Friday, October 06, 2006

"Upon what Constitution doth this our Caesar feed?"

AKA- 'Does This Sound Like Democracy To You?, Pt. 362'

Signing statements are a (constitutionally questionable) 'PS' a Presidents adds to a law, giving his thoughts on it. President Bush has taken them to new levels, using them to circumvent the very law he is signing. His most famous signing statement was late last year on the McCain torture ban, in which "he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief". Got that? 'I'll sign this law, but I won't obey it'. Another disturbing example was this past March when the President added a statement onto the Patriot Act renewal (when the reporters had left after the big photo-op) "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." These requirements were meant to prevent abuse, but the President would have none of that nonsense.

Now news of a new signing statement- less harmful than those two, but still showing a clear pattern of abuse- tacked onto the recently signed Homeland Security bill...

AP: Bush says he can edit security reports
President Bush, again defying Congress, says he has the power to edit the Homeland Security Department's reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watchlists.

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

But Bush, in a signing statement attached to the agency's 2007 spending bill, said he will interpret that section "in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."...

...The American Bar Association and members of Congress have said Bush uses signing statements excessively as a way to expand his power...

And there is no questioning of this or oversight because the President's rubberstamp Republican Congress is quite happy to allow a President of their party to expand his power at the expense of checks and balances. Looking the other way seems to be a pattern with this Congress.

But wait, there's more!!-
Bush's signing statement Wednesday challenges several other provisions in the Homeland Security spending bill.

Bush, for example, said he'd disregard a requirement that the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency must have at least five years experience and "demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management and homeland security."

His rationale was that it "rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office."

Translation: 'I'm a big fucking idiot who didn't learn his lesson with Michael Brown.'

As Josh Marshall said in March, "Our permanent constitutional crisis under the lawless presidency of George W. Bush [continues]... There's really no overstating the importance of the president's disrespect for and serial violations of the law he has sworn twice to uphold."

Had enough?

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