The United States of America is founded on two basic functional principles: our democratic system and our rule of law, both set forth in the U.S. Constitution. In both categories, thanks to the Bush administration, this nation is in grave danger of failing. And by failing I mean setting itself up for chaos and blatant dictatorship, which in effect will threaten the future of the civilized world and perhaps life as we know it on Earth.
Our rule of law is challenged again and again, so obviously this past week when the Bushites try again to override a court decision that denies them their ability to destroy constitutional and international rights. The principle of habeus corpus is obscurely named --perhaps it should be repeated as "the right to your day in court" or to be charged and put on trial according to law. But its bad branding shouldn't obscure how fundamental a right it is--basic to every other right in the Constitution, including free speech and freedom of religion. As Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley said on Countdown: "...it is actually the foundation for all other rights. When the president—when the government throws you into a dungeon for what you say or who you pray to, it‘s habeas corpus that‘s the right that allows you to see the enforcement of the other rights."
We learned more last week about the lengths to which the Bushites go to deny these rights, in the effort to circumvent the law by appealing to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft when he had relinquished his authority temporarily to have surgery and recover from it.
But these are not new efforts--the Bush administration has been doing all this persistently, and yet they continue to do so, with no one effectively stopping them. Such brazen success emboldens others to defy the rule of law, such as the Republicans who lined up last week to demand the immediate pardon of Scooter Libby, despite his lawful prosecution and conviction, despite the fact that he was convicted of obstructing justice by preventing effective investigation and possible prosecution of larger, underlying crimes in the Valerie Plame affair, and despite contravening the established procedures for pardons in the most outrageous ways. Pardons are normally given after the sentence is served or at least begun, and after the convicted admits guilt, repents and asks for mercy. But Republicans want the law and the courts to simply be ignored and overpowered by the executive.
What if President Clinton had looked at the Supreme Court decision of Gore v. Bush that gave the election to Bush in 2000, rightly concluded that it was a flawed decision, against precedent, and made by justices with political conflicts of interest, and simply voided it? The principle is exactly the same.
In other times, actions of which President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are accused or have admitted would be sufficient cause to bring articles of impeachment against them. But no such congressional action is forthcoming.
The Bushite challenge to the rule of law is an aspect of their challenge to the fundamentals of our democratic system. The Iraq war is opposed by three-fourths of the American people, yet it goes on. Three-fourths of the American people believe the country is on the wrong track, and yet the Bushites persist. Even though the Bushites are legitimately in power until the next election, this indecent ignoring of the opinions of citizens is very dangerous to democracy.
More serious still are the Bushites direct threats to electoral democracy. The pattern of firing and hiring officers of the law in the U.S. Justice system based on political party and ideological loyalties is itself a major threat to our system. Yet the people responsible for this have not been held accountable. After many calls for his firing, after many predictions that he would not last out the week or the month, Alberto Gonzales is still the Attorney General of the U.S., despite evidence which continues to mount that he has been dishonest, incompetent and acted against the rule of law, and against fairness necessary for the democratic electoral system to function.
Moreover, the intent of these manipulations of justice seems more and more clearly to be to suppress votes that may go to Democrats, by appointing judges who would prosecute charges of voter fraud against Democrats, no matter how dubious those charges might be, and to ignore charges of voter suppression and fraud against Republicans, no matter how substantial the evidence might be.
The intent clearly is to create a permanent majority for Bushites, who might more properly be called Rovians, because they intend to continue beyond this administration (possibly with Fred Thompson.) So simply waiting for Bush to leave office won't be enough. The intent is to subvert the electoral system.
The Bushites have so far successfully acted like a dictatorship, and no one has stopped them. There are ongoing investigations but they are painfully and perhaps fatally slow. The Bushites, the Rovians seek to establish the means for further dictatorship, and no one is preventing them. The U.S. is in deep trouble, and so is the future.
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