Molt Be Blog

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'ts Official: Bush Can do Whatever The Hell He Wants

Commuting Libby's sentence is the cherry on top of the Executive Power cake. God forbid that Libby should have to serve a single day of prison time, "Stopping short of issuing a pardon, Mr. Bush issued a statement Monday sparing Libby from jail, but he left in place a $250,000 fine and probation for the ex-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. The president's announcement came just hours after a federal appeals panel ruled that Libby could not delay his prison term." [npr] It only makes sense that Bush waited until every last judge and appeal had confirmed that Libby was guilty before agreeing that, yes, he was guilty, but that doesn't mean he should have to be punisihed with jail time for it. I mean, really! It's a non-violent offense and jail is excessive. Now pot-smokers? Those people should be locked up. Brilliant.

The Post reports that Bush consulted with few when making the decision, but this is partly explained by another post article from yesterday that seemed designed to encourage sympathy for A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease. Of course he's at Ease! He can do whatever the hell he wants and only has to answer to some "God" that he thinks is OK with torture, capital punishment and pardoning of Cheney's former Chief of Staff. Granted, the last of these isn't nearly as important as the first two, but that's really just the point. How long did Bush spend thinking about commuting the sentence? Did he, like me, not even know what "commuting" was until a few days ago? Bush wakes up at 5:30am and is in the Oval office at 6:30am. He takes a break around dinner and then works until 9pm. He also takes weekends off and has taken more vacation than all former presidents and all of Europe combined. Why is he taking the time to even think about someone as tiny as Libby? There are much bigger problems in the world. The wife is of the opinion that this deal was struck long ago: Libby would accept the blame and the POTUS would commute/pardon him. Wife also doubts that Libby will pay the $250,000 himself.

This is all part of a much larger push by the President, Cheney and their cohorts to drastically increase the power fo the executive branch. As featured in a New Yorker article of a few months ago, the power of the Executive Branch is increasing thanks in large part to a crazy asshat named David S. Addington, who's Wikipedia entry reads like a who's who of neo-con jackasses:
David S. Addington - Asshat

Addington was also a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan for one year in 1987, before becoming Reagan's deputy assistant. He was Republican counsel on the Iran-Contra committee in the 1980's. From 1989 to 1992, Addington served as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, before becoming the Department of Defense's general counsel in 1992.

From 1993 to 2001, he worked in private practice, for law firms Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz and Holland & Knight, and the American Trucking Associations. He headed a political action committee, the Alliance for American Leadership, set up in large part to explore a possible presidential candidacy for Mr. Cheney.

Addington's influence strongly reflects his hawkish views on U.S. foreign policy, a position he had apparently already committed to as a teenager during the late phase of the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.

Addington has consistently advocated that under the Constitution, the President has unlimited powers as commander in chief during wartime. In October 2005, Addington was tapped to become the Vice President's chief of staff, replacing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who had resigned after being indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He is the legal force behind over 750 signing statements President Bush has added to bills passed by Congress. Addington was a legal advisor to President Reagan, and suggested that such signing statements be used to exempt President Reagan from responsibility for the Iran-Contra scandal.

Addington helped to shape an August 2002 opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that said torture might be justified in some cases. He advocates scaling back the authority of lawyers in the uniformed services. He consistently advocates the expansion of presidential powers and Unitary Executive theory, nearly absolute deference to the Executive Branch from Congress and the Federal judiciary.

Addington was mentioned by title in "Scooter" I. Lewis Libby Jr.'s indictment for five felony charges related to the Plame affair, regarding the leak of the identity of a CIA officer.

In November 2006, the German government received a complaint seeking the prosecution of Addington for alleged war crimes.

The Post has a good blurb on Addington here: Cheney's Cheney. All bad things. I wonder what the National Review has to say about all this. Oh, that's right, it was Appropriate Presidential Mercy. I guess every story has two sides. Finally, if you really want to read a ridiculous amount about Addington, try the 9 page article in US News from back in May here.

Granted, Addington and co have done nothing to increase the power that the President has to pardon, commute and otherwise grant mercy. But what they have done is give enough power to the Executive Branch to make Bush think that this is going to fly... and I sure hope it doesn't. The Constitution gives Bush the right to commute whomever he wants and this is something that should remain intact. What shouldn't remain intact is Bush's confidence that he can get away with doing whatever he wants. This kind of behavior is indicative of Bush's lack of respect for the will of the people. If all the terrorism scares in recent days don't tell us that Bush's policies aren't working, what will? The man needs to be taken to task.

No comments: