about laying charges, but nothing happened. Before the end of the week, the ban was lifted.

Justice Gomery is no fool. We also know there is no love lost between him and former prime minister Jean Chretien. Prior to the ban, the Gomery Inquiry was barely a blip on the radar in English Canada, followed only by the chattering class and political bloggers. Now, of course, it’s all we’re talking about.

Did Justice Gomery manufacture the conditions for his revenge? When he lifted the ban, he had no angry words for bloggers who were defying the ban. Indeed, he echoed what many of us said about the danger a ban constitutes to our constitutional rights. Then the ban was gone, and the pressure that had been building in the main stream media as they watched the best political story in years being carried by amateurs was released in an explosion of front page in-depth articles from coast to coast.

If I wanted my commission to become front page news, I couldn’t have stage-managed a better sequence of events to make sure that happened.

OK, cue the X-Files theme.

A very plausible thesis! And, yes it crossed Flap’s mind as well!