Archive for October 2011
Nobody can rightly say the Bush Administration committed any crimes.
This is not because no crimes occurred; rather, there have been no investigations, and therefore no charges, and therefore no convictions. But the abuses of the Bush Administration are not history.
We are still at war, we are still grappling with massive deficits, we still torture, we still submit “enemy combatants” to arbitrary systems of justice, we still subject US citizens to warrantless surveillance. These things are current events, even if they began a decade ago.
Each year that goes by evidence is lost. Memories cloud over, papers get misplaced, files are deleted, the news moves on to the next story.
Few of the “difficulties” brought up by the Bush Administration’s actions have been adequately resolved. Here is one case study:
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics.
On December 5, 1947, Einstein and Morgenstern accompanied Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution, one that would allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship. Einstein and Morgenstern were concerned that their friend’s unpredictable behavior might jeopardize his chances. Fortunately, the judge turned out to be Phillip Forman. Forman knew Einstein and had administered the oath at Einstein’s own citizenship hearing. Everything went smoothly until Forman happened to ask Gödel if he thought a dictatorship like the Nazi regime could happen in the U.S. Gödel then started to explain his discovery to Forman. Forman understood what was going on, cut Gödel off, and moved the hearing on to other questions and a routine conclusion.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
Source: US Constitution Article 1 Section 3
Early on in the Bush Administration, the Bush Transition Energy Advisory Team was tasked with formulating national energy policy. Numerous industry executives met with Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cheney, who had been CEO of the energy company Haliburton in the years immediately prior to his run for office, had close ties to industry insiders, representing a possible conflict of interest. Shortly after the Bush Energy Task Force met, the Enron scandal erupted, calling into question the value of whatever advice the Bush Administration had received from industry executives.
When Cheney was asked for details about his involvement with the Energy Task Force, he refused to disclose any documents, citing executive privilege.
Years later, when Cheney’s office was suspected of disclosing the identity of an undercover CIA agent to retaliate against her husband for criticizing the Administration, Cheney took a different approach.
To avoid disclosing how his office handled classified information, Cheney maintained that his office was not part of the executive branch, since the Vice President is also President of the Senate.
Since nobody has investigated Cheney’s actions in detail, it would seem he gets to have it both ways — and so might any future Vice President.