Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Went Wrong?


The criminal regime of BushCo™ has effectively pulled off a coup d'état, having seized control of all three branches of government and the mass media. This is the result of a concerted and clandestine effort that has been going on at least since the 1930's, aimed at establishing a Fascist dictatorship under the control of the large corporate interests. With every setback the cabal has learned and adapted their strategy accordingly, playing their cards ever closer to the vest. After 9/11 they seized the opportunity to come out into the open, and fly their true flag. That flag is a skull and crossbones drenched in blood, and these pirates occupy the quarterdeck of the US ship of state.

Without giving too much credit to their evil genius, how do we account for their success in destroying a democracy that has stood for 230 years? In my opinion it is down to two things. The first is a critical error made by the founding fathers, a failure to define treason in a way that corresponds to the values and objectives of a democracy.

In a monarchy, treason can readily be defined as acts against the head of state, or a member of the royal family. Add to this the element of conspiracy with a foreign government or a domestic group bent on revolution and you have very close to the legal definition current in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Except that the British law, dating from 1351, quaintly throws in "if a man do violate the King’s companion, or the King’s eldest daughter unmarried, or the wife of the King’s eldest son and heir." It is also from this 1351 statute that the US treason law gets the language about giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the state. For more, see the Wikipedia article.

This is all well and good in a monarchy, but in a 'nation of laws, not men' something very different is required. In a democracy, it should be the Constitution and the SYSTEM of laws that are protected, not whatever government happens to be in power. Oddly it is the Constitution itself that fails in this protection. Treason is in fact the only crime specifically mentioned within the Constitution, in an article III provision that limits the legal definition of the act.
Article Three defines treason as only levying war against the United States or "in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort," and requires the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court for conviction. This safeguard may not be foolproof since Congress has, at times passed statutes creating treasonlike offences with different names (such as sedition in the 1789 Alien and Sedition Acts, or espionage and sabotage in the 1917 Espionage Act)
This very narrow definition of treason fails most grievously in that it virtually requires the United States to be at war with a foreign power. And, as I said before, it fails to protect the system of government in which Americans so appropriately take pride.

Some acts that I think should be considered treasonous, but aren't would include;
1)The Bush use of signing statements, clearly designed to usurp the authority of the legislature and the Supreme Court.
2)Bush's appointment of partisan ideologues to the court, for the same reason.
3)Bush's 'Faith-based Initiative', a blatant attempt to negate the principle of separation of Church and State. BTW, that was before 9/11/01.
4)The assumption of war powers without a declaration of war by the Congress.
Under this last heading, I would include a)the NSA wiretapping, b)the suspension of habeas corpus for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and undisclosed locations, c)the rendition and torture of said detainees contrary to international treaties to which the US is a signatory.
5)Election fraud. Note that in 2000 this was brought about due to Bush's father's appointment of partisan ideologues to the Supreme Court.

This last point should be seen as especially egregious, and a particularly obvious attack on the system of government in A DEMOCRACY. As Wikipedia points out, the British added this category of treason in 1702:
Another Act, the Treason Act 1702 (1 Anne stat. 2 c. 21), provides for a fifth category of treason, namely:
  • "if any person or persons ... shall endeavour to deprive or hinder any person who shall be the next in succession to the crown ... from succeeding after the decease of her Majesty (whom God long preserve) to the imperial crown of this realm and the dominions and territories thereunto belonging".
So, if stealing two elections isn't treason, what the ƒµ¢€ is? And wait a sec, didn't I say that the successful coup d'état was down to two things? What, pray tell, is that second thing?

That second thing is the consistent failure of the American public to demand retribution when someone does blatantly attempt to overthrow, not the government, but the SYSTEM of government. As I pointed out here, the so-called business plot was swept under the rug. Nixon's crimes went largely unpunished, and the American public accepted that. Bush Sr.'s Iran/Contra scam, which illegally diverted US military hardware into enemy hands also went largely unpunished. Bush Sr. himself managed to avoid indictment, claiming to have been 'out of the loop', went on to become President, and pardoned some of the criminals whose activities he had clandestinely directed (or so some believe.)

Complicit in this wholesale sweeping of dirt under what is now the lumpiest rug in the world has been the mainstream media, whose obsession with the 24-hr news cycle compells them to move on to a new story before finding out how the old story turned out.

"All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values."
-- Marshall McLuhan

Derelict in their clear duty to yell, scream, protest, whine and cajole about Republican malfeasance until the media does pay attention are the Democratic party, with few exceptions. When it comes time to raise campaign funds, they feed at the same corporate trough as their swinish Repug brethren.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke

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