Archive for the ‘Executive Power’ Category

Blair wants police to have war-time powers

28 May 2007

Tony Blair, in the last bit of his time in office, is trying to get British police war-time powers to stop people and ask them where they’re going, where they’re coming from, and who they are, according to the New Zealand Herald.  Police already have the power to stop and search people.

Blair’s other idea, allowing detainment for up to ninety days with no charges, was not accepted by Parliament and the courts.

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DoJ Wants FISA “Modernized”

14 April 2007

The Justice Department wants FISA to be “modernized,” according to the ACLU. From Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

Congress shouldn’t reward a president who continuously disregards the rule of law. FISA has already been amended numerous times. It doesn’t need to be ‘modernized,’ it needs to be followed.

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Bush Aides Say They Deleted E-Mails

12 April 2007

The White House says that e-mails possibly related to the attorney firings were deleted, according to Yahoo. The e-mails were in accounts not provided by the government, but by the Republican Party. This would go around the requirement that presidential records be preserved and eventually released.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said “This sounds like the administration’s version of the dog ate my homework.”

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Washington Bill Against REAL ID

6 April 2007

Washington has become the fourth state to prohibit compliance with the REAL ID Act as it stands now, according to the ACLU. The bill was passed in the house 95 to 2, and would prevent compliance unless it is fully funded by the federal government and stronger protections for privacy are put in place.

In regards to the funding though, I don’t see how it makes much of a difference which branch of the government funds it. Someone would have to, and it’s obviously going to be the taxpayers either way.

In regards to the privacy, every step is, well, a step, but less than a tenth of the states have made this move.

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Bush is Quite Clever

4 April 2007

Bush has used a recess appointment to make a Republican fund raiser our ambassador to Belgium, according to Fox News.

The headline on Fox’s homepage? “Bush Out-Foxes Appointment Foes.” By “appointment foes,” of course, they mean “majority in Congress.” And by “out-foxes” they presumably mean “bypasses check and balance system that depends on.” The way it’s phrased makes it seem as though Bush, in a moment of genius, finds a way to defeat these evil people who are opposing the appointment. Yes, he’s quite clever, he’s done it 167 times in fact.

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They Want to Close Gitmo, Really They Do

24 March 2007

The White House says that, although “everyone” wants to close Gitmo, they can’t, according to Reuters. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that “The problem is that you have a number of dangerous people who, in some cases, cannot be held, cannot be tried in other places and they are too dangerous to release. So you need to be able to deal with it in some way.”

The civilian justice system is much too good for these un-charged-un-convicted-but-yet-no-doubt-terribly-evil-people, so obviously we can’t move them to the US.

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Amendments to Weaken Egyptian Democracy

21 March 2007

The Egyptian parliament has approved a set of amendments to the constitution that would reduce protections against voter fraud and increase presidential powers, according to USA Today.

They passed with 315 in favor, and will go to a public referendum, later this month or early April.

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Four Bills Passed During Sunshine Week

17 March 2007

Today is the last day of Sunshine Week. According to the House’s Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congress passed four bills to promote open government:

  • H.R. 1255: The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 – Nullifies a Bush order that gave former presidents (and their heirs) the ability to almost indefinitely withhold presidential records
  • H.R. 1254: The Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2007 – Requires organizations that raise money for presidential libraries to disclose information about their donors
  • H.R. 1309: Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007 – Strengthens FOIA in several ways, including restoring the presumption of disclosure that Bush eliminated in 2001
  • H.R. 985: The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 – Improves protections for federal whistleblowers

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“State Secrets” Used Too Often

16 March 2007

An editorial in the New York Times (Too Many Secrets) makes a short but strong argument against the overuse of “state secrets” claims by the government. The primary example cited was the case of Khaled el-Masri, which was thrown out on the claim that the mere discussion of it could be threatening to national security. El-Masri was a victim of the rendition program, and his case has been discussed worldwide without any resulting terrorist attacks.

Maher Arar’s case, which is similar, is going to an appeals court, and he will likely face similar claims of “state secrets” by the government.

The article says that the claims are increasingly being misused, preventing investigation into abuses of executive power and other matters.

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GOP Senator for Firing Gonzales

15 March 2007

Hours after Bush expressed his support of Alberto Gonzales, Senator John Sununu (R-NH) became the first Republican Congressman to say that Gonzales should be fired, according to Earthlink News. He said that “We need to have a strong, credible attorney general that has the confidence of Congress and the American people,” and that “Alberto Gonzales can’t fill that role.”

Judd Gregg though, also a New Hampshire Republican, said “I don’t believe the attorney general should resign over this… I don’t believe his ability to pursue the terrorist threat has been compromised to the extent that he should resign.”

Since opposing terrorism is not Gonzales’ sole responsibility, however, this is almost entirely irrelevant in the face of other issues.

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