Friday, January 06, 2006

If It Looks Like a Brownie and Smells Like a Brownie...

You know how we have this president who seems to think that congressional oversight, judicial constraints, the Constitution, and other people's opinions (unless you can keep them under 10 minutes and accompanied by a camera crew) are merely obstacles to overcome on the path to supreme and ultimate power?

Yeah, well, King George is at it again. The other day, he made seventeen recess appointments. That's seventeen of the best and brightest Bush cronies with little or no experience installed at the highest levels of government. A recess appointment is supposed to be used in emergencies. For example, say the secretary of state dies while congress is on vacation. The president can install a new secretary of state and they have something like a year term, during which he can nominate him to the Senate for regular approval. Bush's own party controls the Senate as you may recall, but these seventeen Bush BFFs are so grossly unqualified that he was worried they wouldn't get approved, even by that pack of obsequious ass-kissers. So he shoved them into office, like the good little dictator he is, while everyone was out of town, or more accurately just before everyone got back. Some highlights:

  • Julie Myers (Head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security): Myers, a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and the wife of the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, had been criticized by Republicans and Democrats who charged that she lacked experience in immigration matters.

    Myers's nomination faced a bruising and potentially embarrassing fight on the Senate floor, where Democrats were prepared to argue that politics, not merit, drove her selection for an important job preventing terrorists and weapons from entering the country.

  • Hans von Spakovsky (Federal Election Commission – you know, the agency that makes sure the voting is fair and accurate): played a key role in the Texas redistricting case. Minority rights groups have questioned his role in overruling career Justice lawyers who recommended rejection of the Texas redistricting map on grounds that minority voters would be harmed. [Ed. – that quote is being too kind. He overruled over a dozen career Justice lawyers who unanimously declared that redrawing the Texas voting map was unconstitutional.]
But the winner of this year's most grossly unqualified for the job, most blatantly politically motivated crony appointment is...
  • Ellen Sauerbrey (Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration): With a $700 million annual budget, the department formulates America's response to refugee crises all over the world. So in October 2005, when Bush picked Ellen Sauerbrey, right-wing social conservative with little background in international affairs, to replace Arthur ("Gene") Dewey, a career foreign policy official, newspapers all over the country -- including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the San Antonio Express-News, the Miami Herald and the Charlton Gazette -- came out against her. During her October Senate hearings, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said, "It doesn't appear that you have very specific experience." Given Sauerbrey's weak résumé for the position, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., convinced the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to put off a vote on her nomination until after the winter break. At the time, there seemed a slim possibility that the appointment would be defeated.

    Her lack of qualifications are so glaring that two of the last three people to hold the position -- Democrat Phyllis E. Oakley and Republican Julia Taft, both of whom served under Clinton -- signed a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opposing her confirmation.

    "Her job description is to help coordinate humanitarian assistance across the globe, but it's clear that her first concern will always be to appease America's extreme right," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., tells Salon in an e-mail. "There's a reason the president had to sneak this appointment past the Senate. I am sure when her appointment ends in a year, the president will proclaim that she did a 'heckuva job,' just like he told Michael Brown, but I fear that the world community will be telling a different story."

    The comparison to Brown may be misleading, though, as Sauerbrey will have to deal with significantly more complex crises involving wars and disasters all over the world.

    A darling of the religious right, Sauerbrey lost two races for the Maryland governorship and went on to become a TV talk show host and Maryland chairman of Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. She had no international experience until Bush appointed her U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. There, she was notorious for her active opposition to programs that expand women's access to contraception. She infuriated representatives of other countries by working to scuttle international agreements that codify women's right to reproductive healthcare. In March, she was loudly booed by delegates at a U.N. women's conference in New York -- a rare occurrence -- for her comments endorsing abstinence education as the best way to fight HIV.
There you have it folks, Michael Brown on an international scale. A woman in charge of refugee crises who thinks the best way to solve the world's problems is to stop sinning. God fucking help us.

1 comment:

Matthew Smith said...

Perhaps Michael Brown is too kind a comparison. Brownie was simply inept; Sauerbrey sounds dangerously devious - think Dick Cheney with a B-cup.

On second thought, don't think about Dick Cheney with a B-Cup. No one needs that kind of nightmare.