Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Slow Motion Coup

A coup d’etat … or just coup … for short, is the sudden overthrow of (taking over from) a government. Unlike a revolution, which usually takes large numbers of people to take over, a coup can be done by a small number of people, or even one person, if they, for example, control the country’s army,Wikipedia

Generally, a coup is seen as the overthrow of those in power by another - usually with support of at least part of the military. Often this is imagined as a swift move followed by a consolidation operation (kill or expel those who were previously in power). However, a coup seems to be occurring in the United States, but it is a slow coup. It may be culminated by one drastic move that consolidates the plan, but the pieces are being clearly put in place for a coup of the entire government with the eradication of democracy and the Constitution. I will constrain my discussion to three areas: executive power, intelligence, and military reach.

Executive Power

Bush has consistently operated under the philosophy of the unitary executive.

"This theory argues that the executive branch of government, held in the hands of the President, has the sole right to ignore all law (including the Constitution and international agreements), and without oversight by Congress, or checks by the Supreme Court. In short, the President is above the law and has all the authority of government, and the right to order without challenge all branches of government. This includes the ordering of the U.S. military into war without authorization by Congress. In short, the "unitary executive," as vested in the person of the President, is a king, an emperor, or a dictator. It represents one individual with total control of the full resources of the United States to take any action Bush sees fit. Wolf

Many are raising alarm about Bush's use of "signing statements." While Bush has not vetoed any legislation that has come his way, he has used the signing statement to exempt the executive branch from obeying the laws he has signed. While many of Bush's signing statements have, and are being challenged in court, the signing statements "function as directives to executive branch departments and agencies as to how they are to implement the relevant law" (John Dean, 1/13/06).

Bush has utilized the signing statement an estimated 750 times to effectively overrule legislation that has come before him. The statements have been attached to everything from certain aspects of the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism), to anti-torture legislation, to reporting to Congress. As John Dean notes, "Bush is using signing statements like line item vetoes. Yet the Supreme Court has held the line item vetoes are unconstitutional." However, this back door approach to the line item veto is to selectively exempt the Executive Branch from complying with the laws written by Congress. In effect, Bush is creating a "unitary executive" which is effectively a dictator above the law of the land and the constraints of the Constitution.

Intelligence
Some call it "intelligence" and others "spying." Regardless of the nomenclature, the Bush Administration's commitment to massive data collection approaches zealotry. The old adage that "knowledge is power" has been taken to heart in a twisted way by this group. The power resides in knowing everything about everyone else and not letting anyone know anything about you.

The drive to know everything was brought to light with the uncovering to TIAS (Total Information Awareness System) in November 2002. The purpose of the program run by John Poindexter out of the DoD Information Awareness Office was to collect every piece of information on every person in the United States in one database and then "datamine" it. The database would include a running data collection from primary documents to school records to pictures of you as you stood at the checkout line in the grocery store. It was truly a "Big Brother" idea. Aside: Poindexter came to fame in the Iran-Contra debacle during the Reagan administration when he served as Deputy National Security Advisor and National Security Advisor. He was brought back into the Bush Administration for his unique skills - as was John Negroponte among others formerly "under a cloud."

TIA was defunded, but the program (or parts of it) have made their way into other agencies - such as Homeland Security, HUD, and the NSA.

The President and the National Security Agency drew attention with its "terrorist" spying program where all calls originating outside the country, or from the U.S. with a foreign destination, were "captured." This was done without a FISA warrant, and the Bush Administration (including Bush, Gonzales, and General Hayden) have all argued that what they did was legal. Their perspective seems to be a minority view. However, executive authority has once again come into play as the NSA stymies Justice Dept. spying probe attempting to uncover the scope of the program.

Now, an even larger spying operation by the NSA has been uncovered. As reported in USA Today, the ongoing phone records of over 200 million people in the US have been turned over by most of the major telecommunication companies to the NSA. There are potentially trillions of records that have been captured. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, has filed a suit against AT&T for providing phone logs to the NSA, but the Bush administration has moved to quash the suit. There are reports that the indiscriminate spying on Americans is even wider, and that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has brought satellite surveillance to bear on the US for domestic spying.

The public response to the NSA programs has been mixed depending on what poll you read. A Washington Post poll found that most Americans don't mind being spied on. They attributed their results to the public's willingness to give up privacy for safety. However, both a NewsWeek poll and a USA Today poll have opposite results.

The comments of "If you're talking to al Qaeda we want to know about it," are patently distracting. In order for this comment to make any sense, the NSA would have to know the phone numbers (and email addresses) of al Qaeda members (and who the members are). If they know those then they can place a trap/tap on them and "capture" the numbers of those calling. Hence, no need for indiscriminate phone and email "captures." If they don't know that information, then looking at trillions of phone and email communications is unlikely to get them.

As a researcher, I am totally unconvinced that such massive data collection increases the effectiveness of finding terrorists - or uncovering their plots. The information to prevent the events of 9/11/01 were there and "missed." Increasing the amount of spurious data to be "mined" in order to spot particular threats is like trying to find a needle in a haystack by adding a trillion haystacks. What it does do is provide domestic information of high specificity for their purposes. The mass monitoring of the population.

While Bush, and others in the administration issue calming statements that these programs are of limited scope, legal, and necessary for security, to anyone with some historical background, or a halfway decent memory, such promises and assurances have consistently been hollow in the past. For those who have forgotten, or never knew, Ron Hutcheson has written an excellent reminder - US Government has Long History of Abusing Personal Information.

Hutcheson reminds us of the 1976 Church Commission investigation which resulted in the legal leash being put on the intelligence community, a leash that was dropped with the USA PATRIOT Act.

"In time of crisis, the government will exercise its power to conduct domestic intelligence activities to the fullest extent. The distinction between legal dissent and criminal conduct is easily forgotten," the committee wrote. "In an era where the technological capability of government relentlessly increases, we must be wary about the drift toward `big brother government.''

Hutcheson goes before that to 1912 when waiters, "well-placed" people, and others were recruited to "eavesdrop on conversations." He enumerates some of the violations of rights and privacy in the 1920s "Red Scare" though he leaves out the McCarthy era. He reminds us of the spying on Martin Luther King, and other activists and activist groups of the day.

In other words, the government does not have a good track record when it comes to recognizing the boundaries of Constitutional protections when they perceive a threat. Further, all too frequently security issues end up being extended to those who are seen as a political threat or even dissident voices. I see no reason to assume that this situation is any different than any other "infringement" in the name of "security." It is not comforting that the Vice President is purportedly one of the primary supporters of expanding "eavesdropping" even further. To say that such programs "blur the line" is an understatement.

Military Reach
At some point, we have to question the reach of the military into domestic affairs. We have created a monstrosity that eats up massive amounts of economic resources. It is therefore not surprising that the military appears to be the "most prepared" to handle a number of tasks from emergency response, to guarding the borders, to engaging in domestic intelligence gathering and control measures. However, there are good reasons - particularly in a democracy - to constrain the power and scope of the military. Perhaps the largest is the issue of the potential of the military control of a free population.

There has been an ongoing struggle for "intelligence" funding and the Pentagon has been a key player in that competition. Certainly in the aftermath of 9/11/01, the succeeding "wars," and reorganization of the intelligence community and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the role and position of the military has expanded. It had already expanded prior to that during the "war on drugs" which transferred both technology and forces to those efforts. This has dramatically expanded in the current environment.

The question of domestic deployment of US forces came clearly into play in the response to Hurricane Katrina. The mobilization of the National Guard, and who was to control them came to the forefront. It dramatically highlighted the issue of the use of the military domestically. When President Bush proposed that the military be the initial and primary federal responder in an emergency, then alarm bells rang for many (for example Baldwin and 12/13/05 Sappenfeld, CSM, Sappenfeld,Wolf). The most recent decision to deploy the National Guard in support of the southern Border Patrol raises the possibility of Historic changes possible in military's role in domestic emergencies.

The competition for a domestic intelligence role was in part mentioned earlier with the issue of TIA, however, that is not the only plan that the Pentagon has been involved in. In 2002, Robert O'Harrow, Jr. discussed the creation of a cyber-surveillance system that would access "government and commercial databases around the world." One has to assume that this includes U.S. databases.

There has likely always been a tug of war between the military and its competitors (CIA, FBI, NSA, NGSP, etc) since each of those agencies came into existence. However the competition has particularly been with the CIA since both of their foci is purportedly international (Schmitt). The retirement of Porter Goss from the CIA, and the nomination of General Hayden to fill the post, brings the ongoing power struggle to center stage Buncombe). However, it may also "resolve" the conflict in favor of the Pentagon. General Hayden is military after all. Protestations that he is his own man, pale when he is directly under the military command of both Rumsfeld and Bush. It does not calm fears of the Pentagon "capturing" the CIA, particularly when Rumsfeld offers enthusiastic support for Hayden.

Gathering the Pieces For a Slow Motion Coup
So we have an administration attempting to institutionalize their vision of a "unitary executive." It is also an administration which has directly supported eroding the Constitutional protections of the people as well as fighting any oversight or transparency. It is an administration which has supported, and dramatically increased the role of the military in domestic operations, intelligence and direct intelligence gathering (spying on people in person), technology transfer, and enforcement tasks. This raises the prospect of a coup, and few seem to see this as anything more threatening than a "temporary" situation.

When George W. Bush was "elected" in 2000, I commented that it I would not be at all surprised to see another Bush in the Presidency - Jeb Bush. It therefore came as no surprise to read that George W., George H.W., and Jeb all thought it would be a great thing if Jeb became the third President from the Bush family (Political dynasties: Bush the third?).

Posted by Rowan Wolf at May 17, 2006 12:34 PM
Comments
Comment #148946

Rowan,

Thanks for the post. I’ve been saying the same thing for a while, just not as comprehensively. And, actually, not effectively at all. But, WTH, good job.

Posted by: Dave at May 17, 2006 12:49 PM
Comment #148948

Rowan,
Excellent post! Well said, well thought out, with a reasonably presented case.

Interesting bit of trivia: a recent poll showed that a majority of Americans receiving their news from CBS, NBC, ABC, and so on believed Bush did not legitimately win the 2004 election. Only those who received their news from FOX believe Bush legitimately won.

My biggest concern is that the Bush administration will do something extreme in the next five months to retain power. Their view of what is best for the country is fundamentally different from most people.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #148961

Rowan,

Well done. The blame really lies with the Republican led Congress, though, who is refusing to do it’s job under the Constitution. It is within the power of the Congress to keep the Executive under control. I fear that we are on an irreversible path that we are powerless to fix. Our democracy is threatened the most by voter fraud, that keeps us under the control of tyrants.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at May 17, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #148962

Interesting bit of trivia: a recent poll showed that a majority of Americans receiving their news from CBS, NBC, ABC, and so on believed Bush did not legitimately win the 2004 election. Only those who received their news from FOX believe Bush legitimately won.

What poll was that? I’m not saying you’re wrong…just interested. And what if people watch a little fox news a little cbs news and a bit of MSNBC. Would that skew the findings?

Posted by: bigkenzombie at May 17, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #148963

Bravo, Rowan!
Incredibly insightful post and very well written. Here’s one additional item that will add fuel to the fire—in early 2004 or 2005, Congressman Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, sponsored a bill to repeal the Constituional Amendment (22nd, I think), which limits the president to two terms in office. If this were to somehow slip under the radar screen of other bills, it could approved at the federal level and then find its way into the states’ hands. Though it’s a long shot, it’d be a great way for the Commander-In-Thief or his brother, Jeb, to stay in office for a very long time.

Posted by: SunDevil at May 17, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #148971

Bigken,
I’ve looked and looked and cannot find it. This came out recently, within the past few days. I believe it was Harris Interactive working with another organization I was unfamiliar with. So! I would take that poll with a generous grain of salt. Like you, I think the details of that poll seem hard to quantify.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #148974

The degree to which Bush’s power grab succeeds will depend strongly on whether we Republicans and Democrats are willing to accept words instead of deeds in terms of limiting Bush’s power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 17, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #148980

phx8-

So which media has it right? ABC, NBC, etc. saying that Bush did not legitimately win or Fox News saying he did?

Posted by: George in SC at May 17, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #148985

George in SC,

So which media has it right? ABC, NBC, etc. saying that Bush did not legitimately win or Fox News saying he did?

I don’t think it matters. Whether Bush became president legitimately or not, he’s president now. And it would take longer to kick him out than he has left in office.

JayJay has it right, though… the true failing is with Congress. Or, more on the mark, the problem is that too many politicians value party over country. The Republican Congress and the Republican White House provide absolutely NO checks and balances against each other. Bush’s complete lack of use of the veto power is disgusting.

And, for the record, I doubt the situation would be any better if the Democrats controlled both branches. One-party government is bad no matter which party is in charge.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 17, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #148986

Fantastic, Rowan! Five Stars — highest rating!!!

I agree with this article 100%. But the good news is, the American public at large doesn’t seem at all happy with this slow motion Neocon coup you’ve just described so perfectly.
It’s as though, after 9/11 many folks were held in the grip of an irrational fear (encouraged by the GOP), but are now finally waking up to what has been taking place while their collective judgement was lead astray/temporarily impaired.
By rights, these Neocons should be toast in the upcoming election — and in the next presidential election, as well. And while it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that they won’t again attempt to steal another election, it’s going to strain, if not completely break, all sense of credibility if once again the Neocons manage to pull off a win despite these low poll numbers we’ve seen, and in spite of the glaringly obvious amount of incompetence and corruption that has been piling up. In fact, maybe some of us folks who’ve been forced by others to wear shiny tin foil headgear against our will (for having the nerve to state unequivocally that we believe that they’ve been rigging the elections in their favor for quite some time now) will finally be allowed to remove it for once and all. And perhaps then, the disastrous state of our elections will become a serious issue and a priority that the general public will begin calling for loudly and clearly.
During this administration, and with this Republican Congress, we’ve seen our Constitution attacked and International Law broken and ignored, and as a result, all that America is, and has previously always stood for, now hangs in the balance. Therefore, We the People must now demand that all the foolish, unwise, and unprecedented things they’ve done are UNDONE — and as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 17, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #148989

phx8 — I mentioned that poll here the other day (and was really surprised to get not one response). It wasn’t a Harris poll, it was a Zogby poll in connection with OpEdNews. Here is the link: Poll: 2004 Election Was Stolen; according to viewers of all news networks except Fox News

Posted by: Adrienne at May 17, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #148990

Adrienne,

We can hope, but the big question isn’t whether the Republicans will lose in the upcoming elections, but whether anyone else can win. Most people aren’t going to vote Democrat just because the Republicans suck. The Democrats have to prove that THEY don’t suck. And so far, they’ve done a poor job of it.

Jon Stewart put it quite well when describing the 2004 election…

…with the economy still struggling, combat operations in Iraq dragging on, and the 9-11 hearings revealing damning information, even an opponent of limited political skill should be able to capitalize on those problems. The Democrats, however, chose to nominate John Kerry.

So far, the Democrats seem to be operating under the campaign slogan, “Republicans are evil, and we’re the only other choice!” If you want my vote, don’t convince me that the “other guy” is evil… convince me that you’re not. Otherwise, yet another Third Party will get my vote.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 17, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #148997

The real question is supposing this is all true (I have had concerns about a soft coup of some sort for some time), how do we respond? Dems/libs like to fight by the Queensbury Rules. Repubes prefer a swift kick to the nuts.

I am getting tired of getting kicked.

Posted by: Rajheet at May 17, 2006 3:42 PM
Comment #148999

The real question is supposing this is all true (I have had concerns about a soft coup of some sort for some time), how do we respond? Dems/libs like to fight by the Queensbury Rules. Repubes prefer a swift kick to the nuts.

I am getting tired of getting kicked.

Posted by: Rajheet at May 17, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #149000

Adrienne,
Thank you!

George,
As someone else already mentioned, it may not matter at this point. Personally, I feel certain the election was stolen. There is no way the exit polls could differ so much from the tallied votes; statistically, it is extremely, extremely unlikely. One easy way to fix a vote is to simply reverse the Bush/Kerry vote. This happened repeatedly in Florida, where areas with 75% Dem/25% Republican registration showed precisely the opposite votes. I am… comfortable… with computers, and know enough about security to know the computers were vulnerable to hacking. For some reason people seem to think hacking the vote would have been extremely difficult, or laborious, or time consuming. That is not true. As a hack, it was rated one of medium difficulty. Voting patterns & exit polls strongly suggest the possbility. The stakes- hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars- would justify high levels of security. Yet security was poor.

But here we are. Bush is president, and things are going very very badly for all of us, Democrat & Republican alike.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #149002

Rob:
“Most people aren’t going to vote Democrat just because the Republicans suck.”

That’s fine. I don’t actually expect people who have always voted Republican to suddenly come all the way over to vote for the Dems. (Even though many Democrats were once able to show their displeasure with the direction our country had taken by rather stupidly voting en mass for Reagan, rather than more wisely voting Independent for John Anderson in 1980.)
All I’m saying is that if the Neocons continue to win elections despite the fact that the vast majority in America have now acknowledged that they suck, and are aware that these enemies to our Constitution are about as incompetent and corrupt as they could possibly be, well, it’s going to become really obvious that some is truly rotten with the State of our Elections, no?

Posted by: Adrienne at May 17, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #149004

Whoops, that should have been “something is truly rotten with the State of our Elections”

Posted by: Adrienne at May 17, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #149006

Having already captured two of the three branches of government, the linchpin will be putting a fifth hardcore neoconservative on SCOTUS. Once this is sewn up, anything Bush does will be ratified by Congress and upheld by SCOTUS, and any investigation of wrongdoing (information gathering, fixing elections, financial shenanigans) can be easily thwarted. Democracy will cease to matter. The Thousand Year Reich will be upon us. There, I’ve Godwinned this thread.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at May 17, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #149015

Rowan:
This is an excellent post that hits some of the main points that concern me about this administration.

“However, this back door approach to the line item veto is to selectively exempt the Executive Branch from complying with the laws written by Congress. In effect, Bush is creating a “unitary executive” which is effectively a dictator above the law of the land and the constraints of the Constitution.”

This interpretation of unitary executive may be number one on the list of my concerns, even more than the spying without warrants and Congessional oversight. The lack of transparency in regard to its use, it’s flagrant disregard of the Constitutional checks and balances, and, at the core of it’s philosophy (or at least the way it’s practiced) its hubris and arrogance. That is hard dictatorship wrapped in a velvet glove, enabled by partisan Republicans who believe party is more important than the law.

These signing statements alone have enabled Bush to avoid using the Presidential veto, thus eliminating the ability of Congress to override the veto when the President is out of step with Congress and the people. It also shortcircuits the courts in interpreting laws and their constitutionality when Congress and the President disagree.


“So we have an administration attempting to institutionalize their vision of a “unitary executive.” It is also an administration which has directly supported eroding the Constitutional protections of the people as well as fighting any oversight or transparency.”

And, in my view, there is the crux of the issue. This isn’t a Constitutional tussle over some obscure point that gladdens the hearts of Constitutional lawyers and scholars—this strikes at the very heart of our form of government.

The problem with this coup from the Right is that it is no longer subtle—they’re not even making much effort to hide their motives or their illegality. That concerns me greatly.
And because of this, I fault the MSM—they are not doing their jobs in investigating, in ferreting out bad policy, bad faith and bad morality in high places— and I fault the Democratic Party. They have been going along to get along, afraid of their shadows (when this President’s approval ratings are going through the floor!!), and without a comprehensive program to highlight their (supposed) differences with the GOP.

The Dems are approaching this November with the belief that they will win without ideas, without a platform, without tipping their hand. They’re wrong, dead wrong. You can’t get something for nothing—well, maybe for a short time—then the truth always catches up. If they do not have a clear plan of governance (and it seems like they don’t, as here they are, casting about for an identity FIVE MONTHS before a crucial election), they will pay the price of their cowardice. In fact, we all will, as we’ve been paying the price of their cowardice for the last five years.

This country has been blessed with some very strong leaders at just the right time in it’s history. But there have been times when the country drifted, leaderless. I think the 1840’s and 1850’s was one time, not dealing with the issue of slavery, always kicking that problem down the road. I think after WWI and the country returning to its splendid isolationism enabled Hitler, Mussolini and the devastation of WWII.

I think we’re in such a time now. Leaderless and drifting, this country has not dealt with it’s oil dependence, its calcified and crumbling democracy that has become a hand-maiden of corporate power, its imperial militarism, its crises of faith which encourages a spiritual fundamentalism that eschews rationalism, pluralism, and the right of an individual to create his own life.


If there is a slow-motion coup under way, and it goes unchecked for several more election cycles, I believe this country is several steps closer to civil war.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 17, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #149033

It is no wonder that the world views the U.S. as being on a powertrip.Our own citizens are worried about who’s listening to our private conversations.We have troops overseeing Democracy being put into place where they have no want for it.Kicking people out of our country when they’ve become a fixture,not doing anything terrible?All of our funds are going toward feeding G.W.’s “greatest nation” complex.If we don’t spend more money on education,we’ll be a country looked upon as ignorant,unfeeling narcissists.It is a real shame that we have a large number that desires change,with no strong leader,no one stepping up that can handle it.Hillary Clinton?It seems to me that I hadn’t heard her saying much until just recently.I’m concerned.I’m young and I don’t know as much as I should,but I want to learn and make a difference.America seems to be a scary place lately.

Posted by: Theresa at May 17, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #149037

“I’m young and I don’t know as much as I should, but I want to learn and make a difference.”

Take heart, Theresa, you’re not alone. And as Mark Twain once said, “Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education.”:-)

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 17, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #149038

The slow coup is speeding up rapidly. When 75-80% of the country is irate over the amnesty for illegals and the legal Americans are ignored and the demand for civil rights by and for the illegals takes precedence, something is seriously wrong.

Hopefully, November will bring the message to our representatives that Americans are tired of being ignored by pompous, power-hungry, self-serving politicians. The elections in Pennsylvania give good indication of just how fed up Americans are with the status quo.

I don’t care if Peter Pan runs for office this Fall, I will vote for him before the incumbent. Perhaps we should disband the Senate and just have the House of Reps, who seem to be more in tune with the American public and their needs/desires.

Posted by: Kathy at May 17, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #149041

Tim Crow,
Great post. I agree that the Dems have been blowing things, Big Time. Yet, I also believe that the kind of leader you say (and I agree) that we need IS a Democrat — one who has a great voting record and who has proven himself to be a man of true principle and integrity: Russ Feingold.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 17, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #149046

Tim,
Leaderless & drifting, a handmaiden to corporate interest. Indeed.

But I would like to think Dean and the Democrats are playing this smart. I hope so. It is too early to demand attention with an agenda. Why should the Democrats distract the Republicans from their self-destruction?

The Democrats have a responsibility to call the Republicans on their record. As the minority party, there is little Democrats can do in the legislatures. Most of the resistance to the “slow motion coup” comes from the judicial branch, in particular prosecutors.

Kathy,
Those prosecutors are charging Republicans with corruption. Let us be clear about that. In the Fornigate or Hookergate scandal, 19/20 congressman who took money from Wilkes are Republicans. The Abramoff scandal is a Republican scandal. Republicans occupy the Executive Branch, and Republicans hold majorities in both branches of the legislature, and the Supreme Court is conservative.

Senators like Feingold are standing up for you and me. There are a few good ones. Generally speaking, the good ones are progressives, they are liberals.

Adrienne,
There was a time when I voted for Anderson, too. If future Democrats act like the current crop of Republicans, I will be done with them in a heartbeat- no pathetic “Dear Leader” mentality. I am willing to give the Dems a chance. I expect a lot.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #149047

Adrienne:

Thank you. As for Russ Feingold, perhaps… he is standing for some things I agree with, but I want to hear more from him.

By the way, thank you as well for watching my back the other day in the Red Column when I brought up tainted federal elections. It was appreciated! I was feeling outnumbered!:-)

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 17, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #149053

>>By the way, thank you as well for watching my back the other day in the Red Column when I brought up tainted federal elections. It was appreciated! I was feeling outnumbered!:-)

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 17, 2006 07:13 PM

TC,

You are never outnumbered when you are right, and you can tell when you are right by the numbers who sign on against you. A gang-up? That should be your signal to go full steam ahead, you’ve got ‘em scared…

Posted by: Marysdude at May 17, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #149056

phx8:

“But I would like to think Dean and the Democrats are playing this smart. I hope so. It is too early to demand attention with an agenda. Why should the Democrats distract the Republicans from their self-destruction?”

Why? Because not distracting from the Republican self-destruction isn’t their only mission—it’s to present a coherent, simple, truth-based message to the American people for the reasons why the people should vote for them. That requires self-honesty and being united in presentation.

Unfortunately, the party is more divided than meets the eye; which is a shame because there are issues I believe need to be decided upon. Who’s running the party? The Washington political consultants who have had a major hand in Dem defeats since 2000? Is it the pro-business centerists (DLC) that keep insisting that the party has drifted too far to the left, that the party is alienating the middle-of-the-road undecideds? (Who at this late date can be undecided?!! It’s beyond me, but I guess they’re out there….) The Republican constituency is hopping mad with their party, because the party is ignoring what they stand for. The Left of the Democratic party is very,very pissed as well. I think if things aren’t settled quickly, and if long-time Dems are still up in the air about what the party really—REALLY—stands for, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them stay home this November. I probably will. And if they think I’ll vote for that weather vane Hillary Clinton in ‘08, a person that can straddle a fence while simultaneously keep both ears to the ground, they are sadly mistaken.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s never too early to get your message out there. Party wonks are trying to lay in the weeds—I don’t think the party faithful should let them. They’ve been ignoring the Left of the Party for 30 years. And the Left has nobody but themselves to blame, constantly buying the argument that THIS election is way too important to rock the boat. Don’t rock the boat?? Republican-lite and Joe Lieberman, Zel Miller and Joe Biden and his really bad toupee—a walking talking advertisment for the Socialist Party—this is the kind of dreck you get when you don’t challenge the party wonks.

And if someone from the party calls me for another poll, I will tell them that if they haven’t figured it out that the majority of the American people want economic populism and an economy that works for everyone, universal health care, job security and a livable wage, and the troops out of Iraq in six months, then answering their stupid poll questions isn’t going to help them. They’re being intentionally obtuse.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 17, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #149059

Tim,
“… The majority of the American people want economic populism and an economy that works for everyone, universal health care, job security and a livable wage…”

Exactly right. It is not that difficult. Agreed about the division between the party “moderate” wing of Clinton/Kerry, and the “liberal” wing of Feingold and others. I am counting on Dean to make the right choices. The conservatives badly underestimate the man, and right now I consider that an advantage.

If the Democrats cannot represent, I do not think people will stay home. Personally, I will go with the Greens, and be glad to do so.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #149061

“I am willing to give the Dems a chance. I expect a lot.”

Same here! And if she gets the nomination, I won’t vote for Hillary. After she’s defended the illegal war based on lies in Iraq, has praised Bush, and has sucked up to Murdock? NO WAY. That woman is something all right, but she’s no Democrat, IMO.

Tim Crow:
“By the way, thank you as well for watching my back the other day in the Red Column when I brought up tainted federal elections. It was appreciated! I was feeling outnumbered!:-)”

You’re very welcome. The elections ARE tainted.

Marysdude,
Absolutely!

Posted by: Adrienne at May 17, 2006 7:55 PM
Comment #149063

phx8,

It is too early to demand attention with an agenda. Why should the Democrats distract the Republicans from their self-destruction?

Simple. Because there are more important things than defeating the other party. Things like the WELFARE OF OUR NATION!

That’s the #1 problem with the system today. So many things don’t get accomplished simply because neither party wants to let the other party get credit for them. The time to fix America’s problems is NOW, not later.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 17, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #149064

Marysdude:

Good point—I guess I hadn’t looked at it quite that way. I was raised to be agreeable—maybe even polite. But firmness in the right, as God grants me the ability to see the right, is very important too. I’m finding myself increasingly walking a fine line between absolute rage at what’s going on, and being civil in pointing it out. Sometimes, I fail….

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 17, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #149073

To All,
Thanks for the highly positive response to the article and for the great additions of information and insight. I must admit that I posted this with some trepidation and expected it to get ripped to shreds - “conspiracy theory” accusations. (Of course that may still happen.)

It is also encouraging that so many share these concerns and have obviously been thinking about them. That gives me hope.

This is my first opportunity to check the site since I posted this. I have had an overall lousy day, but your enthusiastic responses have truly made my day.

Regards, Rowan

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at May 17, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #149101

Rob,
The Democrats are not hiding original ideas from the Republicans. The ideas are easily accessible on web sites, among other places. For example, just the other day Pelosi announced five priorities if the Democrats take control of the House, including raising the minimum wage, investigating the meetings about energy policy conducted by Cheney in 2001, reinstating pay-as-you-go for legislation, and more.

Right now, the agenda is in Republican hands, and we are much the worse for it. Today, Congress passed an additional $70 billion tax cut. It is madness, it is grossly irresponsible fiscal policy, yet that is what they did.

What can Democrats do, other than vote against it (which they did) and clearly state opposition (which they did).

One other item worth noting, namely that the situation can change rapidly. For example, I have been saying for a long time that this 2006 midterm will be about the economy. It has not appeared that way at all, until recently.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #149108

phx8,

Even now, many Greens refuse to acknowledge what the rest of us have known all along: Ralph Nader was horribly wrong and we have all been paying for that ever since. There was vastly more than a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats in 2000, in 2002, and in 2004.

Can you really imagine, even now, that Al Gore would have been the calamitous, monstrous agent of theofascists, ideological fanatics, and oil oligarchs that George Bush turned out to be. Can you really imagine, even now, that John Kerry, for all his ineptness as a candidate, would have pushed the United States toward a police state ruled by a Christian version of Iran’s Council of Guardians?

If the Democrats do not have all the answers now, and sometimes even have a tough time agreeing on the questions, I don’t care. The parties that know both are usually called Nazis, Fascists, Bolsheviks, and Parties of God. If they are the alternative to parties that argue, bicker, compromise, and muddle through, I will take the latter any day.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 17, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #149109

Rowan, excellent work. I can remember a time when it was just the federal government we worried about. Today it is the multi-national corporations and the federal government that seem to work hand in hand to curtail our liberties.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 17, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #149111

Robert,
I voted for Kerry. I voted for Gore. I live in Oregon, and Wyden is, on balance, a good Senator. As you point out, my generally liberal, progressive point of view is much more likely to be represented by Dems than Reps, and I would rather have half a loaf than none.

The key will be to displace the Republicans from either the House or Senate. If it appears likely, we will be in a tremendously dangerous situation, because the perpetrators of this “slow motion coup” could feel threatened; that could result in a disastrous attempt to distract the electorate, such as bombing Iran.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 11:03 PM
Comment #149119
I think if things aren’t settled quickly, and if long-time Dems are still up in the air about what the party really—REALLY—stands for, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them stay home this November. I probably will.

All very good posts, but this one gets to me. This is a lot of what’s wrong right now, people don’t get out and vote. That’s what this democracy is about, you can’t always like the candidates, bur right or left, if we don’t vote it stinks worse than whoever gets elected.

So now, because of what we have been through with the republicans the democrats should be prefect? Please.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 17, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #149144

Womanmarine:

As I am guilty of that comment, I guess I should reveal my thinking.

I am not expecting perfection from the Dems, believe me. But I do expect a cogent platform, a blueprint if you will, of what they are trying to accomplish. As an example, Pelosi’s comment several days ago regarding the possiblility of the Dems regaining the majority in the House or Senate, that impeachment will not be pursued was a shocker for me. Perhaps I’m naive and lacking in political experience. But letting the Bush administration off scott-free for their criminality, their twisting of the Constitution to suit their ideology sets the most dangerous prescendent I can imagine. This isn’t up for discussion in my mind—if the Democrats do not initiate serious investigations into signing statements, unwarranted spying on American citizens, and a thorough investigation of the decisions leading up to the war in Iraq,as well as renditions, secret prisons and torture of combatants, I will not support them. That has nothing to do with perfection, and everything to do with upholding the laws of the land.

I know what one of the arguments will be: the American people don’t want to wallow in partisan vindictivness and monstrous political nastiness. They want this behind them—and we can’t afford to waste valuable time in recriminations. It is up to the Democrats and to anyone with any belief in government of and by the people to educate the people as to why sweeping this under the rug cannot be condoned. This is too important—I truly believe that if we let this criminality go, and let bygones be bygones, we will have lost our soul as a people, and the damage to rule of law will be irrevicable. As painful and distastful as these investigations would be, we cannot walk away from this. It is too important.

This is partly what I meant by the grassroots of the party not letting the leaders lay in the weeds regarding impeachment. I don’t think we should sugarcoat anything regarding impeachment, not for an election, not for peace at any price. I think the Democrats ought to be very up front about it—if you elect us, we WILL investigate this president. Period. We will not pull any punches, we will level with you. I think the way things stand now, the American people would respect that stand, and I think the Dems, if they were honest about protecting the rule of law, would win big in November. I’ve had enough of political truthiness—I want the real thing, the Truth!! The American people deserve it after the last five years.


If they think the country can’t afford the distraction, the lost time in a partisan bloodbath that will ensue, I must point out that we can’t afford not to. The damage done to the Constitution, to the rule of law, and to our international reputation cannot be shrugged off.

If the Dems do not commit to a withdrawl of all troops in Iraq within 8-12 months after they take power, and if they do not pledge to their constituents a full and fair investigation into Bush administration criminality, I cannot support them. I understand that people of good faith will disagree with me, but I guess I’ve been taking half a loaf or crumbs from this party for too long to accept a retreat from issues that are fundamental to our nation and who we are as a people.

Perhaps I am being too idealistic or too unrealistic, but I cannot abide turning away from what has happened in these last five years for expedincy’s sake. If we do not get to the bottom of this before Bush leaves office, there will be a stain on this country that will never be fully removed. If we do not insist on the rule of law, then this country is lost.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 18, 2006 2:36 AM
Comment #149163

I think you guys need to quit smoking crack, it’s making you paranoid. Try some old fashioned drinking. If you guys really believe this stuff you need help.

Posted by: nunya at May 18, 2006 8:09 AM
Comment #149170

phx8 and Tim Crow,

I think most of us agree with both of you that the Democrats need to present a compelling governing agenda. I, for one, believe that they had such an agenda in 2000, 2002 and 2004, but failed to create an effective campaign around it.

Even worse, they failed to create an effective strategy to derail the Republican disinformation infrastructure. Aided and abetted by lazy television journalists, THAT was what undercut the Democrats’ governing platform most effectively.

This may seem off Rowan’s topic of the “slow motion coup,” but addresses a key component of that coup - control of the levers of information.

Since Geobbels, the enemies of democracy have all aimed first to control two things in order to justify unlimited executive power - the courts and the infrastructure of public information.

Would-be dictators have long justified their twin demands for unlimited executive power and a national security state by the threat of an all-powerful enemy whose power is “different” from any previous enemy. Only independent courts and a truly independent-minded media can effectively resist the propaganda that accompanies such demands.

The Republicans have been working for over 30 years to eliminate both, and have been remarkably successful. In order to undo the damage to our system that these long campaigns have wrought, we do need the Democrats to start raising public awareness of how the Republican strategy was put in place, how it has worked, and what dangers it poses to every American. That can only be accomplished by a governing party with subpoena powers and a willingness to use them.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 18, 2006 8:48 AM
Comment #149183

From today’s headlines:

5/18/06 Sappenfield, CSM, Pentagon’s intelligence role rising

At any point during the past few decades, the plan to put a military man at the head of America’s premier civilian spy agency would probably have caused some controversy. But the nomination of General Hayden comes at a time when the Pentagon is already working to dramatically expand its role in intelligence operations.

* * *

But current Pentagon officials have put greater emphasis on intelligence. In 2003, for instance, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the post of undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and made it the third most senior civilian position.

Moreover, the Pentagon has shown a willingness to make inroads into what was previously CIA territory. Before the US invasion of Afghanistan, Secretary Rumsfeld was reportedly troubled by having to wait on the CIA to make contact with important local warlords. Since then, numerous reports suggest that the Pentagon is sending teams of intelligence specialists abroad to work with special- operations forces in the war on terror.

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at May 18, 2006 9:38 AM
Comment #149217

Great article.

There is one important piece to the Coup that has not been mentioned much. That being the Supreme Court. The court is the final, “check and balance” to the Executive Branch, and the gatekeeper of our rights. It has been the Supreme Court that has had the final check on Executive Power-The Marshall Court to be exact.
As we have seen, the Bush administration has been busy strengthening its grip on this branch of government as well-Roberts and Alito have shown they favor a strong executive branch. The American people can’t look to the Court to do it’s job, as these two have swung the balance of the court in favor of the administration.

The only hope is for the people to gain a backbone. To stop being afraid of the, “terrorists”. The Bush administration has effectively scared the populace to the point that they will sacrifice all that this country has been built upon, all for the feeling of a false sense of security. If the common people (those not in the top 1%)do not vote out the Republican controlled congress, which has failed to do its job, then we will embark on one of the darkest eras in US history.


Posted by: jimmyz1966 at May 18, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #149230

Robert Benjamin:
“I think most of us agree with both of you that the Democrats need to present a compelling governing agenda. I, for one, believe that they had such an agenda in 2000, 2002 and 2004, but failed to create an effective campaign around it.

Even worse, they failed to create an effective strategy to derail the Republican disinformation infrastructure. Aided and abetted by lazy television journalists, THAT was what undercut the Democrats’ governing platform most effectively.

This may seem off Rowan’s topic of the “slow motion coup,” but addresses a key component of that coup - control of the levers of information.

Since Geobbels, the enemies of democracy have all aimed first to control two things in order to justify unlimited executive power - the courts and the infrastructure of public information.”

I agree completely, Robert. It’s been an extremely serious problem for the Dems that the MSM has not been giving them the means or anything close to equal time in order for them to get their message/platform out effectively.

Speaking of which, did anyone else hear what Tony Snow(job) either knowingly, or inadvertently, disclosed to the public yesterday? A reporter was asking about Karl Rove’s meeting with House Republicans:

Reporter: “What you’re describing and the notion that this was a hopeful and positive meeting —”

Snow: “Well, it’s not my notion, it’s what Karl said.

Reporter: “Okay. But, I mean, maybe it was a terrific meeting. As far as I can tell, that has not stopped Republicans, particularly in the House, from going gangbusters against this President before they’ve had a chance to read everything, as you say they should do.”

Snow: “Well, as I pointed out — I mentioned this yesterday, and for — let me see if I can find my quote, because I pulled it out. Chuck Hagel, as you may recall, made a fair amount of news over the weekend when he first said that — let’s see — “Well, I want to listen to the details and I want to listen to the President,” said Senator Hagel — he said this on “This Week” on a competing network.”

I think many of us have actually understood this for quite some time, but do these Neocon Clowns now no longer feel the need to even try to hide the fact that the Fox News Network and the disinformation machine of the Bush Whitehouse are really one and the same mouthpiece? Or was this simply an unfortunate slip of the tongue which spilled the beans?

TimC, jimmyz1966, good posts.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 18, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #149253
“A delusion is commonly defined as a false belief, and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. In psychiatry, the definition is necessarily more precise and implies that the belief is pathological (the result of an illness or illness process).”
Wikipedia Posted by: Craig at May 18, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #149256

Not making much of a splash in the news, but relating to what some of us have been discussing in this thread:
James Tobin’s sentence and 10,000 fine for orchestrating the phone jamming that took place in the 2002 Senate race in New Hampshire which turned out to be a win for the GOP.

From a Reuters article:

A senior official in U.S. President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Wednesday for his role in suppressing votes in a key U.S. Senate race, a scandal that Democrats charge may involve the White House.
Posted by: Adrienne at May 18, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #149261

Rowan, I agree wholeheartedly that this president has done everything he could to prevent our system of government from working or restricting his plans and actions. I can’t think of a president who has acted illegally on so many occassions. In spite of all his unconstitutional and illegal actions he remains in office.

I truly wish some group would send a very attractive hooker to entice him into accepting a bl0wj0b so we could impeach this guy. I think that IS the standard isn’t it?

LibRick

Posted by: LibRick at May 18, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #149262

No, LibRick. We didn’t impeach Kennedy for the same thing…

The Standard is, ‘Deny a woman her right to a fair trial in a sexual harassment case against YOU and do so by lying under oath in an attempt to get around a legal requirement signed into effect by YOU and you too can be impeached.’

But it’s more ‘sexy’ to say it was about a blowjob I guess. Facts be damned, it makes your point, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 18, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #149263
While Bush has not vetoed any legislation that has come his way, he has used the signing statement to exempt the executive branch from obeying the laws he has signed.

Name one law that Congress is required to follow? I don’t agree with this practice from any public official, but let’s not pretend this is something that Bush (ala Rove since he’s too stupid) has come up with, ok?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 18, 2006 4:23 PM
Comment #149265
Bush has consistently operated under the philosophy of the unitary executive

In what case? Please list the instances that he is operating under this philosophy. You simply assign a motivation to someone you disagree with and detail out the definition and someone else’s opinion that agrees with you without backing it up with any factual evidence to convince a non-partisan reader.

In your link you can only find 1 instance where the administration used the term ‘unitary’ in a different meaning and have gone off on a tangent, ignoring the OTHER part of the statement you quoted that says it was acting within the confines of the Constitutional power the executive branch is given. You don’t detail how it is not constitutional and ignore that this is contrdictory to your assertion that they operate outside of the constitution.

It’s a common tact used by the left in this country these days, claim something that the administration does is unconstitutional, never concern yourself with actually proving your case, and then assign motive to the actions of the administration based on your assumptions of guilt.

The only thing that this does is muddy the waters so those of us who ARE really concerned with the constitution constantly hear Chicken Little and eventually start to tune it out, allowing for the possibility that actual abuses of power do get through our critical examination.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 18, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #149277

Columnist Bob Herbert:
“Hallmarks of totalitarian regimes have always included an excessive reliance on secrecy, the deliberate stoking of fear in the general population, a preference for military rather than diplomatic solutions in foreign policy, the promotion of blind patriotism, the denial of human rights, the curtailment of the rule of law, hostility to a free press and the systematic invasion of the privacy of ordinary people.”

Posted by: phx8 at May 18, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #149292

Congress is more angry that they weren’t kept in the loop than they are about citizens’ privacy.This is more about Bush abusing his power than about someone worried about the security of an email.Me,I’m upset about both.It’s about what I thought I knew.As a student in middle school it was basically pounded home that to not uphold Constitutional rights would be blasphemous,an insult to the ones who fought to install such a comprehensive document.So in love with this idea that being American meant having these intrinsic rights,I took every available AP History course.Checks and balances always seemed very cut and dry and I was always very taken with the ingenius simplicity of such a plan.Now everything becomes muddled. jimmyz1966-It’s like you said.I’m more frightened of the ill effects of government controlled by Republicans than of terrorism.

Posted by: Theresa at May 18, 2006 6:58 PM
Comment #149301

Rhinehold:

Whether the administration calls their tactics “unitary executive” is immaterial— they have broken the law. The FISA law was broken by not getting a simple warrent to wiretap American citizens. And I believe I know why; they knew that any judge looking at what they’re up to would have said, No, you’re breaking the spirit of the 1st and 4th ammendments. Even if that were not the case, the administration actions speak more of their guilt than their innocence. They simply refused to follow the law.

And this is just what we know about. This administration has earned the mistrust and doubt that the American people have of them now. It wasn’t the Left that got them where they are today.


I further assert that the spirit of the Constitution is broken when they intentionally keep Congress out of the loop—which they did in this case by telling several high-ranking Dems, then swearing them to absolute secrecy.

The problem with the secrecy and denials of this administration is we don’t know what the President is asserting with his signing statements. Do you? We don’t know if the executive branch is following the law or not. With wire-tapping they didn’t, with the codes of the Geneva Conventions and treatment of prisoners they didn’t, with a Justice Department requesting documents to follow up on NSA spying on Americans, they simply denied them the security clearance. It’s the secrecy, the belligerence, and the refusal to inform Congress on critical issues (like FISA) that has them in hot water.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 18, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #149310

phx8,

…the deliberate stoking of fear in the general population…

I’m seeing this a lot lately, and not just from the current administration. In fact, if you strip from the news all stories about (1) fear of terrorists, (2) fear of immigrants, and (3) fear of Republicans, you’ll be left with the traffic and the weather.

Nobody talks anymore about what THEY are doing right. They only talk about what someone else is doing wrong.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 18, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #149326

Tim, your assertion about the actions may be correct, I think there is an interesting legal battle shaping up and I am hoping for the side of the constitution to be held up.

BUT, that doesn’t make it right to assign motive and claim things that AREN’T accurate about the president even you dislike him. It’s demagoging the issues to the point of preventing those who do agree with you from doing so.

Stick to the facts and leave the hyperbole and emotion aside until it is necessary to make a point, and then do so with facts as your basis not wild motive assignment.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 18, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #149336

Rhinehold,

Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says of the President “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Tim has asserted, as have most of us, that George Bush has consistently, insistently, persistently refused to take care that the Laws be faithfully executed. Which part of Tim’s - and our - assertion is factually incorrect?

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 18, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #149358

Okay, so someone who thinks Bush should be impeached either won’t vote at all, or will vote Republican or Third Party if the Democrats don’t promise to impeach him?

That logic doesn’t track. What a waste.

If it’s because of guilt over voting that way in the first place, too bad.

To not vote, or to vote against a better party because they are not better enough to suit you is just wrong.

Get out there and do something about it, don’t sit there and say sour grapes. There hasn’t been and never will be a perfect party or a perfect platform. Get over it and do something that makes sense, not something out of spite.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 18, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #149381

Womanmarine:

Okay, so someone who thinks Bush should be impeached either won’t vote at all, or will vote Republican or Third Party if the Democrats don’t promise to impeach him?

That logic doesn’t track.

I don’t think the flaw in logic is on my part—I think it’s on the part of the Democratic leaders. This president has broken the law, the Constitution, treaties on torture and pre-emptive invasion of a country that couldn’t possibly harm us. Why shouldn’t the Democrats say they’ll impeach him? This has nothing to do with making me happy—it’s answering what I believe to be a majority of party members’ and the majority of the American peoples’ demand for a lawful reckoning of egregious wrong-doing, wrong-doing that has killed a lot of people and shredded this country’s reputation and standing in the world.


If it’s because of guilt over voting that way in the first place, too bad.

Frankly, I’m not sure what you’re saying here—but if you’re saying that there is guilt on my part because I voted for this administration, my conscience is clean because I didn’t vote for them.

“To not vote, or to vote against a better party because they are not better enough to suit you is just wrong.”
“Get out there and do something about it, don’t sit there and say sour grapes. There hasn’t been and never will be a perfect party or a perfect platform.”

I’ve looped these two quotes together because my answer addresses them both.

How does one put pressure on a party to change it’s policy? How does one individual express frustration with policies that have not served the party nor the country? Does one hold one’s nose—since there is no perfect party or platform—sigh with disgust, then vote for them anyway? How many elections does one do this, especially when it is becoming obvious that your party is drifting in a direction that is antithetical to what you believe in?

I have held my tongue and my nose frequently in support of this party’s candidates, because I could see clear distinctions between the parties and the choices they have offered in the past.

Those choices are becoming increasingly muddled. Why don’t I do something about it instead of doing the sour grapes thing? Well, I’ve written numerous letters to my congressmen and Senators, e-mails by the dozen (dealing with everything from the impending disaster in Iran, to the bankruptcy bill, to the fillibustering of the Alito nomination), and have called key members of committees to express concerns and impress upon them my views. In most cases, all I have to show for it are some pleasant letters that have a mediocre letterhead.

I have written several letters to the editor of our local paper, have attended anti-war meetings and gatherings. When I hear of meetings I try to go.I have written Howard Dean about my concerns about where the party is heading (or not heading)
and received one polite, very correct letter thanking me for my views. Because of my writing to him, I’ll probably be bombarded for requests for donations any time now.

Suffice it to say, that for an average citizen who tries to stay on top of what’s going on in politics, my possible withholding of my vote from this party is hardly from spite—it is from a deep disatisfaction that has been building for the last twenty years, and a belief that my views aren’t listened to, and by the behavior of the party that has turned it’s back on its core values and the people that made the party what it is—the working class. I believe the best way to express my concern is to consider witholding my vote.

I am neither willing nor able to become a full-time activist at this point. I do what I can do.
But I am looking into other parties because the Democrats are not acting like Democrats anymore.
Sorry if this explanation doesn’t meet with your approval, but I felt your post deserved some response.


Posted by: Tim Crow at May 19, 2006 3:55 AM
Comment #149384
Which part of Tim’s - and our - assertion is factually incorrect?

The one where he assigns MOTIVE to the actions. I not a big Bush fan, but I’m not about to assume he did anything for a reason, especially one as damning as has been suggested, without some proof to this. Not without saying ‘in my opinion’ instead of passing it off as fact, as Rowan has done.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 19, 2006 4:25 AM
Comment #149411

womanmarine,

To not vote, or to vote against a better party because they are not better enough to suit you is just wrong.

So if Hitler and Stalin were running against each other, which one would YOU vote for? I’d rather find a third option, personally.

Such is the case with our current system. I’m definitely not voting for more of the current Republican ideology. But if the Democrats don’t offer something better than “we’re not Republicans”, I’m not voting for them either.

My vote has to be earned. It will go to the candidate who deserves it. I’ll stay at home before I’ll give my vote to the “lesser of two evils”.

There are options out there besides the Republicans and Democrats. You’d do well to investigate them.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 19, 2006 9:12 AM
Comment #149418

Rhinehold,

George Bush has (to the best of my knowledge) never said as baldly as Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague did, “I am the law.”

However, his legal allies, including his Attorney General and his most recent Supreme Court pick, as well as his Vice-President, have repeatedly and openly asserted the doctrine of Presidential supremacy. I have heard nothing from George Bush to disavow these claims of unlimited power.

Instead, he includes these claims in his signing statements. Rightly or wrongly, the Supreme Court has consistently determined that the President is supposed to execute the laws in accordance with the intent of Congress. Whether or not that intent is itself constitutional has always been another matter.

If a President does not want to enforce a law passed by Congress, his first legal recourse is the veto. If Congress overrides the veto, his only recourse is to allow legal challenges to the law to work their way up to the Supreme Court and have the Solicitor General give only lip service defense to the law’s legitimacy along the way. Other than that, he is obligated to enforce the law as Congress intended it to be enforced.

The Boston Globe recently ran an article citing examples of Bush’s signing statements. These signing statements made plain to anyone without blinders Bush’s intention to disregard any law he did not like. Here is the link:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/04/30/examples_of_the_presidents_signing_statements/

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 19, 2006 9:32 AM
Comment #149463

Robert:

Thanks for the Globe link—I’ve been looking for some information on these signing statements.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 19, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #149466

Rhinehold:

Actually, you’re probably right. When I assert motives and actions to this administration, to be fully correct I should say “alledged” and IMO. But when the President is caught in a lie regarding unwarranted NSA spying and is proudly belligerent about it, you know what??! I take his word for it…that’s pretty funny, since I don’t believe him regarding virtually anything else. It just seems to be in keeping with his political philosophy and his ‘base’.

I guess we’re all inconsistant in our own special ways.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 19, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #149475

I am quoting:

“Voters in some places get it - both parties stink. But one stinks more violently and expensively.”

I can’t wait until we hold an election and NOBODY votes. What then?

Posted by: womanmarine at May 19, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #149481

Robert Benjamin,

The Boston Globe recently ran an article citing examples of Bush’s signing statements. These signing statements made plain to anyone without blinders Bush’s intention to disregard any law he did not like.

Yes, some of these signing statements are deeply disturbing, but the President has every right to make them, and they’re not really dangerous unless the Courts enforce them. Otherwise, they’re just (theoretically) the President doing his job by leading the Executive Branch.

So the key question (to which I admittedly don’t know the answer) is this — Have any of these signing statements been tested in court? If so, what were the outcomes?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 19, 2006 2:08 PM
Comment #149485

womanmarine,

I can’t wait until we hold an election and NOBODY votes. What then?

Then nobody wins.

Your quote, though, uses the phrase “both parties”, which implies that there are only two choices. When there truly are only two choices, then we’re in serious trouble.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 19, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #149527

GoodOl’Bets:

Very amusing….

Damn, she would have made a helluva justice….:-)

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 19, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #149536

guess we will never know! btw. harry reid also seemed to like her.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 19, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #149547

Womanmarine:

You and others might find this an interesting discussion. I think the very last sentence of the article is in part what I’m calling for.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0519-08.htm

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 19, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #149651

Rob Cottrell,

You said “Yes, some of these signing statements are deeply disturbing, but the President has every right to make them, and they’re not really dangerous unless the Courts enforce them.”

Since he has deliberately packed the courts with those who share his ideology, such as Samuel Alito, your cautionary statement is becoming a prophecy.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 20, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #149673

Robert:

You know, I suppose if the swing this fall in the elections are as big as the polls are indicating they might be, it won’t just be the fear of investigations backed by subpoena power that will concern the Bush administration.

With the intent of some of these signing statements seemingly being the flounting of laws passed by Congress (without the declared and Constitutional avenue of the veto), a Democratic Congress just might consider cutting the purse strings on, say, possible illegal NSA spying. With the enormity of the Defense budget, I’m sure the administration could do some financial juggling, but it’s a possibility.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 20, 2006 12:49 AM
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