Tuesday, March 20, 2007
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ROUTED ON PATRIOT PROVISION FOR INDEFINITE US ATTORNEY APPOINTMENTS
"[This] is just a taste of what's going to be like for the next two years."
--Former House Majority leader, Tom Delay (AP, 03.20.2007)
"If you politicize the prosecutors, you politicize everybody in the whole chain of law enforcement." --Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
'In a constitutional democracy, it is not true, as one official maintained, that ''When you take the king's shilling, you do the king's bidding.'' The idea of monarchy was rejected here 200 years ago and since then, the law -not any official or ideology - has been paramount. For not instilling this precept in his stff, for failing to take care that the law reigned supreme, the President bears the responsibility.' --The Iran-Contra Report, Executive Summary, Summary of the Facts, Nov. 18, 1987.
Washington D.C.--In a vote of 94-2, the Senate overwhelmingly voted-down a hidden provision of the Patriot Act that allowed the Bush administration to appoint indefinitely any vacancies in US Attorney posts through the office of the Attorney General. This effectively curtails the powers of the standing Executive and the AG, and any future holders of those offices. Now, how's that for bipartisanship?
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to end the Bush administration's ability to unilaterally fill U.S. attorney vacancies as a backlash to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors.With a 94-2 [Ed.-one of the two had to be from Indiana] vote, the Senate passed a bill that canceled a Justice Department-authored provision in the Patriot Act that had allowed the attorney general to appoint U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. Democrats say the Bush administration abused that authority when it fired the eight prosecutors and proposed replacing some with White House loyalists. (AP, 03.20.2007)
Speaking of a violation of the separation of powers, that's exactly what the GOP incumbents and the Bush administration are claiming with the new Iraq supplemental-budget bill. Of course, they're wrong, Congress has always had the power of the purse, and Republican presidents in the last 30-years have done their best of skirting it.
That's what Iran-Contra was about: the Senate passed the Boland amendment that barred the Reagan administration from any military support of the Contras in Nicaragua, so he and his advisers, aides, and nuts like Oliver North violated the law by illegally raising-funds by selling armaments and military spare-parts to...IRAN. "We don't make deals with terrorists," said the "great communicator," and his administration was basically over by 1986-87.
Meanwhile, VP Cheney our first cyborg co-president, has been rushed to the hospital for that clot in his leg. This site predicts he will resign within 2007, if not early-2008, as he hinted he might when the illegal warrantless wiretapping programs were first revealed. As it was then, the reasons cited will be for "health reasons." Well sure, if you're an arch-criminal who fears arrest all the time, you would have health concerns over time. It took massive-amounts of amphetamine, vitamins, and other homeopathic aids to keep Hitler going. But back to the Boland amendment. What was Cheney's stance on it? I think we all know, and the then congressman had this to say to the Boston Globe in 1987:
In July 1987, then-Representative Dick Cheney, the top Republican on the committee investigating the Iran-contra scandal, turned on his hearing room microphone and delivered, in his characteristically measured tone, a revolutionary claim. President Reagan and his top aides, he asserted, were free to ignore a 1982 law at the center of the scandal. Known as the Boland Amendment, it banned US assistance to anti-Marxist militants in Nicaragua. "I personally do not believe the Boland Amendment applied to the president, nor to his immediate staff," Cheney said. (Boston Globe, 11.26.2006)
This is just more of this individual's "unitary executive" myth, from a Nixon-aide who was shocked--not by crimes committed by the Executive--but that presidents could actually be held-accountable for breaking-the-law. Cheney wouldn't sign a renunciation of Reagan's actions, and even had the temerity to create his own report whose concepts were summarily ignored--until the administrations of both Bush presidencies. But Reagan got-away with it, and Congress did nothing substantial to punish the Executive and his co-conspirators. We know this is true because it is happening again in the Middle East.
All of this makes Dick Cheney and his fellow travellers an extreme anomaly, criminal-intent on usurping total power, and violent and dangerous revolutionaries with an ideology of power that is wholly un-American and alien to this nation and her traditions. Yet, Cheney asserts otherwise. It seems he doesn't read much history, and stands completely outside of the mainstream of American thought. For this, he is going to be made to suffer, and will be metabolized by our legal-process, as well as through the attrition of a new political-context that is overwhelming his own. Cheney is the real power behind all of this, the true architect of the Bush II years.
AP Today: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/fired_prosecutors
Boston Globe on Cheney, 11.26.2006: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/11/26/hail_to_the_chief/
Summary of the Iran-Contra Committe Investigation (1987):