Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Jefferson's Fears Are Coming True

Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate, had a noteworthy column last week on the extravagant claims Bush II's people are making for total presidential power. Some samples:
Even if one assumes that every unknown instance of warrant-less spying by the NSA were justified on security grounds, the arguments issuing from the White House threaten the concept of checks and balances as it has been understood in America for the last 218 years. Simply put, Bush and his lawyers contend that the president's national security powers are unlimited. And since the war on terror is currently scheduled to run indefinitely, the executive supremacy they're asserting won't be a temporary condition.

...[T]he nation implied by the [Justice Depatment's recent] document would be an elective dictatorship, governed not by three counterpoised branches of government but by a secretive, possibly benign, awesomely powerful king....

Bush's message to the courts, like his message to Congress, is: Make way, subjects....

The final problem with [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales' theories of unfettered executive authority is that they, as the lawyers say, prove too much. The Article II plus AUMF [Congress's 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force] justification for warrant-less spying is essentially the same one the administration has advanced to excuse torture; ignore the Geneva Conventions; and indefinitely hold even U.S. citizens without a hearing, charges, or trial. Torture and detention without due process are bad enough. But why does this all-purpose rationale not also extend to press censorship or arresting political opponents, were the president to deem such measures vital to the nation's security?
Why not, indeed?

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