Issue #59

Last Update September 23, 2008

Commentary April 24, 2007  The pernicious behavior of the Bush Administration since it took office in 2001 has been ascribed to a number of different causes: incompetence, stupidity, greed, blinkered ideology, cronyism, bad luck and religious fervor. While in most cases conspiracies are unnecessary to describe most human disasters: human greed and stupidity are sufficient explanations, it is difficult to avoid the conspiracy motive as an explanation for the policies of the last six years of right-wing rule. In this case, the conspiracy was about the dismantling of our Constitution and the establishment of a Presidential dictatorship for the benefit of an oligarchy. Ignore the rhetoric and look at the actions:


1.       The President has claimed the right to change the plain meaning of legislation passed by Congress by appending a signing statement rewriting the measure to the President's satisfaction.
2.     By starting a voluntary an unjustified war in Iraq, the President has claimed extraordinary powers as Commander in Chief. The Iraq war, begun after the Taliban and Al Qaeda had been dislodged from power in Afghanistan, conveniently extended a state of war and prolonged the viability of the claim that the President could usurp powers previously belonging to the Legislature and Judiciary. Has Iraq not become a quagmire, Iran would have been next in maintaining a permanent state of war.
3.     Every executive department has been assigned political commissars to ensure that the neutral execution of their responsibilities is subverted to maintaining the regime. Senior department personnel, picked for loyalty to the Bush administration and for antipathy to the agencies they will be heading, ensuring the paralysis of useful governmental functions.


1.     Under the compliant and complaisant Republican majority, Congress has neutered itself by placing certain functions outside the reach of further legislation, and rubber-stamping the power grabs of the Executive
2.     Disenfranchisement of voters unlikely to support the administration, through rigged and riggable voting machines, fraudulent claims of voter fraud that prevent valid voters from casting a ballot, and politically oriented state voting commissioners have altered the composition of House, Senate, and indeed the Presidency as well.
4.     The doctrine of executive privilege has been stretched to the point that any attempt by Congress to exercise its oversight and investigatory responsibilities is met with a blank refusal to make documents and officials available. Now that Democrats have control of the House (and a razor-thin majority in the Senate), the power of Congress to subpoena these documents and individuals will be tested.


1.     Under its Republican stooges in Congress (and with plenty of help from Democrats), legislation has been passed that removes from judicial review any prisoners labeled as terrorists or illegal combatants held in US prisons outside the US. In addition, the Administration has claimed the right to prevent prisoner's lawyers from meeting with prisoners, viewing evidence, and even discussing the identity of prisoners. The right to wiretap and listen in on prisoner-lawyer conversations is asserted.
2.     The Posse Comitatus Act has been effectively repealed.
3.     Torture has been legitimatized.
4.     The stocking of the Supreme Court, appellate courts and district courts with politically like-minded judges is an old political custom exercised by both parties. In the current situation, however, the judges selected have been those most willing to share the Administration's view that the courts are powerless to check the Executive.


Under US law, international treaties have the force of law. The list of treaties broken by the Bush administration is long, and includes the UN treaties regarding international aggression, and treaties against torture and the treatment of prisoners of war. In addition, the US has withdrawn from treaties regarding nuclear arms, ballistic missile defense and nuclear testing.

The pattern is clear. President Bush and his enablers, Cheney and Rove, have embarked on a campaign to destroy the Constitution, and to remove any meaningful checks to Presidential action.  Now that the impeachment word is finally being uttered, the first charge should be treason. 

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