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Attacking Domestic Society I


According to the President of the United States, whenever he signs into law a particular piece of legislation—the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act of 2006, let us say—though given the advanced state of the American Tyranny, the same point holds across the board—either he, as Commander in Chief, or the Executive Branch in general, will construe the resulting law "in a manner consistent with the President&undefined;s constitutional authority as Commander in Chief." Or words to this effect. Depending on exactly what the bill adopted by the Legislative Branch covers. Whether it prescribes certain Presidential actions. Proscribes them. And the like. An important article in last Wednesday&undefined;s Boston Globe reported on the Bush regime&undefined;s use of the so-called “signing statement” apparatus, whereby the President signs a piece of legislation into law, while proclaiming an interpretation of the law that can run the gamut from affirming its actual text to declaring his intention to disregard the law, either on “national security” grounds or by the sheer fiat of his "inherent" authority as Commander in Chief. Witness the single example cited at the outset: H.R. 2863: The 2006 Department of Defense Appropriation Act. By my estimate, the regime cited something like 15 different elements of the legislation that it will refuse to recognize as legally binding on any activities authorized by the Executive Branch. (Some of them appear to overlap. So it&undefined;s hard to say for sure.) Still. Not bad for a "signing statement" slightly more than 1,100 words in length. But what should we call a system of government such that when a President signs a piece of legislation into law, he declares that the interpretation of the law rests with him, ultimately, and that the legislation says whatever he says it does, even when the Legislative Branch or the actual words on the page contradict what he says? Out of curiosity, I took a look at whether any other news media have been reporting the Bush regime’s use of the so-called “signing statement” apparatus to disregard laws passed by Congress and formally enacted via its own signature. And if so, how carefully. What I’ve found is that there has been disappointingly little reporting about it, with almost everything telescoped into the past couple of weeks, and this stemming either from U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s paper-trail on questions concerning presidential power dating all the way back to the mid-1980s, or the Bush regime’s use of “signing statements” to declare itself the supreme law of the land. Some invaluable, if fleeting, and anything but recurring, material in venues such as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Boston Globe, Deseret Morning News, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Roanoke Times, and Washington Post. (Indeed. When it comes to reporting critically on issues pertaining to the spread of the American Tyranny, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette appears to be one of the finer U.S. newspapers.) Thus, in an article about Samuel Alito’s paper trail, and his role on the Reagan Justice Department’s Litigation Strategy Working Group, the Boston Globe (“Alito Backed Immunity in Wiretap Case,” Charlie Savage, Dec. 24) reported that a

Sept. 2, 1986, agenda, for example, listed "challenges to executive power," including restrictions on "military power and related emergency powers" and "executive privilege." Also up for discussion that day was "judicial usurpation of power . . . against the executive branch." This included court interference in "military management" and, in an echo of the wiretapping case, rulings against civil lawsuit immunity for executive branch officials. The documents do not indicate what the working group decided to do about these issues. But the release also included a six-page memo written by Alito to the working group dated Feb. 6, 1986. Alito proposed a "pilot program" to have Reagan issue "signing statements" laying out the president&undefined;s interpretation of legislation he signs into law. When asked to interpret ambiguous laws, judges often look to its history, such as statements by Congress about the legislation. Alito said that putting the president&undefined;s interpretation of the law on record would "increase the

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