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05.26 How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory [22:19 video from 6 years ago, a more recent 47:28 "Running out of Time" documentary is here.]

05.24 Pretty hurts: are chemicals in beauty products making us ill?

05.23 China factories releasing thousands of tonnes of illegal CFC gases, study finds [Instead of depleting the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s ultra-violet radiation, we should enhance the ozone layer to also reduce infrared radiation CO2 absorbs and heats from—in a reversible way to be safe]

05.22 Over 1,351 Climate Strikes in 110 Countries Planned for Friday as Global Revolt Escalates

05.22 Much shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis – study [Less supervised internet-based work from home would be more likely]

05.22 Internal emails reveal how the chemical lobby fights regulation [Political lobbying including unlimited bribes is terribly effective, especially when politicians are immoral]

05.22 Is modern life poisoning me? I took the tests to find out

05.19 The heat is on over the climate crisis. Only radical measures will work

05.18 The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves

05.17 Revealed: air pollution may be damaging 'every organ in the body’

News Media Matters

05.25 Sanders, Warren, Wyden Join Free Press Advocates in Denouncing Assange Prosecution as Grave Threat—But Others Are Silent

05.25 Facebook refuses to delete fake Pelosi video spread by Trump supporters [0:37 video; several versions of the clip are circulating]

05.24 Rising sea levels could swamp major cities and displace almost 200 million people, scientists say [Its unusal for US mainstream media to mention global warming...]

05.23 Finland is winning the war on fake news. What it’s learned may be crucial to Western democracy [3:52 video]

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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

05.26 In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc

05.26 Christian rightwing figures warn abortion fight could lead to civil war

05.25 'This Is Big': 76 Retired US Generals and Diplomats Warn Trump Against War With Iran

05.25 Trump Lashes Out After Pelosi Accuses Him of a "Cover-Up": A Closer Look [10:36 video]

05.24 DID STEVEN MNUCHIN HELP HIS COLLEGE ROOMMATE STEAL $2 BILLION?

05.24 If Warren and Sanders want to beat Biden, one of them will need to drop out

05.24 Boy Scout sex abuse scandal’s stunning toll: Over 12,200 reported victims [5:07 video; abuse worse than the Catholic Church]

05.24 Slowly and Persistently, Elizabeth Warren Is on the Rise

05.24 Trump’s Cover-Up Accelerates

05.24 Kushner Cos. Gets $800 Million Federally-Backed Apartment Loan

05.24 Retirement should not mean hardship – but many older Americans live in poverty

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05.22 Outrage as Texas Senate Passes 'Unconstitutional' Bill That Would Hit Pipeline Protestors With Up to 10 Years in Prison

05.21 Rich white men rule America. How much longer will we tolerate that?

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05.21 Palestinians need a state, not a 'business plan' [They have slow-motion genocide now...]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

05.25 New Analysis Reveals Inequality Chasm Between CEOs and Workers 'Totally Out of Control'

05.22 Capitalism used to promise a better future. Can it still do that?

International & Futurism

05.26 Voters across Europe seek action over climate change

05.26 Russia launches new nuclear-powered icebreaker in bid to open up Arctic

05.26 Jews in Germany warned of risks of wearing kippah cap in public

05.26 Tory leadership race: the favourites to replace May

05.25 John Bolton’s dangerous 'obsession' with Iran

05.25 Jared Kushner Is Surprised He Can’t Get Palestinian Businessmen on Board with Promises of Prosperity

05.25 Iran tensions: 1,500 US troops head to Middle East as Trump seals $7bn Saudi arms sale [0:54 Video; Arming our most barbaric “ally”]

05.25 Boris Johnson: UK will leave EU in October, deal or no deal

05.25 Spanish socialists aim to consolidate general election win

05.24 Boris Johnson for Prime Minister, and Other Ways that the Brexit Mess Could Get Even Worse

05.24 School climate strikes expected to be largest yet – live coverage

05.24 Theresa May announces she will resign on 7 June [0:41 video]

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  Bush's Bogus Theory of Absolute Power

COMMENTARY:

Bush's Bogus Theory of Absolute Power

by James Bovard
The fact that the administration is getting away with this charade symbolizes how docile much of the American media and political opposition have become.
The Bush administration has a theory to explain why the Founding Fathers secretly intended for the president to have boundless power. Even though the new "unitary executive theory" is nowhere in the Constitution, White House officials continually invoke it to justify scorning federal law. The fact that the administration is getting away with this charade symbolizes how docile much of the American media and political opposition have become.

Earlier this year, members of Congress anguished publicly over how many of the original USA PATRIOT Act surveillance powers should be renewed. A bipartisan agreement was finally reached, giving the White House almost everything it wanted. As part of the deal to renew the Patriot Act, Bush administration officials agreed to provide Congress more details on how the new powers were being used.

However, Bush reneged in a "signing statement" quietly released after a heavily hyped White House signing ceremony on March 9. He decreed that he was entitled to withhold any information that would "impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties." He announced that he would interpret any provision in the law obliging notifying Congress "in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information."

The crux of the "unitary executive" is that all power rests in the president, and that "checks and balances" are an archaic relic.

In other words, any provision of the law that requires disclosure is presumptively null and void. The crux of the "unitary executive" is that all power rests in the president, and that "checks and balances" are an archaic relic. This is the same "principle" the Bush administration invoked to deny Congress everything from Iraqi war plans to the records of the Cheney Energy Task Force. Bush has invoked the "unitary executive" doctrine almost a hundred times since taking office, according to a study by Miami University professor Christopher Kelley.

Even though the new "unitary executive theory" is nowhere in the Constitution, White House officials continually invoke it to justify scorning federal law.

One of the starkest statements of this theory came in the confidential August 2002 Justice Department/White House memo justifying torture. That memo revealed, "In light of the president's complete authority over the conduct of war, without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the president's ultimate authority in these areas." And even if Congress did try to explicitly restrain executive power, any such law would be unconstitutional because of the inherent power vested in the presidency, according to the memo. When he was White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales spoke of a "commander-in-chief override" to justify scorning the Anti-Torture Act.

The Bush administration's sense of entitlement is obvious from the ongoing controversy over warrantless National Security Agency wiretaps of Americans. Such wiretaps are clearly prohibited by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Yet Bush declared that he is entitled to order such wiretaps because of the inherent authority of the presidency.

When asked, "What is the limiting principle of the president's claimed inherent authority as commander in chief?," the administration replied, "In light of the strictly limited nature of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, we do not think it a useful or a practical exercise to engage in speculation about the limits of the president's authority as commander in chief."

The administration's attitude toward both the law and Congress was stark in the responses recently delivered to congressional questions on the scope and nature of the NSA warrantless wiretap program.

The basic answer to almost all the questions was, "None of your business." Again and again, the White House declared that "decisions about what communications to intercept are made by professional intelligence officers." Apparently, the job titles of the NSA officials automatically negate the Fourth Amendment's requirement for a warrant before the feds can intrude.

The Bush administration has claimed that the wiretaps are "legal" because of the president's duty to protect America. Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee asked, "What is the limiting principle of the president's claimed inherent authority as commander in chief?"

The administration replied, "In light of the strictly limited nature of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, we do not think it a useful or a practical exercise to engage in speculation about the limits of the president's authority as commander in chief."

At this point, Americans can only guess which laws Bush feels obliged to obey.

At this point, Americans can only guess which laws Bush feels obliged to obey. According to Newsweek, Steven Bradbury, head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, recently informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Bush could order killings of suspected terrorists within the United States.

The "unitary executive" theory is simply another in a long series of intellectual cons crafted to trample freedom.

Americans cannot expect to have good presidents if presidents are permitted to make themselves czars. The "unitary executive" theory is simply another in a long series of intellectual cons crafted to trample freedom. The sooner that it is tarred and feathered and ridden out of Washington on a rail, the safer Americans' remaining rights will be.


James Bovard is the author of the recently published Attention Deficit Democracy and eight other books and serves as policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation (fff.org).


Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on April 7, 2006.

 

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