Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our Laws Don't Apply To...Us?

The primary season has given highwayscribery something to live for in recent days, but (p)resident Bush remains the gift that just keeps on giving... or taking or...

You have to wonder how Dan Froomkin hasn't ended up at Gitmo with his unrelenting assault on the president.

Sure, highwayscribery has been harder on w., but Froomkin actually has a readership and, as his most recent posting at "White House Briefing" makes perfectly clear, he doesn't waste the space nor does he whisper into the megaphone.

Froomkin has long been a source for top-notch journalism and inspiration here at highwayscribery.

That w. is drying up and blowing away with the winds of change sweeping our nation, doesn't mean he has mellowed, seen any special light, or learned how to compromise.

Take his latest "signing statement," those normally ceremonial accompaniments to legislation the Bush administration has raised to an art form where dissembling and dishonesty are concerned.

Froomkin reports that Congress passed a big defense appropriations bill this week. It's normally the largest outlay of your money the government makes, though the particulars are rarely parsed in the national media.

But the "Washington Post" blogger/columnist parses both the bill and the (p)resident's ensuing signing statement and concludes, surprise of surprises, that Bush sees something other than what the words say.

Section 1222 reads, and we quote:

"No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in the Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources in Iraq."

Which is very interesting because of what it says about the real action in Washington D.C.

While the media is gleefully stepping all over Bill Clinton's overstepping his role has former-president-cum-political-husband, and lubricating John McCain for another session of whoring, the Democratic Congress has been doing what it can to prevent the administration from setting up a permanent presence in Iraq, and keeping the U.S.'s paws off the beleaguered countries most precious resource...

"...Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea," as they said in the introduction to "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Bush's response to Congress, which is empowered by the U.S. Constitution to make the laws he will carry out, was this:

"[It] purports to impose requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief."

The latter which he likens to that of a dictator.

Bush doesn't understand checks and balances or the idea that Congress is fully within its rights to "impose" upon him.

Or as Froomkin put it, "The overall message to Congress was clear: I'm not bound by your laws."

Remember when you voted in 2006 to switch party control in Congress and, by implication, end the war?

This is what you got.

And if it had slipped your mind while you absorbed the magnitude of your grocery and gas bills, and all the stories about how valuable going to Iraq was now that there are only one or two bombings a day, the media wasn't going to remind you.

In spite of the fact the signing statement was distributed to reporters covering the White House, the "New York Times," "Washington Post," and "Wall Street Journal," all saw fit to ignore the story, or rather did not see it at all.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia), co-sponsored language establishing a commission to investigate corporate welfare associated with the Iraq war, only to have it become part of the signing statement's sweeping and magical powers.

Said Webb, who signaled a new order back in January 2007 by getting in Bush's face at some fancy event or other, "If the administration would like to explain to us what their constitutional issues is with a piece of legislation that the President just signed, we would be happy to hear that. In the meantime, we are moving forward with the Commission."

Which sounds good, but you'll remember when the Senate tried to subpoena administration officials over the illegal eavesdropping program it started, they simply refused to appear and were backed up by Alberto Gonzales' Department of Justice, which made clear its unwillingness to prosecute for them for contempt of Congress.

And you'll remember back when Dick Cheney didn't have to respond to a subpoena of certain documents Congress wanted (for the same eavesdropping scandal), because he had deemed himself the occupant of some strange netherworld neither in Congress or the executive branch.

None of these things (nor many others) has the administration had to answer for, but a time of reckoning is near for they will soon be pulled from their bulwarks by a new election...

...if they choose to recognize it as applying to them.

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