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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- A monstrous wall, an iron curtain, has descended across our national political life, dividing and separating a free people from the temporary, ruthless custodians of its government.

The American people suffer and endure as we enter the sixth year of George W. Bush's failed presidency, an increasingly dangerous and threatening time for our resilient, but hardly invincible, republic.

We are not alone. People around the world -- victims of our government's aggression, arrogance, greed, indifference, and aversion to the rule of law -- share in our suffering. Bush is a global disaster. He views the rest of the world with disdain, even Canada and Mexico, our close neighbors and great trading partners.

Bush wants to build a real wall between the United States and Mexico -- which only reflects his obscene failure to recognize geopolitical realities. Pretending, as he always does, to make us safe, he panders to his base.

People around the world despise the U.S. government and that spills over into animosity toward Americans. Bush is held in nearly universal contempt -- except for a few nations, like Mongolia, bribed to be part of his great coalition in the unending war in Iraq.

His wall of separation and falsely claimed authority are setting the Busheviks far apart from the fundamental values and civic traditions -- both conservative and liberal -- Americans embrace. We cling to the Bill of Rights as the essence of what we believe is just and reasonable in defining the limits of governmental power and the protection of free people from the abuses of those powers.

We see the Fourth Amendment as clear and solid: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and persons or things seized."

Bush justifies his approval of widespread domestic spying based on "the constitutional authority to protect our country. Article II of the Constitution gives me that responsibility and authority necessary to fulfill it."

Bush is declaring that the rest of the Constitution be damned. Everything else contained in the cherished, wise and restrained framework for our liberal democracy must be abrogated to executive authority. As long as we are locked in Bush's War on Terror, he can do as he pleases. Damn the Constitution, especially those bothersome restraints found in the Bill of Rights.

"I'm using constitutional authority vested in me as commander in chief," King George declares. These scripted words come from a seasoned constitutional scholar who probably thinks Marbury v. Madison was a college football game.

This profoundly mediocre man tells us how important he is to our national safety. He and his handlers have done a marvelous job erecting a wall between the reality of his failures and the myth of his achievements, which the corporate media peddles as truth to the masses.

Bush marched in and left disasters in every business enterprise he ever touched. His daddy's pals repeatedly bailed him out of trouble. Shrub was a flippant frat boy who grew into a serious substance abuser, but made a small fortune from his family's influence and corporate welfare.

He found the Lord, gave up booze and white powder, and was discovered and marketed as respectable by Karl Rove, even as Bush's own family knew he was a seriously damaged political product.

Our "war president," his favorite title, says he can do anything to anyone at any time to "protect" the American people. No restraints. No checks and balances. No accountability. Congress has no role, and the people mean nothing.

The New York Observer's Joe Conason spoke to Bruce Fein, a conservative legal scholar and former Ronald Reagan aide, about the implications of Bush's wild claims of authority.

"If President Bush is totally unapologetic and says 'I continue to maintain that as a wartime President I can do anything I want -- I don't need to consult any other branches,' that is an impeachable offense. It is more dangerous than Clinton's lying under oath, because it jeopardizes our democratic dispensation and civil liberties for ages. It would set a precedent that ... would lie around like a loaded gun, able to be used indefinitely for any future occupant," said Fein.

George W. Bush, our self-anointed monarch, pretends to crusade for freedom in his new colony in Iraq as he tramples on freedoms at home.

He has repeatedly shown contempt for international law, trashed the U.S. Constitution, broken federal laws and has publicly proclaimed he can do anything he wants to "protect us."

This wall protects him, not us, from knowing the truth.

Mr. Bush, tear down this wall.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Dec. 27 2005