March 22, 2007

White House opts for stonewall tactics

A few thoughts on the firing of the U.S. attorneys and the effort for congress to actually ask the people involved to provide the truth.

I ask readers to help me with a couple questions.

As you likely know, Bush recently brought in Fred Fielding, the very same Fred Fielding who as assistant White House counsel to Richard Nixon tried to protect that corrupt administration from investigation by stonewalling and invoking "executive priveledge, a previously unheard of claim.

In anticipation of the end of the Republican protection racket that ensured that the congress turned a blind eye to anything the White House or administration did, no matter how egregious or illegal or unethical, Fielding has been brought in by Bush to aid in their Nixonian stonewalling of congress.

Fielding announced yesterday the terms under which the White House would allow White House and Justice Dept. staff including Karl Rove and Bush attorney Harriett Miers and a key witness, the recently resigned Kyle Sampson, Gonzalez's chief of staff, who is rumored to be willing to talk, would allow congress to question them.

Under the White House terms, congressmen could only question them in a a private meeting, utterly off the record, not under oath, and no transcripts and notes would be allowed. As Rep. John Conyers scoffed, "We could meet at the local pub."

First, leaving aside whether the testimony should be in public or not, WHY would anyone refuse to testify under oath or, odder still, refuse to allow transcripts to be taken? What possible reason would the White House essentially reserve the right of these people to lie to congress without penalty, and for there to be no record whatsoever of their testimony? Help me out here.

Secondly, during a train-wreck of a press-conference for former Fox News flack Tony Snow (who railed against condemened the invocation of "executive priveledge" when it was invoked by the Clinton White House.) Snow was repeatedly asked whether Bush was consulted or whether he conferred about the matter of firing U.S. Attorneys.

Snow flatly said that Bush at no time was consulted by anyone. In other words, he didn't have a thing to do with it, no one ever brought it up to him, and he was completely out of the loop.


Now move ahead to the reasoning put forward yesterday by the White House and Bush himself for invoking "executive privelige" and refusing to allow Rove, et. al. to provide sworn testimony before congress.

The reason, they said plainly, was that allowing such testimony would have a "chilling" effect on the ability of the president's close aides to give him honest and unvarnished advise and counsel. In other words, the president's aides simply must feel free to speak freely without the threat that they'll be hauled before congressional committees every other week.

The merits of that argument can be argued.

But here's my second question.

Bush was completely "out of the loop" on this matter. No one every spoke a word about it to him and he had zero imput on it. No aides or anyone ever discussed it with him.

They say that Rove et. al. will not testify because it would preclude them speaking freely to the president.

How do those two notions make any sense whatsoever?

If they never discussed this matter or anything about it with Bush, then how can they simultaneously argue that demanding that aides testify, aides who they say never talked to Bush, would damage the communication between Bush and his staff?

It simply makes no sense.

If it does, please explain it to me.


At 3/22/2007 1:00 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

The only thing you have said that seems to ring true is that "Bush is totally out of the loop" on the matter.

Bush only knows what he is told and only repeats what is written for the buffoon.....

What a disgrace.

At 3/22/2007 2:36 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

Of course the stonewalling makes no sense. I just hope that the remaining people who have been willing to give this crowd the benefit of the doubt can see that they are being denied answers they have a right to.

At 3/23/2007 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In June, 2006, Diane Feistein wrote a letter to Gonzo, asking for the dismissal of (San Diego) attorney Carol Lam.

Now that this has been done, she is leading the charge against the Administration!

Hypocricy at its finest!

At 3/23/2007 10:29 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Until you provide a source for that dubious assertion, I assume it's a lie.

I could find no mention of it anywhere.

If you're going to make a charge like that, at least provide a source.

And no matter WHAT Feinstein or any other Dem does, they'll never come close to the level of rank hypocrisy that the Republicans have made into their way of life.

NO ONE can touch the right wing in the hypocrisy department.

At 3/23/2007 11:30 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

I think I love you.

At 3/23/2007 11:55 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Liz, let me know when you're sure. ;-)

At 3/24/2007 1:34 AM, Blogger Scott said...

It is not the fact that they were fired. It is not the fact that fact that the Bush administration handled the situation terribly. It is the fact that the Attorney General lied to the United States Senate. When asked if he would ever remove US Attorneys for political reasons, he said no. "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. I just would not do it." (Gonzales, Jan 28, 2006)

I seem to remember a person in higher office being impeached for a much smaller lie.

At 3/24/2007 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to broaden your scope of viewing to more than CNN. O'Reily produced the letter, the content, the date - if it were a lie, I suspect that he would have a lawsuit on his hand.

So, now that you know that Feinstein got what she asked for - will you accept her hypocricy (and that of the Dem's in general), or do you wish to simply deflect, by saying, "talk about hypocricy, how about..."

Bob, weave, deflect - do what you will, but Feinstein begged for the dismissal of Lam - and got it. Now, she points a finger saying it 'was political!'

At 3/24/2007 7:16 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

HA!! You're a flippin' riot!

Let me get this straight... you're saying that because O'Lielly said it, it must be true? HA! Oh man, I'm gonna bust a stitch!

That's rich.

It's a lie. Face it.

And I suggest you try to get your news from credible news organizations.

The only thing reported about Feinstein and the U.S. attorney was that she at one point complained about the attorney not having the correct guidelines about some issue or other.

Feinstein most definitely never called for her to be fired.

It's been scientifically documented that people who get their "news" from Fox are far more misguided and ignorant than others.

Hell, you probably still think Sadaam plotted 9-11 if you believe what you hear on Fox.

You crack me up!

In the future, don't bother citing Bill O'Reilly for anything unless you can also find a more credible source to back it up.

At 3/25/2007 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU should try and write about things that people actually care about. Get back to work and do a better job!

At 3/25/2007 3:22 PM, Blogger illinidem said...

I think the events of the last few days reinforce the need for testimony under oath with a transcript. Gonzales’ claim that he had no meetings or specific discussion regarding the dismissals is seriously brought into question in light of the document dump from last week. On Meet the Press even Orrin Hatch could not bring himself to back the administrations call for off the record closed door discussions. In fact Sen. Hatch had a good reason for there being a transcript. His reason was that it eliminates relying only on people’s memory in terms of what was discussed at a hearing.

Ultimately, this is the modus operandi of this administration. They lie, then dissemble long enough that they count on fatigue setting in before you get to the truth. Lately, the newest scandal has come up before the first one can be resolved. There has to be a serious back log of hearings waiting to happen to resolve the lies that have already been told.

At 3/26/2007 1:56 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Illini, you raise a very crucial factor in this. You're indeed very correct in noting the "scandal fatigue" that has been in effect ever since early in the Bush era. There are so many scandals, both large and small, and being exposed on such a regular basis, that both the press and the public rarely get a chance to have it presented to them, and if so, it's only a small piece on page D-14 or something.

It's so overwhelming that it rarely gets traction. But it also has the effect of, to paraphrase a favorite meme of the right, "dumbing scandal down".

In other words, what would have elicited absolute howls for impeachment if these things had happened under Clinton now rate barely a ripple.

There have been so many radical and unethical, immoral, and un-constitutional measures taken behind the scenes in various government agencies and the capital and White House that they simply blur together, and opponents can't grasp onto one and try to deal with it before 5 more come down the pike.

Now, when Dems are no longer shut out and shut down completely by unprecidented partisanship that's been practiced these past 6 years, a steady stream of revelations is inevitable. The corporate shills who ran the country will increasingly be revealed.

Just yesterday a woman in the Justice Dept. revealed that the top staff in D.C. ordered her to pull back on a settlement against the tobacco industry, dictated word for word what her closing argument was to be, and cut the damages awarded from hundreds of millions of dollars, which would all end up in the treasury, to ten million. They also ordered that an executive be let off and other things to let the tobacco corporations off with barely a slap on the wrist.

She's since resigned in disgust.

This is a case of the GOVERNMENT directly interfering with it's own Justice Dept. in order to fix a trial in behalf of a corporate interest.

In the Gonzalez case, they yanked the U.S. Attorney in California who had convicted Randy "Duke" Cunningham when she appeared on the brink of revealing more graft and corruption involving corruption and Defense contractors.

And there will definitely be more to come as an effort is made to put things right again.


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