Friday, January 06, 2006

Dichotomy - Government Secrecy, Public Intrusion

Has anyone else noticed that the most secretive and unaccountable Administration in history has no problem with completely dismantling the right to privacy for the rest of us?

What was one of the first Executive Orders that George W. Bush issued? Why,
Two months after taking office, Bush’s White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, issued an order delaying the release of 68,000 pages of records from Ronald Reagan’s administration that archivists at the Reagan library had already confirmed did not threaten national security or violate personal privacy. The release of records (including those pertaining to the Iran-Contra scandal) from the Reagan administration could have proven a profound embarrassment to many officials in George W. Bush’s administration as well as to his father (who was vice president under Reagan).
Then, in Nov. of 2001,
President Bush issued an executive order entitled “Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act.” His order effectively overturned an act of Congress and a Supreme Court decision and could make it far more difficult for Americans to learn of government abuses. Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, declared that the executive order “effectively rewrote the Presidential Records Act, converting it from a measure guaranteeing public access to one that blocks it.
Am I the only one who is connecting these particular dots? Can't people see that all of these things have been planned from the get-go of this thuggish Administration? Even before he was selected, George W. Bush talked about being a 'war president', and the unlimited power ('political capital') inherent in being one. Rather odd, since at the time there was no whiff of war on the horizon. Then, after stealing an election (without so much as a peep from the sheep, who were fast asleep), he issues a gag order on the releasing of presidential papers. That made my antennae go up, I can tell you. I remember, even then, thinking that there had to be something up for that to be rushed out. But it was treated as a blip on the radar - it was mentioned, then hastily dropped; kicked under the bed and left there.

Well, you sure can't be a 'War President' without a war, so the next thing you know - surprise! We're at war! Not with anyone who actually attacked us, of course, but at war nevertheless. To use a Watergate reference (something that is more and more apt as the facts emerge), "Deep Throat" told us to 'follow the money' - if you want to know who is behind something, find out who's making money from it. Who benefits? The American people have been sold out, our young men and women are dying by the thousands - to benefit the oil industry, companies like Halliburton and its subsidiaries, defense contractors, etc. And, best of all, there's no accountability! Our country's coffers are emptied into the bottomless, drooling maw of the war machine, and Bush's answer is - tax cuts! So, the richest of us, the ones benefiting from this bloodbath - don't even have to pay for it! And the rest of us pay for the deaths of our own children! Let's connect these dots: War is paid for with - taxpayer money! And taxes are rolled back primarily for who? So if the rich are paying less in taxes, who's making up the shortfall? The middle class and the poor - anyone not making over $300,000 a year. (Someone asked me who the 'rich' were - with the cost of living so badly outstripping the rise of real wages, I think you can be considered middle class with an income of $250,000, at least in places like New York, San Francisco and L.A.) Okay. Now, what else is war paid for with besides tax money, kiddies? That's right - blood. Young blood. Soldiers. And here's an extra-credit question - what socio-economic group is most likely to be in the military? Bingo! You're a genius! Yes, it's the middle-class and poor, who have the most need for a good job and an education, and often look to the military for that. Wanna get out of the projects? Join the military! Want to go to college, but are too poor to afford it, and too rich for financial aid? Join the military! Be all that you can be - dead! So, we are, in effect, subsidizing the murder of our own children. And I'm sorry, but murder it is.

But I digress.

Back to my point, which is that all of this has been laid out, brick by brick, with a specific purpose in mind. And this purpose is unlimited and unaccountable power for the Executive Branch, of which George W. Bush is a pathetic, feeble-minded puppet. A mean-spirited, cruel and petulant puppet, but a puppet nonetheless. It's Dick Cheney who, ever since the Nixon era, when the dangers of an unchecked President were made obvious by Watergate and subjected to proper oversight, has sought to dismantle these checks and balances and install an imperial presidency, answerable to no one. Sidney Blumenthal has written extensively about Dick Cheney, and in, he wrote
Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal thwarted his designs for an unchecked imperial presidency. It was in that White House that Cheney gained his formative experience as the assistant to Nixon's counselor, Donald Rumsfeld. When Gerald Ford acceded to the presidency, he summoned Rumsfeld from his posting as NATO ambassador to become his chief of staff. Rumsfeld, in turn, brought back his former deputy, Cheney.

From Nixon, they learned the application of ruthlessness and the harsh lesson of failure.
Big Dick wants to succeed where Nixon failed.

And he is succeeding remarkably well, it seems.

He began, of course, by insinuating himself into the running-mate selection process when Governor Dubya was planning to run for president. And who, after an exhaustive search for the right candidate, did he recommend? Why, amazingly enough - Dick Cheney! In the same article quoted above, Blumenthal writes
In 2000, Cheney surfaced in the role of party elder, above the fray, willing to serve as the man who would help Gov. George W. Bush determine who should be his running mate. Prospective candidates turned over to him all sensitive material about themselves, financial, political and personal. Once he had collected it, he decided that he should be the vice presidential candidate himself. Bush said he had previously thought of the idea and happily accepted. Asked who vetted Cheney's records, Bush's then aide Karen Hughes explained, "Just as with other candidates, Secretary Cheney is the one who handled that."
And, after somehow the Supreme Court decided that counting votes would cause irreparable harm to one person only - George W. Bush - and decided to install him in the White House, practically the first official act of Dick-in-the-Bush was to convene a secret 'Energy Task Force', which we lowly peons were not permitted to know the details of. Didn't that raise any eyebrows? Didn't that pretty much spell out the direction this Aministration was going to go in?

And so, in review:

This Administration wants to operate in total secrecy and impunity, in blatant disregard of the most important part of our Constitution, the separation of powers. If there is anything that is supposed to differentiate a democracy from a monarchy (or oligarchy, dictatorship, you name it), it is the separation of powers, which this batch of con-artists and thieves has shown itself to reject completely.


while it objects to any oversight whatsoever of its own activities, past, present or future, at the same time it wants to be able to have complete (and totally secret) access to the most private information of ordinary American citizens!

And yet, we are not rising up in fury against this.

I am beginning to think there is nothing so heinous that this criminal gang can perpetrate against us that we will not agreeably lie down and take it. Can it be that we are so - what? Afraid? Apathetic? Gullible? Wilfully ignorant? When, day after day, the revelations of corruption, of death, of lies, of incompetence, of cronyism, of fraud, of the gutting of everything that America once stood for, float over the heads of the somnolent American people, it is difficult to believe that anything could be horrible enough to rouse us - as a nation - from our complacent, childish slumbers.

I shudder in fear to think of what that could be.

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