Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did have one thing in common -- they attempted to expand presidential power through the power of the line item veto. With Clinton, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. With Bush, the Congress refused to approve it. Because the Bush/Clinton dynasty might continue for another eight years, we should at least know where Hillary stands on the issue of line item veto authority.
In an interview with the Boston Globe's editorial board, although she chose not to address that specific issue, she did promise to "reign in" executive power:
"I think you have to restore the checks and balances and theseparation of powers, which means reining in the presidency," Clintontold the Boston Globe's editorial board.
Although Bush has issuedhundreds of signing statements, declarations that accompany hissignature on bills approved by Congress, Clinton said she would use thestatements only to clarify bills that might be confusing orcontradictory. She also said she did not subscribe to the "unitaryexecutive" theory that argues the Constitution prevents Congress frompassing laws limiting the president's power over executive branchoperations. Adherents to the theory say any president who refuses toobey such laws is not really breaking the law.
"It has been aconcerted effort by the vice president, with the full acquiescence ofthe president, to create a much more powerful executive at the expenseof both branches of government and of the American people," she said.
This is the point in time when newspaper editorial boards begin to think about endorsing a candidate. That was probably why Clinton sat down with them.
Ever since President Bush was first inaugurated, the White House has appointed a number of very partisan individuals to lead what should be relatively non-partisan federal agencies. In one case, within just the first three years of his presidency, President Bush appointed over 100 officials that were once lobbyists, spokesmen or attorneys for the very industries they now oversee. Until now, Congress played a minimal role in investigating the alleged merge between bureaucrats and partisan influences.
Now there is new information, according to McClatchy, that reveals the Administration took it one step further -- and maybe too far:
Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared withRepublican candidates and doled out millions in federal money inbattleground congressional districts and states after receiving WhiteHouse political briefings
detailing GOP election strategy.
Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiarwith the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Departmentreceived at least four briefings ???‚¬??? all in the election years of 2002,2004 and 2006.
TheHouse Oversight Committee is investigating whether the White House'spolitical briefings to at least 15 agencies, including to the JusticeDepartment, the General Services Administration and the StateDepartment, violated a ban on the use of government resources forcampaign activities.
As the article goes on to add, it is not illegal for cabinet officials in all departments to attend political meetings. However, giving money to Republican candidates is against the law:
Under the Hatch Act, Cabinet members are permitted to attend politicalbriefings and appear with members of Congress. But Cabinet members andother political appointees aren't permitted to spend taxpayer moneywith the aim of benefiting candidates.
Okay, let's take little closer look at the Hatch Act. The US Office of the Special Counsel web site clearly explains some of the political activities that are illegal:
These federal and D.C. employees may not-
use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
be candidates for public office in partisan elections
engage in political activity while:
in a government office
wearing an official uniform
using a government vehicle
wear partisan political buttons on duty
Looks like we may have a violation. Look for the House Oversight Committee, led by Henry Waxman, to talk more about this issue in the next month.
A court order has forced the White House to disclose an internal manual that explains how to counter protesters during presidential events. This certainly will not surprise some of you:
The first step to keeping demonstrators out of events, the manual tellsthe president's event staff, is to encourage the Secret Service to "askthe local police department to designate a protest area...preferablynot in view of the event site or the motorcade route."
Inside the event space, the manual advises, White House advancepersonnel should preposition "rally squads" that can swarm anyprotesters at the event and "use their signs and banners as shieldsbetween the demonstrators and the main press platform."
The rally squads can be formed using "college/young republicanorganizations, local athletic teams, and fraternities/sororities," themanual notes.
The squads can "lead supportive chants to drown out the protesters (USA!, USA!, USA!)," it suggests.
So, in a nutshell, the White House is spending your tax money to isolate the President from -- you guessed it -- you! And that is democratic...how?
For the last few days, the Washington Post has been running a four-part series on the unprecedentedly powerful role that the Vice President has played in this Administration. Today, the Post took a look at why Dick Cheney was able to exert his power to the fullest extent? Quite simply, George W. Bush is not a student of detail, and was more than willing to defer power to the Vice president. Unfortunately though, if someone else controls what the President is told, that makes the messenger the most powerful in the Administration:
"Dick's major concern, one of them was, and I agree, that thereneeds to be a greater and more effective role for the vice president,"Marsh, a longtime Cheney friend, said in an interview. "He holds theview, as do I, that the vice president should be the chief of staff ineffect, that everything should run through his office."
In Bush, Cheney found the perfect partner. The president'swillingness to delegate left plenty of room for his moredetail-oriented vice president.
"My impression is that the president thinks that the Reagan style ofleadership is best -- guiding the ship of state from high up on themast," said former White House lawyer Bradford A. Berenson. "It seems to me that the vice president is more willing to get down in the wheelhouse below the decks."
Cheney was really the one guiding the ship, not Bush:
Scores of interviews with advisers to the president and vice president,as well as with other senior officials throughout the government, offera backstage view of how the Bush White House operates. The president is "the decider," as Bush puts it, but the vice president often serves up his menu of choices.
This is like a voluntary coup de tat. George W. Bush gave up power that President's are supposed to have, reducing his own role, and making Dick Cheney the brains behind Executive Branch policy.
Part one of a four-day report in the Washington Post about Dick Cheney takes a glance at the extent to which the Vice President's office shields themselves from transparency. The report draws on more than 200 sources, and exposes the source of secrecy behind inflated Executive Branch power:
Across the board, the vice president's office goes to unusual lengthsto avoid transparency. Cheney declines to disclose the names or eventhe size of his staff, generally releases no public calendar andordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs. His generalcounsel has asserted that "the vice presidency is a unique office thatis neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislativebranch," and is therefore exempt from rules governing either. Cheney isrefusing to observe an executive order on the handling of nationalsecurity secrets, and he proposed to abolish a federal office thatinsisted on auditing his compliance.
In the usual business of interagency consultation, proposals andinformation flow into the vice president's office from around thegovernment, but high-ranking White House officials said in interviewsthat almost nothing flows out. Close aides to Cheney describe a similarone-way valve inside the office, with information flowing up to thevice president but little or no reaction flowing down.
All those methods would be on clear display when the "war on terror" began for Cheney after eight months in office.
This is an extraordinary concept. Cheney works through both branches of government, therefore he is above all government. What this all means is Cheney is the decider, not Bush.
A federal judge appointed two decades ago under Reagan completely tore apart the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretap policy. During a speech on Saturday at the American Library Association's convention, Royce Lamberth, a district court judge in Washington D.C., reminded the President that he does not have unlimited power:
"But what we have found in the history of ourcountry is that you can't trust the executive," he said at the AmericanLibrary Association's convention.
"We have to understand you can fight the war (onterrorism) and lose everything if you have no civil liberties left whenyou get through fighting the war," said Lamberth, who was appointed byPresident Reagan.
The judge disagreed with letting the executive branch alone decide which people to spy on in national security cases.
"The executive has to fight and win the war atall costs. But judges understand the war has to be fought, but it can'tbe at all costs," Lamberth said. "We still have to preserve our civilliberties. Judges are the kinds of people you want to entrust that kindof judgment to more than the executive."
For the third time, just in case you didn't read it, this was a Reagan appointee. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, routinely smeared on Fox News, was also a Reagan appointee. Justice Kennedy, yet another Reagan appointee, was attacked by the right for being the decisive vote that will soon change the EPA's careless policy on carbon emissions.
Also, all nine of the US Attorneys that were fired were appointed by a Republican president.
In other words, it is not a matter of this Administration being 'liberal' or 'conservative'. All they want is to consolidate power -- that's it. Their policies lack any kind of academic political philosophy. It's just about using power as a means to get more power. Usually leaders use power to promote what they consider to be good and just. This Executive obtains power for the sake of getting more power. What we get in return is a failed government.
Five western governors,including Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, are joining forces inurging the US Congress to take action on the issue of energy reform. More specifically, motor vehicle emissions are a concern thatCalifornia wants the federal government to regulate. But as uncoveredby TPMmuckraker, the Transportation Department is acting as a lobbying arm of the auto industry in an effort to thwart any legislative action.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman responded by sending a letter to Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters. Waxman is asking for information about a voicemail message by a DoT staffer that implicates the agency in an auto industry lobbying effort:
It is not an appropriate use of federalresources to lobby members of Congress to oppose state efforts toprotect the environment. It is especially problematic on an issue thatis pending for decision before the Administration and that is supposedto be decided based on an independent assessment of the merits. At thevery least, Ms. Shamoradi's call suggests the presence of an improperhidden agenda.
Inother words, the Transportation Department is trying to lobby membersof Congress on behalf of the auto industry -- and that is against thelaw.
The Transportation Department responded immediately, insisting it did not break any rules:
???‚¬?“These restrictions do not apply to direct contact between ExecutiveBranch officials and members of Congress, nor do they apply to contactconcerning matters pending within the Executive Branch, as opposed tolegislative matters,???‚¬?? Knapp wrote.
But the rules do apply to pending legislative matters. According to the Hatch Act, federal officials are not allowed to use government money or staff time to lobby Congress. In this case, the Transportation Department did use its staff time, as proved by a voicemail recording that an official from that agency sent to a congressional staffer.
Yet another abuse of power on the part of the Executive Branch.
This is all part of a court battle involving an advocacy group that says Cheney must turn over his logs because they are subject to the Freedom of Information Act:
The Justice Department filed the letter Friday in a lawsuit by aprivate group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,seeking the identities of conservative religious leaders who visitedCheney at his official residence.
The ironic part about all this is the fact that an unidentified member of the Senate has placed a secret hold on a bipartisan bill specifically designed to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act. Since Dick Cheney is the president of the Senate in addition to being Vice President, is it possible that he is the one secretly placing the hold on the bill? That would be something!
I feel compelled to find and post the truth every time I hear Our GreatPresident open his mouth which has become synonymous with lying.Thanks again to "granny" for sending us the link for the video.
It didn't take the liberal bloggers and general long public to react and speak outagainst the dems for caving in on the funding bill. And it seems that theybetter grow a set quickly before we start shopping around. Think about this fora moment, you tell your spouse or significant other you are going shopping, butinstead go to a friends house...simple right? umm, NO!, you are confronted bythem and are told you lied. Maybe that's a simple minded analogy, but comparethat to The President of the United States lying on an ongoing basis, changingthe story and then his supporters actually lie further to support him. Wrong,just plain old everyday kindergartenly, fundamentally, unacceptably wrong.
Robert Greenwald is like the RalphNader of the Blogosphere. Greenwald has exposedso much corruption from our government and major corporations for theAmerican people, he deserves an "atta-boy". If Alberto Gonzales wasn'tworried before, he should start getting worried. Greenwald and BraveNew Films have done it again with a new video and websitein assisting "us" in getting rid of the lying sack of "unknowledge"
'The President won't fire him--but you can'
Bonus Vid:Jack Kingston owned by Greenwald. Kingston never seems like he knows what hes talking about