|January 12, 2006|
Bush and Republicans vs. Rule of Law
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
It is amazing that the Republican controlled Corporate Media and the Republican controlled federal and state governments have been able to control the flow of information vital to American Democracy by abusing positions of power. Examples can be found at all levels of government and in the media.
The Bush Administration engaged in blatantly criminal behavior by wiretapping millions of American citizens without a court order. Bush has called the program limited but a NSA Whistleblower and admitted source for the New York Times story that exposed the illegal program stated in an ABC news story that millions of citizens were likely involved. The wiretapping orders and the disinformation on the scale of the program came directly from Bush and Cheney.
Bush and Cheney ignored the law by claiming governmental powers that simply do not exist. The type of "powers" claims made by Bush have been made before and reviewed by federal courts. They were found to be not supported by law.
Most recently, the Reagan Administration made similar claims during the Iran-Contra scandal when White House operatives ignored specific federal laws limiting the scope of Presidential powers in the fields of foreign policy, use of military actions and national security. Like the NSA wiretapping scandal, the actions of the Reagan White House were known to be illegal when undertaken and were hidden from the American public for years.
In both scandals, the White House claimed a higher duty while taking a very low road by breaking federal law. In both cases, the illegal actions proved to be questionably effective. The White House in both cases undermined the rule of law and directly attacked the Constitutional checks and balances system dividing power between the courts, Congress and the Executive branches of the federal government.
As a result of Iran-Contra, senior White House personnel went to jail. The current situation has one significant difference with Iran-Contra. President Reagan denied direct knowledge of the illegal activities concerning Iran-Contra. Bush and Cheney have not denied their active involvement in the illegal wiretapping. Bush has admitted ordering the violations of the law. Basically, Bush claims he is not bound by laws passed by Congress and signed into law.
Readers should read the book Landslide by Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus for a detailed inside look into Iran-Contra. The issues of today are very similar to the darkest days of Iran-Contra and the better known Watergate scandals of the Nixon White House.
The Bush Administration has been known to politicize the Justice Department when doing so advances their political power. The example that most quickly comes to mind is the actions of senior Bush appointees in the Justice Department in approving Tom Delay's Texas Congressional Re-Districting Scheme that gave Republicans an nearly airtight lock on control of Congress. Career lawyers at the Justice Department had found the Scheme illegal but were overruled by the Bush appointees. Voting rights advocates have found the Bush Justice Department little interested in investigating potential electronic voting machine fraud in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere.
The Bush Justice Department issued an opinion of Bush's illegal wiretapping that found no violation of law based on Bush's claim of inherent Executive power. They ignored all federal case law and Supreme Court rulings that stated no inherent Executive powers as claimed by Bush exist. The opinion found that the federal laws controlling government wiretapping did not apply despite the fact that they were written to prevent exactly the type of government actions undertaken by the Bush Administration.
Outrageously, the Bush Administration has announced that they are looking to prosecute the whistleblowers who revealed the illegal spying by the Bush White House to the New York Times. It is clear that the Bush Justice Department is trying to silence insiders from revealing the extent of criminal activities by the Bush White House.
The nation cannot rely on the Bush Justice Department to investigate the abuses of the Bush White House. The nation needs emergency legislation bringing back the institution of Independent Special Prosecutor completely independent of White House control.
American citizens need to demand that the partisan administration of the Justice Department cease immediately. The Justice Department should be investigated. They appear to be obstructing justice instead of advancing it.
During both the Nixon and Reagan Administrations, the White House attempted to use the Justice Department to hide illegal activities. History appears to be repeating itself.
Already, the Republican partisan media has started supporting the Bush White House spin operation aimed at changing the subject from illegal White House spying to "leaking national security secrets." Illegal activities should never be protected by national security claims. Following that path eventually takes the nation very close to dictatorship. This tactic was attempted during Nixon and Reagan. Those exposing criminal government abuses are heroes and definitely not criminals!
These governmental abuses of power to control information available to citizens find many forms. In Maryland, Governor Ehlrich has ordered all state employees not to talk to certain Baltimore Sun journalist because he disliked what they were reporting. Although both are Maryland residents, they cannot talk to their own state government by order of the crazed Republican Governor.
In Ohio, an election law is progressing to enactment that will make it highly unlikely that elections will ever be subject to recounts even when massive fraud is alleged. Basic information about voting machine counts will not be available to Ohio citizens. The Computer source code used to count votes from electronic voting machines are not available to citizens or journalists in almost every state.
David Brock wrote in his book The Republican Noise Machine, "...right wing verbal brownshirts of late have used their mighty media platforms to chill free speech of their political adversaries and to neuter aggressive journalistic fact-finding that threatens Republican power." The current Constitutional crisis sparked by Bush and Cheney are a test for our embattled institutions. Our free press, the rule of law and American Democracy are all under attack by Republican officeholders and their media allies.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Written by Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio.
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