Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The line in the sand - an open letter to Congress

I am outraged beyond words by the lawless behavior of the entire Bush administration and the apparent unwillingness of Congress to put an end to it. With the commutation of Lewis Libby's sentence for felony convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice, the Bush administration is once again demonstrating to the entire world that they believe themselves to be above the law. While it is within his constitutional authority to grant Mr. Libby a pardon or to commute his sentence, George Bush has never taken such drastic action with anyone else during his entire administration. Furthermore, he has gone back on his word to wait until the appeals process was exhausted in an obvious attempt to obstruct justice in an ongoing investigation. The Bush administration is doing everything in its power to destroy the foundations of the American system of government and the American way of life.

Our food isn't safe to eat, our water supply isn't safe to drink, and our air isn't safe to breathe. We are contributing to the destruction of the planet at a far higher rate than any other country. Instead of tackling these issues by standing up for the common good, the Republican party, lead by George Bush and Dick Cheney, has sought to eliminate government oversight of corporate activities in virtually every industry to the detriment of public safety in the name of corporate profits.

We have a Vice president who believes he belongs to some mystical fourth branch of government that is not accountable to anyone at all. Worse, Congress appears to be accepting his claims with nothing more than some vague threats about cutting off his funding while he continues to thumb his nose at all attempts at oversight.

We are much less safe from both internal and external threats than we were when George Bush took office. His administration has done virtually nothing to prevent major terrorist attacks other than tell us what a great job he is doing of funneling taxpayer money to his friends and contributors under the guise of the undefinable and perpetual “Global War on Terror”. He led us into a disastrous war against a country that had neither attacked us nor posed a threat to us based on outright lies. Our moral standing throughout the world has been irreparably damaged due to our government's use of extraordinary rendition, torture, and a general disregard for international law. Our national resources and treasure are being wasted in Iraq further enlarging our already out of control national debt with no thought given to how it will be repaid. (As an aside, imagine if this country had put $500 billion into hydrogen research instead of starting a war for oil in Iraq. We would now be at the beginning of the next great revolution – the hydrogen revolution – that would dramatically reduce our use of petroleum and our dependence on foreign oil, and would greatly reduce the amount of carbon we are dumping into the atmosphere. Whole new industries would have been created overnight creating a new wave of economic prosperity.)

Public education, the foundation for creating a well-informed, productive, and inventive citizenry, has been frighteningly eroded. Science, once the basis for the technological explosion that has occurred in the United States in the past 100 years, is under constant attack from special interests with the approval and assistance of political appointees in key positions throughout executive branch agencies and an unrestrained corporate media machine that is more interested in entertainment than exposing corruption.

Our technical and manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas while our shrinking middle class struggles with decreasing wages, fewer jobs, and ever increasing costs for health care. Our domestic labor jobs are going to illegal immigrants who work for less than minimum wage, pay no taxes, put a strain on publicly funded resources, take jobs from law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, and depress wages for everyone while the Bush administration refuses to enforce laws designed to punish corporations for hiring undocumented workers. Both the meat packing and poultry industries, once providing career employment for tens of thousands of American citizens, have been turned upside down and now are strictly the domain of illegal immigrants who receive substandard pay and are forced to work in deplorable conditions because they have no voice.

The United States imprisons more of its citizens that any other country in the world, mostly for nonviolent drug offenses as part of an ideological war on drugs that has consumed over a trillion dollars over 30 years while doing nothing to stem the flow or consumption of illegal drugs. Twenty-two percent of all people incarcerated in the world are in prisons in the United States, yet we only account for five percent of the world's population. Something is very wrong here, but instead of taking on the issue and doing something about it, politicians of all stripes choose to claim their “tough on crime” bonafides by doing nothing or preaching about the need for tougher sentencing for criminals.

Our courts have been packed with far-right ideologues who are now tearing down decades of progress in areas of workers rights and civil rights. The wall between church and state is under constant assault from the religious right who want to force everyone to hold their beliefs and have them enforced by the government.

Through all of this, the Democrats have done nothing more than talk because their useless consultants have them convinced that it is bad to take on the Republicans on virtually every issue. It's no wonder the American people think the Democratic party doesn't stand for anything. It will take decades for this country to recover from six years of Republican debauchery, if we are even able to recover at all, and Democrats are only worried about how they will look.

Last November, we, the American people, gave you, the Democratic Congress, the ability and mandate to do something about the almost innumerable major problems facing this country, yet collectively you have done little more than express outrage at what is happening. This is not why we elected you. The congressional oversight and investigations that are underway are encouraging, but so far very little has come out of them other than words. To quote General Petraeus, “Tell me how this ends.”

Even though George Bush has a Nixonian-level approval rating, Congress' is worse. The reason it is worse is because the people are sick and tired of Congress doing little more than paying lip service to the lawless activities and reckless policies of George Bush, his Republican cronies, and their sycophants.

The Bush administration has repeatedly lied to the American public and to Congress; has stripped us of many of our cherished civil rights; has eliminated the great writ of habeas corpus, without which our remaining rights are meaningless; has illegally spied on us by listening to our phone calls and reading our mail; and has intentionally subverted important intelligence gathering operations in the name of political retribution. In short, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales have committed high crimes and treason against the United States of America. What more do they have to do before Congress takes a serious look at impeachment? At what point do you say, enough is enough? Where is the line in the sand? The future of the United States and all of its citizens is literally in your hands.

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