Friday, March 03, 2006

A Call to Battle

This letter appeared in today's Napa Valley Register (

You may have already seen the draft version which was posted, I'm told, on If anyone could provide a link, I'm not finding it on the site.

“…to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Since I was lucky enough to be born here, I’ve never taken that vow, but I feel the same duty to the Constitution as any military troop or naturalized citizen. Right now, George W. Bush poses a threat to national security, and I hope you’ll help me stop it. Here’s some of what I know:

Richard Nixon spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up in the name of “national security.” In response, Congress passed FISA to authorize court-supervised surveillance in extreme circumstances, especially war.

George W. Bush spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up for “national security.” At his request, the NY Times kept the story secret because of “national security” until well after the 2004 election.

Bush says that what he did is not illegal. “Did I have the legal authority to do this? … absolutely.” (Dec. 2005). That sounds like Nixon, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” (1977)

In his State of the Union speech, President Bush looked us in the eye and said only people with ties to al-Qaeda or terrorism were targeted, but he didn’t have to go around FISA to do that. Besides, I saw Richard Hersh testify that the FBI sent undercover officers to his meetings with Quakers. They haven’t the remotest connection to al-Qaeda or terrorism. ( “Democratic Hearing on Domestic Surveillance”).

For National Journal, Shane Harris now confirms the NSA is, in fact, data mining. Although the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program was ordered stopped by Congress in 2003, it was actually renamed “Basketball” and passed from DARPA in the Defense Dept., to NSA under Homeland Security. The agency is capable of collecting virtually every piece of data about you that is recorded electronically. Conservative William Safire warned, “…Total Information Awareness… This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It’s what will happen to our personal freedom… if (program head) John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks.

Attorney General Gonzales is America’s lawyer, but used to be the President’s. He’s defending this abuse of power and investigating the whistleblower(s) instead. He says the President has inherent authority, but that’s not what the Constitution says. You’d think the President has inherent credibility, but that’s wrong too. The President is not above the law. FISA is the law. Congress investigates, then asks the President what they should do about it. They will punish his law breaking by changing the law. (LA Times 2/19/06) Ouch!

John W. Dean who was Nixon’s lawyer said, “In acting here w/o Congressional approval, Bush has underlined that his Presidency is unchecked… utterly beyond the law. …what asserted powers will Bush use next?” (

When Bob Schieffer asked Bush if there was anything he could not do under this unitary executive theory. He could only think of two things. 1) Order torture or 2) Assassinate a leader of a country we're not at war with. The signing statement he famously attached to the McCain torture amendment negates number 1, so that leaves only assassination. This may not be true, either according to economic hit man, John Perkins. (
This President believes he has absolute power. If that were true, he wouldn’t be the President, he’d be a Dictator. We know what absolute power leads to…

We’ve become numb to corruption and incompetence. From forged yellowcake documents that left “no doubt” about Saddam’s WMD, then discrediting the whistleblower by outing a CIA-agent (national security be damned). In Los Angeles, whistleblower Stephen Heller has been charged with 3 felonies for exposing Diebold’s defects. Millions of dollars have disappeared in Iraq, but the contractors who can’t account for the money, get awarded more. After Bush boldly defended the Dubai ports deal -- because it’s good for business – he admitted he didn’t know about it. Then he said he did.

Clearly Congress won’t act and the jury’s out on the courts. Sandra Day O’Connor who advised that “war is not a blank check,” has been replaced by unitary executive proponent, Samuel Alito. That leaves you and me (maybe just me) to defend the Constitution. I want to unite with conservatives, liberals, and everyone else. This is too important to be left to corrupt or cowering politicians. If we believe the lessons we teach our children about democracy and our Constitution, it’s time to stand up and be counted. We’ll be meeting in Napa. Phone 707-252-8242 for agenda, etc. or e-mail

Finally, from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, “…to be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”

Let me know you’re out there. United, we’ll stand.

I've received quite a response already. Ryan Lavelle put it into perspective with this comment:

The fight against this utterly evil military-industrial-complex run administration (about which Eisenhower prophetically warned you), is the fight to save humanity and civilization itself, not just the American political system.

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