HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Sunday, May 07, 2006




In an incredible story in Boston Globe , Bush has arrogated to himself the power to ignore any provisions of any law he wants by adding “signing statements” that just reverse them, and did so with
750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.”

This guy is simply a criminal and needs to be impeached- now he’s messing with the Constitution directly- imperially taking actions no President has ever dared. He has never vetoed a law- he just voids it with these statements. Other Presidents have made these signing statements, but more as a real legal opinion of what a law meant and what action they would take. Bush just decides to flout anything he doesn’t like. This is as or more impeachable than the Iraq War lies.

David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive-power issues, said Bush has cast a cloud over ''the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore.
''Where you have a president who is willing to declare vast quantities of the legislation that is passed during his term unconstitutional, it implies that he also thinks a very significant amount of the other laws that were already on the books before he became president are also unconstitutional," Golove said. Golove said that to the extent Bush is interpreting the Constitution in defiance of the Supreme Court's precedents, he threatens to ''overturn the existing structures of constitutional law." A president who ignores the court, backed by a Congress that is unwilling to challenge him, Golove said, can make the Constitution simply ''disappear." which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy,"
Bruce Fein, deputy AG under Reagan, said. ''There is no way for an independent judiciary to check his assertions of power, and Congress isn't doing it, either. So this is moving us toward an unlimited executive power."

SPY GAME- More Phone Tag

And right in keeping with the previous story, Bush's NSA has been collecting all records of calls made in US for years due to the craven cooperation of the phone cos (with the laudable exception of Quest). Billions of records, though the phonecos, realizing their infinite liabilty (hundred billion $) to lawsuits already filed, are now saying, "never happened". Sure, but Bush didn't deny it. They can instantly obtain such records for suspect phones- the only reason to have everyones' calls is to punish their critics- journalists, Dems, anti-war activists without anyone knowing. The next shoe to drop, is that of course they were bugging all these critics for years, what I said in Jan. THIS is now the third impeachable crime Bush has commited, with the Iraq War lies, and the unconstitutional signing statements. When that last shoe drops, even the money grubbing Repub hacks in Congress will have to entertain serious punishment, and if Dems take a Chamber- Bush is cooked.


See how spot on we were at the start of my brilliant career: ---"We must acknowledge that the age of oil is over or very soon (20-30 years) will be. Oil is the raw material for nearly all of our organic chemicals, plastics, and drugs; and a future world may look back with incredulity at our stupidity, 'They just burned it….for heat.'" - Energy for the Long Run 1980

And it could get much worse. Once Iraq descends into full Civil War, whichever side doesn’t have control will destroy the pipelines, soon bringing production to a halt (1.7 million barrels a day); if we attack Iran, they may cut production by half for a while, and Chinese and Indian demands are going up 3-9% a year for as far as the eye can see. $5 a gallon within the year is quite possible, at which point the entire framework of business, transportation, travel will break down. It will be uneconomical to ship things thousands of miles for purchase without huge premiums. Chilean fruits in Jan will disappear, along with 20-40 percent of all businesses that rely on cheap oil. Can you say earthquake?

Bush hasn't a clue on what to do with the energy crisis (more tax breaks?). An immediate campaign for conservation could quickly cut our oil usage 8%, and partially relieve it, because we use so much oil that a 2% drop in demand immediately lowers prices. He abolished CAFÉ mileage standards that were in place through 6 Presidents and 3 decades- the little Texas tumbleweed turd- now he's calling for it again, but it would take 5 years to have any effect. Mind you, some of this is happening-natural conservation from price shocks- so prices may drop from the expanded pumping to tap these insane prices- but every such jump has led to recession. A friend getting a doctorate in "peak oil" says there is still 25-35 years before the peak oil production is reached, after which, according to THE END of OIL by Robert , it will plateau for a decade or so, then fall off rapidly.

In Asia Times The US's geopolitical nightmare explains how Bush's clumsy, stupid, and goonish behavior has turned the entire oil world against us: Iran, Bolivia (coca-Prez just nationalized oil fields), Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, even Saudi Arabia is forming oil alliances with the Russians and Chinese against us. The Shangai Cooperative Org., Russia and China and four former Soviet Central Asian republics, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are a month from offering full membership to Iran. This is the backdrop where Cheney just warned Russia about bullying oil neighbors in advance of G8 meeting in Mockba.

We believe the solution is a 20% excess profits tax on oil co. over last year and a half, take the 25-30 billion and fund a electric car contest, with prizes 17 and 10 billion going to the best US design that meets criteria. It would rejuvinate the dying US car industry, alleviate the crush on oil (because only ~12% of power plants use oil), vastly cut pollution and CO2 emmisions (central power plants make 10x less polution compared to separate internal combustion cars), cost 1/5th of gasoline prices (with '98 electric technology at $3/gal). Vote on my proposal in MoveOn. http://www.actionforum.com/forum/index.html?forum_id=266


Detested political hack CIA director Goss was finally canned, but not before he forced out the top 5 people of the agency and much of the Middle East division, hundreds of man-years of expertise wasted because these contemptible fools decided to punish everyone that opposed the Iraq War. Think about this. Even as it was proven to be an unmitigated disaster to all but the most obsessive Bush-lovers, the Administration was purging everyone with the wisdom to realize that (some of whom leaked the torture, incompetence, and corruption scandals), crippling our ability to monitor and deal with the terrorist threat. It’s surprising that Goss wasn’t removed with prejudice, because his partisan criminality leaves us much more defenseless to Al Qaida. The final straw was when one of his appointees Foggo (who just quit), carrying on a personal vendetta against those who had slighted him when he was an agent, was tied to Abramoff + Co.

Hayden looks good at first blush, but this is the guy that already defended Bush's illegal spying, and it is a huge jump towards the militarization of the American government to appoint a Pentagon man to head a civilian agency. --With Hayden’s installation, active duty or retired military officers would run all the major spy agencies as well as the intelligence hub, the National Counterterrorism Center. -- The crazy neocons have already poisoned our foreign policy and military standards in torture and ethics- all we need is a yes-man general to run the nation's secret agent men. Opposing the Bush appointments are some Republicans, but don't expect them to actually do more than tsk tsk questioning in hearings.

Meanwhile, the world is waiting for Rove to be indicted by the new Grand Jury, for if the smear-meister in chief is removed from the equation, the Dems have a chance. Jason Leopold says it's coming, or has happened, or is in the cards, or wind. The fat slug may have gone 10 times too many to the well of fear, hate, and divisiveness.

Stephen Colbert destroyed Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner to his face in the most couragous slams ever of the chump chimp. This guy is the new brilliant, sly, ironic host of The Colbert Show, that takes more risks and scores more than any comedy show in memory. He's gone from the doppy Mr. Goodwrench to torturing the President of the US in front of TV audience of millions in only a year. Somehow, these people didn't understand Colbert's faux Republicanism was a sly sarcastic slam and that he was the most dangerous man in America to GB2. Dana Millbank, Richard Cohen, and many others weighed in how Colbert wasn't funny, was rude, a bully (blah, blah), while E+P's Greg Mitchell did a scathing piece about Bush's Correspondents dinner 2 years ago where he peered under the table looking for those pesky missing WMD's. A riot. Read my letters to Cohen, Olbermann on it. FULL TEXT COLBERT SPEECH (must see)
VIDEO http://youtube.com/watch?v=8FBDPCyiFqY&search=colbert%2Bbush%2B%22white%20house%20correspondent%22


The Immigrant uprising in mass demonstrations brings a welter of conflicting feelings. As the first member of my family born in America, a have great sympathy for immigrants and the welcome America provides. INS (or whatever they’ve become) has always been the most insanely arbitrary agency, pursuing multiple opposite objectives simultaneously. Whether an immigrant is allowed to enter the land of plenty, or sent back to be tortured or killed or simply live in poverty deeper than most Americans can imagine, depends entirely on the whims of interviewing agents. Get a nice one and you have a future, come the next day and you get the back of a hand. And the deportations of 20 year legal residents because they had some old minor criminal conviction were senseless and cruel. They are so tough on people visiting America, that the ratio of foreign College students coming to study here vs China has changed from 4 to 1 before 9-11 to 1 to 4 the other way! Sure, let the bright people of the world absorb Chinese values. A young friend in Moscow who had married a Russian girl was delayed over a year in getting her into the US- she was an “immigration risk”, whereas if she had come as a tourist and married here, there would have been no problem. No, she was a wife. Now they are trying to appease the right with a few random publicized roundups, even as Halliburton is shipping in thousands of semi-slaves for hurricane repair.

But on the other hand, illegals have no “right” to be here, and their public protest was amazing. The reason they do the crummy jobs is because they are illegal. If the 11 million here were legalized they would bring 20-25 million of their family over, and we would need 11 million more illegals. One report has half of Mexico willing to come here if they could, and why should Mexicans and Central Americans be able to flood US at will, when all the millions of other Asians, Africans, et al, can’t. Now New Orleans is losing it’s funky polyglot gumbo character as the masses of imported Mexicans working for the huge Repub contractors threaten to turn the Big Easy into just another Hispanioland SW city. Miami is already that- if you don’t know Spanish, you can’t talk to or understand half the people- I went into government offices where the clerks couldn’t speak English. The illegal influx is an absolute crush in eastern Arizona (420k a year-40% of total illegals), where a wild buddy who fled from there has described the prolific drug, smuggling, and coyote murders in the sparsely populated desert area.

We sympathize somewhat with the nativist alarms of Lou Dobbs, but they are straying into Bill O’Liely demagoguery- he’s discovered the ratings potential of extremism. Even the goonish Sensenbrenner has had to admit that deporting 11 million people is impossible. But for a flip side true nightmarish scenario to the many successful productive immigrant ones, read this post from Salon.


Would you vote for Martin Luther King if he belonged to the Nazi Party?
I exaggerate, but that's somewhat the case here. I like the diffident legacy- I first told him Wellstone had died at a conference. Chafee is a nice guy and taken some good positions (only Repub against the war), but his support of and position in the Repub Party allows them to wage their vicious Neanderthal campaign against all things sacred, esp. the environment. If greens want anything but the scraps off Exxon's plate, they must help Dems take back America. And Dem Sheldon Whitehouse actually has consistently and extensively battled for the environment. Chafee has done figurative acts like voting against a candidate or position when it doesn’t matter, but in many things, when he had the swing vote and could actually stop bad candidates or legislation in committee, he rolled over and sided with the Administration (80% of time). He strangely believes that the President has a right for a full Senate vote on any candidate, no mater how execrable.

RI Dems have the option of voting for right wing Repub challenger Steven Laffey in the primary, who would almost certainly be crushed by the porpoise faced* former AG 51-32%, but that requires further study. Deadline for Dems becoming unaffiliated (to vote in Repub primary) is June 14. Whitehouse is taking no position on the semi-subversive diddling. Sheldon was in my Dean group, back when we were planning to run the world, and is a good egg. *benign, likable

Meanwhile, huge solid methane hydrate deposits at the bottom of the ocean were once released 55 million years ago (methane is much more potent greenhouse gas: 8-23 times stronger than CO2), raising temperatures 15-20 degrees over today (North America was a tropical jungle, redwoods grew to the top of Greenland, and one could swim at the North Pole), caused a mass global extinction where 40% of oceans microfauna died, the ocean was heated from top to bottom and acidified from CO2 6-8 times higher (methane breaks down into CO2), and ocean currents reversed). [On the plus side, the huge primitive mammals- shrews the size of horses- died out and small ones developed that became dogs, horses, sheep, and primates-us.] This could happen again if temps get raised enough, because only thing keeping methane solid is extreme cold and pressure. So again, we are talking the fate of the earth and our endless capacity to alter it.
http://scicom.ucsc.edu/SciNotes/0301/warm/index.html Eocine Age warming 55 mil years ago


(line from Tonto in The Lone Ranger) Zacarias Moussaoui may have successfully pulled a triple cross, acting so heedless, so contemptuous, so fervent that he just had to be crazy. Nobody could be that heedless of his fate- of the risk of being executed unless he was A. Crazy, or B. wanted to die... so he could get 72 virgins (great cartoon shows 72 vermin as Zakarias enters the cell). Either way, if he wants to die, by gum, we won’t give it to him. Which maybe is what he really wanted. Still, there were some chilling grains of truth to his hate filled eloquent denunciations of our little Union, that should give us pause.

Now, he says it was all a mistake (he thought he was on Jerry Springer), and he wants to plead innocent. He was surprised Americans were so fair, and didn't have him executed. Zippo chance, Zak.