FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Whatever Happened to Signing Statements?

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

Perhaps the best indication of the toothlessness and complicity of the new Democratic Congress is that President Bush, who between September 2001 and December 2006 used so-called “signing statements” and a bogus claim of extra-constitutional executive authority as commander in chief in time of war to invalidate 1200 laws or parts of laws passed by Congress, hasn’t issued a single one since January.

As for vetoes, there was just one, for the first Iraq War supplemental funding bill-the one that actually contained a deadline of sorts for ending the conflict.

The truth is, this Congress, elected by a public that made it clear it was sick and tired of the Iraq War, has really done little or nothing to challenge the president-not on global warming, not on the Iraq War, and not on his unilateral gutting of traditional and Constitutionally protected civil liberties.

The truth is, there has been little for this president to object to coming out of this supposedly oppositional Congress.

On Memorial Day, as close to 150,000 US troops risk death and create mayhem in Iraq, as 3500 soldiers’ graves at home get fresh flowers, as 26,000 gravely injured Iraq War veterans nurse their wounds with little help from an over-stretched and underfunded Veterans Administration medical system, we Americans have to face the fact that we have lost control of our government to a trillion-dollar war machine that moves of its own accord.

A criminal president and vice president have succeeded in tricking us into a war that had no justification, and that can have no good end. And what once was an opposition party has succumbed, though a combination of greed and cowardice, to become an accomplice in crime.

The president, now surely among the least popular leaders in the nation’s long history, has no need of signing statements any longer because he faces no organized opposition in Washington.

The amazing thing is that most Americans seem to understand what has happened. A few years ago, it took a certain amount of fortitude to wear a peace button, or to put an anti-war bumper sticker on one’s car. It took a certain amount of courage to hold a sign calling for the president’s impeachment. Today, do any of those things, and you’re far more likely to get a thumbs up sign, or a wry smile of agreement anywhere you go in the country.

Americans everywhere know we’ve been lied to, misled and sold a bill of goods with Iraq and the so-called War on Terror. But we also are coming to understand that there is little we can do about it with the Congress we’ve got.

We elected people who vowed to stand up and put a stop to the crimes, and after we voted them into office, they have failed us.

We’ve all learned this without the help of the mainstream media, which goes on about its devious business of pretending that everything is as it was, with two combative and ideologically opposed parties.

The public knows better.

Maybe now we can really start to tackle the problem.

Some progressive Democrats like Progressive Democrats of America and Democrats.com are calling for candidates to mount primary challenges against the sell-out Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who are making president Bush’s job so easy.

That’s great. With luck, the voters will realize this is their chance to revivify the rotting corpse that is the Democratic Party, and maybe some of those leaders will be dumped.

The next step will be what we, the voters, do in the next general election. Will we revert to form and vote yet again for what used to be called the “lesser evil,” but which is now revealed as just another face of the same evil? Or will we abandon the frauds and withhold our vote from those who promise much and then betray us?

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com
 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:
July 25, 2016
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail