How to lose a country in seven easy steps


May 27, 2005, 02:36 AM

"Call me shrill, ideological, or whatever you like, but I think we’re losing our Constitution, our civil liberties, and in many significant respects, our country. When future historians look back on this period, they will wonder, most of all, I think, how we let it go without a fight.

How to lose a country in seven easy steps• May 26, 2005 | 1:38 PM ET

OK, let’s take this step by step, lest we be accused of sounding shrill, ideological or just plain out of our respective minds.

Point one: The Bush administration is, as this piece in today’s Washington Post puts it, working to “consolidate influence in a small circle of Republicans and to marginalize dissenting voices that would try to impede a conservative agenda.” Here are some of the inescapable details:

The campaign to prevent the Senate filibuster of the president's judicial nominations was simply the latest and most public example of similar transformations in Congress and the executive branch stretching back a decade. The common theme is to House Republicans, for instance, discarded the seniority system and limited the independence and prerogatives of committee chairmen.
The result is a chamber effectively run by a handful of GOP leaders. At the White House, Bush has tightened the reins on Cabinet members, centralizing the most important decisions among a tight group of West Wing loyalists. With the strong encouragement of Vice President Cheney, he has also moved to expand the amount of executive branch information that can be legally shielded from Congress, the courts and the public.

Now, the White House and Congress are setting their sights on how to make the judiciary more deferential to the conservative cause -- as illustrated by the filibuster debate and recent threats by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and others to more vigorously oversee the courts.
Bush has demanded similar loyalty from GOP lawmakers -- and received it. Republicans have voted with the president, on average, about nine out of 10 times. Critics and some scholars charge that the Congress now seldom performs its constitutional duty of providing oversight of the executive branch through tough investigations and hearings.

Point Two: They are doing so with a historically unprecedented, at least in this country, degree of secrecy, and therefore lack of accountability. From the same article:

This has coincided with a dramatic increase in overall government secrecy. In 1995, the government created about 3.6 million secrets. In 2004, there more than 15.5 million, according to the government's Information Security Oversight Office. The White House attributes the rise in information the public cannot see to the security threats in a post-Sept. 11, 2001, world.

But experts on government secrecy say it goes beyond protecting sensitive security documents, to creating new classes of information kept private and denying researchers access to documents from past presidents.

"We have never had this kind of control over information," said Allan J. Lichtman, a professor of history at American University. "It means policy is being made by a small clique without much public scrutiny."

Now, the Republicans, with the support of the White House, are looking to reshape the courts in their image. The Senate's bipartisan compromise on judges will cost the president a few of his nominees to the appeals court but will require him to secure only 50 votes for future picks for the Supreme Court and other openings. If Democrats filibuster, Bush and Republican senators can move again to pull the trigger on the "nuclear option" and, if successful, prevent the minority party from ever again using the filibuster on judges. "I will not hesitate to use it if necessary," Frist said this week.

Point Three: These same people, acting with unprecedented centralization of power, and secrecy, have taken it upon themselves to suspend the most basic rights enumerated in our constitution, and are carrying out the functional equivalent of a police state on Guantanamo Bay, and at various prisons around the world. It is a police state in which torture is condoned and prisoners are, on occasion, murdered. According to Amnesty International, the United States is operating a “gulag” that “has sought to justify the use of coercive interrogation techniques, the practice of holding 'ghost detainees' (people in unacknowledged incommunicado detention) and the 'rendering' or handing over of prisoners to third countries known to practice torture,” More here.

Point Four: While they pay rhetorical tribute to “democracy,” they side with tyrants whenever convenient. From Today's Papers:

The LAT and WP front pro-democracy demonstrators being beaten in Cairo. They had come out to protest yesterday's referendum on election "reforms" that actually bar most opposition politicians from running. The beatings were mostly meted out by pro-government thugs. But that doesn't give the full picture. The WP: "Journalists and witnesses at the scene of several incidents, including this correspondent, saw riot police create corridors for stick-wielding men to freely charge the demonstrators. Women were particular targets." The only U.S. government response TP sees came from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said during an interview yesterday, "I've not seen the reports that you're talking about."

And this, from the conservative profoundly prowar editorial board of The Washington Post:

LAURA BUSH'S tour of the Middle East was cast as a way to earn badly needed goodwill for the United States in a region that her husband seeks to transform. Mrs. Bush duly promoted women's education in Jordan and the peace process in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Yet when the first lady arrived in Egypt she chose to lavish her own goodwill not on that country's struggling pro-democracy movement but on 77-year-old strongman Hosni Mubarak. Mr. Mubarak plans to extend his 24-year tenure in office through a September election from which most of his opposition is excluded. Hundreds of political activists have been arrested in recent weeks for trying to peacefully protest that plan, and even legal opposition candidates have been forcibly prevented from campaigning.

The Bush administration says that it is committed to supporting such dissidents. But Mrs. Bush sided squarely with Mr. Mubarak, who frequently condemned the U.S. democracy initiative in the Middle East before abruptly announcing elections on his own terms.

Point Five: In response to even the most carefully documented evidence, the White House simply refuses to engage and, instead, impugns the character of those who present it, like this: “In response, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said, 'I think the allegations are ridiculous, and unsupported by the facts.'" They also take Orwellian doublespeak to a level that would have embarrassed Orwell. “'We've also - are leading the way when it comes to spreading compassion,’ Mr. McClellan said."

Point Six: And one reason they get away with it is that many in the media, even alleged “liberals” are eager to help. And I don’t mean just Fox, Rush, and the entire structure of the conservative echo machine. (See below)

Quote of the Day: "All of Newsweek's penitential protestations notwithstanding," he said, "what emerges from this episode is the image of a profession that is complacent, self-righteous, and hopelessly in love with itself," Martin Peretz, here.

(Yes it’s the same Martin Peretz who hired, promoted and encouraged the work of the fabulist Stephen Glass and the plagiarist, Ruth Shalit, to say nothing of the McCarthyite gaycatholictoryGAPmodel, Andrew Sullivan.)

Point Seven: No less important in allowing it all to take place, is that the so-called “Gang of 500,”—the insiders of the mainstream media, do not really care about any of the above. Here, according to the (functional, but not intentional) commissars at “The Note” are the top concerns of the day:

Waiting for the Rosen verdict (and wondering if it will have any political impact either way).

Watching the filibuster deal starting to fray over some of the ambiguities.
Measuring George Voinovich's emotional state as the Bolton vote approaches.
Calibrating if Sen. McCain's political stock is up or down since Monday in a macro sense, and in which direction it is headed.

Picking through the tea leaves on stem cells and the highway bill and trying to figure out what will happen.

Potential French rejection of the EU treaty and its effect on trans-Atlantic power balances (permit us a brief moment of wonkiness).

Call me shrill, ideological, or whatever you like, but I think we’re losing our Constitution, our civil liberties, and in many significant respects, our country. When future historians look back on this period, they will wonder, most of all, I think, how we let it go without a fight.

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May 27, 2005, 08:31 AM
I read the same article and while I disagree with many (most actually) of the points he makes he does raise some salient points.

I find the rise in government secrecy very worrisome. Much as it pains me and stick in my throat to say it I actually find the Dems refusal to vote on Bolton acceptable because of the intellegence intercepts that have been withheld from the Senate.

It is extremely difficult to have oversight when you can't see what is going on. The Senate should not just be rubber stamp for the executive.

The intercepts Bolton requested will either prove or disprove he was on a oath for revenge against certain individuals. This is a valid request and will either support or discredt the anti-Bolton testimony. That they are not being released tells me that the anti-Bolton testimony was correct.

The number of records sealed by this adminstration is huge, including documents from both Bush 1 and Clinton adminstrations that should have soon been released.

To turn Goverments own mantra on its head when it comes to identity cards:

"If you have nothing to hide what are you worried about"

They ought to ask that of themselves a lot more.

May 27, 2005, 09:33 AM
How to DESTROY AMERICA - by Dick Lamm
Many know Dick Lamm as the former Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. Last week there was an immigration-overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of American's finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor named Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, "Mexifornia," explaining how immigration - both legal and illegal - was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America. The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He said, "If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let's destroy America. It is not that hard t! o do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that 'An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'"

"Here is how they do it," Lamm said:

First to destroy America, "Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual.

"The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way: 'The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.' Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans."

Lamm went on:

Second, to destroy America, "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal. That there are no cultural differences. I would make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.

Third, "We could make the United States an 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: 'The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.'" Lamm said, "I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities."

"Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school"

"My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.' I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."

"My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other - that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshipped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic games. A common enemy Persia threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to over come two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. "E. Pluribus Unum" -- From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the 'pluribus' instead of the 'unum,' we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo."

"Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' I would find a word similar to 'heretic' in the 16th century ! - that s topped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like 'racist' or 'xenophobe' halt discussion and debate."

"Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of 'Victimology,' I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them."

In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound silence followed. Finally he said,

"Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book Mexifornia. His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book."

There was no applause . A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Every discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate 'diversity.'

American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America - take note of California and oth! er state s - to date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell's book "1984." In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength."

Governor Lamm, walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy is deeply in trouble and worsening fast.
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May 27, 2005, 09:47 AM
Invert his comments about "Republicans" (so they read "Democrats"), and the same things can be said, even more accurately, about the Clinton administration. Bush's attorney generals have yet to have the Justice Department obliterate places inhabited by US citizens.

Yet more leftist propaganda unsupported by facts and intelligent reason. Nothing to see here. Move alone.

2nd Amendment
May 27, 2005, 10:09 AM
Actually just remove the fixation on any one Admin and the trend shown is accurate. We are losing this nation in a very real sense. But people figured out a while back they can vote themselves a paycheck and since we've also not had the kind of conflict that tests a nations mettle in decades "security" has become a prime consideration. Fear defines many of us and it thus defines much of our future.

But leftist propaganda keeps insisting ALL IS WELL! and people keep shuffling along because they actually believe there is nothing to see here...or they just don't want to have to deal with it.

May 27, 2005, 10:55 AM
My sig says it all.

Brian Williams
May 27, 2005, 11:13 AM
What is the quote
"once the masses realize they can vote themselves free lunch and circuses a govt is DOOMED"

2nd Amendment
May 27, 2005, 11:25 AM
I believe the quote is attributed to Ben Franklin but I may be wrong. I haven't found it yet, but I did find this, which is very interesting in such a thread as this...

2nd Amendment
May 27, 2005, 11:27 AM
Ah, wasn't Ben after all. Here it is...

At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution in 1787, a Scottish history professor by the name of Alexander Tyler had this to say about "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" over 2,000 years previous to that date:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

Old Dog
May 27, 2005, 11:38 AM
Well, hopefully we can avoid the dictatorship following the collapse of our economy (although the signs are not always promising if one subscribes to all of Alterman's premises); however, seems to me that it may be useful to start preparing for survival in a barter economy ...

Rather looks like Alexis D'Toqueville really knew what he was talking about back in the early 1800s ...

May 27, 2005, 11:58 AM
Apathey will kill America.

Standing Wolf
May 27, 2005, 12:24 PM
When future historians look back on this period, they will wonder, most of all, I think, how we let it go without a fight.

Consider the German Weimar Republic, for example...

Gordon Fink
May 27, 2005, 12:48 PM
Republican or Democrat, they are both statists. The Constitution is a barrier the statists must circumvent or destroy.

~G. Fink

2nd Amendment
May 27, 2005, 12:52 PM
Or just ignore it. The aforementioned apathy seems to be letting them get away with that just fine.

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