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COUPWATCH: Ashcroft's First Order of Business--Investigate Self For Perjury

by Paul Rosenberg Monday, Feb. 05, 2001 at 9:37 AM

If John Ashcroft had a single shred of integrity in his bones his first order of business would be to investigate himself for perjury in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing. But don't worry, he doesn't have a shred of integrity! Dozens of Republican Senators are on record denouncing perjury by the highest law enforcement officer in the land. But don't worry, that only applies to Democrats! Will the Democrats complain? Does a jellyfish have a spine?

errorCOUPWATCH: Ashcroft's First Order of Business--Investigate Self For Perjury

By Paul Rosenberg

Senators and Congressmembers are allowed to lie with impunity. It's called Congressional im(p)unity, and it's supposed to serve a high-minded purpose: preventing nutcases from suing elected representatives and tying the legislative process into knots. But when the nutcases get inside Congress and start taking over, then it's Katy bar the door, as Martin Dies, Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy proved so well back in the '30s, '40s and '50s. Newt Gingrich kept their spirit alive in the '90s and many of his erstwhile good friends are still around to see that this hallowed tradition of politicans slandering ordinary Americans keeps on going strong into the new millenium.

John Ashcroft won't be there among them, though. The voters of Missouri saw to that. Instead he'll be the nation's number one law enforcement officer. The US Senate saw to that. In doing so, they voted for man who not only lied viciously on the Senate floor-a privilege shared by all who voted for him-but who also lied *to* them when testifying before the Judiciary Committee. This latter act is not privileged. In fact, it's a felony-perjury.

Ashcroft viciously lied about Ronnie White on the Senate floor in order to defeat White's nomination as a federal judge. That's Congressionally protected slander. But then he lied about his oppositin to White to the judiciary committee. That's perjury. The difference may seem slight, even non-existent to some, but it's precisely the reason that Republicans claimed a *duty* to impeach President Clinton: lying about sex may be universal and understandable (just ask Henry Hyde, Helen Chenoweth, Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, etc.) but doing so under oath strikes a dagger at the heart of our justice system.

Unless, of course, you're a Republican.

Ahscroft lied about Bob Jones University, and about Southern Partisan magazine as well. He lied about his opposition to a voluntary desegregation plan as well. All of these lies were reason enough to vote against him, of course. But they were much more than that. They were grounds for indicting him for perjury. And now that Ashcroft has been confirmed as Attorney General, they are grounds for his impeachment. Which, of course, it's now John Ashcroft's duty to pursue. (No special prosecutors anymore, thanks to our fair-minded Republican friends, it's all up to Johnnie Boy hisself.)

If John Ashcroft had a single shred of integrity in his bones his first order of business would be to investigate himself for perjury in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing. But his confirmation hearings made one thing perfectly clear: John Ashcroft doesn't have a single shred of integrity, so there's nothing to worry about. We're in good hands with total hypocrisy.

"*Total* hypocrisy?" you may wonder. Yup! Just consider a few of the choicest statements recently made by Republicans on the subject of perjury. The following are excerpted from a collection by John Aravosis at http://uspolitics.about.com/newsissues/uspolitics/library/weekly/aa013001a.htm:

Arlen Specter (R- PA): Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious offenses which must not be tolerated by anyone in our society."

Unless, of course, you're a US Senator.

James Inhofe (R- OK): "I have a hard time reconciling the idea that there might be certain permissible exceptions to telling the truth under oath."

Unless, of course, you're a Republican testifying to Congress. (Tell 'em about it, Ollie!)

Frank Murkowski (R- AK): "if we turn a blind eye and allow people to lie under oath, destroy or hide evidence, or conspire to present false and misleading testimony, the entire notion of justice and truth become meaningless."

Sorry, Frank, the Rehnquist Gang got there first. But it's nice to know-by your own admission--that your eyes are as blind as theirs.

Mike Crapo (R- ID): "Tampering with the truth-seeking functions of the law undermines our justice system and the foundations on which our freedoms lie The primacy of the rule of law over the rule of individuals is one of the most important safeguards of freedom in our Constitution. Our entire legal system is dependent on our ability to find the truth. That is why perjury and obstruction of justice are crimesPerjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes that strike at the heart of the rule of law--and therefore our freedom--in America. "

Et Tu, Mike?

Larry Craig (R- ID): "But I would submit that if a generation of young people are taught by our actions in this case that a lie carries no consequences, then the nation is at risk. If our citizens conclude that lawlessness in the highest office is acceptable, that their elected representatives are complicit in that corruption, and that nothing can be done to stop it, then the nation is at risk."

But what the hey, we're doing everything else we can think of to destroy the country, so why not this as well? Am I right?

Mike DeWine (OH); "How can we allow a man who has obstructed justice and committed perjury to remain as the chief law enforcement officer of our country? How can we call ourselves a nation of laws and leave a man in office who has flouted those laws? We define ourselves as a people not just by what we hold up, not just by what we revere, but we also define ourselves by what we tolerate. I submit that this is something we simply, as a people, cannot tolerate."

Unless, of course, OUR guy does it. Right, Mike?

Let's make things perfectly clear, folks. The Republicans have no shame. After stealing an election in broad daylight, what more can you do? Everything else is petty by comarison. Lying to Congress? C'mon, get over it! What do you expect? But the Democrats the Democrats who want to blame everything on Ralph Nader have 50 votes in the Senate and they can-just as Ralph Nader said in his campaign-effectively block EVERYTHING that George Wallace Putsch wants to do-IF they really want to. But they don't. They would rather prove Ralph Nader right and sell us down the river one more time.

And who was out there leading this sellout parade? None other than the progressive Russ Feingold. It seems that the Monarchic principle of deference mattered more to him than the judicial principle of one law for all. *That's* a progressive?

For a complete list of 31 Republican quotes on perjury, click on the link below.
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Welcome to my world... muchacho Monday, Feb. 05, 2001 at 11:07 AM
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