Accountability Project

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President George W. Bush loves to pick villians. He loves to identify a Saddam Huessein or an Osama Bin Laden, or some other individual to personify the enemy. Progressives are no different. We love to pick a handful of villians in the administration, like the President, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfield and to villify them.

But, being progressives, we also feel some duty, unlike our opponents, to play fair. The reality of modern government is that it takes more than just two or three people to make all of the decisions. There are thousands of people in government who make discretionary decisions that set policy. Usually, all the credit and all the blame, goes to their superiors. But, the diffusion of responsiblity for these discretionary decisions, in government, in the military, in corporations, is at the core of what makes these big organizations dangerous to individuals. "Don't blame me" is a fine art in large organizations. Yet, troubling policies don't happen unless some individuals get the ball rolling and keep it moving.

Often, these individuals are immune for any legal responsibility for the harm they do to our Republic. Horrible Judges, like Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court can be sued by the families of the hundred men who his poor judgment sends to death row in a recent decision. The authors of the Torture Memos are in all likelihood immune from liability to the people who have been tortured in American military prisons, sometimes causing their deaths. The FDA administrator whose outrageous abuse of authority deprived millions of American women of over-the-counter access to the morning after pill won't have to pay for financial burden or the pain and suffering those women suffer when get abortions instead of taking a simple pill right after unprotected sex. In some cases, this lack of legal liability may even be good public policy. Courts are not always the best arbitrators of issue like these.

But, that doesn't mean that the Court of Public Opinion, should be as restrained in its judgment. People whose discretionary decisions harm our Republic should be identified along with the harms they have caused in a central repository. One of these days, people like this are going to seek higher office, offices where members of the U.S. Senate and Presidents need to determine if they have good judgment or bad judgment. And, background checks don't catch the subtle malfeasances of bad professional judgment. I, therefore, propose the Accountability Project, an effort to identify by name and deed, officials who make bad discretionary decisions.

This is not a place to discuss personal conduct, good or bad, it is a place to discussion official conduct of public concern. It is also based on the premise that having a boss who wants a particular outcome is not excuse. People are morally responsible and can resign if faced with an unacceptable policy to carry out in their professional life.

It is, of course, also appropriate to identify by name and deed, individuals who stick out their necks and make good decisions when it is hard to make good decisions. Eventually, when there are enough names this could be organized or cross indexed by type of bad act.

Bad Actors

  • George W. Bush
    • Unconstitutional Conduct
      • Violated the Presentment Clause of Article 1, Section 7 regarding the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The US government was sued and the court found in favor of the plaintiff, then declared the DRA to be invalid
      • Violated the Fourth Amendment by wiretapping without showing probable cause
      • Violated the right of Habeas Corpus (Article One, Section Nine) for José Padilla (US Citizen) and, arguably, for many others in custody of the US government
      • Violated the First Amendment by establishing "free speech zones" for people who oppose him, keeping them far away.
    • (Additional) High Crimes and Misdemeanors
      In theory, the House of Representatives could impeach the President (and the Senate could convict) on the grounds that having the name "George W. Bush" was a "High Crime." There is no specific definition of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." This section deals with actions which, aside from his constitutional infringements, would probably be considered to fall into this category.
      • Signing Statements specifically stated in numerous cases that the President would not act as decreed by Congress. Frequently, his defense was that Congress's Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists and the doctrine of "Unitary Executive Authority" freed him of any obligation to heed legislation that required or denied action by the Executive Branch (proven)
      • Lying to Congress about Osama bin Laden (unproven)
      • Lying to Congress about knowledge related to Iraq's lack of weapons of mass destruction (unproven)
      • Lying to America about the events of 9/11 (unproven) and obstructing their investigation (proven)
      • Responsibility for the events of 9/11 as a False Flag operation (wikipedia) to incite America to war and loss of civil rights (really unproven)
  • Alberto Gonzales
      1. Justified Torture for the Bush II Administration.
      2. Key Author of Enemy Combatant policies of the Bush II Administration. See The Enemy Combatant Cases
  • John Yoo
      1. Justified Torture for the Bush II Administration.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas
      1. Favors Abolishing Establishment Clause For State and Local Government.
      2. Favors Unlimited Discretion For Executive To Detain Enemy Combatants Without Judicial Review. See The Enemy Combatant Cases.
  • Ambassador Negraponte
      1. Turned A Blind Eye To Torture In Central America While Ambassador There.
      2. Major contributor To Ineffectiveness of American Diplomacy at UN during Bush II Administration.

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Good Actors

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