Good Riddance to Decade That Began With Theft of the Presidency

I am a big fan of John Nichols. This is an important post. I think it’s important to remember how this nightmare of a decade started..

Good Riddance to Decade That Began With Theft of the Presidency by John Nichols

The British press has taken to referring to the passing decade as “the Noughties” has made quite a big deal of trying to identify the political, economic and cultural trends of period from 2000 to 2009.

It is an amusing pastime that has some value, but only if we’re focused on identifying the root cause of what made the Noughties such a miserable decade.

If we are serious about the task, there is not much mystery.

The original sin of the good-riddance decade came in December of 2000, when the United States Supreme Court intervened to stop a complete recount of the votes in Florida and then declared George Bush to be the president.

This extreme judicial activism was not merely a devastating assault on American democracy. It set in motion the Bush presidency, and with it the pathologies that the Bush-Cheney administration imposed on the country in the form of unnecessary wars, failed economic policies, assaults on civil liberties and crudely divisive and hyper-partisan governance.

Bush, Dick Cheney and aides are surely to blame for much of what ailed America during the 2000s, and for what will ail America for decades to come.

But it was the U.S. Supreme Court’s unprecedented meddling in the presidential election process – an intervention that would have horrified the founders of a republic that was supposed to enjoy a separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers – made the Bush-Cheney interregnum possible.

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Rep. Massa: Cheney “has political Tourette’s”

Raw Story:

Rep. Eric Massa tells MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that he is tired of the hypocrisy of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Jim DeMint on national security.

Rep. Massa says at one point that Cheney suffers from “diarrhea of the mouth”. Personally, I am embarrassed for Cheney every time he comes out and pretends he has ANY credibility on any subject, yet it doesn’t stop him from trying to hammer away at President Obama, accusing him of things that he and Bush were guilty of. You know.. Incompetence, cowardice, etc.. Schultz and Massa were correct. It’s time for the Dems to start hitting back at these crazy claims and throw the truth right back at them – especially at Dick Cheney. Hitting back hard. This man has done enough damage, and hopefully it won’t be much longer before it comes back to bite him in the butt. Hard.

Rep. Massa:

“I am sick and tired of the former vice president of the United States taking shots not only at this administration, for problems he was largely and personally responsible for, but by an extension at those of us who served in the military and bring that experience,” Massa said on MSNBC’s The Ed Show.

“This man suffers from a horrible case of political Tourette’s [syndrome], and it’s about time that we stand up and kick right back because I’m sick and tired of him kicking us in our shins,” Massa said…

….”We need to grow a spine and stand up and show America exactly who did what,” Massa said, pointing to Cheney’s role in the events leading to the Christmas day attempt and the fact that the Bush administration took several days longer than Obama to address the 2001 shoe-bomber incident.

“It was Dick Cheney personally responsible for the release of the masterminds of the Christmas airline terror plot,” he said, accusing the former vice president of shifting his culpability to Democrats.

“It makes no difference what we do, this man suffers from political diarrhea of the mouth, and unless we stand up and call it as it is he’s going to keep on getting away with it,” Massa said…

…The New York Democrat also lashed out at Sen. Jim DeMint as “personally responsible for placing you, the traveling American public at risk” by “placing a hold on the nominee of the director of the Transportation Security Agency.”

People like Jim DeMint and people like Dick Cheney need to go away so we can solve the problems they’ve created,” Massa said.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Don’t miss this article by Eugene Robinson in the Washington
post
today:

Dick Cheney’s lies about President Obama

Bruce Fein wants an expanded CIA probe

On yesterday’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews interviewed Bruce Fein, an Associate Deputy Attorney General to President Ronald Reagan, and Fein argued that the Justice Department should expand a probe into the CIA’s interrogation techniques — including the possibility of targeting former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In response to a clip of Dick Cheney saying (in his interview with Chris Wallace of Fox Noise) that even if they violated the rules (laws), don’t investigate, and don’t even think of indicting..:

“What I find most dangerous about Mr. Cheney’s statement is that he really suggests that the rule of law means nothing as long as you’re trying to go after terrorists. We have a way to do these things. Go to Congress and you have them amend the law—a ticking time-bomb exception or something like that. The executive branch doesn’t unilaterally declare the law no longer serves any purpose because we’re going after terrorists. That’s what despotic governments do. We are the United States of America. Rule of Law is our ultimate safety and guarding of our liberties.”

“I think there should be an investigation, and perhaps a pardon would be appropriate under the circumstance, but certainly a full-fledged investigation. If there are no mitigating circumstances a prosecution is appropriate. If there are, then that’s the pardon, and that’s the situation where the president would have to take full accountability like President Ford did with Mr. Nixon.”

I agree. Let the investigation go where it must. This country needs to see accountability so we as a nation can regain our confidence that we really ARE a country based on the Rule of Law, that there really are lines that cannot be crossed, that those laws really work—for ALL of us (including our elected leaders and lawmakers).

John Yoo ordered to testify on torture

John Yoo, the former Bush administration lawyer connected to the torture program put in place by the Bush Administration, has been ordered to testify in court about accusations that his work led to the torture of a detainee. More at ThinkProgress and Raw Story.

From Raw Story:

Former Bush administration attorney John Yoo was ordered on Friday by a federal judge in San Francisco to testify in an appeal brought by Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held for more than three years and allegedly tortured while in U.S. military custody.

Yoo was one of several administration lawyers who authored legal memos which outlined a legal range for torture, a war crime under the Geneva Convention relative to the prisoners of war.

“Judge [Jeffrey S.] White denied most elements of Mr. Yoo’s motion and quoted a passage from the Federalist Papers that in times of war, nations, to be more safe, ‘at length become willing to run the risk of being less free,’” noted The New York Times.

Yoo, while at the Office of Legal Council in 2002, authored a majority of the department’s opinions on torture along with Jay Bybee, who now serves as a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Steven Bradbury, the former OLC chief who now practices law in Washington, D.C…

Read more on this story…

It’s the Torture, Stupid

Who cares what Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it? That isn’t the point. The point is what it is that she is accused of knowing – That the Bush Administration, in violation of both US Law and International Treaty, tortured people. Continue reading

Torture Supporters Still Supporting Torture

On Friday, May 8, MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” was guest-hosted by MSNBC contributor Lawrence O’Donnell. His first segment was on Dick Cheney’s continuing “Torture Worked Tour,” and his guests were Torture Supporters Frank Gaffney and David Rivkin. I couldn’t help but notice that O’Donnell’s style could never be confused with Rachel Maddow’s. For neither guest did O’Donnell offer words of welcome and appreciation for coming on the show, nor did he give them any thanks for being there when he was done. In fact, he treated them both rather dismissively, and for good reason. Gaffney and Rivkin should be dismissed.

(The full segment can be found on MSNBC’s website. When I figure out how to embed it here, I will.)

The segment began with a recap of Dick Cheney’s recent interview Continue reading

Torture Used to Link Saddam With 9/11

by Marjorie Cohn (Posted with permission)

When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Arizona) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in The New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.

Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established.

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