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Bush's Secret Dictatorship

The memo issued by the acting director of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel just five days before Barack Obama took office comes across almost as, among other things, a bit whiny.

Steven Bradbury wrote to officially retract a series of memos in which his former colleagues secretly rewrote the Constitution.

He acknowledged that their reasoning was at various points "unconvincing" and "not sustainable."

But Bradbury was also making excuses for them. They were afraid, he wrote: "The opinions addressed herein were issued in the wake of the atrocities of 9/11, when policymakers, fearing that additional catastrophic terrorist attacks were imminent, strived to employ all lawful means to protect the nation." They were rushed, confronting "novel and complex legal questions in a time of great danger and under extraordinary time pressure."

No excuse. Not even close.

The memo was one of nine previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel documents released by Obama's Justice Department yesterday, most of them making baldly spurious legal arguments to support any number of unprecedented tactics that were either contemplated or employed by the White House.

At about the same time the documents were being released, Attorney General Eric Holder was making a speech putting them in context: "Too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties," Holder said. "Not only is that school of thought misguided, I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good. I have often said that the test of a great nation is whether it will adhere to its core values not only when it is easy, but also when it is hard....

"There is no reason we cannot wage an effective fight against those who have sworn to harm us while we respect our most honored constitutional traditions. We can never put the welfare of the American people at risk but we can also never choose actions that we know will weaken the legal and moral fiber of our nation."

R. Jeffrey Smith and Dan Eggen write in The Washington Post: "The number of major legal errors committed by Bush administration lawyers during the formulation of its early counterterrorism policies was far greater than previously known, according to internal Bush administration documents released for the first time by the Justice Department yesterday....

"In one of the newly disclosed opinions, Justice Department appointee John Yoo argued that constitutional provisions ensuring free speech and barring warrantless searches could be disregarded by the president in wartime, allowing troops to storm a building if they suspected terrorists might be inside. In another, the department asserted that detainees could be transferred to countries known to commit human rights abuses so long as U.S. officials did not intentionally seek their torture."

Neil A. Lewis writes in the New York Times: "The opinions reflected a broad interpretation of presidential authority, asserting as well that the president could unilaterally abrogate foreign treaties, ignore any guidance from Congress in dealing with detainees suspected of terrorism, and conduct a program of domestic eavesdropping without warrants.

"Some of the positions had previously become known from statements of Bush administration officials in response to court challenges and Congressional inquiries. But taken together, the opinions disclosed Monday were the clearest illustration to date of the broad definition of presidential power approved by government lawyers in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks."

Josh Meyer and Julian E. Barnes write in the Los Angeles Times that one Bush administration lawyer told them the memos are "just the tip of the iceberg" in terms of what was authorized.

Law professor Jack Balkin blogs about "reasoning which sought, in secret, to justify a theory of Presidential dictatorship...

"This theory of presidential power argues, in essence, that when the President acts in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, he may make his own rules and cannot be bound by Congressional laws to the contrary. This is a theory of presidential dictatorship.

"These views are outrageous and inconsistent with basic principles of the Constitution as well as with two centuries of legal precedents. Yet they were the basic assumptions of key players in the Bush Administration in the days following 9/11."

Scott Horton blogs for Harper's: "We may not have realized it at the time, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship. The constitutional rights we learned about in high school civics were suspended. That was thanks to secret memos crafted deep inside the Justice Department that effectively trashed the Constitution. What we know now is likely the least of it."

Glenn Greenwald blogs for Salon: "Over the last eight years, we had a system in place where we pretended that our 'laws' were the things enacted out in the open by our Congress and that were set forth by the Constitution. The reality, though, was that our Government secretly vested itself with the power to ignore those public laws, to declare them invalid, and instead, create a whole regimen of secret laws that vested tyrannical, monarchical power in the President. Nobody knew what those secret laws were because even Congress, despite a few lame and meek requests, was denied access to them."

Greenwald also writes, with some vindication: "Yet those who have spent the last several years pointing out how unprecedentedly extremist and radical was our political leadership (and how meek and complicit were our other key institutions) were invariably dismissed as shrill hysterics."

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Next: Seven Ways Obama Can Beat Washington

Comments

President Bush obviously forgot the oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Nothing in there about protecting the United States. His job was to preserve the principles of our Constitution.

Posted by: DesertLeap | March 3, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

There is no longer any doubt that in fact the Bush administration is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, that the Congress abrogated its responsibility to bring the President, Vice President, and any number of members of the Executive Branch to trial, and exert justice. In addition to violating his oath of office, George W. Bush is a war criminal and belongs on trial in The Hague. This is the worst abuse of power I ever remember, far worse than Richard Nixon's obstruction of justice. This is also likely just the tip of the iceberg. Worst, most corrupt presidency ever in the history of the United States.

Posted by: lrowland | March 3, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

It was common knowledge that President Bush and his administration were engaged in obviously illegal activities. Throughout this period, the press used Republican press releases and "undisclosed sources from within the Bush Administration" as their sole sources for page 1 stories. The truth was either ignored, or hidden on page 23.

Even today, far too many journalists merely transcribe Republican press releases and present them as carefully researched news stories...

Posted by: Common_Sense_Not_Common | March 3, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Now that we're learning that everything the wacky liberal lunatic fringe thought about the Bush administration's treasonous crimes was true, we might begin to question the Big Lie, the one that enabled all the rest. Why should we take George Bush's word that Arabs are responsible for 911, when not one single person has been tried in a legitimate court of law and convicted of having anything to do with 911? All we have is tortured confessions from broken men accused of being 911 "masterminds." No Arab believes Arabs were responsible for 911, not because they don't wish us harm, but because they are utterly incapable of flying 757's, incapacitating Norad, or firing a missile at the Pentagon (as seen in suppressed videos). When are Americans going to face the fact that only the highest levels of the U.S. government are capable of launching the military strike of the century on 9/11?

Posted by: shaman7214 | March 3, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

So I guess this means that ALL THE OTHER MEMOS written during the Bush Crime Spree are still in effect and being relied upon by current DOJ lawyers. I can't wait to see that smirk show up on Obama's lips as he explains how he, the president, can legally kidnap U.S. citizens and hold them without trial forever. Meet the new boss...........

Posted by: davidbn27 | March 3, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

~~~Scott Horton blogs for Harper's: "We may not have realized it at the time, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship."

Ohhhhhhhh, Mr. Horton, where have you and your megaphone been all these years? SOME of us realized it at the time. But a deaf ear was turned to all our hollerin' by most of those who could have challenged it.

Julie, Dem in Arkansas

Posted by: jpel | March 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

These documents are only the tip of the iceberg.

No document explicitly pertaining to the program that Ashcroft and his cohorts were ready to resign over in 2005 has been released yet.

Posted by: crix | March 3, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Julie, Scott Horton was right there during the Bush Administration telling us about Bush's constitutional abuses, first in newsletter circulated over email, and then in his Harpers columns.

Posted by: litigatormom | March 3, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

What is incredible is the absolute LACK of action against the "lawyers" who fabricated the basis for Bush's dictatorship. Yoo still has his cushy university job, despite his gutting of our laws, of doing Bin-Laden's work, and the response of the press, University, and public is, in the words of Cheney and Bush, "So?"

I want to have Yoo write me legal opinions that allow me to steal and kill and he untouchable by anyone.

Actually, Bradbury revoked the memos because he was afraid he and Yoo could vanish and be renditioned. Yoo could have found out first hand how his opinions weren't torture. Now THAT would have been justice, "Bush System" style.

Posted by: lmb02 | March 3, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to see that smirk show up on Obama's lips as he explains how he, the president, can legally kidnap U.S. citizens and hold them without trial forever...
-------------

I think he already did, by keeping rendition a viable option for "terorrist control."

You know, the one thing those stupid, crazy neocons have in common with Obama, (other than John Brennan), is a lack of ability to understand, much less supress, any REAL threat, preferring the realm of make believe, where the US never suffers for the decisions of its incompetent, crazy leaders.

They think torture is a solution because they don't have a CLUE how to fight, relying on some old, pedantic, failed, Vietnam-era thinking simply to avoid appearing empty handed and headed.

It is the thinking of our failed and still present leadership that has lead to the economic catastrophy and the war losses.

Panetta is covering for people who torture -- it's upside down, we prosecute those people, we don't enable and protect them.

A guy who tortures or who advocates for torture is a guy without ideas, too afraid to think. I sure hope Panetta can understand, at some point, how useless these people are, the security risk they present to the US.

Tell me, what is the effect of torture on your own devastated culture and the culture you're trying to rebuild?

How does the rest of the world treat governments who torture?

(Oh wait, the US has no enemies, and can funciton unilaterally, right, thereby explaing our world class success over the last eight, now nine years, our economy picking up by the moment, faith in the American dream restored...)

Torture is a wedge issue, leaving the US internationally isolated, Afgahnistan then a bigger disaster waiting to happen, economically and strategically. I wouldn't put my money with a government that tortures, it's like putting your money with Cheney.


The failure of the US stems from the kind of leadership mind advocating for torture. Psychologically healthy people don't torture or advocate for it, understanding the psychological harm it does to any culture it infects. It's essentially a declaration of war against the sane.

Torturers aren't problem solvers, they're stupid.

Sorry.


I read somewhere Brennan was brought in to protect Obama against intelligence, so to speak, irony is Obama, in order to truly succeed, needs to be protected against Brennan's ideas...

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | March 3, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

litigatormom and all, especially Scott Horton:

Sorry, I assumed Mr. Horton included himself when he wrote, "We may not have realized it at the time..." I should have become familiar with his position before commenting.

It's hard to imagine how the country can possibly put the Bush years behind us without full investigation and appropriate consequences.

Julie, Dem in Arkansas

Posted by: jpel | March 3, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect? With the "feel good" media always referring to the POTUS as the most powerful man in the world, you WILL have the most powerful man in the world without pesky Congress and/or Supreme Court and/or the Constitution, and/or the UNSC constraining him. And this is not just referring to G W Bush.

Posted by: pingchen | March 3, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

After all that, it seems amazing that the Bush administration handed over power peacefully. I am not the only one who wondered if it would manufacture an excuse to declare a national emergency and impose the sort of presidential dictatorship outlined in the Yoo memos.

When Obama was sworn in, I dismissed these thoughts as paranoia. Now, though, I wonder ....

Posted by: Madame_DeFarge | March 3, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

When do "major legal errors" become criminal behavior?

Why are there only 17 comments on this! I'm just sick...and sicker that Obama's team, while quietly releaseing the details, isn't doing more to take action to reverse the awful things the Bush administration did to our country.

Where is the outrage?

Posted by: las100 | March 3, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It is either hilarious or hard to read comments made by the MSM during the Bush years and now. I agree that it is logical that Bush and his war criminal buddies actually created 911. I have heard reports alluding to that just after the event and throughout Bush's illegal reign. But we have already witnessed the same when Rush(an obese drug addict)Limbaugh is treated like a celebrity. He's an embarrassment.

Posted by: sailorflat | March 3, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

From poster las100: "When do "major legal errors" become criminal behavior?"

Agreed. While I applaud the Post going a step further than the traditional newspeak like "flawed" or "controversial" legal reasoning, I do wish any outlet would have the guts to call it what it really is - criminal.

I mean, on a very basic level, ignorance of the law is no excuse. And no one believes that ignorance was the motivational force behind these memos.

Posted by: kszimmerman | March 3, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Why is this NOT on the front page???? I want all those whining "BIG GOVERNMENT" repubs to read this smut and realize that THEY are the ones that killed this country..

Posted by: phorse | March 3, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

i believe these memos are truly the tip of an iceberg. And, the tip is all we are going to see.
Then again, how much MORE do we NEED to see to comprehend what was really going on here?
It needs to be proven in a court of law that there is some difference between political decisions and lawlessness? If you are a policy maker, you can go above, beyond, under and around the Constitution, the Law of the Land?
Well, why can't any citizen, anywhere, claim the the same thing? It was just my policy to murder my wife, for example. Everyone knew it. I declared it all those times I threatened to kill her and chased her all over town. What's the big deal? It was just my political philosophy and my policy. That makes me exempt from the law, just like the President and all his appointees were exempt from the law when they formulated "policy". What's the big deal, anyway?

Posted by: cms1 | March 3, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

When do "major legal errors" become criminal behavior?

Is this the Nixon pardon for the last eight years? Get political loyalists with law degrees to render "opinions" that wouldn't be worthy of a first year law student. That gives everyone else legal cover to break the law and tear up the Constitution. Then when we go to Berkley and try to hold "Professor Yoo" accountable, he dismisses responsibility by saying, "It was just my opinion, I may have been wrong".

If this is all it takes for the Constitution to be retired, we are not just moving toward the sunset of the American experiment, but the last days of democracy and justice.

Posted by: rlbarto | March 3, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

How do we know Bush didn't make a secret law that allowed him to officially resign the presidency to become a secret super-president? Like the medieval emperors of Japan who resigned to become "cloistered" emperors, behind-the-scenes operators who held the real power. The problem with Bush's kind of government by secret memo in the context of the rule of law is that once it begins, we really don't know who has power anymore. Who do you believe, who do you trust to be the real authority? The theory of the unitary executive is no less than a theory of might makes right.

Posted by: Hokuto | March 3, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The key question is prevention. How do you prevent abuse of power in the executive? Of course we need to start by exhuming the executive branch's criminal past, all the way back to Ronald Reagan.

The constitutional answer was impeachment. But since Congress apparently can't handle the job, each administration should have its very own special prosecutor from the get-go, empowered to convene a Grand Jury whenever necessary.

One of the special prosecutors' objects of scrutiny should be the administration's operation of the Department of Justice. That would go a long way toward putting salt on the tail of the "unitary executive."

Transparency is huge. The degree of public access to government information should not be, as it has been and is now, a matter of executive fancy from one administration to the next. The doctrine of Executive Privilege needs to get its wings clipped. It needs to be established in law where this so-called privilege ends and the public's right to know begins.

Posted by: fzdybel | March 3, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

INVESTIGATE - INDICT - IMPRISON THE BUSH REGIME CRIMINALS.

Posted by: firenze_italia | March 3, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Investigate. Indict. Convict. Imprison. Bush. Cheney. Rummy. Rice. And the rest of those who shredded the Constitution so shamelessly.

Posted by: Bugs222 | March 3, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Where is the outrage?

Posted by: las100
-------
In all honesty, I've been too F****** busy trying to make a buck the last four months.

I also think that many of us who read and research in depth have known much of this for some time, but our views were dismissed as Bush derangement syndrome. The facts keep proving that we were right.

PS: No, I don't see any scientific evidence that Bush and Cheney had any involvement in 9/11 aside from incompetence. I know how to design, build and fly aircraft, and while the results were remarkable, they can be replicated, despite some people's opinions.

Posted by: boscobobb | March 4, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

The Bush administration was a criminal enterprise from start to finish.

Unitary executive (DICTATOR). Illegal and unconstitutional signing statements (TOTALITARIANISM). Permanent Republican majority (MONOPOLISM). Corporate lobbyists running the executive branch (FASCISM).

The dictatorial, totalitarian, monopolistic, fascist, ultra-conservative Bush administration was everything anathema to any liberal democracy anywhere, but especially to ours...with corrupt, criminal, word-parsing conservative lawyers the driving force behind the Bush administration's criminal enterprise.

And unless all of them are put away for a long, long time, far from civilized society, denied access to the seats of power in our liberal democracy, then there is no doubt that they will continue to try to profit off their "connections" at the expense of everyone else in our liberal democracy...and with President Obama now in the White House, they will no doubt seek to subvert any attempt by him and his administration to reverse the damage these corrupt, criminal conservatives have done to our nation.

This is why prosecuting anyone responsible in the Bush administration, and even any of the lapdog, turn-a-blind-eye ones in Congress, must take place. No more retroactive immunity. No more get-out-of-jail-free cards.

Either we are a nation of laws with the U.S. Constitution being the supreme law of the land, or we're not. Either someone is held accountable, to the fullest extent of the law, or we should empty the prisons of all those convicted of breaking the law...because it is obvious that laws don't mean anything anymore...offering everyone in prison retroactive immunity and issuing them get-out-of-jail-free cards...just like all those in the Bush administration and corporate circles are apparently being offered.

I trust that President Barack Obama will honor his solemn oath, unlike Bush and Cheney who, along with so many others in their administration, violated their oath five times a day and ten times on Sunday...as all the mounting evidence indicates.

Posted by: wizard2000 | March 4, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Froomkin, thanks for the excellent roundup of comments about the memos. It's refreshing to see writers actually tell their readers the truth instead of writing vague, bland sentences like the one in this unfortunate piece written by Carrie Johnson. If I didn't already know the radical content of these memos I sure wouldn't know it from reading Ms. Johnson's description of the memos. It's almost as if she deliberately set out to obfuscate.

"Justice Department officials intend to release more secret legal memos that underpinned the Bush administration's approach to national security issues, responding to pressure from Democratic lawmakers and interest groups that have sued for access to the sensitive materials, sources said yesterday."

Posted by: pmorlan1 | March 4, 2009 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Why is it always Republican (the party of limited government)presidents that seem to think they have unlimited powers? Nixon said "if the president does it, it's not illegal."

Posted by: pgreider | March 4, 2009 4:41 AM | Report abuse

LOL, anyone who could not clearly SEE this with their own eyes is either ignorant, or just plain blind. I have been referring to the Bush administration as the "Bush Regime" for the last several years. We could not get Dictator Bush out fast enough. Good riddance and may the shoe throwers of the world converge on his Texas mansion!

RT
www.privacy-center.pro.tc

Posted by: clermontpc | March 4, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

I would like one person to tell me how the CIA having the right to listen in on their phone calls has affected their life. In addition to that, just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make it a dictatorship. While I agree the Republicans had control of the House, Senate, and the presidential seat for the first part of the presidency, the same thing can be said now about Barack Obama, and I can't imagine he won't use that to push his own agenda through Congress, as he already did with the Stimulus Plan. Three republican votes is less bipartisanship than any of Bush's policies, so does that make this MORE of a dictatorship? In addition to that, 60 people received jobs yesterday in the stimulus plan, resurfacing roads in Montgomery County. I am going to go out on a limb since I lived there for 6 years and assume not many of them are legal immigrants. In other news, an illegal immigrant in Montgomery County was arrested for murder of Chandra Levy yesterday. So let's say it is a regime, dictatorship, or whatever you liberals want to say...that makes this one moreso of one (so far), and Obama used his regime to employ illegal immigrants, while illegal immigrants are murdering US citizens, and US citizens remain jobless.

Posted by: muddeeh2os | March 4, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Someone tell Centerpoint Energy to PLEASE start leasing the thousands of acres of pasture/easement they have left sitting fallow because of the the Bush admin. fear of terrorists.

Never felt so oppressed when trying to lease this land and being told Centerpoint will not lease OPEN UNUSED LAND because of fear of terrorists!!!

Centerpoint start leasing those easement lands to Americans that live next to it again.

Please read that YOUR fears of terrorists running through the electric company easement pastures were crazy!!

WE CAN NOW STOP TREATING AMERICANS LIKE THEY WERE THE CRIMINALS?

Posted by: LauraHouston | March 4, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

When the nation is in danger, the President sometimes needs to take extraordinary measures to protect it.

If another 9/11 had occurred, the naysayers would be out for his head as well, so it's a no-win situation.

It's a tough job and I sure wouldn't want it.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Posted by: MorganMandel | March 4, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Why is this article in a freaking BLOG and not on the FRONT PAGE, may I ask? I find it hard to understand what other topic could possibly be more newsworthy.

Posted by: cahomer | March 4, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

We live in a state of socialism as it is now. White house workers (except the POTUS) have their salaries capped as do Wallstreet execs. Before you know it the only person not cutting back on personal finance/compensation is Obama. Here are some figures that will blow your mind:

http://dealbreaker.com/2009/01/no-more-than-the-president-of.php

Posted by: tpicou | March 4, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton gets impeached over an extramarital affair, while George W. Bush purposely subverts the Constitution in a push for a full Executive dictatorship, and gets nothing.

Yeah...we are all on the right track here.

Posted by: JBibbs | March 4, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

tpicou: We live in a state of socialism as it is now.


Red States Feed at Federal Trough, Blue States Supply the Feed
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/09/red_states_feed.html

Red State Socialism
http://democraticactionteam.org/redstatesocialism/index.html

Posted by: abhinavagupta | March 4, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"W" Bush authored NPSD 51 that would allow him to take total control over the U.S. government in the time of emergency, setting aside Congress and the Courts, until such time as the emergency was over. Nothing was mentioned as to whom or how the end of the emergency was to be determined.

At, or near the same time an unsolicited contract was issued to Haliburton for the construction of detention centers to be located on closed military facilities and house American citizens to be rounded up by local law enforcement agencies as directed by the "government."

Supposedly, there have been more than one test of this system during which thousands of U.S. citizens were rounded up and then released with apologies.

Information on NPSD 51 is available at the following url: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_Presidential_Directive

A search using your favorite browser will get you a lot more information on NPSD 51.

Obama has eleven members of the Trilateral Commission in his administration. They are in very influential positions as are members of other globalists organizations such as the Counsel on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, American Enterprise Institute, etc. You have, I'm sure, been paying attention to the meeting between Gordon Brown and Obama and Brown's demand for a global solution to the present financial dilemma, haven't you?

Don't think the Trilateral Commission members are a problem. This is a worldwide organization of powerful and influential people. Check them out at:
http://www.augustreview.com/knowledge_base/getting_started_with_globalism/trilateral_commission_membership_-_2008_20081010103/ . This site also contains an definition of "globalism" that you may want to read.

Globalization will bring a return to Feudalism and everyone being serfs in servitude to the rich landowners, the Elites and NeoCons with power and money.

Posted by: JoeHollinger | March 4, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Bush's SECRET dictatorship? - Mr. Froomkin, may I ask you where you have been sleeping the last 7 years? At least from the moment, when the several hundred pages long PATRIOT act popped up like a miracle and was put on the table a few days (!) after 9/11 in 2001, everyone should and could have known that this government was going to be a dictatorship. Especially, when one would have read this "law" act - what all your legislators did not do, obviously. --- Because your Blog is called "White House Watch" (since when?) I would like to suggest that you look for another job if you should have ever started to "watch" the White House a single day before Obama became President.
Thanx.

Posted by: be_kul | March 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Well said!!! Where do I get my tinfoil hat so that I can join in?

So, let me begin with saying, according to Machiavelli the first order of business of any dictatorship is the preservation of power. No self-respecting "dictator" would ever allow himself to be "voted" out of office. Hugo Chavez is clearly a competent dictator, while that "W" guy is a pathetic amateur.

Secondly, this "hyper-competent" government myth would be hysterically funny, if it weren't indicative of a more dangerous mental state. Does anyone of sound intellectual capability have the means of reconciling the sort of ability a government would need to accomplish the conspiratorial deeds attributed to the Bush administration, and the actual ability of the government in ALL other areas?

No, sadly for Hollywood and all of you conspiracy fruit cakes out there, the truth is that human beings, trying to do the best they were capable of, working with imperfect information, and DRIVEN BY FEAR OF ANOTHER 9/11, made imperfect decisions.

I realize that you will never listen to the calm voice of sanity above because it removes your emotional need to create a villain (and thereby place YOU in the position of being a superior human, possessing secret knowledge of a conspiracy so deep that the American sheep could not conceive it's scope)

So let's all try and rediscover something called common sense. Chicken Littles on both side of the aisle have driven policy for too long.

While you all seem to remember that America is the land of the free, you forget it is the home of the brave. Courage is needed now. Courage to admit that we have made mistakes, that those mistakes were the result of decisions made out of fear, and the courage to continue to fight those who would harm us. But more so, courage to live as AMERICANS, free and unbowed.

If you read my comment this far, I congratulate you, you might have a mind capable of opening after all.

Posted by: Falshrmjgr | March 4, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

To me this seems common knowledge, but I doubt that anyone would have written this publicly during the Bush administration. Actually stressing the "presidential dictatorship".

However, that was then and this is now. What about now and Obama? And isn't anyone a little scared about how Obama is being idolized? Just a little bit?

Posted by: Fizix | March 4, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This is about the largest performance of mental masterbation I think I've witnessed. You liberals are proving to be some great arm-chair leaders. None of you could have done what George Bush did to keep this country going. Now you want to sit back on your narcissistic back sides and second guess him. Why? Because that's all you have. You have no "hope and change" just a bunch of whiners

Posted by: malinse | March 4, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Obama and Bush haters alike, GET OVER IT.

Bush haters; neither bush nor any of his administration will ever be "brought to trial." Bush was just a cog in the machinery, you could tell by his actions and inactions(Can you say, Katrina?)

Obama haters; Obama is just another flavor of more of the same, with a few new ideas which will not succeed unless they benefit the uber-wealthy.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY will operate outside the agenda of the FEDERAL RESERVE. Why do you think Bernake isn't saying where the bailout money went? HE DOESN'T HAVE TO, so he WON'T, period.

When these senators jump up and down and demand to know who the bailout monies were "loaned" to, it's like a first grader demanding to know how his father spent his salary. It's all for show, like WWF wrestling.

I personally believe we are headed into a depression worse than The Great Depression. I read that during the Depression people were almost sedate, and accepted their fate almost without question once the inital outrage at the banks subsided. That's what I'm seeing now, people are accepting that they are f*cked and powerless. Pathetic. And guess what? The money during the Great Depression didn't just disappear, it was REDISTRIBUTED. It's IMPOSSIBLE for wealth to "go away."

One last thing; read up on the percentage/dollar amount of home loans that defaulted in comparison to the AIG, bank and brokerage losses. It's miniscule in comparison. We are being PLAYED.

Posted by: acacia72 | March 4, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

were Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Rehnquist involved? We need to know now!

Posted by: DecidedonBushNO | March 4, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Falshrmjgr,
Your argument is flawed. Now, I realize you want to appear "serious" and "rational", however, your statement "...trying to do the best they were capable of, working with imperfect information, and DRIVEN BY FEAR OF ANOTHER 9/11, made imperfect decisions." is simply not supported by the evidence. Like the fact that the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (in its full Orwellian label) was started BEFORE 9/11, as told by this very news organization - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101202485_pf.html .
And when "incompetence" accomplishes your philosophical goals, it is not a mistake. I suppose you think they illegally invaded Iraq due to "intelligence failures" and "incompetence" as well. Stop being an apologist for tyranny and mass murder. Every dictator in history has used "security threats" to enable their power grabs. Bush is no different. And you are no different from all those supporters of dictatorships that have come and gone before you, making excuses for blatantly illegal and totalitarian actions based on some need to appear "serious".

Posted by: 1000PointsofFright | March 4, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Falshrmjgr, I agree with 1000 PointsofFright. You are indeed naive if you believe that a "fear of another 9/11" drove the bush cabal to make mistakes/errors in judgement.

As far as 9/11, I think something is fishy, but most likely incompetence rather than actual conspiracy style plotting and planning with black ops involved.

Yet, there are some lingering questions like, WHAT hit the Pentagon? Let's see those UNCENSORED security vids! And, WHY was bldg #7 "pulled" (in the words of Larry Silverstein)? There are MANY other "inconsistencies" if you look beyond the end of your nose.

With that said, the invasion of Iraq was done for the below reasons, not necessarily in order:

1. To enrich American oil companies and those associated with them.
2. To keep Sadaam from marketing his oil for EUROS (see #1).
3. To (by proxy) help the economy, lower the price of oil, and thereby help
3a. The bush administration become heros.
4. To grease the skids of the defense industry/military industrial complex (Remember what Ike said?) and those associated with them.
5. To vindicate daddy. This was a BIG carrot under dubya's nose and dubya was played like a fiddle.
6. To placate/pay off Israel.

Say what you will, but as the old saying goes, "Something's rotten in Denmark"

Posted by: acacia72 | March 5, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Although Alberto Gonzales was bad, we was just an incompetent patsy trying to please his mentor. John Yoo is a different kind of animal though, and he should be tried for treason against the US. If convicted --which I doubt-- we can "render" him to Siria to serve his prison sentence, without explicit direction that he be tortured.

Posted by: wp2006 | March 5, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

This is the reason newspapers are going bankrupt, printing one sided political opinion as news with inaccurate facts.

Posted by: gerrypooh | March 5, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

When the War on Terror was declared, I had an awesome idea for a Tshirt line that would have challenged some of the basic tenets of that policy, but even in the early days, I was worried that such a public display against the seated government would end up with me being spied upon, harassed, publicly humiliated, or even jailed... and that was in 2001. The fact that no one saw any of this coming shocked me, as it seemed fairly clear that the Bush Administration was willing to utilize SHOCK DOCTRINE to get whatever IT wanted, regardless of the harm to America or it's people.

The current and ongoing debate that makes me chuckle the most is the 2nd Amendment / NRA crowd that are worried that Obama is going to come knocking on their doors and take their guns from their less than cold / dead hands, when in actuality, it was more likely a threat from the very administration they supported for 8 years.

Oh, the irony.

Posted by: Gmoney2 | March 5, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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