Monday, April 16, 2007

Almost 40 years ago, I found myself in a deep hole... . .


Almost 40 years ago, I found myself in a deep hole. I had given an organization, a company, almost 12 years of my life, working about 12 hours per day. I had become a valued person, a junior manager type in my early 30s. I had many varied responsibilities, and managed them all well, with not a single negative remark.

Then to my great surprise I found myself being avoided, shunned and ignored by the CEO. When I would go in to see him about some business, he shuffle his papers, not look at me, act as if I was a bother. He had arrived at some erroneous conclusions about me.

He had conceived a giant new vision for the organization and needed to sell it to his management staff. He would bring aspects of the project to meetings for discussion and ask the rest of us what we thought. I made the mistake of assuming that he really wanted an honest answer, so I was ready to ask some hard nosed questions. Which it turned out he did not like at all. It was evident later that he had already made up his mind in these issues and was only looking for support and reinforcement. Unbeknown to me, to him I became a leader of the opposition, and he proceeded to take it out of me in a number of demeaning ways, which I will not go into detail about, but I was not only disappointed. I was in fact devastated. No one ( I felt) had been more loyal, more organized, more energetic to do all the assignments I had been given. It was actually the beginning of the end there for me, although I did not leave for awhile. When I saw some of my old friends from those days many years later, they told me they had watched the CEO bully me for my questions. At the time, I was just floored and did not know what to do.

I was in my early 30s and did not have awareness of my feelings nor any way to deal with them. I simply felt stymied, blocked, dismissed, categorized, and unfairly labeled. I did not know what to do and it took me a long time to figure out what my choices might be. Actually to learn to sort out my feelings and risk expressing them.

So It took me almost thirty years to learn this method --how to handle negative feelings in the workplace, and about another 10 years to refine it by teaching it in a number of settings and getting feedback from many managers.

The biggest roadblock in any organization is the presence of negative feelings, When skills do not exist, it becomes the Achilles heel of the organization, no matter how successful that organization is. Can you tell me what some of the outcomes of negative feelings are for the workplace? (Backbiting, hidden agendas, cliques, works low down, blaming, stereotyping, and very much passive aggressive behavior,. Get backs, get around, get over, get by...)

So out of my blood, sweat and tears, and a deep personal painful setback, I developed this method of dealing positively with negative feelings. For more now, go to Win Win Finesse blog by clicking on the Win Win Finesse logo on my website,

Once you learn this method, you will always have a way to handle negative feelings. This does not mean that it will always work, as I later explain the 4 types of persons it will not work with or work well with. But for 80% of the populationor more it works and works well. Even when they know already what you are doing.

More later.
April 16.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I jusgt watched this documentary by Al Gore again tonight with my son, then turned to the Internet NY Times Sunday magazine to see what the feature ariticle would be for this week.
It is on becoming Green, returning to evironmental awareness, most timely. Here I post only several paragraphs, and then refer the reader to another of my blogs: Old Salty Dog, for the rest, or the web site, NY times.

The Power of Green


One day Iraq, our post-9/11 trauma and the divisiveness of the Bush years will all be behind us — and America will need, and want, to get its groove back. We will need to find a way to reknit America at home, reconnect America abroad and restore America to its natural place in the global order — as the beacon of progress, hope and inspiration. I have an idea how. It’s called “green.”

In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. One thing that always struck me about the term “green” was the degree to which, for so many years, it was defined by its opponents — by the people who wanted to disparage it. And they defined it as “liberal,” “tree-hugging,” “sissy,” “girlie-man,” “unpatriotic,” “vaguely French.”

Well, I want to rename “green.” I want to rename it geostrategic, geoeconomic, capitalistic and patriotic. I want to do that because I think that living, working, designing, manufacturing and projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century. A redefined, broader and more muscular green ideology is not meant to trump the traditional Republican and Democratic agendas but rather to bridge them when it comes to addressing the three major issues facing every American today: jobs, temperature and terrorism.

How do our kids compete in a flatter world? How do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? Those are, in a nutshell, the big questions facing America at the dawn of the 21st century. But these problems are so large in scale that they can only be effectively addressed by an America with 50 green states — not an America divided between red and blue states.

Because a new green ideology, properly defined, has the power to mobilize liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and atheists, big business and environmentalists around an agenda that can both pull us together and propel us forward. That’s why I say: We don’t just need the first black president. We need the first green president. We don’t just need the first woman president. We need the first environmental president. We don’t just need a president who has been toughened by years as a prisoner of war but a president who is tough enough to level with the American people about the profound economic, geopolitical and climate threats posed by our addiction to oil — and to offer a real plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

see Old Salty Dog Blog, Paschal on Faith and Politics.... for the rest.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Dream, a Story and a Song

A dream, a story and a song.

Once upon a time, long time ago, in a small Irish village there was a woman who had a story and a song that keep coming back in her dreams, but she could never tell it or sing it. Once night while she was sleeping with her mouth open, the story came out and became a pair of men's shoes sitting by her bed.. The song came out and became a cloak and hung in the front parlor.

When she woke up she was astonished to find these items there. Her husband came home and finding both items accused her of having a male visitor, which of course, she denied. He did not believe her, so he picked up his blanket and went to the school gym where he worked out, to sleep. Now people heard about him sleeping there, but he would not say why he was sleeping at the gym.

The local Catholic priest heard about it and went to see him, Timothy, by name. Timothy refused, at first to tell the priest. Then the priest said, listen Timothy, I am your priest, tell me now or go to confession. So Timothy told the priest his story.

The priest asked him if Mary Ellen had always been a loyal and good wife, and Timothy had to agree. Then the priest asked him a strange question; Does Mary Ellen ever sleep with her mouth open. Sometimes, said Timothy. Go home and ask her if the shoes and the cloak come from her dreams? Timothy thought this was silly, but, since the priest told him to do so, he did.

At first, Mary Ellen, although glad to see him, said no, of course not. Then she said, Wait a minute, let me see those shoes. When she looked closer and recognized they were her father’s shoes and the ones she had seen in her dreams. Then she remembered a story about the shoes from her dreams. His shoes had haunted her. When she was little, she had walked in them for fun.

She had been the only child of her parents, a girl, and her father had always wanted a boy to grow up and help in the small farm he had, someone to fill his own shoes. Although she tried in many ways, and become a real helper in many farm chores, actually developing strong arms and shoulders. Her father would always shrug and say, Well you do the best you can. . So she never felt like she measured up. The shoes were her father’s shoes that she felt as a girl she could never fill unless—

Her story reminded Timothy of his own father, who was a professional and a perfectionist, and Timothy was sure he could never be good enough for his father. As they shared more of their family stories with each other, they felt much closer, and after five years of marriage with no children, they fell in love with each other once more.

When they examined the cloak, they discovered it had an beautiful inside of many colors, and was a short cloak like a maternity dress. Mary Ellen had seen herself in her dreams wearing it expecting a baby, and she finally hoped to please her father by brining him grandchildren. After she started wearing it for good luck around the house, to their surprise, she became pregnant.

They both were in awe and wonder about the size of her growing belly as they had both wanted children and one was finally on the way. When the baby came, she sang the lullaby she remembered her mother sang to her when she was little, an Irish Lullaby, that she sang so beautifully that her husband would hum whenever he was near. And in singing this song...(sing it here)...
. . .In singing this song, she disovered who she was and who she was meant to be. They soon had a second child, who was a baby boy who simply delighted her husband immensely. She sang often around the house, and their little girl was often singing too.
Her father was overjoyed to have two grandchildren and one a boy whom he took with him everywhere.
And they lived happier than before.

Paschal Baute, Apri 12, 2007.
This is based on an old folk tale, reference lost
but in another version told by Mary Kane, my jailbird partner volunteer.

Do you know what the Kentucky Derby is About? (Here is your cheat list that will impress others at the party)

. . . ."The Hennegan Brothers want to change that feeling for you because we know you're different. Plus, we want to help you win over horse-loving Cheryl.

That became the impetus for us to shoot our documentary: to use the world's most famous race as an introductory course to horse racing - the coolest sport to which you're not paying attention.

So the first thing you need to do is see our film The First Saturday in May ( during the Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary follows six trainers and their horses to the 2006 Kentucky Derby - with one of the horses followed being the mighty Barbaro. But if you can't get to DeNiro's film festival before May 5th, here is what you need to know.

Let Herb go on for a moment with his obligatory story about partying on the infield at Churchill Downs once during college, but when his story loses steam, be ready to pounce.

"Did you guys know that a horse only has only one chance in his or her life to run in the Kentucky Derby? It always comes in the spring of their 3-year-old year and always on the first Saturday in May.

"So here's how it works: the top 20 horses in earnings are invited to run in the Derby. Earnings are accumulated in a series of specific stakes or 'prep' races that take place during the prior eight or nine months.

"In April, there are the six most important prep races, the Florida Derby, the Santa Anita Derby in California, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York, the Arkansas Derby, the Blue Grass at Keeneland in Kentucky, and the Illinois Derby.

"If you finish first or second in any of these, you've pretty much punched your ticket to the Derby. And if you watch all of these races, you'll actually know about half the horses come Derby day."

Cheryl will be clearly impressed.

Now wait a bit - definitely until after the race. Hatch your master plan and ask Cheryl to watch the second leg of the Triple Crown - the Preakness - at the bar near your apartment that has horse paintings on the wall.

Knowing that there hasn't been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 (quick, write that down), you'll be hoping Scat Daddy can parlay his wins in the Derby and hopefully the Preakness into a shot at winning the Belmont Stakes. And Cheryl will be right there watching with you.

Most importantly, in the very near future, you'll be watching races from Del Mar and Turfway Park and throwing around words like "furlong" and betting trifectas and superfectas. No one will know what you are talking about, except maybe your new girlfriend Cheryl, as you follow Scat Daddy's burgeoning career.

And it will all be because of the documentary that turned you into a Kentucky Derby Know-It-All.

Space the Final Frontier? No, Inner Space!

Space: the Final Frontier
is the solemn announcement that begins each episode of the
Star Trek episodes.

No. Not Outer space, but inner space is the final frontier.
And one we are failing to consider
as violence in the world grows and multiples.

In the past century, over 140 million people have died in war,
over 100 wars in every part of the planet earth.

Now the greatest empire in human history
is engaged once more in another war,
One in which modcrate estimates are
650,000 civilians, women and children have been killed.
Not to speak of our own military.

It that same ratio were applied to this country
that would be 6 millon who have died,
since we undertook the war in Iraq.

Thw question is how can humans be so murderous,
so willing to kill one another?
We may be on the verge of destroying not only
civilization but planet earth also.

Here below are some thoughts on the challenge of
understanding ourselves, written a few years ago,
but regarded as one of my best, most insightful and
provocative. The greatest challenge in life is
understanding ourselves. If we do not we shall
end up sabotaging not only ourselves, but Self-Intimacy is the Most Basic Skill in Life
To go inside oneself and sort out images, ideas and feelings, to listen to oneself and decide what is most significant, and to risk sharing that, pleasant or unpleasant, with someone important to you are the foundation stones of a intimate relationship.
Without this skill there is no "glue" in any bonding, no true reciprocity and eventually no passion. Lacking this skill many relationships cannot survive because they consist only of shared illusions about who the partner is or should be, and are, therefore mere "acting". This pretense can be mutually satisfactory and can go unrecognized for many years. However, for want of this skill, conflict is ultimately bound to be unfixable.
Many, perhaps most individuals, do not have this skill particularly the ability to sort out and talk about feelings because they never saw their parents practice it. They have a self-image ideal, a mask they have developed from childhood to present an approved face to the world. Couples can live together for years wearing the faces they have learned to wear. Their world is a masquerade, however, which is ready to crumble in a crisis.
Self-intimacy is the ability to listfn to ourselves in all the diverse facets of our human-ness. We begin to experience the mystery of ourselves as we really ARE, rather than as we PREFER to think of ourselves. This means we find the courage to listen to feedback from others about that to which we are blind about ourselves. Then regardless of how unpleasant it may sometimes feel, we weigh the feedback and use it to help determine if our behavior needs modification.
No one truly knows and understands themselves. Those who are certain they do are often the most deluded and blind because they have managed to avoid confrontation or have refused feedback from others. Such an individual becomes his own worst enem y.
Self-intimacy enables us to possess a secure self-esteem because it includes both the positive and the negative aspect of ourselves. The positive awareness helps us discover anddevelop our gifts and talents, our specialness; however, self-intimacy also confronts us with the ugly fact of our instinctual selves, our selfishness and weakness, our greeds, lusts and jealousies, and our dark shadow side (including our games, patterns and habits outside awareness) that continue despjte our best efforts and intentions.
Those without self-intimacy usually think their "map" of personal perspective is the way things are, or should be. They often have little idea of how truly different people are. They assume their vision is the only true and correct one. Those who are most sure of their view are probably the most blind (and the most dangerous of people). Por example the auto-makers in Detroit, hooked on big profits from big cars, were absolutely sure Americans would never buy small cars. They delayed developing for many years the technical skill on which the Japanese and Germans were working. That blindness cost this country nearly 20 million jobs and has affected the financial welfare of almost everyone.
Self-intimacy does not imply narcissistic fixation on self. In fact, it is only through the awareness and acceptance of all our personal needs: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual that we can truly be awake to the needs of others. Thus self-intimacy is paying attention to and accepting our WHOLE self: warts and dimples. Self-centeredness is blindly following my ego, my desires, my will, my attachments, whatever satisfies me now.
Our capacity to love others is predicated upon ourability to love ourselves: "Love your neighbor as yourself' (Matthew 22:39). Without genuine and mature self-love, we cannot love another. Instead, we will be needy, act like nice guys or sweethearts, play games, keep our distance, doubt, distrust, test, or use other means of masquerade or manipulation in relationship, for we will neverreally be sure another can love us as we are. Many who lack this self-intimacy escape into the addiction of Romantic love and idealizing one another. Some jump from one love to another without ever learning much about themselves. All they seem to need is someone else who will make them feel special. This isthe quickest, easiest escape (and the one most doomed to fail) hurting many othes

Namaste. Have a good day
Paschal, April 12

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Father-Loss, a personal note on losing a friend: stoies not told and songs never sung..

April 10, 2007
Mark, Tom, Nancy, Norma, Justin, and Beverly:

Whether or not I can deliver this note, I need to write it.
I cannot believe how much grief I have had, how much and often I have wept.
I know it is not just losing John, but some of my own losses in life.
I have been grieving for all that was lost in the way John was,
how he lessened his pain and hid from his own fear and
how that was intimately connected to his own family life..

We humans do what we need to do to hide from our pain and fears.
It is a survival method, long ago learned, thousands of years.
When those lions, tigers and bears appeared at the mouth of the cave,
it was not the humans who panicked who survived.

John’s way shows me, in a revelation I have never quite yet had,
why my father could not, would not relate to me
with so much pain in that. For both of us.

\I have wept so many times in the past month that I cannot believe it.
But it is not just for John, but for also for me.
When I think of all that John, and Norma and Justin missed
--so unnecessarily, tears just flow, once again --dammit.

I know there is ego in my tears, that I am also weeping for
all my lost loves and losses, unmentionable ones , too, just as John’s were.

John had it in him to write the great new American novel,
full of humor, irony, playfulness and laughter at the absurdity
of our human condition. He had walked through so much
pain in his work life. And now we know
how much more pain in his personal life. Finally.

I kept teasing him, prodding him to get started, do some pages every day.
I do not think he ever did. Or if he did he never told me.

I know why I can’t stop hurting for Justin.
When I saw the Field of Dreams movie, I could not stay in the theater for weeping
when the ghost of his father asked his son to play catch. . ..
My father never tried to play with me. I do not think he knew how.
What was striking was that a year or two later, I saw Field on TV
and I said that damn scene will not catch me this time the way it did the first time.
But the damn thing did and once more I had to leave the room for sobbing.

So it is not just John and Justin I am weeping for.
I have a group of inmates at the county jail, Paschal’s rascals, I call them.
It is the same for them. Father -loss is the great unmentionable taboo
in our male society, and, possibly, I happen to believe, why we have so much
violence. Consider the man n the White House
and his delusions and what it has cost the world and all of us.

There is a story about a woman who had a story and a song that kept returning in her dreams, but she could never tell or sing it. One night while she was sleeping, the story came out of her open mouth. The story became a pair of men’s shoes by her bed, and the song came out and became a cloak hung in the parlor. When she woke up she was astonished. She did not now where they came from. Her husband came home and accused her of having a man visitor and when she denied it, he left. The rest of the story doesn’t matter here.

I believe we all have a story, one that is hard to tell, because we all have closets, closed spaces within ourselves where we harbor and hide our fears and scares about ourselves. If we cannot ever tell our story, I believe we cannot ever sing the song that the Dream of God had intended for us to sing. That was pressed on our lips before we were born.

There is a beautiful, unique, never-before-heard melody each of us is meant to sing, with our lives and our hearts. The great summons in life and life and life’s pain, is to find, uncover that one precious song that had been given to us alone long ago..

To do that we have to risk the vulnerability of finding someone to tell our story to. Until we risk that, any singing will be off - key, falteringly, if we sing at all.

I have talked with Norma several times and Mark once. I really love all of you people who have loved John so much. I am so deeply grateful to each of you that there is no way in words that I can express my heart. Each of you, Beverly, Nancy, Mark, Tom and Justin, you sang a song of love to John. We each know there were times when that was not easy to do. (Smile, please!)

Norma suggested yesterday that we might want to have a memorial here some day in the woods near the pond where John and I walked and talked. You will remember he wanted his memorial to be here, but for the sake of those who wanted and needed to honor his life, Tom’s church was better.

Let us plan to do that here sometime. Maybe it would also help me--and there come the bloody tears again, once more, dammit. O John, you don’t know how you have helped ME. Yes, you do. I know you do. You help me grieve for all the father loss among males in our bruised society.

Friends of John, thanks for listening to this ancient and wounded warrior still bleeding and bandaged, but also grateful for the risk and love that brought Norma and Jay back into his life and the healing that was possible, not only through them, but through all of us, for John.

Thank each of you for the love you offered my friend. I have been deeply touched by your love for him. Sincerely. Namaste.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Guest opinion: best analysis of what is heppening between Bush and the Dems.

Follow the e-mails

The discovery of a previously unknown treasure chest of e-mails buried by the Bush administration may prove to be as informative as Nixon's secret White House tapes.

By Sidney Blumenthal

Mar. 29, 2007 | The rise and fall of the Bush presidency has had four phases: the befuddled period of steady political decline during the president's first nine months; the high tide of hubris from Sept. 11, 2001, through the 2004 election; the self-destructive overreaching to consolidate a one-party state from 2005 to 2006, culminating in the repudiation of the Republican Congress; and, now, the terminal stage, the great unraveling, as the Democratic Congress works to uncover the abuses of the previous six years.

Richard Nixon and George W. Bush both invoked secrecy for national security. Both insisted war -- the war in Vietnam, the war on terror -- justified impunity. And both offered the reason of secrecy to cover political power grabs.

In Watergate, "Deep Throat" counseled that the royal road to the scandal's source was to "follow the money." In the proliferating scandals of the Bush presidency, Congress is searching down a trail of records that did not exist in the time of Nixon: Follow the e-mails.

The discovery of a hitherto unknown treasure-trove of e-mails buried by the Bush White House may prove to be as informative as Nixon's secret White House tapes. Last week the National Journal disclosed that Karl Rove does "about 95 percent" of his e-mails outside the White House system, instead using a Republican National Committee account. What's more, Rove doesn't tap most of his messages on a White House computer, but rather on a BlackBerry provided by the RNC. By this method, Rove and other White House aides evade the legally required archiving of official e-mails. The first glimmer of this dodge appeared in a small item buried in a January 2004 issue of U.S. News & World Report: "'I don't want my E-mail made public,' said one insider. As a result, many aides have shifted to Internet E-mail instead of the White House system. 'It's Yahoo!, baby,' says a Bushie."

The offshoring of White House records via RNC e-mails became apparent when an RNC domain, (referring to George W. Bush, 43rd president), turned up in a batch of e-mails the White House gave to House and Senate committees earlier this month. Rove's deputy, Scott Jennings, former Bush legal counsel Harriet Miers and her deputies strangely had used as an e-mail domain.

The production of these e-mails to Congress was a kind of slip. In its tense negotiations with lawmakers, the White House has steadfastly refused to give Congress e-mails other than those between the White House and the Justice Department or the White House and Congress. E-mails among presidential aides have been withheld under the claim of executive privilege.

When I worked in the Clinton White House, people brought in their personal computers if they were engaged in any campaign work, but all official transactions had to be done within the White House system as stipulated by the Presidential Records Act of 1978. (The PRA requires that "the President shall take all such steps as may be necessary to assure that the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance of his constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties are adequately documented and that such records are maintained as Presidential records.") Having forsaken the use of Executive Office of the President e-mail, executive privilege has been sacrificed. Moreover, Rove's and the others' practice may not be legal.

The revelation of the gwb43 e-mails illuminates the widespread exploitation of nongovernmental e-mail by Bush White House officials, which initially surfaced in the investigations and trial of convicted Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former personal assistant and then executive assistant to Rove, who served as the liaison between the two men in their constant dealings, used "" and "" e-mail accounts to communicate with Abramoff between 2001 and 2003. In one of her e-mails, Ralston cautioned that "it is better to not put this stuff in writing in [the White House] ... email system because it might actually limit what they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits, etc." Abramoff replied: "Dammit. It was sent to Susan on her rnc pager and was not supposed to go into the WH system."

The Ralston e-mails were not fully appreciated as a clue to the vast cache of hidden e-mails at the time the Justice Department's inspector general conducted a probe into whether Abramoff had been involved in the firing of the U.S. attorney in Guam in 2002. That prosecutor, Frederick Black, who had been appointed by George H.W. Bush and served for 10 years, had opened an investigation into the $324,000 in secret payments Abramoff received from the Guam Superior Court to lobby in Washington against court reform. The day after Black subpoenaed Abramoff's contract, he was fired. In a 2006 report, the I.G. found no criminal wrongdoing -- but he did not have access to the nongovernmental e-mails (i.e., those sent outside the official White House system). Now, the I.G. may have cause to reopen his case.

Under the RNC's domain a myriad of e-mail accounts flourish, including the ones used by Rove's office to conduct his business with Abramoff. Among these accounts are ones for Republican Senate campaigns, for and the like, and, curiously, for The latter e-mail account serves the Web site of the defense fund of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. amounts to an in-kind contribution from the RNC.

On Monday, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent letters to RNC officials demanding that they preserve the White House e-mails sent on RNC accounts. "The e-mail exchanges reviewed by the Committee provide evidence that in some instances, White House officials were using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications," he wrote. "What assurance can the RNC provide the Committee," he asked, "that no e-mails involving official White House business have been destroyed or altered?"

Even as the Bush administration withholds evidence that would allow Congress to fulfill its obligation of oversight, administration officials are having difficulty keeping their stories straight. The release of each new batch of e-mails forces them to scramble for new alibis.

On March 12, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had nothing to do with the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys late last year. How they happened to be removed remained a mystery to him. "I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on," he said. But e-mails released last week show that he was informed of the plan twice in late 2006. In fact, on Nov. 27, 2006, he met with at least five senior Justice Department officials to finalize a "five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors." With the appearance of the incriminating e-mails, Gonzales' spokespeople have been sent out to tell the press that there is "no inconsistency," a brazen assertion of the Groucho Marx defense: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Despite the resignation of Gonzales' chief of staff and counselor, Kyle Sampson, on March 12, another fall guy has emerged, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. On Jan. 18, Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, presenting a public explanation that politics had nothing to do with the U.S. attorney firings -- "we would never, ever make a change in the U.S. attorney position for political reasons" -- and private assurances to Republican senators that they were dismissed for disagreements over policy.

Three weeks later, McNulty appeared before the committee, contradicting his boss, explaining that the U.S. attorneys were fired for "performance-related" reasons. Then he admitted that the U.S. attorney for Arkansas, H.E. "Bud" Cummins, was being replaced by a Rove protégé, Tim Griffin. McNulty's testimony incited the U.S. attorneys to defend their reputations, agitated the Democrats to ferret out the underlying political motives and forced the administration to react with a spray of excuses.

On Monday, the administration leaked an e-mail to ABC News in an attempt to blame the entire scandal on McNulty. "McNulty's testimony directly conflicted with the approach Miers advised, according to an unreleased internal White House e-mail described to ABC News," it reported. "According to that e-mail, sources said, Miers said the administration should take the firm position that it would not comment on personnel issues." The leak fit the administration scenario that the U.S. attorneys scandal was nothing but a P.R. mistake -- and now McNulty was the one fingered as the culprit. But in trying to shift blame the leaking of the e-mail would seem to undercut the White House's claim of executive privilege that it cannot give internal communications to Congress.

Also on Monday Gonzales' senior counselor and White House liaison, Monica Goodling, invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in her refusal to testify before the Senate. (Goodling, who graduated from law school in 1999, is one of the highest-ranking officials in the Department of Justice. Her doctor of jurisprudence degree comes from Regent University, founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson. Its Web site boasts that it has "150 graduates serving in the Bush Administration." Perhaps not coincidentally, Kay Coles James, a former Regent University dean, was director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from 2001 to 2005.)

Goodling's lawyer's extraordinarily argumentative letter explaining her silence accused "certain members" of the committee of "already" having "reached conclusions about the affair"; stated that the inquiry is "being used to promote a political party" and that it lacks a "legitimate reason ... basic fairness ... objectivity"; and stated that an unnamed "senior Department of Justice official" had told Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., that he was "not entirely candid" to the committee because "our client did not inform him of certain pertinent facts."

McNulty, of course, is that official. As Goodling's lawyer's letter reveals, he is refusing to go gently into that good night and declining to cooperate with the latest cover story. Hence, she is taking the Fifth, perhaps more because she doesn't know what story to tell than because she might face a perjury trap before the committee. So the fall gal blames the fall guy.

As Congress extends its oversight, President Bush stiffens his resistance. He treats the Democratic Congress as basically illegitimate. He reacts to every assertion of oversight as an invasion of presidential prerogative. Not only does he reject compromise and negotiation, but he also transforms every point of difference into a conflict over first principles, even as every new disclosure reveals his purely political motivation.

Bush's radicalism becomes more fervent as he becomes more embattled, and separates him from presidents past. Richard Nixon compromised regularly with a Democratic Congress, even as he secretly laid the foundation of an imperial presidency, his unfinished project left in ruins after the Watergate scandal. Ronald Reagan, the old union leader, president of the Screen Actors Guild, stood resolutely on his convictions until the better part of political valor led him to cut a deal, as he did when he abandoned his long-held belief in privatizing Social Security, conceding his supposedly inviolate ground to Speaker Tip O'Neill, and happily proclaiming the pact afterward. George H.W. Bush, a former congressman with many friends across the aisle, famously jettisoned his tenuous conservative bona fides as Reagan's heir, a credo he embraced in his 1988 acceptance speech before the Republican National Convention -- "Read my lips: no new taxes" -- when, anxious about the expanding deficit, he cut a deal with the Democratic leadership to lower it through tax increases.

The Republican right's excoriation of the elder Bush's betrayal, rather than his overriding sense of responsibility, was the lesson learned by the son. His imperative to avoid making enemies on the right is compounded into his larger notion of an unfettered presidency.

For six years, Bush had a Republican Congress whipped into obedience -- and it provided him his only experience in legislative affairs. The rise of the Democratic Congress, reviving the powers of oversight and investigation, is a shock to his system. But he is not without an understanding of his changed circumstances. Bush sees the new Congress as the same beast that ensnared his father in fatal compromise and as a monstrous threat to the imperial presidency he has spent six years carefully building.

As the return of oversight suddenly exposes pervasive corruption throughout the executive branch, Bush struggles against Congress as though it were an alien force. Bush has no sense that the Framers, wary of the concentration of power in the executive, deliberately established the powers of the Congress in Article I of the Constitution and those of the president in Article II. Once again he straps on his armor and clasps his shield. His defense of secrecy, executive fiat and one-party rule has become his battle of Thermopylae.

-- By Sidney Blumenthal