Friday, December 07, 2007

The secret tyranny of the Bush regime

By Libby Spencer

This is good news. Via Emptywheel, another senator steps up to do his job for the people and try to save our form of democracy.

Until now, the unitary executive theory has remained unexplained, since the White House has kept the rulings from public scrutiny under state's secrets. But Sheldon Whitehouse took the time to pore through OLC rulings and discovered what was hidden in that dismal piece of unread legislation, the so-called Protect America Act, that the Congress passed in August. (Of course the hurried passage had nothing to do with their vacation plans.)

It turns out it "provides no - zero - statutory protections for Americans traveling abroad from government wiretapping." Whether you're on a business trip or a family vaction or even a serving soldier, the government can wiretap your every electronic device -- at will. If you so much as cross the border to go shopping, you can be targeted -- at the Bush regime's pleasure. As Mr. Whitehouse notes, "[U]nless Congress acts, here is what legally prevents this President from wiretapping Americans traveling abroad at will: nothing. Nothing."

The good Senator also finds the darker foundation that upholds this breach of civil rights and it amounts to a total repudiation of the whole concept of checks and balances. The complete details are at the link but the short version couldn't be more hair raising.

In a nutshell, these three Bush administration legal propositions boil down to this:

1. "I don't have to follow my own rules, and I don't have to tell you when I'm breaking them."

2. "I get to determine what my own powers are."

3. "The Department of Justice doesn't tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is."

I read that and I looked at the definition of tyrant. An absolute ruler who governs without restrictions. And then I wondered how anyone could argue that Bush isn't the living embodiment of that definition.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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