For most of the last ten days the news from Washington has been punctuated by the bizarre antics of Dick Cheney the man that puts the 'Vice' in the USpresidency. History gave us all a lesson during the Nixon years and Watergate, when the line between the laws and those who either make or enforce those laws was re-emphasized. No one then was allowed to place themselves above or beyond the law. That clock continues to tick: but apparently a lot of people have forgotten that presidents are not gods (or dictators), and that no president is or can ever be, allowed to remain above the laws of this nation that they supposedly lead.
Cheney and his apologists have been making a lot of noise about 'facts not in evidence,' concerning his vices within his role is this government. The claims being made by both Cheney and his invisible staff stretch credulity beyond the breaking point. He is currently claiming that he has a legislative role, because of his capacity as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. According to the Constitution that does not make the-Vice a part of the legislative branch of government, anymore than it allows him to act as the White House Chief of Staff, without that title being formally conferred.
As for all of Cheney's "other functions" that have been 'given' to him by what has become an "absent without leave president" who is unwilling or unable to do those jobs that are his by virtue of his office. These additional duties should have been challenged at every turn by oversight committees of the Congress-but they gave themselves a semi-permanent vacation after they gave Cheney-Bush that "License to Kill" that enabled the unchecked Invasion of Iraq. Consequently not only has the 'Decider' been allowed to go berserk, but apparently Cheney has been acting for Bush in so many different "official" capacities that no one can tell where one man leaves off and the other begins. (1)
On first glace this seems complex-but in reality if one returns to the basics, there can be no confusion. There is only one president of the United States at a time. The Vice-president is nothing but an empty suit in waiting whose only other 'official' task is to break tie votes in the Senate. Every other job that is given to The-Vice should be delegated on the record and be transparent enough that the public is aware of the duty thus delegated by the president and approved by the congress!
However when all of this is done in secret, even from the other cabinet officers within the government: then questions arise. But no one officially questioned this steady stream of new and dubious 'responsibilities' that The-Vice has given to himself. (2)
The Constitution was written, in part, to give some order to the officers and responsibilities within the government: its definitions and responsibilities cannot be changed without written laws to the contrary. Yet both Cheney and Bush have placed themselves above and beyond the laws that govern this Republic: and for that just like Nixon, these two Outlaws must be held accountable. Nixon was impeached then allowed to resign because too many others in congress would have gone down with him, if his case had been tried before the Senate. Perhaps the same is true today-maybe that's why "Impeachment is off the table!" according to Nancy Pelosi?
One thing is extremely clear: The current confusion over who is actually pulling the strings of this government needs to be sorted out on the record and in public. On Democracy Now today:
"White House Subpoenaed for Domestic Spying Docs
The Senate Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas ordering the Bush administration to turn over key documents on the National Security Agency program of spying on Americans without court warrants. On Wednesday, subpoenas were delivered to the offices of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the national security adviser and the Justice Department. The Judiciary Committee is seeking internal discussions on the program's legality and the text of agreements with telecommunications companies that have aided the spying.
Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy: "We've had a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection. In some ways it would have been better if they just ignored it. Instead they've evaded and they've tried misdirection. It's unacceptable. It is stonewalling of the worse kind and I think the reaction is spreading to both parties in the senate."
The subpoenas could set off a new legal showdown with the White House, which has until July Eighteenth to comply."
"Roll Call reports today that President Bush has <http://www.rollcall.com/issues/52_146/news/19139-1.html?CMP=OTC-RSS>requested $4.75 million in fiscal 2008 to fund the Vice President's operations (parts of which are housed, notably, in the <http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/eeobtour/>Executive Office Building.)" $4.75 million for a government position that the constitution gives virtually no complex duties to, regardless of this so-called state of war. . . In this light Mary Lyon asks us all: "Are you Okay with this?" (3)
It's our money that is being used; our people that are wearing the uniforms that are prosecuting the wars of occupation, and our reputation that is being shredded in service to completely unworkable policies the world over. Millions of people have died; millions more have been displaced or mutilated in these unilateral military actions that were created from nothing more than a huge pack of deliberate and deceptive lies. Like it or not the facts on the ground belong to us - just as according to Bush himself: 'He owns the Iraq War.'
It's way past time for both Cheney & Bush to begin to pay for their actions, in public, and on the record. These two must answer those subpoenas and appear before the congress-and the public needs to keep the heat on the White House-to do just that!