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Thread: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    Former Vice President Al Gore will deliver a major address Monday on the threat posed by policies of the Bush Administration to the Constitution and the checks and balances it created. The speech will specifically point to domestic wiretapping and torture as examples of the administration's efforts to extend executive power beyond Congressional direction and judicial review.


    The Vice President will make the case that the country -- including the legislative and judicial branches and all Americans -- must act now to defend the systems put into place by the country's founders to curb executive power or risk permanent and irreversible damage to the Constitution.


    The extent of bipartisan concern over these issues is highlighted by former Republican Rep. Bob Barr's introduction of the Vice President next Wednesday, and by the organizations cosponsoring the speech.


    The Liberty Coalition brings together ideologically diverse organizations across the political spectrum, including liberal and conservative groups, to preserve the Bill of Rights, personal autonomy and individual privacy.


    The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS works to ensure that the fundamental principles of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice are in their rightful, central place in American law.
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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    ^^Ah ha! So that is how you get to witness all the scum, pervs, rapists and pedophiles.

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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    Nothing the Executive Department or Legislature does can affect the Constitution. Therefore there will be no irreparable damage to the Constitution by any acts of the current President.
    I think there will be irreperable damage, depending on how the judicial branch interprets any cases brought against bush and/or his co-horts. There is such a thing as precedence and it certainly counts for something when the judiciary starts to weigh in. And it's interesting that you, Mushy, who seems to lean to the right quite a bit, actually admits that the judiciary has the final say---while Bush &Co. keep saying that they want to do away with the 'policy setting judges'. Hmmmm.....
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Mushy
    The judicial system is the last and final interpreter of the Constitution and the laws derived therefrom. I have been a lawyer for 11 years and have worked exclusively for circuit and appellate judges. Nothing the Executive Department or Legislature does can affect the Constitution. Therefore there will be no irreparable damage to the Constitution by any acts of the current President.
    Go look up unitary executive power and get back to us. I seriously doubt half of congress would be up in arms if there was 'no danger'.

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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    *cough* unitary executive power, i don't see you looking it up..

    Additional Comment:
    Oh forget it, you'll never do it. Here, let me post an article from FindLaw:

    When President Bush signed the new law, sponsored by Senator McCain, restricting the use of torture when interrogating detainees, he also issued a Presidential signing statement. That statement asserted that his power as Commander-in-Chief gives him the authority to bypass the very law he had just signed.

    This news came fast on the heels of Bush's shocking admission that, since 2002, he has repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant, in flagrant violation of applicable federal law.

    And before that, Bush declared he had the unilateral authority to ignore the Geneva Conventions and to indefinitely detain without due process both immigrants and citizens as enemy combatants.

    All these declarations echo the refrain Bush has been asserting from the outset of his presidency. That refrain is simple: Presidential power must be unilateral, and unchecked.

    But the most recent and blatant presidential intrusions on the law and Constitution supply the verse to that refrain. They not only claim unilateral executive power, but also supply the train of the President's thinking, the texture of his motivations, and the root of his intentions.

    They make clear, for instance, that the phrase "unitary executive" is a code word for a doctrine that favors nearly unlimited executive power. Bush has used the doctrine in his signing statements to quietly expand presidential authority.

    In this column, I will consider the meaning of the unitary executive doctrine within a democratic government that respects the separation of powers. I will ask: Can our government remain true to its nature, yet also embrace this doctrine?

    I will also consider what the President and his legal advisers mean by applying the unitary executive doctrine. And I will argue that the doctrine violates basic tenets of our system of checks and balances, quietly crossing longstanding legal and moral boundaries that are essential to a democratic society.

    Bush has used presidential "signing statements" - statements issued by the President upon signing a bill into law -- to expand his power. Each of his signing statements says that he will interpret the law in question "in a manner consistent with his constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."

    Presidential signing statements have gotten very little media attention. They are, however, highly important documents that define how the President interprets the laws he signs. Presidents use such statements to protects the prerogative of their office and ensure control over the executive branch functions.

    Presidents also -- since Reagan -- have used such statements to create a kind of alternative legislative history. Attorney General Ed Meese explained in 1986 that:

    To make sure that the President's own understanding of what's in a bill is the same . . . is given consideration at the time of statutory construction later on by a court, we have now arranged with West Publishing Company that the presidential statement on the signing of a bill will accompany the legislative history from Congress so that all can be available to the court for future construction of what that statute really means.


    The alternative legislative history would, according to Dr. Christopher S. Kelley, professor of political science at the Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, "contain certain policy or principles that the administration had lost in its negotiations" with Congress.

    The Supreme Court has paid close attention to presidential signing statements. Indeed, in two important decisions -- the Chadha and Bowsher decisions - the Court relied in part on president signing statements in interpreting laws. Other federal courts, sources show, have taken note of them too.

    President Bush has used presidential signing statements more than any previous president. From President Monroe's administration (1817-25) to the Carter administration (1977-81), the executive branch issued a total of 75 signing statements to protect presidential prerogatives. From Reagan's administration through Clinton's, the total number of signing statements ever issued, by all presidents, rose to a total 322.

    In striking contrast to his predecessors, President Bush issued at least 435 signing statements in his first term alone. And, in these statements and in his executive orders, Bush used the term "unitary executive" 95 times. It is important, therefore, to understand what this doctrine means.

    What Does the Administration Mean When It Refers to the "Unitary Executive"?

    Dr. Kelley notes that the unitary executive doctrine arose as the result of the twin circumstances of Vietnam and Watergate. Kelley asserts that "the faith and trust placed into the presidency was broken as a result of the lies of Vietnam and Watergate," which resulted in a congressional assault on presidential prerogatives.

    For example, consider the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which Bush evaded when authorizing the NSA to tap without warrants -- even those issued by the FISA court. FISA was enacted after the fall of Nixon with the precise intention of curbing unchecked executive branch surveillance. (Indeed, Nixon's improper use of domestic surveillance was included in Article 2 paragraph (2) of the impeachment articles against him.)

    According to Kelley, these congressional limits on the presidency, in turn, led "some very creative people" in the White House and the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to fight back, in an attempt to foil or blunt these limits. In their view, these laws were legislative attempts to strip the president of his rightful powers. Prominent among those in the movement to preserve presidential power and champion the unitary executive doctrine were the founding members of the Federalist Society, nearly all of whom worked in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan White Houses.

    The unitary executive doctrine arises out of a theory called "departmentalism," or "coordinate construction." According to legal scholars Christopher Yoo, Steven Calabresi, and Anthony Colangelo, the coordinate construction approach "holds that all three branches of the federal government have the power and duty to interpret the Constitution." According to this theory, the president may (and indeed, must) interpret laws, equally as much as the courts.

    The Unitary Executive Versus Judicial Supremacy

    The coordinate construction theory counters the long-standing notion of "judicial supremacy," articulated by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in 1803, in the famous case of Marbury v. Madison, which held that the Court is the final arbiter of what is and is not the law. Marshall famously wrote there: "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."

    Of course, the President has a duty not to undermine his own office, as University of Miami law professor A. Michael Froomkin notes. And, as Kelley points out, the President is bound by his oath of office and the "Take Care clause" to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and to "take care" that the laws are faithfully executed. And those duties require, in turn, that the President interpret what is, and is not constitutional, at least when overseeing the actions of executive agencies.

    However, Bush's recent actions make it clear that he interprets the coordinate construction approach extremely aggressively. In his view, and the view of his Administration, that doctrine gives him license to overrule and bypass Congress or the courts, based on his own interpretations of the Constitution -- even where that violates long-established laws and treaties, counters recent legislation that he has himself signed, or (as shown by recent developments in the Padilla case) involves offering a federal court contradictory justifications for a detention.

    This is a form of presidential rebellion against Congress and the courts, and possibly a violation of President Bush's oath of office, as well.

    After all, can it be possible that that oath means that the President must uphold the Constitution only as he construes it - and not as the federal courts do?

    And can it be possible that the oath means that the President need not uphold laws he simply doesn't like - even though they were validly passed by Congress and signed into law by him?

    Analyzing Bush's Disturbing Signing Statement for the McCain Anti-Torture Bill

    Let's take a close look at Bush's most recent signing statement, on the torture bill. It says:

    The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, 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, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.

    In this signing statement, Bush asserts not only his authority to internally supervise the "unitary executive branch," but also his power as Commander-in-Chief, as the basis for his interpretation of the law -- which observers have noted allows Bush to create a loophole to permit the use of torture when he wants.

    Clearly, Bush believes he can ignore the intentions of Congress. Not only that but by this statement, he has evinced his intent to do so, if he so chooses.

    On top of this, Bush asserts that the law must be consistent with "constitutional limitations on judicial power." But what about presidential power? Does Bush see any constitutional or statutory limitations on that? And does this mean that Bush will ignore the courts, too, if he chooses - as he attempted, recently, to do in the Padilla case?

    The Unitary Executive Doctrine Violates the Separation of Powers

    As Findlaw columnist Edward Lazarus recently showed, the President does not have unlimited executive authority, not even as Commander-in-Chief of the military. Our government was purposely created with power split between three branches, not concentrated in one.

    Separation of powers, then, is not simply a talisman: It is the foundation of our system. James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers, No. 47, that:

    The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
    Another early American, George Nicholas, eloquently articulated the concept of "power divided" in one of his letters:

    The most effectual guard which has yet been discovered against the abuse of power, is the division of it. It is our happiness to have a constitution which contains within it a sufficient limitation to the power granted by it, and also a proper division of that power. But no constitution affords any real security to liberty unless it is considered as sacred and preserved inviolate; because that security can only arise from an actual and not from a nominal limitation and division of power.
    Yet it seems a nominal limitation and division of power - with real power concentrated solely in the "unitary executive" - is exactly what President Bush seeks. His signing statements make the point quite clearly, and his overt refusal to follow the laws illustrates that point: In Bush's view, there is no actual limitation or division of power; it all resides in the executive.

    Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense:

    In America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.
    The unitary executive doctrine conflicts with Paine's principle - one that is fundamental to our constitutional system. If Bush can ignore or evade laws, then the law is no longer king. Americans need to decide whether we are still a country of laws - and if we are, we need to decide whether a President who has determined to ignore or evade the law has not acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government.
    Additional Comment:
    and here's yet another....

    JENNIFER VAN BERGEN
    Van Bergen wrote recent articles on the unitary executive doctrine: "The Unitary Executive: Is the Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?" and "Scholar says Bush has used obscure doctrine to extend power 95 times."

    She said today: "Some aspects of the unitary executive are unobjectionable. The unitary executive doctrine is concerned with presidential powers in three ways: (1) presidential appointments and removals of officials in the executive branch, (2) presidential control over executive administration, and (3) the president's interpretations of laws in the execution of his duty as president. The first two of these are not subject to much controversy now.

    "As to the third, while clearly the president must interpret the laws he is sworn to uphold in order to uphold them, and in some instances a president may find that a law conflicts with his duties (which may be properly resolved in a number of ways: by working with Congress, bringing the issue to a federal court, etc.), when the doctrine is used as a means to utterly ignore laws and treaties, this is extremely troubling and may create a constitutional crisis.

    "When President Bush signed the McCain amendment, which prohibited the use of torture when interrogating detainees, he also issued a presidential signing statement. By this statement, in which he relies on the unitary executive doctrine, Bush appears to grant himself the authority to bypass the very law he had just signed.

    "This news came fast on the heels of Bush's shocking admission that, since 2002, he has repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant, in flagrant violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was enacted in the aftermath of Nixon's unlawful wiretappings specifically to curb unchecked executive branch surveillance.

    "It seems clear that Bush believes he can ignore laws, even those that he signs or that specifically were meant to prohibit the executive from acting. Does this also mean he can ignore the courts when he wishes? We need to decide whether a president who is determined to ignore or evade the law has not acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government.

    "Further, Congress should look very carefully at Alito's views on the unitary executive doctrine. If Alito believes that the doctrine allows the president to ignore laws, disregard clear congressional intent, or override federal court determinations, Alito should not be confirmed."
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    ... except that in REALITY what he IS doing is circumventing it completely. That's what you're not grasping: he is trying to consolidate the power around him to UNILARTERALLY do these things. Unitary executive power, and the GOP fuckbags in power support him doing this.

    Who's to stop him? Literally, who is going to stop him from doing it in a physical sense? Nobody.

    Why do you think people are so pissed off, because he's singlehandedly trying to usurp power with this "gospel" as Alito puts it, to cement within the executive the power to do all the things you said the constitution (which he referred to as 'a fucking piece of paper') prevents him from doing.

    In the end, it IS just a piece of paper if nobody is going to enforce it. And nobody IS. He's already shredded the constitution by negating due process, not to mention illegally spying on people with no oversight or warrants, etc.

    He's already disregarded the constitution, but for some reason people like to simply pretend that doesn't exist, or that he could never go any further.. yeah right.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    ...

    i'm pulling this from multiple sources, including your own government. Read the reports yourself. Hell, consult multiple spheres of information, and they pretty much all say the same thing except for one difference: One is supportive, the other not. The information remains the same.

    It's not fear factor bullshit that the Unitary executive power theory is in play. It's not bullshit that Bush illegally wiretapped people without warrants, even EMERGENCY warrants. It's not bullshit that various aspects of the Patriot act criminalize protestors.

    So if all those things are true, how is Bush NOT crapping all over the constitution? As Bush said: "it's my job to protect the American people for as long as needed"

    Actually, his job is to enforce the constitution, the one he's been breaking for the last while.

    I just can't stand this 'head-in-the-sand" nonsense Bushies have.

    "Oh do anything you want in this never-ending and ongoing threat against me, just protect me!"

    A neverending war is a great justification for expansion of powers. That's basic history, something some people lack.

    p.s. The democratic party is a bunch of spineless pantywaists. I don't bother with them. They're basically republicans without the mean streak.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Al Gore to blast Bush's 'police state' in major speech

    I think you are an idiot, because I don't see what your problem is, targeting America. I would think you would regard our president as cautious, freaking out a bit since 9/11, like ok, what is going on here, what should I do, I need to protect America. This has been a horrible attack, I need to protect America, everyone seems vulnerable.
    Do you actually believe people in government think in such naive, childlike terms? Honey, these are the people who made Nixon's presidency into a one stop mafia shopping spree. Do you actually think for ONE SECOND that they sit there, chewing on their fingernails, going "omg omg omg!" Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove... They ultimately brought down Nixon because of their insane policies.

    People who as naive as you say they are wouldn't be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in South America, supporting dictators, engineering wars, supporting one dictator while he gasses thousands of people, and then trying to oust him a decade later when he becomes a political liability... nobody who thinks in the childlike terms you just ascribed to the American government would be able to do those things. Give me a break.

    But, You Grimmlok, seem to rejoice in targeting George Bush as the root of all evil.
    No, right now he's the the puppet figurehead for America's brand of evil. I didn't say all evil, that's your silliness.

    I have no head in the sand mentality.
    Right, which is why you described Bush as going "Omg omg what a horrible attack, its up to me to defend America!". That's just... well silly. Iraq had nothing to do with defending America, that was planned LONG before 9/11.

    Almost as if Osama Bin Ladin didn't exist.
    I wouldn't be surprised if he was entirely fictional. Considering what this government has done, is doing, and wants to do it's not that far of a stretch. Considering there's a ton of conflicting evidence surrounding 9/11, it doesn't seem that far off.

    However, if he's alive he's a very bad man. Not as responsible for as many deaths as Bush (by a LONG SHOT, and we're talking civilians here), but pretty bad.

    Has it become such a legend to you that you find it ok to transfer your hatred to Bush?
    Oh right. Here we go. "You support the terrorists! You're against Bush, so that means you love Osama!" For a lawyer you seem totally incapable of seeing things without that silly black and white filter. Typical neocon logic, or lack thereof.

    Or did you hatred never lie towards Bin Laden?
    Sure, he's a badass, he's pretty evil, offing 2500+ people like that. Then again, Bush offed 30,000+ civilians (probably much more, cuz that's the official tally and the government lies about everything.. according to the Red Cross and other aid agencies, closer to 100,000)... so lets see, in the grand scheme of things, Bush has killed about 50 times as many people. Wait, let me guess.. that doesn't matter nearly as much, cuz they aren't Americans, who are somehow special.

    I have never seen you write a damning word about Bin Laden, but only Bush.
    Wtf can you say about Bin Laden? He (might have) orchestrated a terrorist attack, and 2500+ people died. Is he on the news every day? Nope. Kinda hard to say much about him beyond that because frankly he doesn't really make news. Hell, your own government isn't really looking for him anymore. Kinda telling.

    In fact, you wrote that America deserved it.
    No, that's your spun interpretation of what I said. I said America had it coming, as in the successive governments of America engineered such an attack with brutal policies of toppling governments, internal interference in other nations, propping up dictators and generally trying to control the middle east. If you piss off enough people, they're going to slap you back.

    However, you seem wholly incapable (yet again) of seeing that fact. To you, America has done and currently does no wrong, never has, never will. The history books tell a different story, but that would require reading them.

    Additional Comment:
    I would also like to note, for our studio audience that Mushy here didn't actually try to refute what I had said. What she's done is typical GOP attack/smear.

    Instead of answering the specific details in my post, she basically slapped a pseudo-patriotic platitude on why Bush is doing what he's doing (despite it being illegal immoral, and causing the deaths of tens of thousands) because the all encompassing and all forgiving reason of "protecting us" supposedly gives people carte blanche to do what they want.

    Secondly and on top of not answering the details, the attack portion of the post comes when she intimates that because I don't write anything negative about Osama Bin Laden, and concentrate on Bush, that means I love Osama Bn Laden. The 'how dare you write negative things about Bush, you must love terrorists' tactic is one the neocons have been using for about 5 years now, to great effect. It taps into the emotionalism of the issue, instead of facts and logic.

    So there you have it.. the usual neocon response: evade, platitude, wrap yourself in the flag and smear your enemies.

    You'll note that I didn't have to do the same in return.
    Last edited by Grimmlok; January 16th, 2006 at 11:13 AM.
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