Thursday, March 22, 2007

Who wrote this abstract ?

House Panel Authorizes Subpoenas of Officials
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Subpoenas serve as an act of defiance, coming less than 24 hours after Bush vowed to battle to shield his staff from public testimony under oath.
Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane

Why is it "defiance" for the Judiciary committee to exercise its constitutional authority. "Defiance" is normally used for those who refuses to obey legitimate authority. Defiance is what Bush expressed when he vowed to ignore the constitution (as usual) not the Judiciary committee.

Also, of course, this is not a "constitutional crisis". There is no mention of "Executive Priviledge" in the Constitution (I just checked). The matter has been adjudicated. The concept of executive priviledge is based on reasonable arguments which should be taken into account by congress when excercising it's authority, but it in no way restricts congressional authority, because, you know, it isn't actually part of the US constitution. As Mark Kleiman put it brilliantly " Maybe the courts would be take seriously a challenge based on"executive privilege" (which, since that phrase doesn't actually occur in the Constitution, must be one of those penumbras of emanations conservatives so despise when they're not using them)".

To be nitpick, Kleiman could be edit for grammer but after a shaky start, the sentence is brilliant.

The actual article by Weisman and Kane is quite good however. They twice note that Republicans are lying by quoting them then nothing the fact that proves they are wrong

Indeed, regardless of Bush's insistence that his current offer would grant Congress "unprecedented" access to his staff, legal observers expect Congress and the White House to reach a deal more to the Democrats' liking. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, cited nine instances during the Clinton administration when White House counsels testified before congressional committees or were deposed under oath. In three other instances, White House chiefs of staff appeared before committees to testify on Clinton-era scandals or were deposed under oath.
Shorter Wiesman and Kane: Bush lied when he insistent that his current offer would grant Congress "unprecedented" access to his staff.

Got to be careful around the word "unprecedented" which implies an assertion of fact. Bush should have used a vague word like "marvelous", "wonderful", "fantastic" or maybe "fantabulous."

and

"There's a big difference between 'We want to hear from people about why they're not able to pursue criminal wrongdoing' and 'We just want to hire and fire whoever we want to, and such personnel decisions are our business,' " said Mark Corallo, a top aide to the Government Reform and Oversight Committee during the Clinton years.

Philip Schiliro, Waxman's chief of staff, said the Republican-controlled committee was not that restrained. In one incident, he said, then-White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles was deposed on his knowledge of Clinton's holiday-card list.

ouch. Schiliro's example is brilliant. I, being ignorant and verbose, would have argued that the personnel decisions involve recent legislation recently re-written without the knowledge of any legislator, that the Constitution clearly denies the President the authority to "hire ... whomever we want to" contrast with

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
Sure doesn't sound like the original intent was to imply that the executive branch has the authority to "to hire and fire whoever we want to, and such personnel decisions are our business." Maybe Mr Corallo should, you know, read the document before advising the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

I would also add that, the judiciary committee is investigating obvious perjury, which is a crime.
I would finally note that the judiciary committee doesn't need to " hear from people about why they're not able to pursue criminal wrongdoing," since it knows that they can't because they were fired in the middle of the investigation. They could expand their hearings to oversee investigations which haven't given the result they want, as the Republicans did, but that would be a radical increase in their aggressiveness.

The bored reader who get's this far will certainly agree with me that it's a good thing Schiliro's on the job and not me.

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