As the impeachment of Dick Cheney, then George Bush grinds on, despite a media blackout, it's worthwhile to step back to look at the whys, hows, and whens of this grand exercise of pure democracy. It is unassisted by those charged with providing checks and balances in just such a case of lawbreaking, illegal war-making, and endangerment of the national security of the United States. And even though impeachment is on the lips of 54% of the American public in the case of Cheney, according to Zogby, never has any popular sentiment been so effectively ignored by the media.
If Bush and Cheney are impeached and the rule of law is restored, it will be purely through the efforts of the man and woman on the street who did not allow Congress and the media to forget that we are a free people. Once awakened to the facts, Americans become those whose first flag declared "Don't Tread on Me." Our outcry will result in history knowing that this was not alright, that we did not relinquish our rights but they were taken. Men who should be in jail, never mind impeached, will live beneath a shadow for the rest of their lives.
When BushCo swept Jose Padilla off the street in Chicago and held him incommunicado for 3-and-a-half years before giving him his jury trial, the government gave itself the authority to do this to any American. They made Padilla sleep on a metal cot, sleep-deprived him,and gave him LSD, so he was useless in his own defense when he was released to the civilian courts. They didn't charge him with a crime, which is a basic right if you are arrested. The Constitution expressly mandates a "speedy" jury trial for all Americans, for any charge whatsoever, including terrorism.Bush's patently ridiculous claim of wartime powers, in a war which by definition has no end, is the first argument that should have been laughed out of the halls of Congress. The silver-haired gentlemen should have mused on the House Floor, let me get this straight, good colleagues, the president says, A, it's a war and it lasts forever, and B, he can do what he wants as long as it's a war. What part of this bad joke am I missing?
The same Bill of Rights has been overturned in its Fourth Amendment, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, with Bush and Cheney openly setting up the false choice between liberty and safety. When the White House defends the NSA's warrantless surveillance program, it specifically cites the absence of terrorist attacks since 9/11 as proof that the program is working, a shameless head-on appeal to fear and almost a threat to Americans that, hey, if you insist on your rights, we may not be able to help you. Bush lies when he says the Constitution is outdated because stopping terrorism requires the ability to instantly go into private communications. He already has that power. The NSA is empowered listen for a full 48 hours before getting a warrant. Bush does not want relaxed oversight. He wants no oversight whatsoever.According to the Founders of our country, such a power will always be turned against your political opponents. That would include government whistleblowers. There could be a black market in secrets akin to Stasi times in East Germany. When Bush admitted to re-authorizing the NSA program 16 times, in the Dec. 17, 2005, in the President's radio address, he should have been impeached the next day.
The difference between now and that time the system worked, with the impeachment of Nixon, can only be explained by a difference in the character of our leaders. Even arch-conservatives like Barry Goldwater saw their duty, and the New York Times courageously published the Pentagon Papers despite the same howls of treason that would accompany such an act today, from coordinated and well-oiled Spin Machines.
Even though the oligarchs of those days were as greedy, corrupt, and power-hungry a lot as any generation, at some point a sense of honor was awakened. Our leaders in Congress seem to bothered by no such quaint notions. They are required by Article Six of the Constitution to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Did they forget? Jimmy Carter is the only ex-president to have sounded the alarm to the republic. No other ex-president, current presidential candidate, or elder statesman has done so. Carter went on record calling the Bush administration "the worst in history," and was promptly attacked by the NeoCon character assassins who respect nothing, not even an ex-president who has lived his post-president life in an exemplary manner. Even Bill Clinton is taking the safe road through the woods, playing rock star rather than being the bearer of bad news.
Impeachment now stands in the hands of 40 congressmen in the House Judiciary Committee, who are sniffing for telltale political changes that signal a full-blown storm. Americans are learning to walk again, finding and testing the levers of power that they haven't had to use in a long time. Not since the founding has such a broad array of oligarchs mounted such a concerted assault on our liberties . Wars will come and go, even this one, but once the Constitution is gone, it's gone forever.
Impeachment is a non-partisan issue. Repeat; impeachment is a non-partisan issue. If they don't care how many people call them, we will visit them. If they don't care how many people visit them, we will challenge them in elections. We will contact their campaign contributors and implore them, as one citizen to another, to withhold support until the congressman does his clear duty, to execute Article Eight of the Constitution mandating "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
When an outpouring of phone calls swamped Congress on November 6th as Kucinich's words hit CSPAN: "Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office," the lid on the simmering pot briefly bubbled over. Now Scott McClellan has revealed that Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove, and Scooter Libby told him to lie the American people by saying they were "not involved" in the betrayal of Valerie Plame, invoking "the president himself." Compared to the congressmen who say, "we want to focus on winning in 2008," it seems men of honor are grappling with their demons, as maybe Barry Goldwater did, and stepping from the shadows to put country before party again.
"The possibility of penetrating these groups, the possibility of knowing that they're going to carry 10-pound bags of explosives into the subway stations, will go right down the drain." Special Forces Col. Patrick Lang, on the damage to the national security done by Plame's identification, Committee Hearings July 22, 2005
Here is a table listing major campaign contributors of House Judiciary Committee members. Please call and write to the presidents of these organizations, requesting to meet and asking them to put impeachment on the agenda of their next meeting. Email them posts such as this one; begin the dialogue with these fellow citizens. They are the power behind the power. OpenSecrets.org has done an incredible job of making this information available online so we can easily see how our government really works, by exposing its lifeblood: money. But all this information is nothing until we use it.
YaliesForImpeachment.org main site