Wednesday, January 18, 2006

THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen. -- Samuel Adams

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/15/opinion/15sun2.html


An editorial at the New York Times scratches the surface,

"You would think that Senators Carl Levin and John McCain would have learned by now that you cannot deal in good faith with a White House that does not act in good faith. Yet both men struck bargains intended to restore the rule of law to American prison camps. And President Bush tossed them aside at the first opportunity.
[...]
Mr. Bush, however, seems to see no limit to his imperial presidency. First, he issued a constitutionally ludicrous "signing statement" on the McCain bill. The message: Whatever Congress intended the law to say, he intended to ignore it on the pretext the commander in chief is above the law. That twisted reasoning is what led to the legalized torture policies, not to mention the domestic spying program.

Then Mr. Bush went after the judiciary, scrapping the Levin-Graham bargain. The solicitor general informed the Supreme Court last week that it no longer had jurisdiction over detainee cases. It said the court should drop an existing case in which a Yemeni national is challenging the military tribunals invented by Mr. Bush's morally challenged lawyers after 9/11. The administration is seeking to eliminate all other lawsuits filed by some of the approximately 500 men at Gitmo, the vast majority of whom have not been shown to pose any threat.

Both of the offensive theories at work here - that a president's intent in signing a bill trumps the intent of Congress in writing it, and that a president can claim power without restriction or supervision by the courts or Congress - are pet theories of Judge Samuel Alito, the man Mr. Bush chose to tilt the Supreme Court to the right."


The Pro-war right and the Bush apologists (who evidently make up about 39% of the population) make the argument that since we're embroiled in a global conflict with the future of the civilized world at stake, the President ought to do anything he feels is in the best interest of the nation. These assertions, buoyed by balloons filled with bogeymen and fear-mongering, fail to recognize that by jettisoning our American values of checks and balances we destroy ourselves.

Al Qaeda can't do the kind of damage Bush and his cronies are doing. They're undoing the Constitution, ignoring the laws, and claiming that 9/11 changed everything. 9/11 did not turn our nation into a belligerent monarchy, George Bush did.

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