“When the light is crooked, the shadow is crooked”

Bush Nominee Needs a Refresher Course In Civics by Cynthia Tucker

Hans von Spakovsky is among the GOP hacks who perverted the U.S. Department of Justice – trashing constitutional principles, rewarding partisanship over competence and converting the entire machinery into an arm of the Republican Party. His specialty was suppressing voting by Americans of color, who are more likely to support Democrats; he played a starring role in a nationwide effort to disenfranchise poor blacks, Latinos and Native Americans. Now, Mr. von Spakovsky is seeking Senate approval for a six-year term on the Federal Election Commission, which enforces federal campaign finance laws. (President Bush gave Mr. von Spakovsky a recess appointment in January 2006, but he must have Senate confirmation for a full term.) The vote ought to be easy: No, no and no way.

Six former Justice Department career professionals wrote this letter about Spakovsky,

As former career professionals in the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, we urge you to reject the nomination of Hans A.von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Prior to his current role as a recess appointee to the FEC, Mr. von Spakovsky oversaw the Voting Section as Voting Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division from early in 2003 until December, 2005. While he was at the Civil Rights Division, Mr. von Spakovsky played a major role in the implementation of practices which injected partisan political factors into decision-making on enforcement matters and into the hiring process, and included repeated efforts to intimidate career staff. Moreover, he was the point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division’s mandate to protect voting rights.

Like all appointments made by BushCo the prime consideration is not competence or professionalism, but how can they advance their agenda, suppress votes and twist the law to mean what ever they think it should mean for their convenience on any given day. Recent perfect example, Cheney’s chief of staff rebukes Kerry on VP’s secrecy oversight

“Dear Senator Kerry,” Addington writes. “The executive order on classified national security information — Executive Order 12958 as amended in 2003 — makes clear that the Vice President is treated like the President and distinguishes the two of them from ‘agencies.'”

Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington wrote this in a to Senator Kerry (D-MA) to defend Cheney’s choice to ignore an executive order on the oversight of classified information. Cheney is not an “agency”? And only agencies are covered by Executive Order 12958. Wrong Dave, that’s not the issue and Senator Kerry has to quote the law back to the VP’s COS.

Kerry said Addington was wrong on that point because the executive order governing the handling of classified material covers “any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.”

Legalistic to be sure, but certainly not outside the reading comprehension abilities of the average person. Addington then goes on to say it doesn’t matter anyway because of the special status of the vice-president – the newly invented fourth branch of government,

“Constitutional issues in government are generally best left for discussion when unavoidable disputes arise in a specific context instead of in theoretical discussions,” Addington adds. “Given that the executive order treats the Vice President like the President rather than like an “agency,” it is not necessary in these circumstances to address the subject of any alternative reasoning, based on the law and the history of the legislative functions of the vice presidency and the more modern functions of the vice presidency, to reach the same conclusions that the vice president is not an ‘agency’ with respect to which ISOO has a role.”

Kerry re-iterated his request that Cheney’s office define its place in government. If Cheney intends to ignore two centuries of constitutional precedent in declaring himself outside the executive branch, Kerry asks that he at least provide a justification for that decision.

Apparently Bush and Cheney get to decide what branch of government the VP belongs to depending on what will let them slip by once again without being held accountable to the American public for for their actions. Maybe Cheney’s role is better described as a gaping black hole of dark matter. From his hole Cheney may do what he wishes with classified information, order up ways to bypass the Geneva Conventions and have secret energy task force meetings and ignore the laws which he swore to uphold. The Cheese Stands Alone

Cheney has refused to comply with an order governing the care of classified documents; his office concluded that the order does not apply because he is not “an entity within the executive branch.”

That’s quite opposite the argument Cheney made in 2001, when he said that a congressional probe into the workings of his energy task force “would unconstitutionally interfere with the functioning of the executive branch.” Cheney has, in effect, declared himself to be neither fish nor fowl but an exotic, extraconstitutional beast who answers to no one.

As if to demonstrate his status as the fourth branch, Cheney left the White House yesterday and made his way to the Capitol, escorted by eight police motorcycles, three police cruisers, two armored limousines, and five SUVs and minivans packed with aides and armed Secret Service agents.

Despite the obvious renewed temptation is describe Cheney as the real power behind the throne I agree with tristero writing at Hullabaloo it is Bush’s show and that George is not the innocent young prince being manipulated by forces of the dark side, Bush Is His Own Bush

As we have seen many times in the past, notably with Woodward, the press has a habit telling us it’s not Bush who makes bad or heartless decisions. It’s always someone else, like a frat boy caught with drugs who blames his girlfriend. Today’s article, as well as the entire series, goes out of its way to push the notion that Bush’s genuine “compassionate conservatism” was thrust aside time and again by the scheming machinations of The Evil Bald One. One could easily infer from the series that, if Cheney were removed (see this piece in Salon), much of the war-mongering and trashing of the America Constitution would stop, and that Bush would demonstrate a far more moderate, conciliatory streak.

Not a chance. Bush is no “compassionate conservative” for two very simple reasons, First, and foremost, there is no such thing. And if there was, Bush is far too much of a sociopath to have so much as an ounce of compassion for anyone but himself.

We all know the good cop bad cop routine and at least some in the media use this scenario when Bush is backed into yet another corner, but that is not what George and Dick are playing. They’re playing bad cop and really evil cop. True, when Bush comes out and mumbles through another speech in which he plays the fake good ol boy he seems less evil then Cheney, but Bush signs off on everything. If there is a difference between Bush and Cheney you would need a special laser device and a team of NASA engineers to measure it. There are many reasons to see that Bush and Cheney are on the same page, but the simplest and most direct one is the 2004 elections. If Bush was actually a “compassionate conservative” that was his chance to dump Cheney and actual start on that “compassionate conservative” legacy, but he didn’t.

“When the light is crooked, the shadow is crooked” – Yiddish proverb.