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Playing for keeps

Dear Editor:About 40 years ago, a group of wealthy right-wingers started to think that if they played their cards right, they could take over this country. They did.Today the Bush administration has created the most powerful presidency and vice-presidency ever. Led in part by today’s Machiavelli, aka Karl Rove, counselor and strategist for “The Prince,” they have remade government in this country. The goal is a Republican Party Dynasty for the foreseeable future. It could happen.On May 9, an obscure presidential directive was released. Our president has declared himself the “go-to-guy” in the event of just about any national emergency. After 200-plus years of presidents, why this, why now?Consider the creation of Northcom, a brand new Pentagon command that puts all of North America under the “command” of a four-star general. We have had a Southern command, and in the Middle East, a Centcom; and in Africa a new Africacom. For the entire history of this country, the military has been denied any role on U.S. soil, except in extreme circumstances. This wise policy dates to the Roman Empire, where it came under tragic abuse.Similarly, the president has created a new policy whereby he will be the primary commander of the National Guards of all or our states. These “militias” were created in the Constitution for a very different reason: to protect the states from an overly ambitious federal government.And perhaps most tellingly, a subtle restructuring of the all of the institutions of the federal government has been taking place. That is, new layers of bureaucracy have been created to supersede the traditional roles. For example, instead of the director of Central Intelligence, we now have the new director of National Intelligence, a man who works directly for the president. Or, the Department of Homeland Security now controls dozens of formerly independent agencies as diverse as the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Agency.Most recently, a new position was created called the War Czar. The federal government has had no shortage of people with responsibility for the conduct of war from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Department of Defense, to the Congress of the United States. It is difficult to imagine how a position created out of thin air, with no precedent, no staff and no budget could possibly serve any useful purpose.I see one possible explanation, and it has Karl Rove written all over it. I believe the real purpose of these pseudo leadership positions is not to streamline the management of the affairs of government, but rather to shield the president from the usual constraints imposed on the executive by the separation of powers in the Constitution. The president can now bypass the usual channels of government and accountability to take direct control of the key machinery.Phony czars, directors of directors of intelligence, Homeland Security are all preparation for a coup. For those of you that have steadfastly supported George W. Bush, these last few years, take heart; he could be around for many more.Patrick Hunter Carbondale


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