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The continued madness of King George

By Doug Thompson  Posted by Amanda Lang (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
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With all the public furor over his use of the National Security Agency to spy on Americans, and the near-mutiny in the Republican party over his high-handed approach to the Presidency, you'd think George W. Bush might have learned a thing or two about the dangers of arrogance.

Nah, not our despot-in-chief, King Dubya. When he signed the extension of the USA Patriot act into law, he added his own "addendum" to the law that says he doesn't have to tell Congress a damn thing about what he and his storm troopers are up to when it comes to abusing the expanded police powers included in the bill.

After the public ceremony, Bush issued a "signing statement" that reiterated, in effect, Bush's belief that the Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper" and he does not feel constrained by law or obligated by provisions of the act that require he inform Congress in a timely manner on just what the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other parts of his American Gestapo are up to when it comes to snooping into the private lives of Americans.

''The executive branch shall construe the provisions that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information (from Congress and, of course, the public)," Bush said.

Bush says he will withhold information if he, and only he, decides disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

The President's latest display of "I am above the law" arrogance might have gone unnoticed because most of the media concentrated on the public pomp and circumstance and ignored the real story. Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe, was one of the few who reported on the signing statement.


Yet Savage's story fell off the media landscape with a resounding thud as the rest of the mainstreamers, apparently kowtowed by Bush's threats to haul reporters and editors in front of grand juries if they dare write about his abuse of the Constitution and use of U.S. spy agencies to snoop on Americans, stuck with reporting on the President's latest road show to sell the failed Iraq war.

"Frankly, I'm surprised," says political scientist George Harleigh, who worked in the Nixon and Reagan White Houses. "I thought the story would have legs and get much more attention. After all the debate in Congress over the need for the President to keep them in the loop he simply signs away one of the key provisions of the revised act."

The revised USA Patriot Act emerged from Congress with a number of oversight provisions requiring the President to report to the Hill on a strict timetable. One of those provisions said the White House had to tell Congress just how the FBI used the expanded wiretap and surveillance powers granted under the act.

Some in Congress, like Senator Patrick Leahy, are pissed as hell at the President's claim that he is above the law.

''The president's signing statements are not the law, and Congress should not allow them to be the last word," Leahy says in a statement issued by his office. ''The president's constitutional duty is to faithfully execute the laws as written by the Congress, not cherry-pick the laws he decides he wants to follow. It is our duty to ensure, by means of congressional oversight, that he does so."

Constitutional law professors say Bush could be bluffing but history shows that Bush bluffs first and then goes ahead and does what he wants if nobody calls the bluff.

David Golove, a New York University law professor and expert on presidential power issues, told the Boston Globe that Bush's actions display a ''mind-bogglingly expansive conception" of his power and the White House's blatant disregard for the role of Congress.

''On the one hand, they deny that Congress even has the authority to pass laws on these subjects like torture and eavesdropping, and in addition to that, they say that Congress is not even entitled to get information about anything to do with the war on terrorism," Golove said.

Bush's actions are just another example of a madman who appears determined to destroy the Constitution and a country called America. Unfortunately, this madman will continue to wreak havoc until somebody puts a stop his insanity.

Originally published at and © Copyright 2006 by Capitol Hill Blue

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