Monday, January 16, 2006

Tyranny and the Unitary Executive

Originally uploaded by Kee Hinckley.
Al Gore gave a speech today titled Bush Administration Policies on Domestic Surveillance for the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy which I saw on C-Span. They have a link to the video of the entire speech on their website under the title Fmr. Vice Pres. Gore Speech on Executive Powers (1/16/2006).

The Guardian's Barbara Goldenberg covered the speech, but I don't think she did (former) Vice President Gore justice. If only he'd been this passionate and powerful during the 2000 presidential campaign.

"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government," ....Mr Gore also called for an independent counsel to investigate the secret wiretap programme. He ranked the operation with other controversial decisions by the administration in the war on terror, including its holding of "enemy combatants" indefinitely without trial, and its justification of harsh interrogation techniques.

"The disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties," he said. |Guardian|

Gore argued that this administration's ideological commitment to the concept of the unitary executive has damaged the balance of power and system of checks in balances in our government and threatens the very future of our republic.

You can read more about the unitary executive and the wiretapping scandal in Jennifer Van Bergen's Findlaw article.

Gore suggested that the Bush doctrine should be called the unilateral executive, not the unitary executive.

Gore compared the misinformation that led to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to the misinformation that led to the invasion of Iraq.

Gore used the word torture to describe what tbe Bushies prefer to call coercive interrogation and asserted that the US has tortured at least 100 people to death...and the US not even getting good intelligence for it. He quoted a Pakistani as saying that we are selling our soul for dross.

Gore argued that the logical conclusion of the Bush doctrine on the unitary executive is that there is nothing that can be prohibited. If can commit torture he can commit genocide, license slavery, and authorize summary judgment.

After hearing Mr. Gore speak, I must consider the possibility that Mr. Bush is a far graver threat to the Republic than Osama Bin Laden ever will be.

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