A Constitutional Crisis
--by Thomas I. Ellis, Ph.D.

Most Americans today are blithely unaware, because they never hear of it on television, that our nation is in the midst of the worst constitutional crisis in our history. The crisis began on December 12, 2000, when an arbitrary Supreme Court decision aborted the electoral process in Florida and enabled a corporate-controlled Bush regime to hijack the presidency, against the public will. In this one egregious decision, with no precedents, and by their own admission, setting no precedents, the right-wing majority of the Supreme Court blatantly violated the Constitution by undermining a cornerstone of our system of government-the separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary. Nothing in our Constitution permits a Supreme Court to appoint a president, yet this is exactly what happened.

But beyond the fundamental constitutional crisis posed by an illegitimate regime and an un-elected president, the actions of this usurper have brought about at least two other equally grave constitutional crises. First, after September 11, while hysteria about terrorism was rampant, he intimidated both houses of Congress into hastily passing, with little or no debate, a so-called PATRIOT act (thus labeled to imply that anyone who opposed it was "unpatriotic") which systematically dismantled our constitutional protections under the Bill of Rights, and resulted in an unprecedented concentration of law-enforcement and surveillance power in the executive branch of government. At the time the bill came before Congress, there was a rash of unexplained anthrax attacks, targeting Bush opponents like Tom Daschle and major news media outlets-attacks initially blamed on Arab terrorists, of course, but since then discovered to have domestic sources in Military and CIA-affiliated germ warfare facilities here in the US. There have been no further attacks since this time. Is this timing of the anthrax attacks with the passage of the PATRIOT act mere coincidence? I would certainly hope so, but we have good reason to doubt.

The PATRIOT act was thousands of pages long, so that it could not possibly have been drafted in the three weeks that elapsed between the September 11 catastrophe and its passing. It had to have been in the works, in the back rooms of the secretive Ashcroft department of justice, long before the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.

More recent evidence shows that the Bush regime totally ignored innumerable warnings of an impending Al Qaeda attack, and that they blocked investigations by the FBI terrorism expert John O'Neill into the Saudi roots of Al Qaeda, causing him to quit in frustration (and become security chief for the World Trade Center, where he perished on his first day of work-September 11!). Since that time, the Bush regime has done everything it can to block Congressional investigations into the events leading up to September 11, including intimidation of congressmen by FBI investigations into "leaks" to the press. All of these circumstances mean that we cannot absolutely rule out the unthinkable-that the Bush regime perhaps had an inkling of the impending September 11 attacks, did nothing, and subsequently benefited from the resulting national panic to justify a war they had already planned on Afghanistan. Likewise, they consolidated unprecedented power in the executive branch and began to strip us of our civil liberties, The case for criminal negligence is growing stronger with each new disclosure.

But whether the Bush regime is innocent or guilty of such criminal negligence, the fact remains that they have shamelessly exploited the September 11 attacks to justify a systematic and relentless attack upon our constitutional rights-through imprisonment of over 1000 "suspects" without criminal charges or trial, setting up of kangaroo "military tribunals" without due process or constitutional protections to try anyone, domestic or foreign, whom they choose, based on their own criteria, to label "enemy combatants," and proposing neo-Stalinist police-state initiatives to encourage postal workers and other public servants to spy on citizens.

As if these depredations upon our Constitution were not enough-an un-elected president stripping us of the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights-this same regime is now actively planning, without Congressional approval, an endless "war against terror," resulting in windfall profits for the Carlyle Group, a secretive international arms-manufacturing consortium whose board of directors includes George Bush Sr. and the Bin Laden family. In other words, the Bush family, including the current "president," stand to profit enormously from increased military expenditures-a direct conflict of interest. He is now actively planning-without congressional authorization-a massive, unprovoked war of aggression against a sovereign foreign state, Iraq, with the stated aim of "regime change" or overthrowing Saddam Hussein. While nobody likes Saddam Hussein, this proposed war has little chance of dislodging him from power, but it will totally devastate the country and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, as well as resulting in countless US soldiers in body bags. It also is in direct violation of the UN Charter, as well as the US Constitution (which places the power to levy war into the hands of Congress, not the President-as if we actually had a legitimate President!)

So there we have our unprecedented constitutional crisis in a nutshell: an un-elected president using a catastrophic terrorist attack to rationalize the dismantling of our constitutional rights, a massive military buildup from which he will profit directly, and an unprovoked war of aggression on a sovereign foreign power. We need a regime change, all right, right here in the USA.