From the October 2006 Idaho Observer:

Bush says he can edit (alter) security reports

On October 4, 2006, President Bush altered a law passed by Congress which stated that no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints. Bush attached one of his now infamous "signing statements" to the law by stating that he, too, has the power to edit the Homeland Security Departmentís reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watch lists.

President Bush has reportedly attached signing statements to alter more than 800 laws passed by Congress. President Bushís frequent use of signing statements reflects his belief that the Constitution authorizes the president to be above laws enacted by Congress. This interpretation of the Constitution is an integral part of his "comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power" at the expense of the legislative branch, according to a report published by the non partisan Congressional Research Service.

When Bush signed the 2007 military budget bill in late September, he attached a statement challenging 16 of its provisions. The budget bill bars the Pentagon from using any intelligence that was collected illegally, including information about Americans that was gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendmentís protections against unreasonable government surveillance.


Bush on Iraq quagmire:

"Itís tough"

President Bush publicly announced that he will be meeting with his top military advisors over the weekend of October 20-22, 2006, to discuss his administrationís options for the worsening situation in Iraq. "We are constantly adjusting our tactics so we can achieve the objectives and right now, itís tough," the president told The Associated Press.

The options on the table are scheduling the timetable for withdrawal of the 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, dividing the country up into three or more countries or staying the present course of military occupation.

The latter option is becoming increasingly unpalatable to Americans and the rest of the world. Key people on both sides of the political aisle have publicly stated that the "staying the course" option provides little hope of curbing the violence, ending the bloodshed or restoring political stability to Iraq any time soon. Those doubts increased October 19, 2006, when the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, said a two-month crackdown had failed to bring escalating levels of violence under control and that security plans to deal with current conditions on the ground in Iraq were under review. "The violence is indeed disheartening," Caldwell said.

As many as 500 Iraqi non-combatant men, women and children are dying each day as a direct result of the U.S.-led occupation. The occupation is seen as a political nightmare for the Republican majority in Congress and a political opportunity for Democrats attempting to parlay the Bush administrationís troubles in Iraq into regaining majority control of Congress in the coming mid-term elections.

Erect physical barrier; dissolve economic barriers

On October 4, 2006, President Bush signed a homeland security bill that includes an overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1.2 billion for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration. The president is also encouraging Congress to sign off on his guest worker program to give an estimated 11 million Mexicans already living here illegally "a shot at citizenship."

The "wall" is seen as a political move to placate the concerns growing numbers of Americans have for the escalating social and economic problems associated with illegal immigration while the real intent is to facilitate illegal immigration. According to Miriam Jordan of the Wall Street Journal, "Öthe U.S. Federal Reserve is devising programs to extend banking services to undocumented immigrants. A new remittance program aims to bring Mexican migrants who send money home into the mainstream U.S. financial system, regardless of their immigration status.

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