Thursday, February 09, 2006

Whose Side Are You On?

This goes so deeply to the concept of "check and balances" that it's hard to know how to respond to it:

Vice President Dick Cheney reasserted that position Tuesday in an interview on "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer."

Members of Congress "have the right and the responsibility to suggest whatever they want to suggest" about changing wiretap law, Mr. Cheney said. But "we have all the legal authority we need" already, he said, and a public debate over changes in the law could alert Al Qaeda to tactics used by American intelligence officials.

"It's important for us, if we're going to proceed legislatively, to keep in mind there's a price to be paid for that, and it might well in fact do
irreparable damage to our capacity to collect information," Mr. Cheney said.

Congress can "suggest"? They don't pass laws, now, they just get to make "suggestions"? Is this a new rationale, that AUMF wasn't even necessary, that the President can do whatever he wants to do, so long as he waves the bloody shirt of "national security" and "in time of war"?

I had a long, involved, and thoughtful discussion written out on this. I don't even want to try to be rational about it anymore. Atrios picked up on the FISA court issue already, and more and more, all of this is of a piece: this Administration is absolutely lawless, and will use every dodge and obfuscation they can imagine to cover it. This is about nothing more than claiming as much power as they are allowed to get away with.

Nixon was once credited with trying to create the "imperial Presidency." He was a piker. And the only hope we have as a democratic republic, is to insist on Congressional oversight of the use of every kleenex in the White House, and the removal of as many high ranking officials in this Administration as it takes to restore confidence in the ability of this Administration to be part of a tri-partite government, not a univocal monarchy.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and many others, stood for something different: they stood for, and put their lives and bodies on the line for, public morality, public decency, public concern for human beings, not just political power, or economic power, or governmental power.

Her funeral should be, as janeboatler said, a "critical" juncture for us. We have to carry on their work. We have to take back our government.

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