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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So Help Me God (Again)

On February 6, 2006, news outlets covered arguments in the Senate over the need to swear in members of the Bush Administration, Alberto Gonzales in particular, before providing testimony. At the time, Senator Jeff Sessions made the following comment:

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And I remember having a conversation with General Myers and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and one of the saddest days in their career was having to come in here and stand before a Senate committee and raise their hand as if they are not trustworthy in matters relating to the defense of this country.

And I think it's not necessary that a duly confirmed Cabinet member have to routinely stand up and just give an oath when they are, in effect, under oath and subject to prosecution if they don't tell the truth.

I think it's just a question of propriety and good taste and due respect from one branch to the other.

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I wrote at the time:

As they say in Texas, au contraire, mon frere.

Due respect between branches of government?

THIS ADMINISTRATION? Are you kidding me?

The breadth of contempt throughout the entire Bush Administration (White House staff, VP's office, Pentagon, NSA, OMB, EPA, you name it...) for the Judiciary and Congress is unparalleled in our history. If there was EVER an administration whose officials deserve to be treated like any other American citizen testifying in front of Congress and "subjected" to the "humiliation" of reciting a simple declarative statement that they would tell the truth, it's this administration.

Heck, if you say the oath, you even get to mention God. I thought that was good, right?

If you plan on telling the truth, what's so humiliating or condenscending about reciting an oath to tell the truth that's recited THOUSANDS of times every day in courts across the country?

Come on, Administration officials. Repeat after me...

So....
help......
me.......
God.

That wasn't so bad, was it?

===================

Alberto Gonzales appeared before the press and public on March 13, 2007 and publicly stated he or his staffers provided grossly incorrect information to Congress about administrative issues in which he or his staff was directly involved. Earlier this year, Gonzales testified under oath that "I think I would never, ever, make a change in a United States Attorney position for political reasons or if it would in any way jeopardize an ongoing, serious investigation." (#1) Memos released March 13, 2007 make it absolutely, 100 percent clear that then-White House counsel Harriet Miers and Gonzales' chief of staff Kyle Sampson initially considered replacement of ALL 93 US Attorneys after the 2004 election and that final changes were reviewed and approved by Karl Rove, chief strategist for George Bush.

Testimony provided to Congress last week by some of the fired US Attorneys states they received direct calls from members of Congress or officials in the Justice Department about pending investigations. One US Attorney was questioned directly by Harriet Miers about his handling of a contested governor's race in Washington State. Another testified he was contacted as recently as February 20, 2007 by Justice Department officials and told to keep quiet about his dismissal. (#2) Normally, such inquisitiveness about the wheels of justice and government would be commendable for this Administration, but in each case, the only contacts involved investigations that didn't proceed against Democratic opponents or that were proceeding against Republicans.

While appointees serve at the pleasure of the President, it is IMPOSSIBLE to square even the consideration of the wholesale replacement of ALL US Attorneys with a claim that changes would never be made in a way that would jeopardize ongoing investigations. The only reason can be political and politics were involved in the circumstances of all of the eight US Attorneys actually dismissed.

I hope every Democratic and Republican member of Congress has learned their lesson.

THERE ISN'T A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION THAT CAN BE TRUSTED TO TELL THE TRUTH AT ANY TIME, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, UNDER OATH OR OTHERWISE.

This is not a Republicans versus Democrats issue.

This is the people of the United States, our two political parties and two of our three branches of government versus George Bush, Richard Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, Karl Rove, and who knows how many other faceless minions in a criminally incompetent, if not outright criminal, cabal.

This administration gets no benefit of the doubt because they have removed any doubt that they have nothing but contempt for ANY branch of government, including agencies within the Administration. They don't respect the role of government. In the eyes of this Administration, government exists solely to aid favored business interests and political allies. PERIOD.

The United States is MILES past a political and legal tipping point with the Bush Administration. Both parties and both houses of Congress need to begin putting these officials under oath, in front of We the People, and begin removing them, one by one, as quickly as possible. Another Iraq isn't the worst thing that can be done in another twenty two months of office.

========================

#1) http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2946995

#2) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/06/AR2007030600606.html