Sunday, May 28, 2006

No More Checks And Balances

The Police state is on its way. The badministration has found a way around the Founding Fathers vision of Separation of Powers. What is really sad is that it is coming from people who aren't elected to their position of power and they seem to have an inordinate amount of influence over the ones who were. Bush just signs the statements, it isn't like he objects on a personal level (that would require thinking and we all know that's hard work, he told us so) other than someone might take away his binky.
Cheney aide is screening legislation - The Boston Globe: "Previous administrations left the reviewing of legislation to the White House counsel's office and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
Nah, they might quit if they don't get their way.
``What's happening now is unprecedented on almost every level,' said Ron Klain , who was chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1999. ``Gore was a very active policy maker in the Clinton administration, but that didn't include picking through bills of Congress to find things to disagree with.'

The administration insists that Bush's use of signing statements is not unprecedented. Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said, ``President Bush's signing statements are lawful and indistinguishable from those issued on hundreds of occasions by past presidents.'

The use of signing statements was rare until the 1980s, when President Ronald W. Reagan began issuing them more frequently. His successors continued the practice. George H. W. Bush used signing statements to challenge 232 laws over four years, and Bill Clinton challenged 140 over eight years, according to Christopher Kelley , a political science professor at Miami University of Ohio.

But in frequency and aggression, the current President Bush has gone far beyond his predecessors.

All previous presidents combined challenged fewer than 600 laws, Kelley's data show, compared with the more than 750 Bush has challenged in five years. Bush is also the first president since the 1800s who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments.
Like that would happen with the lapdog Congress we currently have.
Douglas Kmiec , who as head of the Office of Legal Counsel helped develop the Reagan administration's strategy of issuing signing statements more frequently, said he disapproves of the ``provocative' and sometimes ``disingenuous' manner in which the Bush administration is using them.

Kmiec said the Reagan team's goal was to leave a record of the president's understanding of new laws only in cases where an important statute was ambiguous. Kmiec rejected the idea of using signing statements to contradict the clear intent of Congress, as Bush has done. Presidents should either tolerate provisions of bills they don't like, or they should veto the bill, he said.

``Following a model of restraint, [the Reagan-era Office of Legal Counsel] took it seriously that we were to construe statutes to avoid constitutional problems, not to invent them," said Kmiec, who is now a Pepperdine University law professor.

By contrast, Bush has used the signing statements to waive his obligation to follow the new laws. In addition to the torture ban and oversight provisions of the Patriot Act, the laws Bush has claimed the authority to disobey include restrictions against US troops engaging in combat in Colombia, whistle-blower protections for government employees, and safeguards against political interference in taxpayer-funded research.

Cheney's office has taken the lead in challenging many of these laws, officials said, because they run counter to an expansive view of executive power that Cheney has cultivated for the past 30 years. Under the theory, Congress cannot pass laws that place restrictions or requirements on how the president runs the military and spy agencies. Nor can it pass laws giving government officials the power or responsibility to act independently of the president.

Mainstream legal scholars across the political spectrum reject Cheney's expansive view of presidential authority, saying the Constitution gives Congress the power to make all rules and regulations for the military and the executive branch and the Supreme Court has consistently upheld laws giving bureaucrats and certain prosecutors the power to act independently of the president."
No veto, no review, no chance of it appearing in court. Yup, yup we are on our way to a police state with a boy king. Unlimited power. Isn't that one of the reasons we wanted to get away from England? The idea was to make sure that no one branch of government had complete control of anything. Guess we are stupider than in Revolutionary times and so we need to be protected from ourselves. Told when, what and where we can think.

If it wasn't for the impact on the airlines, these guys would restrict travel between states just to make sure that subversive ideas of democracy don't spring up. I wish this was a joke, but it isn't.

Welcome to the United States of America, land of the free. Free to change the Constitution whenever it suits the powers that be.

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