Friday, March 31, 2006

About the Most Corrupt

When it comes to the current administration, I say that it has to be the worst I'm aware of. Old enough to remember Nixon and Watergate, I remember the cloud that settled over the nation as it - we - watched just how insane our politicians could be.

But the Bush/Cheney oil boys are making their mark in history in unprecedented ways. As we look back on our recent past at an impeached president who took some nooky and a current one who invades and terrorizes, w's laundry list continues to grow and our reputation around the world continues to crumble. Yet he goes un-indicted. The teflon don, indeed.

Until 2000 I'd said that Nixon was the worst, and now we have John Dean weighing in - again - on the current administration. He of Watergate fame, and of one of the most infamous administrations in history.

And lest anyone forget, Dean authored a tome about the w administration in 2004. It's title?

"Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush"

Read on below... (via AP)

John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping

Watergate Figure John Dean Tells Senate Panel Warrantless

Eavesdropping Exceeds Nixon Wrongdoing


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON Mar 31, 2006 (AP) - Nixon White House counselor
John Dean, testifying in favor of a Democratic resolution to censure
President Bush, asserted Friday that Bush's conduct in connection
with domestic spying exceeds the wrongdoing that toppled his
former boss from power.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, fired back by telling Democrats: "Quit
trying to score political points."

The Senate, Dean said, should censure or officially scold Bush as
proposed by Sen. Russell Feingold's resolution. But if that action
carries too much political baggage, some senatorial warning is in
order, Dean said.

"To me, this is not really and should not be a partisan question,"
Dean told the panel. "I think it's a question of institutional pride of
this body, of the Congress of the United States."

He added in prepared testimony that if Congress doesn't have
the stomach for Feingold's resolution as drafted, it should pass
some measure serving Bush a warning.

"The resolution should be amended, not defeated, because the
president needs to be reminded that separation of powers does
not mean an isolation of powers," Dean said in prepared remarks.
"He needs to be told he cannot simply ignore a law with no

Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Feingold's resolution has
no merit.

"But it provides a forum for the discussion of issues which really
ought to be considered in greater depth than they have been,"
Specter said at the session's open.

At issue is whether Bush's secretive domestic spying program
violates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Bush has said the National Security Agency's secretive
wiretapping program is aimed at finding terrorists before they
strike on American soil by tapping the phones of people making
calls overseas. He has launched a criminal investigation to find
out who leaked the program's existence to the New York
Times, saying it compromised national security.

Feingold told the panel that censure is not only an appropriate
response, but Congress' duty.

"If we in the Congress don't stand up for ourselves and the
American people, we become complicit in the lawbreaking,"
Feingold said. "The resolution of censure is the appropriate

But Hatch said that passing a censure resolution would do
more harm than good.

"Wartime is not a time to weaken the commander-in-chief,"
he said.

The title of Dean's 2004 book, "Worse Than Watergate:
The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush," made his
view of the administration clear even before the
wiretapping program became public.

After The New York Times revealed the program in
December, Dean wrote that "Bush may have outdone
Nixon" and be worthy not just of censure but impeachment.

"Nixon's illegal surveillance was limited; Bush's, it is
developing, may be extraordinarily broad in scope," Dean
wrote in a column for in December.

Dean served four months in prison for his role in
Watergate, a political scandal that involved illegal
wiretapping, burglary and abuse of power aimed at Nixon
enemies. Administration officials were implicated in the
ensuing cover-up.

Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974, less than two weeks after
the House Judiciary Committee began approving three
articles of impeachment against him, charging obstruction
of justice as well as abuse of power and withholding evidence.

Dean was summoned to the hearing by Feingold, D-Wis.,
the author of a resolution to censure, or officially scold, Bush.
The measure would condemn Bush's "unlawful authorization
of wiretaps of Americans within the United State without
obtaining the court orders required" by the 1978 Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said punishing the president,
rather than making sure the FISA law has provisions to
check Bush's power, is counterproductive.

"Censure is destructive," Graham said. "Censure breaks
us apart at a time when we need to be brought together."

The only president ever censured by the Senate was
Andrew Jackson, in 1834, for removing the nation's
money from a private bank in defiance of the Whig-
controlled Senate.

The censure resolution has attracted only two co-
sponsors, Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa
and Barbara Boxer of California. The Senate's
other 41 Democrats have distanced themselves,
many saying they want to first see the results of a
Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of
the matter.

Privately, Democrats in the House and Senate
have said that embracing a censure resolution
before the facts are known would damage their
credibility this election year.

For his part, Feingold has accused those
Democrats who have not embraced his proposal
of cowering.