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Held Hostage By BFFs

bff.jpgAndrew Cohen of the WaPo’s Bench Conference Blog made some excellent points yesterday about the burgeoning mess that is the Gonzales DOJ, and it is well worth repeating:

Were these problems and confrontations avoidable? Absolutely.A strong and independent attorney general never would have let such partisanship seep into the Justice Department from the White House; never would have given creative defense attorneys another argument to make in court against the government. (And the fact that some of these arguments will never succeed is beside the point; that federal prosecutors now have to defend themselves and their political motives drains time and energy and resources away from legitimate business.)

Nor would a competent head of the Justice Department have allowed the scandal to mushroom into what it has become today. By failing to give complete and candid answers to the Congress, the attorney general and several of his former colleagues all but guaranteed the looming battle over executive privilege. Someone, after all, came up with and approved and coordinated the compilation of that list of U.S. attorneys who were to be professionally whacked — and the fact that we still don’t know the full story about that is not the fault of Democrats, or the media or anyone other than those in the administration who know the truth but who refuse to tell it. They are the ones who have picked the subpoena fight to come.

And at the bottom of it all — or at the top of it all, depending upon your view — is the president of the United States. His failure to fire his buddy Gonzales, and his failure to demand (sincerely and not just for the cameras) that all of his subordinates cooperate with the investigation, has brought us to this unhappy place, where smart lawyers don’t want to work at the Justice Department, current prosecutors have to defend their political persuasions in court, and the judicial system has to now gear up for a constitutional showdown that long ago could have been avoided. All of this is the price all of us are paying for one man’s blind loyalty to another.

Yet another George Bush failure that we all get to clean up for a long, long time. Friendship over country. Great. Just great.

And beyond that, as Charlie Savage reports this morning in the Boston Globe:

Federal officials have disobeyed at least six new laws that President Bush challenged in his signing statements, a government study disclosed yesterday. The report provides the first evidence that the government may have acted on claims by Bush that he can set aside laws under his executive powers.In a report to Congress, the non partisan Government Accountability Office studied a small sample of the bill provisions that Bush has signed into law but also challenged with signing statements. The GAO found that agencies disobeyed six such laws, while enforcing 10 others as written even though Bush had challenged them.

House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers , Democrat of Michigan, said yesterday that the GAO’s findings demonstrated a need for a more “extensive review” of how the government has followed up on hundreds of other laws challenged by Bush.

“The administration is thumbing its nose at the law,” said Conyers, one of the lawmakers who commissioned the GAO study….

Bush’s signing statements have drawn fire because he has used them to challenge more than 1,100 sections of bills — more than all previous presidents combined. The sample the GAO studied represents a small portion of the laws Bush has targeted, but its report concluded that sometimes the government has gone on to disobey those laws.

L’etat, c’est George Bush? Lovely. Had enough? (Couldn’t resist a morning hat tip to Tommy Yum and Ken. Love that song.)

(Photo of two elephant BFFs via Magitisa.)

PS: Because the news has been so irritating and grating lately, I’ve decided that it is time for an FDL Get Up Off Yer Rear End And Dance Random Five:

— Cher, “Believe” — YouTubeAmazon Clip

— Rick Astley, “Never Gonna Give You Up” — YouTubeAmazon Clip

— C&C Music Factory, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” — YouTubeAmazon Clip

— B-52’s, “Love Shack” — YouTubeAmazon Clip

— Supremes, “Stop In The Name Of Love” — YouTubeAmazon Clip

If you’ve got a favorite dance tune you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments below. It’s summer, kick back a little and enjoy — because I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through my life angry because George Bush is a big failure. He’s just not worth it. So take a few minutes, dance around and smile — you didn’t vote for him.

“Stop, in the name of love…before you break my heart…think it ooo-ooo-ver…” Come on, you know all the hand moves. Admit it. You still sitting? Don’t make me pull out the Celia Cruz!

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com