"The city of Washington was built on a stagnant swamp some 200 years ago, and very little has changed. It stank then, and it stinks now. Only today, it is the fetid stench of corruption that hangs in the air." - Lisa Simpson in "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"
On this Memorial Day, the traditional media will focus on the war in Iraq and the senseless sacrifice of our brave and honorable soldiers there. And it would be trite on this day to impune their mission. Suffice to say, that the democracy they are defending has been blighted and dishonored with cronyism and politicization of our laws by those charged with faithfully executing them.
I am refering to the recent scandal at the Justice Department where a number of federal prosecuters are alleged to have been fired for political reasons. While dismissals of appointments have in the past been matters of scandal (Andrew Johnson's impeachment), and the whole of the executive staff "serves at the pleasure of the President," there is no precedent for firing US Attorneys in the middle of a term. This makes the motives important. Throughout the last two months top officials from Justice have been called to testify in front of Congress. At question is: what was the reason for the firings, and who made the decisions?
Those questions are straightforward and can probably be pieced together from the recent memories of the Justice officials and their emails and memos. Except the Attorney General, a brilliant lawyer and career bureaucrat, had trouble remembering who was involved in the decisions, but was pretty sure it wasnt him. It may have been his Deputy AG Paul McNulty or Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson. Was the White House involved? Its tough to tell. The White House Liaison, Monica Goodling, a vivacious blonde and graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School, could not recall what she told the White House political staff, and in particular, then White House Counsel Harriet Miers, about the potential dismissals. Likely she did not want to perjure herself, as any practiced lawyer giving testimony would...except she's not. Right after graduating law school she took a job slinging mud for Bush's campaign and then moved up through the press office to the executive office, to Justice. I digress. Goodling was granted immunity for her testimony where she subsequently admitted to "crossing a line" with respect to the civil service rules.
Thats as close as the buck comes to stopping these days. A truly disturbing anecdote was relayed through former Deputy Attorney General James Comey in one of his testimonies before Congress. Comey was the acting AG when John Ashcroft was hospitalized for cancer treatment. Apparently, the White House needed certification of their NSA domestic wiretapping program by the Attorney General. Comey had refused, seeing it as unconstitutional. So then-Chief of Staff Andy Card and then-White House Counsel paid a visit to Ashcroft's hospital to get his certification on the program, which was thwarted by Comey's intervention.
You cant make this $h!t up! This is the most Machiavellian administration in history. Setting aside Bush and Cheney's relationship to the military contractors and oil companies that have profited enormously from the war and geo-political events set into motion by the administration, its apparent they have a "give a f@%#" attitude to the Constitution, Congress, and the American people at large. You have to wonder how history will judge this time in American history where our duties to future generations environmental well-being were tossed aside, and our international reputation tarnished hopefully not irrevocably. But as Bush said to Bob Woodward: "History. We dont know. We'll all be dead."
Happy Memorial Day. Ill put up some happier links and ideas in the next few days.