Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bush signs bill without Congress approval

This story is so incredible, it needs two articles.

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives.

Further, Waxman says there is reason to believe that the Speaker of the House called President Bush before he signed the law, and alerted him that the version he was about to sign differed from the one that actually passed the House. If true, this would put the President in willful violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Second article.

In an amazing development that has received almost no media attention, mainstream or alternative, President Bush again placed himself above the law and wilfully violated the Constitution by signing into law a bill that didn't pass both Houses of Congress.

According to representative Henry Waxman, Bush signed into law a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that didn't pass Congress. The discrepancy between the version Bush signed and the actual bill that passed equates to a value of $2 billion.

Bush knew he was directly violating the Constitution and effectively acting as a despot because he received a call from the Speaker of the House before signing the bill, warning him that it had not been passed.

This is a travesty of rule of law unseen before in modern history. What's especially frightening is that two days later, only two publications have written an article about that letter. Bush is openly putting himself above the law, and no mainstream publication has reported about this. Not even a denial or an attempt to dispel the story as a rumour to reassure what should be a very concerned population, who instead remains blissfully ignorant.

If you think this is an inocuous law being passed without congressional review, think of it as the neocons testing the waters. That means that Bush could pass any authoritarian legislation peddled by his neocon masters, including PATRIOT Act provisions that are not approved by Congress or even present in the bill approved by both houses.

Compare this to the bill being introduced in the UK, which if passed would turn British Parliament into a rubberstamp that can be overridden by ministers at any time; in other words, where the executive could pass any laws they want without parliamentary review. Even though it got little attention in Parliament compared to the hotly debated national ID cards, at least it got the attention of the mainstream UK media.

The closest recent precedent to this ridiculously cavalier attitude towards constitutional law was when Australia passed its Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005, which even in spite of the notorious absence of Bill of Rights, violates the constitutional separations of powers of Australia.

It is getting increasingly obvious that those legislations are incremental attempts to push all those countries away from democracy and rule of law towards authoritarianism and despotism. This is especially worrying given the recent election of Stephen Harper in Canada, who is notorious for his support of the neocon regimes.

UPDATE: Bush does it again...

I predicted that Bush would push the wedge further and do the same with the PATRIOT Act as he did with the previous bill, and he did exactly that.

What's going to be next, rule by decree?


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