If congress doesn't have the power to define the contours of the President's Article II powers through legislation, if the President's legal theory is correct, under this theory, we no longer have a Constitutional system consisting of three co-equal branches of government. We have a monarchy -- Russ Feingold, Senator, D - Wis.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few -- James Madison
Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power. The truth is that men are tired of liberty. Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace -- Benito Mussolini
One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have the chance to invade, if I have that much capital, I'm not going to waste it; I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed. And I'm going to have a successful presidency -- President George W. Bush to his biographer, Mickey Herskowitz, in 1999.
In September of 2001, the stage was set, all the characters were in place. The leading actor was the clueless puppet, President George W. Bush, who likes the idea of a unitary executive. He probably couldn't spell the term or pronounce it correctly, but, to him, the idea has merit because nobody, not his father, nor his mother, nor Congress, nor the Judiciary can tell him what to do any more. The cast included the demonic Karl Rove, who will handle political matters (opponents of the regime), the Machiavellian Dick Cheney who loves to act behind the "scenes," and his lawyer cohort, David Addington, who is currently Cheney's chief of staff as a result of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's resignation, the latter being a convicted criminal pardoned by Bush. The GOP controlled the Executive Branch, the House, and the Senate, and Cheney and Addington were devoted adherents to the principle of the unitary executive. The Constitution provided an obstacle to their theory, however. In their minds, all they needed was a catalyst.
That catalyst arrived with thunderous, monstrous, and murderous explosions on September 11, 2001. To this day, I wonder if Osama bin Laden, the forgotten terrorist responsible for that rueful day, was more intuitive that Americans and America's leaders give him credit for. Bush declared the euphemistic War on Terror. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy, and terror has existed for centuries. Logic dictates, in true fascist fashion, a war on terror has no end. With control of both the Executive Branch and Congress, later the Judicial Branch, heinous and fascist legislation and executive orders from the central government followed that defied American imagination, denied freedoms, created a powerful Executive Branch, and now it is Americans who are clueless. They have no idea what has happened because of the compliant media owned by a very few huge corporations beholden to the central government. With the actors in place September Eleventh created the perfect storm, loss of freedom, loss of American prestige, exploding oil prices, two never-ending wars, and economic chaos that could easily expand to world recession involving the entire western world and elsewhere.
To compound matters, not only is the mass media ignoring these threats to our Constitution, so, also, are the two remaining Democratic candidates for the Presidency, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who have said little on the topic. It suggests that they have no wish to diminish the new powers of the Executive Branch, but to capture them. How serious are these threats? Cheryl Abraham, writing for OpEd news, states, "Just as sinister is the possibility that there will be no election at all. A terrorist attack, natural disaster, or perceived civil unrest could launch the U.S. into a state of martial law."
Just what are these laws and executive decisions that could change America forever. Stand by to be shocked, evoking the sentiment, "It can't happen here." Well, it can. At the top of the list is the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive wars, adopted in Sept. 2002. Concerning this doctrine, Rodrigue Tremblay writes, "According to this hubristic foreign policy doctrine, the United States could invade any country, especially in the Middle East, in order to impose a local democratic government friendly to the United States and its allies. The occupied country would then become a model to other countries which would adopt the same type of political regime and the same policies." To conclude that the war in Iraq created unintended consequences is the height of massive understatement. The Bush Doctrine laid the groundwork for the decisions that followed.
On October 17, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law S.3930, the Military Commissions Act, a law that cancels the right of habeas corpus for foreigners accused of terrorism and for both Americans and foreigners who have been designated as "enemy combatants" by the Executive branch. Under this law, any individual, citizen or non-citizen, can be deprived of the protection of due process at the whim of the Executive branch, and be imprisoned indefinitely without legal recourse. -The United States is probably the only country in the world where the right of habeas corpus has been suspended and yet is still being called a "democratic" country.
The Defense Authorization Act of 2006 (H.R. 1815), passed by Congress on September 30 2006, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006, empowers the president to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist "incident," if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of "public order." The resort to martial law could come, for example, as a response to a terrorist attack, but it is not excluded that it could be imposed by antiwar protests or any major political disturbance in any part of the world. One can easily surmise that since the current Bush-Cheney administration got away with declaring a war abroad on a pretext, what would prevent them from imposing martial law at home on a pretext?
The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was amended to make it easier for the President to deploy the military within the United States.
The adoption of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122) changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from "Insurrection Act" to "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act." -While the U.S. Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only "to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy", the new law allows the president not only to declare martial law and rule by decree, but it also gives the president the power to take charge of United States National Guard troops without the states' governors' authorization. The law also expands the list of such permissible cases for martial law to include "natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition"-and such "condition" is not defined or limited in scope. All the safeguards against the use of the military at home have been removed in favor of new powers being given to the President to do so nearly at his whim.
The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, signed by President George W. Bush on May 4, 2007, an event that was generally not covered by U.S. mainstream media or discussed by the U.S. Congress, goes even further and declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", the president can become what is best described as a de facto dictator: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."
On March 15, 2004, the National Security Agency's wire-tapping and domestic spying program, without proper judicial supervision, was authorized by the Bush-Cheney White House, without Justice Department approval and over the objections of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. This was an illegal program of domestic spying, because it violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a panel of judges to hear wiretap requests in secret. When a government begins to violate the law, there is no way of knowing in advance where this will lead and how far it will go.
Finally, the United States is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. That means, according to our Constitution, Article VI, Section (2), that this treaty is the law of the land. The Geneva Conventions forbid torture, examples would include water-boarding, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, starvation, extremes of cold or heat, etc. Once again, the Bush/Cheney regime has broken the law.
It is unconscionable that both Obama and Clinton have not addressed these issues. According to one source, Obama has pledged to restore habeas corpus. Awful nice of him, but apparently that is not a major issue with him or the mass media. The position is probably on his Web page somewhere. Even if true, that begs a question. What about the other issues raised here?