The argument is simple: it is in the best interest of the nation
nothing controversial regarding the administration be publicly discussed.
To do so would undermine all efforts currently directed towards bringing
the terrorists to justice, and would unnerve a populace bombarded hourly
with reports of anthrax contaminations. The maintenance of this best-interest
argument relies completely on the idea that the administration deserves
total freedom of action, and the belief that everything they are doing
is directed towards protecting us and capturing the butchers.
The great trust Americans are laying at the feet of George W. Bush and
his administration is being horribly abused. Under normal circumstances,
e.g. the days before September 11th, this would perhaps raise some eyebrows
and earn a goodly share of vitriol on the editorial pages. Now, with all that
is at stake, such abuses are criminal and treasonous. Worse, they are being
ignored in the name of unity and patriotism by much of the media.
If the American people come to the realization that those responsible for
their safety are nothing more than 21st century robber barons, the delicate
latticework of faith and tightly controlled fear within the populace will
shatter. God help us all if this should occur, for it will signify nothing
less than total victory for the murderers who attacked us.
Under this patriotic cloak of absolute faith, the Bush administration is
engaged in crimes and constitutional perversions that besmirch the very
essence of our American system. Their actions undermine the premise
described above completely and totally. They do not deserve our trust,
and do not deserve the shroud of trusting silence that has been enveloped
around them. They must be called to account for it. As Bill Moyers so
eloquently stated in his speech on October 16th, the greatest sedition
at this point is our silence.
The betrayal began in earnest with the passage of Bush's stimulus package,
which gives vast swaths of our tax dollars to massive corporations who
are still turning a healthy profit in these economically trying days.
They are in the black while many Americans dive headlong into the red,
and yet it is the financially sound corporations who will receive 80% of the
stimulus. No provision has yet been created to provide protection for the
scores of Americans who are out of work.
The airline industry has received a massive financial bailout. The insurance
industry has come to Bush with hat in hand, and will be rewarded.
For working Americans there is nothing, and nothing, and nothing but the
fraudulent promise of trickle-down economic principles that has been proven
time and again to be empty. Despite all that has happened, Bush clings
yet to greedy conservative economic concepts that reward the top 1%
immediately while relying on some absurd concept of financial gravity to
assuage the needs of the rest of us. It did not work for Reagan, and it will
not work today. Still, they persist.
Then came the airline security bill. Millions of Americans need to fly for
their livelihoods, and millions more require that passenger flow to maintain
their businesses. Visions of aircraft slamming into buildings still dance
in everyone's heads, and getting onto an airplane today requires more
courage than the average American ever expected to have to display on
their own soil. A vast majority of these people want and need assurances
that these planes are safe. The economics of the airline industry, and the
cottage industries that have grown around it, demand that sense of security.
The airline industry, presumably, knows this. It was their security failure
in large part that helped the terrorists attack us, because they chose for
years to scrimp on security in the name of the bottom line. That bottom
line apparently remains the dominant consideration, despite the Federal
bailout, because the airline industry lobbied hard against the airline
security legislation proposed by the Senate.
The Senate wanted to Federalize airline security, but the lobbyists would
have none of it, because it would cost too much. The House threw it out
along near-perfect party lines, augmenting American fears that an airplane
they board could become yet another fuel bomb.
The airline industry lobbyists were not the only ones working against the
legislation. George W. Bush was lobbyist in chief, arguing against
Federalization of airliner security in the face of massive public support for
the idea. His reasoning broke yet again along conservative partisan lines.
Bluntly, Bush apparently fears the unionization of these new Federal workers
more than he fears another airline-borne terrorist attack. Perhaps he knows
something we do not, but it is far more likely that he does not want the
Democratic Party to gain 33,000 more votes from newly-unionized employees.
The cognitive dissonance involved in this process is baffling until the
political cards are laid down. Bush wants to help the economy, wants to
assuage our fears, wants us to continue our lives with as much normalcy
as possible. Yet his actions on behalf of the airline industry will not calm
American fears of flying, which will make it difficult to return to normal,
which will keep us off the airplanes and further damage the economy.
Lay those cards down, and the answer comes clear. In the name of politics,
Bush is willing to gamble with our financial and personal security. This is
a betrayal of staggering proportions. In the current context, it is a crime.
It is treason. He does not deserve our silence. We aid and abet
his treason if we acquiesce to the stern-browed patriotism represented
by tattered flags on automobile antennas.
This is the administration that has been handed unprecedented power after
the passage of the PATRIOT Anti-Terrorism bill of 2001. In this bill lies
the ability of Federal investigators to tap telephones without warrants.
In it lies the ability of Federal investigators to enter your home without a
warrant, search your belongings and personal papers, and attach a device
to your computer that can record every keyboard keystroke you make.
This "sneak and peek" provision is outlined in Section 213 of the bill, and
is a stake through the heart of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Have the actions of this administration to date given them the right to
expect our trust in this? Absolutely not. The anti-terrorism bill could be
harmless enough in the hands of a benign administration that can be trusted
to seek the health, welfare, safety and security of the people. This is not
such a government. By giving them this power, we have placed the noose
around our own necks. Before we drop to our doom, we must take that
power back. We cannot allow Bush to have it, because he is demonstrably
unworthy of it.
Bush and his administration should fear the judgment of history. By their
most recent actions, it is made clear that they already do. Yet their
recent actions have been aimed at thwarting history, denying it, hiding it,
burying it at midnight. On November 2nd, Bush signed an executive order
that will forever seal all Presidential documentation. This executive order
further states that any President may bottle up the papers of any former
President, even if that former President wants them released.
This order shreds the Presidential Records Act, legislated by Congress
in 1978 in the wake of Watergate. Any persons who now wish to view
Presidential records must demonstrate a "specific need" to see them, the
gravity of that need to be decided by the administration.
68,000 pages of communications between Ronald Reagan and his advisers
were due for release last January. Many people in Bush's current administration
were part of the Reagan cabal, and would have their names and deeds all over
these papers. The most notable name that would be found within these papers
is George Herbert Walker Bush. The administration managed to par off this
release for months, but in the end ran out of excuses for doing so. This
executive order is the last gasp, created in the name of "national security."
The audacity of this action is staggering. Even the stupefyingly naive must see
through this farce for what it is: a betrayal of the Freedom of Information Act
meant solely to protect members of this current administration for being called
to task for their actions. The truth of the Iran/Contra scandal is likely in these
papers, something that Bush Sr. would just as soon see burned.
What else is in these papers? Which members of the current administration
have a vested interest in seeing them buried forever? Why?
Finally, if this administration is so worthy of our trust, as we have been lead
to believe, how can we maintain our faith in the face of this betrayal of history?
Why can't they tell us the truth? If they are indeed hiding nefarious and criminal
actions taken two decades ago, what on earth should give us faith that they can
be trusted today?
The acts perpetrated on September 11th did not erase or recast the definition
of dishonesty. In fact, it has solidified that definition as we know it. America,
with all she has suffered, deserves far better than what we have in power today.
We cannot allow these immoral and fraudulent robber barons to range about
unchecked, unsanctioned, and uncontrolled. They do not deserve our trust.
The time has come for the Left to overcome what has for years been their
Achilles heel. The Left trusts Government – not this government, but the
idea of Government. It is visceral, given to us with mother's milk. We see
injustice and call our U.S. Senators, or write the White House, or send off
scathing letters to the editor. We believe this level of engagement is
satisfactory, because we trust Government to respond to the will of the
people. This is what it is supposed to do.
The current administration has no interest or intention of responding to the
will, or the dire needs, of the American people. This administration is
stealing from us, undermining our safety, and lying to us with their bare
faces hanging out. Our representatives in Congress are not acting vigorously
enough to thwart these crimes. We must, therefore, act in our own defense,
and in the name of true American justice. We must begin yet another
American Revolution, and we must do it within the bounds of the law.
The reasons Al Gore lost the contest in Florida were not first forged in the
polling houses, or in the vicious actions of men like James Baker, or even
in the Supreme Court. The reasons were first forged by the conservative
Republican redirection of energies in 1992. They stopped pestering the
Federal Government and began running their people for low-level offices
in states all across the Union.
By 2000, their people were entrenched in local Florida government, giving
Bush a massive home-field advantage when push came to shove. These
office-holders were able to act with partisan vigor any way they chose, and
their actions killed Gore's chances before Antonin Scalia ever became involved.
Had the Supreme Court not intervened, the Florida legislature would have
chosen the elections in the name of Bush, because the GOP had the
numerical advantage thanks to years of local political work.
Evidence of this redirection of energy is also evident in the conservative
takeover of the House in 1994. The GOP went to the grass roots, running
their people for state offices, priming the field, setting the tone locally for a
push to the Federal level. This effort, in the end, yielded the criminal
administration of George W. Bush.
The Left must abandon their faith in Government, release the idea that
simply shouting up to these representatives is enough to carry the day.
We must look down, into our own neighborhoods and precincts and wards
and districts. We must imitate the victors. We must run our own people
locally all across the country and take back the dialogue. The only effective
way to do this is to work from the bottom up.
With the Left truly in power, the airline industry would not be able to
steal from us with one hand while shredding our security with the other.
With the Left truly in power, corporate greed can be brought to heel, and
real election reform can become a reality. With the Left truly in power,
criminal administrations will be unable to hide behind executive orders
forged in the roiled wake of tragedy.
They have been lying to us, and we can do nothing to stop it today.
Tomorrow, however, is another matter.
This is a call to the Minutemen, to the real American patriots. Stand up
and get to work. The new American Revolution is at hand, and we need
everyone. Run for local office, or support one of us who does so.
It will take time, and it will take patience, but it must be done.
Can such an effort be successful in the current climate? With absolute
certainty, yes it can. The events of September 11th have awakened
Americans to the realization that each and every one of us has a personal
and fundamental stake in the development of justice, democracy and human
rights here and across the globe. We are the targets when these ideals fail.
The current administration acts as though this awakening has not occurred.
It has, and we must act upon it.
Take back the truth.
- - - - -
Order Lets Sitting or Former President Block Release (Washington Post)
Critics Blast Bush Order on Papers (Associated Press)