"The U.S. Supreme Court and The Imperial Presidency: How President Bush Is Testing the Limits of His Presidential Powers." "This may be the most imperial Presidency our history has yet seen," writes someone who ought to know: John Dean, the former counsel to Richard M. Nixon. Now a columnist for the Web site FindLaw, Dean reviews five cases before the Supreme Court whose outcomes might well affect the November elections -- four are related to the war on terror -- and the potential that a conservative-leaning court will put the reins on the president they helped install. (writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20040116.html)
"White House Seeks To Assert Total Control Over All Environmental & Health Studies Warnings." A nuclear-plant accident ... an anthrax release ... a mad-cow disease outbreak: all potential health or environmental crises whose status is evaluated by respective federal agencies. But no longer, reports television and radio outfit Democracy Now! (Jan. 14), if the White House follows through on its plan to run all federal environmental and health studies past its own Office of Management and Budget. The administration also wants to manage scientific and technical peer reviews of all major government rules, plans, proposed regulations and pronouncements. Democracy Now! hosts a debate on the matter between public-health research professor David Michaels and William Kovacs, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice-president. (www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/14/1556249) Democracy Now! (TV version) screens locally 8-10 a.m. Mon.-Fri on PCTV21. The radio version airs 8-9 a.m. Mon-Fri. and 9-10 a.m. Mon., Tue., Thu. and Fri. on WRCT 88.3 FM.
"Spooked." First, "the intelligence community was pressured, belittled, and circumvented by administration policymakers who preferred receiving intelligence that validated what they already believed." When that strategy led to embarrassing gaffes (uranium from Niger, anyone?), the White House completed the circle by blaming the CIA. Writing in The New Republic (Dec. 29-Jan. 12), Spencer Ackerman reports on why George W. Bush's praise for the CIA over the capture of Saddam Hussein is unlikely to repair the damaged relationship -- and how that conflict seems to be creating politically influenced intelligence assessments of the threats posed by other countries. (https://ssl.tnr.com/p/docsub.mhtml?i=20031229&s=ackerman122903)
"Can't Last." Bush rams through three tax cuts in three years, then proposes tens of billions for Iraq and a new Mars program. Democratic presidential hopefuls say they'll repeal the tax cuts, but aren't earmarking the money to address the Bush-bred federal deficit of $450 billion and growing. "A bipartisan conspiracy exists, it seems, to ignore the risks of a widening deficit," primly notes The Economist (Jan. 10), which examines recent reports on the deficit that before long is going to require us to cut entitlements such as Social Security, raise taxes, or both. (www.economist.com/World/na/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2335473)
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