Time to Renew Democracy
By Stephen Crockett
February 27, 2006
Editor's Note: In our view, two interrelated factors largely explain how the Bush administration has managed to push the United States so far in surrendering its historic concepts of democracy and freedom. One has been the control of information; the other the manipulation of fear.
As a corollary, it's our judgment that the reversal of this dangerous process depends on two initiatives reaching the American people with important facts and replacing fear with courage. Though achieving these goals will not be easy, we believe truth can trump propaganda and courage can overcome fear.
In this guest essay, Stephen Crockett, co-host of Democratic Talk Radio, gives his assessment of what's gone wrong and what needs to be done.
In the aftermath of 9-11, American politics and government went slightly insane. America turned its collective back on 200-plus years of successful democratic government and turned toward its dark side.
The national security state began to be seen as needed and desirable. This insane model of government always puts the State over the Individual and becomes both corrupt and dictatorial. Examples in history are numerous.
The United States of America began as a reaction to corrupt, dictatorial rule from the English monarchy. In modern times, the world has seen national security states arise in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the Soviet Union, Pinochet Chile, and Franco Spain.
Other examples can be found all over the globe. Dictatorial powers were seized by corrupt political figures with ardent followers blinded by ideology following national security crises in every example.
After 9-11, we started speeding down that slippery slope. It is not too late for us as a nation to come to a screeching halt and return to our American political traditions should we make that choice as a nation.
Current events are forcing us to examine our course based on results instead of ideology. We have seen a great American city almost destroyed because we put national disaster relief under the control of incompetents at the Homeland Security Department. New Orleans started opening the eyes of American citizens everywhere.
Our government is ignoring federal law whenever it so desires in the name of national security. We have government-run secret prisons. We lock people away without filing criminal charges and never set trial dates.
We conduct torture and ignore the documented facts about that torture. We launch aggressive wars based on false information and propaganda aimed at our citizens along with the rest of the world.
We trample individual rights and civil liberties won at great expense for millions of American soldiers over generations in the name of national security. We conduct government in secret to hide corruption at the highest levels claiming security concerns.
We spy on political dissenters who are seeking to return our nation to traditional American political values. We use Homeland Security and the American military to spy on average American citizens doing their civic duty.
The Bush Republicans controlling our government encourage the abuse of public office to advance strictly partisan political goals. They are trying falsely to redefine American patriotism as blindly following the most extreme of Republican Right policies and ideology.
They are assaulting the Bill of Rights and attacking the Constitutional principles of our nation. Our Constitutional system of checks and balances between competing branches of government, which was designed to prevent dictatorial government and guarantee individual liberty, has almost been overthrown under Bush Republican rule.
Separation of Church and State has been severely undermined by deliberate policy thereby threatening both with the corruption. Government has no business interfering in the religious aspects of our lives.
Homeland Security can act as a cover for all kinds of corruption and political abuse. Secrecy in government has always fostered corruption and abuse.
Traditionally, America divided our intelligence and law enforcement agencies up into many different competing units. The competition helped each unit act more aggressively and efficiently.
The different units helped prevent abuses by other units using our traditional checks and balances system. The system worked very well as long as it was overseen by a competent chief executive in the White House, effectively monitored by Congress and followed federal court guidelines.
9-11 did not demonstrate a failure of our system based on design. It instead demonstrated that the individuals involved failed the nation. The White House dropped the ball on national security in the months immediately before 9-11.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and Ashcroft were largely responsible along with their aides and other individuals in various federal agencies. They were not coordinating the activities of the various federal agencies involved in law enforcement or intelligence effectively.
The hysteria and fear fostered and used by Bush, Cheney and the rest of the Bush Republicans was used to cover their failures and to achieve unchecked political power. Bush and Cheney should have been impeached for incompetence for allowing the 9-11 attacks to happen!
We now have a Homeland Security Department interfering with normal domestic political activity and threatening our democratic form of government. We need to return to our previous separation of the various units system concerning the law enforcement and intelligence agencies. We will get better unbiased intelligence information and more efficient law enforcement without as much politicization.
Homeland Security officials were somehow involved in the permitting unsupervised voting counting in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election. The media was blocked from observing the vote count in at least one county as a result of interference from Homeland Security, according to numerous media reports.
In Idaho, Homeland Security was used to harass and intimidate a federal employee over an anti-War bumper sticker on his personal automobile Red State, Meet Police State http://www.boiseweekly.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:158729 .
Homeland Security seems to be engaged in forcing American citizens to support the unpopular, unjust and unwise Iraq War policy of the Bush-Cheney Administration.
The national security state has really gotten totally out of control in Alaska, as evidenced in this recent example by Brad Friedman at Brad Blog.
bizarre story concerning
Election has taken yet another even more bizarre turn this week,
The BRAD BLOG has learned.
A long-standing public records request for the release of Election 2004 database files created by Diebold's voting system had been long delayed after several odd twists and turns, including the revelation of a contract with the state claiming the information to be a "company secret."
But while it finally appeared as though the state had agreed to release the information (after reserving the right to "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing it), the state's top Security Official has now -- at the last minute -- stepped in to deny the request. The grounds for the denial: the release of the information poses a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.
We couldn't make
this stuff up...
Full Story, including the Letters from Election & Security Officials and Much More:
It is now clear that we need to turn our back on the national security state model and return to the kind of wise, traditional American government founded by the leaders of the American Revolution and strengthened by generations of American heroes.
Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com. Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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