When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
Bush leaves 'staggering' array of problems for successor
Most presidents-elect can look forward to a transition period after Election Day, during which they recover from the rigors of the campaign and assemble their cabinet and White House staff. However, with a looming recession and two wars under way and no fresh initiatives coming from the Bush administration to address them, whoever is victorious in tomorrow's voting won't enjoy that luxury.
"I guess you'd have to have your head examined if you wanted to be president of the United States right now," Professor James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, told the Associated Press.
Thurber suggested that even though all presidents promise to hit the ground running, "This one will be jumping out of an airplane as soon as the election's over with."
According to a report released by AP on Monday, George W. Bush became president swearing "to confront problems, to not pass them on to future Congresses or future presidents."
However, noted AP's Mark Smith, "after two full terms in the White House, the array of things he leaves his successor to solve is staggering, from an economy rocked by the worst crisis since the Great Depression to a pair of wars, one of which US spy chiefs say is spiraling out of control."
"And then there are those minor crises," added Smith, listing energy costs, immigration, health care, social security, and climate change. "The fixes are all costly and America is flat broke."
Ex-generals: Review Bush's detention authority
Former generals and U.S. Justice Department officials filed briefs Thursday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Bush administration's authority to indefinitely detain the only suspected enemy combatant held on U.S. soil.
"This unprecedented expansion of executive authority within the borders of the United States is not only at odds with more than 200 years of history, but it is wholly unnecessary," argued former judges and officials, including former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and former FBI Director William Sessions. "The federal government is eminently capable of both protecting our nation's security and safeguarding our proud tradition of civil liberties."
(...) The American Civil Liberties Union asked the high court last month to review a July decision in which the closely divided 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the administration of President George W. Bush has the authority to detain anyone suspected of being an al-Qaida member.
But the court also ruled that suspects must be able to challenge their military detention. The Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will take the case.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined comment on the matter. After the appeals court issued its rulings, Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the decision "recognizes the president's authority to capture and detain al-Qaida agents who, like the 9-11 hijackers, come to this country to commit or facilitate warlike acts against American civilians."
(...) According to documents obtained last week through a Freedom of Information Act request, U.S. military officers at the Charleston prison were ordered to treat prisoners there the same way prisoners at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were treated, including depriving them of natural light for months (...).
Bush team rushes environment policy changes
As the U.S. presidential candidates sprint toward the finish line, the Bush administration is also sprinting to enact environmental policy changes before leaving power.
Whether it's getting wolves off the Endangered Species List, allowing power plants to operate near national parks, loosening regulations for factory farm waste or making it easier for mountaintop coal-mining operations, these proposed changes have found little favor with environmental groups.
The one change most environmentalists want, a mandatory program to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, is not among these so-called "midnight regulations."
Bureaucratic calendars make it virtually impossible that any U.S. across-the-board action will be taken to curb global warming in this administration, though both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama have promised to address it if they win Tuesday's U.S. presidential election.
Even some free-market organizations have joined conservation groups to urge a moratorium on last-minute rules proposed by the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.
"The Bush administration has had eight years in office and has issued more regulations than any administration in history," said Eli Lehrer of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "At this point, in the current economic climate, it would be especially harmful to push through ill-considered regulations in the final days of the administration."
John Kostyack of the National Wildlife Federation, which joined Lehrer's group to call for a ban on these last-minute rules, said citizens are cut out of the process, allowing changes in U.S. law that the public opposes, such as rolling back protections under the Endangered Species Act.
(...) The Bush team has urged that these regulations be issued no later than Saturday, so they can be put in effect by the time President George W. Bush leaves office on January 20.
If they are in effect then, it will be hard for the next administration to undo them, and in any case, this may not be the top priority for a new president, said Matt Madia of OMB Watch, which monitors the White House Office of Management and Budget, through which these proposed regulations must pass.
"This is typical," Madia said of the administration's welter of eleventh-hour rules. "It's a natural reaction to knowing that you're almost out of power."
Industry is likely to benefit if Bush's rules on the environment become effective, Madia said.
"Whether it's the electricity industry or the mining industry or the agriculture industry, this is going to remove government restrictions on their activity and in turn they're going to be allowed to pollute more and that ends up harming the public," Madia said in a telephone interview.
What is unusual is the speedy trip some of these environmental measures are taking through the process.
For example, one Interior Department rule that would erode protections for endangered species in favor of mining interests drew more than 300,000 comments from the public, which officials said they planned to review in a week, a pace that Madia called "pretty ludicrous."
Why the rush? Because rules only go into effect 30 to 60 days after they are finalized, and if they are not in effect when the next president takes office, that chief executive can decline to put them into practice -- as Bush did with many rules finalized at the end of the Clinton administration.