Are you familiar with the Fifth Amendment? President Bush is hoping you aren’t. That’s why on both July 17th and August 2nd he decided to give himself more powers that fly right in the face of the Fifth Amendment.
For those who don’t remember, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that "No person shall … be deprived of … property, without due process of law." On July 17th, Bush signed an Executive Order that authorized the Treasury Department (at his direction) to be able to seize any and all property belonging to individuals who "pose a significant risk" of committing violent acts that undermine the "peace or stability" of Iraq. The action does not require congressional approval. Then on August 2nd, he further authorized the Treasury to "block the property and interests in property" of "any U.S. persons" (including "a spouse or dependent child") who challenge "the sovereignty of Lebanon" (i.e., support Syria’s occupation of Lebanon and its interference in Lebanese politics) ((Slate Magazine, August 6th 2007, "Did Bush Repeal the Fifth Amendment?")).
Does this scare you even a little? It should. Republicans and neocons will argue that these Executive Orders are merely tools to help fight the "war on terror" and the insurgents in Iraq. They will say that I am being paranoid, but I don’t think I am. Here’s why: did you notice that these Executive Orders can be used against American citizens? That revokes or limits the rights given to us under the Fifth Amendment.
Call me old fashioned, but I don’t believe that the President should have the power to revoke or limit our Constitutional rights without approval by Congress. Our forefathers set up a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch of government (Executive, Congressional, or Judicial) had too much power. They were very careful and deliberate in writing these safeguards into the Constitution. By issuing the Executive Orders, Bush has given himself powers that the Constitution, i.e. the law of the land, does not provide him.
This is not new for the Bush Administration. Bush has shown little regard to the Constitution in the past, but how much more are we going to let him get away with? He is slowly but surely turning the Executive branch all-powerful, and in doing so, transforms himself from being our President to being our King.
P.S. Did anyone else see this being covered by the mainstream media? Me neither. I guess Lindsay Lohan’s latest antics are much more relevant to our lives than the erosion of our Constitution rights.