Thursday, June 29, 2006

Signing Statement Site

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Good Questions

to ask about Bush's "signing statements":
For the White House

Q. What do these signing statements mean?

Q. What effect have they had? For instance, how do these signing statements translate into internal executive-branch memos?

Q. What precisely is the White House saying about the limits of executive power, if any, and the relationship between Article I and Article II of the Constitution?

Q. What exactly do White House lawyers mean by “unitary executive”?

Q. What does it mean when the president says things like “the executive branch shall construe section so-and-so in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President”? Should that be construed as notice that he plans to ignore it? Likewise when he says a provision will be construed in a manner “consistent with my constitutional authority in the area of foreign affairs” or “consistent with my constitutional duty as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces”?

Q. When the president says the “Executive Branch shall construe as advisory certain provisions” of a law, does that mean he will ignore them? Will he let Congress know if he does so?

Q. From the president's perspective, how does the practice of issuing signing statements fit with the constitutional separation of powers? Why does the President think he can choose which laws to uphold? (Deb Junod, Eagan, Minn.)

Q. Why is it wrong for the judiciary to redefine the law but right for the President? Or: why is "activist judge" bad but "signing statement" good? Or: how is it a problem if the judicial branch takes power from the legislative, but not a problem if the executive branch takes power from the legislative? (Jonathan Krueger, Pleasanton, Calif.)

Q. Are there any statutes currently on the books whose express provisions the Administration is violating, or declining to enforce, in reliance on "signing statements" or the "inherent powers" of the presidency, whether as commander in chief or otherwise? If so, do the American people have a right to know what are they? Does Congress? Will you provide us a list? (Vince Canzoneri, Boston)

Q. Why make a big show of trying to get lawmakers to reach compromises with the White House on legislation (see John McCain's anti-torture legislation) if he's then going to append a signing statement proclaiming that there's no need for him to observe the very law he just signed? Why bother going through the motions at all? (Lou Morin, Freeport, Maine)

For Members of Congress

Q. How do members of Congress feel about the president saying he can ignore their laws when he unilaterally deems them an encroachment on his executive power?

Q. Who in Congress is monitoring this issue?

Q. Are committee staff in a position to actually monitor these statements and track what is and isn’t happening as a result of these statements?

Q. For members whose bills have passed both Houses, been signed by the president, then been qualified with a signing statement: As part of your oversight plan, have you identified any mechanism for following up on presidential declarations about your statutes? How can you be sure your statutes are being followed?

For Congressional Candidates

Q. Will you be willing to use Congress’s traditional mechanisms to force answers from the executive – issuing subpoenas and threatening to reduce appropriations – to determine how signing statements are affecting laws passed by Congress? Will you sue the president if he refuses to say?

Q. When you’re on a committee, will you call for hearings and insist that representatives from the executive branch explain, for each signing statement attached to a bill from your committee, what the president meant, and what he intends to do about it?

Q. When you’re on a committee, what do you intend to do from this point forward to make sure not just that the agencies are doing their jobs, but that the agencies are being given the proper direction from the White House?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Losing Face

* Al-Qaedist Abu Zubaydah was captured in March 2002.
* Zubaydah's captors discovered he was mentally ill and charged with minor logistical matters, such as arranging travel for wives and children.
* The President was informed of that judgment by the CIA.
* Two weeks later, the President described Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."
* Later, Bush told George Tenet, "I said he was important. You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" and asked Tenet if "some of these harsh methods really work?"
* The methods -- torture -- were applied.
* Then, according to Gellman, "Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty."
* At which point, according to Suskind, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.

As Atrios says: "So, we torture a mentally ill guy and panic law enforcement all around the country so that the president doesn't "lose face.""

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Bush Is Serious About Border Security


President Bush has refused to meet with border law enforcement officials from Texas for a second time. His response to their request came in the form of a letter Monday, angering both lawmakers and sheriffs.

In fact, some Republican members of Congress, upset by what they call the administration's seeming lack of concern for border security, are preparing to hold investigative hearings in San Diego and Laredo, Texas, early next month.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Manjoo-Kennedy Exchange

Monday, June 05, 2006

Was There Serious Vote Fraud in Ohio in the 2004 Election?

Of course there was.

Was it enough to swing the election?

Almost certainly.

Are many liberals, including prominent bloggers in denial about the fraud?


Isn't this disgusting?


Why don't these self-described Democratic activists more upset of about the fact that the presidency was stolen?

I really don't know. Maybe they are conservative moles. Maybe they are afraid of anything that has been labelled a "conspiracy theory". Maybe they don't want to deal with it as the implications are too disturbing (like 9/11). Either way, their apathy is disgusting, appalling, pathetic and cowardly.

Here is Robert F. Kennedy Jr's "Rolling Stone" article.

Here is are some putative liberals poo-poohing the accusation that election was stolen: Chris Bowers, the Poorman, and most notably "Salon" magazine's Farhad Manjoo.

Of course, big-time liberal blogers like Atrios and Kos won't even touch the story.

Here is Bob Fitrakis rebutting Manjoo.

Here is a five-part analysis of Manjoo versus Kennedy by "Mercury Rising":

Bottom line, is that there is much to take seriously about Kennedy's article-- even if a few statistics are used in ways that certain people don't approve of.

Interestingly, many Kos diaries and DU posts have supported the Kennedy article, as you might imagine. It's always the noisy rabble who believes in "silly" things like stolen election-- and only the big boys know better than to treat these claims seriously.
The bottom

Is Bush Violating the Constitution with his Signing Statements?

The ABA is going to investigate, because the Republicans in Congress don't seem to give a shit.