Archive for the ‘Karl Rove’ Category

Will Bush Cancel the 2008 Election? by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

August 1, 2007

Will Bush Cancel the 2008 Election? by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

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by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Speaking Truth to Power
Reprinted from CommonDreams.org

The authors of this article blatantly use the “D” word–dictatorship.

It is time to think about the “unthinkable.”

The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election.

The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape, though we must assume there is much more we don’t know.

But we must also assume that if it appears to Team Bush/Cheney/Rove that the GOP will lose the 2008 election anyway (as it lost in Ohio 2006) we cannot ignore the possibility that they would simply cancel the election. Those who think this crew will quietly walk away from power are simply not paying attention.

The real question is not how or when they might do it. It’s how, realistically, we can stop them.

In Florida 2000, Team Bush had a game plan involving a handful of tactics. With Jeb Bush in the governor’s mansion, the GOP used a combination of disenfranchisement, intimidation, faulty ballots, electronic voting fraud, a rigged vote count and an aborted recount, courtesy of the US Supreme Court.

A compliant Democrat (Al Gore) allowed the coup to be completed.

In Ohio 2004, the arsenal of dirty tricks exploded. Based in Columbus, we have documented more than a hundred different tactics used to steal the 20 electoral votes that gave Bush a second term. More are still surfacing. As a result of the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit (in which we are plaintiff and attorney) we have now been informed that 56 of the 88 counties in Ohio violated federal law by destroying election records, thus preventing a definitive historical recount.

As in 2000, a compliant Democrat (John Kerry) allowed the coup to proceed.

For 2008 we expect the list of vote theft maneuvers to escalate yet again. We are already witnessing a coordinated nationwide drive to destroy voter registration organizations and to disenfranchise millions of minority, poor and young voters.

This carefully choreographed campaign is complemented by the widespread use of electronic voting machines. As reported by the Government Accountability Office, Princeton University, the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission, US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and others, these machines can be easily used to flip an election. They were integral to stealing both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Efforts to make their source codes transparent, or to require a usable paper trail on a federal level, have thus far failed. A discriminatory Voter ID requirement may also serve as the gateway to a national identification card.

Overall, the GOP will have at its command even more weapons of election theft in 2008 than it did in Ohio 2004, which jumped exponentially from Florida 2000. The Rovian GOP is nothing if not tightly organized to do this with ruthless efficiency. Expect everything that was used these past two presidential elections to surface again in 2008 in far more states, with far more efficiency, and many new dirty tricks added in.

But in Ohio 2006, the GOP learned a hard lesson. Its candidate for governor was J. Kenneth Blackwell. The Secretary of State was the essential on-the-ground operative in the theft of Ohio 2004.

When he announced for governor, many Ohioans joked that “Ken Blackwell will never lose an election where he counts the votes.”

But lose he did….along with the GOP candidates for Secretary of State, Attorney-General and US Senate.

By our calculations, despite massive grassroots scrutiny, the Republicans stole in excess of 6% of the Ohio vote in 2006. But they still lost.

Why? Because they were so massively unpopular that even a 6% bump couldn’t save them. Outgoing Governor Bob Taft, who pled guilty to four misdemeanors while in office, left town with a 7% approval rating (that’s not a typo). Blackwell entered the last week of the campaign down 30% in some polls.

So while the GOP still had control of the electoral machinery here in 2006, the public tide against them was simply too great to hold back, even through the advanced art and science of modern Rovian election theft.

In traditional electoral terms, that may also be the case in 2008. Should things proceed as they are now, it’s hard to imagine any Republican candidate going into the election within striking distance. The potential variations are many, but the graffiti on the wall is clear.

What’s also clear is that this administration has a deep, profound and uncompromised contempt for democracy, for the rule of law, and for the US Constitution. When George W. Bush went on the record (twice) as saying he has nothing against dictatorship, as long as he can be dictator, it was a clear and present policy statement.

Who really believes this crew will walk quietly away from power? They have the motivation, the money and the method for doing away with the electoral process altogether. So why wouldn’t they?

The groundwork for dismissal of both the legislative and judicial branch has been carefully laid. The litany is well-known, but worth a very partial listing:

The continuation of the drug war, and the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act and other dictatorial laws prompted by the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, have decimated the Bill of Rights, and shredded the traditional American right to due process of law, freedom from official surveillance, arbitrary violence, and far more.

The current Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales, has not backed away from his announcement to Congress that the Constitution does not guarantee habeas corpus. The administration continues to act on the assumption that it can arrest anyone at any time and hold them without notification or trial for as long as it wants.

The establishment of the Homeland Security Agency has given it additional hardware to decimate the basic human rights of our citizenry. Under the guise of dealing with the “immigration problem,” large concentration camps are under construction around the US.

The administration has endorsed and is exercising its “right” to employ torture, contrary to the Eighth Amendment and to a wide range of international treaties, which Gonzales has labeled “quaint.”

With more than 200 “signing statements” the administration acts on its belief that the “unitary executive” trumps the power of the legislative branch in any instance it chooses. This belief has been further enforced with the administration’s use of a wide range of precedent-setting arguments to keep its functionaries from testifying before Congress.

There is much more. In all instances, the 109th Congress—and the public—have rolled over without significant resistance.

Most crucial now are Presidential Directive #51, Executive Orders #13303, #13315, #13350, #13364, #13422, #13438, and more, by which Bush has granted himself an immense arsenal of powers for which the term “dictatorial” is a modest understatement.

The Founders established our government with checks and balances. But executive orders have accumulated important precedent. The Emancipation Proclamation by which Lincoln declared an end to slavery in the South, was issued under the “military necessity” of adding blacks to the Union Army, a step without which the North might not have won the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order #8802 established the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Harry Truman’s Executive Order #9981 desegregated the military.

Most to the point, FDR’s Executive Order #9066 ordered the forcible internment of 100,000 people of Japanese descent into the now infamous concentration camps of World War II.

There is also precedent for a president overriding the Supreme Court. In the 1830s Chief Justice John Marshall enshrined the right of the Cherokee Nation to sovereignty over its ancestral land in the Appalachian Mountains. But President Andrew Jackson scorned the decision. Some 14,000 native Americans were moved at gunpoint to Oklahoma. More than 3,000 died along the way.

All this will be relevant should Team Bush envision a defeat in the 2008 election and decide to call it off. It’s well established that Richard Nixon—mentor to Karl Rove and Dick Cheney—commissioned the Huston Plan, which detailed how to cancel the 1972 election.

Today we must ask: who would stop this administration from taking dictatorial power in the instance of a “national emergency” such as a terror attack at a nuclear power plant or something similar?

Nothing in the behavior of this Congress indicates that it is capable of significant resistance. Impeachment seems beyond it. Nor does it seem Congress would actually remove Bush if it did put him on trial.

Short of that, Bush clearly does not view anything Congress might do as a meaningful impediment. After all, how many divisions does the Congress command?

The Supreme Court, as currently constituted, would almost certainly rubber stamp a Bush coup. If not, like Jackson, he could ignore it as easily as he would ignore Congress.

What does that leave? There is much idle speculation now about what the armed forces would do. We also hear loose talk about “90 million gun owners.”

From the public side, the only conceivable counter-force might be a national strike or an effective long-term campaign of general non-cooperation.

But we can certainly assume the mainstream media will give lock-step support to whatever the regime says and does. It’s also a given that those likely to lead the resistance will immediately land in those new prisons being built by Halliburton et. al.

So how do we cope with the harsh realities of such a Bush/Cheney/Rove dictatorial coup?

We may have about a year to prepare. Every possible scenario needs to be discussed in excruciating detail.

For only one thing is certain: denial will do nothing.

HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.solartopia.org, along with SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030. The FITRAKIS FILES are at www.freepress.org (where this article was originally published), along with HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA’S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, which Bob and Harvey co-wrote.

“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 2: The Constitution” by Dr. Steven Jonas

July 12, 2007

“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 2: The Constitution” by Dr. Steven Jonas

Jul 11, 2007
by Dr. Steven Jonas

This column is the second in this series. Its focus is on the centerpiece of the BushCheney (or CheneyBush, whichever you prefer) Presidency: the destruction of our treasured Constitutional Democracy that (for the most part) has served our nation so well for the 218 years of its existence.

To start, let’s review the seeming conundrum between this worst, while at the same time most successful, President ever. An item on AOL News for June 13, 2007 was headlined: “Bush: Does He Have Any Clout Left?” Gosh. His poll numbers are in the tank and going lower. The Congress is Democratic (by the thickness of the hair on Joe Lieberman’s head which is not much, and no one can figure out what is going on inside Joe Lieberman’s head, but the Democrats have both Houses at least for the time-being). By a fairly large margin the public disapproves of his major foreign policy initiative, the War on Iraq. Republican candidates, for the Presidency, the Senate, and the House are beginning to desert him personally (while for the most part they are deserting none of his policies, except, for some, on the distractive issue of immigration). So does he have any clout left? You bet your sweet pitootie he does. George Bush (and Cheney and Rove), better than any American President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, understands the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution. And this President, unlike any other American President ever, understands how to expand his powers way beyond those specified by the relatively limiting Article II of the Constitution, given that there is little real opposition with both the will and the power to challenge him in his campaign.

In this context, “him” always means Bush and Cheney and his staff and Rove and his staff and Bush’s two Attorneys General and their staffs. For it is they collectively, including lawyers like Ashcroft and Gonzales and Addington (Cheney’s own Consigliore) and Yoo, who have designed the campaign. Lawyers, you might ask? How could lawyers, all of who presumably took Constitutional Law in law school, do this? Did you know that one third of the men sitting around the table at the Wansee Villa outside of Berlin on January 20, 1942, when the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” as presented by Reinhold Heydrich was fully assented to by leading members of the Nazi government and industry, were lawyers? And so, with his kind of lawyers in tow, and sometimes leading the march, from the outset of his Presidency Bush has proceeded with a gradual campaign of Constitutional Destruction.

This campaign has been as well planned as it has been implemented, and it has obviously been in the Bush Administration plans since the beginning of his Presidency. For example, Cheney had been expounding on the theory of the “Unitary Executive,” (a polite term for dictatorship) since well before the Vice-Presidency was a gleam even in his eye (see the recent Washington Post “Cheney” series). The Patriot Act, which clearly gave the President unconstitutional powers to over-ride the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments on his own authority, is 342 pages of complex legislation. It was introduced to the Congress on Oct. 24, 2001, just 43 days after the 9/11 tragedy. It is highly unlikely that this text could have been written in that period of time, especially given that first someone has to decide to ask the Dept. of Justice to prepare such a bill, that decision has to be reviewed, the concepts have to be developed, it has to be presented to Justice, writing assignments have to be made, drafts prepared and reviewed, everything has to collated, and so on and so forth, and in those days Bush had not had the opportunity to litter the career ranks of the DOJ with his political appointees. In fact, that bill had to have been months in the planning, preparation, and writing, with the Busheviks just waiting for the right time to send it to Congress, which then was given three days to pass it.

Once upon a time, Karl Rove was uncharacteristically open and blunt about what he and Bush et al were all about. As I noted in a TPJ column of mine published on Dec. 2, 2004, in The Guardian (UK) of November 25, 2004 the US political analyst Sidney Blumenthal had a column about the opening ceremonies for the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AK. The article was entitled “One gulp and Bush was gone.” In the article, about the opening ceremonies, Mr. Blumenthal made a number of fascinating observations. One of them was most chilling. In reference to Karl Rove, Blumenthal noted that “offstage, beforehand, Rove and Bush had had their library tours. According to two eyewitnesses, Rove had shown keen interest in everything he saw, and asked questions, including about costs, obviously thinking about a future George W. Bush library and legacy. ‘You’re not such a scary guy,’ joked his guide. ‘Yes, I am,’ Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: ‘I change constitutions, I put churches in schools …’ “Indeed he does, and they do.

One of Bush’s primary goals upon taking power was to establish this new concept of American government called the “Unitary Executive.” The lawyer John Yoo, who did much of the leg-work on the “torture-is-more-than-OK” policy before he left the Department of Justice, has trumpeted his work in two books. Cheney has talked about it on numerous occasions. Their flacks in the Privatized Ministry of Propaganda, like William Kristol on (up or down depending upon your point of view) in the Weekly Standard, talk admiringly and approvingly of Bush’s “near dictatorial powers.” And one does have to observe, although many just do not want to face facts, that he has pretty well established a Unitary Executive. It has been created both by legislation passed by the rubber-stamp Republican Congress Bush had for six years, and steps he has taken on his own supposed authority, nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. Just read its Article II, the bulk of which is concerned with the method of electing the President, the power to make treaties and appointments, and the State of the Union Address. There ain’t nothin’ to be found in it like anything that they have done. And oh yes, it does specify that the President shall “take care that the laws shall be faithfully executed.” So let’s see what this all has lead to, not necessarily in order of importance.

There is Bush’s conceit that the Constitution gives him the power to issue “Signing Statements” that in turn given him the power to ignore statutes passed by the Congress. His claim to this power is under some doctrine that if he thinks that something in an Act of Congress is unconstitutional, by saying so at the time of signing, he can just ignore or even break the law. (And apparently, it has been recently revealed by a Government Accountability Office [GAO] study of his “Signing Statements,” he and a variety of Federal departments have been doing just that.) He fails to note that he already has the power to reject a bill passed by Congress on any grounds he wishes (like, hey, I just don’t like the idea of stem cell research so to the extent that I can, I am going to prevent its benefits from being of use to those who do), before signing it into law. That power is called the veto. He is using that one with increasing frequency now that the Congress is in Democratic hands. But under the Constitution itself, the veto is the only power of challenge to congressionally passed legislation he has. No matter. He has changed the Constitution on his own authority.

There are the aforementioned powers of permanent imprisonment without trial of anyone, foreign or US citizen, that he labels a “terrorist” or “aider and abettor of terrorism.” I have written on numerous occasions of these powers and how they violate the Fourth (search and seizure, probable cause), Fifth (due process) and Sixth (fair trial) Amendments to the Constitution. He has amended Article Six on several occasions. The Geneva Conventions are signed and ratified treaties of the United States. Under Article VI they are thus classified as part of the “Supreme Law of the Land.” No matter. The then Counsel to the President, now Attorney General, on the prompting of John Yoo, labeled them “quaint” and thus totally ignorable by the President when it comes to the matter of torture. Thus the UN Charter, also as a treaty part of the Supreme Law of the land, which under Article 51 prohibits preemptive war, can be ignored as well.

Then there are the unchallenged Executive Orders of a type not provided for by the Constitution. Two of the recent ones are National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Directive/HSPH-20 in which the President established for himself the power to run all three branches of the Federal government in case of a “national emergency,” as defined and declared by, you guessed, GW Bush (and/or Dick Cheney?). Thus the President has unilaterally placed himself not only above but also in control of the other two branches of government in a situation, “national emergency,” that he has given himself the power to define and declare.

A “failed Presidency?” Hardly. As I noted last week, success is measured against goals set and the degree to which they have been achieved. Bush set out to achieve what I have on more than one occasion termed a “coup d’etat in slow motion.” Forget the polls. This man first embraced the powers truly vested in him by the Constitution. Then, little challenged by the weak opposition, and strongly supported for the first six years by his lock-step Republican Congress, and ongoing, his in-the-pocket Privatized Ministry of Propaganda, has used them, step-by-step and piece-by-piece, to create an Office of the Presidency with powers that no reading of the Constitution can possibly support. That’s success, man.

More next week on policy specifics.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY). He can be reached at steven.jonas@stonybrook.edu, sjtpj@aol.com, and 631.444.2147.