Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Letter to the Editor

(The kind of letter a real newspaper will always print.)

Shelton Mason County Journal

Letters to Editor

To understand how bad things are under George Bush, you have to go back to 1689. That'’s the year that the English Parliament passed a Bill of Rights that prohibited what George Bush calls a "signing statement"- 1689.

But you knew that already. The religious forces supporting George Bush reach even further back, rivalling the Catholic Church in the days when it condemned Gallileo and led a ‘Holy War’, sometimes against the Turks, sometimes against the Protestants. Good times, good times.

In 1689 the Star Chamber was still dispensing ‘justice’ in England. The men who founded the United States did their best to ensure that no Star Chamber would ever happen here, but they’'re dead now and can'’t help us stop George Bush, if we don'’t read what they said and understand what they meant.

The colonists despised the English Parliament because of the ‘rotten boroughs’ that packed the Parliament with ‘placemen’. The ‘placemen’ were candidates like Mike McGavick, who bought elections with huge sums of money from wealthy lords who, by law, could not themselves sit in Parliament. Like today'’s Republican Congress, the Parliament of George III acted as a rubberstamp for the tyrant. Like George Bush, George III appointed fools, incompetent fops who lost for the British Empire the richest part of the North American continent.

The lesson Republicans draw from all of this is, hey, George III may at times have lapsed into stuttering imbecility, but he never lost his job. Modern Republicans think actions have no consequences. If you owned Fox News, CNN, and ABC, you might feel the same way.

Of course, that'’s an oversimplification. When Dennis Hastert, Republican Speaker of the House, inserted an "earmark" to build a highway past land he owned, he knew his profits would be somewhere around $2.5 million on his original investment of about $350,000. He probably didn’'t know the exact numbers, but it was a good guess, and he did make more than $2.5 million in pure profit, showing he can understand cause-and-effect when it profits him.

When Hastert learned about Mark Foley (R- Florida) soliciting teenage boys for sex, though, Hastert thought he could keep the lid on it. Instead of sending the matter to the House Ethics Committee, the Republicans consulted their congressional campaign committee. The National Republican Campaign Committee decided they needed Mark Foley'’s seat to maintain a majority, and persuaded Foley, who had actually decided not to run again, to seek office for one more term.

Then Foley, who was running in what was considered a ‘safe seat’, contributed $100,000 to the campaign of Tom Reynolds, chair of the NRCC which had just decided that the news about Foley could probably be kept secret. This contribution, using a campaign as a money-laundering operation to pass contributions, that would otherwise be illegal, on as a bribe, is the Republican governing philosophy in a nutshell.

In our state we have Mike McGavick raking in $25 million as an "executive bonus" from Safeco, not for what he did, but for what they hope he will do- replace your Social Security with your "personal" account in a Safeco retirement fund. McGavick now says he wants the "personal accounts" to be managed by the government, which will protect them just like the Republicans protected Congressional pages.

Yup, it'’s deja vue all over again. Star Chambers, suspension of habeus corpus, signing statements that nullify the meaning of the law Congress passed- it'’s all been tried before. Give Republicans one more term in office, and we won'’t be able to quote Patrick Henry, so let'’s say it now- The tree of liberty must occasionally be watered with the blood of tyrants.

So haul out your copy of the Declaration of Independence, read it again, and ask yourself if anything you’'re reading seems to resemble our times. Secret trials? Suspension of habeus corpus? Rendition to foreign lands? It’'s all there- the reasons the Founding Fathers risked their lives and fortunes to establish a nation where those things couldn'’t happen.

Is we learning yet?

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