Thursday, February 09, 2006

Swear Words

Here's what I don't get. Why, why, why do Congressional Republicans not allow those who speak at Senate hearings to testify under oath? What is the possible upside here? I'm a reasonable man, of good stock and an expensive education -- what could be the expected benefit, beyond avoiding perjury charges? And don't they realize that even the perception of covering the witness' ass creates an air of dishonesty to the American people?

The Iran-Contra Affair guys had to swear an oath; I've seen the photos. Same goes for Watergate and even Janet Reno after the ATF oopsie at Waco. For Chrissake, even Rafy Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, et al raised their right (enormous) hands and solemnly swore. So why not Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who got a free ride from Arlen Spector? And why not the oil executives in November, who after some recent financial reports, may not have been completely forthcoming about the truth of what's happening to gas purchasers.

Good ol' Slate notes the inherent falseness of the GOP stance, at least in relation to Gonzales. Sen. Jeff Sessions said: "I think it's not necessary that a duly confirmed Cabinet member have to … give an oath when they are, in effect, under oath and subject to prosecution if they don't tell the truth." But the Slate piece notes that a Cabinet members' oath -- for which he or she cannot be prosecuted for violating -- does not include a provision to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." It simply states that the official will uphold the tenets of the office and the Constitution. There is nothing about testimony, period.

Great. So, aside from the fact that Gonzales' complete and absolute stonewalling makes me wonder about the real truth with this wire-tapping (purely for counter-terrorism? OK....then why all the secrecy about the simplest of legal matters?) and the resulting fact that now Americans are left with no choice but to cautiously assume the Oval Office is going about this in frightening ways, the question remains: What benefit comes from prohibiting an appropriate level of legal protection for the electorate? And why do the oil and Bush Administration guys get a free pass and not the baseball players? Are we supposed to just look at all this with blinders on? I just really don't see the GOP's logic. (Yeah, imagine that.)


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