FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Whatever Happened to Signing Statements?

 

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
 

 

 

More articles by:

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).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
March 30, 2020
Marshall Auerback
Washington Uses the Pandemic to Create a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Its Cronies
Ron Jacobs
Going After Maduro
Justin Podur
When Economists Try to Solve Health Crises, the Results Can Often be Disastrous
Thomas Knapp
Decarceration: COVID-19 is Opportunity Knocking
Arshad Khan - Meena Miriam Yust
Dying Planet and a Virus Unleashed
William Astore
How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America
Seth Sandronsky
Reclaiming Vacant Homes in the COVID-19 Pandemic
John G. Russell
Racial Profiling Disorder: the All-American Pandemic
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
As the World Tackles the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Raises the Pressure on Venezuela
Laura Flanders
Covid-19: Our Health Crisis is Born of Bigotry
Cesar Chelala
The New World of Coronavirus
Lawrence Wittner
The World’s Major Military and Economic Powers Find Happiness Elusive
Ted Rall
My Dead French Grandfather Helped Me with COVID-19
Rob Okun
A Citizens’ Call to Invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment
Ashar Foley
COVID-19 Proves It: We Need Medicare-for-All
Robert Koehler
The Virus is Our Teacher
Wim Laven
Are You Prepared to Needlessly Die for Your Country?
Jill Richardson
Stay Home, Stay Angry
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What’s Wrong with Ranked Choice Voting
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Sues Trump’s Bureau of Reclamation for Bull Trout Fatalities in Saint Mary-Milk River Irrigation Project on the east Side of Glacier National Park
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail