One thing that disgusts me about the Bush Administration is their rejection of true honest and open debate. They are so darn right, but demanding openness is a threat to their right of rule. Demand it and they will not be able to properly do their job, be able to have open and honest debate behind the scenes. Experience shows that they cannot do their jobs properly -- one might feel differently if it was otherwise. It also shows that secrecy furthers their incompetence, criminality, and ability to mislead. This petty business (covered by Talking Points Memo) about removing Abramoff pictures from websites and such is just a small example.
I have little more than disgust and disdain for this policy. I am willing to openly voice my opinions, some of which are different and controversial. I will debate them and put them up to challenge. Sure, I am not the President of the Free World, but I thought the guy was a straight shooter sort. An average guy for which such comparisons can be made. He is not. He is a petty bully whose minions -- following his lead since he was an "enforcer" in his early days -- punish those who go off the reservation. Ah, I am anti-Native American.
This treatment of top critics is one of the many woefully underreported and known by the average citizen problems with this criminal and tyrannical administration. The likes of Paul O'Neill suggest that being a member of the conservative elite is not enough to protect someone, nor is expertise and moral judgment. Surely not.
A useful essay on the overall principle at stake was written by someone who should know, a young heroine that paid for her ethics: "A Legal Defense of Russell Tice, the Whistleblower who Revealed the President's Authorization of NSA's Warrantless Domestic Wiretapping" by Jesselyn Radack. In part:
In a January 9 letter, an NSA director conceded that Tice had "every right to petition Congress for a redress of grievances," but insisted that "neither the staff nor the members of the HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] or SCCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] are cleared to receive the information covered by the SAPs."
This assertion was quite odd in light of the White House's claim, in defense of the warrantless wiretapping, that it had given more than a dozen classified briefings on the program to the very Congressmen who led these committees.
She also summarizes her own experience, linking to a fuller account (see also the link supplied above by an independent source):
I can certainly sympathize with Tice's situation - for I know full well the costs of speaking one's conscience. As I described in a prior column for this site, as a government ethics compliance attorney, I blew the whistle on the government's refusal to honor American citizen John Walker Lindh's constitutional rights. Specifically, I advised the Department of Justice's Criminal Division not to interrogate him without his lawyer, and when the FBI did so anyway, I advised that the interview should be sealed and used only for national security and intelligence-gathering purposes, not criminal prosecution.
In retaliation, I was fired from my subsequent private sector job at the government's behest; branded a "turncoat" in the New York Times by anonymous government officials; placed under criminal investigation; referred for possible discipline to the state bars in which I am licensed as an attorney; and put on the "no-fly" list.
A handful of Democrats need to have the courage of their convictions and support Sen. Kerry's forceful cry for a filibuster. Some fear that they will only lose, getting nothing from the enterprise. [A few note the party just took to damn long to have a concerted effort ... sure enough.] Some suggest they think if they do it, the few top Republican senators who have made it known that Bush crossed the line on the issue of the day will not let the Democrats have a real part in the upcoming hearings. As if. Surrender and you think they will hand you anything of note?
Sheesh, at least Sen. Byrd folded because he feared his re-election chances (is he really at risk? his pork supply not doing it anymore?), not because of fantasy. Anyway, making a stand has its own rewards. Heck, I really also think it will have political ones -- if the Democrats do not look a gift horse in the mouth. Or, something like that.
I guess doing the right thing is not enough, huh? Only enough for peons like Jesselyn Radack and conservative sorts like Russell Tice, who staid honest to their ideals. A non-partisan matter btw. One might hope.