Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is it Time to Impeach the President?

As reported today, President Bush has full confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:
"April 24 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said he's confident that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did ``nothing wrong'' in the firings of eight federal prosecutors and said Iraq's leader is meeting U.S. expectations.

``Al could've done a better job and his department could've done a better job of just explaining why we did what we did,'' Bush said in an interview in New York today on PBS television's ``Charlie Rose'' show. ``Instead we've got hearings and testimonies based on something that was perfectly legal.''

Gonzales testified April 19 before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain the circumstances behind the firing of the federal prosecutors. Bush has brushed aside calls from Democrats and some Republicans for Gonzales to resign over the dismissals, a stance he reasserted today.

``I've got confidence in Al,'' Bush said. ``He's caught up in Washington right now; it's what happens in that town a lot -- there's a lot of politics.'"

But this wasn't just "a lot of politics". This was lying. It is often not the act that gets the criminal--it is the lies and obfuscation that catches felons.
As Adam Cohen reported in the New York Times last week, some of the crimes that may have been committed include:
1. Misrepresentations to Congress. The relevant provision, 18 U.S.C. 3/5sctmark1 4/5 1505, is very broad. It is illegal to lie to Congress, and also to ''impede'' it in getting information. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty indicated to Congress that the White House's involvement in firing the United States attorneys was minimal, something that Justice Department e-mail messages suggest to be untrue.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made his own dubious assertion to Congress: ''I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons.''

The administration appears to be trying to place all of the blame on Mr. Gonzales's chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, who resigned after reportedly failing to inform top Justice Department officials about the White House's role in the firings. If Mr. Sampson withheld the information from Mr. McNulty, who then misled Congress, Mr. Sampson may have violated 3/5sctmark1 4/5 1505.

But Mr. Sampson's lawyer now says other top Justice Department officials knew of the White House's role. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, said last week that ''Kyle Sampson will not be the next Scooter Libby, the next fall guy.'' Congress will be looking for evidence that Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty knew that what they told Congress was false or misleading.

Convictions of this kind are not common, but they happen. Just ask former White House aide David Safavian, who was convicted last year of making false statements to a Senate committee.

How does this affect President Bush?

It was James Madison himself who argued about the basis of impeaching the President:

As noted in this 1974 Judiciary Committee Report on the heels of the Watergate fiasco:

"Madison argued during the debate that the president would be subject to impeachment for "the wanton removal of meritorious officers."71 He also contended that the power of the President unilaterally to remove subordinates was "absolutely necessary" because "it will make him in a peculiar manner, responsible for [the] conduct" of executive officers. It would, Madison said,

subject him to impeachment himself, if he suffers them to perpetrate with impunity high crimes or misdemeanors against the United States, or neglects to superintend their conduct, so as to check their excesses.72"
In another comment in the report, the political firing of the U.S. Attorneys also is brought to mind:
"If, said Baldwin, the President "in a fit of passion" removed" all the good officers of the Government" and the Senate were unable to choose qualified successors, the consequence would be that the President "would be obliged to do the duties himself; or, if he did not, we would impeach him, and turn him out of office, as he had done others."75
Whether Gonzales had the right to let the U.S. Attorneys go or not is no longer the only question this President needs to answer. It is his attempt to protect and shelter an Attorney General who has lied to Congress, denied knowledge of events, and has obstructed the very Justice he was sworn to protect.

Nothing surprises me anymore.


Monday, April 16, 2007

John Kerry for President in 2008!

It has been reported that Senator Kerry is still leaving the door open for 2008.

Senator Kerry has always been ready to serve his country. As the news story reports:

The 2004 Democratic nominee told a crowd of more than 250 at the Tattered Cover bookstore in lower downtown Denver that he had no desire to endorse any candidate for the office right now, choosing to wait to see how they addressed the issue of global warming.

Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are finishing up a nationwide tour to promote their book, "This Moment on Earth," which highlights successful efforts at the local level to better the environment.

Afterwards, while answering a question from a viewer on the program YOUR SHOW about why he chose not to run, Kerry said he had decided it wasn't the right time.

"Could that change?" Kerry said. "It might. It may change over years. It may change over months. I can't tell you, but I've said very clearly I don't consider myself out of it forever."

Our nation desperately needs new leadership. And Senator Kerry is up to the challenge. He is right on the Environment. He is right on Iraq. He is right on Education, Veterans Benefits, and simply the need to restore this nation to the path our Founding Fathers intended. A nation based on laws, that respects International Treaties, works with our Allies, and does not start wars based on lies and distortions.

We have your back Senator!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Republicans Live in a Parallel Universe

Cross-Posted on The Democratic Daily:

Why is it not surprising that the White House is now embroiled in an email controversy over an entirely different set of email accounts run by the Republican National Committee for members of this Administration? A parallel email system to the authorized White House email system.

The Republicans live in a Parallel Universe.

They live in a world where they won the 2000 and 2004 elections. Where election fraud means people voting more than once rather than the thousands of voters suppressed in Florida, Ohio and elsewhere.

They live in a world where the insurgents are in their “last throes” and it is moral to rewrite global warming data to show that there is not a threat to our planet.

Freedom of Speech means not being able to say “Polar Bears” at international conferences.

For them torture is just a “little dip” instead of the horror the rest of us see.

The President lives in a world where Congress doesn’t really matter; signing statements can over-ride anything they pass anyhow.

The Geneva Conventions don’t really matter in their world; they are “quaint”.

To lower the deficit in their world you cut taxes and raise spending. Their new math only works in Washington.

To bring the soldiers home it is necessary to send more to war.

No child left behind means cutting funds for Public Education.

Regulating industry means appointing lobbyists to responsible positions.

Supporting the troops means not providing them with body honor or adequate veteran’s benefits, research for traumatic brain syndrome, or even paying for adequate maintenance at Walter Reed.

“Doing a Great Job” means Katrina.

Pharmacy benefits means not negotiating for drug discounts for Seniors.

Free trade means not allowing re-importation of drugs from Canada.

Addressing the Social Security Fund short-fall means diverting funds to private accounts.

National Security means revealing CIA Agents.

Reducing our dependence on imported oil means not raising mileage standards on automobiles.

So why am I not surprised that they should have their own email accounts at the White House? Our laws don’t apply to them…they are in a parallel universe not connected to our reality. But then, we are just reality-based Americans after all.