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Ya Gotta Love Those Tough Democrats in Congress

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It is clear now that George Bush and Dick Cheney have been pushing hard for war with Iran for months, all the while knowing--and trying desperately to hide the fact--that the entire US intelligence community had established with a high degree of confidence that Iran poses no threat of becoming a nuclear power, and that it is not playing any significant role in Iraqi attacks on American troops in Iraq.

These are acts not of policy but of treason. But aside from Rep. Dennis Kucinich and a group of fewer than 30 backers, you don't hear any calls from the Congress for impeachment. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership are busy squelching any such talk.

It is also well known that Cheney actually slinked behind the State Department's back earlier this fall and tried, on his own, to talk the Israelis into attacking Iran's nuclear facilities in hopes of getting Iran to retaliate and thus drag the US into a war with Tehran.

We now know too that the White House, including key legal aides Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Harriet Myers and John Bellinger III, were counselling the CIA as late as 2005 to destroy video tapes depicting torture by the CIA, even after several federal courts had ordered the production of such tapes.

As well, we have learned from former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that Bush and Cheney and their top aides also orchestrated a cover-up of the Cheney conspiracy to out a key CIA undercover operative specializing in the monitoring of nuclear proliferation. That would be Valerie Plame.

These are both clear cases of conspiracy to obstruct justice and of actual obstruction of justice, but aside from Reps. Robert Wexler, Luis Gutierrez and Tammy Baldwin, there has been no Congressional call for impeachment hearings for these grave crimes.

The president continues to willfully refuse to enact and enforce laws passed by the Congress, and willfully violates others, most recently asserting that he has the power to take money authorized by Congress for one military purpose and shift it to another (something he already did to terrible effect illegally back in 2001 when he withdrew money voted to fund the assault on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and shifted it to a future war he was planning against Iraq).

Although the president's assertion of a heretofore unheard-of, non-existent, and purely un-Constitutional "unitary executive" authority to ignore both Congress and the Courts fatally undermines the whole founding principle of checks and balances built into the government as constructed by the authors of the Constitution, and although his actions turn Congress into nothing more than a debating club, there has been no call from Congress for the president's impeachment.

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And as the President and Vice President and their key staffmembers have simply thumbed their noses at investigation after investigation by committees in the House and Senate, even when those committees issue subpoenas, with the president going so far as to say he would instruct his attorney general not to allow the US attorney in Washington to enforce those subpoenas against his staff, thus proving the impotence of Congress and the futility of a policy of "investigations," there has been no cry from Congress for impeachment--the only way to effectively conduct those investigations.

In the face of all these, and of other frontal assaults on American democracy and the Constitution, Congress is behaving as if everything is normal, aided by a national corporate media which simply do not report on the constitutional damage that is being done by this inaction and by the White House's behavior.

Instead, we have the pathetic spectacle of the Congress calling for a major investigation into, what? Steroid use by American professional athletes! That does get media coverage!

I will pause here to give the dear reader a chance to either laugh uproariously or to retch uncontrollably--your, or your body's, choice.

Done? Okay, so what do we do?

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Clearly the Democrats are a bunch of gutless buffoons unworthy of anyone's vote next fall. They have demonstrated that they haven't the political sense of a donkey or the will of a jellyfish, and if left in control of the House and Senate, will continue to allow the growth of unfettered executive power next year, whether under a Democratic or Republican president. My own representative, two-term Democrat Allyson Schwartz, doesn't even talk about the administration's constitutional crimes. She's on about "tax relief for the middle class" without even mentioning the president's collossal waste of $500 billion--actually several trillion dollars counting interest and future costs for care of the injured--caused by the illegal and disastrous Iraq war.

The only answer left to us is to throw them all out.

This year, only candidates who are committed to impeachment, and to a reassertion of the Constitution as the law of the land deserve to be returned to or elected to Congress. If that means voting for a Republican, vote for the Republican. If it means voting third party or write-in in your district, then do that. If we do not stop the dictatorship that is growing in Washington now, we well end up having to restore popular government by force later, under much worse circumstances.

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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