When I was in Greece from June 1997 to February 1998, I witnessed U.S. Senator William Frist (picture is shown of him), who is also Senate Majority leader, tell the Greek people. while President Clinton at that time was trying to negotiate peace between Greece and Turkey, that the President of the United States did not have any power, and that all the power belonged to Congress and the Senate. So any agreement he made between Turkey and Greece meant nothing without Senate approval. It is so interesting how his attitude has changed with President Bush in office, and that now the Senate is letting the White House get away with illegal monitoring of our phone conversations and email. I understand some people believe that if we do not have anything to hide, then what is the big deal? O.K....then if that is the case, why bother having curtains, fences, or even doors? Do you really believe that during an election year, that the only reason to listen in on a phone conversation is to find suspected terrorists? If that was the case, the FBI would have never helped Bin Laden's family leave Texas (which happens to be our president's home state where he was vacationing at the time) in the middle of "closed air space" on 9/11? Think about it.
Since it seems many people have forgotten what the roles of the 3 branches of government are, here is a reminder that I got from
http://usinfor.state.gov which is an United States government website:
"The chief magistrate derives all his authority from the people..."
— Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 1861
Term of Office: Elected by the people, through the electoral college, to a four-year term; limited to two terms.
Salary: $400,000 per year as of January 20, 2001.
Inauguration: January 20, following the November general election.
Qualifications: Native-born American citizen, at least 35 years old, and at least 14 years a resident of the United States.
Chief Duty: To protect the Constitution and enforce the laws made by the Congress.
Other Powers: To recommend legislation to the Congress; to call special sessions of the Congress; to deliver messages to the Congress; to sign or veto legislation; to appoint federal judges; to appoint heads of federal departments and agencies and other principal federal officials; to appoint representatives to foreign countries; to carry on official business with foreign nations; to exercise the function of commander-in-chief of the armed forces; to grant pardons for offenses against the United States.
THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
"Government implies the power of making laws."
— Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, 1787-1788
POWERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE
Each house of Congress has the power to introduce legislation on any subject except raising revenue, which must originate in the House of Representatives. The large states may thus appear to have more influence over the public purse than the small states. In practice, however, each house can vote against legislation passed by the other house. The Senate may disapprove a House revenue bill — or any bill, for that matter — or add amendments that change its nature. In that event, a conference committee made up of members from both houses must work out a compromise acceptable to both sides before the bill becomes law.
The Senate also has certain powers especially reserved to that body, including the authority to confirm presidential appointments of high officials and ambassadors of the federal government, as well as authority to ratify all treaties by a two-thirds vote. In either instance, a negative vote in the Senate nullifies executive action.
In the case of impeachment of federal officials, the House has the sole right to bring charges of misconduct that can lead to an impeachment trial. The Senate has the sole power to try impeachment cases and to find officials guilty or not guilty. A finding of guilt results in the removal of the federal official from public office.
The broad powers of the whole Congress are spelled out in Article I of the Constitution:
— To levy and collect taxes;
— To borrow money for the public treasury;
— To make rules and regulations governing commerce among the states and with foreign countries;
— To make uniform rules for the naturalization of foreign citizens;
— To coin money, state its value, and provide for the punishment of counterfeiters;
— To set the standards for weights and measures;
— To establish bankruptcy laws for the country as a whole;
— To establish post offices and post roads;
— To issue patents and copyrights;
— To set up a system of federal courts;
— To punish piracy;
— To declare war;
— To raise and support armies;
— To provide for a navy;
— To call out the militia to enforce federal laws, suppress lawlessness, or repel invasions;
— To make all laws for the seat of government (Washington, D.C.);
— To make all laws necessary to enforce the Constitution.
A few of these powers are now outdated, but they remain in effect. The Tenth Amendment sets definite limits on congressional authority, by providing that powers not delegated to the national government are reserved to the states or to the people. In addition, the Constitution specifically forbids certain acts by Congress. It may not:
— Suspend the writ of habeas corpus — a requirement that those accused of crimes be brought before a judge or court before being imprisoned — unless necessary in time of rebellion or invasion;
— Pass laws that condemn persons for crimes or unlawful acts without a trial;
— Pass any law that retroactively makes a specific act a crime;
— Levy direct taxes on citizens, except on the basis of a census already taken;
— Tax exports from any one state;
— Give specially favorable treatment in commerce or taxation to the seaports of any state or to the vessels using them;
— Authorize any titles of nobility.
THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
"... the judiciary is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property under the Constitution."
— Charles Evans Hughes, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Speech at Elmira, New York, 1907
The third branch of the federal government, the judiciary, consists of a system of courts spread throughout the country, headed by the Supreme Court of the United States.
A system of state courts existed before the Constitution was drafted. There was considerable controversy among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention as to whether a federal court system was needed, and whether it should supplant the state courts. As in other matters under debate, the delegates reached a compromise in which the state courts continued their jurisdiction while the Constitution mandated a federal judiciary with limited power. Article III of the Constitution states the basis for the federal court system: "The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."
Speaking of the judiciary system, it am sad to announce that Judge Alito has been confirmed into the Supreme Court. I do not believe he will be good for America, but more of a "yes" man to President Bush and a hard line party (as in Republican party) man. I hope Judge Alito proves me wrong. I hope he will work for the American people and not just the Republican party. I do not see that happening unfortunately.
Like I said earlier though, I hope he proves me wrong.
My condolences to the King family as word spread this morning that Coretta Scott King, best known as the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., has passed over to be with her assassinated husband. Mrs. King, it was reported on morning news, died peacefully in her sleep. Thank you so very much Mr. & Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. for all you have done in the name of peace & love. Thank you.