Friday, July 20, 2007

For Immediate Release:

PRESIDENT George W. Bush has signed an order enabling the US government to freeze the assets of people who threaten Iraq's stability, the White House announced overnight.

That doesn't apply to you readers, right? Uh-oh...

New Executive Order Stomps on the Fifth Amendment, from (emphases mine).

...By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact...

...The White House will decide if you are in any way “undermining efforts” in Iraq, or related to Iraq or pretty much anything else, the Treasury Department is authorized to seize your money, property, stocks, etc...

...As an example, if it appears that if you, say, donate to a charity that the Bush administration determines, without any proof, is trying to undermine the Iraqi government, all of your assets can be frozen. No due process, do not pass go...

...The scope of the order has raised civil-liberties concerns. "Certainly it is highly constitutionally questionable to empower the government to destroy someone economically without giving notice," says Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration. "This is so sweeping it's staggering. I've never seen anything so broad that it expands beyond terrorism, beyond seeking to use violence or the threat of violence to cower or intimidate a population. This covers stabilization in Iraq. I suppose you could issue an executive order about stabilization in Afghanistan as well. And it goes beyond even attempting violence, to cover those who pose 'a significant risk' of violence. Suppose Congress passed a law saying you've committed a crime if there's significant risk that you might commit a crime."...

I thought we had covered the heinous results of enacting such a law in Minority Report.

Here are the actual press releases from the White House website:

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.

Message to the Congress of the United States Regarding International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Here is the text from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

You can read further explanations at FindLaw and at Wikipedia.

For additional aggravating news, I turn your attention to the following stories:

Bush Threatened To Veto Same Military Pay Raise That He Now Uses To Attack Anti-War Critics, from Think Progress.

In his Rose Garden address this morning, President Bush criticized the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to pull the Defense Authorization bill from consideration, saying the move would deny a pay raise to soldiers serving in Iraq...

...In May, he threatened to veto a House defense spending bill over the exact same 3.5 percent pay increase that he is now touting:

Bush budget officials said the administration "strongly opposes" both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases "unnecessary."...

Executive privilege -- Bush's new twist: President insists his authority trumps all in attorney firings, by Dan Eggen, Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, via The San Francisco Chronicle.

Bush administration officials introduced a bold new assertion of executive authority Thursday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege...

Merlin's beard!

I didn't originally hear about all this from CNN or MSNBC or Fox News (ha!). One could argue that's because I don't watch any of those channels... Anyways. I heard about most of these stories on The Stephanie Miller Show this morning. This morning! If you clicked on the links, you'll see that those White House press releases were dated June 17, 2007, which was three days ago. I'm learning about important national events--nay, Constitutional crises--from a radio show that features the song "You're a Lying Sack of Crap," along with guest appearances by a dirty old man named "Squeezy McFeelPants." I then had to find the articles on websites for gambling and Australians.

To drive home my point about the wretched state of the US mainstream news media, here is the top story on front page right now: Waiting for 'Potter's' end.

Midnight can't come soon enough for Harry Potter fans. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the last in the seven-book series, goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. local time. Fans in London braved rain and long lines to find out if the young wizard and his friends vanquish their evil foe.

Here is the story CNN has relegated to tiny print off to the side: Cheney to become president…briefly.

President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday, and will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during the procedure, expected to take about two and a half hours, the chief White House spokesman said.

I like Harry Potter as much as the next 25-year-old. But he's not real! He's not even American! Dick Cheney, a man whose colon is the least of his many health concerns, a man who shot someone's grandpa in the face, is going to (officially) assume control of the United States this weekend. Shouldn't that story take priority over a magical orphan who doesn't exist?

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