Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy
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Praised everywhere as a stunning work of reportage, TAKEOVER lays bare a hidden agenda, three decades in the making, to allow the White House to wield enormous powers, unchecked by Congres or the courts--an agenda that links warrantless wiretapping and Bush's judicial nominees, torture and Cheney's energy task force, the faith-based initiative and the imprisonment of citizens without trial. TAKEOVER tells the story of how a group of true believers, led by Cheney, set out to establish near-monarchical executive powers that, in the words of one conservative critic, "will lie around like a loaded weapon" for any future president.
the Soviet-supported Sandinista government. Congress passed a statute called the Boland Amendment, which set “A Cabal of Zealots”: 1977–2000 53 a limit on humanitarian aid to the Contras and prohibited the use of funds “for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Nicaragua.” But the Reagan administration found a way around this ban by saying that its actions were intended to force the Sandinistas to reach a peace agreement with the Contras, not to bring down the government. In 1984, the
Treaties II 177 9. The Torture Ban 209 10. Power of the Pen: Signing Statements 228 11. “To Say What the Law Is”: The Supreme Court 250 12. Discipline and Control: The Executive Branch 279 13. The Politics of Presidential Power 308 Acknowledgments 331 Notes 333 Index 381 vii TAKEOVER 1 Inside the Bunker 1. As the United States of America reeled, Vice President Dick Cheney took control. At a quarter past ten o’clock on the morning of September 11, 2001, a choking cloud of
to attend his alma mater on full-ride scholarships. “In those days, you could do things you can’t do now,” Stroock later recalled, “so I called Yale and told ’em to take this guy” along with Fake.6 Cheney and Fake, popular jocks from Wyoming, found a different world when they arrived in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1959. Like many scholarship students from the heartland who made it to the Ivy League, they found that they were unprepared for the Eastern social and academic world. The Casper boys,
confronted a lower-level Justice Department official sent to testify about the administration’s position. During the ritual pre-hearing handshake with the witnesses, Burton jabbed his finger at his fellow Republican and told him Bush was making a big mistake. “We’ve got a dictatorial president and a Justice Department that does not want Congress involved,” Burton said. “Your guy’s acting like he’s king.”29 The committee’s Republican chairman was only slightly more diplomatic in his official
Canadian Mounted Police resigned over the affair. The Bush-Cheney administration, by contrast, refused to issue an apology or to take Arar off its terrorist watch list, meaning he could not fly through the United States — not that he wanted to. Congress, in conjunction with a previous president, had ratified the Convention Against Torture to prevent innocent prisoners such as Arar — as well as genuinely bad people — from being sent off to certain torture, even though it knew that such a