Friday, May 26, 2006

[september_eleven_vreeland] Digest Number 1370

There are 6 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Mart
From: "shane_digital"
2. Vid.of Firemen in WTC find bomb
From: ""
3. Save Democracy: Bill Moyers on Culture of Corruption
From: "norgesen"
4. Big Business: Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules
From: "norgesen"
5. Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?
From: "norgesen"
6. A rogue president: Bush has claimed authority to disobey over 750 la
From: "norgesen"


Message 1
From: "shane_digital"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 6:22am(PDT)
Subject: Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Mart

Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For
Martial Law
Nationwide initiative trains volunteers to teach congregations to
"obey the government" during seizure of guns, property, forced
inoculations and forced relocation

full article with videos:


Message 2
From: ""
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 6:27am(PDT)
Subject: Vid.of Firemen in WTC find bomb

Video of Firemen on 9/11 in the WTC saying there are bombe here, Clear Out !

Fireman: "bomb in the building start clearing out"

This is a clip from the CameraPlanet 9/11 Archive. A firefighter at ground zero clearly says that the building must be cleared because there is a bomb inside. This adds to the weight of testimony from firefighters that bombs were evident in the WTC.


Col. Robert Bowman, Ph.D., the former head of the "Star Wars" Missile Defense Program, has just confirmed that he will participate in the upcoming conference in Chicago, 9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future:

He will appear in the political candidates' forum on Sunday
afternoon, June 4th, and then deliver the plenary address closing the
conference. Col. Bowman, a dynamic speaker who is a scholar and ordained minister as well as a respected military figure, is currently a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Florida:

Col. Bowman just told me that he is planning to win his House race, go to Washington, D.C., and take 9/11 truth mainstream. With 9/11 truth op-eds appearing in major newspapers, and a new poll showing that a majority of Americans disapproves of the media's non-coverage of 9/11 questions, Col. Bowman has a real shot at doing just that. The upcoming 9/11 truth conference in Chicago could turn out to be America's most important get-together since the Constitutional Convention. Come to Chicago, make a contribution, or plan on telling your grandchildren you sat around doing nothing while other people worked their butts off to save this country.
--Kevin Barrett

1) Truth Marches on
9/11 Truth Going Mainstream
Zogby: 70 million Americans support a new 9/11 investigation, and 55% of Americans disapprove of the way in which the media has covered questions surrounding 9/11.
* * *
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle's leading newspaper) op-ed says 9/11 Commission Report is a Lie
May 16, 2006

"The 9/11 Commission's conclusions and recommendations should be totally rejected. Its story is full of lies, distortions and omissions of fact..."
* * *
2) Desperate Perps Spew Disinformation & Distraction
Osama Bin Distractin

The day after the first national poll showed that 70 million Americans support a new 9/11 investigation, and 55% of Americans disapprove of the way in which the media has covered questions surrounding 9/11, what does the mainstream media do?

They covered the poll, and apologized for their terrible coverage of the evidence that 9/11 was an inside job or allowed to happen on purpose! Finally, it only took them 4 and a half years, but they've finally started reporting the truth!
Uh ... no. Instead, all of the major networks are ignoring the poll and instead running a story about how Osama directed 9/11. Specifically, the top story at all of the MSM websites is something like "Osama bin Laden says Zacarias Moussaoui had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists attacks", that Osama directed the 19 hijackers on exactly what to do, and crazy old Moussaoui wasn't one of them.
How convenient of Osama to distract attention away from the poll. What a helpful chap. It doesn't matter that the Osama videos about 9/11 are fake, or that he might be dead. Don't look at the man behind the curtain.


Message 3
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 7:35pm(PDT)
Subject: Save Democracy: Bill Moyers on Culture of Corruption

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Davis

Excellent article. Check the candidates in your state. See who is buying them. Chances are many of them will be getting funding from Club for Growth or Americans for Tax Reform or some other spin-off clones.

Subject: Fw: Save Democracy: Bill Moyers on Culture of Corruption
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 17:30:20 -0600

I think you will find this interesting.

The Washington Spectator
Let's Save Our Democracy by Getting Money Out of Politics
By Bill Moyers April 1, 2006 (page 1/3) oney is choking our democracy to death. Our elections are bought out from under us and
our public officials are doing the bidding of mercenaries. So powerful is the hold of wealth on politics that we cannot say America is working for all Americans. The majority may support such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, but there is no government "of, by, and for the people" to deliver on those aspirations.

Our system of privately financed campaigns has shut regular people out of any meaningful participation in democracy. Less than one-half of one percent of all Americans made a political contribution of $200 or more to a federal candidate in 2004. When the average cost of winning a seat in the House of Representatives has topped $1 million, we can no longer refer to that chamber as "The People's House." Congress belongs to the highest bidder.

At the same time that the cost of getting elected is exploding beyond the reach of ordinary people, the business of influencing our elected representatives has become a growth industry. Since President Bush was elected the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled. That's 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 and 34,785 last year: 65 lobbyists for every member of Congress. The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month.

Numbers don't tell the whole story. With pro-corporate officials running both the executive and legislative branches, lobbying that was once reactive has sallied forth to buy huge chunks of public policy. One example: In 2004 the computer maker Hewlett-Packard sought Republican-backed legislation that would enable it to bring back to the United States, at a dramatically lowered tax rate, as much as $14.5 billion in profits from foreign subsidiaries. The company nearly doubled its budget for contract lobbyists and took on an elite lobbying firm as its Washington arm. Presto! The legislation passed. The company's director of government affairs was quite candid: "We're trying to take advantage of the fact that Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House."

GREED WITHOUT APOLOGIES—I am an equal opportunity muckraker. Anyone who saw the documentary my team and I produced on the illegal fund-raising for Bill Clinton's re-election knows I am no fan of the Democratic money-machine that helped tear away the party from whatever roots it had in the struggles of working people. But today the Republicans own the government lock, stock, and barrel. And they have turned their self-proclaimed revolution into a cash cow.

Look back at the bulk of legislation passed by Congress in the past decade: an energy bill that gives oil companies huge tax breaks at the same time that ExxonMobil has just posted $36.13 billion in profits and our gasoline and home heating bills are at an all-time high; a bankruptcy "reform" bill written by credit card companies to make it harder for poor debtors to escape the burdens of divorce or medical catastrophe; the deregulation of the banking, securities and insurance sectors, which brought on rampant corporate malfeasance and greed and the destruction of the retirement plans of millions of small investors; the deregulation of the telecommunications sector, which led to cable industry price-gouging and an undermining of news coverage; protection for rampant overpricing of pharmaceutical drugs; and the blocking of even the mildest attempt to prevent American corporations from dodging an estimated $50 billion in annual taxes by opening a P.O. box in an off-shore tax haven like the Cayman Islands.

In every case the results were produced by rivers of cash flowing to favored politicians from interests whose return on their investment put Wall Street equities to shame. This happens because our public representatives need huge sums to finance their campaigns, especially to pay for television advertising. The masters of the money game have taken advantage of that weakness in our democracy to turn our elections into auctions.

A WALK DOWN K STREET—It's the Wall Street of lobbying, the address of many of Washington's biggest lobbying firms. The "K Street Project"—the most successful shakedown operation since the first Gilded Age—was the brainchild of Representative Tom DeLay and Grover Norquist, the right-wing strategist who famously said that his goal is to shrink government so that it can be "drowned in a bathtub" (when, finally, it will be too impotent to protect democracy from plunder and powerless citizens from the rapacity of corporate power). For his part, Tom DeLay ran a pest exterminating business in Sugar Land, Texas, where he hated government regulators who dared to tell him that some of the pesticides he used were dangerous. He got himself elected to the Texas legislature at a time when the Republicans were becoming the majority in the once-solid Democratic South, and early in his new career "Hot Tub Tom," as he was known in Austin, became a born-again Christian.
continued 1 2 3 next

Vicky Davis

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell


Message 4
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 7:36pm(PDT)
Subject: Big Business: Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Davis

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 15:11:45 -0500 (Central Standard Time)
Subject: Big Business

From Business Week:

MAY 23, 2006
By Dawn Kopecki

Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules
Now, the White House's top spymaster can cite national security to exempt businesses from reporting requirements

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.

Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn't be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision.

The timing of Bush's move is intriguing. On the same day the President signed the memo, Porter Goss resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency amid criticism of ineffectiveness and poor morale at the agency. Only six days later, on May 11, USA Today reported that the National Security Agency had obtained millions of calling records of ordinary citizens provided by three major U.S. Phone companies. Negroponte oversees both the CIA and NSA in his role as the administration's top intelligence official.

FEW ANSWERS. White House spokeswoman Dana M. Perino said the timing of the May 5 Presidential memo had no significance. "There was nothing specific that prompted this memo," Perino said.

In addition to refusing to explain why Bush decided to delegate this authority to Negroponte, the White House declined to say whether Bush or any other President has ever exercised the authority and allowed a company to avoid standard securities disclosure and accounting requirements. The White House wouldn't comment on whether Negroponte has granted such a waiver, and BusinessWeek so far hasn't identified any companies affected by the provision. Negroponte's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Securities-law experts said they were unfamiliar with the May 5 memo and the underlying Presidential authority at issue. John C. Coffee, a securities-law professor at Columbia University, speculated that defense contractors might want to use such an exemption to mask secret assignments for the Pentagon or CIA. "What you might hide is investments: You've spent umpteen million dollars that comes out of your working capital to build a plant in Iraq," which the government wants to keep secret. "That's the kind of scenario that would be plausible," Coffee said.

AUTHORITY GRANTED. William McLucas, the Securities & Exchange Commission's former enforcement chief, suggested that the ability to conceal financial information in the name of national security could lead some companies "to play fast and loose with their numbers." McLucas, a partner at the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, added: "It could be that you have a bunch of books and records out there that no one knows about."

The memo Bush signed on May 5, which was published seven days later in the Federal Register, had the unrevealing title "Assignment of Function Relating to Granting of Authority for Issuance of Certain Directives: Memorandum for the Director of National Intelligence." In the document, Bush addressed Negroponte, saying: "I hereby assign to you the function of the President under section 13(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended."

A trip to the statute books showed that the amended version of the 1934 act states that "with respect to matters concerning the national security of the United States," the President or the head of an Executive Branch agency may exempt companies from certain critical legal obligations. These obligations include keeping accurate "books, records, and accounts" and maintaining "a system of internal accounting controls sufficient" to ensure the propriety of financial transactions and the preparation of financial statements in compliance with "generally accepted accounting principles."

"Assignment of Function Relating to Granting of Authority for Issuance of Certain Directives: Memorandum for the Director of National Intelligence."

Vicky Davis

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell


Message 5
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 7:43pm(PDT)
Subject: Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Davis

Subject: Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 06:51:32 -0700

Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?

Posted: May 23, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2006
In January 2004, the Carlyle Group put together a new team to begin investing in Mexico. The team consisted of Luis Téllez, who was then an executive vice president of Desc, one of Mexico's largest companies; Joaquin Avila, who was then a managing director of Lehman Brothers; and Mark McLarty, the president of Kissinger McLarty Associates and chief of staff to and special envoy to the Americas for President Bill Clinton.

From 1987 to 1993, Téllez had served in several important positions within the Mexican government, including head economist at the Ministry of Treasury and undersecretary of planning at the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.

As reported in The Guardian in 2001, Bush 41 and 43 have been connected to the secretive Carlyle Group equity fund in various ways resulting in substantial compensation to the Bush family from Carlyle Group investments. Dubai International Capital also co-invests in Carlyle Group private equity deals, as disclosed on the website of Dubai International Capital. Earlier this year, Dubai International Capital surfaced in the U.S. press as Dubai Ports World and sought to acquire P&O Ports, the port operations subsidiary of the London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

Recently, the Carlyle Group participated with Televisa, Mexico's largest private broadcaster, to acquire Univision, the U.S.-based Spanish language broadcaster. According to an analysis published in London's Financial Times, the Televisa plan was to expand their current 11.4 percent interest in Univision to 25 percent, the maximum percentage U.S. law would permit a foreign company to own in a U.S.-based media company. To get around the restriction in U.S. law, Televisa planned to rely upon four private equity firms to participate along with Cascade Investment, Bill Gates' investment vehicle. The other participating funds were the Carlyle Group, the Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, all experienced acquisition private equity fund groups. Here is how the Financial Times described the proposed $12 billion transaction:
The news finally confirms what the market has known for some time: that Televisa is desperate to sink its teeth into the fast-growing U.S. market of broadcasting in Spanish. But it is also just the latest - if indeed one of the most prominent cases - of highly successful and cash-rich Mexican companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
On the theory of "follow the money," the interest of the Carlyle Group in Mexico investments might help explain why President Bush has been so reluctant to secure our border with Mexico. Clearly, the economic value of such a deal would diminish greatly if the U.S. Congress were to pass an immigration law tough on enforcement provisions, or a law that classified the conservatively estimated 12 million illegal aliens currently in the U.S. as "felons" if they did not return to their homelands. Reuters reported that a May 2006 Univision board meeting included discussions of other potential acquisition bids, including those possibly forthcoming from Robert Murdoch's News Corp, CBS and Disney. Reuters also noted that Televisa currently has a 17-year deal to provide Univision with programming for U.S. Hispanic viewers. Reuters further reported that Univision expects acquisition bids to be submitted by June 8, 2006.

In December 2005, announced that the Carlyle Group, together with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, had provided $500 million in financial backing for Cobalt International Energy L.P. to engage in oil and gas exploration in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Cobalt will be managed by a senior team that includes four highly experienced industry leaders, including Joseph Bryant (former president and chief operating officer of Unocal), Samuel Gillespie (former general counsel at Mobil and Unocal), James Painter (former SVP of exploration at Unocal) and James Farnsworth (VP for world-wide exploration and technology at BP).
Another interesting set of connections involves CSX, the international rail shipping and container company that was formerly headed by U.S. Secretary of Treasury John Snow.
a.. In December 2002, while Snow was CSX CEO, the Carlyle Group acquired the international CSX Lines division of CSX in a $300 million transaction.
b.. On Dec. 9, 2004, Dubai Ports International announced signing a definitive agreement to acquire CSX World Terminals from CSX in a transaction valued at $1.15 billion.
c.. On Feb. 7, 2003, John Snow was sworn-in as secretary of Treasury.
d.. On Jan. 17, 2006, President Bush announced his intention to nominate David C. Sanborn to be administrator of the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. At the time, Sanborn was serving as director of operations for Europe and Latin America at Dubai Ports World. Prior to working at Dubai Ports World, Sanborn had been an executive at CSX. On March 27, 2006, the Bush administration notified the Senate that Mr. Sanborn's decision to withdraw his nomination had been accepted.
CSX of Mexico continues to operate rail shipping at border crossing points, including Calexico (on the California border), Nogales (Arizona border), El Paso (Texas border), Laredo (Texas border) and Brownsville (Texas border).
At the March 2005 meeting at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, President Bush, President Fox of Mexico and Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin announced a joint decision to form a tri-lateral partnership named "The Security Prosperity Partnership of North America," or SPP.

As outlined in a May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force report entitled "Building a North American Community," the goal of the SPP is to move toward the creation of a North American Union in which the borders between the U.S. and Mexico and between the U.S. and Canada will be erased, permitting free movement of people, capital and trade within the three countries. The U.S. Department of Commerce has established a website to document the extensive work that has been done since March 2005 to advance the North American Union agenda.

Conservative critics of President Bush have found it difficult to comprehend why the administration has fought so hard to avoid securing our border with Mexico. The Dubai Ports World deal also troubled conservative critics who said the Bush administration was more interested in global business ties with Dubai than U.S. port security.

If we continue to "follow the money," we begin to see that the Bush administration may well be following a globalist agenda to create a North American Union, which would be consistent with nearly unregulated migration of people from Mexico to the United States.

Earlier this year, the nation debated which was more important - allowing Dubai Ports World to acquire P&O, or U.S. port security? We may be seeing a similar debate take shape over illegal immigration. Which is more important now? Allowing unrestrained movement of people, capital and trade in an emerging North American Union, or securing our southern border with Mexico from a continuing invasion of illegal aliens?

Vicky Davis

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell


Message 6
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 8:06pm(PDT)
Subject: A rogue president: Bush has claimed authority to disobey over 750 la

Bush�s contention that he can ignore provisions of the Patriot Act, whose renewal he ushered last month, has drawn scrutiny.

Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 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.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

Former administration officials contend that just because Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential power.

But with the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes he has the constitutional authority to override.

Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.

Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush's theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.

Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term, said Bush and his legal team have spent the past five years quietly working to concentrate ever more governmental power into the White House.

''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."

For the first five years of Bush's presidency, his legal claims attracted little attention in Congress or the media. Then, twice in recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a torture ban and a requirement that he give detailed reports to Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act.

Bush administration spokesmen declined to make White House or Justice Department attorneys available to discuss any of Bush's challenges to the laws he has signed.

Instead, they referred a Globe reporter to their response to questions about Bush's position that he could ignore provisions of the Patriot Act. They said at the time that Bush was following a practice that has ''been used for several administrations" and that ''the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution."

But the words ''in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution" are the catch, legal scholars say, because Bush is according himself the ultimate interpretation of the Constitution. And he is quietly exercising that authority to a degree that is unprecedented in US history.

Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.

''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.

Military link
Many of the laws Bush said he can bypass -- including the torture ban -- involve the military.

The Constitution grants Congress the power to create armies, to declare war, to make rules for captured enemies, and ''to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces." But, citing his role as commander in chief, Bush says he can ignore any act of Congress that seeks to regulate the military.

On at least four occasions while Bush has been president, Congress has passed laws forbidding US troops from engaging in combat in Colombia, where the US military is advising the government in its struggle against narcotics-funded Marxist rebels.

After signing each bill, Bush declared in his signing statement that he did not have to obey any of the Colombia restrictions because he is commander in chief.

Bush has also said he can bypass laws requiring him to tell Congress before diverting money from an authorized program in order to start a secret operation, such as the ''black sites" where suspected terrorists are secretly imprisoned.

Congress has also twice passed laws forbidding the military from using intelligence that was not ''lawfully collected," including any information on Americans that was gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches.

Congress first passed this provision in August 2004, when Bush's warrantless domestic spying program was still a secret, and passed it again after the program's existence was disclosed in December 2005.

On both occasions, Bush declared in signing statements that only he, as commander in chief, could decide whether such intelligence can be used by the military.

In October 2004, five months after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal in Iraq came to light, Congress passed a series of new rules and regulations for military prisons. Bush signed the provisions into law, then said he could ignore them all. One provision made clear that military lawyers can give their commanders independent advice on such issues as what would constitute torture. But Bush declared that military lawyers could not contradict his administration's lawyers.

Other provisions required the Pentagon to retrain military prison guards on the requirements for humane treatment of detainees under the Geneva Conventions, to perform background checks on civilian contractors in Iraq, and to ban such contractors from performing ''security, intelligence, law enforcement, and criminal justice functions." Bush reserved the right to ignore any of the requirements.

The new law also created the position of inspector general for Iraq. But Bush wrote in his signing statement that the inspector ''shall refrain" from investigating any intelligence or national security matter, or any crime the Pentagon says it prefers to investigate for itself.

Bush had placed similar limits on an inspector general position created by Congress in November 2003 for the initial stage of the US occupation of Iraq. The earlier law also empowered the inspector to notify Congress if a US official refused to cooperate. Bush said the inspector could not give any information to Congress without permission from the administration.

Oversight questioned
Many laws Bush has asserted he can bypass involve requirements to give information about government activity to congressional oversight committees.

In December 2004, Congress passed an intelligence bill requiring the Justice Department to tell them how often, and in what situations, the FBI was using special national security wiretaps on US soil. The law also required the Justice Department to give oversight committees copies of administration memos outlining any new interpretations of domestic-spying laws. And it contained 11 other requirements for reports about such issues as civil liberties, security clearances, border security, and counternarcotics efforts.

After signing the bill, Bush issued a signing statement saying he could withhold all the information sought by Congress.

Likewise, when Congress passed the law creating the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, it said oversight committees must be given information about vulnerabilities at chemical plants and the screening of checked bags at airports.

It also said Congress must be shown unaltered reports about problems with visa services prepared by a new immigration ombudsman. Bush asserted the right to withhold the information and alter the reports.

On several other occasions, Bush contended he could nullify laws creating ''whistle-blower" job protections for federal employees that would stop any attempt to fire them as punishment for telling a member of Congress about possible government wrongdoing.

When Congress passed a massive energy package in August, for example, it strengthened whistle-blower protections for employees at the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The provision was included because lawmakers feared that Bush appointees were intimidating nuclear specialists so they would not testify about safety issues related to a planned nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada -- a facility the administration supported, but both Republicans and Democrats from Nevada opposed.

When Bush signed the energy bill, he issued a signing statement declaring that the executive branch could ignore the whistle-blower protections.

Bush's statement did more than send a threatening message to federal energy specialists inclined to raise concerns with Congress; it also raised the possibility that Bush would not feel bound to obey similar whistle-blower laws that were on the books before he became president. His domestic spying program, for example, violated a surveillance law enacted 23 years before he took office.

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.

Defying Supreme Court
Bush has also challenged statutes in which Congress gave certain executive branch officials the power to act independently of the president. The Supreme Court has repeatedly endorsed the power of Congress to make such arrangements. For example, the court has upheld laws creating special prosecutors free of Justice Department oversight and insulating the board of the Federal Trade Commission from political interference.

Nonetheless, Bush has said in his signing statements that the Constitution lets him control any executive official, no matter what a statute passed by Congress might say.

In November 2002, for example, Congress, seeking to generate independent statistics about student performance, passed a law setting up an educational research institute to conduct studies and publish reports ''without the approval" of the Secretary of Education. Bush, however, decreed that the institute's director would be ''subject to the supervision and direction of the secretary of education."

Similarly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld affirmative-action programs, as long as they do not include quotas. Most recently, in 2003, the court upheld a race-conscious university admissions program over the strong objections of Bush, who argued that such programs should be struck down as unconstitutional.

Yet despite the court's rulings, Bush has taken exception at least nine times to provisions that seek to ensure that minorities are represented among recipients of government jobs, contracts, and grants. Each time, he singled out the provisions, declaring that he would construe them ''in a manner consistent with" the Constitution's guarantee of ''equal protection" to all -- which some legal scholars say amounts to an argument that the affirmative-action provisions represent reverse discrimination against whites.

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."

Common practice in '80s
Though Bush has gone further than any previous president, his actions are not unprecedented.

Since the early 19th century, American presidents have occasionally signed a large bill while declaring that they would not enforce a specific provision they believed was unconstitutional. On rare occasions, historians say, presidents also issued signing statements interpreting a law and explaining any concerns about it.

But it was not until the mid-1980s, midway through the tenure of President Reagan, that it became common for the president to issue signing statements. The change came about after then-Attorney General Edwin Meese decided that signing statements could be used to increase the power of the president.

When interpreting an ambiguous law, courts often look at the statute's legislative history, debate and testimony, to see what Congress intended it to mean. Meese realized that recording what the president thought the law meant in a signing statement might increase a president's influence over future court rulings.

Under Meese's direction in 1986, a young Justice Department lawyer named Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a strategy memo about signing statements. It came to light in late 2005, after Bush named Alito to the Supreme Court.

In the memo, Alito predicted that Congress would resent the president's attempt to grab some of its power by seizing ''the last word on questions of interpretation." He suggested that Reagan's legal team should ''concentrate on points of true ambiguity, rather than issuing interpretations that may seem to conflict with those of Congress."

Reagan's successors continued this practice. George H.W. Bush challenged 232 statutes over four years in office, and Bill Clinton objected to 140 laws over his eight years, according to Kelley, the Miami University of Ohio professor.

Many of the challenges involved longstanding legal ambiguities and points of conflict between the president and Congress.

Throughout the past two decades, for example, each president -- including the current one -- has objected to provisions requiring him to get permission from a congressional committee before taking action. The Supreme Court made clear in 1983 that only the full Congress can direct the executive branch to do things, but lawmakers have continued writing laws giving congressional committees such a role.

Still, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton used the presidential veto instead of the signing statement if they had a serious problem with a bill, giving Congress a chance to override their decisions.

But the current President Bush has abandoned the veto entirely, as well as any semblance of the political caution that Alito counseled back in 1986. In just five years, Bush has challenged more than 750 new laws, by far a record for any president, while becoming the first president since Thomas Jefferson to stay so long in office without issuing a veto.

''What we haven't seen until this administration is the sheer number of objections that are being raised on every bill passed through the White House," said Kelley, who has studied presidential signing statements through history. ''That is what is staggering. The numbers are well out of the norm from any previous administration."

Exaggerated fears?
Some administration defenders say that concerns about Bush's signing statements are overblown. Bush's signing statements, they say, should be seen as little more than political chest-thumping by administration lawyers who are dedicated to protecting presidential prerogatives.

Defenders say the fact that Bush is reserving the right to disobey the laws does not necessarily mean he has gone on to disobey them.

Indeed, in some cases, the administration has ended up following laws that Bush said he could bypass. For example, citing his power to ''withhold information" in September 2002, Bush declared that he could ignore a law requiring the State Department to list the number of overseas deaths of US citizens in foreign countries. Nevertheless, the department has still put the list on its website.

Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who until last year oversaw the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for the administration, said the statements do not change the law; they just let people know how the president is interpreting it.

''Nobody reads them," said Goldsmith. ''They have no significance. Nothing in the world changes by the publication of a signing statement. The statements merely serve as public notice about how the administration is interpreting the law. Criticism of this practice is surprising, since the usual complaint is that the administration is too secretive in its legal interpretations."

But Cooper, the Portland State University professor who has studied Bush's first-term signing statements, said the documents are being read closely by one key group of people: the bureaucrats who are charged with implementing new laws.

Lower-level officials will follow the president's instructions even when his understanding of a law conflicts with the clear intent of Congress, crafting policies that may endure long after Bush leaves office, Cooper said.

''Years down the road, people will not understand why the policy doesn't look like the legislation," he said.

And in many cases, critics contend, there is no way to know whether the administration is violating laws -- or merely preserving the right to do so.

Many of the laws Bush has challenged involve national security, where it is almost impossible to verify what the government is doing. And since the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, many people have expressed alarm about his sweeping claims of the authority to violate laws.

In January, after the Globe first wrote about Bush's contention that he could disobey the torture ban, three Republicans who were the bill's principal sponsors in the Senate -- John McCain of Arizona, John W. Warner of Virginia, and Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina -- all publicly rebuked the president.

''We believe the president understands Congress's intent in passing, by very large majorities, legislation governing the treatment of detainees," McCain and Warner said in a joint statement. ''The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation."

Added Graham: ''I do not believe that any political figure in the country has the ability to set aside any . . . law of armed conflict that we have adopted or treaties that we have ratified."

And in March, when the Globe first wrote about Bush's contention that he could ignore the oversight provisions of the Patriot Act, several Democrats lodged complaints.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, accused Bush of trying to ''cherry-pick the laws he decides he wants to follow."

And Representatives Jane Harman of California and John Conyers Jr. of Michigan -- the ranking Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, respectively -- sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales demanding that Bush rescind his claim and abide by the law.

''Many members who supported the final law did so based upon the guarantee of additional reporting and oversight," they wrote. ''The administration cannot, after the fact, unilaterally repeal provisions of the law implementing such oversight. . . . Once the president signs a bill, he and all of us are bound by it."

Lack of court review
Such political fallout from Congress is likely to be the only check on Bush's claims, legal specialists said.

The courts have little chance of reviewing Bush's assertions, especially in the secret realm of national security matters.

''There can't be judicial review if nobody knows about it," said Neil Kinkopf, a Georgia State law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. ''And if they avoid judicial review, they avoid having their constitutional theories rebuked."

Without court involvement, only Congress can check a president who goes too far. But Bush's fellow Republicans control both chambers, and they have shown limited interest in launching the kind of oversight that could damage their party.

''The president is daring Congress to act against his positions, and they're not taking action because they don't want to appear to be too critical of the president, given that their own fortunes are tied to his because they are all Republicans," said Jack Beermann, a Boston University law professor. ''Oversight gets much reduced in a situation where the president and Congress are controlled by the same party."

Said Golove, the New York University law professor: ''Bush has essentially said that 'We're the executive branch and we're going to carry this law out as we please, and if Congress wants to impeach us, go ahead and try it.' "

Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said the American system of government relies upon the leaders of each branch ''to exercise some self-restraint." But Bush has declared himself the sole judge of his own powers, he said, and then ruled for himself every time.

''This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy," Fein 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."

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

GLOBE GRAPHIC: Number of new statutes challenged
Examples of the president's signing statements

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