Paul Krugman: "Surging and Purging"

Unless you've been vacationing in Osama bin Laden's favorite cave - or worse, mired yourself in front of the TV watching the return of Fox's dreck called "American Idol" and "24", you've likely heard that the Justice Department is busy firing any federal prosecutor who had the nerve to investigate any Republican wrong-doing, such as the prosecutor who brought the successful case against Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

In his latest column, economist and Times' OpEd columnist extraordinaire Paul Krugman promises the next two years are going to be a "rolling constitutional crisis." Can there be any possible doubt he is right, given the fact that before Mr. Bush first got the opportunity to fart in the Oval Office, he was already threatening not only the U.S. Constitution, but the intestinal constitution of every citizen, whether "with him or agin' him"?

Read the Krugman piece in its entirety here at Rozius Unbound, but let me cut you a generous slice:

In Senate testimony yesterday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to say how many other attorneys have been asked to resign, calling it a “personnel matter.”

In case you’re wondering, such a wholesale firing of prosecutors midway through an administration isn’t normal. U.S. attorneys, The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, “typically are appointed at the beginning of a new president’s term, and serve throughout that term.” Why, then, are prosecutors that the Bush administration itself appointed suddenly being pushed out?

The likely answer is that for the first time the administration is really worried about where corruption investigations might lead.

Since the day it took power this administration has shown nothing but contempt for the normal principles of good government. For six years ethical problems and conflicts of interest have been the rule, not the exception.

For a long time the administration nonetheless seemed untouchable, protected both by Republican control of Congress and by its ability to justify anything and everything as necessary for the war on terror. Now, however, the investigations are closing in on the Oval Office. The latest news is that J. Steven Griles, the former deputy secretary of the Interior Department and the poster child for the administration’s systematic policy of putting foxes in charge of henhouses, is finally facing possible indictment.

And the purge of U.S. attorneys looks like a pre-emptive strike against the gathering forces of justice.Won’t the administration have trouble getting its new appointees confirmed by the Senate? Well, it turns out that it won’t have to.

Arlen Specter, the Republican senator who headed the Judiciary Committee until Congress changed hands, made sure of that last year. Previously, new U.S. attorneys needed Senate confirmation within 120 days or federal district courts would name replacements. But as part of a conference committee reconciling House and Senate versions of the revised Patriot Act, Mr. Specter slipped in a clause eliminating that rule.

As Paul Kiel of TPMmuckraker.com — which has done yeoman investigative reporting on this story — put it, this clause in effect allows the administration “to handpick replacements and keep them there in perpetuity without the ordeal of Senate confirmation.” How convenient.
Think it's any coincidence this happens right between the start of the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill and the commencement of the I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby trial revolving around the Valerie Plame (as in PlameGate)/CIA Leak where our steamed ::cough:: esteemed Creep Veep, Dick Cheney will be called as a witness?