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July 4, 2007 in Authoritarianism, Big Brother, Cheney, Civil rights, Declaration of Independence, Duhbya, Gonzogate, hypocrisy, Impeachment, Iraq, Republicans, Scooter Libby, War on terror | 1 comment
As this is the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that started our removal of a tyrant from power over the United States, I thought I would go through that grand old document and catalog which of the crimes of England’s King George have been committed by our own current (in his own mind, anyway) King George. I was only going to include the applicable ones in this post, but since that turned out to be the majority of them, anyway, I just left in all of them. Happy reading!
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
The first Iraq financing bill this year, which would have set real benchmarks and started the process of bringing our troops home. Stem cell research. There probably would have been more, but since he had a rubberstamp congress for much of his administration, there have been relatively few vetoes.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
Not really. Though should we consider his “signing statements” a failure to pass laws, in that he is denying the laws should apply to him, the answer to this one could change.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
No, though prior to the current term of Congress, members of the Republican party forced their opposition to hold hearings that were unfavorable to his administration (to the extent they could hold them at all) in a cramped basement room rather than a regular hearing room.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
Not yet. Give him time. For now, he just ignores them.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
See above. Also, consider his use of “temporary” appointments of U.S. Attorneys in the wake of the firings last December, to avoid having to seek Senate confirmation of same. Not strictly on point, but more or less the functional equivalent.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Well, not exactly, but heaven knows immigration is a mess at the moment.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
No, but he has of course endeavored to stack federal courts, and particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, with justices favorable to his point of view, and then whined that the Democratic Party was being obstructionist on those few occasions when they attempted to block his less qualified or more appalling nominations.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
No, but change judges to United States Attorneys and you would have something here. Clearly, he has tried to subvert the ability of courts to hear matters within their purview – e.g., by gutting habeas corpus.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
Department of Homeland Security, NSA (okay, that’s not really new), TSA, anyone? Also, let us not forget his (often successful) attempts to politicize the ways that various agencies carry out their duties and/or use those agencies to further the election of Republican Party candidates, in blatant violation of the Hatch Act.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
Well, he hasn’t done this here, since obviously we have consented to the maintenance of a standing military, but I imagine people in other parts of the world might have something to say about this one.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
Hello, Military Commissions Act, goodbye, habeas corpus.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
Some might point to the WTO, though that predates Bush. So, no, not really. However, he has repeatedly subverted provisions of our Constitution and our laws, so I think that counts as a practical equivalent.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
Well, this is more a complaint among the various countries we are occupying…still, he hasn’t done this here.
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
Okay, this doesn’t involve troops, and there was a real trial by jury, but I would argue that his commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence is the moral equivalent of this.
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
How about destroying our country’s reputation in all parts of the world – does that count?
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
Does running up a huge national debt that we will eventually have to pay off through our taxes in order to pay for the war he lied to get us into count? I’d call that one close enough.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
Hello, we have a winner! See the Military Commissions Act, and Guantanamo.
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
What do you think happened in the case of most of those people locked up in Guantanamo – it now appears that the vast majority of them didn’t really do anything that would justify locking them up for five years without trial, then creating some sort of mockery of a judicial process to avoid having them tried in U.S. courts where there are procedural safeguards.
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
Um, well, okay, this one he hasn’t done yet. Though he has gone a country with a functioning if oppressive government – a country which we now know and should then have known was not a threat to us – and overthrown that government and introduced a system of chaos, death and destruction. I think that’s probably close enough on the whole scale of moral wrongs.
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
I think the gradual destruction of our civil rights under the U.S. Constitution, as well as his expansion of presidential authority outside the bounds of Constitutional authority, his hobbling of congressional oversight capabilities, and his institution of the infamous “signing statements” that purport to excuse him from violations of the laws passed by Congress all qualify under this grievance, don’t you?
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
Again, I would say the signing statements amount to a presidential grab of Congressional authority.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
Not quite, but I would argue that his repeated violations of the civil rights of American citizens qualifies as the substantive equivalent to waging a covert war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
Hmm – plundered our seas? Check. Ravaged our coasts? Katrina is close enough – he ravaged New Orleans by inaction (and recent reports suggest he and his buddies are getting set to ravage its ruins for oil). Burnt our towns? No, he did that to the Iraqis. Destroyed the lives of our people? Hmm, how many U.S. Soldiers dead in Iraq as of today? Also, if destroying the livelihoods counts, then consider the whole Valerie Plame fiasco which has happened on his watch.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Ding ding ding! We have another winner! Well, foreign to the Iraqis, anyway. Can you say, Blackwater?
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
Um, give me a few minutes, I’m sure I can think of something here…okay, maybe not.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
No, all the insurrections he has incited against him are foreign in nature…so far. Though of course the Iraq war has increased the terrorist threat against us beyond what it was at the time of 9/11, so we’ll call this one a “yes”, too, shall we? And let’s also not forget his party’s tactic of accusing anyone who disagrees with Bush of treason, whipping up hatred against Democrats and liberals.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Ding ding ding! We have another winner!
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.
Replace “British” with “White House” and you have another winner, see the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the parade of civil rights violations at the White House’s direction, and various other high crimes and misdemeanors.
For all these reasons, and for others perhaps not stated herein, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Do something really patriotic: go out and protest this administration’s actions!
Last night’s Special Comment by Keith Olbermann, prompted by our alleged president’s commutation of an unrepentant Scooter Libby’s prison sentence before all the appeals had even run their course, but also recapping Bush’s (and Cheney’s) other many crimes against this country, our Constitution, and the laws of man, was in it’s own way as powerful and moving as the words of Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence, adopted 231 years ago today.
Crooks and Liars had the video clip posted within hours of the broadcast last night (and possibly within minutes of the west coast broadcast, which is where I think Nicole Belle is based), and Salon.com posted the full transcript (with permission from Olbermann and MSNBC) today — as always, if you’re not a subscriber, you have to watch a short ad, but it is worth it.
A little later today, I will be posting a piece where I will go through the original Declaration of Independence and pull out all of the original King George’s offenses that could be said to apply equally to our current self-styled King George, but in the meantime, go watch or read Olbermann’s speech at one of the links posted above. He has done a far better job cataloging this administration’s crimes and articulating his condemnation thereof than I ever could.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody! And lest there be any doubt about it, I want to emphasize that I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.