Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Um ... about all that right-wing outrage over "perjury" ...

More stuff you won't read a word about over at the morals-and-values, law-and-order Blogging Tories (all emphasis added):

In nasty and bumbling comments made at the White House yesterday, President Bush declared that “people just need to hear the truth” about the firing of eight United States attorneys...

Mr. Bush’s idea of openness involved sending White House officials to Congress to answer questions in private, without taking any oath, making a transcript or allowing any follow-up appearances...

Why would anyone refuse to take an oath on a matter like this, unless he were not fully committed to telling the truth?

In more important news, however ...

OOOOOH ... OOOOOH ... Bonus.

PAGING MR. OBVIOUS: I realize this may be flogging the obvious, but I'm wondering how many of the residents of Lower Retardville who might be arguing that, just because you refuse to be sworn in doesn't mean you plan on lying, are some of the same people who defended the eavesdropping allowed by the Patriot Act because, after all, if you object to uninhibited eavesdropping, well, that means you must have something to hide.

Or was that too painfully trivial to have mentioned?


Anonymous said...

I am beginning to think, at least in this case, that it is not about them worrying about telling lies - look at their jobs, being able to tell bold lies with a straight face is part of the job description.

What we are seeing here, IMO, is an extension of executive power and authority - essentially the president of the United States telling the American people that the congress they elected has no power over the people that he appointed.

Ti-Guy said...

I remember learning about the unelected cabinet in grade 13 (American) history and never really gave it much thought until the reign of Bush the Second. Clearly, there's some tightening up that needs to be done in the ol' "checks 'n balances" thing. Definitely...more laws are needed...

What a joke of a system of government.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a 'way back machine' take us all back to Clinton's BlowJobGate and see what would happen to the righties if Bubba said, 'I'll answer your questions about Ms. Lewinski in private, not under oath, and with no followups or paper trails.'

The hypocricy of the right knows no limits.

Anonymous said...


1. What good is an elected cabinet if the elected members of the cabinet do not have authority to spoeak pubicly without Sandra's permission?

2. Do you expect Sandra to testify in public under oath about what she told O'Connor to say about Afgan POW's?

Anonymous said...

It's not the system, Ti-Guy, it's the people. In this case, the Republican Congress passed a law allowing the president to ignore the Congress. An astonishing abdication of authority, really. Otherwise, each member of the unelected cabinet is subject to congressional approval.

Ti-Guy said...

It's the system. The legalism around it makes it very difficult to get rid of dangerous and destructive people who are democratically unaccountable.

1. What good is an elected cabinet if the elected members of the cabinet do not have authority to spoeak pubicly without Sandra's permission?

There's no legal constraint there. If a cabinet member makes the choice of deferring to the PM's dictates against his or her own conscience, well...tant pis. And the electorate won't ever forget.

2. Do you expect Sandra to testify in public under oath about what she told O'Connor to say about Afgan POW's?

No, I don't. And it's because it doesn't matter what she told him. It's what he ends up saying. The buck stops at the elected cabinet member. If he or she chooses to be a patsy, then he or she owns the failure.

E in MD said...

What a joke of a system of government.

By Ti-Guy, at 10:49 AM
- - - - - -

I have to both agree and disagree with you here, Ti.

I agree with you in that the American democratic system is in serious need of a refit. When our founders put ink to paper with the Declaration and the Constitution they were dealing with people from a much simpler time. Yeah the King of England was a real piece of work back then but I don't think they were counting on Evil getting 230+ years of practice at manipulating rules.

The Republicans have become experts at manipulating the system because the founders were pretty vague on a lot of things. But they were smart enough to build in enough hoops to jump over that nobody could buck the system forever without getting their snarklies caught in the combine.

First, Congress cannot legislate away their power. Legislation of any type, even laws that are passed are trumped by the Constitution. Article II spells out all of the powers Congress has and they can't give that away without a Constitutional Amendment. Once the Constitution is amended, the only thing that can change it again is another amendment.

The sad thing is that these peon Democrats don't seem to realize is that the Constitution is on the side of the people first and foremost. All this crap that Bush has pulled with Habeas corpus and warantless eavesdropping are completely unconstitutional - Bush would LOSE if someone had the cajones to bring it before the Supreme Court because it says right there in black and white ( or parchment yellow as the case may be ) that he CANNOT do certain things. It doesn't matter what Gonzo has to say about it. He's not the Supreme Court.

Second, the system is self correcting in some respect. Because the system usually consists of two major parties and a bunch of little minor parties these people are constantly put at each others throats. I believe this was pretty well deliberate, because they would inherently balance each other out. Democrats and Republicans have radically different ideas on how things SHOULD be, this will create competition between the parties. The Democrats won't let the Republicans get away with nonsense forever and the independents will keep an eye on both parties.

The thing that has really screwed us all over the last few year is that we were attacked and unfortunately the President has the right to command the military. Even when he gets it wrong, he's still the dumbass in charge. That's all well and good when you have a good shrewd President but when it goes the other way and you get a chimp in a suit with a bunch of lower primate yes men in his corner you end up having a disaster like Viet Nam or Iraq.

Naturally the parties are going to play at politics. It's the nature of the game. But, to be honest, the power in this situation lies with Congress. They just have to choose to exercise it. Nobody, including the President and his lackies has the power to ignore Congress. If they subpoena you to appear you better damned well show up or they can send people out to drag you to them. Lying to Congress in general is a felony. Lying under oath is perjury, also a felony both of which are impeachable offenses.

The Bush administration KNOWS this, which is why they're making this big public showing about how they refuse to testify under oath and how Congress is overstepping it's bounds.

But the Supreme Court has already ruled on this sort of thing once during the Nixon era. The President can't claim executive privilege in order to attempt to hide evidence of a crime from Congress.

What crime you ask? Simple, Gonzales lied, under oath, to Congress when he said that he'd 'never fire any US attorney for political reasons'. The evidence says that he did.

All Congress has to do is realize that they have this power in their hands, subpoena Gonzales and Rove and put them on the stand and make them swear in and make them sing. The Supreme Court, the Constitution and the American people are on the side of Congress now. We're finally starting to wake up, come out from under our beds where we've been hiding and say "Hey wait a minute... he can't do that!"

Hell they've got enough on Bush right now based off his use of and public admissions about the Patriot act to charge him with an unknown number of felony violations of the FISA act, which is more than enough to Impeach him and Gonzales both. They just need to DO IT and stop farting around. Bush and his cronies aren't allowed to circumvent the Law just because they feel like it and the PATRIOT act is trumped by the Constitution.