Friday, May 05, 2006

Founding Fathers Warned about the Imperial Presidency!

On January 21, 2005, President Bush was sworn in for his second term as President. As part of the swearing in ceremony, the President-elect is required as per Article II Section 1 in the Constitution to state:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The Constitution is more than a "Goddamned piece of paper." The Constitution is that document that protects our freedom, determines our nation, and establishes our Democracy.

One of the foundations of the freedom of our nation has been the notion of "Separation of Powers." As explained:
"By distributing the essential business of government among three separate but interdependent branches, the Constitutional Framers ensured that the principal powers of the government, legislative, executive and judicial, were not concentrated in the hands of any single branch. Allocating governmental authority among three separate branches also prevented the formation of too strong a national government capable of overpowering the individual state governments. The Separation of Powers, by which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are to be independent and not infringe upon each other's rights and duties, is one of the basic doctrines in the US Constitution."

Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist Papers No. 69 explained his understanding of the power of the President and the distinguishing features between the American system and English royalty:
"The President of the United States is to have power to return a bill, which shall have passed the two branches of the legislature, for reconsideration; and the bill so returned is to become a law, if, upon that reconsideration, it be approved by two thirds of both houses. The king of Great Britain, on his part, has an absolute negative upon the acts of the two houses of Parliament. The disuse of that power for a considerable time past does not affect the reality of its existence; and is to be ascribed wholly to the crown's having found the means of substituting influence to authority, or the art of gaining a majority in one or the other of the two houses, to the necessity of exerting a prerogative which could seldom be exerted without hazarding some degree of national agitation."
And yet this President has advocated that government ignore the law, directed subordinates to break the law, and has placed himself above the law itself. In an unprecedented 750 times, this President has added signing statements to 1 out of 10 laws he has signed.

A few examples:
"March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations."
or on Torture:
"Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.
Or how about directing military personnel to break the law and follow the President's wishes rather than what Congress has directed?
"Aug. 5: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence."
or how about this one:
"Nov. 6, 2003: US officials in Iraq cannot prevent an inspector general for the Coalition Provisional Authority from carrying out any investigation. The inspector general must tell Congress if officials refuse to cooperate with his inquiries.

Bush's signing statement: The inspector general ''shall refrain" from investigating anything involving sensitive plans, intelligence, national security, or anything already being investigated by the Pentagon. The inspector cannot tell Congress anything if the president decides that disclosing the information would impair foreign relations, national security, or executive branch operations.
President Bush is undermining laws made by out properly elected Congressmen and Senators. In fact laws passed by a Congress controlled by his own Republican Party! What is wrong with this picture?

George Washington, on September 17, 1796, warned of the dangers of an unlimited Presidency. Our first President stated:
"It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield."
We shall no longer have a Democratic country if this practice of undermining and yes indeed subverting the very laws of Congress isn't stopped.

Let us remember the words of Alexander Hamilton who described the difference between our form of government and the then-royal run government of Britain.

Our nation does not need a King. We are a nation where every American is bound to follow the law. Two hundred years ago, our very first President warned about those that would try to usurp power into the Executive branch. This President is determined to ignore the will of Congress, to mock its requests, and to obstruct the business of this nation.

America Deserves Better! It is time for change in America! America deserves a President who is sworn to uphold and protect our Constitution and not ignore it.

Bob

2 Comments:

Blogger Heir to the Throne said...


Senator John Kerry at Grinnell College
As Thomas Jefferson said, "dissent is the highest form of patriotism."


One small problem Jefferson never said it.

Thomas Jefferson's Love of Dissent

12:20 PM  
Blogger BobsAdvice said...

Heir to the Throne,

It appears that John Kerry has attributed to Jefferson what thousands of others have done as well. When actually it was an interview with Howard Zinn the historian where the phrase "dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

Point made.

Bob

2:08 PM  

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