June 9, 2006



Bush’s mommy lawyers
by Jim Hightower

Back in my schooldays, there were a couple of kids who always seemed able to get a note from their mother excusing them from doing their homework or even going to class. George W must have had a momma like that.

Now that he's grown, whenever Bush gets caught doing something wrong — torturing prisoners in Iraq, for example, or secretly and illegally spying on millions of innocent Americans — George simply pulls out a note from his momma saying it is okay. Only, as president, his "momma's note" comes from his White House lawyers or his justice department appointees, who invariably excuse his bad behavior.

Now, Bush's mommy lawyers have taken a further step, excusing him even from any pesky questioning about who is writing these notes. Early this year, Rep. Maurice Hinchey asked the justice department's Office of Professional Responsibility to examine who in the department has actually authorized Bush's domestic spy program, and why. News reports have revealed that top-ranking officials at justice had refused the White House request for them to rubber stamp such obviously illegal spying. So....who signed the authorization?

It was a straightforward and important question. "We are not asking for top secret information," noted Hinchey. Yet, only four months after beginning its probe, the OPR sent a fax to Hinchey, saying that it was abruptly closing the inquiry.

Why? Because unnamed lawyers from higher up had ruled that OPR's investigators could not have security clearances for questioning any aspect of the spy program. "Without these clearances," wrote an OPR official, "we cannot investigate this matter."

In short, the very Bushites who excused themselves from obeying the law and the Constitution have now excused themselves from answering any questions about it. Hinchey, however, still wants some answers. To support him, call his office: 202-225-6335.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com


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