In his latest book, Day of Reckoning, Pat Buchanan argues that hubris, ideology, and greed are among America’s deadliest enemies.  Hubris led to overreach.  Hegemonic neoconservative ideology turned most of the world against the United States.  And free trade has become a no-think cult that permits a greedy few to destroy America’s economic position for their own gain.

Some of the information in Day of Reckoning will startle Americans.  For example, hard-pressed states are selling off their toll roads to foreigners for up-front money.  The Indiana toll road that connects the Ohio Turnpike to Chicago has been leased for 75 years to foreign companies.  Foreigners have acquired 99-year leases on the Chicago Skyway, the Dulles Greenway in Northern Virginia, and the Pocahontas Parkway near Richmond, Virginia.

The gigantic U.S. trade deficit is financed by turning U.S. assets over to foreigners, who thereby acquire ownership of the future income flows from the assets—the profits, dividends, capital gains, interest, tolls, and rents—thus worsening the current-account deficit.

China and Japan control a couple of trillion dollars in U.S. assets between them, and sovereign wealth funds of energy producers, such as Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, control several trillion dollars more, a sum expanding with the price of oil, which the aggressive military policies of the Bush regime have driven from $30 to $100 per barrel.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has acquired a chunk of Citicorp.  China Investment Corporation has ten-percent ownership of Morgan Stanley.  A Chinese bank has multibillion-dollar investments in Bear Stearns and the Blackstone Group.  Middle Eastern financial organizations have acquired stakes in the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.

Most patriots have been convinced that the greatest problems we are facing are Islam, Muslim terrorists, civil libertarians, liberal judges, war protesters, and Bush critics such as Pat Buchanan.  Buchanan shows that it is the foreign and domestic policies of the U.S. government that are making the United States increasingly vulnerable to foreign threats.  Washington can no longer pay its bills, and the challenging economic times are just beginning.  As the United States becomes more dependent on importing goods that she no longer produces herself, Social Security and Medicare are projected to rise from 40 percent of the federal budget to 75 percent over the next 20 years.  Meanwhile, the Bush regime has squandered one trillion dollars on pointless aggression in the Middle East, which is of no benefit to America.  The squandered money and the wars are entirely to America’s harm.  Can such self-destructive policies be reversed?

Buchanan seems to think that they could be, if Americans would wake up and if their elected representatives would put the country’s interests first.  Buchanan wants to believe in his fellow citizens and in his government, and he keeps writing books in an effort to rouse patriots to the defense of America.

What is missing from this book is an account of the destruction of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and American liberty at the hands of the Bush regime.  As bad as America’s immigration, trade, and foreign policies are, the greatest threat to America’s existence as a land of liberty is the police state that the Bush regime and Congress have put in place under the guise of the “War on Terror.”  It is a war in which Congress, the corporate media, and much of the federal judiciary joined with the Bush regime against American liberty.

Buchanan’s description of America’s plight leaves out the worst part of it.  The Constitution is the basis for law.  The demise of the Constitution—documented by Lawrence Stratton and me in The Tyranny of Good Intentions and by Judge Andrew Napolitano in A Nation of Sheep—leaves no basis for law except the raw power of the state.  The raw power of the state is the edifice that the Bush regime, the neoconservatives, and the Federalist Society are building.  The Constitution is being gutted in order to elevate executive power.  And the excuse is the War on Terror.

It has become a prerogative of the executive branch to decide who is a terrorist, a decision that can be made without presenting evidence or charges to a court of law, that deprives the accused of legal representation and the protections of the Geneva Conventions, and that results in incarceration without trial.

As Judge Napolitano shows, this destruction of the foundations of liberty occurred with hardly a peep from the American people, Congress, bar associations, law schools, or the media.  The Supreme Court has shown a slight inclination to impede some part of Bush’s assault on civil liberties.  The process is slow, however, and the Court’s rulings are overturned with new unconstitutional legislation, requiring new cases that can claim the attention of the Court.

One more Republican appointee to the Supreme Court, and liberty will forever be dead in the United States.

The Bush regime has successfully ignored not only the U.S. Constitution and such federal statutes as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but public opinion as well.  Bush has been able to get away with his power grabs and to escalate his war in Iraq despite the opposition of a majority of the public.  In 2006, Americans replaced the spineless Republican majorities in the House and Senate with Democratic ones.  Nothing changed.  The war continued, more police-state legislation was passed, and Iran was set up for attack with resolutions passed by Congress.

Obviously, the U.S. government is no longer accountable to the American people.

Bush and Cheney are guilty of more impeachable offenses than all previous presidents and vice presidents combined.  Yet, the Democratic Speaker of the House has declared that “impeachment is off the table.”

Despite polls indicating the public’s opposition to the Iraq war, both parties’ candidates for president support continuing it, and many want to expand it to Iran.  The two candidates who are against the war and for the Constitution, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, have been excluded from debates.  Americans have not rallied behind the leaders who would protect civil liberties and the Constitution.  Indeed, the public gives Bush and Cheney increasingly low approval ratings, while casting votes for their clones in caucuses and primaries across the country.

We can blame the corporate media for misinforming the public—or that part of the public that still relies on the corporate media.  But the disturbing fact remains that the American people show no capability of taking back their country through the electoral process.  There is no indication that the November 2008 election will do anything to restore sanity in Washington or preserve liberty for our future.  Americans have lost accountable government and are no longer a free people.  Our day of reckoning has passed.


[Day of Reckoning, by Patrick J. Buchanan (New York: Thomas Dunne Books) 304 pp., $25.95]