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Chasing the Chief Thief


While most of the press are busy calming their bristles over the perceived slights issued to them by the fever-swampy Stephen Colbert (who, as Pam Spaulding notes, is already having his patriotism questioned for last night’s performance), Glenn Greenwald alerts us to an important article in the Boston Globe about the lawbreaker-in-chief:

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ”whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ”to take care that the laws be faithfully executed" . .

I’ve had the good fortune to read Glenn Greenwald’s book already, and even though we sit here and read this stuff every day the drip, drip drip effect is nothing like sitting down and seeing the reckless lawlessness of this administration all laid out together in one big dose.  It has a whalloping effect and when I read articles like this now I don’t just breeze through it with a "yeah, yeah what else is new" attitude, there’s an extremely damning context for it all.

Stephen Colbert is important and Glenn Greenwald is important.  The people sitting in that room last night cannot be counted upon for either self-awareness — have you ever seen a room of people so stiff and uncomfortable at the specter of their own failings?   It was like watching Lenny Bruce tell political jokes at the titty bar to a bunch of bored old pervs who just wanted to get back to the boobs.

They are going  to need an awful lot of help to come to terms with the fact that the cowboy stooge they all clap and laugh for like a bunch of trained seals is, in fact, a grotesque criminal who most certainly thinks he has the right to spy on all of them.  It gives me great hope to know that people like Colbert and Greenwald are willing to give it to them.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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