Impeach Cheney?

The Washington Post ran an amazing series this week about the unconstitutional and unprecedented power grab that is the Dick Cheney vice-presidency.  I've been too lazy to pore through the voluminous series for the best bits, figuring that at some point, somebody else would do that and I could summarize them.  I waited a few days, and former Reagan administration official, Bruce Fein, has done the job in Slate.  The highlights:

Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been
transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In
grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled
political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and
Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III. The most recent invention we know of
is the vice president's insistence that an executive order governing
the handling of classified information in the executive branch does not
reach his office because he also serves as president of the Senate. In
other words, the vice president is a unique legislative-executive
creature standing above and beyond the Constitution. The House
judiciary committee should commence an impeachment inquiry. As
Alexander Hamilton advised in the Federalist Papers, an impeachable
offense is a political crime against the nation. Cheney's multiple
crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify…

The vice president asserted presidential power to create military
commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor
in the trial of war crimes. The Supreme Court rebuked Cheney in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
Mr. Cheney claimed authority to detain American citizens as enemy
combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay on the president's say-so
alone, a frightening power indistinguishable from King Louis XVI's
execrated lettres de cachet that occasioned the storming of the Bastille. The Supreme Court repudiated Cheney in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

The
vice president initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in
Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists. This
lawlessness has been answered in Germany and Italy with criminal
charges against CIA operatives or agents. The legal precedent set by
Cheney would justify a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to
kidnap American tourists in Paris and to dispatch them to dungeons in
Belarus if they were suspected of Chechen sympathies…

In the end, President Bush regularly is unable to explain or defend the
policies of his own administration, and that is because the heavy
intellectual labor has been performed in the office of the vice
president. Cheney is impeachable for his overweening power and his
sneering contempt of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Not that it will happen, but it beyond the shadow of a doubt that Cheney deserves impeachment far more than Bill Clinton ever did. 

Immigration and clueless media coverage

I could have put this in at the end of the previous post, but I thought it deserved its own.  The Washington Post story I linked to that details the failure of the immigration legislation is an absolutely classic example of how reporters distort the story in order to prove just how objective they are.  What we call “he said, she said” bias.  Basically, reporters figure if they blame both Democrats and Republicans equally nobody can accuse them of bias when sometimes one side is much more truthful than the other.  That's a bias against the truth.  In this article, it really seems that both parties doomed the legislation.  Here's the lede:

The most dramatic overhaul of the nation's immigration laws in a
generation was crushed yesterday in the Senate, with the forces of the
political right and left overwhelming a bipartisan compromise
[emphasis mine] on one of
the most difficult issues facing the country.

While this is certainly technically true, as both Democrats and Republicans voted to defeat the measure.  The larger truth that this was really a defeat at the hands of Republicans, does not appear until much later in the story:

The outcome was a major blow to Bush, dealt largely by members of his
own party. The president made a last-ditch round of phone calls in the
morning to try to rescue the bill, but with his poll numbers at record
lows, his appeals proved fruitless. Thirty-seven Republicans voted to
sustain the filibuster, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with 15 Democrats and liberal Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.). Thirty-three Democrats, 12 Republicans and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) voted to cut off debate and move to a final vote.

The first sentence of that paragraph would have been a much more honest way to present the story.

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