Balkinization  

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Most Important, Unanswered Question About Cheney

Marty Lederman

Bart Gellman and Jo Becker of the Post are in the midst of publishing a terrific, very extensive set of stories on the role of the Vice President. Today's installment is about the Vice President's dominant role in determining virtually all of the Administration's responses after 9/11, especially with respect to detention, interrogation, the Geneva Conventions, and Executive power. Truth be told, there is not very much that is newly revealed in the two stories so far (with one important exception noted at the bottom of this post): They confirm the narrative that the writers on this blog, along with Jane Mayer and Sy Hersh of the New Yorker, and others, have surmised and written about for the past several years. But Gellman and Becker tell the story with flair, brio and evocative detail, and they've induced many Administration officials to confirm what we outsiders have gleaned from the tea leaves scattered throughout the documents and oblique statements that have been made public.

The dominance of Cheney within the Administration is, along with Iraq (which of course cannot itself be understood apart from the influence of the Vice President), the story of the Bush Administration. When the history books are written, the Vice President and his counsel, David Addington, will be at the forefront.

The gist of this story is that Cheney and Addington are zealously committed to certain beliefs about Executive power, about the role and understanding of statutory, treaty-based, and customary international law, and about how to prosecute the current military conflicts. They are very adept at playing and controlling the system within the Executive branch. They are unbelievably thorough and unrelenting. And they are responsible for virtually all of what you can read in the 600 or so posts over on the left-hand column of this blog.

Moreover, as we have recounted in the NSA/FISA matter and elsewhere, and as Gellman and Becker elaborate at great length, virtually any time Cheney and Addington adopt an extreme position, they are met with strong resistance from many conservatives within the Bush Administration -- including many important players at DOJ (Ashcroft, Comey, Goldmsith, Philbin, Olson, Clement, etc.), and elsewhere (Rice, Gates, Powell, Bellinger, Waxman, Kavanaugh, Berenson, etc.) Not to mention huge swaths of the intelligence agencies, the State Department, the uniformed military (especially the JAGs), et al. If you have any friends who have served in this Administration, you know that there are countless very conservative supporters of this President within the government who have constantly been at loggerheads with Cheney and Addington, and who simply cannot believe the positions adopted by (and, frequently, the terrible misjudgments of) the Vice President's office. And they are even more incredulous that those positions have, rountinely, become state policy, no matter the amount or intensity of dissent from other components of the Administration.

And yet, as Gellman and Becker relate, the Vice President does consistently prevails in the internal debates. He wins virtually every battle -- or at least bollixes things up sufficiently to prevent others from prevailing. (A good example was last week's short-lived story, when certain high-level officials leaked word of a meeting the next day at which the fate of Guantanamo was to be decided, and a consensus to close it had all but been reached -- a leak obviously designed to make the closure virtually inevitable. By that very evening, Cheney had successfully caused the meeting to be cancelled, and had stopped the "Close GTMO" forces in their tracks -- forces that included high-level players such as the Secretaries of State and Defense.)

This is the great mystery of the Bush Administration, and the question that no one, including Gellman and Becker, has answered: It's not very newsworthy that the Vice President has strongly held views, and that he fights hard for them. (So did Vice President Gore.) Nor is it even terribly notable that he is constantly opposed by others in the Administration. What is remarkable is that time and again, Cheney wins. And in so doing, he makes mincemeat of Powell, Ashcroft, Gates, Rice, etc. They are constantly beaten back -- indeed, in many cases, they're not even briefed into the process or the substance of the decision making.

Why do strong figures such as Rice, Gates, et al., continue to allow the Vice President to run roughshod over them and make them look like fools?

Gellman and Becker provide part of the answer -- namely, that Cheney and Addington are more astute and clever and ruthless than everyone else: "The vice president's unseen victories attest to traits that are often ascribed to him but are hard to demonstrate from the public record: thoroughgoing secrecy, persistence of focus, tactical flexibility in service of fixed aims and close knowledge of the power map of government. On critical decisions for more than six years, Cheney has often controlled the pivot points -- tipping the outcome when he could, engineering a stalemate when he could not and reopening debates that rivals thought were resolved."

But the larger explanation, of course, is that Cheney wins internal battles because the President constantly sides with Cheney over all his other trusted advisers. (Bush is not quite alone in this respect. As Gellman and Becker point out, Cheney has also had minority support in important places -- namely, White House Counsels Gonzales and Miers, along with Rumsfeld, Cambone and Haynes over at DoD.) Why is that? Why does Bush trust Cheney more than everyone else in his cabinet? And at what point do all of those other officials stop putting up with it?

This week's contretemps is a good example. The Addington theory that the Vice President is not covered by the Executive Order regulating the way in which every "entity within the executive branch" must handle classified national security information is patently frivolous. (Contrary to most reports, whether the VP's Office is covered is not a matter of constitutional law, but instead simply a question of interpreting the EO. And that EO was quite obviously written to cover the entire Executive branch, including both the President's staff (such as the National Security Council, which has routinely complied), and the Vice President's office, which also complied regularly until Cheney unilaterally decided to ignore the Order in 2003. The fact that Cheney also has ceremonial Senate functions -- in which he rarely if ever "comes into the possession of classified information," is really beside the point -- it's a self-evident red herring.)

The Archives asked DOJ to say so -- to resolve the dispute, something that should have taken OLC all of 15 minutes or so because the question is so easy. And yet if reports are correct, DOJ has not even begun the process -- has not even obtained the legal brief from Addington making the argument on the other side.

Why? Why isn't this a great opportunity for DOJ to bring Addington into line and, not so coincidentally, staunch a festering embarrassment for the Administration?

Much more to the point, Fred Fielding was brought in to the White House Counsel's office precisely to lend some gravitas and experience. This legal dispute is an acute sore for his client, and it is not helpful to have it linger. Why doesn't Fielding simply nip it in the bud -- announce immediately that the grown-ups are now in charge and that yes, the Executive Order was always intended to cover the Vice President's Office? (After all, if the President does wish to exempt the VP's Office, he could do so with a stroke of the pen -- as far as I know, there's no statute that requires the VP to comply with the procedures in the E.O. And yet the President, for obvious reasons, has never so much as hinted at granting any such exemption.)

Why do DOJ and the Counsel's office continue to act so cowed, just as Gates and Rice silently slink off to the sidelines when Cheney tells them "no" on Guantanamo?

The answer appears to be that the President has made it known that in such disputes, he will almost invariably side with Cheney, notwithstanding that Cheney's judgments have been so extreme, so idiosyncratic, and have so often proved disastrous. Therefore resistance from others in the Administration is futile, no matter how much they chafe under Addington's direction.

And so the $64,000 Question is: Why has this President, unlike every other, so uncritically deferred to the Vice President, even where the rest of his Administration is begging him not to do so? I've heard Sandy, an Austin native, say many times that he would have expected the Bush who was Governor of Texas to be much more conciliatory, more of a consensus builder. Why has there been no sign of that President?

The answer to that question is not yet revealed. (I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the uncompromising nature of the Cheney and Addington worldview appeals to the Manichean side of Bush that emerged in full force post-9/11.)

* * * *

The important new piece of information in today's story is, not surprisingly, that the theory of the unbound Commander in Chief is alive and well:
According to participants in the debate, the vice president stands by the view that Bush need not honor any of the new judicial and legislative restrictions. His lawyer, they said, has recently restated Cheney's argument that when courts and Congress "purport to" limit the commander in chief's warmaking authority, he has the constitutional prerogative to disregard them.

If Cheney advocates a return to waterboarding, they said, they have not heard him say so. But his office has fought fiercely against an executive order or CIA directive that would make the technique illegal.
Just in case you were wondering.

Comments:

I would suggest that Cheney prevails because he is arguing the law and policy, which his opponents are arguing polls.

Cheney employed a triumvirate of attorneys, led by Addington, to establish the legal basis of his positions long before the bureaucracy even considered what their positions would be. The WP article described Addington as a foremost scholar on wartime powers exercised by past Presidents like FDR when the bureacracy had not considered these issues for decades.

You will notice that, so far as we know, Cheney was the only one producing legal memorandum to the President. Consequently, when the bureaucracy argued a contrary position without support, the President was already briefed on the law and the bureaucracy had no response. Indeed, for the most part, I do not see where it reported that the bureaucracy claims that Cheney's take on the law is wrong.

Furthermore, Cheney usually stakes out positions which are difficult to dispute as policy - at least among conservatives.

For example, Cheney won the GC argument by arguing the policy provision that terrorists should not be given the privileges of prisoners of war. Powell shared this view and his argument in favor of voluntarily extending some GC benefits to terrorists collapsed because of its logical inconsistency.

Sometimes, Cheney wins the argument in favor of a politically damaging course of action like Gitmo which the President wishes to change by simply arguing that other alternatives like releasing terrorists or compromising intelligence sources within al Qaeda by granting open civilian criminal trials are far worse.

What I have not seen so far in this fascinating WP series is that Cheney prevails because Mr. Bush does not give a damn about the polls. With most presidents, especially poll watchers like Clinton, the bureaucracy would have won easily simply by pointing out the damage policies they oppose were doing to the President's approval ratings. This is why Mr. Clinton consistently refused to take military action which might end up in a poll damaging conflict. Whether you agree with him or not, Mr. Bush appears to have a genuinely religious outlook that he is willing to do what he considers to be right and necessary to win this war, his polls be damned. That places Cheney in the position to prevail against the bureaucracy.
 

"For example, Cheney won the GC argument by arguing the policy provision that terrorists should not be given the privileges of prisoners of war."


Nay, he won the arguemnt due to the exigencies of the moment.

Taliban WERE the lawful government of Afghanistan, and entitled to GC coverage; Al Qaeda were not. But all were entitled to a determination of these facts.

The US did NOT know which was which. They had gotten these 'prisoners' from bounty hunters.
 

I would suggest that Cheney prevails because he is arguing the law and policy, which his opponents are arguing polls.

So the Supreme Court is now poll-driven?
 

What comes through from the WaPo series is confirmation that George Bush is a weak, shallow, and obstinate person, and Cheney is basically a neocon bull in the china shop.

As to Bush's religion and not caring about polls, that is utter and complete BS. What is true is that Cheney doesn't care about polls.

Contrary to what Bart says, Cheney's arguments are incredibly weak, as evidenced by the string of unbroken failures when they've been reviewed by the courts. But it's highly doubtful Bush has the background or desire to judge them, and so Cheney gets away with it.

As anyone who has any experience with the bureaucracy will tell you, CYA is the primary rule there. If you want to get action, threaten their positions. It hardly speaks to Cheney's ability that he's ruthless and in a position to do this.

The only thing he's got is the protection of the President. However, it's the only thing he's needed, until Congress turned over and started investigating.

If the bureaucrats become convinced that Congress will protect them, Cheney is done for.
 

"What comes through from the WaPo series is confirmation that George Bush is a weak, shallow, and obstinate person,"

What also comes across is Colin Powell's aptitude for the pithy remark. e.g. 'Full Nurse Ratched mode' (No explanation needed to tie this one to Condi Rice) That's tighter and brighter than the 'Pottery Marn Rule.'
 

Prof. Lederman frames the question so as to miss the answer: it's not "why has Bush deferred to Cheney." There's no proof of any such deference.

Much easier, I think, to draw the conclusion that Bush agrees with Cheney.

The more interesting question to me is why Condi Rice has so little self-respect. If I were a black female professional, I would cringe at the spectacle she's made.
 

It has been obvious that Bush would defer to Cheney since the time that Bush allowed Cheney to choose himself as the Vice-Presidential candidate. What other recent candidate has not only outsourced the entire search process, but also to one person, and then accepted that person's decision of themself as VP?

Despite Bart's obfuscation, it is obvious that Cheney has been the Decider in the relationship since well before Bush became President. It is not due to the prowess of his legal team (as Tamanhana explained, and as Bart has often personally shown, many legal minds can come up with seemingly right but logically and/or morally and/or ethically wrong answers to legal questions either intentionally or unintentionally), but that Bush has made himself subservient to Cheney's decisionmaking for at least seven years. And because Cheney has to be the fulcrum of any XXV change in leadership, Bush's failures and incapacity to make independent decisions won't be acted upon because Cheney is very happy to be where he is: in control, but not in the spotlight.
 

"Bush has made himself subservient to Cheney's decisionmaking for at least seven years. "

Saturday Night Live got it right many years ago, with the domestic violence skit - officers responding to the family quarters athe the WH - insisting on interviewing Cheney (in wifebeater T-shirt) apart from Dubya, who is insisting that everything is Ok, 'just a misunderstanding'.
 

It could be that "Manichean" is an explanation, but we have yet to read the rest of the Post's series. Subsequent installments are going to look at Cheney's influence on the budget process - hardly a place where Manichean perspectives thrive. So I'm not so sure that explains Bush's deference to Cheney & Co.
 

"It could be that "Manichean" is an explanation, but we have yet to read the rest of the Post's series"

This will always be 'an unknown', even to Dubya. How a perfect storm of events led a completely unqualified, yet totally entitled and uncaring individual to this position.

Let's just chalk it up to the delicacy of this organism we call democracy. A noble experiment.
 

I think Digby has it about right. When the power brokers of the GOP settled on GWB in 1998, Cheney was already waiting in the wings. It was to be his presidency. Never in American history were the iconic and the executive functions of the President so cleanly divided. Cheney really is the man behind the curtain, America's principe.
 

[I]t's not "why has Bush deferred to Cheney." There's no proof of any such deference. Much easier, I think, to draw the conclusion that Bush agrees with Cheney.

And really this should not be too surprising. It is hardly a mystery why the President would be attracted to a theory that the President has unlimited power and that neither Congress nor the courts can restrain him. But Bush does seem to be too timid to act on this theory without Cheney's reassurance that he can.

The question, perhaps, should be, can we tame this Administration by impeaching Cheney? Or will Bush proceed much the same without him?
 

Michael Isikoff is reporting "a new Cheney-Gonzales mystery" in the current issue of Newsweek. It has recently become known that Cheney's office has refused to comply with an executive order requiring annual reports on security measures, claiming that the vice president is not part of the executive branch. The government official responsible for enforcing the order, J. William Leonard, complained about this last January to Attorney General Gonzales, asking for an official ruling, but he never received a response.

Isikoff asks, "Why didn't Gonzales act on Leonard's request? His aides assured reporters that Leonard's letter has been 'under review' for the past five months—by Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). But on June 4, an OLC lawyer denied a Freedom of Information Act request about the Cheney dispute asserting that OLC had 'no documents' on the matter, according to a copy of the letter obtained by NEWSWEEK. Steve Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists researcher who filed the request, said he found the denial letter 'puzzling and inexplicable'—especially since Leonard had copied OLC chief Steve Bradbury on his original letter to Gonzales."

Congressional investigators have now become interested in the matter, according to Isikoff, and Rep. Henry Waxman has told Newsweek that he plans to investigate the Justice Department's handling of the issue.
 

sorry, from Rawstory, June 25, describing the Newsweek article. not my writing.
 

Like the question "Why is there something rather than nothing," the question as posed by Professor Lederman strikes me as frivolous. We had 8 years of an ex-CIA head writing lines for an actor. By the time this is over we'll have had 8 years of the ex-head of Haliburton, and a close companion of the aforementioned ex-CIA head, with his hand up the backside of his own presidential manekin. This is not a new or unusual phenomenon, neither here nor elsewhere. Why does it come as such a surprise? And don't we do ourselves and our more credulous readers a grave disservice to act as if it's such a mystery? One of these guys is famous for running oil companies into the ground (and trading away great players.) The other is famous for making companies lots of money (although he no longer "profits" thereby; yeah, right.)

Here's a mystery: Why do we continue to let that cowardly, lying cheat continue posting his disingenuous partisan trolls? The world may never know...
 

Garth:

Didn't the White House already state that E.O. was not intended to cover the Vice President?
 

Charles,

that doesn't explain why OLC has no record of the complaint.
 

Again, the administration's statements and actions are inconsistent with their justifications.
 

So all of this suggests building a Congressional consensus around impeaching Cheney and disposing of Rove. At some point, this will have to become acceptable to Republicans who will need to do something if they hope to keep their seats. Getting rid of Cheney may become a viable alternative and give the thugs a figleaf of partisan showing by giving their albatross Herr Busch a pass.

Maybe then Herr Busch could be trusted to run out the clock.
 

Perhaps it never got to OLC? I will ask Professor Kmiec if he has any insight.
 

I just posted this over on another thread, but it seems relevant to this discussion as well:

Cheney actually said he was on the SENATE payroll in Time magazine in 2006:

"... I spend a fair amount of time on Hill matters. Part of that is because of my background in the House of Representatives, and part of it because my continuing job as Vice President is in the Senate. Most people don't realize I'm actually on the Senate payroll. That's where my paycheck comes from . . . ."

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1548061-3,00.html

The Oxford Guide to the United States Government states:

"The Vice President is not a member of either the executive or the legislative branch. Constitutionally, the Vice President is not a subordinate of the President, who has no power to issue orders to the Vice President and who cannot remove him from office. (The Vice President can be removed only by impeachment.)"
 

Steve Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists researcher who filed the request, said he found the denial letter 'puzzling and inexplicable'—especially since Leonard had copied OLC chief Steve Bradbury on his original letter to Gonzales.

Maybe his dog ate it.
 

Charles,

Can Bush delegate authority to Cheney and condition it upon his observance of Executive Orders and Policy?

He could, but his only recourse in light of Cheney's failure to follow policy is to revoke his authority, if I understand your argument correctly.

What of Bush's liability for designating authority to an "unaccountable" agent? Is the mere fact that the delegation of authority is revocable at will a sufficient constitutional safeguard of Bush's obligation to faithfully execute his office?

Where is the written delegation of authority? I presume there is none.

Great Scooter's Ghost, Batman!
 

oversight is neo-con kryptonite!
 

"Bart" DePalma:

What I have not seen so far in this fascinating WP series is that Cheney prevails because Mr. Bush does not give a damn about the polls. With most presidents, especially poll watchers like Clinton, the bureaucracy would have won easily simply by pointing out the damage policies they oppose were doing to the President's approval ratings.

Dubya's rating are in the toilet because everything he's touched turns to sh*te. Iraq is the quagmire same people always knew it would be, NOLA is still a mess, the economy's still in the doldrums, the deficit is a huge (and growing disaster, the maladministration is filled with crooks and political hacks, Dubya's tone-deaf on global warming and stem cell research, and Amer'kuh is reviled and ridiculed around the world.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Mr. Bush appears to have a genuinely religious outlook that he is willing to do what he considers to be right and necessary to win this war....

"Hope is not a plan."

THe reason people don't approve of Dubya is ... <*wait for it...*> ... the people have lost confidence in him. Translated into simple English for fools like "Bart", what that means is that more and more people every day see that, even if Dubya id trying to do things right and has good intentions, people are starting to think he's an incompetentr and an eedjit, if not an outright hack and crook himself.

Cheers,
 

Maybe the good professors will be able to answer your questions, Garth. Off topic: did you see the great, conservative victories out of the ROBERTS Supreme Court today? I can't wait for the school discrimination opinion!
 

The Oxford Guide to the United States Government states:

The WHAT guide to the U.S. Gov't?

We ceased to take an interest in British theories of our government sometime around the year 1776 or so.
 

I take it you don't have a political science background? Have you also boycotted the Oxford English Dictionary, Anderson?
 

One the authors, Donald A. Ritchie, is the Associate Historian of the U.S. Senate Historical Office and the author of "Press Gallery: Congress and the Washigton Correspondents" (which won the Richard Leopold Prize of the Organization of American Historians), "A Necessary Fence: The Senate's First Century", "The Senate, The U.S. Constitution, and James M. Landis: Dean of the Regulators." See site for other Oxford University Press reference books to include on your TO BURN list:

http://www.oup.com

OUP USA is by far the largest American university press and perhaps the most diverse publisher of its type. It publishes at a variety of levels, for a wide range of audiences in almost every academic discipline. The main criteria in evaluating new titles are quality and contribution to the furtherance of scholarship and education. OUP USA produces approximately 500 titles each year, of which 250 are scholarly research monographs, and imports close to 800 such works from our UK and branch offices. OUP USA has 3,300 scholarly books in print and stocks another 8,700 imports from other OUP offices around the world. All publications are first vetted by OUP’s Delegates, who are leading scholars at Oxford University and from other top US institutions.
 

No one has suggested the psychological explanation: Bush seems to have never addressed his serious learning disabilities and thus is easily captured by well organized, forceful presentations. Cheney is the definition of that, even if that coherent fully developed world view has little or no connection to the world as it is. Whether or not Bush in the abstract would agree with Cheney is hard to determine since he has no capacity to pushback the forceful craziness of Cheney
 

Charles: that was a "joke." Oxford University Press's affiliation with the government of the UK is relatively insubstantial.

Btw, have you met "cfoster" who quotes the same source over at OTB?
 

Oh, a "joke" huh? O.K. I have not met "cfoster" or OTB. Perhaps he / she is a political scientist as well?
 

Apropos of the Washington Post's exploration of Dick Cheney's role in the development of interrogations policy, TPMmuckraker has obtained a document from the 2002 trial of John Walker Lindh -- the American captured in Mazar-e-Sharif in 2001 fighting for the Taliban -- in which Donald Rumsfeld's general counsel, William J. Haynes II, is said to have advised the commander of U.S. forces in Mazar to "take the gloves off" when interrogating him.

The Los Angeles Times's Richard Serrano, in June 2004, first described the document, a statement of fact by Lindh prosecutor Paul McNulty (yes, that Paul McNulty) entered into the court record, about the circumstances behind Lindh's interrogation. But to our knowledge, this is the first time the document has become publicly available.

In the weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration feverishly debated what was legal and appropriate treatment for interrogations of al-Qaeda detainees. The Post reports today that the effort began with allowing the CIA access to interrogation techniques not permitted under the Geneva Conventions, but that Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted military interrogators to have the same expanded authority, a position shared by Haynes. According to the document, months before President Bush issued a February 2002 order calling for detainees to be treated humanely "subject to military necessity," Haynes instructed military interrogators to "take the gloves off" on an American citizen. From McNulty's discovery filing:







(An individual identified as U.S. Army #6)'s understanding was that he could not collect (intelligence from Lindh) that could be used in a criminal court. After the first hour of interrogation, he gave the admiral in charge of Mazar-e-Sharif a summary of what the interrogators collected up to that point. The admiral told him that the Secretary of Defense's counsel had authorized him to "take the gloves off" and ask whatever he wanted.

As Serrano and others reported, Lindh, an American citizen, was "was kept in harsh conditions, stripped and tied to a stretcher, and often held for long periods in a large metal container." When a Justice Department ethics attorney, Jesselyn Radack, told a counterterrorism prosecutor that Lindh could not be questioned without his lawyer present if DOJ wanted to build a criminal case against him, she was promptly pushed out of her job. The case against Lindh eventually came down to a 20-year sentence based on a plea bargain, prompting many to speculate that Lindh's harsh treatment -- apparently approved by Rumsfeld's top aides -- ultimately scotched the chances for a successful prosecution on bigger charges than his ties to the Taliban.

"We know he was tortured," says human-rights attorney Scott Horton. "There's no beating around the bush. This is clarifying that the authority was given at the highest levels for torture to occur. The strong suggestion here is that it's Haynes doing that, and the strong suspicion is that the authority for him to do so comes from the secretary of defense." The further suspicion, according to the Post piece, is that the authority for Rumsfeld's attorney to have authorized the abuse of an American citizen came from Vice President Cheney.

TPM - 6/25/2007

UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Back on topic, I did find ONE instance where Cheney was vested with Executive power: June 29, 2002, at 7:09 a.m., Section 3 of the 25th Amendment was invoked, temporarily transferring the power of the presidency to Vice President Dick Cheney, who remained Acting President until the power of the presidency was returned to President Bush at 9:24 a.m.
 

Oxford Guide to the US Government for Political Scientist Types:The Vice President is not a member of either the executive or the legislative branch.

I think the evidence for Cheney being a member of the executive branch is demonstrably stronger than the evidence for many of the Gitmo detainees to be al-Qaeda.

1. His office is in the White House.

2. His staff's offices and his ceremonial office is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, located next to the West Wing on the White House premises.

3. His title has the word "President" in it.

4. The details of how to elect and impeach him were originally detailed in Article II of the Constitution, not Article I.

5. "I think my contribution lies more in the substantive area, of being part of the team working with [the President] in terms of the kinds of policy decisions he makes and that we execute on." -Dick Cheney, Jan. 18 2004 interview with USA Today.

6. The White House's website includes Dick Cheney as a member of the Cabinet, and tells the children of our nation that his job is to "help President George W. Bush fulfill his goals for America."

7. Dick Cheney claimed in Feb. 2006 that he had the right to classification authority on the basis of Executive Order #13292 which includes the VP "in the performance of executive duties." (Note that this is the same executive order that he believes he does NOT have to abide by due to the unique character of the office--the power-granting parts apply apparently, and the oversight portions are irrelevant, as he's a member of the "Cake-having-and-eating branch.")

8. His name is on hundreds of thousands of bumper stickers, right next to the President's name.

9. When the President leaves Washington, D.C., Mr. Cheney sits in the Oval Office and clicks one of Bush's ballpoint pens over and over--which drives the Secret Service nuts.*

*unsubstantiated rumor from a single annoyed source.
 

Charles,

Given that Cheney is not part of the executive branch, he seems to be exercisng an extraordinary amount of executive power. Care to explain that?
 

". . . . Off topic: did you see the great, conservative victories out of the ROBERTS Supreme Court today? I can't wait for the school discrimination opinion!"

# posted by Charles : 2:19 PM

There is nothing more disingenuous, retrograde, and racist -- racist -- than the insistence that no "special rights" are needed by non-whites because in reality everyone is equal and on the same level playing field.

By contrast with that racism -- racism -- is the reality that reality is not perfect, humans are not perfect, and everything made by humans -- including law and gov't -- is not perfect. Those are not "special rights," bigot: they are protections of minorities which have traditionally been victimized -- and worse -- by the white majority that disingenuously whines that those protections against their predations are instead "special rights".

The bottom line is that that white majority has always opposed anti-lynching laws -- "race-based" laws -- on the stupendously dishonest grounds that they would not also protect the white majority. Not only is that not true, it is also not true that the white majority has a history of being lynched. The history is the opposite: the white majority has the history of being the lynchers.

Like it or not, disingenuous pie-in-the-sky demagogue, we do not live in a perfect reality. Which means we live in an imperfect reality. Thus it is often necessary to protect one group of citizens from the predations of another group of citizens. That is why, ass, there are anti-discrimination laws: to protect those minorities from the documented oppressions and predations of the whining white majority.

A bit of history: I was in junior high school before 1964; before the passage and signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race. There was one class room set aside -- "speacial class" it was called -- for the allegedly "retarded". The class consisted of 40-45 students, of which perhaps three were white. What are the chances, the percentages, that the other 42 -- black -- were (also) "retarded"?

Reactionaries argue that such laws as the 1964 Civil Rights Act don't change racist attitudes, therefore are a failure. No, they don't change attitudes; but they do protect the historical victims of those attitudes from those attitudes until the white majority's "God" strikes them with an Enlightning bolt which will wake that majority from its self-imposed racist socimoral retardation.
 

Honest, Charles, I didn't ask any trick questions by means of which to cause Ravenel to put his foot in it, and thus substantiate my statement of the facts for me --

http://www.palmettoscoop.com/2007/06/25/ravenels-father-to-serve-as-giuliani-sc-co-chair/

And not so by the way: When Rove's aide/stealth US AG appointee Tim Griffin was asked about his history of "caging" blacks and other minorities, he responded exactly as would the racist/white supremacist he (and Schlozman and von Spakovsky) is:

"I don't cage animals. I'm not a zookeeper."

I hope you're as excited to be on their side of the laws against discrimination as you are about hoping those laws are overturned by the reactionary extremists on the SC so "we" can go back to lynching blacks (and other minorities) with impunity.
 

PMS_Chicago (and Enlightened Layperson):

Nonetheless, the Constitution does not VEST a single executive power in the Vice President -- the word "President" IS used to vest the VP with the power of "President of the SENATE" -- you are both missing the larger point though. The Office of Vice President is a hybrid Legislative/Executive position only to the extent lesser statutes and/or the President have delegated Executive powers to Cheney (and therefore such delegation can be rescinded -- unlike the case where the Constitution VESTS power to begin with and nothing short of a Constitutional Amendment can divest such power -- get it now?).

Right after hunting accident (was that 2006?), I know that Brit Hume asked Cheney whether he could classify and de-classify information, and he said "yes" pursuant to Executive Order. Well, heck, pursuant to a similar Executive Order, the President could delegate that task to me as well. Does that magically transform me into a Constitutionally vested Executive? What I think is hilarious about Rep. Emanuel bringing a vote to de-fund Cheney's Executive office (other than it will never pass) is the assertion that "he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001" (see note above that salary is paid to him by the U.S. SENATE). You don't think Cheney would simply stay on at the West Wing, free of charge, or couldn't do the exact same work (maybe even screw up the Congress better) just the same from his Senate office?

JNagarya:

Did I say which side of the school discrimination case I was on? If you can't debate this issue (there are "non-racist" points to be made by both sides) without resorting to ad hominem attacks, that's too bad.
 

In addition, PMS_Chicago, Hastert had provided Cheney with ANOTHER office near the House floor (apart from the office you pointed out in the West Wing, his ceremonial office in the Old Executive Office Building, and his Senate offices I pointed out -- one in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and another off the floor of the Senate). That was, of course, all up until the Democrats took over Congress, and I seem to recall that Pelosi may have taken back Cheney's House office. Or, was it some other office space she was measuring for drapes?

Anyway, does any of the above help your understanding between VESTED (permanent) and DELEGATED (temporary) powers?
 

Charles:

In addition, PMS_Chicago, Hastert had provided Cheney with ANOTHER office near the House floor (apart from the office you pointed out in the West Wing, his ceremonial office in the Old Executive Office Building, and his Senate offices I pointed out -- one in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and another off the floor of the Senate). That was, of course, all up until the Democrats took over Congress, and I seem to recall that Pelosi may have taken back Cheney's House office. Or, was it some other office space she was measuring for drapes?

Care to explain why the kleptocrat Rethuglicans should even have given Cheney a House "office"?!?!?

... the assertion that "he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001" (see note above that salary is paid to him by the U.S. SENATE).

Hell, he can keep his Senate salary if he just gives back the salary he's gotten from Halliburton since in office ... or better yet, turns it over to an Iraqi orphans' relief fund.

Oh, and gives back all the money the executive branch has given him.

Cheers,
 

For the record, Cheney has not received ANY salary from Halliburton since July 25, 2000 when he resigned as CEO -- his blind trusts received all annuity and deferred compensation, and in 2005 exercised stock options but gave most of that money away to charity, split between the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, Inc. for the benefit of the Cardiothoracic Institute, the University of Wyoming for the benefit of the University of Wyoming Foundation, and Capital Partners for Education for the benefit of low-income high school students in the Washington, D.C. area -- see your tax consultant for any further questions.
 

Well, heck, pursuant to a similar Executive Order, the President could delegate that task to me as well. Does that magically transform me into a Constitutionally vested Executive?

One concern though. Bearing in mind that the laws of the land are not restricted to the Constitution, does US code delegate or vest powers? What about executive orders? Do executive orders run out when the President's office changes hands?


What I think is hilarious about Rep. Emanuel bringing a vote to de-fund Cheney's Executive office (other than it will never pass) is the assertion that "he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001" (see note above that salary is paid to him by the U.S. SENATE).


Right. I forgot that the "U.S. SENATE" bypasses taxpayers and obtains its funds from late night telethons on obscure cable channels and an ingenious network of "Fund the US Senate" bake sales. Rep. Emanuel is obviously an idiot to think Cheney derives even one red cent from the taxpayers.

Sure, Cheney receives funds from the Senate. Check out a budget though (in this case the FY 2003 budget), and you'll see that he also receives funds from the Executive Office of the President. But it's really a drop in the bucket, though, at $4.3 million and a $90k entertainment expense account at the official Vice-President's Residence. Compare that amount to the $1.9 million + $10k his office received in the Legislative Branch appropriations.

Now, tell me, is losing $4.3 million still hilarious?

All of this again being irrelevant, since if Cheney uses EO #13292 as justification for his authority to act in an executive capacity vis-a-vis intelligence, then he must accept the oversight of that capacity that is mandated in the same order. We can agree that he has a (limited) legislative function, but I don't recall that he is constitutionally vested with the power to ignore inconvenient rules.

Did I use "vested" correctly?
 

Yes, I think you finally did. Congratulations. I guess my question would be if you now think the President himself is subject to oversight other than via impeachment? The White House has repeatedly confirmed that no oversight was intended as to the Vice President.

On the "salary" question, Emanuel's comment can only be understood to attack Cheney if his salary is provided for through the Executive office (or, are you going to start picking nits as to "annuity", "deferred compensation", and "stock options" as well?). As for $4-5 million per year in legitimate VP Executive expenses, yeah that is in fact HILARIOUS compared to $11 TRILLION federal budget!! Keep telling funny jokes like that. I need a break every so often.

Seriously, though, I would love for the Democrats to try and de-fund the Office of Vice President (as long as they keep trying assuming a Democrat gets elected in 2008). You never did answer my questions above, for instance (assuming it gets by a Presidential veto) you don't think Cheney would simply stay on at the West Wing, free of charge, or couldn't do the exact same work just the same (or maybe even screw up the Congress better) from his Senate office?
 

The original blog entry asked the question "why does Bush defer to Cheney?"

After aging this question in oak for a few days, reading the WaPo series up through part 3, I am now prepared to speak authoritatively and deliver my opinion.

I think Bush is afraid of Cheney. It could be like the fear the little bird has of the snake that stalks it -- the difference in intellectual ability and personality is about right, and, as is well-known, Cheney never blinks -- or it could be an irrational fear of old bald guys. Possibly Bush was frightened at a young age by the grinning, bald head of Ike. It could be, as others have suggested, that Cheney has the original copies of Bush's National Guard records (the ones Libby retyped, printed out and sent to Dan Rather anonymously.)

I discount loyalty, as Cheney has prevailed over people with longer records of loyalty to Bush. I cannot believe that Bush and Cheney are bosom buddies or intellectual soul-mates (Cheney has no soul and damned little heart to bond with, while Bush hasn't the intellect to make this work.)

I've watched Bush, and he really doesn't have the emotional breadth for other emotions. If it were intellect, surely the disastrous results of Cheney's policies would have produced, long ago, a re-assessment in the relationship.

Fear is the only thing that explains the way it's played out.
 

The White House has repeatedly confirmed that no oversight was intended as to the Vice President.

So, according to the executive order, the oversight rules apply to:

The President
The Department of State
The Department of the Treasury
The Department of Defense
The Department of Justice
The Department of the Interior
The Department of Agriculture
The Department of Commerce
The Department of Labor
The Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Department of Transportation
The Department of Energy
The Department of Education
The Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Homeland Security
Any other entity in the executive branch

..but NOT the Vice-President when he's working in an executive capacity?

That's ridiculous. They can say it as many times as they like, it's still ridiculous.
 

LOL! That's the ticket -- Cheney is BACKMAILING Bush -- good one, really. Keep 'em coming.
 

I think the discussion here focuses too much on the text of the Constitution. Here's a cross-post from Volokh:

It's not like the Constitution has the prolixity of a legal code, defining every detail of the VP's job. It's more of an outline than a thesis.

Our expectations for the office are shaped not simply by the text, but by theory, history, and considerations of good faith. It's these, more than the text, which Cheney is violating.

His position lacks good faith because it seems to shift ground at his convenience, one minute avoiding executive rules because he's the President of the Senate, the next minute avoiding legislative rules on the claim that he's part of the Executive Branch.

His claims also violate our sense of the VP's role. That sense is informed by the history of the office, a history best summarized by John Nance Garner's famous description as "not worth a bucket of warm piss ["spit" in the bowderlized version]". Cheney's exaggerated claims of VP authority therefore undermine our shared understanding of the way the government is supposed to function without giving anyone else -- not Congress, not the Courts, not We, the People -- any say over it. The fact that his claims are the ultimate in self-serving makes them still more egregious.

Then there's theory. If there's any principle that everyone agrees on, it's that there are 3 branches of government. Cheney's attempt to create a fourth one for himself brings to mind the famous description of Samuel Chase: "He's a good man, but his theology is unsound. He thinks there's a fourth person in the Trinity."
 

PMS_Chicago:

The President is not bound by the E.O. rules either -- you still haven't answered my questions from above -- are you going to at least try to answer some of them?

I also doubt that $4-5 million covers Air Force Two, other secure transportation / communications, and Secret Service protection either, so I guess Congress is going to be really busy de-funding all of those too. Congress is not going to revert back to funding, though, if a Democrat gets elected to the Office of Vice President in 2008, right?
 

Mark Field:

No one is saying there's a fourth branch of goverment -- however, it is obvious that the Office of Vice President is not exclusively within one of those branches -- it's more like a hybrid Legislative/Executive position to the extent lesser statutes and/or the President have delegated powers to Cheney (and therefore such delegation can be rescinded -- unlike the case where the Constitution VESTS power to begin with and nothing short of a Constitutional Amendment can divest such power). At least that's the way I've always thought of it.
 

BTW: Has Speaker Pelosi signed off on the Air Force transports being cut off for herself and Democratic members yet? That would be just as petty as this proposal.
 

Again, from the Oxford Guide to the United States Government:

"The Vice President is not a member of either the executive or the legislative branch. Constitutionally, the Vice President is not a subordinate of the President, who has no power to issue orders to the Vice President and who cannot remove him from office. (The Vice President can be removed only by impeachment.)"
 

Read real careful, despicable knee-jerk airhead, so you maybe get it:

"Did I say which side of the school discrimination case I was on?"

Without question. You consistently put idiotology -- extremist bigot's wholly ahistorical and fact-free belief -- before thought -- and before history and fact. You cheer on an "administration" which, by means of criminal thuggery and subversion of the Constitution, stole its way into office, in everything it does, so long as it is ruthless and brutal against your perceived enemies -- never stopping to realize that the horrendous abuses being imposed by your "champions" fall also on you.

Or are you exempt from the rule of law, as they declare it to be, simply because you're a mindless champion of your hoodwinking oppressor?

You expressly say in another thread that you read all the latest decisions by the Roberts court, and agree with every one. You have no objection to limiting others' freedom of speech, because they are saying things with which you disagree. You have no objection to imposing "religion" on others, so long as it's "religion" you approve.

In that same thread you assert that there is no right to freedom from "religion". ASS: You have the right to be free from my "religion" in order that you have the right to practice your "religion" -- and vice-versa. Nor can GOV'T require any or all citizens to have a/any "religion". Those were principles of law -- incorporated also in state constitutions -- beginning at very latest in 1776-77. Express separation of church and state was incorporated in American law before there was a US Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is also threaed throughout the debates -- the legislative history -- of that which became the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, which in first draft read:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."

[To those who believe the NRA's lie: that is the only "individual" -- "person" -- "right" debated as concerns the Second Amendment. That it was ultimately voted down means the Second has nothing whatever to do with "individual" anything.]

In short: being stupid is your substitute for knowledge; it's easier; you drift through life comforting yourself with the illusion that, so long as you can hide anonymously among the illusory majority, the anonymous herd, no one will ever challenge you to think beyond your comfortable and false claptrap.

You buy the reactionary, pro-wealth pseudo-conservative line hook, line, and sinker: all that matters to you is that you are advantaged over everyone who has different views -- and skin color -- than you.

"If you can't debate this issue (there are "non-racist" points to be made by both sides) without resorting to ad hominem attacks, that's too bad."

Though you obviously take personally the facts I provided in the post to which you refer but to which do not respond, and cannot refute -- and you deservedly take them personally -- there is no personal attack in anything I said. Regardless how you deny it to yourself, and attempt to deny it to others in the know, you buy into the racist program -- as ever without the least question: if it's called "conservative," you automatically swallow it as truth. And, no: there are no "non-racist" points to be made by the "side" -- your "side" -- that is racist through-and-through, because all they are about is racism, ass.

You indicate elsewhere that you're some sort of "Christian"; no, you are not: you are a selfish, self-centered ass who cares only about his own comfort -- and imposing that unquestioning illiterate's obliviousness onto others in hopes it will increase your comfort by eliminating "troubling" alternatives. Calling it "conservative" gives you license not to be a "Christian" but to hate while hiding behind that empty, contradicted label.

Your ass is made of sand -- and your head is shoved so far up it you doubtless look almost normal.

Nor is any of the above a personal attack, Charles: to call a person a thing he is not is a personal attack; but to call a person that he is is a statement of fact. You support the racist program precisely because you are a racist. Even if that fact is a new and alarming discovery for you.

# posted by Charles : 10:25 AM
 

Oh, O.K., thanks for educating me in "what personal attacks do NOT look like" (I guess Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are "racists" too : )
 

No one is saying there's a fourth branch of goverment -- however, it is obvious that the Office of Vice President is not exclusively within one of those branches -- it's more like a hybrid Legislative/Executive position to the extent lesser statutes and/or the President have delegated powers to Cheney

Fine, but the issue is what conclusion we should draw from this status. One logical conclusion is that the VP is therefore subject to rules governing the Senate AND to rules governing the Executive. To pick a similar case, the Chief Justice is subject to rules set by the Supreme Court when he sits there, but to rules set by Congress when he presides over the trial of the President.

But Cheney doesn't agree with this rather obvious result. Instead, he argues that his "hybrid" status -- a situation by no means unusual under the Constitution -- somehow immunizes him from the rules applicable to both branches. It's this aspect of his argument which implies a "fourth" branch. And it's this aspect which people rightly see as intellectually dishonest.
 

Charles,

It's good that you are able to laugh, but your reading comprehension may need work.

Blackmail was only one (and the last and least) of the explanations I proposed for Bush's fear of Cheney.

Since you have expressed not a single original explanation, insight, or fact, can we deduce that you have none to offer?
 

Mark Field:

No, the VP is not subject to rules governing the Senate because he is "elected together with" the President -- both are expressly subject to impeachment though -- as for the Chief Justice being subject to rules set by Congress when he (or, she, eventually) presides over the trial of the President, which specific rule(s) are you referring to (and, if that's the case, how can the Chief Justice "preside" in any meaningful sense of the term?)?

C2H50H

Are you certain you've seen each and every one of my insights and explanations above? I thought the "ONE vested Executive power in Amendment XXV, Sec. 4" was pretty darn original. I've never seen that one in any political science or con law class, since I've always been taught the Vice President has ZERO vested Executive power. Maybe YOUR reading comprehension needs some help too?
 

Charles:

his blind trusts received all annuity and deferred compensation,...

"[D]eferred compensation": An accounting scam. Then there's the options which you admit he exercised....

Cheers,
 

Charles,

Nobody has perfect reading comprehension, and I'm not going to claim I do, but please, go back and read the original blog entry, and then consider whether your many comments, none of which speak to the subject of the entry, add insight to the discussion.
 

I seem to have also been trying to explain to PMS_Chicago -- among others -- the difference between that VESTED (permanent) and other DELEGATED (temporary) powers. That's not my fault I am asked to explain it over and over.
 

Charles: you still haven't answered my questions from above -- are you going to at least try to answer some of them?

I'll be happy to do so when I have a little more time. I'm writing a syllabus for fall today, so I'm a bit squeezed at the moment.

I note, however, that you focused your attention primarily on a few of my silly barbs, but not the quotes by Cheney himself or the irrefutable bumper sticker evidence. I think there's more grist for your mill, as well.

One quick reply though:

You don't think Cheney would simply stay on at the West Wing, free of charge, or couldn't do the exact same work (maybe even screw up the Congress better) just the same from his Senate office?

I think if Cheney were defunded, he'd submit to oversight in order to get his funding back, which he would likely do preemptively if there was any threat that it would actually occur. The location of his office and the presidential funding of the salary of his advisors and home only matters in terms of my original statement; the logic I've heard here from other parties on an only semi-related issue ("If someone is found in a terrorist training camp, chances are they're a terrorist!") would seem to apply to the White House, too.
 

Charles,

Perhaps I spoke out of turn -- I'm just a commenter, but the title: "The Most Important, Unanswered Question About Cheney" is a clue.

Hint: it hasn't anything to do with his constitutional authority or duties.

I would welcome your comments on the enduring mystery of why Bush continues to give Cheney any influence. Bart's answer, which was that Cheney has been consistently correct, didn't satisfy me, somehow.
 

PMS_Chicago:

Whenever you get the chance, I would be most interested in your responses. As for the Cheney quotes, I don't see anything he's said that conflicts with my hybrid theory above. And, of course this may seem anti-climatic, but your "irrefutable" bumper sticker evidence is easily dealt with the fact that the Vice President is indeed Constitutionally elected "together with" the President, even though the immediately preceeding sentence makes it crystal clear only ONE of them is vested with the Executive Power:

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows . . .

Let me know if those two sentences are STILL giving you problems.

C2H50H:

That may be the title, but I'm commenting on the first two sentences. I'll look at the rest again.
 

as for the Chief Justice being subject to rules set by Congress when he (or, she, eventually) presides over the trial of the President, which specific rule(s) are you referring to (and, if that's the case, how can the Chief Justice "preside" in any meaningful sense of the term?)?

The CJ "presides" over Congress in the same way that a CEO "presides" over the corporate Board of Directors. Both are subject to the rules of the body over which they preside.

When it comes to setting the rules of the Senate, the Constitution expressly provides (Art. I, Sec. 5, cl. 2) that "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings...."

The Senate Impeachment rules (pdf) consistently provide that the Senate retains ultimate control over the proceedings. Thus, for example,

"104. The Presiding Officer [CJ] shall have power to make and
issue, ... all
orders, mandates, writs, and precepts authorized by these
rules or by the Senate, and to make and enforce such other
regulations and orders in the premises as the Senate may
authorize or provide."

"106. ... the Presiding Officer
on the trial may rule on all questions of evidence including,
but not limited to, questions of relevancy, materiality, and
redundancy of evidence and incidental questions, which
ruling shall stand as the judgment of the Senate, unless
some Member of the Senate shall ask that a formal vote
be taken thereon, in which case it shall be submitted to
the Senate for decision...."

Etc.

The same holds true for the VP. Senate Rule XX, adopted pursuant to the express Constitutional authority, states "A question of order may be raised at any stage of the proceedings ... and, unless submitted to the Senate, shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate." Emphasis added. IOW, the Senate retains ultimate control over the rulings from the Presiding officer.

Are you seriously suggesting that, for example, the Secretary of State need not comply with Presidential orders? If so, what's your basis for arguing that the other branches can't set their own rules?
 

Thank for the cite to Senate rules. Also, I am not suggesting that the Secretary of State need not comply with Presidential orders. Next question?
 

As promised to Charles, a few responses.

Let me know if those two sentences are STILL giving you problems.

I don't think they were ever giving me problems. I think you may have overreacted a bit to the release of details about Cheney's ballpoint pen-clicking habit. Lighten up, and remember that some of us are trying to put some humor into the situation.

For instance, to counter your Oxford Dictionary of the Halls of Medicine and US Government, I might suggest you read a federally-funded with description of the Executive Branchwritten by none other than Ben-Freaking-Franklin himself*:

(* Note: Any likeness to the actual Ben Franklin is merely graphical.)

I guess my question would be if you now think the President himself is subject to oversight other than via impeachment?

Yes, of course I do. I don't see how the National Archives providing for oversight of classified materials to make sure things are done correctly and in accordance with the law is any different from the GAO auditing executive agencies to make sure their expenditures are legal and accounted.
 

Oh, O.K., thanks for educating me in "what personal attacks do NOT look like" (I guess Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are "racists" too : )

# posted by Charles : 4:35 PM

Yes, they are. As is Scalia. But you wouldn't recognize what's right in front of your face if it declared itself and insisted you accept it on its face. The agenda which nominated them for the court is racist, and pro-corporate. Clue: pro-corporate is against you, sucker.

The greatest enemy to our country is ignorant one-issue jackasses such as you who vote against their own interests because so susceptible to lies -- beginning with their own.

Even though I already made clear why they are racists -- "Federalist Society" and its friends Neo-Confederates and other "sects" of the avowedly Christian KKK -- I'll make it real simple so this time it might not slip by your prejudgement:

History substantiates the necessity for civil rights laws -- anti-discrimination laws. Yet you dupedly believe the false "conservative" view that such are "special rights" rather than that they are in fact: protections of minorities which have historically been victimized by the white majority. To deny that necessity is to deny that undeniable history. And I really don't give a fuck, and have no patience for, your preferring to delude yourself that the racism is "all in the past". If that were true, there would be no objection to efforts to alleviate racial disparities in education. There wouldn't be any objection to affirmative action. There wouldn't be any objections to legislative efforts to eliminate disparities based upon race. There wouldn't be demands for perfection where it is all too well known there is none: because of racism, and other forms of bigotry and its unfounded discriminations, there isn't an "equal playing field"; and eliminating unavoidably imperfect efforts to address that disparity will not "re-establish" a level playing field which has never (yet) existed.

The objection that such protections are instead "special rights" because they protect those minorities but not the white majority from victimization, thus are discriminatory on the basis of race, is a falsehood. Behind that is the real objection: that such falsely alleged "special rights" protect those minorities from the "traditional" victimizations by imposing negative legal consequences on the victimizers; on the white majority.

So, being ignorant of the history, and not giving a fuck about anyone but yourself, you're against the "discrimination" which, as example, brings minority school children out of the economic concentration camps in which traditionally confined into "your" schools. "God" forbid your kids be exposed to and learn to live in the real world where not everyone is white. And not everyone is -- nor can be required to be --"Christian".

Want to be a genuine Christian? Then cease supporting an agenda which is overtly racist and about imposing and enforcing hate. Cease supporting the lie that the US was "founded on the bible"; it was not.

Help out -- or get out of the way.

Until you do that you'll continue to be a fake Christian lying about everything based upon that despicable hypocrisy, and embracing greed as your actual creed.
 

No one is saying there's a fourth branch of goverment -- however, it is obvious that the Office of Vice President is not exclusively within one of those branches -- it's more like a hybrid Legislative/Executive position to the extent lesser statutes and/or the President have delegated powers to Cheney (and therefore such delegation can be rescinded -- unlike the case where the Constitution VESTS power to begin with and nothing short of a Constitutional Amendment can divest such power). At least that's the way I've always thought of it.

# posted by Charles : 3:39 PM

And Congress has the authority to impeach -- which is arguably a judicial/prosecutorial function. That does not, however, make it "aslo" the -- or a -- judiciary.

Oh, is the "prosecutorial" function of the police power -- which is lodged in the Executive? That nonetheless does not make it also -- or an -- Executive.

You are typical of the extreme right wing illiterates even as concerns awareness of the full dimensions of intellect of which the human is capable: morons capable of endlessly "debating" the inconsequentially irrelevant side issue and confusing that for substance and intellectuality.

The Vice President is the Full President-in-waiting, as has been the fact and understanding since Washington.

If you wish to persist in lying -- by being intellectually dishonest in every way and whenever dictated by the fools you follow -- we except you will follow Cheney when he jumps off the cliff. Only that will persuade us that you actually believe the patently obvious horseshit you insist we must view and treat seriously simply because morally bankrupt and treasonous anti-Americans such as Cheney fart it out for the "good faith" consumption of assholes such as you.
 

If you are aware of some executive Power VESTED BY THE CONSTITUTION to the Vice President, JNagarya, by all means, please share with the class.
 

If you are aware of some executive Power VESTED BY THE CONSTITUTION to the Vice President, JNagarya, by all means, please share with the class.

Jnagarya already did. The Veep's primary power, vested by the Constitution, is to become the President--an executive branch position if ever there was one.

At least it seems so to me, "Ben Franklin", and the U.S. Government Manual (produced by the US Government).

For real fun, go to the last link and click on the pdf for the Constitution of the United States. There's a handy organizational chart at the end of it; go look and tell me where they put the Vice-President.

Then return and tell me how obvious it is that Dick Cheney's employees don't have to abide by rules intended to affect entities in the executive branch.
 

That's "contingent" vesting, at best. I would argue it's not "vesting" (or even a "Power") at all -- once specified FUTURE events occur, the Vice President is no longer VICE President, but is VESTED with all executive Power as President -- as for your chart, a previous thread noted how much money is appropriated for Cheney's OVP under the Executive budget request. So what? Cheney get's a budget for his SENATE office as well. Also, don't get me started on Ben Franklin (he and Thomas Jefferson as among my least favorite Founding Fathers).
 

I guess I should be specific. I certainly think that Cheney's employees within the executive branch need to abide by the rules intended to affect those in the executive branch. Cheney does employ staff who are cross-over / Senate employees and therefore not in the executive branch.
 

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