|Wouldn’t you love to be on the cover of a magazine? Healthy skin, perfect teeth, designed to hide what lies beneath. -- Pedro the Lion|
It's been a while since I've complained about the Bush Administration. Frankly, those guys have worn me out. Really, who's got the time to keep up with the scandals pouring out of the White House these days? From another secret memo detailing Bush's determination to go to war with or without WMDs to the revelation that Bush OKed the leaking of a CIA agent’s identity to today's report of Bush lying about biological weapons found in Iraq, it doesn’t rain with these guys. It monsoons.
Greg Palast has some insightful commentary on Bush’s latest batch of felonies:
'Scooter' Libby finally outed 'Mr. Big,' the perpetrator of the heinous disclosure of the name of secret agent Valerie Plame. It was the President of United States himself -- in conspiracy with his Vice-President. None of this is surprising, really. Bush has a long history of deceit and criminal behaviour. Jesus may be Bush's favourite philosopher, but Bush sure hasn’t made much progress in putting philosophy into action.
Now the pundits are arguing over whether our war-a-holic President had the legal right to leak this national security information. But, that's a fake debate meant to distract you.
OK, let's accept the White House alibi that releasing Plame's identity was no crime. But if that's true, they've committed a BIGGER crime: Bush and Cheney knowingly withheld vital information from a grand jury investigation, a multimillion dollar inquiry the perps themselves authorized. That's akin to calling in a false fire alarm or calling the cops for a burglary that never happened -- but far, far worse. Let's not forget that in the hunt for the perpetrator of this non-crime, reporter Judith Miller went to jail.
Think about that. While Miller sat in a prison cell, Bush and Cheney were laughing their sick heads off, knowing the grand jury testimony, the special prosecutor's subpoenas and the FBI's terrorizing newsrooms were nothing but fake props in Bush's elaborate charade, Cheney's Big Con.
On February 10, 2004, our not-so-dumb-as-he-sounds President stated, "Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing. ...And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it."
Notice Bush's cleverly crafted words. He says he can't name anyone who leaked this "classified" info -- knowing full well he'd de-classified it. Far from letting Bush off the hook, it worsens the crime. For years, I worked as a government investigator and, let me tell you, Bush and Cheney withholding material information from the grand jury is a felony. Several felonies, actually: abuse of legal process, fraud, racketeering and, that old standby, obstruction of justice.
If you or I had manipulated the legal system this way, we'd be breaking rocks on a chain gang. We wouldn't even get a trial -- most judges would consider this a "fraud upon the court" and send us to the slammer in minutes using the bench's power to administer instant punishment for contempt of the judicial system.
Statements aimed at misleading grand jury investigators are hard-time offenses. It doesn't matter that Bush's too-clever little quip was made to the press and not under oath. I've cited press releases and comments in the New York Times in court as evidence of fraud. By not swearing to his disingenuous statement, Bush gets off the perjury hook, but he committed a crime nonetheless, "deliberate concealment."
Here's how the law works (and hopefully, it will). The Bush gang's use of the telephone in this con game constituted wire fraud. Furthermore, while presidents may leak ("declassify") intelligence information, they may not obstruct justice; that is, send a grand jury on a wild goose chase. Under the 'RICO' statute (named after the Edward G. Robinson movie mobster, 'Little Rico'), the combination of these crimes makes the Bush executive branch a "racketeering enterprise."
What does continue to surprise, though, is how many Christians continue to overlook these things. Apparently all of Bush’s crimes didn’t really happen. Or maybe they just aren’t that important when there are still big scary Terrorists™ on the loose. Or maybe it’s just that these Christians perceive Bush’s sins to be not as bad as the sins of others.
Whatever the reasoning, the result is that all this cheapens the very faith these Christians think they are defending. It’s hard to take the faith of the faithful seriously when repeated lies and multiple felonies go unchallenged, but an extramarital blowjob does not. After all, it will be the prostitutes who enter the kingdom ahead of the Pharisees.