Monday, April 10, 2006

High Crimes and Chimp's Demeanor

His evil laugh is well-known: Heh...heh heh.

His suits are always the finest: they're cut from the costliest (and always dark) wools; there are winter-appropriate and tropical-weight versions, and all of them are custom-tailored down to the last angstrom of thread.

He never does the driving, preferring to let one of the posse he travels with handle it. In fact, there is someone else to handle just about every job, the mundane and the dirty alike, so he doesn't have to.

The President needs a Panama hat and a big cigar, though. Dead Eye Dick has the weapons prowess (sort of), and he's got the menacing snarl down cold, but he ought to have much better shoes--something in a hand-made snakeskin boot sounds about right. And Karl Rove, well, the guy's gotta have a monocle and a fluffy white cat somewhere, and if not, let's find them for him.

Because really, when you think about it, our President is nothing if not an organized criminal of the highest, and therefore most terrifying, order. And if costumes and props will help underscore this reality for a TV-and-movie-influenced culture that needs for its bad guys to look like Bad Guys, I'm all for it: it's high time the nation saw Don Dubya and his crew for what they really are.

Writing at Buzzflash, Greg Palast notes (bolds mine):

On February 10, 2004, our not-so-dumb-as-he-sounds President stated, "Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing. ...And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it."

Notice Bush's cleverly crafted words. He says he can't name anyone who leaked this "classified" info -- knowing full well he'd de-classified it. Far from letting Bush off the hook, it worsens the crime. For years, I worked as a government investigator and, let me tell you, Bush and Cheney withholding material information from the grand jury is a felony. Several felonies, actually: abuse of legal process, fraud, racketeering and, that old standby, obstruction of justice.

If you or I had manipulated the legal system this way, we'd be breaking rocks on a chain gang. We wouldn't even get a trial -- most judges would consider this a "fraud upon the court" and send us to the slammer in minutes using the bench's power to administer instant punishment for contempt of the judicial system.

Dubya and Darth Cheney breaking rocks on a chain gang. Though many of us would love nothing more than to watch that fantasy come to life, I think the best we can hope for is impeachment and removal from office. And on those fronts, Palast uncharacteristically holds out quite a lot of hope:

Statements aimed at misleading grand jury investigators are hard-time offenses. It doesn't matter that Bush's too-clever little quip was made to the press and not under oath. I've cited press releases and comments in the New York Times in court as evidence of fraud. By not swearing to his disingenuous statement, Bush gets off the perjury hook, but he committed a crime nonetheless, "deliberate concealment."

Here's how the law works (and hopefully, it will). The Bush gang's use of the telephone in this con game constituted wire fraud. Furthermore, while presidents may leak ("declassify") intelligence information, they may not obstruct justice; that is, send a grand jury on a wild goose chase. Under the 'RICO' statute (named after the Edward G. Robinson movie mobster, 'Little Rico'), the combination of these crimes makes the Bush executive branch a "racketeering enterprise."

So, book'm, Dan-o. Time to read The POTUS and The Veep their rights.

After setting their bail (following the impeachments and removals, of course), a judge will have a more intriguing matter to address. The RICO law requires the Feds to seize all "ill-gotten gains" of a racketeering enterprise, even before trial. Usually we're talking fast cars and diamond bling. But in this case, the conspirators' purloined booty includes a stolen election and a fraudulently obtained authorization for war. I see no reason why a judge could not impound the 82d Airborne as "fruits of the fraud " -- lock, stock and gun barrels -- and bring the boys home.

Hear, hear. Pass the popcorn.

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