The Danger Posed By The Power Hungry Right
The current threat of the Republican controlled Senate to initiate the nuclear
option ending the use of the filibuster has dire implications that go well
beyond the seating of the current handful of judicial nominees.
First, to put the current battle into context, only ten of the 218 nominees are seen as unacceptable by the Democratic minority. The other 208 of George Bush's choices have been approved. Second, these appointments are lifetime appointments to the Appellate Court. This is the second highest court in the nation.
Why did Bush re-nominate the same few judges who were rejected during his first term?
While Bush's folksy down-home manner presents a public persona that makes many of his supporters say they'd like to sit down and have a beer with him, it is not the real George Bush. In reality, he is the product of exclusive, private, expensive eastern schools and the spoiled eldest son of an extremely powerful, wealthy family. He has known nothing but privilege his entire life. His father's equally powerful, wealthy friends have financed his several failed business ventures, and shielded him from having to take responsibility for any of his actions. In short, George W. Bush is used to having his own way and is unprepared to accept anyone denying him anything. He can't accept anything less than 100% of what he wants.
The Constitution provides for a separation of powers that allows a system of checks and balances.
In 1788, James Madison published Federalist Paper #47 titled, "The Particular Structure of the New Government and the Distribution of Power Among Its Different Parts". In it he explained the importance of balancing the power of the different branches.
"No political truth is of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty," wrote Madison. "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
The Senate was established to protect the minority. That's why there are just two Senators from each state regardless of population. Changing the tradition of the filibuster, the only option the minority has to prevent total power by a majority from pushing through all its measures, is to change our government from a democratic republic to an oligarchy.
During the remainder of his term, Bush will likely appoint at least one and perhaps as many as three Supreme Court Justices. Packing the appellate courts with judges who follow the same ideology to push the same agenda makes it easy to promote one of them to the Supreme Court as openings occur.
With all three branches of the government under one political umbrella of accumulated powers, that leaves only the media to expose Americans to an opposing opinion. Now even that last protection of democracy, a free press, is under attack.
Newsweek published a story concerning the abuse of Iraqi and Afghani prisoners at Guantanamo and cited an unnamed source as saying he saw a military report that said the Koran was flushed down a toilet. Before the story was published, it was sent to the Pentagon for verification. While some items were refuted, the part about flushing the Koran was not.
This was not the first time it was reported. Detainees who had been released have stated it on numerous occasions. It was in a story in the Denver Post in January of this year, related by British captives who had been at Guantanamo, in the NY Daily News in August of last year and in earlier reports on CNN and several British papers. The White House has now decided to take Newsweek to task. While the "unnamed official source" has since recanted, the detainees have not. All of the abuses perpetrated by the interrogators, pictured and reported, were actions geared specifically to cause the most distress to Muslim men. Now we are supposed to believe that one of the most powerful actions, the defacing of the Koran, would have been unthinkable.
Voices on the Beltway are calling for people to cancel their subscriptions to Newsweek as a warning to other publications who stray off message. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, said ominously, "People need to be very careful about what they say." The Power Hungry Right Wing is manipulating the people to be angry at the reporting of the abuse of prisoners rather than to be angry at the committing of the abuse. Newsweek, in an effort to appease the power of the White House, has abdicated the power of the press and its duty to keep the public informed by making a commitment to have any future publications approved by the Department of Defense.
With the suppression of the media, the power grab will be complete. Democracy will die and there will be no one to report its obituary.