Friday, January 19, 2007


James II of England: What Gonzales and Bush Don't Know About History

One of the people I am coming to truly dislike—maybe even despise—is our current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. His concept of presidential powers is...well, it’s sort of 17th Century; he would have fit right in with the crowd surrounding, say, James II of England. The man has never read history, or if he’s read it he didn’t have his glasses on.

After the English Revolution (#1), the nation was in turmoil: the Puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell was a disaster. England restored the Stuarts to the Throne. Unfortunately, the Stuarts were Catholic and closely aligned with England’s long-time enemy, Louis of France. James II, of England, was a fool. His overt manhandling of the government, the replacement of army officers, judges, and local administrators with Catholics angered the Protestants. The Protestants and those in favor of a restricted kingship—that is, the power of Parliament rather than the absolute power of a monarch—were Whigs. Tories were royalists, believers in the ultimate and almost-mystical power of whoever it was wearing the Crown. Many of them were Protestants, followers of the Church of England.

The Church of England—”Anglican Church”— was essentially divided into two factions: High Church and Low Church. The High Church was and is nearly Catholic. “Nearly” is the key word. Low Church is nearly indistinguishable from innumerable mainstream Protestant churches; indeed, in Canada, it’s become part of the “United Church of Canada.” However.

England was passionately nationalistic in the 17th Century; James’ religion and his ties to France were considered increasingly dangerous. Mainland Europe was still struggling with the fall-out of the Reformation. Scandinavia and Holland and many German principalities saw France as the leading actor in the Counter Reformation, the attempts to return all of Europe (as well as England) to the Catholic Religion.

The threat posed by James’ alliances alienated more and more Tories.

Essentially, what James was attempting was to assert himself as being more powerful than Parliament. Parliament might enact laws, but it was, according to James, the King’s prerogative as to enforcing them. He might, also, create laws as he saw fit. He was, as historians put it, the King above Parliament, rather than the King in Parliament as was the customary situation.

Parliament’s gig was to enact laws and the King’s duty was to enforce them. It was not, however in writing. James began issuing edicts that were more Catholic than Protestants. Some English Bishops objected.

James had them arrested and hauled to the Tower of London. They were brought to trial and acquitted, essentially by popular acclaim. James didn’t see the writing on the wall.

Various high-ranking Englishmen approached William of Orange and his wife, Mary. Mary was a daughter of James, but she was Protestant; his other children were Catholic. William and Mary were offered the throne of England, if they would “invade.”

They did, and James fled to France. He never returned. This became the Second English Revolution. England put some legal customs, like the relationship of King to Parliament, to paper. The result, essentially, was the way Great Britain is today ruled. The King (or Queen, yes) must act in accordance with Parliament; he or she is not the ultimate judge of what is legal and illegal. Judges are a separate branch and it’s their job to interpret and pass on or throw out laws.

That’s one of the traditions of our own legal system, more or less. We have three parts to government: Congress, the Executive, and the Judicial. The Executive is claiming the privilege of creating and enforcing laws without consulting Congress. The Attorney General claims that judges and members of Congress aren’t smart enough to know what needs to be done.

Sounds like James II and his pals defying Parliament.

Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus
By Robert Parry
Consortium News
Friday 19 January 2007

In one of the most chilling public statements ever made by a U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales questioned whether the U.S. Constitution grants habeas corpus rights of a fair trial to every American.

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

"There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there's a prohibition against taking it away," Gonzales said.

Gonzales's remark left Specter, the committee's ranking Republican, stammering.

"Wait a minute," Specter interjected. "The Constitution says you can't take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there's a rebellion or invasion?"

Gonzales continued, "The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended" except in cases of rebellion or invasion.

"You may be treading on your interdiction of violating common sense," Specter said.

Gonzales: We Know Best
By Barbara OBrien
Posted on January 17, 2007, Printed on January 18, 2007

You'll like this one. Suzanne Goldenberg writes for the Guardian:


In remarks made after a talk at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank, the attorney-general, Alberto Gonzales, said: “I don’t think that a judge is equipped at all to make decisions about what is in the national security interest of our country.”

Mr Gonzales’s comments come a few days after a Pentagon official provoked a national backlash after suggesting large corporations boycott law firms that defend detainees at Guantánamo.

The Associated Press reports,

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who “apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences.”

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

Alberto Gonzales may have already violated the 4th amendment in order to violate the 1st amendment.

Free Speech Beneath US Homeland Security
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