The End of the Republic

The US has been in a long slide towards empire for some time. As Stirling observed last week the torture bill, which essentially invalidates the parts of the bill of rights dealing with the rights of those accused of crimes, is part of that slide.

The trend line, and this has been going on for some time, and is not an artifact just of the last five years, nor just of the Republican party (though they have more proponents of it within their ranks) has been going on for at least thirty years and parts of it can be seen in the late sixties.

Its features are the imperial executive, the end of individual rights, the castration of Congress and the reduction of the power of the Courts.

The End of Individual Rights Under the new bill passed last week the President, largely at his discretion, can take any non citizen (including legal residents) and lock them up indefinitely without recourse to civilian courts by declaring them an enemy combatant. He can lock up citizens and the only recourse they have is to determine their combatant status, however you can become a combatant by an act as minor as having written a check. Once determined that a citizen is a combatant they lose the right to any further use of habeas corpus, the right to see the evidence against them, the right not to self incriminate, the right to a speedy trial, the right to safety against cruel and unusual punishment, the right to not be punished till guilt is determined in court, the right to counsel of their choice, the presumption of innocence and the right to a trial by a jury of their peers.

This is radical, but it is simply the capstone of a long decline in the right of most accuseds to any of these rights. You can be punished by the loss of your possessions without trial, without ever being determined guilty and this has been the case for a couple decades now. Under the various laws that allow seizure of goods and money no trial is necessary for seizure.

Most people accused in the US in the 90’s did not get a trial ”“ they were pled out of the system. They could not afford competent counsel, so incompetent counsel was appointed for them. It is simply impossible for the system to give everyone a trial, let alone jury trial ”“ there are not enough judges, prosecutors and judicial staff to actually try as many cases as the number of people tried. The people who plead effectively have no choice in the matter, if they fight the vast majority will lose, not just because most are guilty (guilt is irrelevant, the majority of innocent ones will lose too) but because they don’t have good counsel or the means to procure it and in most cases they can’t get a jury trial but must have a trial before a judge whose primary institutional motive is to get the accused out of the court as fast as possible.

As an individual you no longer have the right to expect freedom from arbitrary search and seizure. Again, a series of court decisions and laws reduced this right even before the Bush administration ”“ for example, you have no real expectation that anything in your car can’t be searched for, largely on a policeman’s whim. Within Bush’s mandate it has reached the point where you have no reasonable expectation that any of your records cannot be read or your calls listened in on ”“ not even the minor protection of secret courts such as the FISA court remains. Even behind the curtain, even within the confines of power, there is no one left who speaks for the individual.

You have no right of association. RICO laws in the eighties made it dead simple to criminalize membership in, or association with any organization. The new terrorism laws make it even simpler. You have no right to gather in large numbers in most of the country, since a ”œfree speech zone” will be found for you or permits for political demonstrations will be refused even when identical permits for non political purposes are approved.

It’s important to recognize that this cram down on individual rights primarily benefits not the courts or the legislative bodies, but the executive. Prosecutors are members of the executive apparatus, not the legislative. Judges, who are members of the judicial, have had their rights and powers reduced, not extended, during this period. Many judges hate plea bargaining, but it’s over before it even gets to them, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

The Reduction of Congress Congress has steadily lost power to the executive over the last few decades. In some respects the first and most important power to be lost was the right to declare war. While in theory Congress still has this authority, in practice, once the President has attacked another country for the two months of freedom he’s allowed, it’s all over ”“ you’re at war, whether you like it or not. While President’s often go to Congress for authorization, they do not need to. Any president, Republican or Democratic, can plunge the US into a war on his sole authority and there is nothing anyone can do about it short of the military mutinying.

The use of signing statements started in the Reagan administration and was not discontinued during the Clintonian terms. However the Bush administration has used them to essentially exempt the executive from following any law it disagrees with. Congress can make all the laws it pleases, but if a law requires the executive’s cooperation in any way (and most do) it’s a dead letter if the President disagrees with it. Even if the Executive chooses to enforce a law, how they enforce it is also totally at the President’s discretion.

The Executive has also asserted its right to spy on members of Congress in the Jefferson case, where Jefferson’s records were seized without any members of the House, or their staff, their to supervise and remove records not pertinent to the graft case. This is the first time the Executive has violated a congressman’s quarters in the history of the United States and, in effect, the Executive now has every Democratic strategy memo. Jefferson was almost certainly guilty and so most people were not outraged, but this is how rights are removed ”“ first you remove them from scum (for example RICO laws were aimed at the Mafia) then you remove them step by step from larger and larger groups of people until either no one has them, or only those who can’t afford hundreds of thousands of dollars of lawyers fees can assert rights that still exist only for the few.

And the fact that in a section on Congressional power we devolved into a discussion of the courts and individual rights is typical of the whole mess. There is no clear dividing line between the three. As the Courts and Congress lose power to the executive (or the Courts to Congress) the end effect is always felt by individuals ”“ no matter how remote the battles seem from real life, in the end what is taken from the Courts or Congress is taken out of the life, liberty and happiness of individuals.

Congress has three powers left ”“ theoretical control of the purse, theoretical ability to impeach and the power to subpoena or appoint special prosecutors. In theory, any two of the three are sufficient to reign in the Executive until such a time as there is a Reactionary lock on the Supreme Court.

They will likely not be used in sufficient concert to make a difference. Too many people are complicit ”“ using the powers would rip Washington apart. The level of incestuousness in Washington isn’t clear to most people, for all their disgust at the City in the Swamp. There is no clear line between Republicans and Democrats ”“ they are intermarried, they work on the same firms, they bribe each other. I don’t use incestuous primarily as a metaphor ”“ they are screwing each other, across the aisles, regularly, both physically and metaphorically. Mary Matalin and James Carville are just more out in the open than many others, but what they represent ”“ the marriage of parties, is very real.

The balance of power resides in the third leg of government ”“ the court system in general, and the Supreme Court in particular. Any two of the three legs can crush the third, given time.

The Courts It’s hard to say which of the three branches of government has been more reduced in power over the last thirty years. Certainly Congress, in its naked abnegation of its responsibilities so as to escape, well… responsibility, is in the running. But the courts have lost great power as well.

As discussed above, most cases don’t even come before the court ”“ they get pled out. Amongst those that do, the rise of mandatory sentencing has removed much of a judge’s traditional discretion and power. This is a direct result of the drug war, which has been used to justify shredding traditional common law procedures and judicial authority.

At one point in the late nineties, there were about 20 judges in the entire country who would simply refuse to try any cases with mandatory sentencing. One friend observed that in his opinion those were the only 20 judges in the system with integrity.

But the real assault on the court is just beginning. It is the attempt by Congress to strip civilian courts of jurisdiction of whole swaths of cases. Without jurisdiction the courts will not be able to rule either on the legality or the constitutionality of bills with strip large numbers of people of the protections of the bill of rights. While there is wording in the Constitution which allows this, in practice the Supreme court has been unwilling to deny itself jurisdiction over constitutional issues.

However the Supreme Court currently rides on a razor thin 5/4, 4/5 margin. One more death, one more appointment and the new interpretation of the Constitution (in effect, the new Constitution, for the interpretation is always more important than the text) will be enshrined. Even if Congress were to repeal the torture act, for example, it would be at Congress’s whim and could be reinstated at any time. Even, of course, assuming that the President would acknowledge the repeal in any substantive manner.

The Empire

All Republics fall. The US’s Founders gave the US 150 years. Two hundred was a good run. A country where individuals do not have the right to a trial by their peers, to hear the charges before them, to confront their accusers, to not self incriminate, to have counsel; a country where the President can lock anyone up and throw away the keys, is not a Republic as the Founders would have understood it.

A country where one of the three branches of government, the Executive, is much more powerful than the other two, is not a country your Founders would recognize as a Republic, especially as they had envisioned the Presidency as the weakest of the three branches.

When Congress does not declare wars, when the President can veto any law simply by writing an interpretation of it that guts it, when the Courts can be denied jurisdiction over almost anything ”“ you have an empire.

When every State in the Union has been given the absolute right to assign its electoral votes as it chooses then the United States has put into place the necessary laws to end Democracy whenever necessary.

A country with a large, standing mercenary army which girds the globe and invades other countries, is on the road to Empire.

A country where the crimes of el Presidente and his minions are made retroactively legal, is not a nation of laws, it is a nation of people.

Now the tools to regain the Republic exist. Impeach the President. Either expand the Supreme Court or impeach the justices who are most clearly reactionaries who hate the Constitution. Restore jurisdiction to the courts. Reject laws that make actions retroactively legal. Then try those who have committed crimes and lock them up for the mandated times.

But the odds of the above happening are minimal. As after Nixon, and as after Iran Contra, those gaining power will decide that letting all this slide is easier than tackling it. The precedents will remain on the books, the new customary practice of letting the President do as he chooses will remain. What has been accepted as legal, and not deserving of punishment becomes the new legal norm. Without a vicious and violent repudiation not just of Bush, but of Bushism and the entire slide towards authoritarian government, that slide, even if it takes two steps backwards, will remain the new norm.

And this is the easier path by far. What President would not like to have Bush’s powers? What Congress would actually like to have some responsibility again? Who wants to put their friends, wives, children, parents in jail for violating the Constitution? Isn’t it easier to just let it all slide and just not use these new powers too much? Don’t you believe that you can be trusted with such powers, even if Republicans couldn’t?

One appointment to the Supreme court is all that remains. Just one. One appointment and the torture bill becomes the defacto new law of the land ”“ the bill of rights is largely repealed, the executive has its star chamber courts and there become two court systems ”“ the old one, for non political crimes ”“ and the new one, under the jurisdiction of the President.

One appointment and signing statements are here for good ”“ Congress becomes an advisory body, capable of passing laws, but with every single one subject to Presidential veto.

One appointment and the Republic formally ends.

You’ll excuse me, I’m sure, if I don’t wish the new American empire a long life.

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Ian Welsh

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  • to the end.
    Just to repeat a line I used earlier, yhat I heard in the sixties: “This is a free country, you are free to do as you are told!”

    repressive governments mix administrative clumsiness & inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

  • because you could be a combatant for saying it, especially your last line. After all, it is up to our former governor to decide these things.

    I have not seen eye to eye with many here on the war, but over this issue I will have to vote Democrat in the fall, and hope enough of us independents do, so as to shift this madness back toward sanity.

    Ironically, ideology blinds most everyone with its high-beam light.

    Meanwhile, I can only hope Sterling’s economic connections are more tenuous than he thinks. Only time will tell there.

  • Damned if this doesn’t sound very believeable, simply descriptive of what I have seen and thought of as well. Of course Ian describes it much better.

    I have thought this scenario through, a bit, too. What gives me some relief is to think that it could simply end, as Rome did. After swelling grotesquely, it could simply burst at some time, give it a couple of centuries whatever, and we could be left with a country again.

    But there is another problem for us: Nukes. We are Nuclear-armed. What does Nero or Caligula do with a weapon system that really can actually destroy the world?

    Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise.

  • Provisions for rescinding citizenship and deportation were in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, along with extra-constitutional powers to write law, hold secret courts, and nullify congress, among other things. The ACSBlog and others warned of these provisions and only extreme rendition was removed from the act and it was put through in another bill. The new laws don’t even have to be made public. What hasn’t happened is the enactment of those powers. The Real ID Act of 2005 followed that. The renewal of the Patriot Act changed very little from the original Act. You are correct on every point and I’m sorry that is the case.

  • I’ve made similiar observations in the past, including in 2004, but it’s true that I didn’t realize the extent to which the laws already allowed some of this stuff.

    Which leads to the conclusion – the only real hope at this point is these laws – Patriot, IRA and the Torture bill to be declared unconstitutional.

    Because Congress ain’t repealing them, at least not till 2009, and possibly not ever. And, in any case, if not declared unconstitutional, the precedents are always there.

  • Which one might wish to listen to:

    What happened to Habeus Corpus?

    The votes were not even close in Congress last week, as the House and Senate pushed through legislation giving President Bush nearly all the powers he had asked for in detaining and trying terror suspects. Republican Senator Arlen Spector called the bill “patently unconstitutional” and voted for it anyway.

    Among its many tough provisions — a bar on habeas corpus appeals, the legal bedrock that lets prisoners ask a judge to rule on the legality of their detention. It’s a right with roots that go back to the Magna Carta and beyond, to the law’s fundamental shield against kings and dungeons.

    Hear about indefinite imprisonment as habeas corpus meets the war on terror and the war wins.

    Quotes (via the website) from the show:

    “17th and 18th century English lawyers would say: Look at what it [the Senate Bill] has done to the judiciary.” Paul D. Halliday

    “It [the Senate Bill] is certain to be challenged in court and it’s not likely to survive a court challenge.” Jonathan Hafetz

    “The Combatant Status Review Tribunal is a sham, it’s an insult to due process.” Jonathan Hafetz

    “The Supreme Court has said that resident aliens are not entitled to use the writ of habeas corpus.” Richard Samp


    • Paul D. Halliday, Professor of history, University of Virginia. He is working on a book on the history of habeas corpus in England prior to 1800.
    • Jonathan Hafetz, attorney at the Liberty and National Security Project of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s Law School
    • Richard Samp, chief counsel, Washington Legal Foundation, a legal think tank that has sided with the president on the issue of denying detainees’ right of habeas corpus
  • It occurs to me that during the Greatest Generation, we came up with the United Nations, strengthened our relationships with other countries, built up the middle class, pumped up education, sent a man to the moon, ect.
    The offspring of these people were the Baby Boom Generation. A coddled, spoiled, self indulgent, self assorbed, short attention span, overreacting generation.
    They are the ones that offered up a congress so weak willed and lazy and uninformed. A spoiled immature president that delights in amassing ultimate power, doesn’t respect the laws and constition. Because it’s inconvienent for him. Who wants to desstroy the United Nations and the idea, doesn’t work with and starts fights with other countries because they won’t give him his way. Who blames everyone and takes no responsibility for his actions and failures.
    We have a party the shell of it’s once glorious self. A party strong and just that became self indulgent and went overboard in searching for equality, that lost it’s vigor and fight from indulgence and a weak will. Another party that started out a grand party of Lincoln that also went so far overboard that it forgot it’s strength and became fringe. Where the greed is good took over for the good of america.
    The Baby Boomers were always pegged as a different kind of generation. It’s also the generation that killed america.

  • A loophole was put in when we interred the Japanese Americans during WWII that exempted laws deemed necessary in the interests of national security. The court can’t rule on them. It will take a major effort to make the changes needed– according to what I remember reading. I just read and scream about it when I can.

  • The court can rule on them if it wants to. Traditionally the Supreme Court has simply not allowed Congress to remove Constitutional issues from its jurisdiction. However, that could change.

  • that amplifies and expands your point can be read in Vanity Fair this month. By Niall Ferguson, it features a lot of parallels to empires past:

    Gibbon called the decline and fall of the Roman Empire “the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind.” Could a still more awful scene be unfolding in the form of the West’s decline and fall? For Gibbon, Rome’s decline was the result of military overstretch, inner decadence, religious conversion, and barbarian invasion. To my mind, all of these are operating today to undermine what remains of Western dominance in the world. If the United States suffers mainly from the first and second, the European Union seems even more afflicted by the third and fourth.

    “Lord! What fools these Mortals be!”

  • Don’t blame all baby boomers.
    I am a baby boomer and I hate violence.
    Violence is a primitive way of settling an argument.
    I had my long hair, I hated violence, I still do.
    The people in controll are not being controlled and that is the problem!
    Big business is now controlling the economy (this makes the US the biggest fascist country) and the average American is driven into bankruptcy without any protection because of Bush and Co.
    I still fight big government and big business because they don’t care about anyone except their bottom line.
    The US economy will collapse soon if the government won’t recognise the plight of its own people.
    If the government keeps giving money to the big corporations to expand elsewhere and keep the people unemployed the economy will collapse.
    And it will be your fault, because you let your government tell you that you voted for Bush.

    repressive governments mix administrative clumsiness & inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

  • The US is, actually, suffering from religious problems. The strength of the Christian right, a particularly pernicious form of Christianity, is sapping the strength of the American Civic religion, with its sacred text of the Constitution and federalist papers, its Saints like Jefferson and Washington, and its commandments known as the Amendments.

  • SoapBlox/Chicago

    From LondonYank at dKos

    Canada contributes to the American-led naval build-up in the Persian Gulf

    The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is actively collaborating in this military endeavor.

    Canadian foreign policy has been steadily and successively militarized by two successive governments.  

    The government of Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal) implemented the “three-dimensional policy” of the “3-Ds” (“Diplomacy”, “Development,” and “Defense”),  adding a military component to Canadian foreign aid and development assistance.

     The 3-Ds brought Canada into performing as more active role in U.S.-led operations in NATO garrisoned Afghanistan. Despite the public protest, Canada has become an integral member of the Anglo-American military alliance.

    Canada’s involvement is not limited to Afghanistan as suggested by the press reports and official statements.

    The H.M.C.S. Ottawa has been dispatched to the Persian Gulf, leaving in September, from British Columbia. Officially the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is being deployed as part of Canada’s contribution to fighting the “War on Terrorism.” The Canadian vessel is the first publicly known ship to be deployed to the waters of the Middle East in about a year.5  The Canadian vessel is slated to be fully integrated into “Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5), which will be seafaring in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, off the Iranian coast.

    HMCS Ottawa

    The Canadian Pacific Fleet vessel, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa, will be the twentieth official Canadian naval deployment in support of the United States and Britain in the War on Terrorism. About 225 personnel will be on board the Canadian Navy ship, including a Sea King helicopter detachment.6

    While the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is supporting the American-led war on terrorism, it is also to participate in anti-submarine exercises off the coast of Hawaii.  

    For what purpose are these exercises being conducted? How many countries in the Middle East or Persian Gulf have submarines? Iran is the only country in the Persian Gulf, which is not an ally of the U.S., which possesses an indigenous submarine fleet.

  • Ships and Submarines:

    Deployable Battle Force Ships: 281

    Ships Underway (away from homeport): 120 ships (43% of total)

    On deployment: 97 ships (35% of total)

    Attack submarines underway
    (away from homeport): 22 submarines (40%)

    On deployment: 12 submarines (22%)

    Ships Underway:

    USS Enterprise (CVN 65) – Arabian Sea
    USS Nimitz (CVN 68) – Pacific Ocean
    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) – Atlantic Ocean
    USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) – Pacific Ocean

    Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
    USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) – Persian Gulf
    USS Nashville (LPD 13) – Persian Gulf
    USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) – Persian Gulf

    Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
    USS Boxer (LHD 4) – Pacific Ocean
    USS Dubuque (LPD 8) – Pacific Ocean
    USS Comstock (LSD 45) – Pacific Ocean

    Amphibious Warfare Ships:
    USS Tarawa (LHA 1) – Pacific Ocean
    USS Saipan (LHA 2) – Gulf of Aden
    USS Wasp (LHD 1) – Mediterranean Sea
    USS Essex (LHD 2) – East China Sea
    USS Ogden (LPD 5) – Pacific Ocean
    USS Juneau (LPD 10) – East China Sea
    USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) – Atlantic Ocean
    USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) – East China Sea
    USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) – Pacific Ocean

    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • How reliable is this site and what agenda if one do they have? I’ve posted stuff from them before but always kinda felt uneasy about them.

    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Michel Chossudovsky is behind the site (and featured prominently). My view, he’s a wingnut of the highest order.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …”twentieth official Canadian naval deployment in support of the United States and Britain in the War on Terrorism”. Near as I can see this is business as usual – the Navy decided quite a while ago that they want to have the capability of integrating with American carrier groups (both gator groups and supercarrier groups). This is something that they’ve done before (since 1998) with the Halifax frigates many times.

    Additionally, the movements of the American groups mentioned in the article are as they’ve been programmed for a good long time. If folks want indicators of war they should look to movements that are outside of those already programmed.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • that I don’t agree with your description of the baby boom generation as one that killed america. The baby boom generation simply inherited different problems than the ‘greatest generation’ did. What they did with them seems in many ways very good to me.

    A party strong and just that became self indulgent and went overboard in searching for equality

    So, are you saying that the struggle for civil rights started the end of the republic? And if the boomer generation is really totally coddled, spoiled, self indulgent, self assorbed etc., then why did they organize themselves so well, and put in so much time and effort for the cause of civil rights? Why were some of them actually willing to be beaten, or killed, over this cause? A cause that they believed in rather than a war that they fought.

    If you want to characterize a generation as coddled, spoiled, self indulgent, self assorbed, etc, you would probably have better luck with my generation, the X-ers.

    If you want to look at problems that get worse over time, if you want understand long term movements of a culture, then you can’t just focus on one area of time. Maybe we are getting more spolied, lazy, self-centered etc. over time in this country. It may be true, from what I have seen. But if you want to understand that problem, you may want to look at what may be causing it. Simply blaming one group of people seems counterproductive to me, and not a good form of analysis.

    Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise.

  • generation for transforming the USA from a republic to an empire, don’t you think the greatest generation would be a better candidate than the boomer generation? The GG’s were the ones who gave the president all the powers of a wartime leader during WWII, and then neglected to remove them when the war was over. The boomers had a minor but significant rebellion against the centralization of power in the executive. (Nixon.)

    Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise.

  • protect him, even if he IS in Canada and the paranoids want to nab ‘im, for the US admin has ruled that they can grab anybody within 200 km north of the border deemed to be a threat, and tip ‘im into the nearest black hole. Given that area would encompasses most Canadian cities – Vancouver, Calgary (I think), Winnipeg, Toronto, etc. it pretty much includes most of the population. My son observes that could be a good thing. We need to create a new, “real” border at the 200 km line. Then the paranoids can erect fences, build moats, set up mine fields, erect missile silos, whatever else is necessary to keep the horror of Canadian shoppers out of US malls, on the existing border, while the “New” border goes mostly and happily undefended, just like the old one used to be. This, he thinks, would be an excellent way to attract new settlers to the less populated more northerly areas of the country, and eventually lead to the introduction of urban pleasures, like morning lattes, in rural Canada, eh?

    Meanwhile, except for Edmontonians and Newfoundlanders, the rest of us should seriously consider keeping out pie holes sealed these days.

    (I said “consider”)

  • Interesting Chickadee. Have you got more on this ruling? A link? (I believe you, but I’d like to investigate a bit more and maybe write on it.)

  • Well, I admit to being somewhat in the dark about your credentials, JPD, but I am aware that Michel Chossudovsky is a full Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies University of Ottawa- Chossudovsky bio

    Besides managing the website at, he’s a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the author of many commercial and academic works. He is also a prominent anti-war proponent which only a fool could possibly hold against him, in my opinion.

    A Wiki excerpt:

  • …that I’m not particularly overawed by professors, particularly those commenting for a lay audience in fields outside their academic speciality. I’m not qualified to comment on his economic work, and I suspect that it’s much better than his commentary on military affairs (having the benefit of actual peer review, contrary to pretty much all of what I see attributed to him about the grand wurlitzer [sp?] of the blogosphere), but I know enough about what he says about military affairs to know that his statements in that realm leave something to be desired rigour-wise.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • The power that the neocon’s and Bush are gathering have pretty much obliterated the principals the country was founded upon.
    They keep people in fear of the terrorists and use that for justification of everything they do. There are a long line of people throughout history that have been elected and then elevated their position to almost total control.

    If people don’t start seeing what is happening we will just drift further and further from everything that makes (made) this country great.

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