There's a new Spotty™ winner for Friday, July 20 for this letter in the Strib:
Congress must act
I was struck by the subtitle to your July 14 editorial "Forget the Reichstag" -- "Bush is not a dictator." For starters, someone needs to inform the president's staff.
Former White House political director Sara Taylor said, "I took an oath and I take that oath to the president very seriously." Upon further questioning, she backed away from that statement because only in a dictatorship do you take an oath of loyalty to your leader. In a constitutional democracy the oath of loyalty is to the Constitution.
But it gave a clear understanding of the mindset of the executive branch today. Because of this grab for power, President Bush has created a constitutional crisis. The method that our founding fathers gave us to avert such a crisis is through impeachment proceedings.
Since the White House has erected walls of secrecy, no illegal acts, thus far, can be proved. But there are clear abuses of power which our forefathers considered to be impeachable offenses. To reinstate the rule of law and to establish precedent for future presidents, Congress must act now rather than simply waiting for President Bush's term to expire.
ELIZABETH T. CANTRELL, BURNSVILLE
Remember, boys and girls, a Spotty™ is awarded to the author of a letter to the editor, an op-ed piece, or a blog post or comment that Spot wishes that he had written.
If George Bush isn't a dictator, it is not for lack of effort:
Just in case you haven't noticed before, the United States of America has become a presidential tyranny. We've been clanging this bell here (and elsewhere) since late September 2001, and have seen it confirmed over and over through the years — with torture edicts, domestic spying, rendition, secret prisons, indefinite detention of uncharged, untried captives, etc. — and most recently and most baldly with the "Military Commissions Act," which enshrined the principle of arbitrary presidential power in law and gutted the ancient privilege of habeas corpus. This was rubberstamped by the Republican-led Congress last year — and is still standing strong under the Democratic-led Congress.
This post from Chris Floyd goes on to describe just the latest power grab by the Administration, the assertion that the Justice Department cannot bring contempt proceedings against anyone who raises executive privilege as grounds to refuse to testify before Congress:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday 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.
The position presents serious legal and political obstacles for congressional Democrats, who have begun laying the groundwork for contempt proceedings against current and former White House officials in order to pry loose information about the dismissals.
Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action."
But administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts.
Conservatives hearts' fluttered and they grew faint when Keith Ellison described the aftermath of 9/11 as having some similarity to the aftermath of the Reichstag fire in the 1930s Germany, but Spotty says the comparison was, well, spot on.