Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why No Oath?

I can only think of one reason for Bush to insist that his aides not be placed under oath when called to testify.

Lying is all they know how to do.

He says a constitutional showdown is in the offing. For the first time since he stole the presidency, I think Bush knows he's going to get impeached.

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Blogger les said...

I think you're spot on. And, yet again, I have to get a new irony meter. Listening to the man who has run the most politicized, partisan administration in history, trying to defend firing US Attorneys for political purposes, say that Congress is being partisan by insisting he tell the truth blew another one apart.

3/21/2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am certainly no fan of Bush - the war is a mess, the borders are a mess, spending is out of control, etc. - but not EVERYTHING he does smacks of conspiracy!
First off, testimony under oath is used for criminal investigations. While you may legitimately question Bush's competence, there is NOTHING ILLEGAL about firing staff members - so calling for testimony under oath is inappropriate in this case.
Plus, isn't it illegal to lie to congress, even without an official oath?
There is another perfectly reasonable reason not to testify under oath: once congress is allowed to call for official testimony on any of his presidential policy decisions, it sets a precedent for congress to subpoena executive officials for on any future presidential policy decisions.
Bush, like any sitting president, has the right to hire and fire his own staff without congressional approval - so sending Rove and others over is strictly a "courtesy". I, of course, am not trying to imply there is anything civil between these two branches - it is, like EVERYTHING in D.C., a political counter-move to diffuse what should be mostly a non-issue anyway.

3/21/2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger les said...

Anonymous, you're putting your conclusion in your assumptions. One of the points at issue is that we don't know if anything illegal went on in the firing, or if it's just sleazy partisanship. For example, if Carol Lam was fired to head off prosecution of more Repub. congresscritters or CIA types, that's obstruction of justice--a crime. Abu Gonzales looks like he, and his minions, lied to Congress; and Rove and Miers could well have evidence. Testimony under oath is not limited to criminal matters; and in criminal investigations, is not limited to the criminals. Finally, you beg the more fundamental question; if there were good, legal reasons for the firings, why do they refuse to share them in public, under oath?

3/21/2007 3:18 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Bravo, Les.

Someone I read today questioned how Bush can expect to have any benefit of any doubt whatsoever.

3/21/2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger les said...

For those interested, here's a quick summary from the guy who's led the reporting on this deal: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/013159.php

3/22/2007 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Les, I found your reasoning interesting in that it relies a great deal on supposition. "IF Carol Lam was fired to head off prosecution,that's...a crime", "Abu Gonzales LOOKS LIKE he...lied to Congress" (BTW, calling his staffers minions is a nice touch!), and "Rove and Miers COULD well HAVE evidence".

That point aside, on to your "fundimental question" of why not publically share the reasons for the firings - firings are part of a person's personnel record, not usually something to be publically disclosed - I'm no lawyer, but isn't that supposed to be kept private? Getting fired is bad enough - would you want the reasons for your dismissal hashed out in public? Besides, there is no benefit to putting it under oath - is it not still illegal to lie to congress?

Also, I found it interesting that you think that firing these individuals somehow protects other "Repub. congresscritters or CIA types" from prosecution. If there is a crime, then you don't need Bush to make them testify under oath - do it like any other crime and have ACTUAL EVIDENCE presented to a grand jury so real subpoenas can be issued to these guys. The assumption of guilt doesn't really get you far in our system of justice.

Finally, on to MY fundimantal question. It's not much of a stretch to see that you guys honestly do not care for Bush, but I believe you hurt your credibility when you refuse to cede ANYTHING positive to this president - so I dare Les or Dan to post one honest and legitimate kudo for Bush. This is a clear set-up for a cheap shot on him - can you resist it?

3/22/2007 1:05 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I have already posted kudos for Bush on those occasions where he deserved them. 2 that come to mind are that I praised him for appointing Jack Danforth as UN Ambassador, and I praised him for putting Benton on the federal bench. So, your apology will be accepted.

You still haven't explained why it's so hard for Bushes lackies (since you apparently don't like the word minions) to take an oath and tell the truth. Yes, lying to Congress is a crime (as Abu Gonzales may soon find out), but, without a transcript, it is much harder to prove.

You are correct that Les makes a few hypothetical comments - isn't it sad that we are all forced to ask such questions without knowing the answers, because Bush is struggling so mightily to suppress the truth?? Wouldn't it be a whole lot better if they put their hand on the Bible and spoke the truth? Is that so hard?

3/22/2007 2:00 PM  
Blogger les said...

"Les, I found your reasoning interesting in that it relies a great deal on supposition. "IF Carol Lam was fired to head off prosecution,that's...a crime", "Abu Gonzales LOOKS LIKE he...lied to Congress" (BTW, calling his staffers minions is a nice touch!), and "Rove and Miers COULD well HAVE evidence"."

I'm glad to see you got my point; The purpose of an investigation is to get from supposition/suspicion to answers. A good vehicle for that trip is testimony under oath.

As to the reputations of the fired--are you serious? It's Bush and the DOJ that are running out excuses by the minute, trying to paint the USAs as incompetent; and the evidence contradicts them at almost every point. The only fired USA with a serious record of incompetence and bad performance was the Northern Cal. guy; and the only reason he wound up on the list was because a Fed. judge threatened to publish his performance reviews. He was to be retained per DOJ, as he was a loyal Bushie. Point: left to their own devices, these people are not honest. Put'em under oath.

Your 3rd assertion: are you naive, or just ignorant? Read what these USAs, and particularly Lam, were doing. Read what DOJ, the White House and Repub politicos were leaning on them to do, particularly in New Mexico and Washington State. And then check out the Constitution. It's called checks and balances; Congress has oversight authority and obligations; if you seriously think DOJ will file suit in Federal court against itself or the Admin., I don't know what to say. I'm not even sure there's a mechanism. The administration clearly appears, through pressure and intimidation, to be dictating what USAs prosecute and don't. You apparently are comfortable with that. Sucks to be you.

Finally, whether I think Bush ever did anything right is irrelevant to the facts and argument. If it helps you feel sorry for him and argue he should continue to pervert the US justice system, swell. In over 2 months since the firings, the administration has been unable to articulate a reason for them that makes the least kind of sense, and what they offer contradicts their own records, awards, history and previous statements. DOJ personnel have at best misled Congress about the process. The staffer who introduced the end run around Senate confirmation of USAs, as part of "anti-terror" legislation and allegedly without the knowledge of its Senate sponsor is now a USA in Chicago. Their actions leave us wondering about the fairness and probity of the USAs who were not fired.

I submit that none of the forgoing is affected by my general belief as to the limited possibility that GWB ever made a situation he touched better for anyone but himself and his buddies.

3/22/2007 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/22/2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, please be so kind as to remove my last posting. I need to refine it! You, of course are welcome to peruse it (like I can stop you - HA)
Thanks - ANON

3/22/2007 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As often happens, expediancy in "going after" a political enemy seems to be trumping common sense.

The over-riding issue here is NOT whether anyone has lied or will lie. That can and will sort itself out, but within certain parameters. All courts, and investigations, have such parameters for a reason!

The over-riding parameter here, and the more worthy discussion of debate, is whether presidential advisors should be forced to testify at the discretion of political enemies. How can ANY president get unfettered, unbiased advice from advisors if they MAY be forced to tetify about that ADVICE? Such a scenario would cause most advisors to withhold advice where it could be a helpful part of a discussion.

Now, if it were already PROVED that something illegal happened, than finding out how it happend becomes important. But, as was pointed out earlier, there is no charge of illegality here at all, much less proof of its existance. Only a political fishing expedition.

By the way, district attornies ARE political appointees and have been treated as such by all presidents. Stop making believe otherwise and you may see that the issue is bigger than party politics.

3/27/2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI - I'm the original anon, and the previous comment is by a new anonymous. Glad to see I'm not alone in my view! I still want to answer Dan and Les when I get two minutes to rub together.

3/27/2007 12:51 PM  
Anonymous STL-anonymous said...

Original Anon again -

Dan, I am new to blogging and I regret that I didn't research your site enough to find the instances that you praised Bush. You gave 2 examples - could you reference the links - I'd like to read them.
Anyway, I do apologize (thanks for accepting it, in advance!) for my presumption and subsequent challenge - you are an honorable man (no sarcasm intended here).

I previously answered your second paragraph asking "why" not testify: clearly it set's an destructive precident where congress can expect to question every executive policy decision, demanding sworn testimony. That's a little more than the standard "checks and balances" - otherwise the constitution that Les invokes would already have provisions to force this testimony regardless of presidential direction or approval.

As to the transcript, there IS one - it's just not open to the public for use as fodder on blogs, etc. The important thing is that, regardless of any oath taking, these issues WILL get addressed by a biparticin committee with each member getting a voice. Then, each of them will be free to disclose their own observations and conclusions, as they see fit. That is unless you do not trust the Democratic members of that committee (11, I think?) to adequately address your concerns? Plus, the transcript will always be there if criminal procedings ever do come into play.

Now Les is not so generous as you Dan - and he says his opinions of Bush are irrelevant to this case, anyway. If his intent is to convince those whom may not already agree with his view, his message will be more credible if they believe he has interpreted and presented the facts in an honest and unbiased way. Even in a court case, the credibility of the witness often overwhelms their actual testimony.

Of course Les still could not resist pointing out in his final paragraph that he CAN'T find even as little as Dan's 2 kudos to offer! I rest me case on that point - which was about 90% of the reason I posted at all.

As to the "reputations" of the fired guys- I don't really care about that. If you are asking why not make it public, the answer still stands that public disclosure of employment records is not something that should be entered into unless necessary - and that necessity is up to the inquirer to supply. If congress could do that, they wouldn't need Bush's help.

As far as Les's desire to "get from supposition/suspicion to answers. A good vehicle for that trip is testimony under oath", it's not really very American to assume guilt and then force them to testify under oath to proove otherwise - and it sounds too much like a fishing expedition.

By his reconing, I am just naive or ignorant (it's always a good sign when you stoop to name calling). I suppose it's true, I must be somewhat ignorant – I wasn’t familiar with the term USA as he applied it (I’ve since looked it up) - but if there IS something illegal and the only way to get to the bottom of it is for the president to direct testimony to prove it, then maybe I'm not so naive as you are cynical? It must be awesome to be you!

Oh, and it doesn't really suck too bad to be me, but thanks for your sympathy - you are too kind (sarcasm definately intended here.) What a clever and classy way to say “you suck!”

For both of you (mostly Dan - I think we know where Les lives) pile on if you must, I already told you that I think Bush has made, and continues to make tons of mistakes! I just wanted to offer you a constructive criticism on your posts: you may find your bashing more convincing if you had a more balanced tone. I’m curious (but not enough to do the research, though), how many times in the life of your blog have you had positive posts for Bush? I’ll put my neck back out and venture that it’s a pretty small number.

For the record - I hope the truth all comes out, and the guilty (or virtuous) get what's coming to them. I'm just not convinced that this is the proper means to that end, that's all. Thanks.

3/27/2007 3:19 PM  

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