Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why impeachment is "off the table"

A few days ago I read a story about impeachment, from the McClatchy Bureau. I was frankly so disgusted by it that I didn't think I could write about it yet. Oddly, the frustration and anger came pouring out anyway, in a comment to a fellow Hoosier on my Daily Kos diary.

This story comes right out and states in black and white what I have believed all along: the Democrats won't consider impeachment because they believe that allowing Bush and Cheney to stay in office will help their chances in the 2008 election.

According to the story, "Democrats in Washington want to keep impeachment off the table," By Steven Thomma:

There are both policy and political reasons that Democratic leaders are risking the anger of their base.

One is that some don't see an impeachable offense in what Bush has done, what the Constitution calls "high crimes and misdemeanors." They might find such evidence in any of the many congressional investigations, but they haven't yet.

Let's debunk that one right now.

There are literally volumes of works by brilliant legal minds laying out the basis for impeachment.

First of all, anything that deliberately undercuts the Constitution is a 'high crime,' if you have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution as part of the swearing in process. Bush, Cheney, Gonzales -- all swore the oath.

High crimes might include:
  1. Outing Valarie Plame, a verified covert CIA agent. I believe this is actually a felony offense.
  2. Lying to Congress and to the American people. At least one of these lies lead to our invasion of Iraq. If that isn't a 'high crime,' I honestly don't know what is.
  3. Illegal rendition
  4. Holding prisoners without due process
  5. Secret torture camps... promoting torture in the first place.
  6. There is the growing proof that they tampered with the election process (felony)

But the biggest case for impeachment, according to most legal scholars, is the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

Elizabeth De la Vega, a 20-year federal prosecutor has probably laid out the best legal case for impeachment in her book "United States V. George W. Bush et al." This is a brilliant and well crafted legal analysis, and there are many others.

Here are a few of the better ones:

  1. The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office, by Dave Lindorff

  2. Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, from The Center for Constitutional Rights

  3. Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush And Cheney, by Dennis Loo

  4. George W. Bush Versus the U.S. Constitution: The Downing Street Memos and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, Coverups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Spying, by John Conyers Jr.

  5. The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens, by Elizabeth Holtzman

There is enormous popular support for impeachment. The entire State of Maine is trying to impeach Bush and Cheney. Detroit voted to impeach - with a unanimous vote - bringing the total number of cities demanding impeachment to 70. The people of Vermont are lobbying for impeachment. The people of Massachusetts are trying to bring impeachment charges as well. California wants to impeach. Dennis Kucinich already brought impeachment charges against Cheney in the House. Conyers says he supports it.

And still, Pelosi says impeachment is off the table.

The Democrats are either remarkably illiterate when it comes to the impeachment process, or are pretending to be ignorant in the hope that the American people will somehow 'buy' that they are helpless. They are not helpless.

We have never - in our entire history - actually removed a president from office via the impeachment process. Rather, the process is in fact an investigation into wrong-doing; with charges filed by the House, and the case tried in the Senate with the Supreme Court acting as the judges.

The chances that Bush would be impeached by these particular Senators and these particular Justices seems remote, but the point is to dig out the dirt - to file the charges and hold them accountable. Let the democratic process work. It was the prospect of the impeachment process (and the dirt that would be uncovered) that led to Nixon's resignation... not impeachment itself.

Even Norman Ornstein,
a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said, "I think if we're going to be intellectually honest here, this (domestic spying) really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed."

Dear God, how can Pelosi be this clueless... unless....

Another is that they fear a political backlash from voters similar to the one that punished Republicans after they impeached Bill Clinton. One factor on the side of the pro-impeachment crowd: Clinton was much more popular than Bush.

Get out. Ludicrous. That is patently ridiculous.

First of all, there apparently wasn't enough 'backlash' against the GOP after their impeachment attempt against Clinton to stop Bush from being elected president in 2000, along with numerous other necons.

The American people thought the entire Clinton impeachment was partisan posturing at best, disgusting and pathetic to take a mild stand... but the dirt they splashed all over the media about Bill did affect Gore and his run for President.

There was absolutely no backlash against the GOP at all -- none -- although God knows there should have been. There would have been, had we the services of an impartial media corps.

If the GOP could do that much damage with a bogus impeachment trial against a very popular president -- how on earth could impeaching a criminal president with a 28% rating; a guy who started an entire WAR based on lies, has been undercutting Constitutional protections, spying on American citizens without a court order, leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent, tampered with election results... how could this possibly bring a backlash? My God -- this is a slam dunk!

If we are to the point where entire States - not to mention 70 individual cities, including Detroit - are trying to impeach Bush and Cheney... how on earth can the Democrats claim they 'fear a backlash?' (More likely they fear Cheney will magically make their small planes crash into a corn field in Nebraska.)

In a working democracy, they should fear the backlash of ignoring the will of the people. The people have made their wishes very clear. The people want impeachment. The people want justice.

The third is that they're eager to keep Bush and Cheney around as punching bags for Democratic candidates in the 2008 campaign.
Ah, here it is... the truth at last. This is all a partisan game.

This is the crux of why I became an Independent. This is just so... immoral. I cannot be a party to this. I can not be a part of this party, or any party that will put partisan gain ahead of lives, morality and justice.

How are they any different or any better than Karl Rove?

Consider me a conscientious objector. There are people dying while the Democratic party plays these partisan games, while ignoring the will of the people, justice, morality -- and their own oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

I cannot go along with this.
I just can't do it.

Lincoln, a veritable font of inspiriation these days, said:

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. - Abraham Lincoln
That is why I became an Independent, in a nutshell. I have a conscience.

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