If the president does it, it's not illegal?
His most recent attempt (that we know of, at least) to expand his powers beyond all legal justification came in July 2007. Falling conveniently under the rubric of national security, Bush issued an executive order which authorizes the government to freeze the financial assets of anyone who directly or indirectly aids someone who has committed or “poses a significant risk of committing” violent acts “threatening the peace or stability of Iraq.”
Yet as Walter Pincus pointed out in the Washington Post, the text of the order, entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq,” if interpreted broadly, “could cast a far bigger net to include not just those who commit violent acts or pose the risk of doing so in Iraq but also third parties—such as U.S. citizens in this country—who knowingly or unknowingly aid or encourage such people.”
In fact, the language is so broad that ordinary Americans who oppose the Iraq war could find their names on the list of persons who are perceived to be undermining “efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform” in Iraq. With public support for the war in Iraq plummeting, this could mean almost anyone.
This executive order is just the latest example of Bush’s surreptitious attempts through various presidential directives, executive orders and stealth provisions to lay claim to a host of unprecedented powers. For example, last fall, the Bush Administration engineered into a mammoth defense budget bill the insertion of two stealth provisions that authorize the president to use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any “other condition.” And another “presidential directive” issued in May 2007 allows Bush to assume control of the federal government following a “catastrophic event” such as an earthquake, hurricane or another 9/11.
Undaunted by plummeting approval ratings, George Bush just keeps moving forward. And our paper tiger Congress isn’t helping matters much, either. As Jonathan Alter noted in Newsweek, right before leaving for their summer recess, Congress “sold out the Constitution to cover their political rears while keeping the rest of us mostly in the dark.” Giving in to pressure from the White House, Congress passed the Protect America Act of 2007 (the title alone should be a warning that illicit motives are at work), which authorizes open-ended surveillance of Americans’ overseas phone calls and e-mails without the need for a warrant or security justification. It is, as Aziz Huq writes in The Nation, “power without responsibility.”
Which leaves us where, exactly? The groundwork has been laid, the documents signed and the powers transferred. For all intents and purposes, the Bill of Rights is as good as dead. All we await is the fall of the axe to signal that what has been plotted on paper is now a reality: the Bill of Rights will soon cease to afford us any protection from an imperial president.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
While heroin use appears to be on the rise across Louisiana, St. Charles Parish...
Entergy is seeking approval from St. Charles Parish leaders to build a generator...
A man was found dead in the Bonnet Carré Spillway on Friday after a night of...
The Destrehan Wildcats played one of their most complete games of the season in a...
After undergoing a seven-hour surgery to correct a severe case of scoliosis,...
Hahnville won handily 58-8 in a game against H.L. Bourgeois that, at first,...
Your family barbershop, beauty parlor, and hair salon all in one convenient location. Bring the whole family to our friendly and attentive staff for a relaxing shave and haircut or complete hairstyle. Children's cuts $12.00 and Adults starting at $14.00
Disabled war veteran one of 25 waiting for a home at Hahnville homeless complex - 872 views
Byron Joseph Sr., 56, is not a homeless stereotype.