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Archive for the ‘Constitution of the United States’ Category

Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason?  Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes

By Naomi Wolf, AlterNet. Posted March 25, 2009.

Legal expert Michael Ratner calls the legal arguments made in the infamous Yoo memos, “Fuhrer’s law.”

In early March, more shocking details emerged about George W. Bush legal counsel John Yoo’s memos outlining the destruction of the republic.

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

It was as if Milton’s Satan had a law degree and was establishing within the borders of the United States the architecture of hell.

I thought this was — and is — certainly one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, making the petty burglary of Watergate — which scandalized the nation — seem like playground antics. It is newsworthy too with the groundswell of support for prosecutions of Bush/Cheney crimes and recent actions such as Canadian attorneys mobilizing to arrest Bush if he visits their country.

The memos are a confession. The memos could not be clearer: This was the legal groundwork of an attempted coup. I expected massive front page headlines from the revelation that these memos exited. Almost nothing. I was shocked.

As a non-lawyer, was I completely off base in my reading of what this meant, I wondered? Was I hallucinating?

Astonished, I sought a reality check — and a formal legal read — from one of the nation’s top constitutional scholars (and most steadfast patriots), Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been at the forefront of defending the detainees and our own liberties.

MORE HERE

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“While England Slept” was a phrase Churchill used to describe the state of somnambulence which existed in Britain while Hitler’s German made its preparations for wars of conquest in the east. JFK adapted this phrase to “Why England Slept” and used it as the title of his first book, based on a thesis he wrote during his senior year at Harvard. “While America Slept”  might well describe the state of somnambulance which existed in America during the Bush years. While America slept, Bush used the largely bogus threat of “terror” as a pretext to surreptitiously put in place a whole host of tyrranous legislation…and did anyone give a flying you know what? Benjamin Franklin said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” That means, amongst other things, staying awake! One wonders what became of the spirit of the original Patriots in the American Revolution. America, the one-time “city on a hill” and beacon of liberty, has been a major disappointment to me in the last eight years. Here are a couple of articles on the subject.

bushs_fascism_ben_heine

Turley: Bush terror memos are ‘very definition of tyranny’

David Edwards and Muriel Kane | Raw Story | Thursday, March 5, 2009

Since the release on Monday of nine previously-secret Bush administration legal memos claiming that the president has the power to ignore the Constitution when fighting terrorism, experts have almost unanimously denounced both their legal reasoning and their conclusions.

Read more…

Why Did So Few Americans Give a Damn?

William Pfaff | truthdig | March 5, 2009

The documents currently being released by the Justice Department that demonstrate the Bush administration’s view of the president’s constitutional power in a “state of war” tell us things we suspected but didn’t want to know.

Read more…

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Rush’s costume is actually “The Surviva Ball” which is designed by “The Yes Men to protect Haliburton executives from Mother Nature’s anguish about global warming, but, of course, this corporate media spokesman will never approach the pranks of the real Yes Men, who have been exposing the real enemy for years.

Operation Chaos

On April 23, 2008 Rush Limbaugh made the statement that he is dreaming/hoping for riots after the Dems convention if they choose Hillary over Obama. He even sang his statment to the “I’m Dreaming of a “WHITE” Christmas” tune. It appears to me that he is hoping African-Americans will revolt if Obama doesn’t win and in his dreams we would riot and wipe each other out so that he can indeed have a “white” Christmas/country.

Another notable statement by this filthy fat man was made on September 26, 2007, was about what he called “phony soldiers”and concerned our troops in Iraq. The Phony soldiers controversy refers to the controversy surrounding a statement by Rush Limbaugh in which he allegedly referred to Iraq war veterans critical of the war as “phony soldiers”. In response to Limbaugh’s comments, United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Mark P. Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications. The letter of complaint requested that Mays “publicly repudiate these comments and ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize” for the remarks. The Reid letter was signed by 41 Democratic senators.

Limbaugh, who argued that the comment was not in reference to Iraq War veterans but to persons falsely claiming to be such veterans, obtained the letter and sold it on eBay for $2,100,100, the record for a charitable auction on that site. He donated the funds to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation with a matching donation of his own.

This might appear to be generosity, but Limbaugh was using money and influence to buy himself out of a sticky situation. According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast medium — television or radio.

Limbaugh’s personal “phony soldier moment” is damning to say the least. His birthdate was ranked as 175 in the Vietnam War draft lottery, but no one was drafted above 125. He was classified as “1-Y” (later reclassified “4-F”) due to either a football knee injury or a diagnosis of Pilonidal disease, probably the latter, which shows that he is a real pain in the arse.

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Sudhan @12:40 CET

We need a citizens commission to investigate how far the Bush White House wanted to take executive power after 9/11.

Tim Rutten | Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2009

Just how close to the brink of executive tyranny did the United States come in the panic that swept George W. Bush’s administration after 9/11? The answer, it now seems clear, is that we came far closer than even staunch critics of the White House believed.

On Monday, the Obama administration released nine legal opinions produced for the Bush White House by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That heretofore obscure office essentially serves as the president’s arbiter of what’s legal and what isn’t. Among other things, the memorandums issued by the office in 2001 asserted that Bush had the power to order the military to capture suspected terrorists on U.S. soil and to treat them as enemy combatants without any rights to due process.

In the course of such operations, according to the Office of Legal Counsel, the military was free to ignore 4th Amendment prohibitions on illegal search and seizure and to engage in warrantless wiretapping. 1st Amendment protections of free speech also could be suspended at the chief executive’s directive, according to these opinions, and the president has the power to abrogate any international treaty at will.

Continued >>

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Limbaugh Misquotes Constitution During CPAC Speech

HuffPo- Sam Stein

March 2, 2009 10:09 AM

During his much-discussed keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, Rush Limbaugh accused Barack Obama of pursuing the “bastardization of the U.S. Constitution.”

It was one of the more politically acidic notes in a speech defined by rambling political assaults. But the conservative talk show host wasn’t exactly standing on firm footing. Just a few moments earlier he himself had actually — not theoretically — “bastardized” the Constitution by confusing it with the Declaration of Independence.

From Limbaugh’s speech:

We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.

Limbaugh, it seems, meant to say “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” which, of course, is in the Declaration of Independence. Just to be sure, however, the Constitutional Accountability Center compared his remarks to the Constitution’s preamble, and didn’t find a match.

Here is the Constitution’s Preamble: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In the end, of course, Limbaugh’s gaffe was just that: a rhetorical hiccup in an otherwise long (the speech went on for 90 minutes) and brash address. Still, in the process of accusing Obama for a lack of reverence of the Constitution, it would have undoubtedly served him better to have properly recognized the Constitution himself.

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by Geezer Power

So, you know about the Treasury’s $700 billion bailout plan. But you probably don’t know that the Federal Reserve has lent out about $2 trillion since September. Few do. And that is what’s irritating bulldog Congressman Alan Grayson. Will he be able to shed a light on the Fed’s secret spending?

Grayson raises voice, hackles in D.C.

Mark K. Matthews | Washington Bureau
February 9, 2009

“WASHINGTON – In just a few short weeks, freshman U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, has delivered more memorable quotes than some members of Congress do in an entire career.”

“In interviews, the 6-foot-5-inch Grayson downplays his combative approach, bridling at a reporter’s use of the “abrasive” label and saying that he would not have been assigned to the House Science Committee — the “most bipartisan committee in Congress,” he said — if he wasn’t collegial.”

“Meanwhile, his Dylan-quoting, freewheeling stance has earned him liberal fans nationwide, including Darcy Burner, a failed Washington state congressional candidate who has already asked supporters to back Grayson’s re-election campaign.”

“He’s going to have a vicious re-election battle in two years, and he’s getting pressure to sell out to the lobbyists and corporations so that he’ll have enough money to fund his re-election. That, my friends, would be a real pity,” Burner wrote in a letter.

“Fundraising, however, is unlikely to be a problem. He is the 10th-wealthiest House member, with assets of more than $29 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”

The rest of the story

Here’s Grayson’s alter ego Steven Seagal as an abstract, reality TV, illustration of what should really happen to the major players in the shadow government that still hangs over the White House.

Youtube video

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Senator Leahy “Restoring Trust in the Justice System”

February 09, 2009 C-SPAN

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy talked about the committee’s agenda. In his remarks he spoke about detainee interrogations, U.S. detention facilities, and hiring practices of the Justice Department. He also answered questions from the audience.

The talk was titled “Restoring Trust in the Justice System: The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Agenda In The 111th Congress.” (51 Minutes)

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Sudhan @18:25 CET

Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders urges new U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make sure the full truth is known about the Bush administration’s past criminal conduct, and those individuals responsible are tried in a court of law.

If the rule of law means anything, it must mean at least this: Those who act or are in positions of authority in our government are subject to the same laws as everyone else. This has been the American tradition, the crown jewel of a free society, a government of laws, not of men.

However, under the Bush administration, we learned we can no longer take the rule of law for granted.

If the top law-enforcement officer of the United States, our attorney general, chooses not to enforce the criminal law against government agents and officials committing crimes in the name of national security, the “rule of law” is rendered a quaint phrase shorn of substance. Unfortunately, our past attorney general, Michael Mukasey, and his predecessor, Alberto Gonzalez, did just that.

Mukasey even advised President Bush not to issue pardons since — Mukasey reasoned — no crimes were committed. He claimed that “national security” superseded other laws. This is the road to tyranny and a trap for the unwary.

Continued >>

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Bush officials authorized torture of US citizen, lawyers say

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Friday January 30, 2009

Attorneys for US citizen Jose Padilla — who was convicted of material support for terrorist activities in 2007 — say that high-level Bush Administration officials knew their client was being tortured during the time he was held an enemy combatant in a South Carolina brig, because of the command structure and that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld employed in approving harsh interrogation tactics.

Rumsfeld approved the harsh interrogation techniques early in Bush’s presidency. In Iraq, a cheat sheet titled “Interrogation Rules of Engagement,” revealed that some of them required the Iraq commanding general’s approval.

Among those requiring approval are tactics Padilla’s mother and lawyer say he was the victim of: “Sleep adjustment,” “Sleep management, “Sensory deprivation,” “isolation lasting longer than thirty days” and “stress” positions.” It wouldn’t be a shock if military guards went beyond the traditional treatment of a US prisoner, given Rumsfeld’s approved techniques and that Padilla was is legal limbo as an enemy combatant and eligible to be held for years without charge.

Padilla and his mother filed suit against the US government last year alleging a litany of harsh interrogation practices they said were tantamount to torture. His lawyer also says he was held in isolation for years while held at the South Carolina brig.

“They knew what was going on at the brig and they permitted it to continue,” Tahlia Townsend, an attorney representing Padilla, told the Associated Press Thursday. “Defendants Rumsfeld and [Deputy Paul] Wolfowitz were routinely consulted on these kinds of questions.”

The Justice Department is attempting to get the case dismissed. Padilla’s suit alleges mistreatment and that Padilla’s being held as an enemy combat was unconstitutional.

MORE HERE

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Holy Cow: Top Dems Are Serious About Investigating Bush’s Criminal Acts

By Jason Leopold, Consortium News. Posted January 26, 2009.

To the surprise of progressives and anger of the GOP, leading Dems support investigations.

As President Barack Obama reverses some of ex-President George W. Bush’s most controversial “war on terror” policies, a consensus seems to be building among Democratic congressional leaders that further investigations are needed into Bush’s use of torture and other potential crimes.

On Wednesday – the first working day of the Obama administration – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would support funding and staff for additional fact-finding by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which last month released a report tracing abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to Bush’s Feb. 7, 2002, decision to exclude terror suspects from Geneva Convention protections.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, who issued that report, echoed Reid’s comments, saying “there needs to be an accounting of torture in this country.” Levin, D-Michigan, also said he intends to encourage the Justice Department and incoming Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate torture practices that took place while Bush was in office.

Two other key Democrats joined in this growing chorus of lawmakers saying that serious investigations should be conducted.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, a former federal prosecutor and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a floor speech, “As the President looks forward and charts a new course, must someone not also look back, to take an accounting of where we are, what was done, and what must now be repaired.”

Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters: “Looking at what has been done is necessary.”

On Jan. 18, two days before Obama’s inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed support for House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers’s plan to create a blue-ribbon panel of outside experts to probe the “broad range” of policies pursued by the Bush administration “under claims of unreviewable war powers.”

In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Pelosi specifically endorsed a probe into the politicization of the Justice Department, but didn’t spell out a position on Conyers’s plan to examine the Bush administration’s torture and rendition policies, which could prove embarrassing to Pelosi and other Democratic leaders who were briefed by the CIA about these tactics.

Still, when Wallace cited Obama’s apparent unwillingness to investigate the Bush administration, Pelosi responded: “I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of the — for example, the Justice Department, to go unreviewed. Past is prologue. We learn from it. And my views on the subject — I don’t think that Mr. Obama and Mr. Conyers are that far apart.”

MORE HERE

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