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Bush’s 11th-Hour Bid for Secrecy

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Posted on Nov 29, 2008
Bush and Cheney
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Outgoing: President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

By Stanley Kutler

The times are unprecedented. Not since 1861 have we watched the last gasps of an outgoing administration with such anxiety. Then the nation was concerned with drift and inertia; now we watch for further ideological mischief.

Republicans were aghast in 2001 to discover that President Bill Clinton’s staff allegedly had dropped the “W” from White House computer keyboards. Frat house stuff. George W. Bush has left a legacy significantly more troubling, measured by the breakdown of normal government processes, as well as of constitutional guarantees and practices. We watch last-minute rushes to implement new administrative rules, to transform and burrow political appointees into tenured civil servants, to further weaken environmental safeguards, to shift public funds to a desired end, and to lay down policy declarations to leave the current administration’s successors bound or embarrassed until they are undone. 

Think, for example, about the fate of official records. Will they be removed or shredded to further obscure this administration’s doings? Nourished on secrecy from its inception, and carefully concealing many of its activities through the years, the Bush administration may be determined to make one last play for secrecy by taking its records and storing them in a Dallas warehouse, pending a Bush library. In these waning weeks, a group of us is locked in legal combat with Vice President Dick Cheney and his corps of unseen advisers, seeking an injunction to prevent them from leaving office with their e-mail records. [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, et al., v. Richard B. Cheney, et al, Civil Action No. 08-1548, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia]. Cheney and his team are resisting at every turn, following a strategy of running out the clock and thereby implicitly admitting their intention to destroy or take their records.

If Barack Obama as president would withdraw Bush’s infamous Executive Order 13233, which effectively repealed the Presidential Records Act of 1978, Bush and Cheney still can expect to seal their papers for at least 12 years. If Richard Nixon is their model, count on at least 20.

The president-elect’s Web site promises he will reverse Executive Order 13233 nullifying the timely, lawful release of presidential records. John Podesta, who heads the transition team, acknowledged that, as president, Obama will, “when appropriate,” reverse that order. Some will remember John F. Kennedy’s famous “stroke of the pen” promise for a federal fair housing ordinance in 1960—unfortunately, Kennedy’s pen paralysis resulted in an 18-month delay. 


Square, Site wide
Bush’s order subverts the 1978 law’s provisions for public access to presidential records. It requires the Archivist of the United States to withhold materials if a former president asserts executive privilege, even if the incumbent president disagrees. Put another way, any assertions of privilege for the papers of Bush and his father must be honored by the incumbent president. Maybe now this is clearer. 

Bush’s order also stands the right of access on its head. Now, the burden is on the researcher to show a “demonstrable, specific need.” In short, researchers retain a very expensive right to litigate. In 1988, the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia emphatically rejected President Ronald Reagan’s order directing the Archives to accept any claims advanced by former President Nixon to block release of his presidential materials, repudiating Reagan’s contention that the Archivist might legally and independently support a former president. The Bush order is no different, for it requires the Archivist to honor the former president’s claims even when the incumbent disagrees with them. Such a course constitutes nothing less than the incumbent’s abdication of his obligation of fidelity to the law.

Bush’s action provides no end to the mutual back-scratching for that fellowship of ex-presidents. If the incumbent and former president agree to block release, the president and his Department of Justice must defend the assertion of privilege, thus saving his predecessor potentially significant legal fees. Richard Nixon wrote endless volumes of memoirs to support his lawyer habit. 

Make no mistake: the Bush order broke new ground. Allowing a former president’s family or personal representative to assert privilege is novel, if not bizarre. It delegates and brazenly enlarges an ever-more luxuriant executive privilege upon former presidents—something the Bush administration has been very adept at doing for itself. The shadowy doctrine of executive privilege has been elevated to a personal right, extending a lifetime, and even beyond. You can take it with you, if Bush has his way.

The order is beyond audacious. Incumbent presidents decide and judge the nature of national security, not former presidents. If the incumbent sees no national security issue at stake, why should a former president, ever anxious to preserve and enhance his reputation, make that determination?

Bush’s order already has freed his father from scholarly scrutiny, now some four years overdue. Only the timely and gracious intervention of Nancy Reagan prevented President Bush from sealing the Reagan papers. Those documents might tell us more about George H. W. Bush’s role in the Iran-Contra affair, other than having to go to the bathroom, or something like that, when the sordid business was discussed in the National Security Council’s proceedings.

Repudiating Executive Order 13233 is essential. This is not a partisan matter; even the Republican-controlled Congress favored repeal in 2004, but Tom DeLay effectively buried it for Bush, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., similarly blocked action in the Senate last year. Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.—of all people—led the move to repeal; apparently he believed this was the only way he could get at the Clinton papers. 

The prospects of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney proclaiming executive privilege long after they fade from their official duties is staggering. Their penchant for secrecy undoubtedly would insure significant gaps in any attempts to fathom the history of their deeds and actions. President-elect Obama has given us a promise. It must be delivered.

Stanley Kutler wrote “The Wars of Watergate,” and he liberated the Nixon tapes.

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By Sabagio Mauraeno, December 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Good stuff about thinking out of the American mindset. I am of an age where my medical needs are in grotesque conflict with my personal finances; even though I have a lot, I don’t have any.  And in the song about the old lady who swallowed a spider, I guess I’ll die (for the lack of) as in the American Way of Death.  A long time ago aggressive public health campaigns were financed, when it was demonstrated that a whole lot of money could be saved in doing so.  The Panama Canal would not have been built when it was, without the campaign to eradicate yellow fever. Pellagra in the South, child-bed fever and premature death, TB,polioa?  All of these afflictions became controlled if not cured because of “acts of prevention.” Why or why, then ,  did we lose our way, and become obedient servants to the ways of the AMA? Was it when Dr. Kildare and his progeny became Saints in White Coats, their powers of life and death given to them by God and the Doctrines of Immutability and Infallibility?  Yup, tis true. There can be no other explanation. “Tis been said, somewhere, that 80 to 90 percent of the cancers and communicable diseases and infections we know about today, could be eliminated or prevented.  This statement has bases in knowledges we already have on hand which argue and prove that if environmental and ecological proactive protections and preventions were applied and sustained from generation to generation, we could clean up our act and save money at the same time. Why this hasn’t happened is perhaps because we still abide by the axiom be it articulated by AMA, GMC, or AIG, that if “Greed is Good for Us, then ‘tis Good for the US of A(ll) of us Americans.

Sabagio Mauraeno, here in the Sunny confines of DeKalb County , Georgia

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By Plenum, December 8, 2008 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Solutions for “America’s problem” won’t be found from within…

Rubenesque -

Here’s just one example I found today (there’s lots) from UCLA’s Dr. Marc Nuwer, a leading expert on national health care reform, published this week in Neurology; “To heal our ailing health care system, we need to stop thinking like Americans.”

Article can be found at -

Our economic problems won’t be found by fine-tuning the system we have now.  Our environmental problems won’t be found with minor policy changes.  Our legal system cannot be just using the system of jurisprudence now extant.  And fixing the medical system won’t come through the system we have now nor using the values system we have to justify what we have now.

That’s my point - and that any long-term solution won’t be found in the present, dominant system we have now.  It will probably take a collapse, and probably from within to do it.  Only when brought to its knees will a “foreign” solution be considered acceptable.

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By Sabagio Mauraeno, December 7, 2008 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Culpability. Blame, responsibility, liability, accountability, outright criminality are all labels that can be applied to the Bush Legacy and the president and his minions. ‘Tis shooting fish in a barrel in the grandest sense. Obama and his Selectees are charged with cleaning up these disasters, raising the Fleet destroyed by this long national domestic Pearl Harbor of our 21st Century. What should be foremost on the minds of us citizenry is promotion of the ideas, remedies, solutions and standards that will for a period of time be needed for the necessary corrections to make significant change. We can’t survive a Ronald Reagan mentality coming back into power that believes that the myth of the Manifest Destiny of the City on the Hill, will be there, shining forever to light the way for the rest of humanity. The destruction caused by The Great Myth Maker and his successors, if honestly and objectively assessed, could provide the starting points for the US of A to redeem itself as a viable model for sustained efforts for improving the human condition without destroying “All things bright and beautiful,

  all creatures great and small,
  all things wise and wonderful: 
  the Lord God made them all.

  Each little flower that opens,
  each little bird that sings,
  God made their glowing colors,
  and made their tiny wings. 
  The purple-headed mountains,
  the river running by,
  the sunset and the morning
  that brightens up the sky. 
      The cold wind in the winter,
  the pleasant summer sun,
  the ripe fruits in the garden: 
  God made them every one. 

  God gave us eyes to see them,
  and lips that we might tell
  how great is God Almighty,
  who has made all things well. 
Mr. Bush as a born again something or other, never got this message, but heard one whose refrain was a never ending echo,

” Gimme, gimme gimme, what I cry for,         
Because you made me love a greed for everyone else to die for,

Yes, tis all your fault the rest of you, because, you made me so.”

Sabagio Mauraeno, on a cold day in Decatur, Georgia,  Pearl Harbor Day, wishing that all of us can learn to Dance to a more joyous Tune, and March to the Beat of a Different Drummer who gets us to where we need to go, ……together.

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By cyrena, December 7, 2008 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the stuff KDelphi. I wouldn’t say it was repetitive or overlapping, but just added to the information, which certainly never hurts.

In fact, I saved a couple of the articles at the links you provided, and bookmarked them for later access. I was thinking this would make for an interesting project if I can ever rev up the psychological metabolism to get it done. That’s highly questionable these days, since my old ass is TIRED!! smile So I’m treating myself to an extended mental health break, which means there’s no telling when I might be likely to do anything I don’t feel like doing. Just surviving right now is taking up as much energy as I have available. This ‘energy crisis’ is wide ranging, and I realistically expect the overall environment to get worse before it gets better, so I have to conserve my energy. wink

I think of it as a ‘senior advantage’, or a ‘retiree advantage’. Admittedly that’s a cop-out, since I’ve pretty much always had that attitude. So we just call it doing things on Indian Time. Indian Time and Establishment Time are pretty polar opposites, which means that it can really jack up the system for someone on biological Indian Time, to have to function effectively and even at the highest levels of the ‘functionality scale’, on Establishment Time set-up. The Establishment Time of course includes everything Corporate.

I’m serious. It sure jacked mine up. It’s like trying to force a square peg into a round hole, and that never works, at least not without some jerry-rigging that nearly always adds to the damage.

So, there we have it. Maybe I will write something on this transition from the Law & Society rather dry stuff that mostly only academics appreciate, but not necessarily so. There’s certainly no hard-fast rule on that, for which I’m very glad. More and more of us are availing ourselves of information that we’ve somehow failed to make a priority for public consumption. We ALL need to know this stuff. It’s not just for nerds and bureaucrats. But then of course these last 8 years have represented the most sinisterly secretive administration in the history of the nation, so THAT’S part of the reason we haven’t availed ourselves of the information…it hasn’t been there!

Anyway, thanks again for the links. I’ll check in with the sites as often as I can.

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By KDelphi, December 7, 2008 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

Here is more, although some may be the same. It is truly amazing, folks…
Gun de-reulation in public parks:

Uranium mining near Grand Canyon:

Mining debris near streams:

De-reg. for investment advisors:

Exposing workers to hazardous chemicals:

(This might be a variation of what Bush vetoed, which Clinton had just signed onto, when Bush took office) Sorry. It is 3:00 AM here:

There is a lot more at this site. Sorry if repeats. I was just amazed.

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By cyrena, December 7, 2008 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

1 of 2
There’s more:

Eleventh-Hour Rush to Enact a Rule That Obama Fought
Sunday 30 November 2008
by: Robert Pear, The New York Times

“The Labor Department plans to finalize regulations before Bush leaves office that would require more industry-by-industry data on exposure to workplace substances. President-elect Obama has said that instead of increasing data requirements, the Labor Department should issue standards to protect workers against known hazards like silica and beryllium. (Photo: Graeme Powell / ABC)

  Washington - The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.”

Then this:

Last Secrets of the Bush Administration
Wednesday 03 December 2008

by: Charles Homans, The Washington Monthly
“When Bush hands over the keys to the White House in January, he will leave behind more unanswered questions of sweeping national importance than any modern president.” (Photo: Charles Dharapak / AP)

  How to find out what we still don’t know.

  “In March 2001, U.S. Archivist John W. Carlin received a letter from Alberto Gonzales, then counsel to the newly inaugurated president George W. Bush. It concerned an important deadline that was looming-one that Bush owed to Richard Nixon.

  In 1974, Congress ordered a lockdown on all records kept by the Nixon White House, afraid that the outgoing president would try to wipe out the paper trail of his disastrous second term and chastened by the recent destruction of decades’ worth of FBI files by the late director J. Edgar Hoover’s loyal secretary. That order was expanded four years later into a law requiring that all presidents’ papers-everything from briefings to personal notes and everyday communications between the president, vice president, and their staffers-be handed over to the National Archives twelve years after their terms ended for eventual public release. Ronald Reagan was the first chief executive to whom the Presidential Records Act applied, and his papers were due to be turned over to Carlin at the beginning of Bush’s term..”

And this says some things about what we’re dealing with now as well:

Then this too:

Interior Department Changes Rule to Remove Congress Veto
Thursday 04 December 2008
by: Felicity Barringer, The New York Times
“The Interior Department on Thursday unveiled a new rule that challenges Congress’s authority to prevent mining planned on public lands. (Photo: Stephen Codrington)”

  “In another regulatory action in the waning days of the Bush administration, the Interior Department on Thursday unveiled a new rule that challenges Congress’s authority to prevent mining planned on public lands.

  Congress has emergency power to stop mineral development, and has used it six times in the last 32 years. The most recent was in June, when it put a three-year moratorium on uranium mining on one million acres near the Grand Canyon. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has ignored that Congressional directive, saying it was procedurally flawed.

  The new rule issued by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management comes as environmental groups are suing the bureau in federal court for failing to obey Congress’s directive, which under a 1976 law can be invoked when “an emergency situation exists and extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve values that would otherwise be lost.”

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By cyrena, December 7, 2008 at 12:31 am Link to this comment

2 of 2

These are only a few of the things that the gangsters are trying to shove through while they still can. So yes, a ‘best case’ scenario for us would be if the entire Cabal was involved in aimless drifting that Alan mentions here:

•    “The New York Times editorial blog concludes that

‘aimless drifting’ is the BEST we can hope for from Paulson and the rest of the the outgoing Cheney-Bush regime.”

We can see that they aren’t all drifting as aimlessly as I would like.

‘Bush Administration Moves to Protect Key Appointees
Tuesday 18 November 2008’

by: Juliet Eilperin and Carol D. Leonnig, The Washington Post

Political positions shifted to career civil service jobs.

  “Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department’s top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies - including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions - into senior civil service posts.

  The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called “burrowing” by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs.

  Similar efforts are taking place at other agencies. Two political hires at the Labor Department have already secured career posts there, and one at the Department of Housing and Urban Development is trying to make the switch.”

“Aimless drifting” WOULD be better than this. Toxins from the old apparatus are a problem for any nation attempting to recover its democracy after a regime of dictatorships or other forms of totalitarian rule. Allowing them to remain within the structure, (and impunity for past deeds is automatically implied) is a bad situation. Some will be weeded out within the first year anyway, despite what ‘protections’ they think they are arranging for themselves now.

Still, this is why Alan is so on spot here again..

•  “…Paulson is both symptomatic and emblematic of a radical regime whose intention has always been to thwart and to destroy governance.  This it did by invading the government and disrupting all of its legitimate functions.  Unfortunately ‘aimless drifting’ has never been on the agenda of the Cheney-Bush regime, sinking the Republic has always been its chief goal.”

Cheney et al hasn’t managed this total and overwhelming destruction by ‘drifting aimlessly’.  The ostensible puppet veneer that is GW may have appeared to be cluelessly drifting, but even that was part of a well-oiled façade for the shadow agenda.  Nope. Nope. Nope. This has been a meticulously planned demolition.

I swear to God I just want it to end, and I don’t have a bit of a problem with being part of the group think on that. In fact, I wonder if I’m not experiencing some of the near reach elation that others have felt when their originally free societies have been invaded by totalitarian or fascist regimes, and they finally get rid of them, and try to repair the damage. That has just GOT to be worth a healthy dose of elation, after these last 8 years of misery. That should be cause for the largest National Celebration we’ve ever hosted for ourselves.  An old Motown tune comes to mind, from Martha and the Vandella’s:

“…There’ll be dancin’ in the streets…”

Ah yes,  that’s exactly what we should have; some serious dancin’ in the streets, at least for a respectable celebratory time frame. I’m not suggesting that we just keep the party going indefinitely, despite everything continuing to fall apart around us, because that pile-up is already in motion, and there’s no time to dick or dally around, with humanity in jeopardy. But we at least need a jump-start to the healing. Dancing in the streets seems like as good a way as any to kick it off, and raise the collective serotonin levels.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 6, 2008 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

“Why is this man laughing?”

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By Reubenesque, December 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment


“New ideas” is not the problem.  It is the impediment thereof by the flag-draped, small-minded, cross-bearing, right-wing idiots being cheered on by AM radio and Faux Nuze fascists.

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By Plenum, December 4, 2008 at 5:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No solution will be found in the system we have now.  The country needs ideas from, as yet, an unknown source.  We are too deeply ingrained within our own value system.  The United States with all its profound problems needs help.

“No prophet comes from his own country.”

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By Alan, December 3, 2008 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The New York Times editorial blog concludes that
‘aimless drifting’ is the BEST we can hope for from Paulson and the rest of the the
outgoing Cheney-Bush regime.

Paulson is both symptomatic and emblematic of
a radical regime whose intention has always been to
thwart and to destroy governance.  This it did
by invading the government and disrupting all of
its legitimate functions.  Unfortunately ‘aimless
drifting’ has never been on the agenda of the
Cheney-Bush regime, sinking the Republic has
always been its chief goal.

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By cyrena, December 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Well Mud, sad as it is, I did have to chuckle. You are SOOOO on the money.

The only thing I would correct would be the “slink-to” destination. He’s headed for Paraguay, rather than Crawford.

But not to worry…we will track his ass down, and I think we can bring him and his master (dick cheney) to justice. In fact, we can do it far more successfully than they’ve managed to do in their so-called ‘war against terror.’ They haven’t caught a single terrorist, if only because they won’t turn themselves in.

We’ll fix that. I’m counting on the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, to follow through on the domestic end of this, like he said he would. And the international community will hopefully bring charges against them for all of the war crimes…too many of them to list right now.

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By bobo6, December 2, 2008 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Isn’t it ironic that the same group of people that insist it is imperative to pry and snoop into every American citizens telephone,internet,and mail communication,suddenly demand they are exempt from such scrutiny.Gosh,if I didn’t know better it looks as though they are asking to be treated as special persons.How can that be?

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By 1twenty1, December 2, 2008 at 1:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like it or not Wrongworst and Bad-Tick-Dick are like Goldman-Sachs… too big to fail.  Don’t be naive.  Some lesser entity(s) may take a hit ala Scooter Libby (and he really won’t take a hit after all).  Don’t count on Obama either.  The Presidency is like a big club and Barry is not about to rock the boat.

The charade of Frat House City that we call Washington D.C. lives on.  Only your and my blood will ever set things right.  There is no change, only new drapes and carpets and new faces on the Capitol Hill carrou$el.

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By mud, December 1, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment


“What, me worry?”

Yep the nation is in the crapper deep, but I’m alright so I don’t care.

So what if I killed a few hundred thousand men women and children.

So I burned through a few trillion of your dollars. Hell most of that was graft for my good old buddies.

So I spied on you and screwed up your rights and freedoms.

So I ripped you all off for more money then you even have a clue about yet.

So I stomped on anything and everything that could possibly be construed as socially beneficial to the average American.

And so what if I pardoned my fellow outlaws and then stuck it to the environment one last time before slinking off to Crawford.

My work here is done. God bless-you suckers…

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By Ham-Archy, December 1, 2008 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Folktruther: Nice thought! I was just reflecting on my impresions from reading Trotsky. He too was murdered for his belief. In his little hideaway in Mexico. I have to think over your idea, as you put it in brief. My feeling is that any SYSTEM cannot be a solution. A system of course cannot act. We could do bad or good with any system. It comes down to human motivation and I think I see that concept in your idea.
Xntrc: Glad to see you are in touch with the Internation. You can get most literature written by these famous socialists for free, here:
Perhaps you have that link, I wouldn’t want to cut any authors out of selling books, but just like to be helpfull.
And how could I be Kosher? They closed the plant you know. I guess if I’m not carefull though I could end up sausage at Wal-Mart LOL!

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By ZachP, December 1, 2008 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

I can only say that I’m surprised they kept any records worth keeping secret.

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By hippy pam, December 1, 2008 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

WE-THE PEOPLE could insist on “ole bullshit” paying for his crimes….If ENOUGH OF US RAISE OUR VOICES-[where they can be heard as opposed to under cover]-and IF WE DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!!!After all-New President-New Times-New Laws…...“ole bullshit” says he wants to live “out of the limelight”-He wants to live “quietly”......HE CAN DO THAT IN PRISON…..or better yet…Save US the money…Just Have a trial and since he IS GUILTY OF SO MANY CRIMES-He WOULD BE EXECUTED!!!!!!

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By cyrena, December 1, 2008 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

By nrobi, November 30 at 10:16 am
•  “..As for me, I would like to see “His Highness, King George II,” along with all of the cabal, strung up by their balls and left to rot in the hell they have created in our country. …But, this will never happen, because as Obama, himself has stated there will be no prosecution of King George and his imperial cabinet….”
Ah nrobi, you delight me with such images of criminals strung up by their balls and left to rot, not just for the hell they’ve wraught in our country, but throughout the world.

However,  I have to question your statement that Obama has stated there will be no prosecution of King George or his Imperial Cabinet. In fact, I’ve long ago heard the opposite from him, and on more than one occasion.  I’d even found several references, because this myth has come up before.

But alas, they went by the wayside when my computer crashed, so I’ll have to find them again for you. In general though, Obama has indicated that he WILL do investigations if and where appropriate and feasible. In the same breath, he’s also indicated that he doesn’t want his first term taken up entirely by the prosecution of the previous administration.  But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t intend to do ANYTHING!! My guess is that he’ll need to rebuild the Justice Department before he can effectively carry out any genuinely transparent investingations that can lead to prosecution and indictment. I’m not sure that most of us have considered what a huge undertaking such investigations and criminal prosecutions are, considering it’s all been allowed to go for 8 long years. Imagine if someone didn’t clean their house for 8 full years. How long would it take to plow through 8 years of dirt and filth?

But do not fear, because there are tons of rescue squad nerds just waiting in the wings, and chomping at the bit, to get their hands in the legal action that will bury the treasonous muderers,  both here and at the Hague. So check out the links that ham-archy posted here,  to restore your faith.

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By cyrena, November 30, 2008 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

By Sabagio Mauraeno, November 30 at 12:31 pm

•  “If the Obama administration is truly sincere about “transparacey in government” would not a good place to start this new paradigm of American Government be the exposure of the serious flaws, and harm done by the previous administration?”
You’ve certainly got THAT right Sabagio, but then that’s what I believe the whole point has been for a while, in what the Obama administration has been encouraged to do, and what they’ve so far promised to do. That’s really the point of this excellent piece.

In my particular ideological neck of the woods, the academic crowd has been activily petitioning for this transparancy even before we knew who would win the election, because it’s so crucial to expose all of these signing statements and Executive Orders.  Our theory is that they should publish ALL of them, going back to the beginning of when Presidents started issuing signing statements to legislation when they signed it. (The Cheney Regime has created more signing statements than ALL other administrations/presidents combined). Needless to say, that would be a fairly extensive project, so it could take some time. But, it’s definitely doable, once we get this particular EO that Kutler is referencing, (Executive Order 13233) repealed.
Repealing/reversing/ nullifying that order is critical to accomplishing exactly what you’re hoping to have happen in so far a the exposure of the serious flaws (crimes I would say) and harm done by what is still the current administration.  Managing that is dependent on EVIDENCE and substantiation and corroboration, and all of that. Stuff that can’t be easily accomplished with the thugs burning everything they can, and hollering lifelong executive privilage over what they can’t. ALL of it is OUR property!!! The hubris of this regime is truly breathtaking.  There are a minimum of 8 years of deep dark secrets in the Cheney vault, that they would prefer never see the light of day. (or any other kind of light for that matter.) It could take ages to just to get through all of David Addington’s paperwork if he hasn’t destroyed it all.

But yeah, all of that stuff can be exposed, but it could take a while, and the first thing that has to happen is to reverse EO 13233. Obama has said that he’ll do it. Check the web site for the exact details.’s an excellent place to start, and the new team obviously isn’t wasting any time. It would appear that they’ve already prepared for this in advance, and are ready to hit the grounds (at the White House) running.

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By purplewolf, November 30, 2008 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

Ham-Archy: That is just the reason I, my friends and even other customers at Walmart won’t buy their meat at Walmart. Never quite sure where it comes from or who it is, but we all know it will make you sick just by looking at it.

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By Xntrk, November 30, 2008 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Samosamo, I read the article, and am a bit troubled by the lack of depth and definition involved.

Theft? how much? and/or what? We swiped money on occasion - back in the pre-historical past of the ‘40s and ‘50s. In those days a quarter went a long way. Then there were the golf-balls that were worth a buck if they were like new…

My kids all tried the same and gave it up when it turned out they were not as smart as they thought.

Cheating in school etc has always seemed the higher crime to me. Many teachers grade on the curve, and a few points can keep one from the A they earned, and advance the smart-ass who gets away with cheating. It’s a little bit like the difference between the guy who holds up a 7-11, hurting at most half a dozen people, and the guys stealing millions from the tax-payers, or maybe members of the current Administration who have gotten away with every crime imaginable and get to walk away…

I knew girls who were almost professional shop-lifters, and most guys carried an ‘Oklahoma Credit Card, in their car. I suppose these days, both groups simply operate on stolen and forged credit cards…

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By Folktruther, November 30, 2008 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Both Lenin and Trosky supported Luxembourg and Karl Liebkneict when they founded the Sparticists League after the Social Democrats supported WW1.  Both were shot without trial while prisoners under the Social Democrats who headed the Weimar Republic.

Marxism, Xntrk, suffered ideologically by being a White Man’s socialism, European workers uniting to form a socialist state.  It was not till the Russian revolution when Marxism-Leninism developed that a synchrism occurred including the colonized countries, most of the world’s population. 

What needs to be done is to generalize the basic conceptual structure to an earthperson socialism that transcends the Western traditon.  This requires a conceptual revolution in social science similar to the scientific revolutions in the natural sciences. 

We are currently living at a time in history when such revolution is both techinically and political feasible.  Over historical time it would transform the way we think about and percieve people.

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By samosamo, November 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

This seems an appropriate place for commenting about this piece I found at msnbc, where contrary to some opinions some useful if not good information is available, about a survey done with high schoolers and their quest to survive in this continually new and modern world.

I think it speaks ill of what our society as a whole has created with so many people jocking for positions that there just are not enough of for everybody and now most namely due to the off shoring of jobs. Kind of like all the kids growing up playing their favorite sport in the long shot of becoming a fabulously overpaid professional athlete. Little thinking the casino odds of ever making it to such a position.
I don’t deny that what some of the students polled admitted to is not best behavior but least one not forget these are also natural behaviors, there just needs to be a general disapproval of them for societies to have some kind of harmony when living together. But all this is learned from the environment, the use and abuse of unwanted behaviors living amongst so many people.
This is where this post seems appropriate for bringing this out as I don’t believe sheer or truthdig will do an article/post on this survey. But this post does fine. Where else do young impressional kids get their ideas? They are not dumb, they pick up on most all or any adult actions and copy them. When they have even a vague idea of what the law and constitution sets forth for people elected to by the people and these people blatantly disregard such laws, it is no different than watching their parents run red lights, lie to someone, take something from someone or physically harm someone and deny doing so, what does anyone expect some kids to do.
What I say is that the environment, be it friends or parents or neighbors, is where the impressional kids learn. And when business leaders to gain a financial edge by crushing their competition by any means or political leaders living above the law for their and their party’s gain, these kids will only begin to see that as the way to behave, not all kids but enough to have a disturbing affect on the future.

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By Xntrk, November 30, 2008 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ham-Archy [can I assume you are not Kosher?] I get alerts from the World Socialist site, altho I find the more informative.  My favorite? Maybe Emma Goldman… [I have several of her autobiographical books] But, as I was saying earlier, sometimes checking the mother-lode lets you tease out new ideas, and most of my reading has been by true believers, but not necessarily original thinkers.

Trotsky is next on my list, but I have the Karl Marx books, and have to acquire Trotsky. He is very important in Latin America, seventy-one years after his assassination…

History is thought of as nothing more then a collection of out-dated facts and ideas, yet these men continue to exert strong influence over our lives today.

Kind of like Jesus with less mysticism…

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk; And then there is Trotsky, oh my. The socialist who’s ideas I like most is Rosa Luxemburg. Maybe she could have been thought a Revisionist by the likes of Trotsky, but she died for her resolute conviction. Current news and policies of the International can be found:

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By KDelphi, November 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Ham-Archy—I hope taht you are right, and, thanks for the links. I will go read them!

Samson—I fear that you are right…

Big B—right you are

Sabagio Mauraeno—I had forgotten about Kucincih—what is he doing now? Anything?

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By Alan, November 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the bruiser from Baltimore: Put some stuff back on the table hon!
(Baltimore, Nancy comes from Baltimore where her old man was head of the local machine)
“The Table” , that refers to reckoning and retribution
for all the past and ongoing high crimes and
misdemeanors. )

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By Xntrk, November 30, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Given the apparent disappointment of many Progressives with Obama’s proposed Cabinet and circle of advisers, and the accusations of “Socialism” that were flung about during the campaign, I have embarked on a research mission. I am reading The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx, by Shlomo Avineri: 1968; Cambridge University Press. I am cross referencing this study, with The Letters of Karl Marx, Saul K. Padover, Editor; 1979; Prentice Hall International, Inc; Publishers.

My motives are simple: Most of my information about Marx’ philosophy and theories is second, or even third hand. And most of it comes from the Russian/Stalin/Lenin School of Marxism. One approach taken by Avineri, is to separate Marx from Frederich Engles. “...much of what is traditionally considered orthodox Marxism is based on the more popular of Engles’ later writings.”

The purpose of all this background information is to lead into a quote from Avineri’s book as he discusses Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right; written in 1842, and first published in Russia in 1927.  Assuming not everyone is asleep after all these references, [Marx is discussing Hegel’s beliefs in Civil Society as a sphere of Materialism as opposed to Idealism or ‘spiritualism’ of the State]; here is the quote:

“But, Marx argues that representative assemblies… are self-contradictory: the delegates of civil society ... enjoy their status only because they are members of a political organization, not because they legitimize the particular interests of civil society. It would seem that the Legislature [Stande] represent the population, but as the delegates are not bound by an imperative mandate and are not subordinate to their voters in anyway whatsoever, they are totally alienated from those they are supposed to represent… Conversely, delegates are elected in order to serve the general interest of society, but in practice they tend to be unashamed spokesmen for their particular interests…”

I find it amazing that 160 some years after Marx wrote this, our idea of Democracy and Representative Government has not evolved beyond the addition of an elected [and temporary] ruler rather than the hereditary rulers so common in the Principalities of Germany in 1840. His description of the behavior of Legislators describes Pelosi, Reed, Lieberman, et al, to a tee.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider Socialism, strip it of the remnants of Stalinism, and see what it has to offer us before we succeed in destroying the world with greed. Certainly the past eight years of the Bush Administration serve as a harsh warning that our supposed ‘democracy’ is reverting to a Theocracy enforced by thieves and murderers.

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By Sabagio Mauraeno, November 30, 2008 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Are Bush/Cheney looking for trade-offs prior to the “orderly trnasition of government” come January 20, 2009?  Perhaps the Democrats should post counter offers to any last hurrah efforts by the Bushites to get clemency/absolution/pardon/ for acts of criminal natures disguised as executive orders and “in the interest of national security.”
A Promise could be made perhaps, NOT to indict Blackpool, Inc. which if pursued could unleash all sorts of indictments linked to white collar crimes and conflicts of interest by Bush-Leaguers.  Then there is the Dennis Kucinich Brief and the 35 articles of impeachment. There is a lot there that could be mined as leverage to keep the Bushites from stripping the last vestiges of The Public Interest left to the Bush Administration. President Bush is on record that he didn’t sell his soul to accomodate the political process. The question is, did he have a soul to sell?  If the Obama administration is truly sincere about “transparacey in government” would not a good place to start this new paradigm of American Government be the exposure of the serious flaws, and harm done by the previous administration? Bushes’ media pit bulls…Lumbaugh, Hanritty, Novak, Fox News, etc., were never put on any kind of leash or restraint on their neverending tirades against Democrats, who whether in political power or not, were portrayed the domestic versions of clear and present dangers to the country, so why should the Democrat-slanted media(if such an entity still functions)?

PS. Can any one out there please explain why Tom Brokaw and his version of Meet the Press today devoted an hour to Mrs Bush’s work in Afganistan?  A nice lady, but does she merit such obsiquious coverage, given all that’s been going downhill these lasts desparate days of Bush Rule?

Sabagio Mauraeno in Georgia, hoping for a Jim Martin upset of the incumbent Saxby Chambliss who still contends that President Bush did a good job and that the economy just needs to bail out the fools who created the mess in the first place.

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By Big B, November 30, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

We have arrived, as a nation, at our moment of truth. If the criminals of the Bush adm are not held accountable for their actions, the American republic will surely fail. If Barry, Pelosi, and Reed shirk their constitutional responsiblity to prosecute the treasonous actions of the Bushies, it is they who should be impeached, and removed from office. Each one of them swore an oath to the constitution and the people that document represents. If they do nothing, and look the other way at the Bushies transgressions, they have commited high treason, and should be thrown into the same Bastille as King George and his cronies.

This is serious folks! If a small band of evil rich people can send america troops overseas to fight illegal wars, capture and torture innocent people, all the while running the world economy into the ground, then our constitution should indeed be used to wipe our asses with, for it will be worth nothing else.

Then again, maybe this is Karma coming back to bite us in the ass. After all, do we really deserve to go forward as a “shining beacon” of a nation, knowing that we have looked the other way at torture?

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Well three then…

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

KDelph: Not to fret, evidence is being preserved the world over. The Bush admin has commited crimes that will not be hidden elsewhere, even if they are in the US. Here is just two small examples:
Don’t let the news media make you believe this is going away. That is just what they hope to do but the watchdogs are ready to tear it all to shreds and you should keep faith that they will.

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By KDelphi, November 30, 2008 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

samosamo—I agree completely, and, yet, no one has been able to tell me yet, whether Bush or Cheney can pardon themselves (well, we know its not “right”, but, what’s new). I’ve gotten both answers.I am talking about legally.

It may be true that we have enough to convict, yet, the time to secure that evidence (emails, etc.) was, like, yesterday? Maybe 2 years ago, when Dems took the Congress?If Pelosi had not “taken impeachment off of the table”,we would have had a much better chance of getting ahold of evidence before it is changed or destroyed.If Congress had, during the hearings, charged Gonzales and others, with contempt of Congress, then we wouldnt be hearing stories of CDs being broken in half, as the FBI knocks on the door..Miers and Rove should have both been thrown in jail—-you or I wouldve been , if we hadnt shown up.

I fear that most wil just want to “move on”—-but , the problem is—we cannot. Just because a president or S of the H says “move on” doesnt mean that people do , in their hearts. Nixon did much less, considering, yet, people still felt angry that,while not even being convicted or impeached (he was allowed to resign), Nixon got a pardon from Ford.

But, getting a pardon or life sentence out of Gov Bush for questionable crimes that minors and the mentally retarded are on death row for in Texas—forget it! We join Sudan in executing minors and the mentally disabled.

There is a sense of injustice that hangs over this, and, it remains in our collective consciousness…Bush will too, if there is no justice..

Lets not just get them out of the WH (well, it sesm that some will stay..)—-let’s REALLY cal for change—JUSTICE! That is what I say.

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By nrobi, November 30, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

As for me, I would like to see “His Highness, King George II,” along with all of the cabal, strung up by their balls and left to rot in the hell they have created in our country.
But, this will never happen, because as Obama, himself has stated there will be no prosecution of King George and his imperial cabinet.
Sadly, for the American people and the world, which has had to live under the thumb and fingers of Duhhhhhhhbya, whose fingers are in every pie that concerns America, those fingers will never have to pay for the injustices and war crimes that he committed as King of the US.
Far be it from me to hold an opinion about something that concerns every person in the world, but I truly hope that Duhhhhhhhbya, and all the people associated with him and his administration of America rot in Hell, for eternity.
As you can plainly see, I hold no love for His Imperial personage and his court jesters. Darth Vader should be the next person that the International Court of Justice seeks to extradite, not only for his crimes in America against Americans,
but also for the secret renditions of thousands of people who are nowhere to be found, torture of prisoners of war, which is against the Geneva Conventions, which his administration held they did not have to follow and all the rest of the war crimes they have committed.

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Samson: It is most likely that the Prosecution would take place in International Court. Check out this article:

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Now surely we all understand this simple formula:
Democrat + Rebublican = 2 Flavor Facism

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, November 30, 2008 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Removing that executive order would cause the release of Clinton records pre-1996 (12 years ago).

When Obama says things is important, as he constantly changes his stances and positions.  So, did he promise to remove this executive order before or after deciding to staff his entire administration with Clinton retreads and Republicans?  Both groups would have an interest in keeping these records hidden.

The key fact that determines whether or not there is prosecution of the Bush criminals is the stance of the Obama justice dept.  And since the Obama camp is saying clearly that there will be no prosecutions and that they ‘want to move forward’ and ‘don’t want to be divisive’, I think we can all see where that is going.

The Democrats have been protecting the Republicans from investigation, impeachment and prosecution for the last two years while in control of Congress.  There is no reason to think that this policy will now change.  So, expect to see Obama’s administration actively take a roll in protecting the Bushies.

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Arius: Sorry to have to inform you, but that truck was a MEAT GRINDER. It always goes by Cheney’s house to pick up his latest victims and make sure that Wal-Mart Superstores have plenty of sausage to sell. The area was blocked on Google earth so that terrorists cannot get an accurate fix on it. Unfortunately the precise global co-ordinates are published regularly on Al Jazira

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By Ham-Archy, November 30, 2008 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

How hard can it be for a researcher to demonstrate the most important ‘specific need’ of all. To indict the Bushes for War Crimes, and Crimes against the State? We cannot let these devils get away with horrendous acts they have commited.

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By Jim Yell, November 30, 2008 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh my the picture used with this article Bush and Cheney at their arrogant and smug-ness worse. It fairly oozes out from the photo.

If I needed a reason to suspect the worst from religion Bush is the gift that keeps giving, this confidant of Christ, this self anointed gangster.

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By MH, November 30, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


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By MH, November 30, 2008 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just a small point, but the author failed to mention that Bush WH staffers later admitted that they made up the story about the missing “W"s.  I’m rather surprised that the author of this article either didn’t know that this never really happened or chose to ignore the admission of the Bush WH staff.

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By troublesum, November 30, 2008 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Can’t you hear Obama now?  “We must put the past behind us and move on.”  Also Pelosi is on record saying several times recently that no crimes were committed.  If there is going to be any accountability it won’t come with any help from the Obama administration or democrats in cogress.

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By Purple Girl, November 30, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Are you trying to say without their ‘memo’s or e-mails or visitors lists or a Written dissertation as to their nefarious agenda, we got Nothing?
Oh I beg to differ, I think there i splenty of evidence provided by interviews and the progression of News reports which could provide ample evidence to Conspiracy and High Crimes.
Cheny’s response of “So” to the fact the Majority of Americans living in this DEMOCRACY wanted out of the M.E. Scalia’s excuse for Torutre. The numerous debunked reasons we went into Iraq, including the immeidate claim tha tthe Anthrax came from Saddam when it was immediately determined it was OURS!Oh the List goes on,Politizing the Justice Dept, Wiretapping citizens, Extraordinary ‘Rendition’ .....They have spent the last 8 yrs laying out OUR case against them, we don’t need no stinkin’ memos, We got them on Tape on various charges with multitudes of counts.Their Actions are far more condemning then mere pieces of paper- It proves intent,collusion, malice, Along with outcome of their criminality.
When a crime is committed the Act is the evidence, not the scribbled notes, those are just icing on the cake.If a person is caught stabbing another to death, there is little need to go back and find death threats to prove their guilt of Murder (just the matter of degree).:Let’s see 2 Oil men gain power, they needlessly invade an Oil rich country, the price of Oil goes up along with their profit margins…Gee Ya Think they may have Planned it?
I have no interest in spending decades convicting these assholes for crimes they have obviously committed. As far as I’m concerned a Viewer vote system (like American Idol) would suffice as a Trial, 15 minutes of ‘fame’ and Off they go to get their ‘Parting gift’ (as in their Heads from their Shoulders)

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By Pat Henry, November 30, 2008 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

We got rid of these guys on November 4th.  Why won’t they go away? 

We drove a stake through the hearts of these vampires but they keep rising up out of their coffins. 

Oh yes, sunrise comes on January 20th! 

Pray it will be soon enough to save us all!

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By cyrena, November 30, 2008 at 1:43 am Link to this comment

Stanley Kutler does it again. This is the kind of stuff I so appreciate reading. I’ve been semi-obsessed with EO 13233 and all of the other Executive Orders from the gangsters over the past 8 years. This Gangster Regime will surely maintain the legacy of THE MOST SECRETIVE ADMIN/CABAL in the history of the US. Dick Cheney’s Secret Imperial Presidency.

Since this is so overwhelmingly unprecedented, there’s work here for historians and any other scholars to obsess on for decades to come. That’s why it is so absolutely essential to reverse this order, even though I would like for Obama to ultimately publish all of the signing statements from these gangsters as well. There’s a whole shitload of reversals that need to happen with them too, though I don’t know *how* that would happen. At the least, the American public deserves to know about each and every one of those signing statements.

Meantime, of course it’s totally preposterous for these Thugs to think they can continue to claim privilege to keep their deeds from being exposed, but hey…that’s what they’ve done for eight years, and the American public has allowed it. In other words, Dick Bush has been giving us the finger for all of this time, and the majority of the population has put up with it.

Anyway, we’ll have to make sure that Obama does this right off the bat. I believe that he will.

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By Arius, November 30, 2008 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

as for the “President-elect Obama has given us a promise”  leave the “us” at home and say “me”, as in you.

this liberal isn’t into bullshit and rhetoric sold from a pulpit.. not from bush, not from obama..  we’ve just moved from one messiah and his flock to another messiah and his flock.. nothing’s changed except the party and some skin color-  i’m not holding my breath for any greatness to actually come from this presidency-  afterall, it was an outright stolen nomination and corrupt election season, so i expect nothing more than what we saw when obama sided with bush on the illegal wire taps-

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By Arius, November 30, 2008 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

I hate George Bush and Dick Cheney with every ounce of my being and wish them nothing but misery for the rest of their lives.

When you mention the ‘shredding’ in the article, it reminds me of the google earth images we had of a giant shredder truck pulled up right in front of Cheney’s house on a couple different occasions, both right before an urgent situation that was going on (against) the administration, for instance the CIA outting and the Gonzales firing of attorney’s around the country illegally.  Then Cheney had his house removed from google earth so we could no longer locate it-  what total bullshit-  we own that house and we pay his salary-  the bastard, may he forever rot in hell.

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By samosamo, November 30, 2008 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

Even if he did take his ball and go home, I would say that there are more than enough publicly recorded acts that he can be brought to justice on along with his head dick. But just as important would be to get the other major players from rice to rumfeld, to bremmer to rove, to any of them that can be proven to have used their position to further their and their partie’s gains politically, economically and any way possible. I would hope also that he just would not be able to pre-emptive himself and his cabal with pardons for anything that would be a high crime and I am thinking murder here and add fiscal irresponsibility(grand larceny).

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