U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) wrote the following:
Congress should pass legislation to require the administration to alert Congress when the law created by Justice Department opinions ignores or even violates the laws passed by Congress, and to require public notice when it is waiving or modifying a published executive order. Congress and the public shouldn't have to wonder whether the executive branch is following the laws that are on the books or some other, secret law.
Source: "Government in secret: The Yoo memo is just one example of Bush's hidden laws," by Russ Feingold. Los Angeles Times. May 8, 2008.
Well, Russ, just make sure it's veto proof and make sure it anticipates all the possible ways Bush's lawyers might conjure up as to how they would interpret it in opposition to legislative intent. You'll have to find out all the neocon objections in advance and take care of them all in the legislation. Actually, maybe you'll have to add to the legislation (veto proof) that no signing statement may accompany the legislation. Maybe you should just go for a law that outlaws all signing statements period.
Also, you're dreaming if you think you can have a law that requires the administration to alert Congress when the law created by Justice Department opinions ignores or even violates the laws passed by Congress. They just won't ever claim that their opinions either ignore or violate the law. They'll just interpret it away.
Just require them to make all Justice Department opinions immediately public: Of no effect anywhere in the government unless and until made public.
Wow, would they hate that idea since they wouldn't be able to hide evil behind "national security," as if national security is ever better off when the government does evil.
Well, the way around that would be to at least have to inform a full legislative committee set up to receive all such information and to route it to the appropriate committee. Then the people's representatives of all political parties could know without leaking so-called legitimate intelligence information concerning ostensible national security.
Make sure that the committee members would not be bound to keep secret any illegal actions of the administration. There could be a formal method of informing the administration as to what might be considered legal or illegal before a member were to go public with it. There could even be a way for the Supreme Court to hear such disputes in secret to decide matters of constitutionality.
It's all so hopeless, Russ. Think about it. Think about how convoluted it all is. Think about how it isn't possible to coerce righteousness. The evil-hearted will always cheat no matter how may laws you pass.
The house is inherently divided, Russ. It's coming down to be displaced by a new undivided house that will stand eternally.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)