The United States is in one hell of a mess. And the mess is so big that our politicians and their corporate sponsors cannot get us out. That just leaves us, the citizens, to pursue this awesome responsibility, this all-important duty.
The people of the United States need a new declaration of independence from our government. We need a new constitutional convention to put forward ideas and platforms that reaffirm our commitment to a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." And we need the people power of direct democracy to give every citizen a chance to participate and vote on proposals. Our democracy has been hijacked by a band of right-wing ideologues and zealots who believe -- just like Adolph Hitler -- in worldwide corporate hegemony rather than democracy.
The Executive Branch of our government has -- without the consent of the governed -- strayed from its separate but equal position and has taken on the role of an imperial kingdom. After six years of the Bush administration, our Constitution is in grave danger and our rights and freedoms are being rapidly curtailed by a Congress and Justice Department that sheepishly follows wherever Bush leads because its members do not want to appear too critical of the self-described "war president" while troops are in the field. Rather than defending the Constitution, both major parties are engaging in political posturing.
Let's review some of the highlights of the Bush administration:
(1) Florida election fraud in 2000.
(2) Dick Cheney's super-secret 2001 energy task force. The public is still in the dark about who attended and what was discussed.
(3) In August, 2001, Bush ignores daily briefing report entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." The report stated that bin Laden might use planes as weapons.
(4) Hours after 9/11, while commercial flights were grounded nationwide, Bush allowed some 200 members of the bin Laden family to fly to Saudi Arabia without even being questioned by the FBI.
(5) The invasion of Iraq was sold to Congress on a whole pack of lies regarding Iraq's military capabilities. We were supposed to be in eminent danger. We were supposed to fight them over there so we wouldn't have to fight them over here, as if terrorism were an actual nation instead of a cowardly hit-and-run political tactic to get attention.
(6) Private "military contractors" like Blackwater and Haliburton provide support services, security, and even go on armed missions in Iraq alongside the troops. It is not clear who these private contractors are accountable to. The generals? The Congress? Their stockholders? No one?
(7) The passage of Patriot Act I, Patriot Act II, and the National Security Agency wiretapping program curtail civil liberties and allow the NSA to bypass the FISA courts and sanction warrantless wiretapping.
(8) The White House exposes Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA agent in retaliation for her husband's statement about yellowcake uranium in Niger. Bush had stated that Iraq was trying to obtain this material from Niger and Joseph Wilson proved that this was false. Valerie Wilson worked in the CIA as an expert on nuclear weapons.
(9) Ohio election fraud in 2004.
(10) Bush states "We do not torture," but admits that "enemy combatants" may be subjected to extreme measures in order to gather information. Yet even the International Committee of the Red Cross says we do, in fact, torture prisoners. The Military Commissions Act sanctions torture of "detainees" and ends the writ of Habeas Corpus, which is at the very root of democratic government. Nothing in this bill protects American citizens from being kidnapped by their own government, sent to secret prisons without a trial, and tortured.
(11) Federal judges dismissed for political reasons rather than performance.
(12) In Presidential Directive 51, Bush asserts that in a "catastrophic event" he can take over all aspects of government, including even state and local government. In the event of a major labor strike, for example, Bush can use this directive to declare "martial law" and send the National Guard into American cities.
(13) Bush and Cheney claim executive privilege and fail to honor Congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony. Bush wants witnesses to speak to prosecutors in secret and off-the-record. Bush uses signing statements to specify which parts of a bill passed by Congress he does not accept or will not abide by.
(14) The presidential pardon of convicted felon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who had inside knowledge of the inner workings of the White House that Bush and Cheney did not want exposed, effectively bought his silence.
(15) War spending reaches $12 billion a month.
What a mess! Corruption. Fraud. Secret government. War profiteering. Warrantless wiretapping. A nation that purports to be free and democratic simply does not engage in such criminal activities unless something is very, very wrong. For the president and vice president, impeachment is the necessary Constitutional remedy. For the systemic problems, however, a new constitutional convention may be our last best hope before Bush leads us into war with Iran and more chaos.