Administration to Bypass Reporting Law

Dandelion Salad

Just another example of this admin subverting the rule of law.  ~ Lo

By CHARLIE SAVAGE
NYTimes.com
October 24, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has informed Congress that it is bypassing a law intended to forbid political interference with reports to lawmakers by the Department of Homeland Security.

The August 2007 law requires the agency’s chief privacy officer to report each year about Homeland Security activities that affect privacy, and requires that the reports be submitted directly to Congress “without any prior comment or amendment” by superiors at the department or the White House.

[…]

…Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, later advised Congress that the administration would not “apply this provision strictly” because it infringed on the president’s powers.

[…]

“This is a dictatorial, after-the-fact pronouncement by him in line with a lot of other cherry-picking he’s done on the signing statements,” Mr. Specter said in a telephone interview.

[…]

via Administration to Bypass Reporting Law – NYTimes.com

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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The End of America (full video; Naomi Wolf)

Naomi Wolf: Standing up to the Constitution

Naomi Wolf: Give Me Liberty – A coup has taken place! (must-see video)

Fascism

Support the Iraqi Desire to Keep its own Oil Revenue by Dennis Kucinich

Dandelion Salad

Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Oct 22, 2008

Rejects Bush’s Logic Iraqi Oil is Necessary to Protect National Security

Following a declaration by President Bush that he would like the U.S. to have the ability to control Iraq’s oil, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today sent a letter to Members of Congress calling on his colleagues to co-sponsor H.R. 6710, the Oil for Iraq Liberation Act of 2008 which prohibits U.S.-based oil companies from owning, financing or controlling the petroleum resources of Iraq.

Congressman Kucinich renewed his call for support of the O.I.L. Act after President Bush issued a signing statement last week that rejected a provision in S. 3001, the Duncan Hunter Defense Authorization Act, that ensured that funds would not be used “[t]o exercise United States control of oil resources in Iraq.” President Bush asserted in the signing statement that the provision would inhibit his constitutional authority to “protect national security” or “conduct diplomatic negotiations.”

“The nations of the Middle East have chosen for decades to nationalize their oil resources. Iraq has committed to continuing this practice by constitutionally guaranteeing that the oil and gas resources of Iraq are owned by all the people of Iraq. That is their sovereign right, and the United States must support the Iraqi desire to keep its own oil revenue. Since the President has shown he doesn’t respect Iraq’s sovereign rights, Congress must pass H.R. 6710, and stop U.S. companies and individuals from profiting off of Iraq’s oil revenues,” stated Kucinich.

The full text of the letter follows:

U.S. to Control Iraq’s Oil?

October 22, 2008

Dear Colleague:

Recently President Bush issued a signing statement rejecting a provision in S. 3001, the Duncan Hunter Defense Authorization Act.  The provision Mr. Bush rejected ensured that funds would not be used “[t]o exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”  The President’s assertion in the signing statement that the provision would inhibit his constitutional authority to “protect national security” or “conduct diplomatic negotiations” is misguided.

Handling of Iraq’s petroleum resources is a controversial issue.  The Iraqi Parliament has long been unable to come to a consensus on Iraq’s “Hydrocarbon Act” and there are many differing opinions on how to ensure equitable distribution of the resources amongst Iraqis.  As a sovereign nation, Iraq must control and make decisions about its own resources without U.S. interference.  Control of Iraq’s oil resources by the U.S. government would fuel suspicions around the world that the occupation of Iraq has been solely to ensure U.S. interests in Iraq’s petroleum resources.  Moreover, it will continue to promote mistrust among the citizens of Iraq by reinforcing the belief among Iraqis that waging the Iraq war was about U.S. oil interests.  This will undoubtedly promote ill will toward the U.S., and diminishes the safety of our troops and our standing within the global community.  U.S. control of Iraq’s oil resources serves to make our nation less safe, undercuts diplomacy and undermines U.S. foreign policy by depriving Iraqis of their constitutionally guaranteed right to their own resources.

I encourage you to join me as a cosponsor of H.R. 6710, the Oil for Iraq Liberation Act of 2008.  This important bill prevents U.S. based oil companies from development of and investment in the petroleum resources of Iraq.   Absent any legislation, oil companies like Halliburton and Exxon-Mobil could reap billions of dollars from Iraqi oil privatization.

The nations of the Middle East have chosen for decades to nationalize their oil resources, thus shutting out foreign oil companies.  Iraq has committed to continue this practice by constitutionally guaranteeing that the oil and gas resources of Iraq are owned by all the people of Iraq.  The United States must support the Iraqi desire to keep its own oil revenue.  H.R. 6710 will stop U.S. companies and individuals from profiting off of Iraq’s oil revenues and ensure that this money remains in the hands of the Iraqi people.

Sincerely,

/S/

Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The End of America (full video; Naomi Wolf)

Dandelion Salad

Replaced video May 21, 2013

Feb 19, 2012 by BrainStreamMedia

This excellent documentary is presented by author and lecturer Naomi Wolf. America has followed a 10 step path that has led us into a fascist dictatorship. Naomi Wolf takes us through these 10 steps and clearly demonstrates that this descent into fascism is in fact The End Of America.

Continue reading

Executive Power & the Bush Administration (updated)

Dandelion Salad

Updated: July 30, 2008 Transcript in pdf files

More: Hearing on Limits of Executive Power: Vincent Bugliosi ~ Lo

Continue reading

Enabling Tyranny By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
07/14/08 “ICH”

I recently read that Brigette Bardot, now in her 70s, has been arrested as a hate criminal for complaining that Muslims in France slaughter sheep without first stunning them. The famous actress is known for her sympathy with animals, but the French government preferred to interpret her remarks as hatred for Muslims. Prosecutor Anne de Fontetts promised to throw the book at Bardot.

There are many incongruities here. The French are persecuting one of their own for taking exception to the practices of an alien culture. But then, perhaps this is just being broad-minded. What really jumps out is: if Bardot’s animal rights position makes her a hate criminal, what does French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s foreign policy position make him?

According to Information Clearing House’s running tally as of July 12, 1,236,604 Iraqis have been slaughtered as a result of the Sarkozy-supported US invasion and occupation of Iraq. If Bardot is a hate criminal under French law for complaining about how Muslims prepare their mutton, why isn’t President Sarkozy a hate criminal for supporting an American policy that has resulted in the deaths of 1,236,604 Muslims and the displacement of 4 million Iraqis?

Such incongruities are everywhere. It is as if people are no longer capable of thought.

Last week the US Congress passed an ex post facto law that legalized the illegal behavior of telecommunication companies that enabled the Bush Regime to violate US law and to spy on Americans without warrants. Retroactive laws are unconstitutional. But, alas, the US Constitution does not make campaign contributions, and telecommunication companies do.

The Bush Regime claimed that its illegal behavior, which requires an unconstitutional retroactive law to protect telecommunication companies and President Bush from being held accountable, is necessary to protect us. But as our Founding Fathers and every intelligent patriotic person since has patiently explained to the American public, it is the Constitution that protects us. No safety can be found by fleeing the Constitution.

Without the Constitution we have no protection. We simply stand naked before unbridled government power.

That’s pretty much how we stand now after 7.5 years of the Bush Regime. Electing a Democratic Congress in 2006 did not make any difference. Indeed, it was a Democratic majority Congress that last week gave Bush his unconstitutional ex post facto law.

As Larry Stratton and I point out in the new edition of Tyranny, the US Constitution has no friends. The Democrats don’t like the Second Amendment (another incongruity in the face of the right-wing police state that Bush has created), and the Brownshirt Republicans regard the rest of our civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists.

Across the political spectrum, Americans are happy to shred the Constitution in behalf of some agenda or the other.

The government is happy to oblige, because shredding the Constitution removes constraints on the government’s power.

It has fallen to the private, member-supported organization known as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to challenge the retroactive law that destroys the privacy rights granted to US citizens by the Constitution. The ACLU is regarded by conservatives as a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Christianity, and the right-wing idiots on Fox “News” and talk radio will denounce the ACLU for wanting to empower terrorists.

Conservatives will repeat endlessly that Americans who are doing nothing wrong have nothing to fear. If this argument held any water, there would have been no point in the Founding Fathers writing the Constitution.

The position of the US Government is that the rights granted Americans by the Constitution facilitate terrorism. To be safe from terrorists, the argument goes, we must allow the government to take liberties with the Constitution. This argument gives government the power to set aside the Constitution, and, thus, enables tyranny. As Milton Friedman and many others taught us, rules are the essence of freedom, and discretionary power is the essence of tyranny.

Bush’s “war on terror,” essentially a hoax, has transformed the United States into a lawless nation. We are not lawless in the sense of an absence of laws. We are lawless in the sense that despite a surfeit of laws, we no longer have the rule of law.

If the President doesn’t like an existing law, he ignores it. If the President doesn’t like new laws passed by Congress, instead of vetoing them he prepares a “signing statement,” which says that he will determine what the law means.

This lawlessness has spread from the top of the federal government down to local governments and community associations. Recently the state of Georgia passed a law that reaffirmed that anyone with a carry permit was entitled to have their concealed weapon when dropping off or picking up passengers at the Atlanta airport. The Atlanta city government said it would not obey the state law and would arrest anyone, including the state legislator who sponsored the legislation, who carried a permitted weapon onto airport property.

A community in which I live has by-laws that forbid members of the board of the property owners association from serving as general manager of the designated community. This did not prevent the board from appointing one of their own the general manager. The POA board regards the by-laws which govern it as merely words without force.

Just like Bush regards the US Constitution.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury during the Reagan Administration, is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Police State USA: Spying as Law of the Land

Democrats lose on FISA

1984 Knocking On Your Door – FISA – Telecom Immunity Bill

Senate Approves HR6304: 4th Amendment Abolished

“Keeping America Safe”- from the Constitution

Domestic Spying

Police State

***

Spying on Myspace users?

Olbermann: RIP Habeas Corpus + Send In The Clowns + N.I.E Or L.I.E? + 4 McMore Years

Dandelion Salad

Ryokibin

Apr. 4, 2008

RIP Habeas Corpus

Voted Countdowns top favorite clip of the 5th Anniversary of Countdown.

Send In The Clowns

Rachel speaks with Eugene Robinson.

N.I.E Or L.I.E?

Rachel speaks with Jon Soltz.

Four McMore Years

Rachel speaks with Jonathan Alter.

Bushed!

R&D For Terror-Gate

Who gets help in the home mortgage crisis-Gate

What they really think of the troops-Gate

see

The Constitution, John Yoo, and You

Don’t Move On, Start Over – The Next President Must Make Bush an Unperson by Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

by Ted Rall
The Smirking Chimp
April 2, 2008

“No one owes obedience to a usurper government or to anyone who assumes public office in violation of the Constitution and the law. The civil population has the right to rise up in defense of the constitutional order. The acts of those who usurp public office are null and void.”
— Article 46, Constitution of Peru

Comedian Bill Maher is a brilliant contrarian. He dislikes George Bush. Yet his view of the stolen 2000 election is conventional, ahistorical and quintessentially American: Forget it! Move on! “Oh, Ted,” he replied when I mentioned the judicial coup d’état on his TV show, which aired October 3, 2001. “That’s so September 10th. It really is.”

It has been nearly eight years since the U.S. Supreme Court violated the Constitution by installing George W. Bush as president. Their ruling was immaterial. They shouldn’t have agreed to hear Bush v. Gore in the first place. Under Article II of the Constitution, Federal courts don’t have jurisdiction in election disputes. The state supreme courts–in that case, Florida–have the final word.

It’s tempting, as Maher suggested, to try to move past 2000. But we can’t. What followed doesn’t allow it.

When a ruler seizes office by extralegal means he rules the same way. Because he does not derive his power from the people–indeed, his rule relies on their passivity–he is not beholden to them. Selling the public on his policies is hard enough for a legitimately elected ruler; an illegal one has to resort to bullying, presented as a stern, autocratic triumph of the will. He is forced to order his lawyers to find legal loopholes using the most tortured reasoning imaginable. In the end, when citizens turn against him, the tyrant shrugs his shoulders. “So?” This is what the vice president replied when a reporter asked about polls showing that Americans have turned against the Iraq War. Cheney’s question was perfectly reasonable. Why should he care what we think? We didn’t elect him. He doesn’t owe us the slightest consideration.

Electoral illegitimacy begets illegitimate rule: Secret detentions and torture redefined into meaninglessness. Secret prisons. Ending habeas corpus, the right to have one’s case heard before a judge–a right English-speaking people had enjoyed for 800 years. Secret “signing statements” purporting to negate laws signed in public. Spying on Americans, lying about it to Congress, and then, after getting caught, trying to legalize it retroactively. Destroying evidence. An executive order granting the president the power to declare anyone–without evidence–an “enemy combatant,” then order that person imprisoned for life, or even assassinated.

Even if the next president has promised to end extraordinary renditions (which began under Bill Clinton), close Gitmo, outlaw torture and overturn the Military Commissions Act, which eliminated habeas corpus, he or she will surely be tempted to retain some of Bush’s beefed up new executive powers upon moving into the Oval Office. Who wouldn’t want to read their political opponents’ email and listen to their phone calls?

But let’s posit, for the sake of argument, that Bush’s evildoing comes to an end next January. There will still be a mess to clean up.

One million Iraqis and Afghans are dead. Tens of thousands more have been tortured and maimed. Thousands of dead soldiers; tens of thousands more grievously wounded. Millions of Americans have had their privacy violated. They deserve justice. We deserve justice. The war criminals, torturers and phone companies deserve due process. If there are consequences for driving fast and cheating on your taxes, after all, there surely ought to be a price to pay for urinating on an innocent man in a dog cage at Guantánamo.

America might want to move on. How can the rest of the world let us?

Bush v. Gore gave us an illegitimate president. Bush presided over an outlaw government. If we sit on our asses, as we’ve done since that weird, soul-crushing day in late December of 2000, illegality will be hardwired into the U.S. government. The country itself will become, like the Soviet Union and its wonderful freedom-guaranteeing constitution, a caricature of itself. “What is the difference between the Constitutions of the USA and USSR? Both guarantee freedom of speech,” the old Russian joke went. “Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech.” A gangster regime presiding over the trappings of law and order is a vicious joke–illegitimate and ultimately doomed.

There’s one way–only one way–to avoid ratifying Bush’s legacy. The next president must do the following three things immediately upon taking office:

1. Issue an executive order declaring all laws and actions undertaken by the Bush Administration, the states and local municipalities (because many state and local ordinances are influenced by national politics) between January 2001 and January 2009 null and void.

2. Act quickly to restore the rule of law–freeing Gitmo inmates, offering compensation to victims of torture and rendition, order immediate withdrawals of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and other undeclared wars.

3. Create a cabinet-level department to investigate top officials and subordinates of the Bush interregnum for crimes they may have committed and refer them to the appropriate courts for arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.

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So? … A Note from Michael Moore (+ video)

Impeachment: If Nancy Won’t, Your State Can (video)

Dandelion Salad

briggsmedia

Constitutional Law Attorney John Kaminski argues the case for impeachment and how the constitution allows for any state to initiate it.

Continue reading

Officials monitor thousands of letters without warrants

Dandelion Salad

by John Byrne
Raw Story
Thursday March 6, 2008

The US postal service approves more than 10,000 requests from US law enforcement each year to record names, addresses and other information from the outside of packages, according to information released through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The warrantless surveillance mail program — as it is known — requires only the approval of the US Postal Inspection Service Director, and not a judge.

Signing statement may have allowed mail to be opened

There’s reason to believe more mail may be being opened, as well.

In late 2006, a signing statement issued by President Bush suggested that his office had expanded executive branch power to open mail without a warrant.

The signing statement accompanied H.R. 6407, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which reiterated a prohibition on opening first class mail without a warrant.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Unilateral Presidency

Dandelion Salad

by Anthony Dimaggio
Counterpunch
Feb 29, 2008

Signing Statements and the Rollback of American Law

In a refreshing investigative series in the Boston Globe from 2006, journalist Charlie Savage dropped a bombshell on the Bush administration. Reporting on Bush’s use of “signing statements,” Savage highlighted the president’s long-standing contempt for Legislative authority. Since then, the story has generally been overlooked although it recently resurfaced when Bush issued another statement that he would disregard Congress’s prohibition of permanent military bases in Iraq. The President’s issuance of this signing statement is just one of hundreds of challenges he’s made to national laws.

A signing statement, simply put, is an official announcement from the Executive–an attempt to alter the intent of a law by allowing the President to interpret its execution in any way he sees fit. While signing statements hold no official legal standing, the president acts as if they grant him the power to disregard segments of bills with which he disagrees. Since taking office, the Bush administration has issued over 150 signing statements, containing over 500 constitutional challenges, and questioning more than 1,100 provisions of national laws. This is a significant increase from years past. Former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton issued over 300 such statements combined, while only 75 signing statements were issued in total from the early 1800s through the Carter Presidency.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Olbermann: BUSH’S 1100 PLUS SIGNING STATEMENTS ARE MEANINGLESS! (vid)

Signing Statements

Signing Statement Story Trickles Down to Jon Stewart (link)

Dandelion Salad

After Downing Street

Feb. 1, 2008

Video link

***

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.afterdowningstre posted with vodpod

See also:

Editorial Pages Report the News by David Swanson

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The Threat of Section 1222 By James Rothenberg (link)

State of Union Came With a Signing Statement + Signing Statement Silence By David Swanson

Bush Won’t Ban Permanent Bases Pushes For Iraqi Oil Law

The Threat of Section 1222 By James Rothenberg

Dandelion Salad

By James Rothenberg
31/01/08 “ICH

The White House has given ever-shifting rationalizations for invading and occupying Iraq, running the gamut from a claim of self-defense to a purported mission of bringing democracy and thus freedom to the citizens of that country.

Dissenters claim that the two central tenets were instead the establishing of a permanent military presence in order to control Iraq’s oil resources.

Who’s right? The White House or its dissenters? Recently some new evidence has been uncovered. Firsthand source material.

Lets listen to Bush

“Today, I have signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008… Provisions of the Act, including sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.”

The President is claiming that Section 1222 could inhibit his ability to defend the Constitution, so he claims the right to ignore it. The drafters of the bill were also sworn to defend the Constitution. What are the requirements in 1222 that the White House finds so inhibiting?

Here is the entire text of 1222:

No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq

No, this is not a formal confession from the White House. But it is as formal as you can get.

James Rothenberg – jrothenberg@taconic.net

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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State of Union Came With a Signing Statement + Signing Statement Silence By David Swanson

Bush Won’t Ban Permanent Bases Pushes For Iraqi Oil Law

State of Union Came With a Signing Statement + Signing Statement Silence By David Swanson

Updated: Jan. 30, 2008

Dandelion Salad

By David Swanson
After Downing Street
Tue, 2008-01-29 20:25

On the day of the State of the Union, apparently hoping nobody would notice, President George W. Bush posted a statement on the White House website announcing his intention to violate major sections of the Defense Authorization bill that he just signed into law.

For their part, the Democrats in Congress have chosen not to push for a just and decent economic stimulus plan, because they want to work amicably with Bush. They’ve chosen not to vote on contempt citations for Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten in order to work more amicably on the economic stimulus package. They’ve scratched impeachment out of the Constitution, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich even backed down on his plans to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday. And of course, Congress is committed to throwing every possible dime down the blackhole of the Iraq occupation. What has been the president’s response to all this bipartisan cooperation?

He’s decided to close the office that handles Freedom of Information requests from Congress. He’s left Blackwater free but jailed citizens who reenact its crimes. He’s rewritten government reports on global warming. He’s blocked his Justice Departments investigation of political hirings and firings, while the former governor of Alabama begins his eighth month as a political prisoner. He’s delivered a State of the Union address packed with the same contemptuous lies as last year’s, and announced the seizure of new powers (which Congress greeted with applause). And then there’s the latest signing statement.

This statement announces in the by now familiar coded language of the “unitary executive” Bush’s intention to violate four key sections of a bill he is simultaneously making “law.”

CQ Today sums up these sections as follows:

“One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.”

Did you get that? Bush gives himself the right not to probe contracting fraud. Is it HIS money? Is it HIS blood?

He gives himself the power to not protect whistleblowers. Of course, he already behaved that way and nobody did anything about it, so why shouldn’t he? The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee wrote a book about it before becoming chairman and won’t impeach, so why shouldn’t Bush flaunt his freedom to exact retribution on anyone who speaks out?

Bush gives himself the right not to provide Congress with documents. Did the impeachmentless Congress believe Bush lacked that right? Did Congress Members believe that a new law (signing statemented or not) would change anything?

And, finally, Bush gives himself the right (this is at least the fourth time he’s done this) to build and maintain permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.

And do you hear a peep out of the Congress?

I’m straining my ears and not hearing the faintest squeak.

The CQ article http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30543 quotes Senator Carl Levin and cites Senator Jim Webb as the leading sponsor of the contractor waste provision. Do you think either of them will back impeachment any more than Senator John McCain did when Bush signing statemented a torture ban.

CQ claims that Bush simply uses signing statements more frequently than any previous president. Nonsense. No previous president EVER used signing statements to announce the intention to violate laws, and then proceeded to violate them. A Government Accountability Office study last year found that in a sample of Bush signing statements he had already violated 30 percent of the laws he granted himself the power to violate.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on signing statements in January 2007 at which a Justice Department official effectively claimed the right for the president to violate any law until the Supreme Court rules on it. We’re going to need a younger Supreme Court if we expect it to keep up and function in the absence of any Congress willing to display a spine.

Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, Jerrold Nadler, at long last, have you no decency?

***

President Bush Signs H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 into Law

by George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 28, 2008

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/01/20080128-10.html

Today, I have signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The Act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs.

Provisions of the Act, including sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

January 28, 2008.

***

Updated: Jan. 30, 2008

Signing Statement Silence

By David Swanson

Every major pseudo peace movement organization in the country, afraid to actually urge Congress to cut off the money for the illegal occupation of Iraq, believed it was really important to set up a commission to probe contractor waste in Iraq, and to once again ban the construction and maintenance of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. Every open-government and whistleblowers group backed the expansion of protections for whistleblowers and the requirement that intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents.

This week President Bush signed the Defense Authorization bill into law, and then added a statement announcing his right to violate these four provisions. And the silence is deafening.

The Guardian newspaper in England, and the Boston Globe wrote serious reports.

The Associated Press wrote an article that touched on the topic but missed the point.

The Virginian Pilot wrote an article that followed Senator Jim Webb’s lead and avoided the central problem.

Senators Casey, Levin, and Webb made remarks that failed to challenge Bush’s abuse of power or mention the word “impeachment.”

The House of Representatives maintained a total and absolute silence.

And activist groups followed suit.

And they look like fools or hypocrites. All of them.

Yes, previous presidents have written signing statements, but never to announce their right to violate laws, only to express opinions about the laws that they were going to, as a matter of their essential duty as president, enforce.

Yes, a signing statement announcing the right to violate a law, and the actual violation are two different things.

Yes, a signing statement should be meaningless.

But the Supreme Court cites them and the Bush-Cheney administration acts on them. This is not the first time Bush has given himself the right to violate bans on permanent military bases, and he has continued to violate those bans. Bush and Cheney routinely refuse to provide Congress with information, to sanction contractor abuse, and to punish whistleblowers. These behaviors will continue, just as will torture and warrentless spying and various other activities that this administration derives the right to engage in from signing statements.

The Government Accountability Office found last year that in a small sample of these signing statements the Bush-Cheney administration had already followed through on violating 30 percent of the laws it claimed the right to violate. The corporate media now spins this as glass-half-full news (more than half the time he doesn’t mean it! hurray!).

Last January the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the matter, laying bare the violation of constitutional separation of powers. A Justice Department official testified that the president could violate any law he liked until the Supreme Court told him to stop.

Any fourth grader who has seen the Constitution could tell you he was wrong. Sadly, in our new reality, he was right.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Bush Issues Signing Statement On Defense Act, Waiving Ban On Permanent Bases In Iraq

Impeachment Statement by Presidential Candidate Senator Mike Gravel

Dandelion Salad

Gravel for President ’08 (Former US Sen. D-AK)

by Presidential Candidate Senator Mike Gravel
Mike Gravel For President 2008
Mike Gravel’s blog post

While I’ve been outspoken in favor of the Impeachment of Vice President Cheney and President Bush since last July, today I’m announcing my very strong and unqualified support for Impeachment.

I want to very clearly and emphatically affirm the imperative of Impeachment as the Presidential Campaign begins to move into high gear and as the media is busy anointing the “front runners.”

As a Candidate for President, and most importantly as an American, I firmly believe that our most important and highest priority, both as individual American citizens and as a whole Nation, is to protect, defend, and nourish the foundation of American Democracy: the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Every other issue is of secondary importance.

I’ve chosen to run for President to effect what I consider to be much needed change. When people go to Internet websites that match them with the candidates that best reflect their own concerns and priorities, a very large number of voters find that I am the candidate best advocating the issues they most care about.

However, today I want to unequivocally state: without Impeachment first, what I or any other worthy Presidential candidate wants to accomplish is very unlikely to happen. Our words will in fact become another empty campaign promise and another sad political fantasy.

Why am I making such a statement?

Let’s review a few supremely important and disturbing facts:

Without Impeachment before we choose the next Administration, we as a Nation will be setting a legal precedent. We will saying yes to the systematic destruction of the Constitution and Bill of Rights engineered by Vice President Cheney and President Bush, and will be formally agreeing to the end of American Democracy. We, as Americans, will be giving our approval and consent to the idea that the Vice President and President are indeed above the law, that they are in fact a law unto themselves.

The Cheney and Bush Administration has openly boasted about their supposed right to break the law. This administration has claimed that it has the right to spy on Americans without a warrant. This administration has decided that it has no obligation to respond to any lawful subpoenas from Congress, and that it may invoke Presidential signing statements to declare its right to ignore any Federal Law. This administration thinks it has the authority to arbitrarily strip any American of his or her citizenship.

This administration has illegally declared that it has supreme overriding authority. The Vice President and the President have accumulated and consolidated unprecedented power that has replaced the co-equal system of checks and balances mandated by the Constitution with a new Imperial Presidency. This imperialism has given the President far-reaching powers that our founding fathers would quickly recognize as tyranny.

The illegitimate authority of this newly constructed imperial Presidency – this Supreme Commander-in-Chief created by Cheney and Bush has replaced the Rule-of-Law based on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Our system of co-equal branches of government, the unique and revolutionary principle of American Democracy, the great leap of faith that people could actually govern themselves, has been subverted. It is now almost dead.

America, the world’s oldest Democracy, is an astonishingly brilliant system of government based on carefully crafted and refined checks and balances between co-equal branches of government. The civil liberties given birth by this revolutionary form of government over 200 years ago are rapidly ending.

Our political elite, those we have entrusted to be the people’s representatives, have failed. Their oath of office, to protect and defend the Constitution, has been disregarded in the light of political power.

When we have a Vice President and President who openly declare they are above the law of the land, above the Constitution, how can we as Americans pretend that we live in a Democracy?

If We The People do not take action to demand accountability in the form of Impeachment, we become passive accomplices to the silent overthrow of American Democracy.

It is now time for the People to become leaders. We must teach our elected representatives to act in accordance with their oath of office and effect immediate impeachment of those who have committed these crimes against the Constitution.

If we do not act now we are all personally endorsing, sanctioning, and indeed celebrating, the end of the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus and all other fundamental civil liberties and democratic values. Such values have been the foundation of American Democracy for over 200 years.

The media-anointed “front-running” Presidential Candidates simply do not have the courage to tell the American public the truth.

If we elect any candidate from any party without first impeaching this outlaw Administration, we endorse and elect a new Imperial President of the United States. This cements into place a failed Democracy whose citizens have passively chosen to relinquish the cherished freedoms millions have fought and died to protect.

Do we really believe that we can trust the next President to give back the dramatically expanded power of the Unitary Executive? Once absolute power has been granted, it is never relinquished voluntarily.

We need to stop kidding ourselves. Let us summon 1% of the courage that those who landed on the beaches of Normandy had and recognize what is painfully obvious to the rest of the World: we are rapidly losing every fundamental freedom we thought we were fighting the “terrorists” to protect.

In six short years, the Vice President and the President have actively conspired to commit the most grievous crimes against our Constitution and the personal freedoms it guarantees. America has gone from being perhaps the most admired and respected nation on the planet to becoming the ultimate rogue state. The world’s only remaining superpower is now feared as the greatest threat to world peace.

The Constitutional system of checks and balances that are the foundation of our civil liberties have been gutted. America has become the only “civilized” state to declare its right to arbitrarily imprison, torture, and spy on anyone it chooses to, including its own citizens. We are also the only state to officially declare a right to wage lethal preemptive war on any nation that dares to threaten its exclusive superpower status.

Every democratic nation has the government that is created by active participation of its citizens. Impeachment is the only option for us, as Americans, to effectively wake ourselves up from this collective nightmare. It is the only way for us to demonstrate to ourselves and the rest of the world that we are the Americans we like to believe we are. We need to demonstrate that we actually can summon the courage to live up to our self-proclaimed ideals.

Enough is enough. This is NOT allowed.

There is a lot of very good news that makes me tremendously hopeful that we as a nation are starting to wake up and insist our Congressional representatives act to make Impeachment happen now.

Our corporate controlled media works very hard to portray impeachment as a fringe issue not worthy of serious consideration, even though polls show the negative approval ratings of this administration have surpassed all historic records. Reputable national polling shows that 54% want the Vice President impeached and 45% of voters favor Impeachment for the President.

We The People
are indeed waking up – we have learned not to rely on the old top-down corporate media dinosaurs to tell us what they have decided is “the news.” Fortunately, We The People have an amazing network of online alternative information sources. These rapidly evolving reality-based, user-driven, independent media sites have made us our own news editors.

We The People are now realizing that we must act now to take the initiative to demand that our elected representatives in Congress initiate immediate Impeachment hearings. From the bottom-up, we have begun the process to restore the Rule-of-Law in America.

Here’s what we can all do now to take effective action:
Join your fellow Americans and Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary committee, by signing his petition that asks all other members of the Judiciary Committee to join his call for immediate hearings on the Impeachment of the Vice President.

Support and donate to these Impeachment Groups:

Impeach Bush

The World Can’t Wait

Code Pink

Support and donate to my campaign and tell your friends.

Support and donate to the other Presidential candidates who are also publicly and courageously calling for Impeachment.

Let the other Presidential Candidates know why you are not willing to support or contribute to their campaign: that you refuse to support anyone who isn’t willing to tell the truth to the American people about what has happened to their Democracy.

Join together to organize and petition your Congressperson to be true to their oath office: to uphold their most fundamental and sacred duty to protect and defend the Constitution by Impeaching the Vice President and President. Together we will restore the Rule-of-Law in America.

Senator Mike Gravel
Candidate for President

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Kucinich to Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against Bush on Jan 28 State of Union Day By David M. Herszenhorn + videos (updated: added transcript and a ‘mash-up’ video: Offending Words)

Hey Hey Nancy (music video; impeachment)

Cafferty: Study: 935 False Statements Leading up to the War with Iraq (video)

Why is impeachment important? (vid) + Resolutions to Impeach & End War (music video)

Impeach

Bush League Justice: Signing Statements (video)

King George.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

heathr234

Dan Abrams gives his report on the Bush’administration’s use of signing statements in order to ignore laws that Congress has passed. Charlie Savage and Johnathon Turley weigh in.

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Dershowitz on Waterboarding – A blatant expansion of state power By Mike Whitney

Bush’s Impeachable Crimes and the Threat of Martial Law by Dave Lindorff (audio)

Signing Statements

Executive Privilege