Monday, March 26, 2007

Dueling Branches: Good for America

Republican AG Alberto Gonzales: looking a bit like Kim Jong Il.
Democratic Congressman William Jefferson: caught with a supply of cold cash.
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When federal agents from the Executive branch raided the HQ of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisianna, Congressmen on both sides of the aisle cried foul and demanded that the evidence be buried. That evidence included $90,000 in cash found in Jefferson's freezer. The Legislative branch was outraged that the Executive branch would conduct such an investigation on the legislative branch.

Now it seems that some folks that AG Gonzales sent to talk to Congress were "less than honest" in their report to the legislators. Now Congress wants the next batch sent up under oath. The Executive branch is outraged that the Legislative branch would conduct such an investigation.

You can probably see where I am going with this, but for those curious on how this semi-rant plays out, click MONDAY below and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down....

3 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

So which of these branches is correct to investigate the other one for misconduct? They both are! It is better for this country that the branches of government be locked in a duel with one another than united in chumship to further seperate the people of this nation from their earnings and their liberties. Better that they should investigate one another than that they should wink at one another's wrong-doings.

The shame is not that the Bush administration investigated Jefferson, but that they caved in to Congress and agreed to bury the evidence for a while. Good grief, does the ruling class think they are above the tentacles of government investigation that us little people are subject too?

As for AG Gonzales and company, I can understand their discomfort. They are in an environment where guys like Scooter Libby are getting sent to prison for what might have been an honest memory lapse. But hey, they should have thought about that BEFORE they sent the folks to give misleading testimony to Congress. This time, Congress wants them under oath. Since they were misled last time, it's understandable.

President Bush can appoint whoever he wants to these jobs- Clinton replaced them all. Still, Clinton was in a pre-Patriot Act era where the advice and consent of Congress was still required. A little-noticed provision in the act now allows Bush to end-run them. They are upset and want to repeal that part of the act- it is just a pity they don't want to repeal the other parts of it. They only seem to want to repeal the part that steps on their toes, not the part that steps on our Constitution.

While President Bush can appoint whoever he wants, if it turns out that he appointed people with the understanding that they would use the position to "take out" potential opponents or bury the wrong-doings of friends, then I think it rises to the level of a high-crime. Did he do that? I don't think so, but I think it is healthy that Congress is asking.

There is the argument that advisors may not give frank advice to the President if they fear being hauled before the committee to testify under oath. I guess. If their "frank advice" is to use the apparatus of the state to persecute politcal enemies and cover-up the mis-deeds of friends, then I believe it is advice better left ungiven.

But what about second-guessing them on "torture". Well, for no extra charge I am going to give you my feelings on that. We should not torture anyone to get information for the purpose of validating our decisions on war, or our decision to capture and hold cetain people.

Civilized folks don't torture people to get information to make themselves look good, but civilized folks might need to use torture to defend civilization from a time-dependent threat. Example: If we had credible evidence there was a nuke on the way into a U.S. city, and we had a prisoner who had information we could use to stop it, as President I would have zero problem picking up the phone and calling Agent Jack Bauer so he could give the terrorist a taste of our new "kneed to know" policy.

While I am at it, no more fear of prison terms for soldiers in foreign combat zones for shooting the wrong guy in the heat of battle. As long as there was no other crime involved (such as rape or theft) the worst that could happen to you is an other-than-honorable-discharge. You can't fight any war with lawyers second-guessing your soldier's every move. If they shoot too quick, they are in prison. If they shoot too slow, they are dead. That is a terrible choice that our 20-somethings don't need to have hanging over them.

But I digress. My main point this evening is that Patriots should not be dismayed by the legislative branch going after the executive, nor should they be alarmed when the executive goes after the legislative. The Founders WANTED the three branches to check and balance one another. Our liberties are safer when they are scrutinizing one another than when they are working together to ignore each other's misdeeds and pass new laws restricting our freedom. My only beef is that the judiciary has not gotten its share of scrutiny.

7:26 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

PS- if the President thinks that some of them get wrongly convicted of perjury as a result of their testimony, I suppose he can pardon them as fast as Congress can indict them- but first he should pardon those two border patrol agents who are in prison for doing their jobs in a way that Mexico did not like.

7:41 PM, March 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The border patrol agents are in prison for doing their jobs in a way the Bush administration didn't like. The bp agent's prosecutor, Sutton, is an old Bush pal who prioritized this case.

You don't have to worry about Gonzales. Bush goes to the mat for his latino friends.

5:54 AM, March 27, 2007  

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