Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cheney has watched Frost/Nixon one too many times already

But unlike Frost and Nixon, Dick Cheney is showing that he can surpass Richard Nixon these days with all the "confessions" and logical fallicies and obfuscation to justify his actions and assertions that at no time is the President accountable to anyone, and he does it blithely and nonchalantly and with such hubris - it's like watching a crumudgeoned serial killer's dance during an interrogation with cops, the same sociopathic pyschosexual gratification when the killer believes and tells you that you will never catch them.

The cops can posture and sputter and question, and for the serial killer they can admit gleefully yes, all the while not believing that they can be touched - and scariest of all is that sometimes they're right.

[On Monday of this past week, Cheney admitted to Jake Tapper of ABC that he was instrumental and authorized torture]

God help us all that this shadow of a man should not live much longer but hurry to fade and to become the distant nightmare that he is destined and willing to become - a ghost story used to scare children at halloween.

The latest from Fox News Sunday is so telling, it's like looking at an alternate universe, except sadly it's not, from this week's creature feature:

WALLACE: If you could conceptualize it for me, sir, what do you think are the powers of the president relative to Congress and relative to the courts during war?

CHENEY: Well, I think in wartime, when you consider his responsibilities as commander in chief, clearly that means command of the armed forces.
It also, when you get into use of forces in wartime, means collecting intelligence. And therefore, I think you're fully justified in setting up a terror surveillance program to be able to intercept the communications of people who are communicating with terrorists outside the United States.
I think you can have a robust interrogation program with respect to high-value detainees. Now, those are all steps we took that I believe the president was fully authorized in taking and provided invaluable intelligence which has been the key to our ability to defeat Al Qaida over these last seven years.

WALLACE: This is at the core of the controversies that I want to get to with you in a moment. If the president during war decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?

CHENEY: General proposition, I'd say yes. You need to be more specific than that. I mean — but clearly, when you take the oath of office on January 20th of 2001, as we did, you take the oath to support and defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
There's no question about what your responsibilities are in that regard. And again, I think that there are bound to be debates and arguments from time to time, and wrestling back and forth, about what kind of authority is appropriate in any specific circumstance.
But I think that what we've done has been totally consistent with what the Constitution provides for.
The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.
He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world's never seen. He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress. He doesn't have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.

WALLACE: So what...

CHENEY: It's unfortunate, but I think we're perfectly appropriate to take the steps we have.
And go back and look at how eager the country was to have us work in the aftermath of 9/11 to make certain that that never happened again. Now we've had a lot of time pass over it, so we've had, I think, people more complacent, perhaps, than was true some time ago.
We've also had a lot of our critics who want to score political points made what I think are outrageous charges. But in my mind...

WALLACE: So what rights do the Congress — what constitutional rights do the Congress and the courts have to limit the power of the president when it comes to these matters of national security?

CHENEY: Well, the Congress has — clearly has the ability to write statutes and has certain constitutional authorities granted in the Constitution.
But I would argue that they do not have the right by statute to alter a presidential constitutional power. In other words, you can't override his constitutional authorities and responsibilities.

WALLACE: So if they want to say he can't surveille or he can't detain...

CHENEY: Well, they have, for example, said — passed the War Powers Act. The War Powers Act is still in force out there today. That requires him to grant certain notifications to the Congress and give them the authority to supersede those by vote, if they want to, when it comes to committing troops.
No president has ever signed off on the proposition that the War Powers Act is constitutional. I would argue that it is, in fact, a violation of the Constitution, that it's an infringement on the president's authority as the commander in chief.
It's never been resolved, but I think it's a very good example of a way in which Congress has tried to limit presidents' authority and, frankly, can't.

And it goes from there. January 20, 2009 can't get here quickly enough.

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