Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bush Caught With Hand In Constitutional Cookie Jar

While the pundits of cable news bury themselves in the particulars of the fired attorney story, let's not forget what really happened here. The problem with President Bush is that he sees himself as the Decider, the living law of the land. Legislation passed by Congress? Mere suggestions that he'll follow if he feels like it. That's what all the signing statements are about. This has always been an executive power grab, for total authoritarian rule.

One law Bush feels like following is the War Powers Act. It grants him special powers if there's a war on. No problem. We'll have a War on Terror that will not end in our lifetimes. They'll always be a war so he'll have permanent special powers. Taken to the fullest extent, his interpretation of presidential powers during wartime means that all he has to do is declare someone a national security threat, and he can arrest them, detain them forever, and execute them without ever leaving the executive branch. That's his theory anyway, and yes, it is scary. You know how these attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President? Well, the real story is that we now live at the pleasure of the President.

Of course, his inexplicable fans rush to say that he would never take advantage of these powers - just trust him - but the whole point of America was that we didn't leave that to the people in charge to decide. We checked their powers so they couldn't act as tyrants - not legally anyway. President Bush wanted to destroy that. He wanted it all. So we have been living in post-Constitutional limbo here. If he wanted to right now he could declare any of us an enemy of the state and nab us on national security grounds, just as a king or dictator could. That's the problem.

We don't have time to go into what this all-powerful authoritarian ruler means to international law, but think "preemptive strike" and you'll get the picture. Nor am I going to explore the weird religious angle in which God speaks to George telling him what to do. Clearly, the real God would have included a better plan for Iraq (like stay out), but we have a leader who thinks the voices in his head are God, and that God put him in charge. The effect is that George W. Bush is God's representative on earth, a standard position for psycho leaders throughout history.

But let's focus on this attorney thing. The problem was that the Patriot Act changed the way these fired attorneys could be replaced. It eliminated the role of the Senate in confirming them giving total power in this matter to the executive branch. That led to the shenanigans because suddenly Gonzales could use the Justice Department as a weapon, knowing the sole hiring function was now in Bush's hands. If someone was investigating the wrong person - fire them and replace them in the dead of night.

Surprise! It turned out the people in charge couldn't be trusted not to take advantage of unchecked power - just as the Forefathers understood. You'll hear the details of these individual cases, but the problem all stems from unchecked power - in this case from a provision inserted into the Patriot Act.

The results were predictable. Gonzales was the obediant White House lap dog who gave birth to a new litter. The end result would have been a pack of prosecutorial pit bulls doing the bidding of their White House master, with Gonzales as the proud bitch waiting to go back into heat and do it all again.

Today there was a historic vote. It represents the beginning of a dismantling of Bush's attempt to overthrow the Constitution. The Senate voted 94 to 2 to seize back this power and take the provision out of the Patriot Act. That's quite a lopsided vote, don't you think? It's almost like people in Washington are beginning to get it, isn't it? That's what this story is about. President Bush got caught with his hand in the Constitutional cookie jar.
Senate Limits Gonzales' Hiring Authority

16 Comments:

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Sully said...

Bill, Any chance you can post your cable show on Google Videos? I'd love to be able to catch it online since I can never remember to dial it up on the tv.

I'd be a great way to extend the reach of both the blog and the show.

 
At 8:03 PM, Anonymous butch said...

Good Lord, Bill, can you engage in any more hyperbole than this:

"Taken to the fullest extent, his interpretation of presidential powers during wartime means that all he has to do is declare someone a national security threat, and he can arrest them, detain them forever, and execute them without ever leaving the executive branch."

Well, "taken to the fullest extent" , Clinton could have used the War Powers Act (not Bush's invention - surprise!) to Nuke the Southern California headquarters of The Drudg Report to prevent Matt from running with the Monica story.

And before you tout this Senate vote as some 'historic event', puhleez! Senate confirmation of Federal Prosecutors has historically been nothing more than a rubber stamp of a political appointee. Gee, I must have missed those years of hearings that it took to fully investigate and confirm Clinton's 92 replacement attorneys. Can you tell me how that went? How many were rejected?

This is NOTHING more than political theatre. Enjoy it for the next two years while the "idealists" in the Democratic Party "clean up" DC.

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

A 94-2 vote. Sounds like there were some Republicans in the mix, Butch.

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous butch said...

I'm not disputing the vote - just the significance of it. Political theatre votes are typically nearly unanimous. Like the vote after 9-11 to 'condemn Al Quaida'.

Odd I don't see you putting so much weight on the overwhelming affirmative vote giving dubya the authorization to go to war.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I'm thinking of this as a government system. The forefathers understood people's proclivity for power trips after their experiences in Europe, so they went out of their way to check power.
Every time we give someone more power than we should, they abuse it. Every single time. And if they don't the next person does.
The key is to check power. That's why when the Republicans got all misty about giving more domestic spying powers to the government so they could be safe and Uncle Cheney could tuck them in, I KNEW the government would abuse it. When we pointed it out we were criticized. Can't you trust the FBI not to get carried away? Well, guess what? They got carried away. Gonzales got carried away. Bush got carried away. All because they circumvented their rightful amount of power using fear of terrorism to drive you into being scared.
Now terrorism is worse, and we have to fight to get these people back in the Constitutional box they belong in. THAT was the significanse of this vote. Gonzales or the the next AG can not just put anybody they want into this office.
You have to be getting some of this, Butch. There's no way you're not.

 
At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a side note to all this:

I notice Cheney earlier 'preped' with the blod-clot-in-leg card.

And now he is playing it. He KNOWS his constant whispering in W's ear has FINALLY finished off the administration.

His easy exit.

I Predict Bush will put in the VP slot - the person who they would like to run in 2008.

They never give up.

 
At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Tenskwatawa said...

See, Bill, intentionaldumb-to-waste-your-time-and-bully-your-blog, there, the one you're talking civilly to, and asking questions, as if an answer matters, those kind do not look behind (prior to) tonight's TV sensationalism or last week's 'news,' and you go on pleading, c'mon, admit it has been six years, and we got to put the named guys 'back in the Constitutional box.'

But it's same-same like you, Bill, don't seem to see behind (prior to) 2000.

And I'm pleading, c'mon, Bill, admit is has been sixty years, and you (selling to NBC) and your family (yo' bro' cashing defense department checks) and your lifestyle, is as much the intentional head-in-the-sand, 'snot my job, killing 'em in Iraq -- by the bushel -- murder by lifestyle, feel the heartbeats of dead human souls pulsing in your hand holding a gas hose to your tank -- YOU !, and me, and Bogdank, and Chisel%, kill humankind. Mass murder by lifestyle.

Sorta creeps up on you when it was going on when you were born. Who knew?

Now you do. know. Now you have no excuse to keep doing it.

Spending effort to get Gonzales, or dump the mass murderers in the Evil Office of The Fright House, and getting the 'get' and doing the 'dump' ain't going to change nothing, don't mean squat. You and your ancestors' hopes and dreams will be dead in less than ten years, this whole damn Norte Americano continent trashed, unless we put effort where it matters and push over the systemic fatalistic facade, then humankind can survive.

Boycott massmind media -- don't pay for tv or newspapers, and don't pay attention to them.

Write the truth and circulate it -- Bush Cheney are mass murderers, right on down to everyone who voted for them and everyone who tolerates them at-large, let alone in office, for. one. more. minute.

Grow our own -- our own food, our own town, our own self governance, our own watershed, our own politics in it. Erase existing political boundaries. No nations, only watersheds, one world.

Something like that.

Just look back before 2000, the systemic root, credit-addicted TV-consumer lifestyle is mass murdering humankind

Just look, in general

You have to be getting some of this, Bill. There's no way you're not.

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous butch said...

I get where your setiment is coming from, but - once again - I think your paranoia is unfounded. You continue to think this administration is doing things unprecedented. It continues to crack me up how you 'progressives' continue to rail on Bush for the 'domestic spying' "controversy" while completely ignoring that Carter and Clinton both allowed more intrusive 'warrantless' searches of our citizenry than Bush has ever been accused of. That is why I cannot ever take you seriously in that regard. It is PROOF that your complaints of infringement on our Constitutional Freedoms are both unfounded and partisan. And I'm sorry but your 'I wasn't politically cognizant' before' or whatever doesn't cut it because your charges are that our Constitutional rights are 'eroding' under Bush, whereas a quick review of the past shows nothing of the sort.

Damn its late. Adam Sandler is a better Late Show host than Letterman. Good night.

 
At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FBI misusing patriot act, secret prisons, sending foreign innocent civilians to be tortured, shifting terror suspects to countries without torture rules, rewriting exactly what torture means so the books can back you up..... yeah that didn't happen under Clinton. Really butch, liberals aren't just going after Bush cause of his accent. The hyperbole is the term "Patriot Act", exaggerating patriot to someone who blindly follows, trusts, and gives absolute power to the executive branch. Do you think Bush has been a better president then Clinton?

 
At 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clinton's top aides testified in Congress 47 times
as opposed to
Bush blocking subpoenas to his staff, saying the can only testify without saying the oath.

There is some evidence for you. Gonzalez used the Patriot act to fire attorneys, let us find out what the other crew did.

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Tensk,
Oh, I get some of it. I don't get my family cashing defense departnment checks. What are you talking about with that? Oh never mind.

I read your comments and you turned me on to Wayne Madison and I appreciate that.
My only request is that you don't threaten to...what was it?,,,,jam a keyboard down somebody's throat. And if deleting the comment made you feel persecuted, well, guess what: You made me feel persecuted. You made me feel like you were setting me up for a fall and I don't need that.
So stick to the information and opinions, and everything will be cool. If you want to threaten people, go join the CIA. They could use a person like that.

 
At 8:19 AM, Anonymous butch said...

"Boycott massmind media -- don't pay for tv or newspapers, and don't pay attention to them."

Cool, Tenskwatawa, that means I'm greenlighted to watch the NCAA Tourney since its on free TV? Gonna be a bummer missing the Sopranos though....

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Tenskwatawa said...

Bill, I thought your brother did or was doing a 'tour of duty' in Iraq. My bad, not paying attention.

No, I didn't feel persecuted being del'ed. It always is a privilege to comment in a blog, owing to the diligence and effort of a blogkeeper. The primary responsibility, as I see it in commenting, is to drive traffic to the blog by virtue of the quality of thoughty comment. Exclusivity by originality is my way, each time to be extemporaneous, sometimes it works, sometimes it don't ... it's a temporal thing. Uh, as they (timing) say, it's, er, ... uh, I forget what they say it is.

If I had imagined you would feel persecuted, I would not have whatever it was I had. First, do no harm, (the medicant's credo), and so if I had known the affliction was pre-existing I would have not gone aggravating it. In my appreciation of your (blog) presence, you are a paragon of power, here, yet you seem, (more than just modest of it), to sort of shy from acknowledging, accepting, and wielding the fine force of life in you (and most every one) to change the world and to do change the world.

Take Wayne Madsen, one person, please, and thank you for agreeably meeting with him from my introduction -- his strictness, of sourceable information only, has indeed been and done the most to thwart HitlerBush. So why isn't he making Big Bucks in America? Where's Madsen's Pulitzer? Journalism post-CableTV has junked itself to shame; any in the biz is a faker who doesn't know of and aspire to emulate George Seldes, and fakers all are who have desecrated journalism to its today's negative worth to humankind and enemy of life. So eradicate the enemy.
Ref: AmericansWhoTellTheTruth.org - portraits - George Seldes
PublicEye.org - glossary - seldes

Or take -- better: Give, a look-see to the Great Grannies of the Gorge, Crooked River or Columbia, veritable daughters in veneration of Tsagaglala, She Who Watches.

As to what constitutes a 'threat' -- See Truman: "I don't give 'em hell, I just tell the truth and they think it's hell." I didn't even have to think about it, it was foulmouth for foulmouth, (some subhuman dimwit happy with innocent collateral souls and America's flower of youth being blown to bits and killed in Iraq for NO JUSTIFIED REASON -- mass murdered -- no skin off his or her nazi nose, so long as there's a 'game' on for an addict's fix to get high by), and -- Mission Accomplished: the voice shut uppa its mouth. When it's a 'threat' that takes to do it, truth itself proves to be the 'threat.'

(I was with the CIA. It don't threaten, it acts and murders. I quit. Getting threat, like our Trib-columnist friend, is to be preferred to not one.)

And, refreshing review: My namesake Tenskwatawa was the Shawnee Prophet, youngest brother of Great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, and invoker of Tecumseh's Curse. Tecumseh's Curse inflicts that whoever in a year ending in zero, (every twentieth year, under Jupiter-father conjunct Saturn-death, during the Earth conjunctions series), takes election as Great White Father presiding in Washington, D.C., shall not complete due term of Office.

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the CIA utlize these effective curses?

 
At 11:40 AM, Anonymous butch said...

Tenskwatawa,

Do you also have a girlfriend in Canada?

 
At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Tenskwatawa said...

White Hot Rage, by Cindy Sheehan ... companies like Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, Exxon, Raytheon, etc. can rape the American taxpayers. But can it be rape when the partner is willing?

Some people accuse me of being “angry.” I just want to say, I am not “angry,” I am filled with a white-hot rage ...

I am outraged that Congress expediently buys into Bush’s evil rhetoric ...

I am angry for 3200 other wonderful lives cut short like Casey’s and I am angry that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead ...

The people who say I am angry are correct. I am also angry that there is not sufficient fury in this country to get our citizens to demand that Congress pull back the money from the war profiteers and bring our troops home.

I am especially enraged that BushCo are still in power: reigning free to commit any crimes impervious to all slings and arrows. I am sick of waiting for the time when BushCo’s “Get out of jail free” card expires.

When will the nightmare end?

I suspect
never, as long as the Military Industrial Complex is running roughshod over every branch of our government with the silent complicity of the American public.

 

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