Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Well THAT was a no brainer...

The House sub-Committee on commercial and administrative law (otherwise known as the House sub-Committee on WHA?) has voted to authorize subpoenas of various White House officials regarding the fired prosecutors debacle. It was a voice vote, and carried without objection, which ought to send a signal to the White House that this is not a partisan endeavor.

The notion that Congress would accept unsworn, untranscribed private testimony from White House officials is simply silly. On the issue of the Justice Department in particular just the last week has brought forth ample evidence of intent by administration officials to mislead Congress in sworn testimony, deceive the prosecutors in particular as to the reason for their dismissals and intimidate them if they testified to Congress, obstruct Congressional involvement in approving replacements, and general bad faith by the administration. With this record thus far into the fired prosecutor affair, compelling sworn on the record testimony by the administration is truly a no-brainer.

Adding spice to the mix, we have testimony that the FBI misused provisions of the Patriot act to illegally collect private information on Americans, and then lied about that in testimony before Congress when the Patriot act was up for re authorization. Yet the President thinks we should accept the unsworn, unrecorded, private testimony of his flunkies in order to get the truth? He must really think we are idiots to even make that proposal.

The "solution" offered by the administration can be summed up with the following. Congress and the American people should trust them. The President loudly proclaimed his desire to get the truth out, even as he proposed to stone wall, or have his henchmen tell their side in private, unsworn, and unrecorded. How is that telling the people exactly what happened? We are just supposed to trust them? Why?!

Beyond that, the White House has lost ALL credibility on just about any issue which can be considered. If I were a big proponent of the notion that the executive branch needed protections and more power in the constitutional balance of powers, I would not feel comfortable having the Bush administration be the champions of my cause. They have proven singularly untrustworthy, and a basic level of trust is implicit in arguing that one branch or the other be allowed to carry on with minimal oversight. Ironically, despite the administrations drive for more power to reside in the executive, their legacy may result in precisely the opposite outcome. After approving torture, rendition, unnecessary and disastrous war, proving incompetent on a massive scale and generally being secretive and obtuse... it is clear we need to rein in the executive, not allow them greater leeway.

The President seems intent on bringing about this confrontation over an issue on which it can be proven his administration has acted in bad faith, and decieved Congress. There are no issues of national secrecy involved. If this is the hand he chooses to play, I believe it will prove a loser for him, which actually means a win for America.

everything i'm reading - and i consider that to be a good thing - says we are at the moment of constitutional crisis, a moment i have been awaiting for almost six years... there have been many, many times when i believed we should have taken a stronger stand against the bush administration's efforts to create a totalitarian state, and i sincerely believe that many of those efforts could have succeeded with the proper leadership, leadership willing to step out and describe the ugly reality... now, here we are...

we also must not forget the fact that the bush administration laid out its plan BEFORE the november elections...

In fact, when it comes to deploying its Executive power, which is dear to Bush's understanding of the presidency, the President's team has been planning for what one strategist describes as "a cataclysmic fight to the death" over the balance between Congress and the White House if confronted with congressional subpoenas it deems inappropriate. The strategist says the Bush team is "going to assert that power, and they're going to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court on every issue, every time, no compromise, no discussion, no negotiation."
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