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Democratic senators are already throwing monkey wrenches in Obama's seemingly uncontroversial tax-cut plan (give a $3000 credit to companies that hire or re-train workers.  So what?  If they don't hire or re-train, they don't get the credit.)  This is how it started with the destruction of Jimmy Carter.  The honeymoon was over before it began.  The real signal is there will be no help for working people in the plan for this economic crisis.  The bail-outs will be for those who don't need them.  So as long as you're not going to get what you hoped for when you elected Obama, you may as well fight to the bitter end for the rule of law.  There is still plenty of time for an open-and-shut impeachment of George Bush, one hour, on the single article of defying congressional subpoenas.  It's still not too late to avoid the history which will be written on the walls of the planned Bush Impeachment Archives Building, somewhere in Texas.  

To those pooh-poohers, never-happen-you're-a-nut commentors who prowl these diaries, please can it.  It's not a substitute for clever.  And your disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law makes me want to puke.

From The Bush Impeachment Archives Building

At the start of the 21st Century, the three-way system of checks and balances incorporated into the United States Constitution failed for the first time.  The Constitution's  provision for the impeachment of presidents had been vigorously used by Congress in the past for a wide range of sometimes controversial abuses.  But in 2006, upon accumulation of evidence that the Bush administration had usurped power in many ways, including illegally spying upon millions of Americans, violating Constitutional rights, and selling a war under false pretenses, then-Speaker-of-the-House Nancy Pelosi declared that impeachment was "off the table."  The opposition party, the Democrats, had just won a 233 to 201 majority in that year's elections.  The fact that Pelosi felt the need to make this her first major statement after the elections was a clear indication of how strong sentiment for impeachment had become.

The exhibits highlight the precedents which were set when members of the 110th Congress did not fulfill their oath, required to be sworn upon taking office by Article Six of the U.S. Constitution, to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic."  Precedents in history are not easily overturned.  Once set, they become defenses for more of the same.  This Archives and exhibit space is dedicated to those who saw what was at stake, who spoke out,  and who left to future generations a legacy of vigorous resistance to these precedents.

From the Constitution Room

Wartime Powers Declared Indefinitely

The claim of powers during war to detain American citizens, without trial, charges, or contact with the outside world for the duration of a war has, rightly or wrongly, long been a staple of presidents.  After 9/11, George Bush became the first president in American history to proclaim a war which had no end.  The impact to the American Bill of Rights, the "inalienable rights" proclaimed by Thomas Jefferson, was clear as day.    Although the Sixth Amendment guaranteed to every American the right to a trial by a jury of his or her peers in peacetime, war became the permanent state.

As an example of circumstances which the Founders could not foresee, the "war on terror" was perfect.  Technology now allowed a relative few, striking from a position of invisibility, to do as much damage in a short time as an army.  However, the Constitution's elastic construction allowed for many circumstances the Founders could not foresee.  It gave Congress the power to impeach for "high crimes and misdemeanors," a deliberately vague category of offenses.   Impeachment was flexible enough to encompass any reach for power which failed the president's highest duty, sworn before taking office, to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."  That Constitution includes the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, the right to a jury trial.

By failing to impeach George Bush, the 110th Congress allowed the precedent of permanent wartime powers to stand, and Sixth Amendment  rights are no longer "inalienable" as Jefferson declared.  These rights are now subject to the pleasure of the president and the executive branch.

Court Review Neglects Novel Facts of War on Terror

 The Fourth Circuit Court opinion, written by Judge J. Michael Luttig, never addressed any differences in "factual situation" which might distinguish the traditional form of war, against a nation-state with a tangible army, from the War on Terror, against a terrorist network with no formal hierarchy, no industrial military weaponry, and no national base.  In traditional war, at some point, it would be impossible to maintain that the war had not come to an end.  The War on Terror presented no such limitations.  Soon after 9/11, George Bush took pains to proclaim the War on Terror's infinite time horizon, by announcing in a speech before a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, that it was "a task that does not end."  The Luttig court made no mention of this difference from previous wars, nor the peril it might pose to the Constitution.

     After his 3 1/2 years of isolation and torture during military detention, Padilla was nonetheless ruled fit to stand trial.  His lawyers objected that the isolation and torture had rendered him mentally incompetent, that he was a broken man.   He was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison regardless.  He is now incarcerated at Supermax Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado.

   The most important result of the Padilla case was to firmly establish the precedent that American citizens may be held, tortured, and denied access to the civilian courts indefinitely, upon their designation by the executive branch as an "enemy combatant," in the open-ended "war on terror."


Originally posted to Ralph Lopez on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 01:37 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Noone cares in the US... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because a new season of American Idol is starting...

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning

    by Jazzenterprises on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 01:41:35 PM PST

  •  Yep, that's it, (0+ / 0-)

    no help.  It's over.  

    Yep, plenty of time.  As in 12 days, but that gives the opportunity for 12 more diaries.

  •  The failure to impeach (5+ / 0-)

    The failure to impeach deeply damaged our nation, spiritually , financialy, environmentaly and militarily.

    When I look at where we are at as a country, i say this is what we get for not impeaching

  •  Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda - but Pelosi was Speaker (0+ / 0-)

    and the Caucus was too cowardly to remove her.

    "It stinks." - Jay Sherman

    by angry liberaltarian on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 01:49:32 PM PST

  •  I don't have any kids (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, forgore, M Komoroski, HKPhooey

    But if I ever do, I know what I'll tell them about this period in time- Bush was bad, but the Democrats let him get away with all of it.

    Worst Treasury Secretary Evar.

    by aztecraingod on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 01:53:26 PM PST

  •  I think this makes sense (3+ / 0-)

    It's sad but it's true.  They really have reduced the United States Gov't to something they can drown in a bathtub.  Sadly it's also true that many so-called Americans are right in line with Bush's torturing blood sucking treason and profiteering, but there's nothing we can do about that without advocating violence, and that would be Wrong.
    But it would feel good to at least put Butch and Chains on trial.  If I had my druthers, they'd go on trial in Baghdad.  Hey, Eichmann was tried in Israel, right?  So B&C should go to the wonderful democracy they set up to be a beacon for Amer'kin Valyuhs.  They could be hung in a basement with cel phone camera coverage, just like Saddam.  That would be poetic....  (Momentary interlude to picture it)
    Wrong track, though. They should be tried here.  In addition to the visceral satisfaction of seeing those two face questioning (for a start,) we would set the precedent that when someone steals our country and runs it into the ground, our system works and we make them pay the price.  Heck, we've got more than a million people in jail to attest to the fact that Americans believe in punishing the wicked.  How can any prosecutor, judge, or cop look in the mirror while those scumbags escape justice?  I just don't get it.

    On the other hand, if B&C are allowed to walk, what does that say?  If your're rich enough and have the right friends you can get away with mass murder?  If you wear a flag lapel pin you can do no wrong?

    If we let that happen, it will be a dark day for our country.  The days of the Ugly American will be gone, replaced by a just plain Ugly America.  If we don't take formal steps as a nation to distance ourselves from these swine, there WILL be a price to pay down the road, and it will be worse and harder on the country than facing up to the truth, painful though that is for wingnuts, arms profiteers and other beneficiaries of the Redneck Agenda.

    Sometimes you gotta man up and scrape it right off your shoes.  

    Less whine, more spine.

    by M Komoroski on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 02:11:21 PM PST

  •  Bush was inoculated (3+ / 0-)

    by Clinton's sham of an impeachment trial.  The public was disgusted, and had no further appetite to take a real trial seriously...

    No politician ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. PT Barnum, paraphrased...

    by jarhead5536 on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 02:17:18 PM PST

  •  a possible explanation for delayed impeachment (0+ / 0-)

    It would have been harder to impeach Bush than Cheney and some others.  Bush was too clueless to go on trial.  So they would have saved him for later.  But that would leave him in place to pardon any of his people that were even indicted, let alone tried.  End of story.
    Yes, there are rules that say even the President can't pardon people for committing crimes he ordered.  But the rules don't apply to the Great White Beast, as you may have noticed.  He's got cronies on the Supreme Court, and as long as he's president, there could be no indictments.  Once he's gone, though, there will be an opportunity for Congress, DOJ, GAO, etc to suddenly 'discover' that crimes were committed and be 'shocked, shocked' at how bad it really was, and suddenly develop the intestinal fortitude to do what their oaths of office required in the first place.
    And then some absolute SCHMUCK will announce 'the system works...'

    Less whine, more spine.

    by M Komoroski on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 03:20:10 PM PST

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