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June 26, 2007


Think Progress, via the Daily Show and Dana Milbank, reprises Cheney's claim of executive cover for his energy task force. Hmm...

slightly -- but only slightly -- O/T:


team libby -- with lawrence s. robbins
clearly in the first chair -- filed their
reply brief last night, june 25. it is
only three pages long. and to my eye, it
is. . . well, anemic

the full pdf is linked above, direct
from robbins' law firm web-server. . .

occasionally, "brevity is the soul of wit. . ."

not this time.

They've got a workaround going with that Veep Executive Privilege stuff called the 'Libby-Bullet-Catch-and-Pardon' technique.

Addington won't mind the fine print of the deal...

This Fourthbranch talk is getting so desperate and devoid of any kind of logic, legal or policy basis, that I literally cannot understand it. So, now the line is that the VP is some kind of consititutional consigliere, or confessor, that is inherent in the office because..... and this is where I get stuck. JFK certainly got candid advice from RFK as the Attorney General without creating this kind of constitutional chimera. FDR got it from Harry Hopkins. They are certainly trying to create some kind of shield for VP-Presidential communication, and the sheer inventiveness of what they are pulling out of their arses leads me to think that somebody in Congress knows what the smoking guns are, and want to smoke them out somehow.

so sorry -- the substance is
about eight pages long. . . my bad.

How comical that the Veep has made every other cabinet member afraid to give the president candid advice. In every other govt or company, it's the job of senior managers to do that; it's grossly negligent and a firing offense if they don't. The general counsel better tell his or her CEO what the consequences are of doing something stupid or criminal. The CFO better tell the CEO what the company's performance really is, the chief accountant, the auditor, etc. In CheneyWorld, only the Veep is allowed to do his or her job.

Cheney did much the same at Halliburton, as Rumsfeld did at his drugs company. He made his senior executives afraid to do their jobs. Silence means consent and plausible deniability, and certain professional death for the lower ranking executive who failed to inform his or her CEO about something that later hits the fan.

As for the Fourth Branch argument, I think that's a distraction, a kind of high-stakes poker. Cheney considers himself above the law, certainly. But he doesn't believe his constitutional argument; anyway, he doesn't think he needs one. So what gives?

For starters, I suggest that the argument gives his actions a faint aroma of legitimacy that's intended to avoid claims of intentional misconduct, which would up his sentence. It avoids admitting that his past conduct was unlawful, which is the inference if the president only now changes his EO to exclude the president and vice president. I thinks Cheney's convinced that he can keep doing this on every issue that surfaces until he's out of office. That will present the next president with the uneviable task of using considerable resources to prosecute him, which would be better spent dealing with the many piles of slop that Cheney and Bush will have left behind. FWIW, I think Cheney has so corrupted the law and the federal government that the prosecution of Cheney after he leaves office is mandatory.

can one imagine just how compromised the fearless leader is if it let's it's minion run the government and blackmail him?

Cheney's move is the typical pattern of the abusive husband. Isolate the little woman from her support network and family, and make himself the sole authority in the house. Every conversation she has is with him (no outside contact is allowed) -- and he makes all the decisions. The abusive husband does everything possible to retain that control through manipulation and isolation of the wife.

So, of course Cheney wants to retain the 'privilege' of executive communications. That way he has control! Of course, he realizes somewhere in that brain of his that others will not see it as he does, and will criticize him. But, he will continue to attempt to control...

I wonder what else they do in private?

This trend for insulating the executive power from oversite, as a matter of theory, is something that has long been pursued in publically traded corporations as evinced from the emergence of the disproportionate compenstation management packages, figurehead boards of directors, and the disenfranchisement of stockholders. It is a post modern model of equity. That this template would be sought after by this administration should be no suprise.

Given yesterday's Supreme Court decision it is clear that the emergent model of governance is consolidating as private corporate governance. Here we see lifestyle and moral concerns being held forth as conditions of employment and insulation of decision makers from personal accountability. Where the antithesis to this trend is in political theory is not something that seems clear at this point. And the difficulty is made more poignant as corporate cover increasingly shields barbarous and exploitive economic strategies. The irony is that the movement beyond humane principle into this ethos of barbarity ultimately assures the instability and unsustainability of the state as the reality of escalating retaliation takes hold.

We would do well to remember the barbarous conditions that gave rise in the first instance to Buddhism and Christianity. Not that these movements are not corruptible but surely their genesis can shed some light to who we, as humans, are in the worst light. That this is forgotten amounts to an abandonment of first principles. It is regrettable that the progress of the slow creep of repressive tyranny may be what ultimately awakens the public. Let us hope, at that time, that it is not too late to preserve enlightenment.

I'm not sure how others feel but I believe the Dems in the House can really put the screws on Cheney.

One, the Rahm idea - they can request a formal clarification from Bush if he believes OVP is part of the Executive Branch. If there is no response or comes back in the negative they immediately defund OVP. From a political standpoint its a pure win for the Dems. They can show their base and the majority of the country they will not put with these shell games any longer and Cheney can't have it all ways.

Second, they can pass legislation clarifying classification guidelines and responsibility to verify the proper handling of classified documents while strengthening FOIA to provide better transparency. This can be attached to a bill like the WH appropriations.

Third, they can start the impeachment process. There's plenty of prima facie evidence.

This would put OVP and Bush on defense and we may see Bush trying to distance himself from the investigations getting to him. Cheney has approval ratings in the teens. The public would be supportive of taking action.

On Rahm, notice that when he was asked what happens when Cheney gives him the FU, he just basically said no-mas. So I am not holding my breath that the Dems will have the political will to take this to the next step.

ab initio

For two reasons, COngress has little control over classification. First, because it is fairly settled law that the President does get to decide what the rules are. And second, as I pointed out yesterday, even if Congress tries something on classification, it'll depend on the cooperation of the President.

I want to know if ANYONE has read that damn Executive Order that started all this? According to a diary on dKos, the EO specifically INCLUDES the Pres and VP in the reporting requirements. Why do we keep hearing on the news media what the EO "supposedly says" ....oh wait, that was a dumb question, I forgot they media doesn't investigate (or read, apparently). Ok, so why doesn't Congress (like say Rahm's office) decalre what the EO says?

He is the only who can give truly candid advice (not that he would) because he's the only one the Boy King cannot fire. As an elected VP Cheney does not serve "at the pleasure of the President".

Our Republic is slipping through our fingers and nothing is stopping the process. We talk and write and opinionate, but, I fear it's already too late, with Congress holding back from the only remedy, Impeachment.

Read Scott Horton, today, for an opinion that means more than mine.

Perhaps Ron Christie could explain why giving candid advice to the President should free the VP from documenting the steps his office is taking to safeguard the nation's secret information?

I'm unclear on why having someone drop by to make sure that they've locked the safe at night, or to make sure none of the Marines on the security detail were taking anything, would prevent the VP from using candor when talking to the President.

The notion that an executive can only give candid advice if he or she can't be fired is ludicrous. It's a distracting, one-off, Cheney-construct.

It doesn't work that way in the military, private business, most governments, even the Church. Outside professionals, too, who can readily be fired, give critical advice to their clients every day. It's their job, just as it is for the Attorney General and the head of the FBI, who twice in this administration threatened to resign when they gave their advice and concluded it wasn't be heeded. That's precisely how it's supposed to happen.

The reality is that Cheney doesn't want the Cabinet giving advice to el presidente. He wants to give it, and spin it, and hide exactly how he persuades this boy-king to agree to everything he asks and never to initiate anything he hasn't asked for.

How can someone who is "not" in the Executive Branch claim "executive" privilege?

Cheney needs to control everything. He can't have people like the Sec of State or the Sec Def giving Bush adivce about really important things like war with Iran. Only he (and Laura and the dog) can talk to Bush. Cheney is clearly leaking brains here.

How does Bush feel as Cheney makes him appear smaller and smaller? Does he even know?

I have more faith in Congress than many. Maybe it's because I remember people like William Fulbright and Frank Church and even Barry Goldwater and Howard Baker. I agree the problem is enforcement--who do you call when the Pres just thumbs his nose at Congress and the AG chuckles dreamily beside him?

But if you see this as a two-track process (Cheney trying to take us to war on track 1 while Congress tries to dislodge him and Gonzo on track 2) it looks more plausible. Lugar puts down his gauntlet, Warner probably has also by indicating he's retiring. If it's the only way to save us (and the GOP) they will do it.

Cheney is keeping the Democrats, the bloggers, the press very distracted, and frothing at the mouth, while

the Rabbit leaves the Hat and sojourns in Cawford and Hyannisport.

Rove knows how to keep the "Progressives" in total disarray while working his magic - "Much Ado About Nothing."

I suspect that Bush imagines that Cheney protects him, hides his incompetence, his lack of curiosity and energy, and leads him along the righteous path of good government. Gosh, he always allows him, like Holmes allowed Lestrade, to take the credit (though he's never far away). What a loyal, helpful fellow. That Bush cannot see what a Faustian bargain Cheney has imposed on him and, therefore, us is the whole point.

Jodi, if you don't have anything to add to the conversation, why don't you just not post?

Oh, that's right, you'd never post...

Bush knows he is not supposed to be doing the job of president. That's Cheney's job...agreed upon years ago (that month while the courts were wrongly deciding that he lived in Montana, not in his home in Texas).
Besides hiding the specific un-American activities he conducts, Cheney has to walk that fine line of between making specific people know he is the acting president (and they better be afraid of his wrath) and pretending he isn't.
We could have impeached Bush at the start for dereliction of duty.

Bush knows he is not supposed to be doing the job of president. That's Cheney's job...agreed upon years ago (that month while the courts were wrongly deciding that he lived in Montana, not in his home in Texas).
Besides hiding the specific un-American activities he conducts, Cheney has to walk that fine line of between making specific people know he is the acting president (and they better be afraid of his wrath) and pretending he isn't.
We could have impeached Bush at the start for dereliction of duty.

is that all ya got, shit stain ???

must be terrible for you, reduced to ranting and shouting out meaningless phrases

you're starting to sound like you're suffering from Tourett's syndrome or something

karma really is a bitch, ain't it


read this at TPM Muck and thought of you:


"For timeline - March 25, 2003.

Executive Order 12958 was amended on March 25, 2003, by Executive Order 13292

Sec. 6.3. Effective Date.
This order is effective immediately, except for section 1.6, which shall become effective 180 days from the date of this order.

1.6 (h) Prior to public release, all declassified records shall be appropriately marked to reflect their declassification.

Is 1.6(h) an out because the NIE had not been appropriately marked when it was first declassified? Was Cheney/Bush trying to give himself 180 days to comply because he knew he had not complied?"

Thought this question might fall in your area...

"Cheney's Fourth Branch theories increasingly look like a desperate attempt to avoid any Congressional oversight"

No, hardly. Far from desperation, this has been Federalist Society dogma for a decade at least. They just needed an excuse to wire it into the set-up.

That it is coming out is a GOOD THING.

Suggesting that it is coming out from desperation is the cart before the horse. This is OLD NEWS, but it's a stinky albatross around the Old Fk's neck nonetheless.

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