[eDebate] sit ins & the Constitution Protection League

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
Thu Jun 22 12:39:17 CDT 2006

check out that last paragraph -- Ultimately, revitalization of the 
Constitution will depend on an aroused and mobilized public. That in turn 
will help--and if necessary force--Congress and the courts to take on their 
constitutional responsibilities for the oversight of government and the 
implementation of law."

the whole change of agent to the supreme court is a mistake.  civil liberty 
gains in the courts almost always are the result of social mobilization.   
the debate morons have got it all backwards and do not understand civil 
liberties because their immovable commitment to classroom confinement 
dictates their thinking more than they care to admit.   social mobilization 
almost always comes first and then the supreme court  can rule on the 
protection of civil liberties.   the terms of the debate are skewed and in 
the midst of the biggest presidential power grab in decades the pedagogy of 
competitive debate is directing students in a dangerous direction that will 
actually further contribute to the curtailment of their civil liberties.   
the whole "speech is action"/"thought is action" case is bankrupt now:



"Bush's usurpations of constitutional powers have been so wide in scope that 
they've often been perceived as separate issues affecting distinct 
constituencies. Charlie Savage reported in the April 30 /Boston Globe/ that 
Bush has claimed he can ignore more than 750 statutes, including "military 
rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that 
Congress be told about immigration services problems, 'whistleblower' 
protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against 
political interference in federally funded research." Even those who regard 
torture, rendition, government secrecy, domestic spying and similar abuses 
as scandalous and reprehensible don't always grasp that they are all 
manifestations of the same defiance of constitutional principles. Indeed, we 
face a "stealth authoritarianism."

The Cato Institute's new report, /Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of 
George W. Bush/, represents a big step toward putting together the pieces...

In response, Specter is planning to call Bush Administration officials and 
independent constitutional authorities to a hearing this month. Specter says 
Bush's restrictive signing statements on the Patriot Act and the torture 
amendment constitute a "very blatant encroachment" on Congress's 
constitutional powers. The hearings will provide an opportunity for 
potential allies--ranging from the impeachment movement to anti-secrecy 
groups and from election campaigners to peace activists--to construct a 
common defense of the Constitution. This requires deepening today's nascent 
convergence into a "law and democracy" movement, and framing the efforts of 
diverse allies--protesters, civil liberties and human rights groups, 
military lawyers, legislators and others--in terms of the enforcement of 
constitutional principles. This alliance should be presented as pro-law, 
pro-Constitution and engaged in a long-term project of democratic 

Such an alliance requires coordinated message building--framing debates in 
terms of common constitutional concerns. For example, the Iran debate can be 
broadened from questions of peace and security to address the limits of 
Bush's unilateral war powers authority. This effort could be advanced 
through building bipartisan support for Representative Peter DeFazio's 
resolution reminding the President that he cannot initiate military action 
against Iran without Congressional authorization.

At the grassroots level, such an alliance can make use of existing links 
between progressive and conservative constitutionalists, like those created 
by the local anti-Patriot Act initiatives, which passed resolutions in 407 
communities in at least forty-three states. Grassroots activists could join 
to implement Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel's suggestion in a May 1 
post on her Editor's Cut blog that "one way to 'nationalize' the 2006 
election" would be to "demand that all candidates defend the Constitution."

At an elite level, influential figures like Gore and Barr might move beyond 
giving a speech here and there to forming a Constitutional Protection 
League, recruiting high-profile personalities to speak and organize on 
behalf of constitutional restoration. (A potential model is the 
Anti-Imperialist League, formed to fight US annexation of the Philippines. 
Notable members included Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, William James and 
Samuel Gompers.) Indeed, the key to such a strategy may be the interaction 
of grassroots and elite participants. Pressure from the grassroots can help 
mobilize the Gores and Barrs. Their leadership, in turn, can help galvanize 
mass support at the grassroots.

Such a strategy has the benefit of defining the issue not as Democrats 
versus Republicans but as defenders versus subverters of the Constitution. 
That will require an admission that many Democrats have previously 
acquiesced in Administration abuses and that Democrats in office have at 
times themselves overstepped the Constitution. Fortunately, the peace 
movement is outspoken on this topic, and Gore has acknowledged that 
"Democrats as well as Republicans in the Congress must share the blame" for 
inadequately protesting a "grossly unconstitutional program."

Ultimately, revitalization of the Constitution will depend on an aroused and 
mobilized public. That in turn will help--and if necessary force--Congress 
and the courts to take on their constitutional responsibilities for the 
oversight of government and the implementation of law." unquote

Don?t just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search! 

More information about the Mailman mailing list