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Updated: 11 Oct 2008.

Abuse of Power?
Enrich the already rich?
Erstwhile Dictator?
Venal Personality?
All the Above?
We have collected the signing statements published by Coherent Babble. Editorial comments following many raise serious questions.

Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

In other words, Bush takes the position that Congress has no power to legislate as it pleases (though that is its Constitutional mandate) and further that the famed "checks and balances" built into the Constitution do not apply to him! Congressional oversight was built into the Constitution to prevent just what we are seeing. Since the Constitution is not working, we no longer live in a democracy. Authoritarian behavior, assisted by the many Neocons in the three branches of government, has seriously eroded our very freedoms and liberty.

US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

This one is most disturbing on the psychological level. This action was taken by a man who as a youngster was reportedly cruel to animals. In a child, cruelty to animals is a strong predictor of an abusive personality. Add to this Mr. Bush's admission of once being a heavy drinker, his drunken driving arrest, his fumbling language and tantrums, his lies and deceptions, his claimed ability to go to sleep without anxiety, his compassionate conservatism--which in practice works out to the opposite, and his signing statement regarding torture. Taking these features altogether, one could make a case that Mr. Bush is sociopathic or leans in that direction. Since his behavior is consistent with that of a sociopath, does it matter whether he is one or not? What matters is how do we want to be led? How do we read the Tea Leaves?

When requested, scientific information "prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.

Not only does he alone decide what is to be done, he alone decides why and how it is done, and it is no one else's business. The old adage: "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" is once again playing out in modern times in the world's foremost democracy yet!

Congress: The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its contractors may not fire or otherwise punish an employee whistle-blower who tells Congress about possible wrongdoing.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The president or his appointees will determine whether employees of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can give information to Congress.

Here Mr. Bush declares that not only he, but his appointees are also immune from Congressional oversight. This behavior is expected in view of the above.

Congress: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law "as advisory in nature."

The Constitution reserves to Congress the right to declare war. Mr, Bush claims otherwise. Such a distortion is characteristic of personality disturbance--of the exteme authoritarian or sociopathic type.

The new national intelligence director shall recruit and train women and minorities to be spies, analysts, and translators in order to ensure diversity in the intelligence community.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The executive branch shall construe the law in a manner consistent with a constitutional clause guaranteeing "equal protection" for all. (In 2003, the Bush administration argued against race-conscious, affirmative action programs in a Supreme Court case. The court rejected Bush's view.)

The present Supreme Court is now led by one of Bush's cronies. Progressive doctrine is now in the minority. There is no certainty that the present Court would not rubber-stamp every one of Mr. Bush's findings and in reality, make our venerable Constitution NULL AND VOID!" In fact Justice Scalia did just that in a minority opinion. The frightening reality is that Mr. Bush has clearly demonstrated that our Constitution is vulnerable. We have confidence that it will survive at least until the next pendulum swing. The current swing toward the extreme right is slowing and should soon come to a halt and reverse in 2009--unless the winning party nominates a Sociopath or extreme Authoritarian determined to continue Bush's drive to convert the US into a dictatorship.

Defense Department personnel are prohibited from interfering with the ability of military lawyers to give independent legal advice to their commanders.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
All military attorneys are bound to follow legal conclusions reached by the administration's lawyers in the Justice Department and the Pentagon when giving advice to their commanders.

"...administration lawyers" undoubtedly meant Alberto Gonzales, Mr. Bush's legal master-mind and architect of the imperial unitary presidency. Maybe all this will have a good effect in the long run, IF: It wakes up America in time to save its constitution with its guarantees of freedom and liberty for all. Authoritarians on the Left are just as eager as those on the right to establish dictatorship. If the Neocon Agenda isn't rolled back in 2009, America is in dire straits. We hear no Democratic candidate voicing anything like a roll-back of executive power. Do you suppose they are salivating over the opportunity Mr. Bush has started? Mr Gonzales could have a life-time job.

The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
Only the president, as Commander in Chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.

Here we see the key to Iraq. This is a hallmark of the Bush Presidency. This is thought control at its worst. The US can be no better than Mr. Bush and that is not good enough--not by a long, long shot. He himself has proven that he is a "Unitary Executive" of limited view, limited only by the creativity of Mr. Gonzales and the the Supreme Court's ability survive its challenge from within (the sitting Neocons). In this view, the Authoritarian need for hierarchy succumbs to sociopathology that knows no bounds. This is how both Napoleon and Hitler made it happen.

US officials in Iraq cannot prevent an inspector general for the Coalition Provisional Authority from carrying out any investigation. The inspector general must tell Congress if officials refuse to cooperate with his inquiries.

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The inspector general "shall refrain" from investigating anything involving sensitive plans, intelligence, national security, or anything already being investigated by the Pentagon. The inspector cannot tell Congress anything if the president decides that disclosing the information would impair foreign relations, national security, or executive branch operations.

Here it is folks. It is neo-Napoleon crowning himself all over again! Mr. Bush is self-appointed legislator, gate-keeper, and judge all rolled into one! Napoleon got away with it--until his own excesses did him in. Mr. Bush seems to be following that aspect, too. We can only hope he leaves no legacy in law as Napoleon did. By turning the tide against inherited power, Napoleon, the ultimate autocrat, left a legacy that Mr. Bush cannot match. Mr. Bush, if anything, did the reverse--if his unitary approach sets a new standard of governance.

Creates an Institute of Education Sciences whose director may conduct and publish research "without the approval of the secretary [of education] or any other office of the department."

Authoritarian Response by Mr. Bush:
The president has the power to control the actions of all executive branch officials, so "the director of the Institute of Education Sciences shall [be] subject to the supervision and direction of the secretary of education."

In other words science is set aside. This serves the US no better than Himmler did Germany, nor than Lysenko did the Soviet Union. This is not just wrong; it is as evil as it gets, to use one of Mr. Bush's favorite words. Who recalls Pope Paul V? (He is remembered for putting the world's foremost scientist under house arrest.)

To summarize, it appears that Americans, where the majority is Authoritarian, have allowed their characteristic Blind Obedience to be hijacked by a man with significant earmarks of a Sociopath. Abu Ghraib was thereby a "logical" result.

Sustaining the psychological interpretations above, Mr. Bush seems unafraid of a court test of his signing statements. Why should he be, with the Supreme Court in his pocket? Moreover, signing statements are not new with Mr Bush. James Madison issued the first one.

Dateline 15 July 2006: " In his dissenting opinion to the Supreme Court's decision on Guantanamo Bay military trials earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a presidential signing statement significant weight in determining the meaning of a statute, marking a milestone in the debate over the Bush administration's expansion of executive power."

If this were all there is to it, one might be tempted to think it will blow ever. Combine an impotent Congress and a sympathetic Supreme Court with the fact that Bush has purged ranks down to the level of operating technicians to eliminate all but the blind obedient gives all thinking or caring people pause, make that PAUSE. The stage is now set, or at least nearly set, for an American dictatorship. In building slowly for some seven decades, this event is still not on the radar screen of the typical American citizen. This is where our Blind Obedience has made us into A Nation of Sheep. Over the same period, creeping inflation has reduced the purchasing power of our once-proud dollar to a mere dime--or a nickel in the case of gasoline--or a penny or two for a haircut.

This is how self-serving Plutocrats take toll. The current financial crisis is more of the same. Our strategy as this is written is to privatize profits while socializing losses. Inflation is only one of the many certain results.

For more on both sides see:

Business Law Blog
Daily Kos
Lawyers Alliance
Reinterpreting Torture


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