Dan is Mother Jones' deputy DC bureau chief. He is the New York Times best-selling author of Sons of Wichita(Grand Central Publishing), a biography of the Koch brothers that is now out in paperback. Email him at dschulman (at) motherjones.com.
Ever since the days of James Monroe, presidents have used signing statements to comment on new laws. Over the nation's first two centuries, such statements had challenged a total of 600 statutes; the Bush administration alone has challenged 800 statutes. This staggering total, and the way the White House has used them to essentially claim that Congress has no power over its decisions, has alarmed constitutional scholars, lawyers, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Below, a sampling:
After a month of testimony, which at times offered an inside glimpse of the Bush administration as its case for invading Iraq began to unravel, a jury will now decide the fate of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr. Jurors will have to choose between the competing narratives offered by the prosecution and the defense, deliberating on whether the vice presidents former chief of staff invented an elaborate cover story to mask his involvement in the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame, or, alternately, misremembered details of his conversations with reporters and government officials during June and July 2003. Is this "a case about lying," as prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg argued yesterday, making his closing argument? Or is it, as defense lawyer Ted Wells told the jury with trademark flourish, a case about "he-said-she-said," one "about different recollections between Mr. Libby and some reporters"?
Addressing a handpicked crowd of neocons, Bush ramps up pressure on Karzai and NATO.
Daniel SchulmanFeb. 15, 2007 4:00 AM
With Iraq dominating the debate in Congress and the Bush administration both publicly and anonymously pressing the case that Iran is equipping insurgents, one could be forgiven for forgetting about a little place called Afghanistan. Before the war on terror became a boundless, amorphous struggle, one that is now destined to be measured not in years but in generations, this formed the conflict's central front. But, after spending the past few years focusing almost exclusively on Iraq, it was to this neglected frontwhere the Taliban is again on the rise, warlords reign, and the heroin trade is flourishingthat President Bush returned, rhetorically at least, today.
House committee takes the road privatization juggernaut public.
Daniel SchulmanFeb. 13, 2007 4:00 AM
If today's hearing by the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit is any indication, proponents of highway privatization could face a bumpy road ahead. Chaired by Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat, the committee heard testimony on the public policy implications of so-called public-private partnerships, an increasingly popular financing model in which cash-strapped state and local governments invite the private sector to both lease existing toll roads and build and operate new ones. DeFazio has long expressed skepticism about such deals, once describing the privatization of highways in Chicago and Indiana as a "scam" during an interview with Mother Jones.
The NBC newsman reiterates that he didn't tell Libby about Valerie Plame: "That would be impossible because I didn't know who that person was until several days later."
Daniel SchulmanFeb. 7, 2007 4:00 AM
When he reached NBC's Tim Russert at his office on July 10, 2003, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., then the vice president's chief of staff, got right to the point. "What the hell's going on with 'Hardball'?" he fumed, referring to the news show hosted by Russert's NBC colleague Chris Matthews. "Dammit, I'm tired of hearing my name over and over again."
According to Russert, who was the prosecution's final witness in Libby's perjury and obstruction of justice trial, Libby was calling to complain about a recent episode of "Hardball," during which Matthews discussed Ambassador Joseph Wilson's explosive July 6 op-ed, debunking the administration's claim that Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. "Why would the vice president's office, Scooter Libby or whoever is running that office why would they send a CIA effort down in Niger to verify something, find out there wasn't a uranium sale, and then not follow-up by putting that informationor correcting that informationin the president's State of the Union?" Matthews said during the July 8 episode. "If they went to the trouble to sending Joe Wilson all the way to Africa to find out whether that country had ever sold uranium to Saddam Hussein, why wouldn't they follow-up on that?" Wilson's op-ed, suggesting as it did that the White House had manipulated pre-war intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq, had sent the administration into full damage control mode. Libby had called Russert to set the record straight. The vice president's office, he said, had no involvement in Wilson's mission to Niger.