America Under a Junta: An Update
Did You Know that Signing the Wrong Law and Violating the Constitution is Just a Technicality? America Under a Junta: An Update.
March 27, 2006
Okay, when Scalito's scary twin (and not his scary puppet, Clarence Thomas), Samuel Alito, was up for nomination, BuzzFlash reminded readers that Alito was the creator of the infamous Republican Presidential "signing statement."
Basically, the "brilliant" Alito advised the Reagan White House that if the right wing fanatics around Ronnie disagreed with a Congressional Bill, someone should just write up a statement that the Gipper would read when signing a bill that they didn't agree with. The "statement" would basically reinterpret the law to the White House's liking, and claim that the reinterpreted law would be the one that the president would follow.
Unconstitutional, yes. Illegal, yes. A violation of the separation of powers, yes.
But, of course, the Democrats have never challenged the practice of subverting democracy.
So, after the "UnPatriotic Act" provisions were reauthorized by Congress just a short time ago, with some minor changes (like holding the White House accountable to Congress on just a couple of things), Bush signed the law with a statement saying that he wasn't going to inform Congress of potentially illegal activities by the FBI that the bill expressly required him to do. In short, Bush just added a statement to the bill informing Congress that he wasn't bound by the law.
It hardly went noticed at all by the mainstream press (except for a Boston Globe story entitled, "Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement: In addendum to law, he says oversight rules are not binding"). You could feel a collective yawn among the boozers who compose the White House Press Corps. "Like, what's the big deal. It's just a technicality, like driving through a stop sign. If we have to look into this, we'll miss our three-martini lunch and the envelope with the payoff from Karl Rove."
We quote from the Boston Globe article:
When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers....
Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.
In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."
Bush wrote: ''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 . . . "
The White House is now regularly ignoring the law -- also known as breaking the law -- through regular use of Alito's idea of executive branch "signing statements."
But Congressman Henry Waxman -- who along with John Conyers are the two official BuzzFlash "Bulldogs for Justice" in Congress -- discovered that the White House has gone beyond official statements that give them the right -- in their eyes -- to break the law.
Waxman disclosed, with nary a mention by the mainstream media, that Bush is now perfectly content to sign a Constitutionally invalid law -- and likely with knowing forethought. And not only was it just any wrong law, it was the Budget Reconciliation Act for the U.S. Government.
Waxman and his staff make use of incredible inside information that they obtain. In this case, they were alerted that the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, or his senior aid, called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to let them know that Bush was about to sign the wrong law -- and that Bush's staff didn't care.
"Bulldog" Waxman, a past winner of the BuzzFlash "Wings of Justice Award," sent a formal letter to the White House, asking Bush's Chief of Staff if he were aware, in advance, that Bush was going to sign the wrong law -- in effect clearly violating the Constitution.
Last week, when we talked to Waxman's office, he had not yet received a response. We concluded that given past White House disdain for Congress, the Constitution, and the law that Waxman wasn't expecting one either.
In his letter to Andrew Card, Waxman writes: "The Presentment Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that before a bill can become law, it must be passed by both Houses of Congress. When the President took the oath of office, he swore to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,' which includes the Presentment Clause. If the President signed the Reconciliation Act knowing its constitutional infirmity, he would in effect be placing himself above the Constitution."
If you want a translation of "constitutional infirmity," it means violating the law of the land. Bush signed a bill passed by only one branch of Congress -- and not a hoot has been heard from the hallowed editorial pages of America's newspapers.
We have an administration that breaks the law, spies on Americans, does "black bag" breaking and entering jobs on the homes and businesses of Americans, makes up its own laws, and signs the wrong laws -- and the Democrats in leadership positions are all upset that Feingold wants to censure Bush!
My Lord, forget censuring Bush. Send him straight to jail.
This is so unlawful that you have to think that there is more to the Congressional leadership shunning Feingold and leaving Waxman and Conyers to their lonely struggles on behalf of the Constitution.
There are only two explanations for the behavior of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel and their cohorts in leadership. Either they think that the American people condone Bush's unlawful and UnConstitutional behavior -- or some people in leadership are in the tank with the White House (and there are others we could name, like Dianne Feinstein and Joe Lieberman, but they aren't in leadership).
Those are the only two explanations that could possibly explain why the top Democrats appear more interested in margianlizing Feingold -- and basically ignoring Waxman and Conyers -- than in sending Bush (and Cheney) to jail.
Re-read the editorial above.
We have a renegade junta in the White House that brazenly violates the law and the Constitution -- and the D.C. Beltway Democrats (with the exception of our heroes and a few others) just keep acting is if it is business as usual. (Forget about the Stepford Republicans. They are just outright traitors.)
Since 2000, when Bush stole the election, the Democratic leadership has treated him with kid gloves, interspersed by occasional huffing and puffing without any action. As a result, we now have an outlaw regime in the White House.
These are not idle words. We have an executive branch that regularly and defiantly breaks the law -- and doesn't care if it even signs the wrong laws that Constitutionally don't even pass the muster of being enacted law.
You are either for a Constitutional form of government, with all Americans accountable to the law -- or you are against it.
The BuzzFlash message to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is simple: Make the Choice.