Archive for the 'Constitution' Category

Pre-statement statement.

Jun 28, 2012 in Constitution, Health Care

Our friend AJKamper has pointed out that there are arguably principled positions against the individual mandate that undergirds the provision of the ACA that forbids insurers from declining patients for pre-existing conditions. So be it.

But there are some important facts to note before we treat this as some kind of escape clause for a boob-stacked Supreme Court with one justice, Thomas, who stands to profit from striking down the ACA entirely and another, Scalia, who seems to be auditioning for Limbaugh’s replacement once the Oxycontin explodes his heart.

First, as I have repeatedly noted, the individual mandate was a Republican concept, invented by one of the bulwarks of the rightwing think-tank cottage industry, Heritage. It was proposed as a counter-idea to Bill Clinton’s efforts to reform health care in the 1990s, championed by people like Newt Gingrich only a few years ago, and actually implemented by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney (who’d like you to forget his best accomplishment that he advised Obama to copy because, well, Obama agreed, and Romney’s had his programming rebooted a few times since then).

Secondly, the actual case’s history in the courts has been somewhat split among conservative justices (of course, liberal justices don’t matter…). Republican appointed, conservative judges have noted 75 years of precedent and ruled accordingly that there’s nothing unconstitutional about the mandate. A few scored headlines by going the completely partisan route, but there would seem to be a very palpable divide among conservatives who are doing their jobs and those who are being activist partisans.

Ergo, one would expect a split among the conservative justices in the Supreme Court. Indeed, many predictions have even seen Roberts break off and join Kennedy, although I call that at about 20%. I haven’t seen much from Roberts to believe that, but it’s not difficult to believe he’s less slimy than Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. (Update: Apologies to Roberts, sad disappointment in Kennedy)

So in a few short minutes, we should see a favorable decision for the ACA, and for the millions of people who would be adversely affected by a lockstep partisan 5-4 decision against a plan that had every mark of conservatism imprinted upon it until the moment a Democratic president embraced it.

-hw

Montana stands up for democracy.

Jan 04, 2012 in Constitution

Their state Supreme Court calls bullshit on the Citizens United ruling which declared as a fact that allowing corporations to buy elections does not result in corruption. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of history in this country to cite, and they do.

The federal Supreme Court, having four plainly radical Republican activists on the bench will doubtlessly ignore reality, but Kennedy does occasionally show signs of regard for empirical evidence. In the meantime, our government is up for sale, politicians desperate to raise the money needed to pay off the private broadcasters who we gave public airwaves to for virtually nothing.

I just keep wondering, if money is speech, why can’t I bribe a police officer or judge? Am I not merely speaking and practicing my First Amendment rights?

-hw

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Killing America to save America.

Nov 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.

Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?

-hw

The modest credibility of CATO.

Nov 22, 2011 in Constitution, Drugs

At least those libertarians will take a break from bitching about the Constitutional income tax being “theft” to talk about actual government theft.

If you can’t acknowledge that we threw away most of our Constitutional rights over the Drug War, who are you to even talk about liberty? Especially those who would declare that freedom in America died the day we passed health care reform. Hmmm, requiring me to pay for the medical care I expect to receive, vs. breaking into my house and permanently confiscating my property without any conviction or even charges filed?

Where do your priorities point you?

-hw

UPDATE: Lovely Drug War nugget that connects to the Newt Gingrich Comedy Tour: Newt once proposed mandatory death penalties for those bringing more than two ounces of marijuana into the country. And yes, of course Gingrich has admitted to smoking pot, but check this out:

“See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn’t change, only the morality… That’s why you get to go to jail and I don’t.”
August 8, 1996, Wall Street Journal

I wonder if it’s moral again, and what determines that?

Republican economic terrorism.

Jun 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit, Economy

As the kids say nowadays, this.

Over at Dana’s blog the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of the validity of the US debt has produced a sort of nervous chuckle without anybody really willing to explain how Republicans could force the US to default without violating the Constitution. Something tells me they’re feeling a bit blindsided.

But when your only goal is to do whatever hurts President Obama, even if that means tanking the economy, you gotta be careful of those blinders.

Sounds to me like Democrats just need to show a little spine to save the country and themselves.

Ah, shit. We might be screwed anyway then.

-hw

UPDATE: Fourteenth Amendment fever popping up here and here.

The constant trainwreck resumes.

Jan 07, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Politics

The 2010 election is a story that remains to be told. We’ve always maintained that the rhetoric of the past two years was a mishmash of unserious mumbo jumbo and crack junkie promises from a defunct and bankrupt party that has lost sight of how to govern and thrives on resentment and paranoia. Not to mention they just cannot stop fibbing, fabricating, and fudging the facts. So what happens when such a group arrives in power?

-The paltry promise to cut $100 billion is already shoved aside.

-They want tax cuts to not be counted as contributing to the deficit, Reaganism by fiat instead of results.

-Two House Republicans missed their swearing in because they were at a fundraiser, thus violating the Constitution when they voted.

-$1 million was blown so the Constitution could be read aloud, excerpting all the nasty parts about blacks being 3/5 a person, etc.

-The repeal of the Affordable Care Act is being tossed out there with no alternatives, and no response to the devastating CBO news that it would cost $100-200 billion to repeal except to attack the CBO. Yeah, because Republican numbers are always so much more trustworthy…(Comprehensive rebuttal here, but do we need to even bother anymore wondering if Republicans are getting their facts straight?)

-Paul Ryan, supposed champ of fiscal responsibility, has blown it and proven that he doesn’t really have any plans whatsoever.

-Republicans block amendment that would require members of Congress, public employees, to disclose their health care benefits. Democrats voted for it, Republicans against. So Republicans want to keep tens of millions of Americans from getting health insurance while keeping it mum that they get government health care.

-Darrell Issa is walking back his stupid claim that the Obama administration was teh most corrupt evah. It’s funny how you go on Rush Limbaugh’s show and you can’t help but join in with the lying bullshit, no?

-Bawl-baby Boehner can’t name his budget cuts in a Brian Williams interview.

Should be a good two years. At least they convinced the public to give them another chance in 2010 instead of 2012.

-hw

The mandate is constitutional, this is a distraction.

Dec 18, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution

Gee, a Republican judge not actually heeding the Constitution, I didn’t think that was possible.

As Orin Kerr pointed out, Judge Hudson made a significant error in his reading of the Commerce Clause when he wrote “if a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type of economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then logically an attempt to enforce such provision under the Necessary and Proper Clause is equally offensive to the Constitution.” As Kerr notes, “the point of the Necessary and Proper clause is that it grants Congress the power to use means outside the enumerated list of of Article I powers to achieve the ends listed in Article I” (or as Justice Marshall famously put it “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.”)

The Commerce clause is not what the government is claiming as authority for a mandate. The Necessary and Proper Clause is. And there is a long history and fairly well developed tests for determining what is necessary and proper. If critics want to bemoan this perceived expansion of federal power, they need to consider the necessary and proper clause and its associated tests (rational relationship basis) used to assess the constitutionality of any federal action claiming it as a source of authority.

Look, all this business with Republicans and the Constitution is, much like everything else, a bumper-sticker not an actual position. These are the same people who have been attacking liberties for years treating the Constitution as a complete list of our rights when the Ninth Amendment specifically forbids reading the Constitution this way. If they don’t like something they call it unconstitutional, and being a judge doesn’t make any difference.

-hw

I hurt the feelings of rightwingers by besting them at debate.

Oct 20, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution

While perennial punching bags like blubonnet and Perry are debated endlessly at CPST, after my last epic shutdown of both assovertincups and DNW in one thread they just don’t want to talk to me anymore. In this thread on separation of church and state, after the gang effortlessly swats away Thomas Jefferson’s words, I cited James Madison’s reaffirmation of the separation of church and state and his interpretation of the Establishment clause (Madison even acknowledged that the chaplain in Congress was a violation). Crickets.

Eh, so it goes. If you can’t serve their agenda, they ain’t interested. And dismantling their arguments while remaining intellectually honest sure as hell doesn’t serve their agenda.

-hw

Obama’s actual Constitutional power grab.

Oct 03, 2010 in Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Riddle thee this:

Would Andrew be comfortable with a future Republican President — let’s say, just to pick a random example . . . . President Sarah Palin — having the power to order American citizens killed based solely on her unchecked accusation that they are somehow involved with or helping Al Qaeda Terrorists, while the targeted citizens have no recourse to any courts and she has no obligation to offer any evidence to justify the targeting?

I’m not immune to the fact that we’re talking about a likely active jihadi in another country waging war against us, but in the end it’s never really about whether or not we go after the guy. It’s always about the secrecy and lack of accountability that we imbue the President with, and the fact that power creeps. Always. It’s just a law of human nature we’ll never get around, and that knowledge is what informed the formation of this country as it fled the overreach of British power.

-hw

UPDATE: Sullivan provides a pretty compelling case that al-Awlaki’s targeting is a pretty routine and Constitutionally backed act of war, but like I said, that’s not really the point, and Sullivan seems to respect the fact that the way the Obama administration has dealt with the public on this issue isn’t acceptable. And I think Greenwald’s energy is partially derided from his practically solitary nature in staying vigilant on executive powers, whether the president be Republican or Democrat. The fact is that Republicans damn near transcend party when it comes to executive war powers, and will gladly leave Obama alone for his incredibly dangerous and aggressive war against Al Queda in Pakistan. They’ll mostly stay quiet on it, and babble about “making apologies” for U.S. GREATNESS!!! More Democrats care about civil liberties, but when a Democrat’s in office most focus on domestic policies and forgive whatever Democrat leaders do in making war.

The fraudulence of the right on liberty and tyranny.

Aug 27, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, Librulz

Bush said I could be locked up and tortured as an enemy combatant if he felt like it. Obama says I will get taxed if I don’t have health care. Which one tyranny?

I can understand the argument, for instance, that if taxes are too high then personal freedom is to some degree eroded, but that seems very metaphorical compared to government’s power to physically lock you up. For all their talk about freedom and liberty, the enthusiastic embrace of the military and security culture by many conservatives pretty makes that seem like a lot of empty rhetoric to me.

I don’t mean it as a critique so much as a question – why does the military-security culture get such a huge pass? I honestly don’t understand how you can cast yourself as a defender of liberty on one hand, while be fully in support of expanding the government’s ability to physically remove your liberty on the other.

You know, what I would love is if liberals who took liberty extremely seriously, like Glenn Greenwald, had some actual support from the right. Greenwald is a lion against the government’s assumption of powers in the past ten years to toxic levels, and he’s coolly prosecuted Obama for leaving too many Bush era policies and practices intact. This piece on our increasingly cramped surveillance state should have an army of allies among any who say they treasure liberty. It gets published at CATO, in a nice gesture from them, but the GOP is expert at deftly ignoring CATO as a gang of nerds when Republicans disagree with them. Adding Greenwald’s name to the mix only freaks out wingers more.

Even worse, they’d have to actually describe Bush/Cheney accurately, so that will leave most Republicans out of the deal. They approved of Bush and still do, and the more Obama does things like Bush, the more Republicans are willing to just take a pass on the issue, pretend it doesn’t exist, and then scream about the Socialist Blitzkrieg.

Of course, we’re talking about the same people who got really concerned about spending the second Obama was sworn in, the same people who shrugged for eight years while Bush systematically dismantled our prosperity.

This is just why it’s so hard for me to have faith in the honest intentions of the right. Most are fairly nice people in person, but they treat politics like a game, one where intellectual honesty is simply a commie liberal plot to confuse “real” Americans. Rightwingers make up these weird fantasy wars in their heads like this:

…conservatism, the right, (is) people who want government to have less power over individuals, is the natural home of people who want to live and let live, while “progressivism”, the left, is the natural home of statists — fascists, nazis, socialists, communists, and the modern Democrat party — who want endlessly more centralized power over the individual.

Gee, so hard to pick sides there. Which way do I go? Freedom or Auschwitz?

Or, third option, blog commenter “American Elephant” is an idiot and neither description is accurate. As Greenwald notes, what power the Republicans seized, the Democrats held onto. Such is human nature, I imagine, but that’s why we’re supposed to have checks and balances. One of those is a populace that speaks up when the government goes too far, but the idiots on the right are choosing to spend their time chasing liberal bogeymen while a unified coalition of the powerful march right over all of us.

With fellow citizens like that, who needs terror babies?

-hw

Ah, the humanity.

May 12, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, teh gay

And so it all comes to an end. Elena Kagan is not gay.

But what a sad hell-wrought spectacle it was getting there. Christianist rightwingers ready to denounce her for nothing other than this perceived homosexuality. Andrew Sullivan going nuclear over not being able to get a straight (no pun intended) answer when he had already received one from the WH (although it was a bit of a homophobic response itself, describing an insinuation of homosexuality as a “charge” when right-thinking people know it is no crime). In Andrew’s defense, he was merely being a pit bull for the sake of getting a satisfying answer, much like he has been with Sarah Palin and her multitude of neverending fibs, but for a man with such a supposedly “conservative” temperament he might consider displaying one once in awhile. Liberals ready to champion her as a stealth candidate for gay rights. Glenn Greenwald not giving a damn about any of it and ready to slam her as another Obama-ite who be truly Bush-lite…

Chroniclers of human folly that we are, I found the best approach to be hanging back awhile and absorbing a bit more information before spouting off with an intemperate mouth. Thus, Iowa Liberal is a blog not updated frequently, but rather when the time is right. Via this path do we claim elegance…

In all that I have seen, the best critique I’ve seen of Kagan actually belongs to David Brooks, who makes the best use of his ability to be right twice a day. In her steely resolve to never say or do anything to peeve anybody, throughout a career somehow designed to make her an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court, she has disappointed everybody.

But the time to bitch about it is over. The noise that needed to be made about her was already made, and Obama went for her anyway. The only thing left to do is cross our fingers and watch the decisions pass, and wonder why conservatives get to nominate any goddamn nutter they please while liberals have to constantly backpedal and apologize and tread water within the accepted rightwinger buoys.

For we have a court that is no longer for the people, but for the powerful, stacked by authoritarian “conservatives” who seem to be motivated by political grudges and the bleatings of Rush Limbaugh more than anything contained within the Constitution. Elena Kagan can have no higher aspiration than to stem the tide and hold ground against the attacks on our civil liberties that are certain to come from the cabal of activist judges named Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, along with their oft-willing dupe Kennedy. If Obama could not nominate a real liberal progressive for an essentially placeholder position, when can we ever expect it?

-hw

March of the neo-Confederates.

Feb 03, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Culture, Politics

It’s difficult to reason with someone who doesn’t want to be a part of the United States, thinks homosexuals should be barred from teaching in public schools, and that contraceptives should be outlawed. Marcos makes the observation that 42 percent of the Republicans polled aren’t really patriotic and that they pretend to love America only when they approve of the president. It’s hard to dispute that assessment when you have evidence like the 39 percent that think that Obama deserves impeachment regardless of whether or not he has committed any crimes or the majorities who not surprisingly think he was born outside of the United States. And why not? If you believe that Obama is a Kenyan who won the election because of ACORN chicanery then it’s not too much of a stretch. How many elected officials actually believe such nonsense I don’t know. What is certain though is that if they don’t at least pay a little lip-service to the electoral fringe they’ll be excoriated for their lack of ideological purity by at least one of the Tea Party factions that are currently competing for the most appealing balance of paranoia, belligerence and self righteousness. But as long as they’re beholden to Tea Partiers and their symbolic interests the GOP will be hopelessly tethered to the same epithets and slogans that lost them that last few elections and they wont understand why because they honestly believe that thinking Obama is a socialist, stealth Muslim is a mainstream position.

-mg

I hear the Constitution is in vogue nowadays.

Dec 10, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution

Maybe somebody could tell North Carolina.

North Carolina’s constitution is clear: politicians who deny the existence of God are barred from holding office.

Opponents of Cecil Bothwell are seizing on that law to argue he should not be seated as a City Council member today, even though federal courts have ruled religious tests for public office are unlawful under the U.S. Constitution.

Voters elected the writer and builder to the council last month.

“I’m not saying that Cecil Bothwell is not a good man, but if he’s an atheist, he’s not eligible to serve in public office, according to the state constitution,” said H.K. Edgerton, a former Asheville NAACP president.
Article 6, section 8 of the state constitution says: “The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”

Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution trump the restriction in the state constitution, said Bob Orr, executive director of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law.

“I think there’s any number of federal cases that would view this as an imposition of a religious qualification and violate separation of church and state,” said Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice.

In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Maryland’s requirement for officials to declare belief in God violated the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Additionally, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

I wonder how many North Carolinans belong to the 35% of Republicans who want Obama impeached (no word on why yet, although the fact that 42% of GOPers are birthers kind of points you in the right direction). We hear a lot from Republicans about the Constitution lately, but everything they attack Obama for is constitutional, while everything he does that is unconstitutional garners universal praise from them.

There’s absolutely no wiggle room here. The Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for office. Now it’s bad enough that any atheist is considered mostly unelectable for most offices in the U.S. But North Carolina demonstrates again that much of the South never cared about the Constitution, and that if the Civil War had not been won, the U.S.A. would be a collection of states to the north and west of a Christian theocracy, one that would likely still deny blacks the right to vote. Inserting a patently unconstitutional amendment into their own constitution is a profound act of rebellious ignorance.

-jb

President Seems to Think ‘Rights of the Accused’ Too Quaint for 2009

Jun 01, 2009 in Barack Obama, Constitution, Disappointing Dems

Constitution? What constitution? Turley especially on fire here:

What is fascinating is the muted response to this case or the position of the Obama Administration. Once again, President Obama has followed the Bush Administration in an assault on constitutional protections for accused individuals. This case does not involve terrorism, it is simply a rollback on constitutional criminal rights. Yet, the left has been largely silent in any critique. What is worrisome is that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is viewed with great suspicion by civil libertarians, particularly in cases involving police misconduct. For a past review of cases, click here. Sotomayor would not be a reliable vote in the area of constitutional criminal procedure — raising the possibility that she will actually make the Court more conservative in such areas. For some civil libertarians, that is a risk not worth taking, particularly given the fact that Obama could have successfully nominated individuals with a proven allegiance to such constitutional principles and prior writings showing a deep philosophical commitment to them.

Just as supporters of President Bush showed blind loyalty, many liberals appear to be responding the same way to President Obama, ignoring legal policies that are identical to Bush and showing little interest in the actual views of his nominee. Ironically, the left despises Scalia. Yet, once again, he is espousing the very argument advanced by the Obama Administration. Putting aside the merits of this case, the rhetoric from Obama supporters often seems detached from the realities of the positions of the Obama Administration.

Wait wait, let me guess: Obama “can’t do everything,” right? One thing I know he can do, though: a remarkably accurate impression of George W. Bush.
-TT

Tinfoil hat on!

Jan 20, 2009 in Constitution, Stupidity

So I had a thought earlier that made me laugh:

What if Roberts deliberately screwed up the wording of the Oath of Office, so outraged wingnuts could say, “well, Obama’s not really President–he’s never completed a valid Oath!”

I mean, right? Ha ha ha.

-JJB Mpls

DNA fingerprinting young hooligans in the UK…shocking?

Mar 20, 2008 in Constitution

Or not?

The director of Scotland Yard’s forensics division says that Britain should be collecting DNA samples from any primary school children who show signs of behavior that exhibit a propensity for later crimes, according to an article in the Observer.

The Yard’s Gary Pugh says the idea that trivial offenses committed early in life can forecast more serious crimes later in life is supported by studies, and that identifying these individuals when they’re children would not only aid crime-solving later, but possibly deter some of these suspects from committing crimes when they’re adults.

Given the absurd criminality of British youth, it’s not hard to see people resorting to this. In fact, it’s hard not to sympathize. I used to work in schools, and after awhile it’s not hard to see repeat offender kids headed on a collision course with a jail cell, sans drastic intervention the schools are usually unable/unwilling (generally moreso the latter) to provide. While they should be given the tools to escape that fate, DNA sampling isn’t exactly punitive, nor a gross invasion of privacy if used merely for identification in criminal cases. This reaction seems to me rather over the top:

The director of Liberty, a civil liberties group in the UK, swatted Pugh for his suggestion. “Whichever bright spark at Acpo thought this one up should go back to the business of policing or the pastime of science fiction novels,” she told the Observer.

I hate excessive government authority with the best of them, but I have seen the tyranny of street crime as well, and I have met plenty of kids I’d have no problem having a DNA sample of and telling them, “Do what you will with your life, but if you commit a crime and so much as drop an eyelash at the crime scene, you will be identified.” As long as the use of this DNA is limited to criminal cases, I’m willing to give it the go ahead until somebody can come up with more compelling reasons not to. Though I will grant that after George W. Bush nearly any paranoia about government encroaching on privacy isn’t really paranoia but hard-bitten realism.

-jb

Drawing a line in the sand.

Feb 12, 2008 in Constitution, Corporate shenanigans, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, Legal, Politics, Where's the outrage?!?!

Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and 12 Democrats make it more than clear that having a (D) next to your name is never a guarantee that you will stand up for the Constitution, or that you won’t stand against it. Glenn Greenwald laments:

That’s really the most extraordinary aspect of all of this, if one really thinks about it — it isn’t merely that the Democratic Senate failed to investigate or bring about accountability for the clearest and more brazen acts of lawbreaking in the Bush administration, although that is true. Far beyond that, once in power, they are eagerly and aggressively taking affirmative steps — extraordinary steps — to protect Bush officials. While still knowing virtually nothing about what they did, they are acting to legalize Bush’s illegal spying programs and put an end to all pending investigations and efforts to uncover what happened.

Just tell me how a Republican congress could have delivered a better result for Bush. When it came time to answer the question of whether or not we were going to become a surveillance state for good, enough Democrats crossed over to show that liberals are still a minority, and that “conservative” means “authoritarian” today. And then we have those scared independents and spineless politicians who refuse to believe that standing up for founding principles is a career-maker. They understand the Constitutional arguments, and then they wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares in which Republican ads accuse them of loving Osama bin Laden more than Jesus.

We must face the truth: Bush has scored a complete slam dunk on nearly every consolidation of his authority he has attempted. What he has not been able to carry out on his own, he has gotten the support of Congress to finish. Fear has won.

Is it any wonder that people see Obama as an antidote, a catalyst who could enable a resurrection of the Constitution? Every grassroots organization left or right should put the task in front of Obama from day one: renounce the unitary executive and reverse every presidential order from Bush that remotely relates to the concept. That’s just for starters. But I think Obama, more than Clinton or McCain, would be the president most likely to be swayed by the people’s call for a return to accountability. I don’t think with the other two there is even a glimmer of hope that the authority of the president will loosen.

-jb

Mukasey walks right in and erects a stone wall.

Dec 14, 2007 in Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Legal, Politics, Where's the outrage?!?!

Wow. Democrats are really experts at getting suckered by George Bush. Hell, they knew Gonzalez was dirty before he got the job. Mukasey? Seemed like a perfect gentleman!

Then, of course, Mukasey walks through the front door and throws up a firewall. Here’s a passage of unbearable irony:

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today sharply rebuffed congressional demands for details about the Justice Department’s inquiry into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, saying that providing such information would make it appear that the department was “subject to political influence.”

Oh, how you averted that appearance, Mukasey. Being a hack to avoid looking like a hack, is it?

The Department of Justice is on life support here. Its integrity is our government’s integrity. It’s our government’s promise to call it fair and square for the honest citizen. What part of “justice” do they not understand?

-jb

The rationality of Bush hatred.

Nov 14, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Politics

“Bush hatred,” was coined as a term several years ago to forestall conclusions based upon mounting evidence that Bush was not just a bad president, but one of the worst this nation has ever seen, if not the absolute worst. You could talk all day about Bush’s policies and politics, but the more evidence you piled, the angrier it was assumed you were. A forceful rebuke of Bush simply wasn’t considered suitable for polite conversations.

As most of you know, the charges that were thrown against Bush back then have mostly stuck. Those with “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” it turns out, were talking perfectly complete sense and identifying the early signs of Bush’s departure from America’s previously charted course. They were the ones actually behaving in a rational matter, basing conclusions off evidence and sticking with them when they weren’t popular.

Still, the Wall Street Journal’s Peter Berkowitz clings to the old ways:

Of course, these very examples illustrate nothing so much as the damage hatred inflicts on the intellect. Many of my colleagues at Princeton that evening seemed not to have considered that in 2000 it was Al Gore who shifted the election controversy to the courts by filing a lawsuit challenging decisions made by local Florida county election supervisors. Nor did many of my Princeton dinner companions take into account that between the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, 10 of 16 higher court judges–five of whom were Democratic appointees–found equal protection flaws with the recount scheme ordered by the intermediate Florida court. And they did not appear to have pondered Judge Richard Posner’s sensible observation, much less themselves sensibly observe, that while indeed it was strange to have the U.S. Supreme Court decide a presidential election, it would have been even stranger for the election to have been decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

A sensible observation? There’s nothing strange about the Florida Supreme Court determining how Florida’s vote gets counted, being that this is an electoral system. Florida didn’t decide the election, by the way. Fifty states did.

Unfortunately the Supreme Court did treat the case politically, voting with party instead of principle. Were Bush the loser convinced a recount would make him president, the decision would have gone precisely the other way. Can anybody honestly argue that the Constitution could prohibit a recount?

Nope. If somebody wants to give it a try, bring it on.

Berkowitz, overlooking this, seems to have spoken irrationally in defense of Bush. That’s what true Bush Derangement Syndrome is…the ever present need to spin reality to avert public eyes from the disaster for this country that Bush’s presidency has been. Our country was once dominated by this mental sickness, but most of the country has shaken it off. Not Mr. Berkowitz.

-jb

UPDATE: Oh, snap, Glenn Greenwald takes the mitts off for Berkowitz- who turns out to be Giuliani’s Foreign Policy Advisor. This, as the GOP dives headlong into Hillary-hatred, led by Giuliani.

Some people just ain’t got no shame.

Shmonstitution!

Sep 27, 2007 in Constitution, Politics

On provisions of the Patriot act being unconstitutional, the court says:

“For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law _ with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised,” she wrote.

By asking her to dismiss Mayfield’s lawsuit, the judge said, the U.S. attorney general’s office was “asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so.”

Why does this judge hate America?

-jb

Well, that removes all doubt.

Sep 20, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, National Security, Politics

The GOP simply opposes habeus corpus.

WASHINGTON — The Senate narrowly rejected legislation on Wednesday that would have given military detainees the right to protest their detention in federal court.

The 56-43 vote fell four shy of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa. It was a blow for human rights groups that say a current ban on habeas corpus petitions could lead to the indefinite detention of individuals wrongfully suspected of terrorism.

President Bush and conservative Republicans counter that the ban, enacted last year, was necessary to stem the tide of legal protests flooding civilian courts.

Of course. Let’s streamline the whole legal system. If we just eliminated all the appeals, lawyers, judges, trials, and hell, even detentions, we could sort problems lickety-split. If you’re accused of terrorism, U.S. citizen or not, instant execution. Sure, it involves a little clean-up time, but only if you use bullets. Just give our law enforcement officials nice little cyanide syringes (ala this episode of Star Trek: TNG) and they can get home in time for supper.

But yes, anyway, the GOP says no on habeus corpus and the Bill of Rights. They’ve made their position painstakingly clear, year after year, so debating where they stand is pointless anymore. The only question for a person to ask themselves is, “Do I also agree with abolishing the 800 yr old cornerstone of our Republic and our liberty?” That should make one’s choices in the voting booth extraordinarily clear.

-jb

Totalitarian shenanigans.

Aug 28, 2007 in Constitution, Iraq, Politics

This is the logical progression of Bush’s policies. The whole article is essential reading, but this story stands above the usual corruption:

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers – all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.

The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.

“It was a Wal-Mart (nyse: WMT – news – people ) for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”

So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.

For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.

Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics “reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants.”

A Special Forces team went to the trouble to rescue them first in order to torture them:

According to their suit, Vance and Ertel gathered photographs and documents, which Vance fed to Chicago FBI agent Travis Carlisle for six months beginning in October 2005. Carlisle, reached by phone at Chicago’s FBI field office, declined comment. An agency spokesman also would not comment.

The Iraqi company has since disbanded, according the suit.

Vance said things went terribly wrong in April 2006, when he and Ertel were stripped of their security passes and confined to the company compound.

Panicking, Vance said, he called the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where hostage experts got on the phone and told him “you’re about to be kidnapped. Lock yourself in a room with all the weapons you can get your hands on.’”

The military sent a Special Forces team to rescue them, Vance said, and the two men showed the soldiers where the weapons caches were stored. At the embassy, the men were debriefed and allowed to sleep for a few hours. “I thought I was among friends,” Vance said.

The men said they were cuffed and hooded and driven to Camp Cropper, where Vance was held for nearly three months and his colleague for a little more than a month. Eventually, their jailers said they were being held as security internees because their employer was suspected of selling weapons to terrorists and insurgents, the lawsuit said.

The prisoners said they repeatedly told interrogators to contact Carlisle in Chicago. “One set of interrogators told us that Travis Carlisle doesn’t exist. Then some others would say, ‘He says he doesn’t know who you are,’” Vance said.

Let’s see, what should the rightwinger response to this be? What would come out after they hummed the Jeopardy tune in their head for a few seconds, trying to figure out a way the treatment of this Navy veteran was justified.

Well, first of all, they’ll have to do anything they can to character assassinate this guy. Veteran, schmeteran. Sometime, somewhere, a superior officer criticized him (I hear that happens in the military). Secondly, reinforce the military’s rationale: Claim this whistleblower really was in on the deal; surely somebody can tie him to some of the dirty sales. If not, insinuate it anyway via anonymous sources. For the cherry on the cheesecake, check his voting record. Has he ever given money to a Democrat running for office? If so, he’s toast, because that would explain everything.

Please let me know if you hear a winger trying any of these tactics. It will happen, because this is such an obvious affront to what kind of a country we identify ourselves as. This doesn’t represent George Washington’s America, it represents George W. Bush’s America. Power rules, the truth must be punished. The GOP base, still in love with Bush despite their noise, still believes he’s the presidential incarnation of Jack Bauer, breaking the rules for the “greater good,” all because he wants to “keep us safe.” They entirely approve of everything done here, even if the men were physically tortured.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of story that makes those outside the Cult of Bush ill, and so it cannot be allowed to stand as is. The good Christians of the base cannot brag of torturing whistleblowers openly. They even need to make excuses for themselves, else their consciences threaten to stir. But deep down, their feelings towards Donald Vance (and his co-whistleblower, Nathan Ertel) are simple to sum up: “Fuck you, you should have kept your mouth shut.”

-jb

Bush is a criminal…*yawn*

Jun 21, 2007 in Constitution, Legal, Politics

Republicans view this as the administrative equivalent of speeding tickets:

“The findings of this report should come as no great surprise: When the president tells federal agencies they don’t have to follow the law, they often don’t,” Sloan said. “This report should put to rest any doubts as to the real impact of signing statements. The Constitution does not bestow upon the president the power to simply ignore portions of laws he doesn’t like.”

Why wouldn’t they? Bush’s signing statements pass the buck onto him. Why should a government employee would feel afraid to do something illegal if the President says, “Fuggedaboudit, eh?”

But Tony Fratto , a White House spokesman, defended Bush’s use of signing statements and his expansive view of the president’s constitutional powers.

“We are executing the law as we believe we are empowered to do so,” Fratto said.

Memo to Democrat politicians from White House: go fuck yourself, try to do something about it.

Memo to Democrat politicians from public: You were told to do something about it.

-jb

The terrorists have won.

Jun 21, 2007 in Constitution, War on Terra

Start practicing your Arab lessons:

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling against warrantless seizures of email. Law enforcement agents need to obtain a warrant before looking at a user’s email even if it is stored online, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday.

For 20 years, long before the introduction of knee-jerk law enforcement powers ushered in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Stored Communications Act (SCA) has been used by government agents to carry out secret searches and seizures of stored email, without requiring a warrant. A case brought by Steven Warshak challenged this practice.

In an important ruling, a district court said in July 2006 that the SCA violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing secret, warrantless searches of email stored with a third party. The government appealed arguing, in part, that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect emails at all when they are stored with an ISP or a webmail provider such as Hotmail or Gmail.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, upholding the lower court’s decision and affirming that users have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” about content in emails stored on a remote host.

Of course, George Bush doesn’t care where you store your e-mail, but for those actually concerned about the Constitution and warrantless searches, third party storage is hardly a worthy excuse.

-jb

A defeat for bigotry, a victory for marriage.

Jun 16, 2007 in Christian Right, Constitution, Culture, Politics, Religion

And for the Constitution.

AFTER WEEKS of intense lobbying and endless speculation about who might vote how, a joint session of the Legislature made blessedly quick work yesterday of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In a State House mobbed with revved-up campaigners on both sides of the issue, lawmakers took a quarter hour to dispatch the proposal by a decisive margin. The vote was a victory for decency and civil equality, and underscored Massachusetts’ long history of protecting individual rights.

Congratulations, Massachusetts, on leading America forward and eschewing the hatred and fear that the Republican party has worked so hard to stoke in America. Right now millions of “conservatives” (i.e. theocratic authoritarians exploiting the Bible) are gnashing their teeth in unrighteous, depraved fury. Their anger has been blocked, their hate-fever stunted, their assumed gratification of raw willpower over reason denied. They still have their bigotry enshrined in law in 49 other states in defiance of the Constitution, but in Massachusetts their Berlin wall of mindless oppression has had a healthy chunk knocked down, and it’s unlikely to go back up.

Time is on the side of equality. The state’s first same-sex married couples have already celebrated their third wedding anniversaries. With each year that passes, it becomes ever clearer that the sky will not fall; that the institution of marriage has been strengthened, not weakened; and that giving everyone the right to marriage makes Massachusetts a happier place overall

Anti-gay activists have done a good job of framing the debate, persuading millions of Americans that they’re not on the assault, but rather on the defense. Even Clinton signed the “Defense of Marriage Act.”

But what this has been is the ending of aggression and assault on the rights, humanity, and citizenry of America’s homosexuals. And that truth keeps seeping through, no matter what apocolyptic terror Christianists have shrieked. They lost the debate long ago, they lost the moral high ground, all they’ve had is the well-honed tools of propaganda, fear, and bullying, cloaked in a layer of self-righteousness more akin to Pigpen’s layer of grime. They have not been just, or good, or kind, and have certainly not paid much of any attention to the teachings of Jesus they supposedly put above all else. They have been hateful, divisive, dishonest, and ultimately evil in their actions, no matter how lovingly they gaze upon each other or what other good things they have done with their lives.

It is the hope and promise of America that liberty will prevail.

-jb

The lynching of Genarlow Wilson, continued.

Jun 14, 2007 in Constitution, Legal, Racism

There ain’t been much for new posts at IL lately, mostly because we’ve been having some raucous comment wars that have taken up most of my spare time. One has been over the legalistic lynching of Genarlow Wilson, a guy who’s spent 27 months in prison for receiving oral sex from a 15 year old girl when he was 17 (he would have been exonerated if they had actually had intercourse, naturally). Our favorite commenter, Dana Pico, has leapt to the defense of Genarlow’s sentencing. I’ve mostly commented on the issue of justice and blamed Georgia’s legislature just as much for this fracas, but one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers illustrates the virtues of knowing something about the law:

However, the comment by your correspondent that the court lacked the authority to release Wilson and that General Baker is the only person standing up for the rule of law is deeply flawed. This was a habeas petition, and Georgia law gives the county containing the prison exclusive jurisdiction to determine habeas petitions. Additionally, section 9-14-48 of the Georgia Code requires that habeas relief be granted “to prevent a miscarriage of justice.” Section 9-14-42 makes clear that the judge has the right to decide the case on grounds of both the Georgia Constitution and, more importantly, the US Constitution. In this case, the judge found Wilson’s sentence to be not only a miscarriage of justice, but also “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the 8th Amendment of the US Constitition. That conclusion, by the way, is one that is supported by a number of US Supreme Court cases, most notably Salem v. Helm (1983), which defined even a prison sentence as cruel and unusual if it was overly harsh compared to the underlying offense, the sentences imposed on other criminals in the state, and the sentences for the same act in other states. Wilson’s sentence would seem to be excessive under each of these tests.

Gosh, I was righter than I knew. Dana has backed away from the morality and justice of Wilson’s sentence, but it turns out his legal justifications were weak also.

I’ve got to stop making concessions to rightwingers. They almost always turn out to be unnecessary.

-jb

Somebody please tell me this isn’t true.

May 27, 2007 in Constitution

It’s at WorldNetDaily and initially reported by Jerome Corsi. So I have hope it isn’t.

President Bush has signed a directive granting extraordinary powers to the office of the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight.

Though it would be hard to feel surprise. Where do you go next after shredding the Constitution?

“Catastrophic emergency” is loosely defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.”

Corsi says the president can assume the power to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is declared over.

I’m sure Rush Limbaugh is pumping his fist in joy. Anybody who objects is just being alarmist! After all, Congress has a say, doesn’t it? We at least have to wait for the scene in Revenge of the Sith where the leader persuades the legislature to vote him the emergency powers, right?

Corsi says the directive makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created for the national continuity coordinator with the National Emergency Act, which requires that such proclamation “shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register.”

A Congressional Research Service study notes the National Emergency Act sets up Congress as a balance empowered to “modify, rescind, or render dormant” such emergency authority if Congress believes the president has acted inappropriately.

But the new directive appears to supersede the National Emergency Act by creating the new position of national continuity coordinator without any specific act of Congress authorizing the position, Corsi says.

The directive also makes no reference to Congress and its language appears to negate any requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists.

Naturally, this must be pure fiction.

Somebody, please say so. Our country is dying here.

-jb