Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Jan 13 00:33:12 UTC 2009

Thank you for that clarification. I didn't understand the issue, but
it seems that "power" (not "powers") is what is at the core, here. BB

On Jan 12, 2009, at 4:29 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Since this isn't a political discussion group, I'll say only  that the
> enlargement of executive powers (plural) since 1789 is not just a
> belief but
> a fact.
> However, the notion that the American President's increased powers
> as chief
> of state and commander-in-chief somehow justifies an identification
> with the
> unlimited discretionary power of unelected tyrants and dictators
> like Saddam
> Hussein is, to say the very least, a non sequitur. Simplest
> distinction: the
> U.S. still has a functioning Constitution guaranteeing due process,
> among
> other things.  Myanmar, for example, a military dictatorship, does
> not.
> JL
> On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 5:42 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at ix.netcom.com
> >wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: "power"
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> I think it's well understood (or at least argued) that the office of
>> US president has gradually gained more power since 1789 through a
>> variety of means such as the need to declare war, cabinet powers and
>> executive [sorry, not sure what they're called: laws, rules,
>> regulations--something like that]. BB
>> On Jan 12, 2009, at 2:27 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>> CNN has just reported that (and I quote)  "Obama is tightening his
>>> grip on
>>> power ahead of the inauguration."  The "tightening" is evidenced
>>> mainly
>>> by Obama's acceptance of  Bush's offer to release remaining "bail-
>>> out" money
>>> on the day he takes office.
>>> Now in the old-time dino days, the only people described as
>>> "tightening
>>> their grip on power" were newly-minted "Communist Bloc" heads of
>>> state and
>>> the odd leaders of coup d'etats in Latin America and elsewhere.
>>> There's something a little disturbing to me about this extension of
>>> the
>>> meaning of "power" to include "a term of national office gained
>>> through
>>> democratic election" as though everyone "knows" there's "really no
>>> difference" between a U.S. President and someone who forcibly seizes
>>> power
>>> with the presumed intention of becoming "President for Life" (or
>>> beyond
>>> life, as is the case of North Korea's Glorious Leader Kim Il Sung,
>>> who,
>>> though long dead, is still named right there in the Constitution of
>>> the
>>> Democratic [sic] People's Republic as the country's "Eternal
>>> President.")
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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