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Unconstitutional Presidential Policies

And The Black Sheep That Watch Train Wrecks

 

By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) by RDFollendoreIII

December 18, 2005

Since its beginnings, the United States our nation has operated under the assumption that it is unconstitutional for a President to take unlimited authority. Of course the Presidency exists to provide leadership that protects our nation.  We expect our President to use the powerful resources of the Presidency to obtain solutions to issues which threaten our Constitutional values. But this also means that the actions of a President to defend Americans can not be unlimited. The actions of a President are wrong when the methods chosen for defense entails the destruction of our American Constitution.  The wrongness of such actions should be self explanatory when the very thing that is to be protected is being systematically dismantled before our eyes.

The disintegration of the rule of Constitutional law is evident everywhere within the George W. Bush administration.  There is the President's systematic implementation of secret Executive Orders which include worldwide policies of torture, secret prisons and tribunals, and wholesale kidnapping and eavesdropping on Americans.  We can also recognize it in the systematic use of the military and the CIA against American citizens.  We have seen it before and we know the implications from the Nixon, Mcarthy, and J. Edgar Hoover eras. The historical use of unconstitutional powers by the Executive Branch is an old story, but it is a story that most have forgotten or were never told.  A bit of historical background is probably necessary.

In 1919, an interesting  fellow named J. Edgar Hoover was given authority by the President through the Attorney General to arrest over ten thousand Americans and hold them without trial. The little known truth is that these "Palmer" raids were the reason why the ACLU was created. In these raids President Woodrow Wilson superseded his Constitutional authority by establishing policies against potential 'anarchists.' (The general term used for terrorists back then.)  Well we all know the legacy of J. Edgar.  We saw it in the Japanese internment camps of the 1940's, and throughout anti communist witch trials of the 1950's; again through the cold war and Vietnam era of the 60's and it popped it's ugly head up in the Watergate break-ins during the 70's.  We even saw it rise again during the Oliver North contra affair of the 80's. The thread of Presidential abuse is remains hidden behind the blame that is placed on other people, be it rank and file soldiers in Iraq who are following Pentagon directives that did not seem to originate from the White House or through 'Bad' intelligence that was somehow not directed by the President. The excuse always seems to be that the Office of the President is not to blame for the actions of the President. Richard Nixon should have served 20 years in a Federal prison for what he did; if nothing more than the fact that he got caught red handed and admitted it.

The reason why we have checks and balances is simple. The kind of people who want to be Presidents desire the power of the Presidency, and when they get it they only want more. They get wrapped in a bubble that is called the Presidency where their the President's personal failings are perceived as inadequacies of a system of 'if onlys.'  "If only" as President "I might be allowed to do this, and if only as President I could do that!"  "Of course you can do this or that sir!," you can hear all of the yes men and women say, "After all you are the President!" The continuous attempts to make the 'temporary' Patriot laws 'permanent' represents the entrenchment of a Presidency who does not have the intellectual creativity and flexibility to do the job. I personally find it amazing how willing a few can be in giving up the rights of everyone in the country.

(From the subtitle of this discussion by now you may be wondering how sheep get into this subject... OK, well this is where the idea of herd of sheep come in.)

As just another citizen like you, sitting back and watching this next Constitutional train wreck, it is amazing how much like sheep we Americans with our 'free' American Press seem to be. I suspect that once the horror and noise is over, sheep in a nearby pasture  would thoroughly enjoy watching the comings and goings of a good train wreck.  We Americans do seem to have that same herding instincts. We seem to listen and accept whatever is told us without question even with doing so might deny our own logic.  I suppose that as sheep go we are a trusting lot, but we can also be a calculating herd as well. Because of this,  one might predict that mathematical logic is bound to begin to influence the thinking of the American people. I for one think it will. It is inevitable that statistical probability will be catching up on policies of this power hungry administration no matter how secret it may be. All secrets do have a life expectancy and this and any other administration that has had this kind of power for this long and has taken so much risk taking unconstitutional power is bound to have their dirty laundry exposed to the public.  Even sheep might expect that unconstitutional policies will unravel over time and can expect to be standing there and watching the aftermath.

As we approach five years since the events that delivered war power after 911, we might expect an era of reflection about the nature of the mean spirited people we have become. One would think that five years would probably be the normal life expectancy of the debatable public opinion of Presidential War Powers. After all, the entire course of World War II only took five years to win. It will not be long before we have given this President that amount of time. George W. Bush has been telling the sheep that his concept of a "War on Terrorism" is a conflict that is designed virtually never end  the war powers of the Presidency. Maybe the sheep will finally decide that this is simply unacceptable.

That means that as this powerful President tries to keep up his 'conservative' public juggling act of trying to patch up the unthinkable, the American liberal black sheep can watch him as he continues to struggle and fail in the quicksand of historical mire and say "Bahhhh!"  Sheep have an unspoken presence and they seem to like to watch that kind of thing. Maybe it is a good thing that we are sheep. After all, King George has pretty well been violating our moral codes as well as the essential Constitutional laws of our 'herd.'

Since politicians do on occasion listen to the instincts of the herd, the sheep will have to wonder when Congress will begin to start talking seriously about impeachment investigations.

 

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