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Will Police from Brattleboro, Vt., Arrest Bush and Cheney?

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When citizens and voters go to the town meeting and primaries in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Tuesday, there will be a question on the back of all ballots, and a circle to mark Yes and one to mark No:

"Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities, and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro police, pursuant to the above mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecuted or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?"

A public forum was held Sunday in Brattleboro to discuss the upcoming vote.  Kurt Daims, the Brattleboro citizen who drafted the measure, was there, along with leading New England activists for peace and justice, including U.S. Senate candidate from Maine Laurie Dobson who is seeking indictments of Bush and Cheney in Maine as well.

If this thing passes on Tuesday I know a lot of cops around the country who are going to be jealous of the Brattleboro police force.  I'm thinking of all the police officers I've seen arrest activists in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, but accept impeachment t-shirts from them and hide them under their hats.  Here is an opportunity for law-abiding and law-upholding working men and women to arrest the biggest criminals of our age, and the two men most responsible for the human and financial costs we and others have suffered these past seven years.  Who wouldn't want to be in on this?

Now, I know what you're thinking.  If we just wait one more year, only a couple of more hundred thousand Iraqis and some hundreds of US troops will die, we'll only launch at most one more foreign war beyond the ones we're running now, our actions might not provoke an attack in this country, we'll still have several years left in which we can try to reverse global warming if we hurry, the millions of American families about to lose their homes to foreclosures will only have one winter to brave and it may be a warm one, and then a completely unreliable and probably fraudulent election will give us in 2009 a new president who - if we're lucky - won't be that crazy old senator who wants to stay in Iraq for 10,000 more years, and if we're really lucky future presidents will go ahead and obey laws even though they're not required to anymore . . . so what are we getting all excited about?  Right?  Admit it, that's what you're thinking, isn't it?

How could you not be when THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN HISTORY is forecast as imminent every day for two straight years every four years?  Seriously, raise your hand if you do not know which presidential candidates are married, how many kids they each have, what their religions are, or if you could not rank them by age, height, or hair color.

Do you know what the most important election in history was?  It was the one they decided not to hold between King George of England and his challenger.  If they had held that election, and the American colonists had devoted all of their energies for two straight years to reading pamphlets about who had the whiter wig, we never would have had a Declaration of Independence, and we never would have had a democracy.  

Oh, well, but that was different.  Those colonists weren't fat and happy like we are, and that King George had committed crimes.  

Had he?  I think legally, it's the other way around.  As Vermont impeachment activist Dan DeWalt has pointed out, it was the Declaration of Independence that had no force of law.  The current president and vice president, on the other hand, live and work in a society of laws under a Constitution, and their violations of the law and of the Constitution are firmly established.

In a December 31, 2007, editorial, the New York Times faulted Bush and Cheney for kidnapping innocent people, denying justice to prisoners, torturing, murdering, circumventing U.S. and international laws, spying in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and basing their actions on "imperial fantasies."

Bush and Cheney's lies about Iraqi ties to al Qaeda are on videotape and in writing, and they continue to make them to this day. Their claims about Iraqi weapons have been shown in every detail to have been, not mistakes, but lies. Their threats to and lies about Iran are on videotape. Bush being warned about Katrina and claiming he was not are on videotape. Bush lying about illegal spying and later confessing to it are on videotape.

Torture, openly advocated for by Bush and Cheney and their staffs, is documented by victims, witnesses, and public photographs. Torture was always illegal and has been repeatedly re-criminalized under Bush and Cheney. Bush has reversed those and other laws with signing statements. Those statements are posted on the White House website, and a GAO report found that with a significant percentage of Bush's signing statements in which he announces his right to break laws, he has in fact proceeded to break those laws.

Bush and Cheney have exposed an undercover agent as punishment of a whistleblower.  They've commuted the sentence of a top assistant who obstructed an investigation that included themselves.  They've hired and fired public prosecutors based on their willingness to abuse the law in support of a political party.

Bush and Cheney have stripped the people of this country of protections under Amendments 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, not to mention 13 and 15.  We now arrive at the question of whether there is any life left in Amendments 9 and 10.  The Ninth Amendment reads:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Tenth Amendment reads:

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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