Twenty Years of Dictatorial Democracy

Share

Hits: 1579

The presidential campaign has mortified millions of Americans in part because the presidency has become far more dangerous in recent times.  Since 9/11, we have lived in a perpetual emergency which supposedly justifies trampling the law and Constitution.  And the illegalities will not end after Tuesday’s vote count.  Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have signaled that they will perpetuate power grabs in the next four years.

For generations, politicians have touted voting as a magical process which almost automatically  protects the rights of everyone within a 50 mile radius of the polling booth. But the ballots Americans have cast in presidential elections since 2000 did nothing to constrain the commander-in-chief.

Bush’s declaration in 2000 that America needed a more “humble” foreign policy did not deter him from vowing to “rid the world of evil” and launching the most catastrophic war in modern American history. Eight years later, Barack Obama campaigned as the candidate of peace and promised “a new birth of freedom.” But that did not stop him from bombing seven nations, claiming a right to assassinate American ciizens, and championing Orwellian total surveillance.

Bush was famous for “signing statements” decrees that nullified hundreds of provisions of laws enacted by Congress. Obama is renown for unilaterally endlessly rewriting laws such as the Affordable Care Act to postpone political backlashes against the Democratic Party and for effectively waiving federal immigration law. Both Bush and Obama exploited the “state secrets doctrine” to shield their most controversial policies from the American public.

While many conservatives applauded Bush’s power grabs, many liberals cheered Obama’s decrees. After 16 years of Bush-Obama, the federal government is far more arbitrary and lethal. Richard Nixon’s maxim – ‘it’s not illegal if the president does it’ – is the lodestar for commanders-in-chief in the new century.

There is no reason to expect the next president to be less power hungry than the last two White House occupants. Both Trump and Clinton can be expected to trample the First Amendment. Trump has talked of shutting down mosques and changing libel laws to make it far more perilous for the media to reveal abuses by the nation’s elite. Clinton was in the forefront of an administration that broke all records for prosecuting leakers and journalists who exposed government abuses. She could smash the remnants of the Freedom of Information Act like her aides hammered her Blackberry phones to obliterate her email trail.

Neither candidate seems to recognize any limit on presidential power. Trump calls for reviving the torture that profoundly disgraced the United States during the George W. Bush era. Clinton opposes torture but  believes presidents have a right to launch wars whenever they decide it is in the national interest. After Clinton helped persuade Obama to bomb Libya in 2011, she signaled that the administration would scorn any congressional cease-and-desist order under the War Powers Act.  She continues to tout the bombing of Libya as “smart power at its best.”

If Americans could be confident that either Trump or Clinton would be leashed by the law, there would be less dread about who wins on Tuesday. But elections are becoming simply coronations via vote counts. The president will take an oath of office on Inaugural Day but then can do as he or she damn well pleases.

We now have a political system which is nominally democratic but increasingly authoritarian. The proliferation of despotic precedents in the past 15 years would have horrified America’s Founding Fathers. The Rule of Law has been defined down to finding a single federal lawyer to write a secret memo vindicating the president’s latest unpublished executive order.  And Washington has never had a shortage of weasely lawyers.

By the end of the next presidential term, America will have had almost a 20-year stretch of dictatorial democracy.  Washington’s disdain for the highest law of the land is torpedoing the citizenry’s faith in representative government. Forty percent of registered voters have “lost faith in American democracy,” according to recent  Survey Monkey poll.

The United States may be on the verge of the biggest legitimacy crisis since the Civil War. Whoever wins in November will be profoundly distrusted even before being sworn in.  The combination of a widely-detested new president and unrestrained power almost guarantees greater crises in the coming years.

Neither Trump nor Clinton are promising to “make America constitutional again.” But, as Thomas Jefferson declared in 1786, “an elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” If presidents are lawless, then voters are merely designating the most dangerous criminal in the land.


About the author: James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors.

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.

READ MORE!
Kosovo: An Evil Little War
Six Years Later, Kosovo Still Wrong In the early hours of March 24, 1999, NATO began the bombing of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. For some reason, many in the targeted nation thought the name of the operation was “Merciful Angel.” In fact, the attack was code-named “Allied Force” – a cold, uninspired and perfectly descriptive moniker. For, however much NATO spokesmen and the cheerleading press spun, lied, and fabricated to show otherwise (unfortunately, with altogether too much success), there was nothing noble in NATO’s aims. It attacked Yugoslavia for the same reason then-Emperor Bill Clinton enjoyed a ...
READ MORE
Armistice Day & Remembrance Day
The world has just honored yet another Armistice Day – Remembrance Day – Veterans Day for all those who lost their lives in armed defense of their nation’s right to exist and remain a free people. Nation’s like the United States, Canada and Israel pay constant tribute to those key battles and wars that once determined their continued existence and survival. But what of nation’s like Palestine reduced to mere fragments of what they once were, their once prosperous, happy villages, towns and cities filled with happy children, families and the commerce of a viable way of life, now turned ...
READ MORE
Conrad Von Hetzendorf: The General Who Demanded War on Serbia 25 Times in a Year
In time when (on the occasion of the 100th anniversary since WWI ended) we face almost daily attempts to reinterpret and revision the role of Serbia in the outbreak of the Great War, all in order to push aside well established facts of who and what for the war started, it is Her majesty history that reminds us of Chief of staff of the Austro-Hungarian army, who was obsessed with the idea that the Austro-Hungarian empire can be preserved only if it attacks and conquers Serbia .Relations between Serbia and Austro-Hungary were tense from the moment when the Congress of ...
READ MORE
War on Yugoslavia: Fraud Western Propaganda
From a geopolitical perspective, the war on Yugoslavia in the 1990s was about restructuring South­east Europe after the end of the Cold War. To this end, the US even deployed the combatants with which it had previously fought the USSR in Afghanistan and which it would later call „Al Qaeda“.The political and media propaganda regarding the war on Yugoslavia has been well researched by now. Interestingly, however, many media outlets and commentators are still trying to uphold the official narrative of the time, in contrast to the later war in Iraq, for example.There may be various reasons for this. On ...
READ MORE
Bismarck, the United States and the Pomeranian Grenadier
All of the Balkans, legendary German Reichskanzler (Imperial Chancellor) Otto von Bismarck famously said, were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. And Bismarck, a Prussian landowner or junker had nothing but amused contempt for Pomeranian grenadiers who were regarded as a standing joke in the German Army. In 1890, brash, young new German Emperor Wilhelm II fired Bismarck after 28 years as minister-president of Prussia and then first Imperial Chancellor of Germany. He abandoned the priority policy of maintaining warm ties and close communications with Russia that Bismarck had always followed and scrapped the Dreikaiserbund, the League of ...
READ MORE
Kosovo History – First Part
In the thousand year long-history of Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia were for many centuries the state center and chief religious stronghold, the heartland of their culture and springwell of its historical traditions. For a people who lived longer under foreign rule than in their own state, Kosovo and Metohia are the foundations on which national and state identity were preserved in times of tribulation and founded in times of freedom.The Serbian national ideology which emerged out of Kosovo’s tribulations and Kosovo’s suffering (wherein the 1389 St. Vitus Day Battle in Kosovo Polje occupies the central place), are the pillars of ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: The Hidden Growth of Islamic Extremism
The recent arrest of 40 alleged Islamic radicals in Kosovo together with the arrest of one of the Kosovo Imams suspected of being an inspirer of jihad in the region brought serious questions about the radicalisation of Islam and terrorism in Kosovo, in the Balkans and in Europe. Even though the issue of Kosovo Albanian volunteers or mercenaries fighting alongside the anti-Bashar forces in Syria and supporting the radical leadership of the Islamic State (earlier the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has been present in the public debate in Kosovo for at least a year, the debate itself was ...
READ MORE
The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel
So much after the fact; so much in terms of opportunism gone to seed and destruction. But planned historical calamities tend to be rare. There are only absurd moments, dastardly opportunities, and tragic convergences. History is less the outcome of wise deliberation than folly dressed up as reason, occasionally tinged by a touch of malice.On November 2, 1917, the British government published the Balfour Declaration (one of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”) by means of a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It suggested forthcoming British assistance for the establishment of a Jewish ...
READ MORE
Jasenovac? What Jasenovac?
Chris Deliso of Balkanalysis points out the latest travesty of the Western media: 59,000 stories on Auschwitz, three on Jasenovac. As if the third-largest death camp in Nazi-occupied Europe simply never existed. Franjo Tudjman certainly thought so, and it appears the current Croatian leadership shares his "historical" perspective.Contemporary German estimates of Serbs murdered by the Ustasha (in Jasenovac and elsewhere) ranged as high as 750,000. Wiesenthal center uses the number of 600,000. Serbian researchers have spoken of up to 700,000 victims. Modern revisionists, Croat and otherwise, talk of 30-100,000, at most. Among them is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which ...
READ MORE
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
Fifty years ago this next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange. Operation Ranch Hand, whose motto was “Only We Can Prevent Forests” (a shameful takeoff of Smokey the Bear’s admonition), was a desperate, costly and ultimately futile effort to make it a little harder for the National Liberation Front soldiers from North Vietnam to join and supply their ...
READ MORE
The US Military Project for the World
In May 2017, Thierry Meyssan appeared on Russia Today and explained where the South American elites were going wrong in their fight against US imperialism. He insisted that there has been a sea-change in the way the US now wages armed conflicts and we now need to radically rethink how we should defend our homeland. The operation to destabilize Venezuela continues. The first phase: violent gangs demonstrating against the government killed passers by, as if citizenship created no bonds between them. The second phase: the major food suppliers organized food shortages in the supermarkets. Then some members of the forces ...
READ MORE
Barack Obama vs. Vladimir Putin: How Bloomberg ‘News’ Lies
On December 31st, Josh Rogin of Bloomberg ‘News’ headlined “Inside Obama’s Secret Outreach to Russia,” and his opening sentence ‘reported’ on “the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in … halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.” That ‘reporter’ from Bloomberg ‘News’ was ‘reporting’ from only sources inside the U.S. Administration — only from individuals who are hired by and who represent Barack Obama, none who are hired by and who represent Obama’s enemy Vladimir Putin; and so the question naturally arises as to whether Rogin and Bloomberg ‘News’ are ‘reporting’ propaganda, or are they instead reporting ...
READ MORE
The Kurds, Terrorism and Kurdistan
A blast caused by a suicide car bombing hit the centre of Ankara on Sunday evening (March 13th, 2016) resulting in over a hundred casualties. The Turkish authorities were very quick to announce the identity of the suicide person: A Kurdish woman in close relation with the Kurdistan Workers Party. Nevertheless, this terror act in Ankara once again opened the “Kurdish Question” which is in direct connection with the question of Kurdistan’s independence and terrorism as the political instrument in the realization of the national projects and ultimate goals. Prologue There are many the so-called “stateless nations” or better to say “stateless ...
READ MORE
Airstrikes and Hypocrisy
On December 22 last year the government of Syria regained control of the city of Aleppo that had been occupied by brutal rebel forces since 2012. As reported by the BBC, «The predominantly Sunni Muslim opposition is made of several rebel groups, many of whom have received financial aid from key opponents of President Assad, including the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey». Following defeat of the US-supported insurgents, «Under a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia, convoys of buses and cars have shuttled thousands of civilians and fighters out of Aleppo's last rebel-held pocket toward opposition areas outside the city», and peace was restored, much to the ...
READ MORE
Heusinger, Adolf,  Generalinspekteur der BW 1.4.1957 - 31.3.1961
General Adolf Heusinger (August 4, 1897 – November 30, 1982) was a German general officer who briefly served as Adolf Hitler’s Chief of the General Staff of the Army during World War II and served as the first Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, the West German armed forces, from 1957 to 1961. Heusinger served as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 1961 to 1964.Heusinger was born in Holzminden, in the Duchy of Brunswick, German Empire. He entered the Imperial German Army on June 17, 1915, and was assigned to 7. Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 96, an infantry regiment raised in ...
READ MORE
The UN Does Kosovo and the Azov Sea
The December 17 UN Security Council meeting, on the announced creation of a Kosovo armed forces, featured some noticeable contrasts.In accordance with Kosovo not being a UN member state and the Serb position on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (recognizing Kosovo as a continued part of Serbia), the disputed former Yugoslav territory wasn't formally represented at the discussion as a nation. Kosovo's leader, Hashim Thaci, sat with a nameplate having his name, as opposed to Kosovo. Countries recognizing Kosovo's independence made it a point to state Thaci as the president of Kosovo and Aleksandar Vučić as president of Serbia. Nations not ...
READ MORE
Geopolitics of Kosovo
The ethnic demarcation that is promoted by Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, between Serbs and Albanians is just another name for the creation of Greater Albania. Vucic statements and spinning of the necessity for the "demarcation" between Serbia and Kosovo caused shock among Serbs. Most of his political life, Vucic advocated for a Greater Serbia, but with coming to power, things changed. Against his demarcation is virtually the entire Serbia. From experts to the pillar and base of Serbs throughout history Serbian Orthodox Church. A few years ago, I wrote in my analytical column that Vucic came to power with the ...
READ MORE
The Ghosts of World War I Circle Over Ukraine
We don’t yet know the details behind the tragic downing of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner over eastern Ukraine on July 17, but in one sense, the details aren’t going to matter very much in the global scheme of things. The geopolitical outcome is already known. World outrage has focused on Russian president Vladimir Putin to such an extent that Putin has suffered a huge loss of moral authority. That, in turn, lessens his range of actions in his ongoing confrontation with the West over Ukraine and increases the likelihood that Russia will lose its traditional dominance over that split country ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Serbs ‘Terrified’ by Proposed Creation of a “Greater Albania”
Fresh calls for a Greater Albania, incorporating the southern Serbian province of Kosovo, have led to an angry backlash from politicians in Belgrade.Sputnik Radio’s Mark Hirst talked to Marko Djuric, Director of the Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija.Such a move by Albania, if acted upon, could plunge the entire region back into a bloody and costly war on a scale not seen since the 1990s.Marko Djuric said that Serbia will not allow the creation of a Greater Albania in its southern province and that it is not alone in opposing the idea, which stems from the times of Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia.When asked whether this inflammatory statement by Albanian ...
READ MORE
Golan Heights, Kosovo and Crimea: A Case Study in Hypocrisy and Double Standards
The recent announcement by United States President Donald Trump that the US will recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights draws attention yet again to the double standards applied by NATO and its satraps including Australia to the issues of territorial integrity, the right to self-determination, and international law. Three cases illustrate the duplicity and double standards of the Western nations. They may be reviewed chronologically.A picture taken on July 4, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians from the province of Daraa staging a protest (top L) calling for international protection, in the Syrian the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Evil Little War
Armistice Day & Remembrance Day
Conrad Von Hetzendorf: The General Who Demanded War on Serbia 25 Times in a Year
War on Yugoslavia: Fraud Western Propaganda
Bismarck, the United States and the Pomeranian Grenadier
Kosovo History – First Part
Kosovo: The Hidden Growth of Islamic Extremism
The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel
Jasenovac? What Jasenovac?
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
The US Military Project for the World
Barack Obama vs. Vladimir Putin: How Bloomberg ‘News’ Lies
The Kurds, Terrorism and Kurdistan
Airstrikes and Hypocrisy
Adolf Heusinger: Hitler’s Army Chief and NATO’s Chairman
The UN Does Kosovo and the Azov Sea
Geopolitics of Kosovo
The Ghosts of World War I Circle Over Ukraine
Kosovo Serbs ‘Terrified’ by Proposed Creation of a “Greater Albania”
Golan Heights, Kosovo and Crimea: A Case Study in Hypocrisy and Double Standards
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share
About Policraticus 1658 Articles
SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu