the blog of DC Drinking Liberally
Via Americablog, I see that Bush celebrated September 11 with a little flag desecration (a habit I’ve mentioned before). It still seems to me that if something is bad enough to require a constitutional amendment, it should be an impeachable offense.
Of course, the real question is whose idea it was to make a September 11 flag doormat in the first place. That sort of thing hasn’t gone over well with Republicans in the past.
With the Congress gearing up to amend the Constitution to partially repeal the First Amendment in order to address the grave threat of flag burning, Bush decided to take out a little time in Austria to scrawl his signature on American flags for some fans. This is a repeat of a flag-autographing stunt he pulled in 2003, for which there is photographic evidence:
If desecrating the flag is such an outrage, shouldn’t these Constitution amenders be drawing up articles of impeachment?
Tonight at a special event hosted jointly by the Wednesday and Thursday chapters of DC Drinking Liberally, blogger and author Glenn Greenwald(who’s in town for the Take Back America conference) will be reading from and signing his book How Would a Patriot Act?: Defending American Values from a President Run Amok.
Happy hour starts at 6:30 tonight (Wednesday, June 14) at Mark & Orlando’s, 2020 P Street NW (Dupont Circle Metro). Glenn will speak at 7:30, but get there early, since space is limited. The book will be available for $12.
[Update] Moved the text of the original post here. :)
Al Gore threw down a gauntlet today.
Not some little leather glove with a long cuff like you’d see at a Rennaissance festival.
A real gauntlet.One of the big ugly bastards that jousters wore on the off hand, a thick leather glove that only existed to protect your skin from the fully articulated steel fingers, thumb, and wrist. A heavy plate that covered the back of your hand, and the thick armor to protect your lower forearm. You know. The kind of gauntlet that if you got hit in the face with it, your dentist would have a religious experience.
Got the point across? Good. Now we’ll set the scene. But first, grab a cup of coffee… this is a long one, and well worth your undivided attention.
Al Gore is speaking at noon Monday, January 16 (MLK Day), at DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D Street NW, on “Unchecked Presidential Power”:
The speech will specifically point to domestic wiretapping and torture as examples of the Administration’s assertion of executive power in disregard of Congress and the courts.
The speech is sponsored by the Liberty Coalition and the American Constitution Society. See libertyspeeches.org for more information and to reserve free tickets (which will go fast).
The Shrub is fighting for the political life of the GOP, the Libertarian wing of the party now up in arms over the revelations regarding the Warrantless wiretapping (to say nothing about how most Liberals feel). I believe he is mounting three defenses, all three based on a series of “of course” conclusions that when looked at from beginning to end, are pretty damn ridiculous. What I like to characterize as “weasel words.” It’s interesting when people who claim to believe in strict construction of the Constitution interperet it so freely - and even more interesting when they interpret the laws with an even more cavalier disregard for consequences.
[Crossposted at Stealthbadger.net]
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder if you can tell us today, sir, what, if any, limits you believe there are or should be on the powers of a President during a war, at wartime? And if the global war on terror is going to last for decades, as has been forecast, does that mean that we’re going to see, therefore, a more or less permanent expansion of the unchecked power of the executive in American society?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I disagree with your assertion of “unchecked power.”
Q Well —
THE PRESIDENT: Hold on a second, please. There is the check of people being sworn to uphold the law, for starters. There is oversight. We’re talking to Congress all the time, and on this program, to suggest there’s unchecked power is not listening to what I’m telling you. I’m telling you, we have briefed the United States Congress on this program a dozen times.
This is an awesome responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the American people, and I understand that, Peter. And we’ll continue to work with the Congress, as well as people within our own administration, to constantly monitor programs such as the one I described to you, to make sure that we’re protecting the civil liberties of the United States. To say “unchecked power” basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the President, which I strongly reject.
Q What limits do you —
THE PRESIDENT: I just described limits on this particular program, Peter. And that’s what’s important for the American people to understand. I am doing what you expect me to do, and at the same time, safeguarding the civil liberties of the country.
So Bush enumerates two checks on his power to torture, detain indefinitely without charges, spy on American citizens, or do whatever the hell he wants in the War on Terrorism. The first check is “people being sworn to uphold the law”. I’m sure we can all rest easy in the knowledge that no one who has sworn to uphold the law would ever think of violating that oath.
The second check is “talking to Congress”. The administration apparently actually talked to only a handful of members of Congress about the program of warrantless wiretaps on American citizens, and those members were prohibited from telling anyone about the conversations. So they couldn’t talk to other members (not even those who were also on the intelligence committees) and take congressional action. They couldn’t consult legal or constitutional experts. They couldn’t alert the public. The best they could do was write a letter of protest and file it away in secret. What sort of check could such conversations possibly provide?
I do agree with Bush when he says, “I am doing what you expect me to do”. It’s not what I’d hope for, or what I’d expect most presidents to do, but it is the sort of thing I’ve come to expect from Bush. He and his gang have made clear in the past that they believe a president has absolute power in a time of war — and that we’re now in the midst of a war that can have no clear ending.
Perhaps rather than checks the president would look better in stripes.
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