Crossposted from My Left Wing
Tag: Bush Administration
Nov 05 2007
Nov 04 2007
I often find discussions about Cuba frustratingly polemic. On one side are the demonizers, who see everything the Cuban government does as evil, even if it’s providing free healthcare, education, or inculcating equality as a value in Cuban society that is not going to be erased by any infusion of capital.
On the other side are the romanticizers, who have such tight blinders on that they cannot see anything wrong with anything the Cuban government does. They refuse to admit that the central management system in Cuba suffers from severe bureaucratism, and they rationalize away the human rights abuses that certainly do take place on the island with a Bush-like excuse of, “we’ll they’re under constant threat, so they have to take tough security measures.” What, so it’s OK to torture somebody if you’re a Cuban government official but not if you’re a Bush Administration one?
Really, the only way we’re going to get a better perspective on any of this is to get rid of the idiotic embargo and restore full diplomatic relations between the two countries. That’s when the dirty laundry will also come out. Like Cuba’s relationship with the Stasi.
Oct 01 2007
I think there is some confusion about the unitary executive theory and what it has become under the Bush Adminstration. Initially, it meant something less ambitious than what the Bush Administration turned it into. The older theory was describe by now Justice Alito, as follows:
In a speech to the Federalist Society in 2001, Alito said:
When I was in OLC  . . ., we were strong proponents of the theory of the unitary executive, that all federal executive power is vested by the Constitution in the President. And I thought then, and I still think, that this theory best captures the meaning of the Constitution’s text and structure . . . .” “[T]he case for a unitary executive seems, if anything, stronger today than it was in the 18th Century.
Frankly, this is not a remarkable nor important view of the theory. The problem is what is has become under the Bush Administration:
Here’s what it means for Bush:
The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.
The Bybee Memo put it this way:
Any effort by the Congress to regulate the interrogation of battlefield combatants would violate the Constitution’s sole vesting of the Commander in Chief authority in the President. . . . Congress can no more interfere with the President’s conduct of the interrogation of enemy combatants than it can dictate strategic or tactical decisions on the battlefield.
This is the pernicious Unitary Executive theory as we know it today. It is utterly unsupported by the Constitution and the jurisprudence. I’ll explain on the flip.