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Slip-Sliding Away

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Let's suppose – just for the hell of it – that, even as the feds closed in on them, that John Gotti and Al Capone held news conferences and announced they were stepping down?

“After sit-downs with my family and the Family, I have decided to step down. It has been an honor to  head dis wonderful organization. But all the heat currently directed towards me – none of which is true, by the way --- has become a distraction from the wonderful work of dis organization -- the uplifting the  lives of Italian-Americans working men and women in our communities. Thank you, and God bless dis wonderful country.”

Would that have been it for Capone and Gotti? Would the feds have sighed in resignation, folded the investigations and moved on, allowing those two lying, murdering and thieving sociopaths just move on down the road of life?

No way. They pursued them until they nailed them.

Where am I going with this? I don't think I need to draw you a picture.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, an official said on Monday, ending a controversial tenure as chief law enforcement officer that blemished the administration of President George W. Bush. The 51-year-old Bush loyalist was at the center of a political firestorm over the sacking of federal prosecutors last year, which critics in Congress complained were politically motivated.

Administration supporters – the dead enders of American politics – will complain that my mobster analogy is a typical liberal over-the-top attack on this administration.


Were GOP dead-enders paying attention to the testimony of Assistant US Attorney, James Comey, when he described Gonzales' late-night “visit” to the hospital bed of then Attorney General Aschroft?  All that was missing from that scene was the severed head of a favorite race horse.

What did Capone and Gotti do when they wanted information from captured members of a rival gang? They grabbed them off the street without so much as a howdy-do, spirited them off to a secret location and “roughed them up.” No right to remain silent, no right to attorney, no right to habeas corpus. Alberto Gonzales, as President Bush's consigliari, approved just that kind of extra-legal, thuggish behavior.

What would Capone and Gotti do to members of their gang they suspected were not loyal enough? They'd get rid of them and replace them with goons who did what they were told.

What did Capone and Gotti do when members of the community refused their offers of "protection?"  They'd scare them with tales of what "could happen" if they refused. If that didn't work there would be fires, broken windows, broken bones, even a few bodies, to “convince” the unconvinced they might just need the Family's protection after all.

What would Capone and Gotti do whenever fat city contracts were up for grabs?  They'd make damn sure those contracts went to friends, family and Family members – who would then loot the taxpayer funded projects blind, with impunity.

What would Capone and Gotti do if called to testify before a crime commission? They'd dissemble and their memories would fail them. If that didn't work, they'd just lie under oath.

Over the last three weeks two capos of the Bush/Cheney gang have “stepped down.,  Karl (Sonny) Rove and now Alberto Gonzales. Both men were the focus of congressional investigations at the time. High crimes and misdemeanors were alleged. Evidence was being withheld, hidden, and when that failed, destroyed.

So now what? Do we let members of the Bush/Cheney mob slip off, one at time, like thieves in the night, to live on as if they'd served their country with honor? Is that the precedent that will ultimately define the Bush administration? That you can hold high office, commit crimes and, as long as you get out Dodge before the cops get around to indicting your ass, you're home free?

Is that what America's democracy finally devolved to -- North America's premier banana republic?

That will precisely be the case, unless congress and the Dept. of Justice vow they will not stop investigating the alleged crimes of this administration – not now and not even after they leave offic -- until those alleged crimes are either definitively and believably, proved or definitiely and believable disproved. 

(Memo to Nancy Pelosi: that means putting impeachment back on the god-damn table !)
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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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