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Ear to the Ground

Secret Bush Memos Gave President Even More Power

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Posted on Mar 3, 2009
White House / Chris Greenberg

President Bush’s memo fetish is well documented, but the Obama administration has just made public a series of memos that said the executive had extraordinary powers far beyond those traditionally considered legal. According to the crack legal minds of the Bush administration, the president could overrule the other branches of government.

Five days before Bush left office, the Justice Department announced that many of those opinions no longer counted, conveniently enough.

Los Angeles Times:

They embraced the view that the president, acting alone, had the authority to override the other branches of government on a broad range of issues.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, in a memo written six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, would have allowed U.S. troops to search houses and seize suspected terrorists without a court-approved warrant. The Pentagon never used that power, although it considered it, according to a former Bush administration lawyer.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Justice Department lawyers also said the military’s need to go after terrorists in the U.S. could override constitutional protections guaranteeing the right to free speech.

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By JFoster2k, March 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

You know, there is a politically strategic benefit to waiting a while before moving full speed on investigation and/or prosecution. It’s a bit cynical, but plausable none the less.

First, the economic situation requires a tremendous amount of the administrations attention, so waiting is justified.

Second, and more politically impactful, is bringing this all to a head as we near the next election, thus maximizing the effect on the electorate.

The danger to a strategy like this is that the neocons will label it a “witch hunt”.

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By WykydRed, March 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Oh man! What the release of the documents is seems to be quite simple: Blackmail.

President and party: Um, you guys were supenaed to testify months ago. How come you didn’t?

Everyone in the Bush Camp: ‘Cause we don’t gotta! We’re Executively Priveliged! So there! Now piss off.

President and party: Oh your mother! Tell ya what, watch this! <release of condeming memos - promise of more to come>

Everyone in the Bush Camp: Oh shit. Okay, okay, we’ll testify.

President and party: So there!

When you’ve got the power to unveil embarrassing things, people suddenly seem to start doing what they should have done all along.

Question is ... Is this just a show of ability to screw over the other side and make it look like something the American people have wanted for a very long time, or is it a firm and unwavering notice that “we’re in power now, watch your asses or we’ll pull everything you did out of the shadows one by one and be looked at like heroes to the American people”, or ... Something else.

At least it’s interesting in a comic booky good-guy/bad-guy sorta way.

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By rick, March 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther,

prove it…if it is true, you should be able to support it with evidence. It is obvious Obama is overturning Bush’s policies one at a time. so, hopefully, when you read this, you will provide proof that those things you listed Obama has no interest in overturning and that he did indeed vote in favor of it.

as far as jurisdiction, the US indeed does not have jurisdiction in every country in every case. the most he can do is communicate with the governments of those countries and fight for their release. unless you feel that no other country has the right to run their country without US approval or oversight. I don’t believe in nor agree with torture, but those other countries are not bound by our Constitution nor our views of rights.

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By JFoster2k, March 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Yes, FT, we get it. You oppose Obama. That unfortunately does not address the crimes of the former admin. Or are you proposing that investigating Bush/Chenny will indict Obama because he has not recinded the Patriot Act and thus is squelching the effort?

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By Folktruther, March 4, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

The Bushites have largely been successful im legitimating the president as the Commander in Chief of the War on Terrorism, and this political conterrvoltuion is being continued by Obama.

He has voted in favor of spying on the American people, he is continuing the militarization of the American police, he is justifying not prosecuting past political crimes, and he is in favor of torture when conducted by client-states, and abducting and arbiratry imprisonment of anyone he declares an ‘Unlawful Combatant.”

Including the American people.  The War on Terrorism applies to Americans as it does to the rest of the people of the world, and an American citizen has already been tortured to the point of insanity to illustrate it.  Two Muslim business men have been imprisoned in Afghanistan for 6 years, undergoing God knows what, and Obama is using Bush’s defense that American courts have no juristiction in these cases. 

The President can do anything he wants as Commander of the War on Terrorism, include arbitrarily imprisom people for life simply by delcaring them “Unlawful Combatants.”  This is the explicit Obama Admiinstration position, which is systematically obscured and excluded from discussion by the Obama cheerleaders.

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By JFoster2k, March 4, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Someone explain to me how the neocons could get Clinton impeached for a @#$% BJ, yet we can’t even get a serious investigation going on Bush/Chenny war crimes and violations of the constitution!

I know religious nuts consider every sperm on Monica’s dress sacred, but are the lives of thousand of American troops and over a million Iraqis and Afghans any less so?

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but WTF?!!

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By Inherit The Wind, March 4, 2009 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

“According to the cracked legal minds of the Bush administration, the president could overrule the other branches of government.”

Fixed it for ya, TruthDig!

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By Louise, March 4, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Get on board! Sign the petition!

Ask Attorney General Eric Holder to Appoint a Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes.

http://www.democrats.com/special-prosecutor-for-bush-war-crimes

“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

We need a Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes!

“Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,

We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in torture and other war crimes.”

Is abusing the rights of American citizens a war crime? Certainly it is a violation of the oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States! So lets expand. Lets demand a Special Prosecutor be named to investigate Bush and Cheney top to bottom, for everything they did in our name, that might be unconstitutional! Most certainly a lot of people are dead now, who might still be living had not the past administration put themselves above the law! No man is above the law! Not even the president of the United States and his Vice!

A Special Committee is not enough! That’s just the lazy mans way of saying we are doing something. A Special Prosecutor needs to be named. So along with signing this petition, it might be a good idea to send it along to your Congressaurs!

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By Verne Arnold, March 4, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

BULLSHIT!!! You morons let him do this!

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By mmadden, March 4, 2009 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

On other blogs the right-wingnuts are saying that Obama is trying to discredit Bush and they blame Obama for releasing the memos.

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By WykydRed, March 3, 2009 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Looks like King George finally won in the Colonies….

Well, let’s face it, he and his buddies could overthrow a government and replace it with a monarchy impervious to any ... well, anything really for one reason: Americans are stupid, lazy and incredibly un-American. No wonder they yell about “protecting the health of children” while whining about their “asthma” and “deathly allergies”. The new cry of “freedom” is simply: “Fuck the Constitution! It’s what I want that’s important.”

If our Founding Fathers could pop into this time frame, 9,999 out of 10,000 of us would be hung as traitors to the Constitution. Don’t expect me to weep when Yellowstone blows and kills 40 million of us in the first minute. It’s a good start.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, March 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

Ah….Caesar Bush.  Among his many other delusional tactics, endorsed of course by the Heritage Institute and that icon of BS, Rush Limbaugh is this surprising?

The article quote: “They embraced the view that the president, acting alone, had the authority to override the other branches of government on a broad range of issues.”

All hail Caesar Bush…but let’s not be crude and ignore his vehicular homicidal wife..(“Sweet Laura”, of “Little House on the Prairie” fame… obviously) she had HER part.  Remember, she said, (and I paraphrase)  “if we don’t like it here… we can get OUT!  Sweet…sweet…Laura, she’s so dear to my heart.  Why every time I consider the “desk murderer” Sarah Palin…. Laura DOES (at some level) appear sweet.

The FACT that she killed some “non-person” should be disregarded….right?  Really, how “important” was this person…. compared to say… well, LAURA.  The future wife of said maniacal President…?

Think about it, do you not understand what “God” has “ordained”?  Are you the flippin ANTI-CHRIST…?

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