Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Lautenberg's Abuse of Power

Let's read this article in the opposite way the Post presents it. Double-check that every fact here is in this article.

Vice President Cheney has an energy task force in 2001. He claims the right to obtain information in confidentiality. The courts uphhold that as constitutional, ruling against at least one Sierra Club lawsuit.

Last week we have Senate hearings. And we have Senator Lautenberg. Not a majority of Senators casting votes, mind you. One Senator in a hearing. And he single-handedly attempts to trash Cheney's constitutional right, upheld by the courts. No appeal. No due process. No respect for the court's decision. Not even a Senate majority.

Lautenberg is deliberately abusing his power.

That said, the executives have an obligation to tell the truth, or refuse to answer. Lying about it (if they were indeed lying) is wrong, even in the face of this abuse. Easy for me to say.

As an aside, note how the Post introduces the oil execs as "...executives from big oil companies...". How are their companies' sizes relevant? Are they all similar sizes? (I doubt it.) If they (or some) were from medium-sized oil companies, would the Post have been careful to say that? (Who decides a company is "big" vs. "medium" or "gigantic"?)

Or is the phrase "big oil" just a liberal shibboleth, our signal to know they're evil prima facie?

(For reference, Fox News reports it here.)

Full disclosure: I have no interest or stock in oil companies and I'm not crazy about gas prices myself. If one wishes to debate whether this industry or others don't have a right to charge a percentage, that's fine by me.

Hat-tip: Payne Hollow.


(Please keep in mind that each commenter's opinions are only his/her own.)

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"Abuse of power"? Really. He's pushing a subject to try and get some answers. The people of his state elected him their representative. If you believe in our system of government, you must, by default, accept that he's pushing because he believes it's what his constituants want him to do, right? I think that's a fair assumption.

If Cheney and the big wigs have a constitutional right to confidentiality, then they could use that as their answer, couldn't they? "I am constitutionally protected from answering that question", or something like that, right? Then, if the Senators continue to push, and a court goes back and deems that they are now obligated to answer the question, well, that's our judicial system at it's finest, my friend.

Abuse of power...I have no problems with any politician who refuses to accept an answer and dig deeper. I wish more of them would. As far as I'm concerned, the guy's Doing_His_Job.

It's interesting to me that you feel this is an abuse of power, but none of you Republicans thought Starr was abusing his power when pushing the issue of Clinton's BJ. Ok, it's more amusing than it is interesting...if only "mismanaging intelligence reports" left semen stains...

I don't doubt that he's doing what many of his constituents want him to do. Unfortunately, what they want him to do is single-handedly commandeer both the executive and judicial branches.

You're right about how they should have responded. It's yet to be seen who is deliberately lying (vs. not being briefed about activities that were pre-merger, etc.).

But I don't see how the court could inject itself in a Senate hearing.

Is there a penalty for refusing to answer questions in a Senate hearing? We're both presuming not.

Digging deeper is one thing, and I endorse that. Explicitly undoing a court-tested grant of confidentiality is another. (Appealing that in a higher court is fine.)

By your reasoning, you support McCarthyism. Wasn't he just digging deeper? (Or was he, like Lautenberg, trying to single-handedly punish those he didn't like?)

The physical evidence exposing Clinton's lie causes us to back up and re-evaluate the hundreds of similar (my-word-against-hers) claims he's made. That's legit.

Mis-handling intel? Read Conclusion 11.

Thanks for pointing me to this. It'll take me some time to get through it all, but just a couple of pages into it, all I'm reading is a lot of "the intelligence did not substantiate..." or "the intelligence did not show..."

So, going to war on intelligence that does not substantiate certain claims...yeah...I'd call that mis-handling or mismanaging intelligence reports...but I'm not done with the document yet, so I'll see where it goes.

Glad you're looking at the intel review. I think it's pretty interesting.

Be sure to make a clear distinction between the CIA's analysis/handling/behavior and the White House's.

Unfortunatly, Joe Wilson's lies aren't debunked here. You have to look in the full report, section II. An equally interesting read, as his falsehoods are back in vogue.

But, hey, we're getting off topic.

The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress, one of the legislative checks to Executive power. By REFUSING to provide information to the GAO, Bush/Cheney significantly weakened the legislative branch's ability to check executive power.

I don't trust this administration any further than I could spit them out my mouth and am glad to have someone representing, at least a bit, my positions.

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