Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Alienation of the Public, continued.

Here are several points from a story by Ron Hutcheson and posted at Smirking Chimp today.

The story is how the Bush Regime has faced institutional rivalries for power, but I think its most important point, which is mildly stated, is that the public has grown further apart from the policy-making process. Policies that affect the public should be overseen by the public. Secrecy has no place in policy-making in a decently free society.

A decision to bar Senate filibusters - unlimited debate - against judicial nominees effectively would give Bush a free hand in picking judges. It also would reduce the inherent power of every senator, and the Senate itself, to exert leverage against any president. end quote.

The point is not that certain judicial nominees have been rejected. The point is that these neocons want to restructure the nomination and election process for federal judges. It is an attempt to eliminate a constitutional check by Congress, in essence, an expression of the the public, against the executive, which is not the public and grows further and further away from the public with each passing hour.

On issue after issue, Bush has guarded presidential prerogatives and tested the limits of his office's clout. He asserted a ground-breaking doctrine of authority as commander in chief by declaring his willingness to attack other nations first if he thought them sufficiently threatening, sought to bypass the courts in dealing with terrorism suspects and proposed new restrictions on public access to presidential papers. end quote.

See the Presidential Records Act, which was passed in March 2001.
Bush's academic records and crucial biographical sources have all been suppressed.
The records of his father's administration and those of the Reagan administration are also off limits to the public, historians, and possible political opponents. This is the most secretive president to ever sit. The secrecy has to exist for a reason, some interest must be behind it.

When Congress shelved his plans to boost federal aid to religious charities and scale back environmental regulations, he used executive orders and federal rule-making power to get his way. end quote.

Executive orders and regulation are no substitute for public debate on the issues. Bush makes policy from the back room out, not by way of honesty and integrity. In other words, the people need not interest themselves in what affects them personally.

But Bush's approach isn't just a matter of circumstance. In a revealing interview late last year, Vice President Dick Cheney said the former Texas governor came to the White House determined to exert authority in the aftermath of the hotly disputed 2000 election. end quote.

Cheney's justification for Bush's amassing of power (and it's not authority, it's power) shows that this regime understands its foolishness. They cannot garner true respect with well-made decisions, nor can they create any consensi in the Congress around their policies, so they spend their time circumventing the republican and democratic processes with regulations, stonewalling, and ignoring precedents.

"In many ways, the Constitution has taken a beating in the last half-century. Congress has lost its backbone," said David Adler, a political science professor at Idaho State University who specializes in balance-of-power issues. "It seems to freely surrender these powers." end quote.

Imperialism, elitism, corporatism and militarism and outright social and industrial neglect have their price. Enjoy the ride.

In a 5-4 ruling last year, the Supreme Court said Bush overstepped constitutional bounds by asserting the power to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists without giving them access to lawyers or the courts.

"That was an incredibly far-reaching claim to unilateral power," Adler said.
end quote.

Criminal is the most descriptive word for it.

Bush has had other setbacks. He initially resisted plans for an independent investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, only to yield, then fought requests for public testimony from then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. end quote.

Why would he resist the investigation into 9/11?
He would only in the event he had a compelling interest in keeping every detail of the plot secret. If this doesn't shout for some kind of complicity in the disaster nothing else can. Cui bono, usurper Bush?
The public is exiled again from policy-making and oversight, and the crimes continue.

More recently, a federal appellate court in Washington backed Bush in his effort to maintain the secrecy of the closed-door deliberations that led to his proposed energy policy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled May 10 that the White House didn't have to reveal the names of energy industry officials who worked with an energy-policy task force that Cheney headed. end quote.

Who is affected by the energy policy?
It's government policy so it's public. The public is interested, involved, and will be profoundly affected by the decisions of these secretive elitist people. The judge ruled in favor of the private interests of a few men over the over-riding concerns of the public, in favor of the life of the corporation and against the dignity of the individual. The ruling is unreasonable, and serves only the secrecy of the few. Why is this judge still on the bench?
Why is Dick Cheney still in office when he doesn't deserve to be?

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