, and I become more and more convinced that there is something driving otherwise reasonable people to hang up thier former libertarian leanings. Here is my version of his article:
I find myself leaning more and more toward gumming up the congressional machinery.
There’s really no end to this congress’s lust for power. That we have gotten to this point is truly astonishing:
…administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts.”A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case,” said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. “And a U.S. attorney wouldn’t be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen.”
In the BDS world, if Congress determines someone in the Bush administration is in contempt of Congress, Congress thinks that it can act as both the legislative and executive, imposing its will on two branches of government, and in this case, the executive has to cannibalize its own people, because this is the will of Congress.This Congress is essentially saying that it and it alone determines when the people who work for the President have Executive Privilege, and no other branch of government has any say in the matter. As Beldar explains, even if you think the U.S. attorney firings are an issue, the implications of this assertion of power are frightening:
But tell me, sir, what situation there might ever possibly be an executive privilege dispute in which there indeed has been communication with the President himself, but in which the President had no responsibility, not even imputed responsibility, for a decision about which (the then-majority party in) Congress wants to inquire? If that’s the standard, then there is no executive privilege, ever, except on the most trivial matters. In every important case, where will the “information about what transpired in the White House” pretty much have to come from? Unsurprising answer: the White House! I think this dog not only won’t hunt, but it’s actually already caught and swallowed its own tail.
Meanwhile, the White House has issued an executive order based on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (who in Congress has time to actually consider the long term implications of their legislation?!?) claiming the right to seize the property of broadly-defined “certain persons who threaten stabilization efforts in Iraq.”I found this clause, which is part the section defining whose property may be seized, interesting:
(B) [persons] undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;
You could make a pretty good case that those “undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction” would include those defense contractors who suck pork towards their companies through buddy-buddy relationships with Congressmen, the corrupt cronyists who facilitate the deals, or even the Congress itself.