It's all those things and more: a collection of world class buttholes of historical significance. With the twentieth century behind us, anyone who has voted for any republican has voted for all of this, unfortunately, and needs a better explanation as to why he or she did it than, "I didn't know."
Furthermore, I'd like to know what in heaven's name is going through the minds of people who are rushing to protect and defend these individuals who are sworn to crush the whole world to smithereens. Are they so divorced from reality they believe what makes the GOP special is they want to keep girly magazines out of teenager's hands?
• Glenn W. Smith:
When the U.S. Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush to the White House by calling off the Florida recount in 2000, many pundits applauded the action because it allegedly headed off a constitutional crisis. That was a phony rationalization that disguised what is now apparent: the real post-Florida 2000 constitutional crisis is the Bush Administration's unprecedented, Constitution-destroying lust for power.I was wondering why Washington wasn't listening to anyone: boss's orders. It's a rich Bush family tradition!
The fight should not be measured against partisan positioning for the 2008 elections. Democratic and Republican political consultants will view the crisis that way because that is their job. Consultants are hired to win elections, not save the Constitution. Congressional Democrats must look past the powerpoints of their consultants. So should Republicans, who are struggling to distance themselves from Bush's negatives without asking the White House for a divorce.
But, there is now no other choice. Bush's drive to place permanent barriers between the people and their government, to lift the presidency above all laws, must be stopped. [...]
The Bush gambit is to permanently derail progressive policy goals by building an impenetrable wall between the people and their government and by asserting ultimate and absolute presidential authority. These ambitions are made obvious by the Administration's actions: Bush's unprecedented veto threats; the obvious "we-don't-really-care-what-you-think" attitude of Gonzales during his committee testimony; the Administration's questioning Senator Hillary Clinton's patriotism when she asked for details of Bush's Iraq plans; the refusal to disclose details of the Administration's emergency government plan.
Even a temporary eviction from the White House beginning in 2009 would not deter the neoconservatives and their anti-democratic allies. A Democratic president will have her/his hands full cleaning up the Bush garbage. While a Democratic president would probably resist further steps along the above-the-law path, it's unlikely a president will willingly give up any power that has accrued to the presidency during the Bush reign. So, the right wing reasons, we'll just pick up in 2012 where we left off in 2008.
The federal courts, packed with conservative appointments, will also do what they can to establish permanent barriers between the American people and their government.
Congress has no choice but to destroy those barriers now. The crisis cannot be reduced to a messy or selfish partisan confrontation. Truth is, many Republicans are as interested as Democrats in saving our constitutional democracy. The further truth is, the stakes matter much, much more than any potential partisan consequences for either major party.
In the end, the battle for the future of America may make necessary the impeachment of a president who is very publicly moving to destroy our constitutional form of government. It may not seem the politically prudent thing to do. But this is a president who lied us into a war, who uses his pen to make laws (constitutionally reserved for Congress) through signing statements, who commutes the sentence of a convicted criminal to protect himself from scrutiny, who believes he has the right to declare anyone he wants an enemy combatant and then "disappear" that person the way we taught our tyrannical and thuggish client-state dictators to do during the Cold War. If these are not sufficient to justify a legal and constitutional challenge to the legitimacy of the Bush presidency, exactly what would a president have to do before we would impeach him?
• David Swanson:
It's remarkably common for a grandson to take up his grandfather's major project. This occurred to me when I read recently of Thor Heyerdahl's grandson taking up his mission to cross the Pacific on a raft. But what really struck me was the BBC story aired on July 23rd documenting President George W. Bush's grandfather's involvement in a 1933 plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship. I knew the story, but had not considered the possibility that the grandson was trying to accomplish what his grandfather had failed to achieve.Sheesh! Clearly Congress thinks it's all right, because they're taking an extended August vacation. The legislative branch is the people's voice; we sent more democrats to Washington to speak up for us. It's not looking good; in fact, it's looking like the Bush administration will do whatever it wants.
Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 to 1972) attended Yale University and joined the secret society known as Skull and Bones. Prescott is widely reported to have stolen the skull of Native American leader Geronimo. As far as I know, this has not actually been confirmed. In fact, Prescott seems to have had a habit of making things up. He sent letters home from World War I claiming he'd received medals for heroism. After the letters were printed in newspapers, he had to retract his claims.
If this does not yet sound like the life of a George W. Bush ancestor, try this on for size: Prescott Bush's early business efforts tended to fail. He married the daughter of a very rich man named George Herbert Walker (the guy with the compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, that now belongs to the Bush family, and the origin of Dubya's middle initial). Walker installed Prescott Bush as an executive in Thyssen and Flick. From then on, Prescott's business dealings went better, and he entered politics. [...]
The BBC report provides a good account of the basic story. Some of the wealthiest men in America approached Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, beloved of many World War I veterans, many of them embittered by the government's treatment of them. Prescott Bush's group asked Butler to lead 500,000 veterans in a take-over of Washington and the White House. Butler refused and recounted the affair to the congressional committee. His account was corroborated in part by a number of witnesses, and the committee concluded that the plot was real. But the names of wealthy backers of the plot were blacked out in the committee's records, and nobody was prosecuted. According to the BBC, President Roosevelt cut a deal. He refrained from prosecuting some of the wealthiest men in America for treason. They agreed to end Wall Street's opposition to the New Deal.
Clearly the lack of accountability in Washington, D.C., did not begin with Nancy Pelosi taking Dubya's impeachment off the table, or with Congress' decision to avoid impeachment for President Ronald Reagan (a decision that arguably played a large role in installing Prescott Bush's son George H.W. Bush as president), or with the failure to investigate the apparent deal that George H.W. Bush and others made with Iran to not release American hostages until Reagan was made president, or with the failure to prosecute Richard Nixon after he resigned. Lack of accountability is a proud tradition in our nation's capital. Or maybe I should say our former nation's capital. I don't recognize the place anymore, and I credit that to George W. Bush's efforts to fulfill his grandfather's dream using far subtler and more effective means than a military coup.
Bush the grandson took office through a highly fraudulent election that he nonetheless lost. The Supreme Court blocked a recount of the vote and installed Dubya.
Prescott's grandson proceeded to weaken or eliminate most of the Bill of Rights in the name of protection from a dark foreign enemy. He even tossed out habeas corpus. The grandson of Prescott, that dreamer of the 1930s, established with very little resistance that the U.S. government can kidnap, detain indefinitely on no charge, torture, and murder. The United States under Prescott Bush's grandson adopted policies that heretofore had been considered only Nazi policies, most strikingly the willingness to openly plan and engage in aggressive wars on other nations.
At the same time, Dubya has accomplished a huge transfer of wealth within the United States from the rest of us to the extremely wealthy. He's also effected a major privatization of public operations, including the military. And he's kept tight control over the media.
Dubya has given himself the power to rewrite all laws with signing statements. He's established that intentionally misleading the Congress about the need for a war is not a crime that carries any penalty. He's given himself the right (just as Hitler did) to open anyone's mail. He's created illegal spying programs and then proposed to legalize them. Prescott would be so proud!
The current President Bush has accomplished much more smoothly than his grandfather could have imagined a feat that was one of the goals of Prescott's gang, namely the elimination of Congress.
• Fitrakis and Wasserman:
The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election.Impressive how serious they are, and did they say something about Ohio election records being destroyed? Yes they did! Their sacred Dubya has to be protected, so he can go forward and declare himself God Almighty, and finally have orgasmic revenge on all them dirty, sissy liberal hippy types what drove out Saint Prophet Milhous. That'll learn 'em!
The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape, though we must assume there is much more we don't know.
But we must also assume that if it appears to Team Bush/Cheney/Rove that the GOP will lose the 2008 election anyway (as it lost in Ohio 2006) we cannot ignore the possibility that they would simply cancel the election. Those who think this crew will quietly walk away from power are simply not paying attention. [...]
In Ohio 2004, the arsenal of dirty tricks exploded. Based in Columbus, we have documented more than a hundred different tactics used to steal the 20 electoral votes that gave Bush a second term. More are still surfacing. As a result of the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit (in which we are plaintiff and attorney) we have now been informed that 56 of the 88 counties in Ohio violated federal law by destroying election records, thus preventing a definitive historical recount.
As in 2000, a compliant Democrat (John Kerry) allowed the coup to proceed.
For 2008 we expect the list of vote theft maneuvers to escalate yet again. We are already witnessing a coordinated nationwide drive to destroy voter registration organizations and to disenfranchise millions of minority, poor and young voters. [...]
What's also clear is that this administration has a deep, profound and uncompromised contempt for democracy, for the rule of law, and for the US Constitution. When George W. Bush went on the record (twice) as saying he has nothing against dictatorship, as long as he can be dictator, it was a clear and present policy statement.
Who really believes this crew will walk quietly away from power? They have the motivation, the money and the method for doing away with the electoral process altogether. So why wouldn't they?
The groundwork for dismissal of both the legislative and judicial branch has been carefully laid. The litany is well-known, but worth a very partial listing:
The continuation of the drug war, and the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act and other dictatorial laws prompted by the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, have decimated the Bill of Rights, and shredded the traditional American right to due process of law, freedom from official surveillance, arbitrary violence, and far more.
The current Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales, has not backed away from his announcement to Congress that the Constitution does not guarantee habeas corpus. The administration continues to act on the assumption that it can arrest anyone at any time and hold them without notification or trial for as long as it wants.
The establishment of the Homeland Security Agency has given it additional hardware to decimate the basic human rights of our citizenry. Under the guise of dealing with the "immigration problem," large concentration camps are under construction around the US.
The administration has endorsed and is exercising its "right" to employ torture, contrary to the Eighth Amendment and to a wide range of international treaties, which Gonzales has labeled "quaint."
With more than 200 "signing statements" the administration acts on its belief that the "unitary executive" trumps the power of the legislative branch in any instance it chooses. This belief has been further enforced with the administration's use of a wide range of precedent-setting arguments to keep its functionaries from testifying before Congress.
There is much more. In all instances, the 109th Congress---and the public---have rolled over without significant resistance.
Most crucial now are Presidential Directive #51, Executive Orders #13303, #13315, #13350, #13364, #13422, #13438, and more, by which Bush has granted himself an immense arsenal of powers for which the term "dictatorial" is a modest understatement.
The Founders established our government with checks and balances. But executive orders have accumulated important precedent. The Emancipation Proclamation by which Lincoln declared an end to slavery in the South, was issued under the "military necessity" of adding blacks to the Union Army, a step without which the North might not have won the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order #8802 established the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Harry Truman's Executive Order #9981 desegregated the military.
Most to the point, FDR's Executive Order #9066 ordered the forcible internment of 100,000 people of Japanese descent into the now infamous concentration camps of World War II.
There is also precedent for a president overriding the Supreme Court. In the 1830s Chief Justice John Marshall enshrined the right of the Cherokee Nation to sovereignty over its ancestral land in the Appalachian Mountains. But President Andrew Jackson scorned the decision. Some 14,000 native Americans were moved at gunpoint to Oklahoma. More than 3,000 died along the way.
All this will be relevant should Team Bush envision a defeat in the 2008 election and decide to call it off. It's well established that Richard Nixon---mentor to Karl Rove and Dick Cheney---commissioned the Huston Plan, which detailed how to cancel the 1972 election.
Today we must ask: who would stop this administration from taking dictatorial power in the instance of a "national emergency" such as a terror attack at a nuclear power plant or something similar?
Nothing in the behavior of this Congress indicates that it is capable of significant resistance. Impeachment seems beyond it. Nor does it seem Congress would actually remove Bush if it did put him on trial.
Short of that, Bush clearly does not view anything Congress might do as a meaningful impediment. After all, how many divisions does the Congress command?
The Supreme Court, as currently constituted, would almost certainly rubber stamp a Bush coup. If not, like Jackson, he could ignore it as easily as he would ignore Congress.
What does that leave? There is much idle speculation now about what the armed forces would do. We also hear loose talk about "90 million gun owners."
From the public side, the only conceivable counter-force might be a national strike or an effective long-term campaign of general non-cooperation.
But we can certainly assume the mainstream media will give lock-step support to whatever the regime says and does. It's also a given that those likely to lead the resistance will immediately land in those new prisons being built by Halliburton et. al.
So how do we cope with the harsh realities of such a Bush/Cheney/Rove dictatorial coup?
We may have about a year to prepare. Every possible scenario needs to be discussed in excruciating detail.
For only one thing is certain: denial will do nothing.
• Steven Rosenfield:
Two-thirds of Ohio counties have destroyed or lost their 2004 presidential ballots and related election records, according to letters from county election officials to the Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.If Bush were Hitler, these people would be goosestepping, grinning ear to ear about it and loyal to the last. I call dibs on the crematorium concession.
The lost records violate Ohio law, which states federal election records must be kept for 22 months after Election Day, and a U.S. District Court order issued last September that the 2004 ballots be preserved while the court hears a civil rights lawsuit alleging voter suppression of African-American voters in Columbus. [...]
"The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election," said Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney representing the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, which filed voter suppression suit. "We're in the process of addressing where to go from here with the Ohio Attorney General's office."
"On the one hand, people will now say you can't prove the fraud," he said, "but the rule of law says that when evidence is destroyed it creates a presumption that the people who destroyed evidence did so because it would have proved the contention of the other side." [...]
"Our staff unintentionally discarded boxes containing Ballot Pages as requested in (Brunner's) Directive 2007-07 due to unclear and misinterpreted instructions," wrote Butler County Board of Election Director Betty McGary and Deputy Director Lynn Kinkaid in a May 9 memo. "Several boxes containing all the wire-bound ballot pages were discarded into a Rumpke dumpster. The dumpster would have been emptied into the local landfill."
"The Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Board of Elections was unable to transfer the unvoted precinct ballots and soiled precinct ballots," wrote John Williams, Hamilton County Director of Elections on May 16, 2007. "To the best if my knowledge, the above ballots were inadvertently shredded between January 19th and 26th of '06 in an effort to make room for the new Hart voting system." [...]
Reporters associated with FreePress.org and Arnebeck's legal team hoped the court order preserving the 2004 ballots would enable them to investigate how these results occurred. Depending on the ballot type and vote-counting machine used, they have theories about how Bush's vote could have been inflated. But because many of these rural counties apparently have destroyed the very 2004 election records that would clarify what happened, it is now virtually impossible to determine what happened.
In Warren County, where county election officials said on Election Day that the FBI had declared a homeland security alert - which they later retracted - ballots were diverted to a warehouse before counting. The local media was not allowed to observe the vote count. According to a letter from the Warren County Board of Election to Brunner's office, the election board cannot find 22,000 unused ballots from the election. In nearby Butler County, unused ballots are also missing, fueling speculation that they might have been used by Republican partisans to pad the president's totals.
"The missing records reveal where the fraud occurred," said Arnebeck. "You take as an example, Warren County. It is well documented that there was a phony homeland security alert and that was the excuse for excluding the public and the press from observing what was going on during Election Day. So the missing unused ballots would suggest that ballots were remade to fit the desired result."
"The same situation occurred in Clermont County," he said. "We have sworn affidavits from people who saw white stickers placed over the Kerry-Edward ovals in this optical scan county," he said, referring to one way of masking a would-be Kerry vote, because optical-scan machines read ink marks on paper ballots. "So the missing unused ballots would suggest they were used to remake ballots to reflect the desired vote for Bush."