Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Power Behind The Throne

Image of Original Painting, "Dick," Used with Permission of the Artist, Mark Bryan

The Boston Globe, first to break the story about (& actually count) the number of statutes George Bush has decided he won't obey, since he is a Constitutional scholar, after all (see May 2 "Above the Law" blog entry below), has tenaciously stuck with it. Three cheers for the Globe!

The second installment reveals that it's not George at all, but (surprise!) Dick Cheney's omnipotent & ever-present hand deciding what laws the federal government will & will not obey.

Yesterday, the Globe reported:

"The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president's desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.

"The officials said Cheney's legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington, is the Bush administration's leading architect of the 'signing statements' the president has appended to more than 750 laws. The statements assert the president's right to ignore the laws because they conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution. Er, make that Cheney/Addington's interpretation...

"The Bush-Cheney administration has used such statements to claim for itself the option of bypassing a ban on torture, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and numerous requirements that they provide certain information to Congress, among other laws.

The Globe additionally notes that "previous vice presidents have had neither the authority nor the interest in reviewing legislation. But Cheney has used his power over the administration's legal team to promote an expansive theory of presidential authority. Using signing statements, the administration has challenged more laws than all previous administrations combined.

"'Addington could look at whatever he wanted,' said one former White House lawyer
who helped prepare signing statements and who asked not to be named because he was describing internal deliberations. 'He had a roving commission to get involved in whatever interested him.'

"Knowing that Addington was likely to review the bills, other White House and Justice Department lawyers began vetting legislation with Addington's and Cheney's views in mind, according to another former lawyer in the Bush White House.

"All these lawyers, he said, were extremely careful to flag any provision that placed limits on presidential power.

"'You didn't want to miss something,' said the second former White House lawyer, who also asked not to be named.

We BET he asked not to be named. We can just hear Cheney now: "Your name is shit in this town. Go fuck yourself!" Dick has such a way with words.

America, did you realize you were actually electing Dick Cheney President?


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