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New Report Shows Bush's Presidential Signing Statements Have Been Used to Nullify Laws

By Brian Beutler, Media Consortium

Well, it's official: President Bush doesn't much respect the laws Congress passes. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report -- commissioned by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and released today -- confirms that Bush's use of presidential signing statements are, in fact, utterly without precedent.

Though they've been used by American presidents for about 200 years, signing statements -- edicts issued by the president to declare his intent to construe a provision within a law differently than Congress does -- are Constitutionally questionable. But George W. Bush's use of them far exceeds his predecessors', both in number and in severity, and he has consistently used them to flout the will of the legislative branch.

Though the GAO report makes no claims about the legitimacy of Bush's statements or of the use of statements in general, it indicates that, in practice, the statements have the effect of nullifying the law in question in about 30 percent of cases. The issues are important: They include accounting for Iraq war funding and security measures for the border patrol.

And that's just from the GAO's inquiry into the 11 signing statements Bush issued against appropriations acts in 2006, which constituted objections to 160 different provisions. Bush has released more than 100 signing statements in his presidency, taking exception to hundreds of provisions of the law.

The report was conducted fairly simply. GAO officials surveyed 19 of last year's 160 objections to determine how the statements had impacted the implementation of laws. According to the report: "We contacted the relevant agencies and asked them how they were executing the provisions. After evaluating the responses we received, we determined that agencies failed to execute six provisions as enacted."

Alongside the failures of law, the reports also list the rationales that the president used to strike down the provisions. For instance, GAO found that, by citing the Unitary Executive Theory, Bush allowed the Department of Defense to exclude "costs for any other contingency operations, such as those in Iraq" as Congress had mandated.

Indeed, it's the Unitary Executive Theory -- another Constitutionally dubious concept -- that has made Bush's use of signing statements especially damaging. Last year, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) inserted a provision into the Department of Defense emergency supplemental bill that would have criminalized the use of torture by U.S. military interrogators. In order to protect the measure's effectiveness, McCain included a provision that aimed to stop all interference by the President, save for a veto of the entire package. "The provisions of this section," it read, "shall not be superseded, except by a provision of law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act which specifically repeals, modifies, or supersedes the provisions of this section."

But upon signing the law, President Bush declared his intent to interpret the law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power."

Supplying much of the jurisprudential weight to the president's practice has been Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has written widely in support of the statements. In particular -- as The Boston Globe's Charlie Savage has reported -- in his dissent against the court's decision in the case of Hamdan vs. Donald Rumsfeld to block Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, Scalia wrote that "in its discussion of legislative history the court wholly ignores the president's signing statement, which explicitly set forth his understanding that the [Detainee Treatment Act] ousted jurisdiction over pending cases."

Scalia appears to have laid out his philosophy on signing statements in a 1986 memo, wherein he wrote, "Since the president's approval is just as important as that of the House or Senate, it seems to follow that the president's understanding of the bill should be just as important as that of Congress."

In 2006, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced legislation that would have forbidden federal courts from legitimating presidential signing statements and allowed Congress to bring up the question of their constitutionality before the Supreme Court. But the bill never made it to the Senate floor and expired at the end of the 109th Congress.


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Under GWB America has become a neodictatorship.

"In 2006, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced legislation that would have forbidden federal courts from legitimating presidential signing statements and allowed Congress to bring up the question of their constitutionality before the Supreme Court. But the bill never made it to the Senate floor and expired at the end of the 109th Congress."

We don't need new law to question the constitutionality of signing statements. We need a Congress with balls and respect for the oath of office, and a Supreme Court that isn't a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bushco.

Video Commentary You'll Never See in the MSM:
Now Playing: "Lieberman's Lies"

DonP People complain that the actions taken by Bush and the Bush administration are a violation of law. Bullshit, unless the nation is prepared to prevent these actions and/or remove the people responsible for these "illegal" actions then these actions have been santioned and become part of common law. Acceptance by Congress and the SCOTUS of the concept of and actions by the "unitary executive (AKA King George)have enbeddded the concept firmly in the framework of the exising laws. Like it or hate it, SCOTUS and Congress have eliminated all pretenses of a Constitution form of government for this country.

"Unitary Dictatorship" . . . brought to YOU by this FCC Licensed Station . .. and these fine Patriarchal Fascist corporate sponsors . . .like Halliburton . .. ;-)

Hey kidz, if this BushCo PNAC/AIPAC shadow cabal "Media For Hire" can sell the concept of magick burning jet fuel that can defy the laws of physics and melt steel, they can sell ANYTHING!!!. . . even a King in the White House of WE THE PEOPLE!!! . . ;-)

But it looks like even brother Michael Moore, director of "Sicko", has at least sneaked a peak behind the Lame Stream Media 9/11 PR curtain that started this coup d'etat:

(clipped article)
"Moore told reporters, 'I've had a number of firefighters tell me over the years and since Fahrenheit 9/11 that they heard these explosions-- that they believe there's MUCH more to the story than we've been told. I don't think the official investigations have told us the complete truth-- they haven't even told us half the truth.'"

(full story with link to video clip of interview - approx. 10 min)

However, things are not well in BushCo Propaganda Land, kidz . .. Even Rubert Murdoch's Fox News is losing its "faithful" viewership . . . and newspapers are struggling to compete wth the NEW media of the Internet . . .to the point of giving away free subscriptions to their newspapers. . .;-)

Here in North Cackilacki, it appears that folks don't even want FREE propaganda from this "media syndicate" . . .especially this ol' yippie fool . .. ;-)

(my letter to New York Times owned Wilmington Star News)
"(to editor and circulation department)

Are you so desperate that you are now GIVING AWAY your
BushCo propaganda? . . .;-)

Please stop leaving your "newspaper" in my driveway every morning.

I am not training a puppy. I do not need to wrap a fish. I do not need to line a bird cage. Therefore, the only use your "newspaper" serves is to fill up my recycling bin.

My address is:
xxxx xxxxxxx
Wilmington, NC xxxxx

I did not subscibe to your "dis-information" service, so please stop
cluttering my driveway with it. This has been going on for months.

How do you all sleep at night knowing that you LIE for a living to
promote illegal wars and war criminals? I look forward to the day
when the people of this state wake up and run you all out of town
on a rail.

Frederick C. Blackburn"

Ever the speedy "Jimmy Olsen meets Peter Parker" NEWS scoops, The Wilmington Star News of course has still not responded and continues to clutter my driveway with their important "World FEAR View" . . .every damn morning, kidz . . .;-)

For example, forget H.R. 2755 to abolish the Federal Reserve or Ed and Elaine Brown being slowly "Waco'd To Death" in New Hampshire for asking to see a LAW . .. nope, this isn't NEWS . . the FRONT PAGE important stuff that I am supposed to give a shit about??? . . . "Few Choose Cicumcisions" . .. NO SHIT kidz!!! . .. FRONT PAGE TODAY in the Wilmington Star News!!!! . . . ;-)

Now, while I am just tickled pink to know that these Khazars that actually believe they are the direct descendants of "Adam Kadmon - . . .. That Self-Made MAN NOT born of a dirty ol' filthy unclean WOMAN" . . . .are FINALLY giving up the barbaric 4000 year old practice of child sex-organ mutilation . . .;-)

. . . but when it comes to NEWS matters of "these special folks" , I'm a bit more interested in things like the current AIPAC spy trial and the latest Israeli genocide tactics against their neighbors with MY TAX DOLLARS. .. this time being HAMAS in Gaza . .

Which, it turns out, Brother President Jimmy Carter isn't keen on, either . .. I got that piece of NEWS from reading the Jerusalem Post . . . NOT the Wilmington Star News, by the way . . .;-)

(clipped headline from Jerusalelm Post)
"Carter: Stop favoring Fatah over Hamas"

(full story)

Yup, SCOTUS and Congress may have been "Jack Abramoff'd" (i.e. bribed, blackmailed, or threatened) into sanctioning the concept of the great usurper being given the title of "Unitary Executive" . .. but the media MARKETED and SOLD it to WE THE PEOPLE . . .

. . . along with two ILLEGAL WARS and two ILLEGAL OCCUPATIONS . ..

This ol' fool just wants the "Professional Media" to know that WE THE PEOPLE just aren't real happy about it . . .;-)

"Out went the call to one and to all
That echoed and rolled like the thunder.
Trumpets and drums, roar upon roar
More upon more.
Rolling the call of 'Come now to WAR'
Two little kings playing a game.
They gave a war and nobody came.
And nobody came."
- Zor And Zam by The Monkees


Bush, with Cheney's help, the ReThugs and the Supremes....have helped ensure the Bush/Cheney dictatorship RULES.

But it is true....the Dems are spineless. While it WAS only last year that the Dems took "control"....ask yourself: "control" of what? Bush/Cheney/Abu Gonzo....behind the scenes are LAUGHING at the notion that the Democrats will do ANYTHING to interfere with them.

A few subpoenas -- ignored -- years of missing Rove e-mails -- it all SMELLS. They are riding out the clock.....and WE, the People, are LETTING THEM.

It's truly OUTRAGEOUS. Talk about the Mafia! Talk about being "ruled" by Thugs! Criminals. SHOCKING. Abu Ghraib. AS IF Rummie "didn't know". What bull shit! Puh-leeze!

My only hope is that some OTHER country -- that DOES have balls and a spine -- will bring proceedings to take them to The Hague. It sure won't happen here. "Off the table" Cover our asses for 2008.....that's the MO here.

This country.....and its Constitution.....was given up....given over.....when Sandra Day O'Connor and her buddies stopped the election process....and GAVE... gave the fraudulent election and presidency over to George W. Bush. Stole it from us and from Al Gore. (At least we were spared the two-faced Liberman as VP)

From that moment on "Rule of Law" became Gonzo put it...."quaint"....a thing of the past.

Hundreds of years of hard work and devotion to the country, the Constitution, the Rule of Law........thrown down the drain.

Republicans can feel so proud of what they have done. Criminal!

This treasonous bastard masquerading as a Supreme Court Justice(?) leaves me completely at a loss. Where did this supposed legal scholar develop this concept.

It is clear to me that Scalia and at least three others on the Court deserve to be impeached for failing to not only preserve, protect and defend the Constitution but to be criminally prosecuted for treason in their intentional conduct which has enabled Bush and Cheney to turn this nation into an imperial thug within the world community.

This all started with the 1980 election of Reagan. Since January, 1981, the skids have been greased and our country has been on an ever increasing decline at the hands of greedy corporate barons and the politicians who they have handpicked to do their bidding.

The nation has almost come full circle since 1776. We The People have now been rendered We The Subjugated to the imperial elites of the American corporate culture. Yet the poor suckers who work in the heat and humidity for less than a living wage can only regurgitate the talking points of the administration cheerleaders while they fall further behind economically. When they vote they either put a noose around their necks or take a razon to them.

What is it going to take to remove these criminals from office? What is it going to take to get guts into an otherwise gutless Congress? What is it going to take to get fair minded, independent judges back onto the federal and state benches?

One of the first ways to accomplish this is to reform campaign finance laws. Groups such as AIPAC should among be the first to be investigated and thoroughly rebuked. Isreal is not the 51st state! Recognition of that fact by the average working individual might also be a good beginning to a revolution among the working class to understand how they have been manipulated for the last nearly 30 years.

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