Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What the hell is going on here?  

I don't often write short posts, but this May 12, 2006 article from one of my favorite op-ed writers, Richard Reeves, really struck a chord:

The only way to restore constitutional checks and balances in Washington before 2008 is for the opposition to win one house of Congress and have the power to call witnesses at public hearings and ask, under oath:

"What the hell is going on here?"

What is going on in the White House? The Defense Department? The CIA and the NSA? With gasoline prices? Along the border between California and Mexico? In Baghdad? In New Orleans? With Jack Abramoff and the K Street Gang? In Congress itself?

Or, who is listening to your phone calls? Are your taxes being used to teach torture techniques to your sons and daughters? Are the glaciers melting?

We'll be the last to know.

The nation flies blind when we have determined one-party government. That can and has happened in both parties over the centuries, but this White House is a particularly tough bunch, talking freedom around the world and taking it away at home. President Bush essentially has veto power over the Republican automatons in the Congress....

The rest of the article is worth reading, but that's really it in a nutshell. And it summarizes the entire problem that we face today.

The entire Republican Congress, including our own Ohio Senators Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, have thrown away all pretense of holding the President and the executive branch accountable. They are nothing but a rubber-stamp for the President's bad policies.

God forbid that anyone suggest the President might possibly have made a mistake! They can't admit to even one.

We are in that most terrifying of states where virtually every single decision that's being made is wrong, but nobody is willing to stop. It's like the worst death spiral you've ever seen from a meth addict, or a horror movie where you are yelling at the screen: "No, DON'T split up! The killer is taking you out one by one!" And yet we are powerless to stop it.

Democrats speak out daily, but it's the Republican majority that controls all the committee chairmanships and sets the agendas for both houses. And it's the Republicans who make sure that no actions that force accountability ever make it to the floor. In the past year alone I've seen video of at least five instances of Republican chairmen overruling perfectly valid objections from Democrats, silencing debate, and completely ignoring accountability.

If you wonder why Congress doesn't do something to stop the President, you are really asking why the Republicans won't do anything to stop the President.

You know what? That's a damn good question.


  • Anonymous said...

    You've been so brainwashed by the liberal press and your Democratic representatives.

    Bush has been the most bi-partisan president in recent history. Just last week a terror cell was captured in Florida partly because of the NSA.

    New documents show a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

    I'm just thankful that Gore or Kerry aren't president. I would hate to have to swear allegience to Allah every morning.

  • willdenow said...

    Isn't it fascinating how fascist, right-wing, Fox-News-spewing shills never have the courage to identify themselves?

    This president is arguably the most divisive occupant of the White House since Richard Nixon, who by the way had higher approval ratings at the time of his forced resignation than Dubya has today.

    This Administration has treated the Constitution like so much toilet paper, saving the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments in particular for long hard wipes. Th Federal Budget spins out of control as a direct result of a needless and an amateurishly executed war in Iraq. Instead of prosecuting the war in Afganistan to an apprpriate and successful conclusion (allowing Osama Bin Laden to escape and continue to plot against us), the Bushie neocons were itching to blast away in Iraq for just about every reason other than the so-called "War on Terror" (1. Oedipal one-upmanship between Dubya and Poppy, who had the sense not to conquer Iraq the first time around; 2. Testing ground for US WMD and 21rst Century Military Tactics, not unlike Hitler's testing of German military hardware and tactics in support of Franco in the Spanish Civil War; 3. Strategic control of a significant amount of what is left of Middle Eastern Oil resrrves; 4. Intimidation of Iran, 5. Pretext for a breath-taking expansion of presidential powers at the expense of the traditional checks and balances inherent in constitutional government, 6. Reward for such war profiteers Haliburton and other corporate contributors to the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign -- and many others too numerous to mention).

    What is truly astounding is the President's (and the Republicans') successful manipulation of American fair-mindeness and religious values to convince the poorly compensated and poorly eductated populace to vote AGAINST their fundamental economic and moral interests. Bush and Company have presided over a ham-fisted grab of the nation's wealth that would astonish the likes of such Robber Barons as Carnegie and Rockefeller. In the 19th Century, one seventh of the nations population owned six-sevenths of its wealth. The reforms of both Roosevelts and subsequent democrats largely reversed that trend and spawned a robust middle class. The last six years of Republican rule have virtually wiped out the middle class gains acheived following World War II. Wealth is more highly concentrated today than at any time since the 1920's. When you hear Bush preach about the values of an Ownership Society, he actually means a society in which a small percentage of americans ACTUALLY OWN our society.

    Even more shameful are the recent congressional actions regarding gay marriage, flag burning and immigration reform. Regardless of one's personal feelings, we should all be able to agree that matters of conscience are best exerxised by individuals. Amending the constitution to narrow or abridge civil liberties are the very sort of antics that Islamic Fundamentalists get up to when they take power. How ironic that the "freedom loving" right-wingers are attempting the same sort of coup.

    What makes me the angriest and keeps me awake at night is the realization that the country hasn't been this polarized politically or culturally since before the Civil War. It is impossible today for any mainstream politician to succeeed in national politics, where litmus tests and energizing one's base is paramount. It seems to me that the country is approaching a political precipice, with half the population commited to maintaining the liberal (little-l) democaratic values that have been the hallmark of American Democracy for the last 200 hundred years while the other half yearns and actively campaigns for the creation of a christian fundamentalist theocracy with heavy doses of state-sponsored corporatism thrown in for good measure. The question is, can a house thus divided long endure?

    Raymond Cranfill