Dispatches from Canada's rowdy neighbor to the south

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In honour of my short visit home just south of the border this week I’m going to cover some of the recent developments in the good ‘ol U-S-of-A.

The first stop is the current trials and tribulations for US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. For those that are behind on this issue, I’ll catch you up: In 2006 nine US Federal Prosecutors were fired, allegedly because these prosecutors were not able to bring about voter fraud charges against democrats quickly enough. These charges were desired to affect the 2006 Congressional elections. Without charges being levied in time to give Republicans a leg up these prosecutors were fired, or at least that is what’s believed and why Gonzalez has been spending plenty of time testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee. The house of cards seems to be falling now. Former aide and White House Liaison Monica Goodling tried to get around testifying about the firings by invoking her right not to incriminate herself, even though she had already been given immunity. Because she did have immunity, she had no choice but to testify. In her testimony Goodling admitted to breaking Civil Service laws by using politics to determine if employees should retain their jobs. She also unwittingly contradicted the Attorney General’s previous testimony as it seems he attempted to coach Goodling prior to her testimony.

With Monica Goodling resigning in April, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and civil liberties board member Lenny Davis resigning in the last weeks, Kyle Sampson stepping down, the nine prosecutors being fired and the distinct possibility that Alberto Gonzalez will be gone in the near future it’s hard to imagine that anybody will be left at the Justice Department. With all this going on, President Bush still backs the Attorney General.

As you can note above, there is some bad news in the cards for the Republicans. However, it’s been a somewhat disappointing couple of weeks for the Democrats as well. President Bush has just signed into law an emergency funding bill for the occupation of Iraq. This funding is intended to last through September. The Democrats in Congress had fought recently to back up promises made when this Congress opened its session that vowed that any funding would require troop withdrawals from Iraq. The Democrats are in a very strange position. They wish to show that they support the troops and do not wish to bring harm upon the troops by removing funding without a realistic mandate for withdrawal. So, what happened? As soon the President vetoed the initial bill that did require troop withdrawal the Democrats ran like hell and introduced this bill that just gave the President everything he wanted. The sudden loss of backbone from big talkers like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi is truly unfortunate. As presidential candidates on both sides are ramping up for exceedingly early campaigning the discussion on troop withdrawal has just been undercut by those that are supposed to holding this discussion up to the light.

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