Monday, November 20, 2006

One-Sided Bipartisanship

The elections were barely over when the media wondered aloud if the new Democratic majority in Congress would work in a bipartisan fashion and refrain from vindictiveness or retaliation. The questions implied that all the political shenanigans of the past few years were directed against the Democrats who might now seek retribution. In reality, the Republicans have conspired against the entire nation. It is justice, not revenge, which demands a reckoning.

The administration lied to Congress, to the American people, and to the entire world to justify a pre-planned invasion of Iraq. They used the war to line the pockets of their friends and to rationalize attacks on the Constitution. Republicans excluded Democrats from the legislative process. They wrote laws in the dead of night, published them in the wee hours of the morning, and voted on them before lunch — all in an effort to eliminate bipartisanship. When they could not stop inquiries into abu Ghraib, they limited their investigation to twelve hours of discussion. By comparison, they spent over one hundred hours investigating President Clinton’s Christmas card mailing list.

Now that they have lost control of Congress, they say the Democrats must play fair, the Democrats must work with the Republicans. Hooey. The Republicans didn’t mind stirring up animosity when they spent seventy million dollars and two years investigating Clinton’s sexual indiscretions. But oh, the Democrats must not investigate the deceptions which led to the mess in Iraq or the massive fraud which followed because that would be wrong, that would be divisive.

The lame-duck Congress wants to end oversight of the money spent in Iraq. Proposed legislation would close the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction by October 1, 2007. Why? Because he was doing his job. Democrats are already preparing a bill to restore the Office, but that merely proves they are unwilling to work with the Republicans. And should they get that bill through Congress, Bush will not sign it.

Some time back, a group of models were featured in an ad campaign against the fur industry, but we won’t get to see that anymore. Consider the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, to Strengthen the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The A.E.T.A. expands criminalization of animal-related activism, permitting prosecution of anyone involved in legal, non-violent actions that cause the “loss of profits” for “animal enterprises.” Bush is expected to sign the Act, and all those models will become terrorists.

Even if you think those animal rights people are loonies, is it really a good idea to start “protecting” businesses from actions which are not crimes? How long will it be before citizens who protest major polluters or boycott genetically engineered foods are also defined as “terrorists”? It is dangerous and irresponsible to throw that word around; and Republicans these days simply cannot be trusted anywhere near the word “profit.”

So how did this happen? Late on Friday night, November 10, the Act was added to the House calendar for the following Monday — so it could be passed on a voice vote alone with limited discussion. There’s bipartisanship for you! The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is a direct assault on the First Amendment to the Constitution; but for the neo-cons’s brave, new plutocracy, the only amendment that really matters is the Fifth.

After the elections, the C.I.A. admitted the existence of a directive signed by Bush ordering the Agency to establish prison facilities outside the United States. The purpose obviously was to circumvent U.S. law. If Democrats say that, however, pundits on the idiot box will question why the Dems hate America so much.

Our “diplomat” in the United Nations, John Bolton, was a recess appointment; but Bush is trying once again to push Bolton’s nomination through the Senate before the new Congress convenes. Ninety-five percent of Bush’s judicial appointments were confirmed; only the most extreme were denied seats on the federal bench. Bush has renominated them while Republicans still control Congress.

Disgraced majority leader Tom Delay, on his way out the door, expressed the true feelings of his fellow Republicans when he said, “It is not the principled partisan, however obnoxious he may seem to his opponents, who degrades our public debate, but the preening, self-styled statesman who elevates compromise to a first principle.”

A slicker defense of hostility to the public good can scarcely be imagined.

The elections are barely over, and I’m already tired of the media mouths who insist the Democrats must behave. Does anyone seriously believe Bush will change course simply because he’s wrong? The Senators and Representatives defeated on November 7 will do everything they can to prosecute the war against the United States before their terms expire. They have nothing to lose, a lot to gain, and no principles to stand in the way.


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