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Thursday Sep 14, 2006

Ignoring Checks, Upsetting Balances

In Sidney Blumenthal's "How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime," he properly characterizes Bush's quest for "absolute power" as the main component of his "radicalism": his "disdain[] of the Congress and brushing aside [of] the judicial branch when he has felt it necessary".

Simply put, if Bush is allowed to ignore checks on him by the legislative branch and judicial branch, then we no longer have that system of checks and balances which has made democracy work for more than 200 years.

Today's W. Post summed up the latest moves in Bush's radical campaign:

... the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 8 along party lines to approve a bill negotiated with the White House to allow -- but not require -- Bush to submit the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program to a secret court for constitutional review.

That bill ... is considered by many to be a ratification of the administration's current surveillance program ...

...At the same time, the House Armed Services Committee voted 52 to 8 to ratify the White House's version of legislation creating military commissions for trying terrorism suspects.

The measure would give Bush the authority he seeks to withhold classified evidence from defendants, admit testimony that defendants might maintain was coerced, and protect U.S. intelligence agents from legal action over their interrogation methods.

In other words:

Bush violates a law passed by Congress against warrantless wiretapping.

Instead of even a symbolic punishment for the president for breaking the law, congressional Republicans bend to his will.

Bush's tribunals for Guantanamo detainees are struck down by the Supreme Court.

Instead of scrapping the tribunals, congressional Republicans defy the Court and move to largely retain them.

In both cases, Bush is successfully immunizing his actions from constitutional checks and balances, with the help of one-party rule.

Bush is intending to put the emphasis on these terrorism-related issues, believing that any focus on terrorism will help the GOP get through November.

But as Glenn Greenwald notes regularly, polls show most Americans oppose warrantless wiretapping. The only reason to oppose it is unease with unchecked, unbalanced presidential power.

As LiberalOasis has noted before, unchecked power hasn't been effective at fighting terror. Warrantless wiretapping simply has wasted resources going after the wrong people.

And the attempt to subvert the Geneva Convention and create a system of unfair trials for foreign detainees will severely harm our efforts to defeat terrorism by promoting credible democratic systems abroad.

Unless we practice what we preach, we lack the moral authority to lift up standards elsewhere.

Blumenthal made the point to LiberalOasis earlier this week, that this is exactly why the midterms are so important.

It is our only opportunity to deny Bush two more years of consolidating unchecked power.

And that agenda has damaged the struggle for democracy and against terrorism.

Posted by Bill Scher on Sep 14, 2006 email post email Spotlight / / You are in Terrorism
Posts Near Sep 14, 2006
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Sep 15, 2006Priorities