Thursday, October 26, 2006
Does Bush really think he can get away with anything?
Reader reddog asks if Bush actually thinks he can do "anything he wants." This is a very good question, one which many have asked themselves, including Yours Truly in several posts in this blog. Considering that Bush himself has been quoted as saying, "The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper," I can only conclude that, short of a Constitutional convention or a Congress taking its job seriously, who or what is left to say what are the limits of Bush's power? Answer so far: only Bush the Decider.
And, frightening as it may be to contemplate, Bush himself says he listens to God, just like your soft-in-the-head Uncle Marley, the one who lives in the attic. The last time we Americans had to contend with a "George the Decider" who talked to God it was George III, who was driven insane by the syphilis rotting his brain. Now, George III was an actual legitimate monarch, as these things were accounted in the 18th Century, while our Decider has become an all-powerful monarch by an applied program of Republican corruption, congressional abdication, and one hell of a PR machine, bought and paid for by the industrial-petroleum-armaments combines. And I don't mean "might be," or "could-be," but is - by virtue of the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus under the recently passed Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S-3930).
Colonel Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, has called the group surrounding Bush a "cabal." Answers.com defines 'cabal' as a "A conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers." So what is Larry talking about? We know that presidential advisory groups routinely meet behind closed doors, so the colonel probably isn't referring to normal executive closed-door meetings, but to that select group of advisors - plotters, frankly - who meet to further dark designs; in this case, the accumulation of supreme power, driving towards executive absolutism; towards a monarchy or 'tyranny', as the Greeks called the style of government of their elected dictators. Note well that the Greeks elected their tyrants, just as the Italians elected Mussolini and the Germans Hitler.
George Bush has openly stated to the American people - you and me - that he is entitled to "interpret" any law that Congress passes in the light of his understanding of the principle of the "unitary executive." Now, just what the hell does that mean, and how come nobody ever heard of such a thing until Bush came along?
Well, a bright but twisted lad from Harvard Law (John Yoo) - extrapolating wildly from Alexander Hamilton's theory of the separation of powers in the Federalist Papers - arrived at the dubious proposition that the president was obliged to refuse to carry out any law that Congress passed that the president - on his own authority - considered encroached on his constitutional duties or powers; he dubbed this theory the "unitary executive." Maybe so, if it were merely that, but this president has signed bills into law, thereby enacting them, with the proviso ("signing statements") that he can ignore the parts he doesn't like, for arbitrary reasons.
This is not what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind, and no reading of the Constitution - as written - can support this argument. In fact, dozens of serious constitutional experts have condemned this reading of the Constitution. Regardless, Bush has given himself a line-item veto power over the law, which the Supreme Court has already ruled unconstitutional on its face well before this president arrived on the scene.
The Bush cabal's camouflage for his accumulation of absolute power has been the repeated mantra that he is "commander-in-chief in a time of war" and that gives him "extra powers." Well, Gentle Readers, only Congress - the only directly elected representative of the citizenry - can declare war, which it has not done since WWII, so any claim of "extra powers" is extra-constitutional and illegal, and the 5th Circuit has said so, recently, and in no uncertain terms.
Further, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is itself illegal and unconstitutional on its face, because we are not at war, and Habeas Corpus can be constitutionally suspended only during "invasion or resurrection." In fact, strictly speaking, it cannot be suspended even during a declared war.
The cabal's argument that Lincoln suspended Habeas during the Civil War is disingenuous, because they ignore the fact that the southern states had resurrected against the Federal government, and thus the suspension of Habeas was indeed constitutional and legal. The Alien and Sedition Act (1798), authored by Hamilton and the precursor to the USA Patriot Act, was called a "grave error" by John Q. Adams, and he apologized to the American people for it after he left office. It was struck down by the Supreme Court under the following Jefferson administration.
Every reputable legal expert agrees that Habeas Corpus is the core right of all civil liberties in a free society. In the US Constitution, it is not frivolously tacked on as an Amendment; it is guaranteed up front and in plain English in the main body of that document in Article I, Section IX:
Clause 2: The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
Over 800 years ago, the English people rose up against their king and forced him at the point of a sword to guarantee Habeas Corpus, and this president, this wanna-be king, has taken it away from us with the willing co-operation of a corrupt Congress, and nary a whisper from the so-called "liberal media," with the notable exceptions of Keith Olberman and Jack Cafferty.
The sad part is that a good half of the American public has applauded this shredding of their civil liberties - their rights - that hundreds of thousands of American soldiers gave their lives to ensure would not be taken by a dictator or surrendered up by a supine Congress, Republican or Democrat.
To sum up: by his every action - by his "signing statements" and the real acts of illegal domestic warrantless wiretapping; illegal incarceration; denial of hearings and bail; kidnapping and transportation of foreign nationals; assassinations; the prosecution of an undeclared Neverending War on Terror; the unilateral breaking of international treaties ratified by Congress assembled and shit we have yet to uncover - this president has demonstrated to a near disbelieving world that, yes, indeed, he does think he can "get away" with anything, because he does, and we let him.
Update: Broken links fixed, thank you, Mr Anonymous.