Friday, March 23, 2007

Limping and Stumbling, Inevitably Toward Impeachment

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have committed violations and subversions of the Constitution of the United States of America. Individually and certainly collectively, these three have committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors, as noted in the Constitution.

Bushcheney President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have committed violations and subversions of the Constitution of the United States of America. Individually and certainly collectively, these three have committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors, as noted in the Constitution.
Gonzales2 The three of them were no doubt encouraged by a compliant Congress. They pretty much owned the place for six years.
I’ve, for the most part, left the War in Iraq out of the following impeachable offenses menu because, mismanaged as it was, Congress authorized the mistake. One can hardly impeach a president for bad judgment, although the Clinton debacle puts that presumption to the acid test.
There’s a common argument that says “why now, when there’s less that two years left to this administration?” I think that’s flawed reasoning. Here’s why.
Like sending an Enron executive to jail, we do that not for revenge, because we're not a vengeful country. Nor to prevent the company from continuing its criminal ways, a practical impossibility. We do it as a message to other highly placed executives. Who is more highly placed, who takes the trust and burden of the country more into his hands Oathofoffice than the President of the United States?
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
It's short. No wiggle-room. Half of it virtually blows off execution of the office. The framers knew times would change. But what didn't change, what takes fully half of this short oath, is the unalterable duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
It would be a hell of a negative message to impeach a president because his approval ratings had fallen to historic (or hysteric) lows. Equally damaging, would be to wield that hammer to punish the mistakes of an unpopular and probably unwinnable war. But the summary taking-away of rights and the ignoring of courts when they say those rights may not be infringed, is a matter that cannot be ‘ridden out’ until the next election.
These three have attempted to implement, surreptitiously and (thus far) with impunity, international crimes and criminal disregard of binding treaties, as well as deprivations of the civil rights of their fellow-citizens in the United States and other nations. They have accomplished that (if we do not stop them) by acting as an imperial executive unaccountable to law and usurping powers of the Congress, the Judiciary and those constitutionally reserved to the people of the United States.
A partial list would include;
  • Firststrike_3 Instituting, without congressional approval, a historically unknown and constitutionally illegal doctrine of committing the United States military to wars of aggression and first strike attacks, on the specious (and purely presidential) theory that such wars and attacks are necessary to the defense of America.
  • Instituting a secret and illegal wiretapping and spying operation against the people of the United States through the National Security Agency.
  •   Authorizing, ordering and condoning kidnappings, secret and otherwise illegal detentions of individuals, torture and physical and psychological coercion of prisoners to obtain false statements concerning acts and intentions of governments and individuals.
  •  Violating within the United States (and by authorized U.S. forces and agents elsewhere) the rights of individuals under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Torture_3Constitution of the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • Violating and subverting the Charter of the United Nations and international law, both a part of the "Supreme Law of the land" under Article VI, paragraph 2, of the Constitution.
  • Usurping powers of the United Nations and the peoples of its nations by bribery, coercion and other corrupt acts and by rejecting treaties, committing treaty violations, and frustrating compliance with treaties in order to destroy any means by which international law and institutions can prevent, affect, or adjudicate the exercise of U.S. military and economic power against the international community.
  • Supremecourt_3Acting to strip United States citizens of their constitutional and human rights, ordering indefinite detention of citizens, without access to counsel, without charge, and without opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the Executive of a citizen as an "enemy combatant."
  • Ordering the indefinite detention of non-citizens in the United States and elsewhere without charge, at the discretionary designation of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Defense.
  • DetentionOrdering and authorizing the Attorney General to override judicial orders of release of detainees under INS jurisdiction, even where the judicial officer after full hearing determines a detainee is wrongfully held by the government.
  • Authorizing secret military tribunals and summary execution (although none have yet been executed) of persons who are not citizens who are designated solely at the discretion of the Executive who acts as indicting official, prosecutor and as the only avenue of appellate relief.
  • Spy_2Refusing to provide public disclosure of the identities and locations of persons who have been arrested, detained and imprisoned by the U.S. government in the United States, including in response to Congressional inquiry.
  • Use of secret arrests of persons within the United States and elsewhere and denial of the right to public trials.
  • Authorizing the monitoring of confidential attorney-client privileged communications by the government, in the absence of a court order and even where an incarcerated person has not been charged with a crime.
  • Wiretap_2Ordering and authorizing the seizure of assets of persons in the United States, prior to hearing or trial, for lawful or innocent association with any entity that at the discretionary designation of the Executive has been deemed "terrorist.”
  • Institutionalization of racial and religious profiling and authorization of domestic spying by federal law enforcement on persons based on their engagement in noncriminal religious and political activity.
  • Refusal to provide information and records necessary and appropriate for the constitutional right of legislative oversight of executive functions.
  • Abrogation of the obligations of the United States under, and withdrawal from, international treaties and obligations without consent of the legislative branch.
Hard not to wonder if this president, seeming to revel in the flurry of recent revelations of contempt and incompetence, isn’t using all this minor complaint to keep the Congress too busy to look under the bed.
In order to prevent this administration from drifting off into history, its illegalities and deceits intact and becoming merely ‘controversial,’ we need to look under the bed without delay. The Richard Nixon Articles of Impeachment are absolutely a 4th grade playground squabble, compared to the above laundry-list of illegalities.
And that insult to the president's oath, save for the treatment of illegally imprisoned and tortured combatants, leaves out entirely the administration deceits that misled us into a tragic and unwinnable war.
It must be done. No limping allowed. Must be accomplished without rancor, without enthusiasm and certainly without any sense of ‘getting even.’ Enough of this Congress stumbling about, trying to find their courage. Not to worry, Nancy, that some will claim self-service, elevating your newly elected position to the presidency.
We are a nation under law and have always been so. Our future claim to our legal heritage demands the impeachment of this president, vice-president and attorney general.
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