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Hullabaloo


Thursday, June 28, 2007

 
King Dick

by digby

Man, I just hate it when left wing radicals go all crazy on us and give liberalism a bad name, don't you?

Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III. The most recent invention we know of is the vice president's insistence that an executive order governing the handling of classified information in the executive branch does not reach his office because he also serves as president of the Senate. In other words, the vice president is a unique legislative-executive creature standing above and beyond the Constitution. The House judiciary committee should commence an impeachment inquiry. As Alexander Hamilton advised in the Federalist Papers, an impeachable offense is a political crime against the nation. Cheney's multiple crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify.


What's the deal? Are Dennis Kucinich and Cindy Sheehan writing for Slate these days? Well, not exactly. That's Bruce Fein, former Reagan Justice department official. And he helpfully made this nice list of some of Cheney's high crimes:

  • The vice president asserted presidential power to create military commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes.
  • The vice president initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists.
  • The vice president has maintained that the entire world is a battlefield. Accordingly, he contends that military power may be unleashed to kill or capture any American citizen on American soil if suspected of association or affiliation with al-Qaida.
  • Mr. Cheney has championed a presidential power to torture in contravention of federal statutes and treaties.
  • He has advocated and authored signing statements that declare the president's intent to disregard provisions of bills he has signed into law that he proclaims are unconstitutional,
  • The vice president engineered the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program targeting American citizens on American soil in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
  • The vice president has orchestrated the invocation of executive privilege to conceal from Congress secret spying programs to gather foreign intelligence, and their legal justifications.
  • Cheney scorns freedom of speech and of the press. He urges application of the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists who expose national security abuses, for example, secret prisons in Eastern Europe or the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. He retaliated against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, through Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, for questioning the administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction as justification for invading Iraq.
And that's just for starters.

But I have to say that nobody should be surprised by this when you consider how this lawless cabal took power in the first place. They showed very early on that they would let nothing stand in their way and from their first moments in office they governed as if their institutional power meant they had a mandate to enact their entire agenda by any means necessary. (Bush like to call it "political capital" --- I suspect Cheney just called it raw power.)

I think the most amazing thing about all that is that 9/11 was just frosting on the cake for these guys --- they were prepared to do all this stuff anyway. Cheney said he'd taken office with the intention of "restoring" presidential power. The GWOT made it easier to do the national security stuff, but he would have done it anyway.


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