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January 30, 2008
He's At It Again

You know. Signing legislation but attaching a Post-It note saying he doesn't actually believe he's bound by the provisions therein.

President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress’s first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to “expensive lawsuits.”

Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.”

This Administration is so--unAmerican.

In explanation, I can't do better than quote another section of the article:

In his “Memorandum of Justification” for the waiver, Bush cited his Nov. 26 “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States. This agreement has been aggressively opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress as not only unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional because it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch.

Granted, as some in the comments to the article point out, it's not like future presidends are bound by Bush's ludicrous behavior, but it's a very bad precedent. And it's a dangerous sign of how certain rightwingnut elements of the Republican party view our entire system of government by checks and balances.


P.S. I am not "back" precisely. Just annoyed this week. :)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Pay to play?

I'm all for going green, as I know many of you are, but experience and cynicism tell me that ecological responsibility isn't really what's at the bottom of this.

In the past, the administration gave away about 3,000 free copies of its budget proposal to lawmakers, federal agencies and members of the media. But next week, when Bush submits the last of his eight budget requests to Congress, the White House only plans to post it on the Internet.

Lawmakers may read the budget online without cost. But those accustomed to holding a copy in their hands — or distributing multiple copies to their staffs to pore over the details — are going to have to dig into their own pockets and hand over some cash.

I'm not sure where to start with my comments on this, except to say that the first thing that comes to mind is that this is one more instance of Bush's adversarial relationship with, well, most of the entire government. I mean, now he thinks they should have to pay to read what he's planning to get up to?

And a tiny, cynical corner of my mind points out that with no paper, there's no paper trail.

Anyhow. It's a stupid plan, worthy of the stupidity of the Bush Administration. A ton of money could be saved in a thousand other areas. It's typical that they chose a purely symbolic gesture that serves to inconvenience and annoy Congress and government agencies and produces almost no actual savings.

(I'd only read the first page of the article when I wrote this entry. I see, as I read further into it, that I'm mostly repeating what others have said.)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)
January 28, 2008
SOtU - We're in Tense Times

CNN's morning headlines talk about roadside bombings killing yet more USofA soldiers, the DOW is down another 67 points (so far) today, having lost over a thousand points in the last month, foreign markets continue to sweat (and drop) over the impending R-word in the USofA economy and Bush's upcoming State of the Union address is going to be about pork.

Did the White House tell the press to focus on this ridiculous non-issue in their 'news' coverage leading up to the speech or is this just another sign that the USofA "press" is a bunch of idiots?


Republicans are expected to use earmarking as an issue against Democrats in the 2008 elections.

Because, yeah, that's what a populace watching their economy slide into recession, their futures into poverty, and their soldiers into graves will turn up in the voting booths to care about. Pork.

And that's what the SOtU should be about--laying groundwork for partisan politics six months from now.

I can never decide who's crazier--the Bush Administration or "the press" that gives us such stupid headlines and distorted coverage of stories.

I mean, okay, the Right is hoping that they can distract us all from recession and death by thundering about government waste. It's a dumb idea, but they don't have a lot of choices. Why, though, is any reputable "news" outlet playing along and helping them to set the stage?

Moving on, I know I said, six or seven years ago, that if we all wanted to get rich and didn't mind being evil, we'd invest in defense stocks. And, you know, companies about to be enriched by our new policy of stealing oilfields in the Middle East.

But there's a bit in the article I don't understand.

Government-owned oil companies are increasingly taking control of fields by hiring companies such as Halliburton under management contracts rather than letting producers such as Exxon Mobil Corp. operate projects.

We have government-owned oil companies? In this country? Can anyone point one out to me?

Brief markets article:

The President is giving his State of the Union Address this evening, but the big event this week is the FOMC meeting (Jan. 29-30) which will culminate in a policy announcement Wednesday afternoon around 14:15 ET.

It's normal for a lame-duck president to be, well, a lame duck, but he's got 11 months to go. Should he be this irrelevant already?

I'm not complaining because he's being shunted to the side. I'm complaining because it didn't happen four, or even eight, years ago.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)