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Saturday, March 24, 2007

And The Beat Goes On...

It's over for Gonzo. Stick a fork in him; he's done. There is no way the president can protect him from this.

In what's become a typical late-Friday-night news dump, the Justice Department released documents confirming what those of us with an IQ over 50 already knew: that Alberto Gonzales was most certainly aware of the controversial US attorney firings, and approved them, despite his contrite and whiny statements of March 13 to the contrary.

"When you have 110,000 people working in the department obviously there are going to be decisions that I'm not aware of in real time. Many decisions are delegated," said Gonzo, who then proceeded to dump the entire ugly mess at the feet of flunkie du jour Karl Sampson. "...the charge for the chief of staff here was to drive this process and the mistake that occurred here was that information that he had was not shared with individuals within the department who was then going to be providing testimony and information to the Congress."

Mr. Sampson has agreed to testify-voluntarily-in front of Patrick Leahy's Judiciary Committee next week. Even if he had been inclined to tell some half-truths to protect the holders of the ideology, the chances that he will do so now appear much slimmer. He's already been thrown under the bus once. If I were him, I'd be asking about a berth in the witness protection program right about now, and testify from an "undisclosed location."

And all of this still begs the larger question: what the hell is going on here? Is George Bush really staking his presidency of the defense of the firing of these eight US attorneys? Why lie about something you insist is perfectly legal and customary? Why stretch credibility to the breaking point with noises about "executive privilege" in cases where it clearly doesn't exist? What are they trying to hide?

The parallells to Watergate are striking...a power drunk and vindictive president, a White House obsessed with secrecy and silencing critics, and a cover up that may yet dwarf the original crime ("It's not the act that kills you. It's the coverup; it's the lie.") At the center of it, two attorney generals driven more by loyalty to their benefactors than commitment to the public good. Mr. Gonzales, meet Mr. Ehrlichman...another former AG who will be happy to let you know how far loyalty goes among thieves:

"I went and lied and I'm paying the price for that lack of willpower. In effect, I abdicated my moral judgments and turned them over to somebody else."

Ehrlichman, of course, served 18 months for perjury.

Gonzo would do well to take heed...there's still time to avoid prison, if he acts now.

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