Encircled - U.S. politics • 16 July 2007 • The SnowBlog
Encircled - U.S. politics
Britain often emulates America. We copy its hottest ideas, though by the time they've crossed the Atlantic, many of them are barely luke warm. And we share many of its problems. Two hundred and fifty years ago, America was our provincial outpost; now we're its, and our attempts to emulate the U.S. often produce results that are small and a little bit pathetic compared with the original.
Of course, if the thing we're copying is a problem, then smaller is better. For instance, we've had an Attorney General who will deliberate over matters of law and then conclude whatever he was told to conclude. America has had an Attorney General who sees the Department of Justice as a sort of enforcement arm for the Republican Party. He's fired supposedly independent U.S. Attorneys who didn't follow Republican policy and hired others whose only qualification seems to be that they do. Of course he didn't do that on his own initiative, and now that the House of Representatives has a Democrat majority, a number of its members have the power to find out who was pulling his strings.
Well, they would have the power, but they've hit a little snag. Firstly, the President has dropped some pretty strong hints with his 'pardoning' of Scooter Libby, that he'll also pardon anyone else who gets into trouble protecting him. That's problem number one: there's little point in investigating people if convictions mean nothing. And of course the other problem is that it's the Department of Justice who'd prosecute anyone found to have behaved improperly - and they're the ones under investigation. So, whatever Congress uncovers, the DoJ won't necessarily take anyone to court and if they did the President has shown himself ready to step in and let them off the hook.
Bad enough, but the other farce that's going on is that witnesses aren't even turning up to testify. Why not? Well, to pick up on something that KatherineC commented about (click and scroll down), the President is claiming 'executive privilege' and extending it to anyone involved. Executive Privilege is a curtain of discretion for hiding sensitive matters from Congress - temporarily. In the past it's been used when divulging the details of exactly what the executive branch (= the White House) is up to would jeopardise delicate negotiations or reveal state secrets. Now President Bush is using it to derail the beginnings of a criminal enquiry. And what is particularly spectacular about this abuse is that he says the White House wasn't involved in the dodgy hiring and firing of U.S. Attorneys. That's to say, he's attempting to use a rule that allows him to hide the deliberations of the executive branch while simultaneously claiming that the executive branch weren't involved.
Who knows how it will turn out, but currently witnesses aren't turning up to testify because they've been told by the President that they're protected by Executive Privilege. When they fail to appear, the Department of Justice is hinting that it won't bother prosecuting them for contempt. And even if it did, the President has shown he's not afraid to pardon them.
All this goes, way, way beyond anything President Nixon ever did. It's actually so corrupt and barefaced you couldn't even make a movie about it because it wouldn't be believable.
The human race is facing catastrophe if we don't correct the changes we're causing to the climate - and the most influential country in the world is fomenting hate, disrupting international accord, starting wars - not to mention being run into the ground - by the most corrupt president in history. To my way of thinking, this is not ideal.