Meet David Addington, Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney, the dark force behind the dark force behind the defenestration of the constitution. You may have met him before, via that New Yorker piece wherein Colin Powell tries to get it through someone's thick skull that the Bush Administration doesn't care about the Constitution. But you have never before probably seen the bearlike Baddington, because they don't let him out; he scares too many other Republicans. But! Yesterday he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And oh my god he did not disappoint! He tugged on his beard! He was radioactive with disdain! "I'm glad the terrorists finally get to see you!" one congressman "joked." So what motivates such a man? As a child, he wore black socks with shorts and subscribed to the notion of "the divine right of kings." As an adult, his views were hardened by the sad sad spectacle of the Church Committee, which put a damper on the ability of future presidents to pull off the sort of assassinations, coups, North Korean-inspired mind-control experiments, and warrantless wiretapping Nixon had so loved. Megan and I on the man with the Grace of Gollum and John McCain's sexism, whether feminists should buy guns, and Stevie Wonder's iPod after the jump.
MEGAN: I'm sure there's something more prescient to say about this article about Stevie Wonder and Obama, but the geek in me totally wants to see his phone in action! It's got software that allows his camera phone to convert text to audio and now I am completely covetous and I don't even have an iPhone.
MEGAN: Also, I now totally have My Cherie Amour in my head and I know it isn't going away.
MOE: That's cool, but you know what would be even cooler is if you could choose to have your messages relayed to you in the voice of Dimitri the stud.
MEGAN: This will make you understand the depths of my nerdiness, but my uncle's GPS speaks in the voice of Jean-Luc Picard. For real. And I'm jealous. Also, if you read that article about Stevie Wonder, how bad do you want to hear his rendition of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop"? Because I want that AP reporter's tape for real.
MOE: Ugh speaking of technology my computer is the wackness right now and I fucking don't know what the matter with Firefox is. I really fucking hate it though. It like, uses 19 times as much RAM as Safari, but Safari is really finicky and volatile and will crash if I touch it the wrong way. It's like they both have browser personality disorder. Anyhowwwww. Why don't the Clintons just fucking pay her campaign debt and be done with this??? Nice of Obama to make a goodwill gesture and all, but seriously, couldn't that $2300 pay someone's subprime mortgage payment? I don't understand.
MEGAN: Dude, Firefox and I had issues earlier this week, so I totally feel you but I can't get down with Safari either. I wonder if it had to do with bugs in their new roll-out somehow?
MEGAN: Anyway, I mean, Clinton technically can't give her campaign the money.
MEGAN: Under FEC regs, that's why the $12 million or so was technically a loan, which the campaign can (and seemingly might) default on but they have to make a good faith effort to even pay that back to avoid complications. It's a weird and fucked up system.
MOE: Even after the Supreme Court ruling this week favoring millionaires financing their campaigns with their millions? Because I didn't read much about that ruling but what I did read led me to believe that sort of shit was okay.
MEGAN: Either way, the Clintonistas that are still peeved about Obama getting the nod were all like, if you really wanted your donors to contribute to Clinton's campaign to pay down the debt then you yourself would max out to her and for $2,300, he bought himself a lot of support and a lot less annoying whining and it would be worth it to me, too. Hell, if these people would promise to STFU and vote Obama, I would give her money.
MEGAN: Yeah, the millionaire's amendment ruling isn't that millionaires can spend the money, it's that by spending it their opponents' donors aren't allowed to exceed spending limits.
MEGAN: On the other hand, strangely, I think you're also right that self-financed campaigns don't totally run afoul of election law but the Clintons are on record that they violate the spirit of campaign finance reform.
MOE: Yo David Addington - "Cheney's Cheney", a man with the "grace of Gollum" - was called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday and man I forgot all about that guy. Here's the New Yorker profile in which Colin Powell is reputed to have said, when someone in his office expressed dismay over the warrantless wiretapping crap when it came out : "It's Addington, He doesn't care about the Constitution."
MOE: Key graf of that story:
Most Americans, even those who follow politics closely, have probably never heard of Addington. But current and former Administration officials say that he has played a central role in shaping the Administration's legal strategy for the war on terror. Known as the New Paradigm, this strategy rests on a reading of the Constitution that few legal scholars share-namely, that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority to disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries, if national security demands it. Under this framework, statutes prohibiting torture, secret detention, and warrantless surveillance have been set aside. A former high-ranking Administration lawyer who worked extensively on national-security issues said that the Administration's legal positions were, to a remarkable degree, "all Addington." Another lawyer, Richard L. Shiffrin, who until 2003 was the Pentagon's deputy general counsel for intelligence, said that Addington was "an unopposable force."
MOE: And today's:
David Addington was there under subpoena. And he wasn't happy about it.
Could the president ever be justified in breaking the law? "I'm not going to answer a legal opinion on every imaginable set of facts any human being could think of," Addington growled. Did he consult Congress when interpreting torture laws? "That's irrelevant," he barked. Would it be legal to torture a detainee's child? "I'm not here to render legal advice to your committee," he snarled. "You do have attorneys of your own."
MEGAN: That Milbank piece was pretty epic, but the end of it my hatred for Addington was actually visceral. I really could not believe he got away with that shit.
MEGAN: I mean, Spencer also did really great piece on it where he basically points out that Addington fails to remember shit that other people testified to last week, including an entire trip to Gitmo. How can you forget going to Gitmo?
Last week, the Senate disclosed that Addington was among a handful of senior administration lawyers who visited the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in the summer of 2002, when the administration began expanding the list of permissible interrogation methods beyond those authorized by the Geneva Conventions-compliant Army Field Manual on Interrogations, then known as FM 34-52. Yet Addington said he did not recall meeting with then-chief Guantanamo attorney Col. Diane Beaver - who last week recalled meeting with Addington - and said he had more extensive involvement with the CIA's interrogation program than with the Pentagon's.
As though being all up in the CIA torture program is totes better.
MOE: Oh dude Liz Glover's sister is quoted in that story calling Addington "efficient, discreet, loyal, sublimely brilliant and, as anyone who works with him knows, someone who, in a knife fight, you want covering your back."
MOE: Republican "legal activist" Bruce Fein, a Reagan deputy AG, was not so magnanimous! He's
staked out powers that are a universe beyond any other Administration. This President has made claims that are really quite alarming. He's said that there are no restraints on his ability, as he sees it, to collect intelligence, to open mail, to commit torture, and to use electronic surveillance. If you used the President's reasoning, you could shut down Congress for leaking too much. His war powers allow him to declare anyone an illegal combatant. All the world's a battlefield-according to this view, he could kill someone in Lafayette Park if he wants! It's got the sense of Louis XIV: ‘I am the State.'
MEGAN: I don't think I'd want Addington anywhere near my back with a knife, thanks.
MEGAN: Also, I love how even Republicans are arguing that's the case and Addie (let's call him Addie) is all like, whatevs, I ain't gonna tell ya, get your own lawyer.
MOE: it's funny because if you go on …there's a lot of Fein doing as Reagan and Bush The Firsties are wont and criticizing the Bush team for its basic malevolent Forest Gumpness, lack of intellectual rigor etc.
Bruce Fein said that the Bush legal team was strikingly unsophisticated. "There is no one of legal stature, certainly no one like Bork, or Scalia, or Elliot Richardson, or Archibald Cox," he said. "It's frightening. No one knows the Constitution-certainly not Cheney."
Which brings me to yesterday's gun ban ruling. Did you read it? The portion excerpted by Colbert King turned my stomach. Megan McCardle thinks us feminists should be stoked though. I'm coming down to DC this weekend. Maybe we should try to find a gun show this weekend and celebrate?? Is there a waiting period in Virginia?
MEGAN: I did read parts of it, but, I mean, it was all pretty well telegraphed in oral arguments that they were going to find in favor of an individual right.
MEGAN: On Megan, though, seriously, what the fuck?
MEGAN: I feel like she's betrayed our common bond in a rejection of the silent, patriarchal "h" in our shared name. Feminists should all own guns to thwart attacks?
MEGAN: Like, feminism is all about not being raped? Like no person has ever had a gun turned on them? C
MEGAN: Apparently, it's also a gay issue.
MOE: I actually got more pissed when she said she really didn't believe that the way our market is set up rewards superficial short-term results and financial engineering over innovation and long-term strength. But yeah, I don't know; I might feel differently if I lived in the Congo but I don't see gun ownership this way at all and somehow I don't think the Founding Fathers did either especially not Thomas Jefferson.
MEGAN: I don't buy Megan's economic theories a lot, I have to admit.
MEGAN: Yeah, in 2000, I got a push-pollster who called and was all asking legit questions until she got to "Did you know Al Gore thinks that the 2nd Amendment refers to a collective right and not an individual right to own guns and would appoint justices who agree with his interpretation?" And I said "No, I totally didn't, but thanks for telling me! Now I totally know that I'm going to vote for him!" She hung up in my ear.
MEGAN: I mean, personally, I love that the strict-constructionalist school of Constitutional interpretation are all about strictly parsing the words of the amendments... except for this one where Scalia's all like, well, obviously the Framers meant for everyone to have guns because people hunted even though that's not in the text anywhere.
MOE: Noonan is snoozin today but she did wake me up with this little snippet of McCainanity:
"[He] volunteered that Brooke Buchanan, his spokeswoman who was seated nearby and rolling her eyes, 'has a lot of her money hidden in the Cayman Islands' and that she earned it by 'dealing drugs.' Previously, Mr. McCain had identified Ms. Buchanan as 'Pat Buchanan's illegitimate daughter,' 'bipolar,' 'a drunk,' 'someone with a lot of boyfriends,' and 'just out of Betty Ford.'"
To which, all I have to say is, that crack he made about how he just stopped beating his wife - did you post on this yesterday? - because I was going to, until I read it, and I was like, "Oh Jesus Christ go to the beach already guys, there is nothing to see here."
MEGAN: I did post on it, actually. I mean, like, is it the worst thing he's ever said? No. Is it part of a larger pattern of behavior and a lack of personal insight into the sexism he was inculcated with and how not to see the world that way anymore? Yes.
MOE: Ugh, the guy is OLD. Who fucking cares? I am totally fucking with Nancy Pelosi on this stuff mostly, even though I don't think being a woman has as many advantages as it does shitty parts. I don't want to be bothered with shit like this. In other news: I also don't want to be bothered with that Imus thing which should have never blown up. Totally OT: has Garry Kasparov always been a contributing editor of the Wall Street Journal? Since when did their edit page become so friendly to enemies of the plutocracy anyway?
The elite circle of oligarchs surrounding Mr. Putin have much greater power and riches than did Yeltsin's entourage. They dominate the media, and thus very little is known about how they amassed their fortunes. In 2000, there were no Russians on the Forbes magazine list of the world's billionaires. By 2005 there were 36.
Today there are 87, more than Germany and Japan combined, in a country where 13% of our citizens live under the national poverty line of $150 a month. This massive concentration of wealth is mirrored in the Russian stock market. In 2007, the top 10 listed companies accounted for 68.5% of the primary Russian bourse. Gazprom alone represented over 27%.
MEGAN: I don't think he's been writing for them all the time or anything, but I think there should be an official Jezebel decree that everyone who can should see the documentary on Anna Politkovskaya that he mentions.
MOE: This is interesting:
There are no similarities between American soldiers in Iraq and Americans at home. Which means you cannot prevent yourself from loving them - and hating them too. I can't understand how Americans are so nice over there, and many of their soldiers are bullies and aggressive… But there is another thing which surprised me more than that. Poor people in America are more interested than the rich ones to know about the conditions of life in Iraq. They asked me how we are living there, how we are dealing with our security problems and what we are thinking about the future.
That's an Iraqi Times reporter on his trip to Washington for a State Department conference.
MEGAN: Well, but I mean, most rich people aren't really concerned with the conditions on the ground here, why would they give a shit about them there? It's cute that he thinks that they would, though.