The “Blue Ribbon” MI Compromise

So there I was, settling into my first pilgrimage glass of wine, when all of a sudden I see that the same folks who were in charge of planning a MI Mulligan had proposed their own compromise to seat MI’s delegation in Denver. So much for relaxing my way into vacation.

Here’s the operative part of the proposal. 

As a result, we recommend that the Michigan Democratic Party request the DNC to seat Michigan’s delegates, and that the pledged delegates be apportioned 69 to Senator Clinton and 59 to Senator Obama. That approach splits the difference between the 73/55 position of the Clinton campaign and the 64/64 position of the Obama campaign, based on our belief that both sides have fair arguments about the Michigan primary.

While we expect that neither candidate will explicitly embrace this approach, we believe that the DNC should adopt it and both candidates should accept it because it is fair and because it would resolve an impasse that with each passing day hurts our chances of carrying Michigan and winning the Presidency. We also believe that the DNC must exercise the leadership to resolve this impasse and not allow it to fester any longer. We urge you to seek the approval of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Democratic Party for this proposal and forward it promptly to the DNC for their consideration.

We also want to express our opposition to the challenge filed by DNC Member Joel Ferguson with the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee regarding Michigan’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Mr. Fergusons’s proposed remedy – seating Michigan’s so-called super-delegates with a full vote, and seating Michigan’s pledged delegates with a half vote – is unacceptable to us on two grounds. First, we cannot agree to a remedy that allows for super-delegates who didn’t run for the position to have a full vote, while pledged delegates selected by the voters have only half a vote. Second, we see no justification for seating Michigan’s delegates with anything less than full voting rights. If Michigan is punished for fighting the DNC’s decision to grant New Hampshire a waiver, it will hurt the Party’s chances of carrying Michigan in November. We will communicate these views to the Rules and Bylaws Committee and request that you ask the Executive Committee of the Michigan Democratic Party to take a similar position.


Senator Carl Levin
Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger
DNC Member Debbie Dingell

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“We Don’t Have Time to Respond to Congressional Requests…”

"…because we’re too busy stonewalling."

That appears to be DOJ’s currently operative excuse explaining why it has yet to respond to Congressional inquiries, some of which are three years old.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said that officials spend "an enormous amount of department time and resources" responding to congressional inquiries, and that they have replied to more than 500 questions from lawmakers this year. "We agree that there is always room for improvement in our effort to be responsive to Congress," Carr said.

At the same time, he said, many requests cover sensitive issues that require cutting through a thicket of pending lawsuits and classified documents, as well as checking with other government agencies and the White House. All those efforts can interfere with prosecutors’ day-to-day work, he added.

"The people in the department who must answer these inquiries are many of the same people who are making key operational decisions in the war on terrorism," Carr said.


More than a dozen senior Justice Department officials resigned last year as congressional and internal probes of political interference intensified, adding to the disarray at Washington headquarters. In 2007, officials spent 30,000 hours responding to Congress over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, the department said.

500 questions!!! In three months, really?!?!? Well golly. I can see how that would be really taxing. That’s an average of five whole questions a day! And how many people does DOJ employ, handling those five questions a day?

And as to the 30,000 hours responding to Congress–how much of that time includes the many brainstorming sessions at which Gonzales’ clique invented new excuses for firing excellent US Attorneys? Had DOJ simply admitted, in January, that the Bush Administration had fired nine US Attorneys for political reasons, DOJ could probably have saved two thirds of those hours.

Aside from all of Peter Carr’s whining about five questions a day, this article does include one more wrinkle in the back-story to the release of the Torture Memo.

Justice Department officials have said that they deserve credit, however, for releasing — last Tuesday — a 2003 opinion approving harsh military interrogation tactics. "Following a request of Senator Levin, DOD [the Defense Department] conducted a declassification review and determined that it would be appropriate to declassify the memorandum at this time," Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said.

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Haynes, Armed Services, Perjury?

Scott Horton has more on the news that Jim Haynes has lawyered up–borrowing Dick’s trusty lawyer–in the face of scrutiny from Armed Services. Scott seems to imply that Armed Services is closing in on Haynes on perjury charges.

I’ve been looking into this trying to get a sense of what, exactly, the Armed Services Committee is so eager to discuss with Haynes. Two possibilities emerge.

First is the subject that Isikoff identifies: committee staffers have been carefully assembling secondary accounts concerning Haynes’s role in the process of authorizing highly coercive interrogation techniques, in preparing memoranda, and in soliciting memoranda to cover his advice from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Haynes’s relationship and dealings with OLC are drawing particular attention. Similarly, staffers are looking very carefully at Haynes’s prior appearances before the Committee, as well as his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in connection with his nomination to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

My hunch is that the facts and circumstances surrounding the preparation of the two “torture memoranda,” which I have dubbed Yoo Prime (August 2002) and Yoo Two (March 2003) will be right in the center of questioning. Something that Haynes said, it seems, doesn’t sit right with the investigators.

The second matter is Haynes’s role in restructuring the Military Commissions at Guantánamo and tasking prosecutors and the legal advisor to the convening authority. This is the point on which the president of the New York City Bar, apparently now joined by other bar associations, is pressing for Haynes’s examination under oath. Accusations come from the former chief prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis, among others. Davis has recently stated that he is prepared to submit to a lie-detector test about the matter. Haynes has refused to make public comment, offering only a bland statement that he “disputes” Davis’s charges through a Pentagon public affairs spokesman. [my emphasis]

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