Political Justice

We in America like to think that our government is above the petty bribery and corruption that is common in the Third World. In fact, our politicians are as self-serving as any others. It is the checks and balances built into our system that hold the graft down to a minimum. When these safeguards fail - or are ignored - the trouble begins. Neither party is above it.

Last December the Bush Administration fired 8 U.S. Attorneys from various parts of the country. Each U.S. Attorney - there are 93 of them - is the top federal prosecutor in his area. This is a very powerful position because the U.S. Attorney decides what types of criminal activity will be pursued and prosecuted. They are appointed by the president and can be fired by him any time. No one disputes this.

That having been said, a mass change like this is unusual. It becomes even more unusual when we realize that these 8 prosecutors had a couple of things in common. They were either 1) pursuing corruption cases against Republican politicians, and/or 2) not pursuing corruption cases against Democratic politicians.

The (Republican) White House contends that the prosecutors were fired for "performance-related" reasons. Yet most of them had received exemplary evaluations. It is also strangely coincidental that one of them was to be replaced by a close associate of Presidential guru Karl Rove.

Congress is now on the case and the Democrats will no doubt be quick to publicize any more damaging information that turns up. Maybe it is a big deal over nothing. On the other hand, maybe it is the tip of the iceberg.

We have an administration that spent the last six years with minimal oversight because its own party controlled Congress. The checks and balances that the Framers gave us haven't been exercised much lately. I won't be too surprised if we learn that more elements of the Bush Administration gave into temptation, thinking they would never be caught.

Read more here.

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