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Epilogue to my Previous ("Hey Mainstream Media..") Piece

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In an article posted here a couple of days ago --to be found at"
and entitled "Why Doesn't Presidential Dismantling of the Constitution Get the Same Intense Scrutiny as Presidential Adultery?" -- I put forward a case that is simultaneously a bill of indictment against this administration regarding its conduct in the NSA spying affair and an indictment/challenge to the mainstream media for its failure to treat a potentially huge story with the seriousness it clearly deserves.

Here, I will briefly state the reasons why I believe this approach might be our most powerful strategy.

First, I believe that the American public have by now been exposed to so many clues to the perniciousness and lawlessness of this Bushite administration that the key missing ingredient is the mainstream media's focusing attention on the rogue elephant in the room. Hence, the decision to make the major thrust of that piece the media's lack of coverage of this scandal compared with the wall-to-wall, incessant focus on the Lewinsky affair eight years ago.

If enough people hammer this point publicly, the media protection of the Bushites might come under serious pressure, and perhaps begin to crack. And if the media ever were to treat the suspected Bushite offenses as seriously as they did the Clinton dalliance, I believe the battle against the Bushites would inevitably unfold into their ignominious defeat and disgrace quite possibly their impeachment.

Second, I chose the NSA spying issue because it can be framed clearly in comparatively few words, because it involves the rights and liberties of Americans, and because it goes straight to the issue of whether this administration is willing to obey the law and the Constitution.

There are other issues involving suspected wrong-doing and lawlessness by the Bushites-- such as the issue of torture, and the issue of the apparent deceptiveness in the selling of the war in Iraq-- that are no less important. But they do not serve as well for the immediate purpose.

The issue of the torture of detainees does not so directly impact American citizens and, regrettably, that means that it is more difficult to get the mass of the public to care about it. In addition, with that issue it would likely be more difficult to demonstrate that the argument that "it was necessary for national security" is just a cover for the unfolding expression of a tyrannical spirit.

The issue of whether the Bushites lied us into war is also less useful as an opener, because it would take a much longer and more complex presentation to make a prima facie case.

If the NSA-spying investigation can get really moving, and can capture the public imagination, then the other issues can --and I expect will-- naturally arise. Once the public's attention is fully engaged, then the kinds of issues that take thousands rather than hundreds of words to present can be usefully explored.

Finally, the NSA-spying case deals directly with the Constitution of the United States-- with the 4th amendment, with checks and balances, with the division of powers, etc. In other words, as I say in the piece: "Even while we Americans divide on many issues, the sanctity of the Constitution is what unites us. It is our core value that "we are a nation of laws, not of men.'"

This deals into our hands an ace that cannot be trumped. People might disrespect international law, but no one in America can be dismissive of the Constitution and still have credibility in the public arena. A great many American may not really know what the Constitution is about, nor care that much about it, but rhetorically there is no way of countering someone who enters the arena -in the words of the presidential oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

So for all these reasons, I believe this piece offers a potentially powerful strategy for the present stage in the struggle to save our country from this Bushite menace.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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