July 11, 2007

News review

Here are some news items that I found very interesting. Some of them didn't seem to attract the kind of attention I think they deserved. For example, when a sitting US Attorney writes a Denver Post oped entitled, Bush justice is a national disgrace, that strikes me as interesting. John S. Koppel begins strong:

As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.
The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.
And ends with a dare:
I realize that this constitutionally protected statement subjects me to a substantial risk of unlawful reprisal from extremely ruthless people who have repeatedly taken such action in the past. But I am confident that I am speaking on behalf of countless thousands of honorable public servants, at Justice and elsewhere, who take their responsibilities seriously and share these views. And some things must be said, whatever the risk.

Add to that the recent allegations about Gonzales:
In March, and again last month, the Justice Department's inspector general and internal FBI reviews found that the bureau repeatedly misused its Patriot-Act power to subpoena e-mail or financial records without court orders. But years before the reviews were completed -- and word of them became public -- Attorney General Gonzales knew that the abuses surrounding so-called National Security Letters existed. And yet this is what he told Congress on April 27, 2005: "There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse."
John Koppel couldn't be more right. And I still don't understand why congress doesn't go after impeaching Gonzales rather than trying to muster the political capital to drag out a lengthy affair against Bush or Cheney (even as Cheney's favorability falls to 13%). Impeach Gonzo and you then force Bush to appoint a real AG. Then watch Cheney run to his bunker with his man-safe.

So Bush and his people have been accused of the same thing that Clinton's detractors claimed--politicization of policy. Yet, it is clear that while Clinton might have edged that way, he didn't come close to the Bush/Cheney record. Who can forget his FDA nominees and the efforts to squelch climate change scientists. Yesterday, I read (and saw again this morning on Melissa Rogers) the story that former Surgeon General Richard Carmona--a Bush appointee, no less--is accusing the administration of politicizing medicine.
Former Bush surgeon general says he was muzzled:WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first U.S. surgeon general appointed by President George W. Bush accused the administration on Tuesday of political interference and muzzling him on key issues like embryonic stem cell research.

"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee.

"The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party," Carmona added.
None of this surprises me, and much like Colin Powell, I wonder where these people were in 2004 when we had a chance to nip this disaster. Where was Powell when the Swift Boaters went after Kerry? Where was Carmona when Bush was pandering to the religious right?

1 comment:

steve s said...

From the limited amount I know, I'd agree with Mr. Koppel. I wonder how much people (or most people) will put up with before they demand action or refuse to comply *.

One unfortunate aspect of partsisan bickering is that when there is a complaint, the other side will spin it by saying "they did it too," and "it is just the republicans/democrats attacking us." I htink that many people have a hard time seeing outside of their political ideology or are just willing to put up with some level of corruption because 'their' party is in power.