S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, March 16, 2007

When the truth would do better

Once upon a time . . . we have all heard and told the classic children's stories. By the end of some of these old favorites, all the characters have lost faith in what they are hearing about lies and the truth. And always, the moral of the story is that telling the truth works better than telling a lie.
Our current president (OCP) and members of his administration, may never learn these lessons. The American people were not told the truth about the 2000 presidential election results, about the actual reasons for going to war in Iraq - and the cost of that war, about the imperial presidency's machinations outside the law, about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, about the outpatient care of wounded warriors and veterans, about the FBI's assurance of citizen civil liberties protections, or about the reasons for the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
The truth is that all U.S. attorneys are political appointees. They serve at the pleasure of OCP. He does not have to have justification for replacing any of them, nor does he have to tell them the reason they were let go. As a matter of fact, all of the 8 attorneys were going to quietly resume their lives without any public complaint, until certain members of the Bush administration began to lie about the circumstances of the firings. They should have said it was purely political, taken what would have been short-lived criticism, and we all would not still be talking about it. If loyalty to the president was the main criteria, then they should have been honest about that, with the attorneys and with the public. The problem with such a revelation, however, is that it would call into question whether all citizens could get even-handed justice in such a biased system.
The list grows longer - David Johnson and Eric Lupton, writing on 3/16 for the New York Times, revealed that Karl Rove is also linked to the Justice Department's U.S. Attorney scandal, in ways that were not clearly known in the recent past. To quote,
. . . Mr. Rove and Mr. Gonzales, then the White House counsel, had considered replacing prosecutors earlier than either has previously acknowledged. . . D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned this week as chief of staff to Mr. Gonzales,
. . . The White House had said earlier this week that Harriet E. Miers, who succeeded Mr. Gonzales as White House counsel, initiated the idea in early 2005 of replacing all the prosecutors.
Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said again Thursday that Ms. Miers had first proposed the dismissals, but Mr. Snow acknowledged in an interview that the e-mail shifted the time line earlier than the White House had previously said.
. . . “I think the attorney general is going to have to explain himself because this has cast a cloud over the department,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, before the latest disclosures. “How much is justified? I don’t know. But it has cast a cloud there.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating. The Chairman and the committee have issued subpoenas to several Justice Department officials, according to the NYT:
By voice vote, the panel approved subpoenas for D. Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; Michael Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty; Monica Goodling, Mr. Gonzales’s senior deputy; Bill Mercer, the associate attorney general, and Mike Battle, who is stepping down as head of the office that oversees the 93 United States attorneys across the country.

A lie's best friend is the secret. Future posts will focus on this issue. In the meantime The U.S. House passed three bills last week dealing with the administration's penchant for unnecessary secrecy. The headline is, "House Passes Open-Government Bills;" the story is by Elizabeth Williamson and Jonathan Weisman at the Washington Post. To quote,
In a bipartisan confrontation with the White House over executive branch secrecy, the House ignored a stern veto threat and overwhelmingly passed a package of open-government bills yesterday that would roll back administration efforts to shield its workings from public view.

Reference list:
  • - excellent resource
  • Quote DB - Truth & Lies - many classic quotes on the general subject of truth
  • Bush Watch - big flashy website with all you ever wanted to know and probably more than you want to know
  • Truth or - an edgy site in red and black, not as overwhelming as "BushWatch"
  • Truth about War - archival, before the war started. After it started the webmaster gave up.

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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about the mountains.

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