Presidential power surge

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008

The founders' mission in composing our Constitution was to limit power by means of checks and balances between three branches of government and "we the people."

How ironic that, following in succession of such wise men, the most intellectually and linguistically challenged executive in our history has managed to so egregiously disregard, defame and violate our Constitution with impunity.

Teddy Roosevelt opined "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public."

Thus advised, I accuse the Bush administration with the following: launching an illegal "War of Aggression" without cause using fraud to sell the war; authorizing torture; arbitrarily detaining Americans and non-Americans without due process, without charge and without access to counsel; targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals and ambulances; using illegal weapons; widespread wiretapping of phone calls and e-mails of Americans without a warrant; using "signing statements" to defy laws passed by Congress; asserting a "Unitary Executive Theory" giving unlimited powers to the president; obstructing efforts by Congress and the courts to review and restrict presidential actions; and promoting and signing legislation negating the Bill of Rights and the writ of habeas corpus.

Bush, however, does not warrant all the credit. He could not have done so without the coaching of Cheney, the complicity of Congress, a compliant corporate press, a cowardly opposition and the complacency of the American citizen/consumer - a perfect storm. The Constitution has not failed us, we have failed the Constitution.

Worse, the unconstitutional powers assumed by this administration will survive in precedent for future administrations. Franklin Roosevelt warned: "If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land."

If we are to revive a living democratic force in America we must elect leaders with a mandate to dismantle the Homeland Security state. A Herculean task. But the greater imperative, to rein in presidential power, and re-establish the balance of powers will require no less than the indictment and conviction of the Bush administration for what I believe are treason and war crimes.

Are we not a nation established on the rule of law?

James Demko


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