Sunday, July 20, 2008

President Bush, the Constitution, and a Lesson from Lee Iacocca

Countries with military commanders in chief who are not also the elected civilian heads of state are prone to coups and power grabs by army officers against the government. In the U.S., we are theoretically protected from from such takeovers. The President is elected by the voters as the head of the executive branch of our government and is the leader of our armed forces as well.

Yet since 9-11—and using that tragedy as a pretext—it is not the military but instead the executive branch of our government under President Bush and his administration that has grievously abused its authority. In doing so Bush and the Republicans have staged a protracted coup against the American people by undermining the Constitution and our civil rights.

The latest episode in this sad chapter of American History is Bush's gutting of the Fourth Amendment. I'm referring to the expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which the President had pushed for. Not surprisingly, this was carried out with the help of the feckless majority of the members of Congress, including Sen. Obama and other Democrats. This bill allows access by the executive division (federal law enforcement officials) access to private communications between two parties without a court order under certain circumstances. Heretofore, such monitoring was considered off limits unless approved by a FISA Court judge.

Fortunately, the ACLU has filed suit to halt implementation of this law pending judicial review, but if the courts allow this law to prosper, it will be another brick in the wall for our Constitutional liberties.

Despite this law and other forms of the madness that have been dreamed up and enacted as domestic and foreign policy by Bush and the rabid Republicans (along with craven Democrats) a voice of sanity has been heard from an unlikely source: A former CEO of a major U.S. corporation. Click here for an excerpt from Lee Iacocca's book Where have All the Leaders Gone? It's an astounding indictment by Iacocca against the lack of true leadership—a rudderlessness which our country has endured for far too long in both the public and private sectors. Iacocca, by the way is 82 years old, but his clarity of thought shows that he still has a strong mind and is not about to let his age get in the way of his activism. In doing so he sets an example for all of us that regardless of age, we have the right and the duty to stand up for what we believe.