Bush Claims More Powers than King George III

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 29, 2008

The Bush administration has arrogated powers to itself that the British people even refused to grant King George III at the time of the Revolutionary War, an eminent political scientist says.

“No executive in the history of the Anglo-American world since the Civil War in England in the 17th century has laid claim to such broad power,” said David Adler, a prolific author of articles on the U.S. Constitution. “George Bush has exceeded the claims of Oliver Cromwell who anointed himself Lord Protector of England.”

Adler, a professor of political science at Idaho State University at Pocatello, is the author of “The Constitution and the Termination of Treaties”(Taylor & Francis), among other books, and some 100 scholarly articles in his field. Adler made his comments comparing the powers of President Bush and King George III at a conference on “Presidential Power in America” at the Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, April 26th.

Adler said, Bush has “claimed the authority to suspend the Geneva Convention, to terminate treaties, to seize American citizens from the streets to detain them indefinitely without benefit of legal counseling, without benefit of judicial review. He has ordered a domestic surveillance program which violates the statutory law of the United States as well as the Fourth Amendment.”

Adler said the authors of the U.S. Constitution wrote that the president “shall take care to faithfully execute the laws of the land” because “the king of England possessed a suspending power” to set aside laws with which he disagreed, “the very same kind of power that the Bush Administration has claimed.”

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Adler said, repeatedly referred to the President’s “override” authority, “which effectively meant that the Bush Administration was claiming on behalf of President Bush a power that the English people themselves had rejected by the time of the framing of the Constitution.”

Adler said the Framers sought an “Administrator in Chief” that would execute the will of Congress and the Framers understood that the President, as Commander-in-Chief “was subordinate to Congress.” The very C-in-C concept, the historian said, derived from the British, who conferred it on one of their battlefield commanders in a war on Scotland in 1639 and it “did not carry with it the power over war and peace” or “authority to conduct foreign policy or to formulate foreign policy.”

That the C-in-C was subordinate to the will of Congress was demonstrated in the Revolutionary War when George Washington, granted that title by Congress, “was ordered punctually to respond to instructions and directions by Congress and the dutiful Washington did that,” Adler said.

Adler said that John Yoo, formerly of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in 2003 that the President as C-in-C could authorize the CIA or other intelligence agencies to resort to torture to extract information from suspects based on his authority. However, Adler said, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1804 in Little vs. Barreme affirmed the President is duty-bound to obey statutory instructions and reaffirmed opinion two years later in United States vs. Smith.

“In these last eight years,” Adler said, “we have seen presidential powers soar beyond the confines of the Constitution. We have understood that his presidency bears no resemblance to the Office created by the Framers… This is the time for us to demand a return to the constitutional presidency. If we don’t, we will have only ourselves to blame as we go marching into the next war as we witness even greater claims of presidential power.”

The Massachusetts School of Law is a non-profit educational institution purposefully dedicated to providing an affordable, quality legal education to minorities, immigrants, and students from economic backgrounds that would not otherwise be able to afford to attend law school and enter the legal profession.

(Further Information or to order a set of conference proceedings: Jeff Demers, Massachusetts School of Law, demers@mslaw.edu,. Media consultant to MSL is Sherwood Ross, sherwoodr1@yahoo.com).

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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Bush Power Grab Since 9/11 by Jeff Demers & Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 22, 2008

Scholar Urges Candidates Debate Role of President’s Usurpation of Power

President Bush’s usurpation of power since 9/11 was termed “rapacious,” “predatory,” and “extra-Constitutional,” by presidential scholar Michael Genovese, director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Genovese said the “Unitary Theory” of the executive espoused by the Bush White House “is a very strange and ahistorical notion that says, ‘In a crisis all power gravitates to the president. No one, not the courts, not the Congress can interfere with the president and in effect, the president is the state.”

“That ahistorical view runs contrary to everything that we find in the Framers,” Genovese said. “For the president to say that he has all the authority he needs to do all he had to do without Congress, without the courts, is simply dead wrong. He may be the decider but he’s not the only decider.”

Genovese urged the candidates for the White House discuss their views on the nature of the presidency.

He said the Framers’ intention “was to get away from the rule of one man that they just fought a revolution to overthrow, and so the Framers invented a rule of law system, under a separation of powers, with checks and balances, under a constitution, and they invented an office, the president, who was to preside, not to govern, but to preside.”

The system they created was primarily concerned “about protecting freedom and liberty,” Genovese said, “not about the efficient use of power. That left very little room for the heroic leadership so many of us today yearn for and expect of our presidents.”

“A powerful presidency can solve some of our problems but just as easily, a powerful presidency can become the chief problem we need to solve,” he warned.

Genovese called for “a national conversation about what we want the presidency to be than simply by default to take whomever is in the White House and hand them a blank check and say ‘take care of it.’ That way lies madness.”

The presidential scholar said this type of conversation is something “we’re not getting in this presidential race…a national debate on the future of presidential power so that we can choose the kind of presidency we want and not have an imperial presidency thrust into our laps without any real reflection or choice.”

Genovese said that external circumstances can impact the nature of the presidency. “In normal times, the separation of powers looms large. In crises or emergency times, the separation of power is small, diminished, and recedes.” On September 10th, 2001, he said, “who would have thought that George Bush and Dick Cheney would be so incredibly powerful?”

“There was nothing in the cards that predicted it except the 9/11 attack and then they just drove the tank through the Constitution,” Genovese said.

Genovese made his comments in a keynote address to a conference on “Presidential Powers in America” at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover April 26th.

Genovese, a fellow of Queens College, Oxford, is the author of 16 books, including “The Power of the American Presidency: 1798-2000”(Oxford University Press). He is a past president of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Assn.

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is dedicated to providing an affordable, quality education to minorities and students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to afford a legal education and enter the profession of law.

Further Information: Jeff Demers at MSL demerse@mslaw.edu or Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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© Copyright Jeff Demers, Global Research, 2008
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Bush Secrecy Policies have Transformed U.S. Government from “Open” to “Closed”

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, April 22, 2008
Massachusetts School of Law

President George W. Bush has transformed an open federal government in Washington into one of “pervasive secrecy,” a distinguished authority on communications and First Amendment rights says.

Since his inauguration, Bush has overseen changes that suggest “a dramatic growth of government secrecy, far beyond the secrecy occurring during the Clinton Administration,” writes Susan Dente Ross, an Associate Professor in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University at Pullman.

“Through executive agency opinions, executive orders, statutory changes, and aggressive litigation, the Bush Administration has effectively limited the power of FOIA(Freedom of Information Act) and reversed the presumption that government records should be available to the public absent demonstrable proof showing that secrecy is needed,” Ross writes in The Long Term View, a journal of opinion published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.

“The administration’s sweeping expansion of the power of federal government to classify records, and so hide them from public view, increases the range of information that may be classified and extends the lifetime of such secrecy,” Ross says. She noted that:

# Mr. Bush has increased the number of federal agencies authorized to designate information as secret and exempt them from public disclosure.

# The Department of Homeland Security removed the agency’s entire classification of information process from public scrutiny. The secretaries’ of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, have been granted the right to classify information “for purposes of national security and national defense.”

# The Defense Department has adopted a new policy that imposes strict limits on discussion of all its “critical research” from the “idea phase” onward.

# Mr. Bush has placed his own papers, and those of his father, the former president, “outside the public eye and empowered himself to keep Congress in the dark about intelligence matters.”

# Mr. Bush has increased the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency to empower its director to block declassification of CIA information unless disclosure is authorized by the president.

# Mr. Bush has extended time that information can be kept classified from 10 to 25 years and this period may be extended even longer.

“Blanket closures of INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) proceedings and absolute gags on disclosure of related information eviscerate the time-honored constitutional protection of open public trials,” Ross writes. She noted the federal government “arrested and refused to identify hundreds of aliens who either may be connected to terrorism as material witnesses or who may have visa or other INS infractions.”

An INS directive issued promptly after September 11, 2001, mandated absolute closure of all deportation hearings in cases the agency determined to be of “special interest” to the war on terrorism, Ross said. The INS judges could gag aliens from disclosing anything learned in closed proceedings and an INS regulation requires states and localities housing federal detainees to withhold all information about them.

Ross noted, though, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge struck down the INS closures and a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington ordered the Justice Department to disclose the names of more than 1,100 non-U.S. citizens detained at some point in connection with terrorism.

Ross asserts, “Legislation championed as essential to protect the nation against terrorist threats allows the federal government to spy on its citizens, to detain them in secret without charges, to prosecute them based on secret evidence, and to prohibit parties to the trial from discussing related information.”

Ross writes the merest perusal of some Bush initiatives shows it has reversed the presumption of open government: “Although the now prevailing presumption of closed government is masked in subtle nuances of language and interpretive guidelines, we may liken the shift to the sea change that would occur in our criminal justice system if we moved from a presumption of innocent until proven guilty to an assumption of guilty until proven innocent.”

Granting the Bush administration has imposed its sweeping secrecy policies in the name of national security, Ross contends this exchange is “unacceptable.” “The trade-off, secrecy for security, is a sham,” she writes. “The citizenry gives up its vital check on abuse of government power and gains little in return.”

“A shadow government that operates in secrecy,” Ross continues, “does not advance the security of its citizens. Ignorance is not security. Safety is not increased when citizens are blinded by government deception and distortion. Government does not better serve its electorate when it operates with impunity.”

The Massachusetts School of Law, publishers of the Long Term View, is purposefully dedicated to the education of minorities, immigrants, and students from low- and middle-income backgrounds that would otherwise be unable to attend law school and enter the legal profession. Views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the law school.

Further Information: Jeff Demers at MSL demerse@mslaw.edu or Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Record Home Foreclosures across America by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, April 4, 2008
MSL

Banking Act of 1999 has opened a Pandora’s Box

The desire of commercial banks to gut the Glass-Steagall Act (GS) of 1933 so they could get back into the lucrative investment banking business has resulted in today’s subprime mortgage mess, the dean of the Massachusetts School of Law (MSL), a former Justice Department anti-trust lawyer, says.

“When federal agencies began making inroads on Glass-Steagall in the 1980’s and 1990’s, so that banks were allowed by the agencies to do things that Glass-Steagall forbade, I was amazed,” says MSL Dean Lawrence Velvel, of Andover. He noted GS “had deliberately separated commercial banking from investment banking because Congress felt in the 1930’s that the combination of both types of banking in a single institution was one of the reasons for the Great Depression.”

During that era, “when both types of banking were combined in one institution and a bank’s stock business and stock investments went down, the whole bank went down because of huge losses and capital impairments,” Velvel explained. And it was to avoid any repeat of the nation’s financial collapse GS was enacted.

Once the GS safeguards were removed by enactment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA), Velvel says, “Horrible loans were made, horrible securities were packaged and sold from these loans, and when one side of the bank got into problems, they quickly spread to the other side. As a result, huge banking companies such as Citicorp and Merrill Lynch are in big trouble.”

“If delinquencies in the fourth quarter of 2007 for subprime adjustable-rate mortgages hit an all-time record 5.29%, it’s because the visionary protections in the New Deal legislation(GS) have been abandoned,” Velvel says. Banks are holding billions in mortgage-related instruments for which there is no market.

In a related article published in MSL’s opinion journal “Long Term View,” law Professor Holly Vietzke writes GLBA has more closely connected “the banking industry to the U.S. stock market, ensuring that any significant dive on Wall Street will have disastrous effects on the nation’s financial system.”

Some analysts link GLBA to the Enron scandal and other corporate crises, writes Vietzke: “Enron’s financial backers Citigroup, Inc. (which earned millions of dollars in fees as one of Enron’s biggest backers) and J.P. Morgan Chase are accused of committing securities fraud in connection with the formation and use of Enron Corporation’s special purpose partnerships.”

“It appeared that, with the cooperation of Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase, Enron intended to inflate profits and income over debt, and it tried to fool investors by hiding debt from the analysts,” Vietzke continues. The Wall Street Journal, she noted, reported Citigroup and Chase made more than $200 million in fees for transactions that helped Enron among other energy companies, “boost cash flow and hide debt.”

Vietzke asserted this kind of activity is one of the reasons why Congress passed GS in the first place. “The GLBA is, as Enron shows, fermenting stock market manipulations that allow corporate executive to cash in” while their bank loans are outstanding.

GLBA triggered a wave of mergers, including Citigroup with major insurer Travelers and the American-based bank holding company Citicorp, a $70 billion combination. “After the merger, Citigroup’s business included insurance, lending, banking, investing and asset management,” Vietzke pointed out.

If Citigroup expected to reap a profit upwards of $700 million from the deal, Vietzke said, stockholders “saw no such gain.” Before the merger, Citicorp stock was up to $182 and Travelers was $73. After the merger, however, Citicorp dropped to $84 and Travelers to $37.

Other financial institutions that combined: Chase Manhattan joined with J.P. Morgan in a $35 billion merger to form J.P. Morgan Chase; First Union Corp. acquired Wachovia Corp; insurance giant MetLife bought New Jersey-based Grand Bank; Washington Mutual took over Homeside Lending; First Merchants bought Lafayette Bancorp; FleetBoston Financial purchased Summit Bancorp, and, in Ohio, National Bancshares Corp acquired Peoples Financial.

These, and similar mergers, have not always yielded positive results. Vietzke writes: “In addition to causing higher fees, a decline in personal service, privacy issues for consumers, and a decrease in value for stockholders, these unions have suffered internally as well.”

Geoffrey Boisi, the engineer of the J.P. Morgan Chase deal, resigned just two years after the merger as did Allan Wheat (Credit Suisse First Boston) and John Mack (Morgan Stanley) before him.

In a poll of 50 executives, Professor Robert Bruner of the University of Virginia found only 37% of them believed the mergers actually created value for buyers.

Until the GLBA, Vietzke writes, “banks had regularly circumvented the restrictions of the Glass-Steagall Act by sharing office space with securities firms, creating the illusion to consumers that the bank insured securities transactions.”

“The securities firm would benefit from the bank’s steady flow of customers, and the bank would receive a portion of the firm’s commission. The customer often never knew it was conducting business with separate entities. The GLBA effectively made this practice legal,” Vietzke said.

The opinions published in The Long Term View are not necessarily those of The Massachusetts School of Law. MSL is an independent law school founded to provide a quality, affordable legal education to minorities, immigrants and students from working-class backgrounds that otherwise would be unable to attend law school and enter the legal profession.

Further Information: Jeff Demers at MSL, demers [at] mslaw.edu; or Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, sherwoodr1 [at] yahoo.com

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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© Copyright Sherwood Ross, MSL, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8557

“Thousands” Illegally Rendered By Bush Administration for Interrogation, Torture by Massachusetts School of Law

Dandelion Salad

by Massachusetts School of Law
Global Research, November 29, 2007

Massachusetts School of Law Report

In violation of international and U.S. law, “thousands” of alleged terrorists have been victims of “extraordinary rendition” by the Bush Administration since 9/11, two legal scholars say. “Instead of working to bring those committing crimes against the United States to justice in U.S. courts, the Bush Administration seems intent on doing exactly the opposite—keeping such individuals away from U.S. courts, hidden in a web of secret prisons, underground interrogation cells, and in the hands of cooperative governments,” write Margaret Satterthwaite and Angela Fisher. Satterthwaite is an assistant professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law and Fisher served as assistant research scholar with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.

“Extraordinary renditions, whether originating in territories under U.S. control (actual or effective) or merely carried out by U.S. agents, are unlawful and in violation of international treaties to which the United States is a party,” the authors write. “Despite this clear prohibition, the Bush Administration continues to engage in this practice, using it to transfer detainees out of the reach of U.S. courts and into the realm of secret detentions and brutal interrogations.”

“Having altered the procedure from a transfer sanctioned by U.S. courts to a transfer that is extralegal, this Administration completed the transformation of extraordinary rendition from transfer to justice to transfer out of the justice system,” the authorities contend in an article titled “Tortured Logic: Renditions to Justice, Extraordinary Rendition, and Human Rights Law” published in “The Long Term View,” a journal of informed opinion published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover(Volume 6, No. 4).

The authors explain that extraordinary rendition is an updated form of “rendition to justice,” first secretly authorized in 1986 by President Reagan in National Security Decision Directive 207, which formalized U.S. policy to fight terrorism. It came into being, they say, because the U.S. in the 1980s did not have valid extradition treaties with countries that commonly housed terrorists or because those nations refused to give the suspects up. Under Reagan, they write, “it has never been suggested that the purpose of the program was to subject the detainees to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Once in the United States, the rendered individual would be treated like any other federal detainee awaiting trial.” Satterthwaite and Fisher said President George H.W. Bush authorized specific procedures for renditions in 1993 through National Security Directive 77. President Clinton, they noted, went further “emphasizing rendition as a key counter-terrorism strategy” and signing presidential decision directive PDD-39 on June 21, 1995, which stated, in part, “Return of suspects by force may be effected without the cooperation of the host government…” One outcome of the Clinton policy, the scholars write, was the rendition of Tal’at Fu’ad Qassim, an Egyptian national that had been granted asylum in Denmark and seized by the U.S. in Bosnia and transported to Egypt, where he was reportedly executed—the first known rendition by the U.S. of a victim to a third country with a record of torture. Between 1998 and 2000, the CIA rendered more than two dozen suspects, then-CIA Director George Tenet testified. In 2004, Tenet testified before Congress there had been more than 80 renditions prior to September 11, 2001.

Since 9/11, the scholars wrote, renditions have been used not to obtain jurisdiction over the suspects in order to prosecute “but instead to get an individual to talk.” Previous renditions that required approval by an inter-agency group that included the Departments of Justice and State, were now placed in the hands of the CIA, which could render suspects “without consultation.”

Satterthwaite and Fisher write extraordinary rendition is prohibited by a number of international human rights treaties the U.S. has signed, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CAT”), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, or “the Covenant”).

Both prohibit the refoulement, or transfer, of an individual to another state where the person faces the risk of torture. Both treaties require ratifying states to institute domestic laws penalizing torture and CAT specifically requires states to criminalize conspiracy and aiding and abetting in torture.

Further Information, Jeff Demers, Massachusetts School of Law, (978) 681-0800 or demers@mslaw.edu or Sherwood Ross, sherwoodr1@yahoo.com


Global Research Articles by Massachusetts School of Law

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