"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Waiting for Jeffersonian Democracy in Iraq

After the First Gulf War, General Colin Powell ridiculed the idea that if Saddam Hussein somehow disappeared "some Jeffersonian democrat is waiting in the wings.....there should be no illusions about the nature of that country or its society. " He added that if the US had gone onto Baghad, American soldiers [ would be patrolling the streets two years later still looking for Jefferson [ laughter]."

When the WMD pretext for the Second Gulf War finally collapsed, the George W. Bush administration and Secretary of State Powell replaced it with a new justification–preparing the way for a Jeffersonian Iraq. Amazingly, that idea quickly gained traction in our nation which was weaned on Jeffersonian and Wilsonian idealism. Never mind that Jeffersons’ belief that democracy was inevitable elsewhere was absolutely not predicated on exporting it by American troops.

Speaking of all of democracy’s advances in Iraq, Sy Hersh has just produced overwhelming evidence that the American administrators worked mightily to fix the election Our efforts reduced what would have been even greater Shiite dominance. They were partly counterbalanced by Shiite rigging. So much for the election that was a great triumph of democracy. It should be noted that the rigging was done as an off the books operation by retired security men as the administration failed to get the covert Congressional approval required by law.

Delegates are are now writing a new constitution for the Islamic Republic of Iraq, which states that its laws will be firmly based in the Koran. Voters should be ble to pass on it in October. Paragraph 16 recognizes the unique right of the Shiite Grand Ayatollah to instruct the state. Some think this could mean that his fatwas could overrule secular laws. The constitution contains provisions moving it away from a secular state, giving Shiite law a firm grip. One consequence of this is that the rights of women will be diminished.

Two years ago, respected Muslim scholar Tariq Ali wrote that it was likely that Iraq would eventually be divided into three pieces, the largest of which would be a Shiite state allied with Iran. As matters now stand, Iran and Iraq are now military allies, and Iraq is being ruled by people who had been exiles in Iran before the fall of Saddam. In other words, Iraq is allied with one of the two remaining members of the "axis of evil." For several decades, US planners have looked for a strong counterweight to Iran in the region. George W. Bush’s policies have strengthened Iran immeasurably.

The more worldly and cynical of us might be willing to justify the invasion if it gave the US a strong grip on Iraq’s oil. Bush’s neoconservative advisors clearly intended to sell the oil assets off to American firms, thus reducing the price of oil. Soon, the American oil industry prescribed an Iraqi state oil firm that would support OPEC. This would help American refiners by guaranteeing high prices, so the American administration in Baghdad reversed course. The US is building permanent bases athwart major pipelines, so the intention might be to control the flow of oil in that way.

The reasons for invading Iraq remain unclear. AS for Jeffersonian democracy, we have a long, long wait ahead of us.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Santorum and DeLay's K Street Project

When Republicans took control of Congress in 1995, Senator Rick Santorum and Tom DeLay initiated their K Street Project. The object was to force businesses to fire Democrat lobbyists and hire Republicans in their place, making K Street a Republican preserve. Republican members of Congress were asked to refuse to speak to Democrat lobbyists. An added incentive to hiring Republican lobbyists was that House committees were taking to allowing lobbyists to sit with them in drafting legislation. Indeed, it is likely that lobbyists often had more influence over legislation than Democratic Congressmen, who have had increasing problems getting legsilation to the floor. Indeed, they are frequently excluded from committee sessions.

When Republicans gained control of the White House, there was even more reason for businesses to comply with the K Street Strategy. Many in the executive branch will not speak to Democrat lobbyists. Elizabeth Drew has written recently in the New York Review of Books that the new alliance of Republicans and lobbyists has led to an unprecedented level of corruption in Washington. David Brooks, a Republican columnist, recently said on a PBS program, that the greatest threat to continuing Republican domination is the potential for corrupti0n built into this alliance.

In 2003, Congressman Michael Oxley's staff tolds the Investment Company Institute that his investigations of mutual funds would ease up if its top Democratic lobbyists were replaced with Republicans. The organization complied, and the investigation seemed to ramp down.

In 2004, the Motion Picture Association of America made a huge mistake in hiring Dan Glickman, a former Clinton cabinet member, as its chief lobbyist. Grover Norquist, a leading Republican operative, said this action was a studied insult. He added that he would not be satisfied until all the secretaries on K Street were Republicans. Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, has played a key role in helping DeLay and Santorum in identifying firms that have been tardy in firing Democrats and hiring Republicans. The House of Representatives retaliated by scrubbing a $ 1.5 billion tax break for the motion picture industry. Roll Call reported that "Santorum has begun discussing what the consequences are for the movie industry." The matter was resolved by Glickman keeping his job but MPAA hiring a bevy of Republicans, including the former PR person for Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Until 1995, lobbyists were not almost equal to congressmen in the legislative process.
They had an informal role, and often they possessed useful expertise. Though they now have far greater influence, they privately complain that their expertise is often of no value as they can only make suggestions that are in accord with prevailing ideology. They also note that every consideration and contact they make seems to require contributions or at least arranging luxury outings for members of Congress.

Please visit my other sites:
http://www.ForwardAmerica2.BlogSpot.com on the media
http://www.AmericanImperium.BlogSpot.com on foreign policy

Blog Archive

About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!