Friday, May 18, 2007

What will it take to put impeachment back on the table?

Waiting for impeachment, I feel like I'm eight years old again, schlepping across the country in the back of a station wagon en route to DisneyWorld - Are we there yet???

Just when I start to think that the lowest levels of mendacious chicanery have been plumbed, we learn of the existence of a whole new sub-basement of perfidy. Logic dictates that we have to be nearing the gates of hell.

Is the realization dawning on you yet that your entire fucking country has been hijacked? The ideals that have allowed us to get away with projecting an aura of American Exceptionalism around the globe for the past half-century have been subverted, and the civil liberties that formed the justification for the original perception of exceptionalism were stripped away. The liberties that were not stripped away, were ignored, scoffed at and scorned by the authoritarian elites, whose offenses against liberty and the Constitution know no bounds.

Under the Bush maladministration, the American Way was taken out in the woods, and two were put behind the ear.

I am having a hard time getting my head around the idea that some of these Stalinist tactics actually came to be employed in my country. Mr. Yoo betrayed America when he conceived of the specious NSA domestic spying program.

…Mr. Bush backed down in the face of the threat of mass resignations, Mr. Ashcroft's included, and he apparently agreed to whatever more limited program the department was willing to approve. In the interim, however, the president authorized the program the Justice lawyers had refused to certify as legally permissible, and it continued for a few weeks more, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey's careful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under the Constitution, the president has the final authority in the executive branch to say what the law is. But as a matter of presidential practice, this is breathtaking.

These are important topics for public discussion, and if anyone doubts that they can safely be discussed in public, they need look no further than Mr. Comey's testimony. Instead of doing so, Mr. Bush wants to short-circuit that discussion by invoking the continuing danger of al-Qaeda.

"And so we will put in place programs to protect the American people that honor the civil liberties of our people, and programs that we constantly brief to Congress," Mr. Bush assured the country yesterday, as he brushed off requests for a more detailed account. But this is exactly the point of contention. The administration, it appears from Mr. Comey's testimony, was willing to go forward, against legal advice, with a program that the Justice Department had concluded did not "honor the civil liberties of our people." Nor is it clear that Congress was adequately informed. The president would like to make this unpleasant controversy disappear behind the national security curtain. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Yes, even the normally staid Washington Post has had enough – I may get pissy with the Post sometimes, but that’s because I grew up with it and have Katherine Graham standards for the nation’s local paper, and I simply expect journalistic integrity from them. (I am of the age that my worldview was cast by Walter Cronkite and the Washington Post.) My long-standing fondness for the paper feels justified when they get it right, like when they followed the money and brought down a corrupt president, and Katherine Graham was willing to go to jail for contempt to protect the journalistic integrity of her paper. Like they currently exhibit by employing Dana Priest. Like they just exhibited today by denouncing the subversion of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

We stand at the precipice people. If you are willing to sacrifice your freedom for a false illusion of safety in an inherently unsafe world, then Ben Franklin was right – you deserve neither safety nor security.

You feel free to capitulate to tyranny and surrender America without a fight.

You may be happy to be relieved of your liberties and responsibilities, but I will never surrender to fear, and you certainly do not speak for me.

I, for one, will never accept tyranny, I will never accept these assaults on my liberty. We knew how to deal with tyrants who abused our civil liberties back in 1776. If our government refuses to honor the will of the people and be set right, will we prove ourselves worthy descendants?

[Cross-posted from the blog you should be reading, Watching Those We Chose]

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