No, this is not a kubaya post asking that we all gather at the river.
It is, however, a call to establish some fundamental principles on what it is to be American. The first and foremost being that the law be applied equally to everybody. One cannot state that race or status is irrelevant before the court when we have Scooter Libby justice, torture described as a "policy difference" as being somehow a shield from justice, and telecommunication giants able to provide "bail money" in advance to purchase retroactive immunity.
It doesn't even matter which party is in control, as Glenn Greenwald explains:
Since that overwhelming Democratic victory[of 2006], this is what the Democratic-led Congress has done:
- Repeatedly funded -- at the White House's insistence -- the Iraq War without conditions;
- Defeated -- at the White House's insistence -- Jim Webb's bill to increase the intervals between deployments for U.S. troops;
- Defeated -- at the White House's insistence -- a bill to restore habeas corpus, which had been abolished by the Military Commissions Act, enacted before the 2006 election with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous GOP support;
- Enacted -- at the White House's insistence and with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous Republican support-- the so-called Protect America Act, vesting the President with extreme new warrantless eavesdropping powers;
- Overwhelmingly approved the Senate's Kyl-Lieberman Resolution, to declare parts of the Iranian Government a "terrorist organization," an extremely belligerent resolution modeled after those which made "regime change" the official U.S. Government position towards Iraq;
- Deleted from a pending bill -- at the direction of the House Democratic leadership and at the insistence of the White House -- a provision merely to require Congressional approval before the Bush administration can attack Iran;
- Overwhelmingly enacted -- at the White House's insistence, and with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous GOP support -- the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008," to vest the President with broad new warrantless eavesdropping powers and to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, all but putting an end to any chance for a real investigation and judicial adjudication of the Bush administration's illegal NSA spying program;
- Confirmed, with the indispensable support of two key Democratic Senators, Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, despite his support for radical Bush theories of executive power and his refusal to oppose torture;
- Stood by passively and impotently while Bush officials flagrantly ignored their Subpoenas and refused to comply with their investigations.
He goes on to point out that our elected officials, in particular the leaders of our elected parties no longer listen to the people who elect them. Lobbyists now firmly dictate the policies of America, and this short circuits the electoral process. Lobbyists do not have the best interest of America at heart, yet many powerful politicians only concern is who gets to sit in the big chair to hoover up massive political contributions. The system is utterly corrupt, and able to corrupt many well meaning public servants.
Which leaves many Americans angry and even disillusioned as they throw up their hands and give up. They do not vote out of protest or vote for a third party candidate to "send a message." Unfortunately, this type of approach only insures victory for the power-hungry politicians and their corporate benefactors.
The only process that has ever worked to substantially change the system is grass-roots activism. We cannot depend on "the press" to deliver cynical analysis of government actions, because they are corrupt as well. A premium is placed on access, and a reporter who gets too critical has no access. Media ownership has dwindled down to a handful of Corporations, many of whom have subsidiaries with business before congress. And so it goes.
This will be a long hard fight, to wrest control of our Government away from Corporations whose only loyalty is to maximize shareholder profit, many times which means at the cost of clean air or water, affordable health care, or now it seems, a roof over our heads. We are, by fiat, asked to bear the burdens of shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when we didn't benefit from the profits, not to whine about it or go mental due to a mess created by a $200 million lobbying effort named after Phil Gramm.
Corporate welfare must stop. Torture must stop. Spying on Americans without a warrant must stop.
Bloggers alone cannot do this. We have all called our representatives, flooded them with email and FAXes, and yet they continue an agenda of, as Glenn writes, "radicalism, extremism and lawlessness of the last seven years, presiding over an endlessly expanding Surveillance State and accompanying war-making machine, and the dismantling of numerous core Constitutional principles."
This will not be said in the press unless we say it, and since we rarely get invited, our message exposing these individuals, in there own districts, must be purchased. Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emmanuel, and Nancy, "off the table" Pelosi must pay a price for allowing these practices to occur. They were voted in to make these changes and have failed miserably, choosing merely to maintain the status quo, hoping to simply switch the name plates around on the K-Street lobbying enterprise.
Just electing more Democrats will not solve the problem, it only further tightens the grip of the feckless leadership we currently have. Without a doubt, more Democrats will get elected to both the House and Senate, so it is absolutely critical to hold the current leadership accountable for being such miserable failures. Without some sort of penalty we are assured of more of the same type of behavior in the future.
The FISA specific fund, hastily cobbled together in the wake of Steny Hoyer's stealth campaign, meeting every demand from the Bush administration (quaintly called "negotiations" by the press) managed to gin up nearly $350,000 in just a few weeks. Ads have been running in several Blue-Dog Bush enabling districts on the radio and in newspapers, including robo-calls read by local well-respected clergy.
These will continue through November, but a a new initiative has begun called Accountability Now and Strange Bedfellows. Again, Glenn explains the premise:
As the above-chronicled events demonstrate, all of these assaults on our core civil liberties and the rule of law are not Republican attacks with Democrats fighting against them. They are attacks launched by the political establishment against the citizenry, and they ought to be responded to as such. That's the core premise of the Accountability Now/Strange Bedfellows campaign we've launched -- that these battles have to be waged by an ideologically diverse group of citizens devoted to a defense of the Constitution and the rule of law against a political establishment which has proven it is hostile to those values.Let's do our Representatives a favor by introducing them to the most important lobby that exists--the American people.