Saturday :: Jan 21, 2006

Conyer’s Forum on WH Spying


by Marie

It was very interesting. The panelists left no doubt that the WH has engaged in crimes, the illegal spying by Bu$hCo is extensive and the WH legal justification for these activities is ludicrous. The forum was not in the least comforting to those that appreciate that we are in the midst of a Constitutional crisis. GWB can break laws, vow to continue breaking them, and it’s highly unlikely that he can be stopped.

The Republican Party has become superior to the Constitution. We saw glimpses of this in the 1990’s. Congress is supposed to keep a watch on the activities of the Executive. Investigate and hold hearing whenever some suspicious activity appears.

Since Clinton WH didn’t give them anything to work with, the Republican Congress made cynical use of the Independent Prosecutor statute. Sent him off on a fishing expedition into a twenty year old, questionable, possibly sleazy, investment in land by citizens Clinton. (By this standard, GWB’s activities in Arbusto, Harken and the Texas Rangers should also be subjected to the same investigative effort.) Finding no there, there, Starr then collaborated with those that had filed a suit without merit against citizen Bill Clinton and set up a perjury trap for him.

If there is one thing that most Americans don’t like, it’s entrapment. That combined with the fact that the perjury had nothing to do with Clinton’s official acts made it easy for a majority of Americans to see that he had committed a misdemeanor but difficult for them to see that it rose to the impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In a fully functioning government and healthy national political environment, the House would have declined to issue articles of impeachment and Clinton would have resigned. (Democrats should not have been put in the position of having to defend Clinton’s adultery and public lie about it.) The most obvious clue that the GOP had gone completely mad, that they owed their allegiance to the GOP and not the Constitution, was when they began screaming that impeaching Clinton was payback for Nixon. As if Nixon had not committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” and that Congress was not duty bound to act in that situation.

Contrary to the current myth, there weren’t any Congressional GOP heroes during Watergate. Most did their best to protect Nixon and only minimally performed their Constitutional duties. Had the GOP controlled the House or Senate, Nixon would likely have survived. (I’m not so sure that the GOP would have fared as well with the public.) Politicizing protection of the Constitution and Congressional oversight has damaged our system of democracy more than anything else. The GOP drove this bus, but by failing to act vigorously against the misdeeds and corruption of Democrats, the Democrats didn’t exhibit anything different. Since the GOP is much better at marketing, Democrats got the lion’s share of blame for politicizing Congress and failing to protect government from corruption. (The Independent Prosecutor against Henry Cisneros issued his final report a few days ago. The legal case against him was closed in 1999 when he pled guilty to one misdemeanor and paid a fine. Twenty-one million dollars were spent on this decade long investigation that turned up nothing more than lying about a mistress. Gotta love those fiscally responsible Republicans.)

Conyer’s is pessimistic about the House opening hearing into the WH spying and not optimistic that the hearings in the Senate will lead to appropriate Congressional activity. Gonzales isn’t going to appoint an Independent Counsel. It remains to be seen if the public will continue to blow it off the same way they have dealt with the Downing Street Memo (and all the other evidence that Bu$hCo lied us into war), Abu Ghraib and FEMA’s total incompetence after Katrina. They might not. The Medicare prescription plan disaster and Abramoff, Inc. might be the tipping point. Just enough for them also to become outraged about being illegally spied on. Then again, scandal fatigue could set in and they could instead exhibit learned helplessness.

One very good thing came from Conyer’s forum. Everyone engaged in this illegal spying was put on notice that the statute of limitations extends beyond 2008. That from this point forward, they will be less able to claim that they were only following orders. Norquist and the GOP may believe that they will remain in power for the next forty years. Banking on the GOP and Rove to retain power and protect me from the long arm of the law wouldn’t be a bet I would take. Then again, I’m not a Republican.

Marie :: 10:23 AM :: Comments (31) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!