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Tilting at Windmills

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January 5, 2006
By: Debra Dickerson

Affirmative action is un-American, racist, condescending, infantilizing, and the final sign of the Apocalypse/Rapture. Unless it's the right kind of affirmative action.... The kind that hurts America but helps religion and the GOP's far right wing. Salon has the goods on the latest Bush-mongered 'speaks in tongues well but couldn't find her buttocks with both hands' wannabee appointed to a post of the highest significance. First it was Michael "A little water never hurt anyone" Brown. Then Harriet "Why do y'all keep bringing up the Constitution?" Miers. Now it's a Christo-right wing zealot whose mission in life is to punish anyone who has sex EVER. For their own good of course.

A disastrous appointment: Bush's backdoor choice of unqualified right-winger Ellen Sauerbrey to head the U.S. refugee-response team raises the specter of Michael Brown.

...Bush couldn't slip his nomination for assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration under the radar. It's too important a position. 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 rsum 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.

Rather than fight it out on Capitol Hill, Bush chose to circumvent the confirmation process. Yesterday, with Congress out of session, the president made more than a dozen recess appointments, granting positions to several controversial nominees. Julie L. Myers was made head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security, despite criticism by Democrats and Republicans that she lacks experience. Tracy A. Henke became executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness; as the Washington Post reported, "She had been accused in her politically appointed post at the Justice Department of demanding that information about racial disparities in police treatment of blacks in traffic cases be deleted from a news release."

Sauerbrey is already being compared to Michael Brown, the hapless former head of FEMA who famously worried about his on-camera wardrobe while New Orleans drowned. "If she is confirmed by the Senate, think of her as the Michael D. Brown of the refugee world," opined the Washington Post. 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.

Hard to see how we're going to bring freedom to Iraq when the same folks are trying to impose Sharia law here at home.

Debra Dickerson 10:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Comments

please, leave it to kevin

seriously

Posted by: chris on January 5, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's our war president for you. Standing firm and resolute, a man forged of steel and fire, a leader who is making history while the rest of us run to catch up.

What a cowardly pussy.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on January 5, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hard to see how we're going to bring freedom to Iraq when the same folks are trying to impose Sharia law here at home.
I guess it's a new definition of freedom, huh?

American's look at protecting freedom the way the French look at reading Proust: it's nice in a theory, but it seems like a hell of a lot of work, so why bother?

Posted by: Dicksknee on January 5, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Many of the recess appointments seem to demonstrate that Bush has learned nothing from Katrina. They also demonstrate that there are no available ambassadorships to small peaceful European vacation posts.

Frankly, the ncompetence of the Bush Administration's appointment process is breathtaking. Not surprising, but breathtaking none the less.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 5, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

What a cowardly pussy.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen

Pretty clever and brave yourself to say absolutely nothing besides call the president a name. Glad to see you are a typical lefty that has nothing to offer except name calling. I love it!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 5, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Just one more salvo in Bush's war on gov't; by the time he's out of office, people will have so little faith in said gov't that we'll just let corporations run the show... and people say he isn't smart. I'm hardly the first to presume this is his *plan*, right?

Posted by: Jim on January 5, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Just call him Generalissimo George Bush

http://nocasa.blogspot.com/2006/01/generalissimo-george-bush.html

Posted by: nocasa on January 5, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton made 140 recess appointments and I am sure they were all winners. You leftwing fools are hilarious. Recess appointments are a pretty common practice and in a lot of cases like Clinton and Bush done because of mindless partisanship.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 5, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ah good old Ellen Sauerbrey. She made contesting an election result fun, long before Al Gore did it. You don't hear much about it from Republicans, but man she's an idiot. From my own great state of Maryland. Between her and Lyndie England, it's been a great run for MD women.

SS
www.progunprogressive.com

Posted by: Sebastian on January 5, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Max Sawicky has this to say about her:

Her record consists of service in the state legislature and a failed run for governor, during which she revealed her comprehensive ignorance of elementary public policy. My favorite was when she denounced Governor Glendenning (no prince, he) for excessive borrowing, when he had merely rolled some higher-interest debt into lower.

Perhaps Bush is having trouble finding competent people who are willing to risk their reputations by serving in the administration.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 5, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Fat White Guy:

Why do you think she's a good appointment?

It's not like any of us wouldn't love to hear you make a cse ...

C'mon. Go for it. Prove us all wrong. Knock this DuraCell off my shoulder. I dare ya :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 5, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bur why focus just on Sauerbrey? Dubya made more than just one recess appointment:

Julie L. Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security, Myers is 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.

(try, like zero experience - even Joe Lieberman has issues with her)

Tracy A. Henke as executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. She had been accused in her politically appointed post at the Justice Department of demanding that information about racial disparities in police treatment of blacks in traffic cases be deleted from a news release.

For the Federal Election Commission, Bush picked Justice Department employee and former Fulton County, Ga., Republican chairman Hans von Spakovsky for one of three openings. Von Spakovsky is widely viewed as a key player in two disputed Justice Department decisions to overrule career staff in voting rights cases. A Democratic vacancy (in the Federal Election Commission) will be filled by union lawyer Robert D. Lenhard. He has provoked opposition because of his participation as an attorney for the American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees in efforts to have the Supreme Court rule that the 2002 McCain-Feingold law is unconstitutional. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) indicated that he would fight the Lenhard nomination when Democratic leaders first announced it in 2003.

And, from here:

{Bush appointed) Navy Secretary Gordon R. England as deputy secretary of defense...Bush had nominated England to be Rumsfeld's top deputy last April. Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Trent Lott, R-Miss., had placed holds on the appointment, preventing the Senate from considering it. At issue were shipbuilding concerns and conflict-of-interest questions surrounding pensions England holds from defense companies...Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, England was an executive at General Dynamics Corp.

More here, as well:

Reid, Kennedy and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney all expressed disappointment with Bush's recess appointment of Peter Kirsanow to the National Labor Relations Board, citing his record as a member of the Commission on Civil Rights. "He is an ardent foe of basic worker protections, including the minimum wage and prevailing wage laws, and is a vehement opponent of affirmative action," Kennedy said.

As usual, apologies for the length of this post...

Posted by: grape_crush on January 5, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

The part about punishing anyone who has sex - what does this refer to? We're not all familiar with this gal.

Posted by: Robert S on January 5, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Clinton also appointed unqualified people(at least I'll just assume he did), so it's okay that Bush appointed a completely unqualified person to deal with refugees. I can't defend this woman's qualifications, but look over there--CLINTON! Duhhhhhhhhh....Lefties!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 5, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you liberals so intolerant of anyone how disagrees with you?

Posted by: McAristotle on January 5, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Robert S on January 5, 2006 at 11:17 PM:

The part about punishing anyone who has sex - what does this refer to?

Probably this:

Bush's appointment of Ellen Sauerbrey to be assistant secretary of state for refugees, population and migration, was opposed by advocacy groups that say she lacks experience on refugee issues. Currently, Sauerbrey is U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the status of women.

"Sauerbrey's record at the United Nations has been a relentless effort to foist the administration's anti-choice agenda onto international bodies dealing with population and reproductive health and rights," said Jodi Jacobson, director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, a group that advocates for the health and rights of women and girls across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 5, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

This post and the accompanying comments have sent my brain into rhetoric-overload. Not that Debra didn't make a perfectly good point about Bush's continuing incompetence in delegating responsibility . . .

Posted by: none on January 5, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

The part about punishing anyone who has sex - what does this refer to? We're not all familiar with this gal.

Yes...a link or an explanation, please, or your big Sharia closer makes no sense.

Posted by: shortstop on January 5, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

You're right that Affirmative action is un-American, racist, condescending, infantilizing, and the final sign of the Apocalypse/Rapture but what President Bush has done is cronyism, which is a whole other form of dishonest practice that is bad for the nation.

Both cronyism and affirmative action elevate unqualified people to positions that they don't deserve and haven't earned but Bush's cronyism isn't institutionalized across the nation, forced upon third party actors, and enforced by the courts. So, in the end, Bush's cronyist ideals are a lot less worse than those of the Affirmative Action advocates, for the damage caused by AA is further reaching in its infliction of damage onto innocent parties.

Posted by: TangoMan on January 5, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks grape-crush - that offers a little context. I suppose she's pro-abstinance/anti-birth control, too?

Posted by: Robert S. on January 5, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you liberals so intolerant of anyone how disagrees with you?
Posted by: McAristotle

intolerance of incompetence is no vice. ... idiot.

Posted by: Nads on January 5, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

intolerance of incompetence is no vice

intolerance of superstition clearly damaging to humanity is certainly no vice either

(e.g. with-holding contraceptives from people because you think premarital sex is wrong; thedreby causing increased pregnancies and occurences of STDs, including AIDS)

Posted by: Robert S on January 5, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Robert S. on January 5, 2006 at 11:45 PM

I suppose she's pro-abstinance/anti-birth control, too?

From the Salon article:

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.

The article's worth the read.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 5, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

mcaristotle is dipshit enough to believe that this superstition is somehow a virtue, so I went for the other criticism.

Posted by: Nads on January 5, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

no worries, nads - just covering all the bases ;)

And thanks grape-crush - I didn't see the Salon link - the color of the link blended in on my screen.

Posted by: Robert S on January 6, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Boring, incoherent and irritating.

Posted by: collounsbury on January 6, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK


In the past, Sauerbrey has made no secret of her opposition to reproductive freedom. She began a November 2003 address to the right-wing group United Families International by saying, "I always feel when I'm being introduced as a representative of the United Nations that I have to say I'm a conservative; I'm not a feminist." She continued, "Sean Hannity, this morning, talked about visions and the differences in visions. My perception is that this prevailing vision at the U.N. is one that is based on rights, but rights without responsibility. Family, whatever you want it to be. Sexual freedom, anything goes. Practically every resolution that goes before the U.N. ... somebody tries to figure out a way to put in 'reproductive services.'"

As she spoke, it became clear that her objection to "reproductive services" encompasses far more than just opposition to abortion. "So, what is our vision? It is certainly recognition that government policies have to be supported with the family," she said. She added that "we have to look at ourselves and recognize that government tax policies, government welfare policies ... no-fault divorce, [and] sex education have not been healthy to the promotion of the family."

Sauerbrey's opposition to sex education and safe sex initiatives will likely have profound effects on America's refugee policies. "The first issue is whether she is fully supportive of family planning efforts for refugee women, including things like emergency contraception, which has been unbelievably controversial in this administration," says Jodi Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, an NGO focused on international reproductive rights. "In refugee settings, 80 percent of refugees are women and children. There are extremely high rates of sexual violence and coercion in refugee settings. You have a really, really high need for effective reproductive and sexual health programs that would include access to emergency contraception and HIV prophylactics and that kind of thing."

With Sauerbrey, Jacobson says, "You have a person in there who A) doesn't have any experience dealing with refugee movements, refugee resettlement, refugee crises, and B) has an ideological agenda against the single most important health intervention for refugee women."

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on January 6, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

None of Clinton's appointees caused anyone to die, fat white scared man. Drownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

Posted by: merlallen on January 6, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'll beat LittleCaesar to the punch, even before she get's to work: "Heckuva job, Ellen."

Posted by: Brian Boru on January 6, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Pretty clever and brave yourself to say absolutely nothing besides call the president a name. Glad to see you are a typical lefty that has nothing to offer except name calling. I love it!"

As opposed to this brilliant piece of banter posted by Fatso. ;-)

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

My suspicion is that the appointment of Myers as immigration chief is likely to lead to more human suffering, sooner. Sauerbray's appointment is a bone thrown to the pro-lifers -- who'll lap it up, without reflecting that her position is one that Republicans really don't care about.

Seems that Dickerson can actually turn in a coherent piece, as long as she lifts 95% of it from other sources.

Posted by: sglover on January 6, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Glad to see you are a typical lefty that has nothing to offer except name calling. I love it! - Fat Ass

Well, since you are a typical righty troll who wouldn't get the nuance if I expounded further, wouldn't bother following the links that refuted your talking points, or couldn't appreciate a big colorful drawing with happy little dots connected with funny squiggly lines I figured I would just give it to you short hand. And is it really name calling if it's true?

What I love are the trolls who come here wagging their finger at all the 'lieberals' and 'dumbocrats' crying crocodile tears at the incivility of calling a name (heaven forfend) and in the next breath spew the very same incivility.

I Love it!!! Oh wait, no I don't douchebag.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on January 6, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Seems that Dickerson can actually turn in a coherent piece, as long as she lifts 95% of it from other sources.

Perhaps if she would refrain from actual writing on her own....

Posted by: collounsbury on January 6, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

So, pro-life is anti-sex?

Here's a question. Are we obligated to spend money on abortions and contraception before we aren't called anti-sex... Like people can't pay for their own rubbers?

Posted by: McAristotle on January 6, 2006 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Sean Hannity, this morning, talked about visions and the differences in visions. My perception is that this prevailing vision at the U.N. is one that is based on rights, but rights without responsibility."

She refers to Sean Hannity in a speech? As if he were an authoritative source? She's lost me already.

Posted by: Robert S. on January 6, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Dear Close-minded Right-Wing Nut-Jobs,

If I hear one more referance to Clinton's appointments I am going to scream. Lets say that Clinton is human for one second, and as human he made some mistakes, like normal humans. So instead of trying to be a better president then Clinton we are just going to use him a reason of why we can be just as crummy of a president? Nice job, way to dumb things down very mature, always looking backwards eh? Being president enough just to make sure your not going to be as bad as the last guy isn't goinng to cut it, we deserve better for us and our country.

Posted by: Jeremy on January 6, 2006 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

If I hear one more referance to Clinton's appointments I am going to scream.

Whenever someone brings up Clinton, it helps to remember two things:

1. They're really just changing the subject to avoid the issue at hand (Bush's miserable qualifications as president).
2. This is a child's justification for his or her behavior (yes, Mummy, but sissy did it, too).

Of course, we should be sure we're not guilty of the same thing. And sometimes it is usefull to compare,insofar as one provides realistic context and is honest about the mistakes one's own heroes have made.

Posted by: Robert S. on January 6, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

As she spoke, it became clear that her objection to "reproductive services" encompasses far more than just opposition to abortion. "So, what is our vision? It is certainly recognition that government policies have to be supported with the family," she said. She added that "we have to look at ourselves and recognize that government tax policies, government welfare policies ... no-fault divorce, [and] sex education have not been healthy to the promotion of the family."

The opposition to abortion, in and of itself, isn't all that bothersome. But opposing sex education and contraception? That's absurd and ultimately self-defeating. Heck, I'd love to change human nature by finding some magical way to prevent extramarital and premarital sex; it would probably cut homicides by at least 10% and lower the divorce rate. But it ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Vincent on January 6, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

fat white guy
concerning Clinton's recess appointments he was dealing with a repub majority who fought him at every turn. But Bush is running into dissent from his own party (still in the majority) as well as dems.

Posted by: justathought on January 6, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

To expand briefly on justathought, Bush has a 6 vote majority and still he has to use recess appointments to install these witless fools into offices they are completely unfit to hold.

Posted by: Mike on January 6, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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