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08 September 2008

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J

Colonel,

that is why i keep saying that the office of both the presidency and vice presidency are 'obsolete' and need to be done away with. we the u.s. are a republic not a 'kingdom' like british crown - colonies of the 1700s. that is why our forefathers gave the british crown the big middle finger, as they were tired of the abuse and corruption. and sadly those who wish to occupy the offices of both our u.s. president and vice presidential offices are trying to be 'kings for a day' instead of working on behalf of the republic.

Curious

btw,

Bush phone spying is increasing exponentially. (He is the emperor beyond the reach of constitution. This is a fact. Congress is too corrupt and partisan to take action.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-10030134-46.html

A recent article in the London Review of Books revealed that a number of private companies now sell off-the-shelf data-mining solutions to government spies interested in analyzing mobile-phone calling records and real-time location information. These companies include ThorpeGlen, VASTech, Kommlabs, and Aqsacom--all of which sell "passive probing" data-mining services to governments around the world.

ThorpeGlen, a U.K.-based firm, offers intelligence analysts a graphical interface to the company's mobile-phone location and call-record data-mining software. Want to determine a suspect's "community of interest"? Easy. Want to learn if a single person is swapping SIM cards or throwing away phones (yet still hanging out in the same physical location)? No problem.

Grumpy

Col. In reference to your reply to me, 8 SEP 2008, 05:26 PM, Thank you, for the correction.

V/R
Grumpy

Grimgrin

I affirmed an oath to faithfully carry out my duties to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second The Queen of Canada once. It was when I got a temporary job at the government run liquor store. This made me a temporary member of the civil service, and as such I had to affirm the standard loyalty oath. While most of my thoughts on this oath were me amusing myself by imagining Queen Elizabeth having some personal stake in me slinging booze it did occur to me that having all the ceremonial functions of the head of state invested in a figurehead monarch like the Queen, or a figureheads representative Governor General may make it more difficult for the executive to size on those ceremonial functions to try and justify a power grab.

That's why I'm going to suggest this. A constitutional amendment to create an American monarchy. In keeping with Americas egalitarian principles the monarch will be chosen by random drawing at whatever interval is deemed appropriate, maybe 6 years. Selling tickets to the draw could be a way to raise revenue. Build The American Monarch some big neo-Palladian house in DC equal to the role of head of state of America. Make it slightly larger and more ostentatious than the White House. For five years this person is the the head of state of America. Have them show up at disasters looking concerned, pin medals on people, sign bills into law and generally take over all the ceremonial roles the President now fills. You could have them spin bullshit for the Congress and call it the Throne Speech and let the State of the Union Address get back to being what it was intended to be. Obviously they would be the Commander in Cheif as well, and just as obviously, would have zero actual authority over the operations of the United States Armed Forces.

The President can go back to their traditional, if more minor role of being the person in charge of executing the laws as written and using the bully pulpit to try and drive the public agenda. Veto power would be retained by the President, but it would now be cast as 'declining to present the bill for royal assent', and could be overridden as it is now.

While I can see some diehard republicans (using the original meaning) objecting to any Monarch whatsoever, I feel that this plan is an experiment worth trying.

Leila Abu-Saba

This is wonderful food for thought as I approach my journey to the eastern reaches of the former Roman Empire. I will be going to Tyre to look again at the ruins of the great hippodrome there, the largest in the Roman world. We will also go to Baalbek and marvel at the mighty temple, mostly destroyed.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricom/294637435/in/photostream/

(not my photo in the link)

You've heard me say it often enough, but I'll say it again. From the balcony of the house where my father was born I can look out upon Sidon, or Saida, which was destroyed a dozen times in antiquity, only to be rebuilt; the Romans had it for a few hundred years, and left some ruins; its Crusaders Castle lies upon an island offshore, with a domed mosque roof built into one corner. Why even my countrymen, American missionaries, held a redoubt in the Evangelical school at the bottom of our hill for a century, but they're now gone, and only the name remains.

Empires rise, and then they fall. See Ozymandias.

I have learned from this post that I am actually a republican, lower case r, because I want to live in a republic. Republics rise and fall, too. I hope for more from this country. I hope we are not falling, but merely going through a bumpy patch that will wake up the apathetic and invigorate the competent and committed.

Barack Obama won my support when he spoke in February of the ideals upon which this union was founded, and how we might work to live up to those ideals, forming a more perfect union.

He also wins my admiration for how he focuses on the positive vision he wants to achieve; he will get down there and slug it out against liars and naysayers, but he tends to avoid namecalling and stick to what he wants to accomplish. I am going to focus on this for the next 58 days. (and pray for my country, the USA).

Cujo359

I've noticed a trend recently of referring to the President as "Commander In Chief" without the caveat that he's the CiC of the military. This trend bothers me a lot. It does seem to imply that we do whatever he says. It's one of the reasons I keep repeating that the President and other politicians work for us, not the other way around.

At least, that's the way it's supposed to work.

Arun

From the WaPo blog:

It was in St. Paul last week that Palin drew raucous cheers when she delivered this put-down of Obama: "Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights."

Obama had a few problems with that.

"First of all, you don't even get to read them their rights until you catch 'em," Obama said here, drawing laughs from 1,500 supporters in a high school gymnasium. "They should spend more time trying to catch Osama bin Laden and we can worry about the next steps later."

If the plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks are in the government's sights, Obama went on, they should be targeted and killed.

"My position has always been clear: If you've got a terrorist, take him out," Obama said. "Anybody who was involved in 9/11, take 'em out."

But Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for more than a decade, said captured suspects deserve to file writs of habeus corpus.

Calling it "the foundation of Anglo-American law," he said the principle "says very simply: If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' And say, 'Maybe you've got the wrong person.'"

The safeguard is essential, Obama continued, "because we don't always have the right person."

"We don't always catch the right person," he said. "We may think it's Mohammed the terrorist, but it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You might think it's Barack the bomb-thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president."

Obama turned back to Palin's comment, although he said he was not sure whether Palin or Rudy Giuliani said it.

"The reason that you have this principle is not to be soft on terrorism. It's because that's who we are. That's what we're protecting," Obama said, his voice growing louder and the crowd rising to its feet to cheer. "Don't mock the Constitution. Don't make fun of it. Don't suggest that it's not American to abide by what the founding fathers set up. It's worked pretty well for over 200 years."

Clifford Kiracofe

Under the Constitution, he is not a "king." The basic doctrine in this republic traditionally relates to the "separation of powers" -- Legislative, Executive, Judicial. Sovereignty is vested in the People, not in the "person" of the President.

Those who have been in the business of overthrowing the Constitution -- say since the Imperial Presidency of Nixon -- have in recent years espoused a different doctrine, these days called by some the "Unitary Executive."

A corrupted Legislative Branch (Congress) facilitates Executive Branch usurpation of powers.

As I have noted on other threads, IMO the current trend uses the doctrines of Nazi jursit Carl Schmitt to reconstruct the American Presidency into something akin to a 1920s-30s European fascist dictator. "States of Emergency" and "states of exception" are important to the work.

One can look back also to the "cumulation of powers" in the principate as managed by Augustus Caesar.

Wiki has an overview of "separation of powers"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Separation_of_powers_under_the_United_States_Constitution

IMO, our system will get more Imperial mostly due to the corruption (moral and financial) and cowardice of Congress. A reflection of the condition of the citizenry? Our society will get more "diverse" and violent. The memory of the intentions, principles, and acts of the Founders (those "dead white males" and their families) will fade from the minds of men. Just look around...

Leila Abu-Saba

I blogged this article and the WaPo report of Obama's Constitution talk. Thank you, Colonel, and thank you Arun for alerting us to Senator Obama's defense of habeus corpus.

frank durkee

Technically waht is the difference between a "declared war" and the action of congress in the post 9/11 period and the administrations claims under it and other congressional actions. what difference does it make to my point?

Curious

The so called "balance of power" in the constitution when it was created was designed to tackle accumulation of power experienced in europe, such as monarchy turned emperor.

At that time, as long as state financial matter, legal system and legislation are separated. A president cannot accumulate power without the system ultimately correct itself.

But time change. We are after all in 21st century, not 17th century anymore.

What the founding father did not anticipate

1. the scope and speed of modern mass media, particularly the cost of running campaign.

2. The strength of modern party system and its ability to go beyond the separation of power and create an effective strategy to install partisan players that ultimately weakened separation of power.

3. the size and power of modern corporation. Particularly military industrial complex and media.

so in the end, power accumulate in very few hands. The system that supposedly distribute and rebalance power fails to function properly.

A modern political party combined with partisan media, corporate money and think-tank can take over the entire system.

Ultimately I think it'll be back to 11th century version of florentine bankers controlling Italian city states. Maybe by way of Sovereign Fund and a multinational conglomerate. Those players has far more money and market technical capability to bring down a nation. US even.

David W.

It is interesting that Bush II is seeking to consolidate executive power by reasserting that the US is at war with Al Qaeda:

The administration wants Congress to set out a narrow framework for those prisoner appeals. But the administration’s six-point proposal goes further. It includes not only the broad proclamation of a continued “armed conflict with Al Qaeda,” but also the desire for Congress to “reaffirm that for the duration of the conflict the United States may detain as enemy combatants those who have engaged in hostilities or purposefully supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated organizations.”

That broad language hints at why Democrats, and some Republicans, worry about the consequences. It could, they say, provide the legal framework for Mr. Bush and his successor to assert once again the president’s broad interpretation of the commander in chief’s wartime powers, powers that Justice Department lawyers secretly used to justify the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects and the National Security Agency’s wiretapping of Americans without court orders.

The language recalls a resolution, known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress on Sept. 14, 2001. It authorized the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks to prevent future strikes. That authorization, still in effect, was initially viewed by many members of Congress who voted for it as the go-ahead for the administration to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban, which had given sanctuary to Mr. bin Laden.

But the military authorization became the secret legal basis for some of the administration’s most controversial legal tactics, including the wiretapping program, and that still gnaws at some members of Congress.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/washington/30terror.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin


Andy

"Beginning with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably, the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda settler. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation's charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one." - Andrew Bacevich

TomB

Clifford Kiracofe wrote:

"Those who have been in the business of overthrowing the Constitution -- say since the Imperial Presidency of Nixon...."

Hard to see how any consensus can ever be formed about what an Imperial Presidency even is so long as the "analysis" of same is so tendentiously partisan.

E.g., Nixon and Bush, Nazi-like, bad; but FDR, who worked like hell violating neutrality to get us into war and used the FBI mercilessly against those who opposed him, good apparently; same with Truman, who intervened in Korea without a whit of Congressional authorization; same with JFK apparently who got us into Vietnam and single-handedly nearly got us incinerated over Berlin and Cuba and who was in bed with the mafia; same with LBJ apparently who cemented us there; same with Bill Clinton apparently whose White House collected FBI files on political adversaries and who essentially declared war on Serbia without Congressional authorization....

Yeah right, that'll convince fair-minded people that there's a real problem with over-reaching Executives and it's not just selective partisan polemics.

Cheers,

P.S. And as for those of you who responded to Cold War Zoomie's post, you might want to familiarize yourselves with the term "facetious."

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