Monday, January 09, 2006

The emperor moves to dissolve Congress

You try just to have a life and ignore the nuttiness that is our U.S. government in action, but then another outrageous act surfaces that demands someone stand up and say, "Um, excuse me? You can't do that." Since the beginning of the Bush-Clinton era, it seems like one outrage after another, and eventually outrage-fatigue sets in. How long can we stand this before we simply sink into apathy and accept our role as stooges?

A report by Knight Ridder Newspapers (and maybe this is why so many short-sighted Knight Ridder stockholders want to sell out) begins, "President Bush agreed with great fanfare last month to accept a ban on torture, but he later quietly reserved the right to ignore it, even as he signed it into law."

The way he thumbed his nose at the new law was to issue a "bill-signing statement" that said Bush would interpret the law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the president." Get it? Bush's warped view of his "constitutional authority" trumps any effort by legislators to rein him in. By his actions, we know Bush has never read the Constitution.

As Knight Ridder analysts Ron Hutcheson and James Kuhnhenn explain, "Because Bush has already claimed broad powers in the war on terror, legal experts and some members of Congress interpreted the statement to mean that he would ignore the torture ban if he felt it would harm national security."

It turns out "Bush has used signing statements to reject, revise or put his spin on more than 500 legislative provisions," Hutcheson and Kuhnhenn report. The bottom line: Congress passes the laws, and Bush explains why he won't abide by them.

A little cabin as far away as possible from the clutches of this runaway rogue emperor is sounding better and better every day. Thank God there are still some reporters willing to stand up and say, "Um, excuse me? You can't do that." Too bad the alleged lawmakers and most of us mere subjects are silent.

In other news today:

Homeland Security is opening our mail and not even bothering to be discreet about it.

"'Goodman is no stranger to mail snooping; as an officer during World War II he was responsible for reading all outgoing mail of the men in his command and censoring any passages that might provide clues as to his unit’s position. 'But we didn’t do it as clumsily as they’ve done it, I can tell you that,' Goodman noted, with no small amount of irony in his voice. 'Isn’t it funny that this doesn’t appear to be any kind of surreptitious effort here,' he said."


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