If This Ain’t Cause For Impeachment, Then What Is?
Obama is in flagrant violation of the constitution, and articles of impeachment need to be filed by some brave congressional person immediately.
If articles of impeachment can be brought for committing perjury about receiving presidential fellatio, then surely the constitutional crisis on display this week, with story after story breaking about drones and targeted assassinations, should necessitate some kind of action by Congress.
Compare this (from second link):
On September 9, Independent Counsel Starr submitted a detailed report to the Congress in which he contended that there was “substantial and credible information that President William Jefferson Clinton committed acts that may constitute grounds for an impeachment” by lying under oath in the Jones litigation and obstructing justice by urging Ms. Lewinsky “… to file an affidavit that the President knew would be false”.
to this (first link):
The disclosure, by NBC, of a so-called “white paper” by the White House offering the legal justification for the executing of American citizens solely on the authority of the executive branch and the president exposes a White House so blatantly in violation of the Constitution that it simply demands such a hearing.
As Juan Cole explains clearly in an essay in Informed Comment, there are five ways that the white paper authorizing executive execution of Americans violates the Constitution. These, he explains, are:
1. There has to be an actual crime for there to be a punishment, and this paper authorizes execution without any crime.
2. If, as the letter suggests, the president’s authority to order executions without trial derives from the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by the Congress, that would constitute a so-called bill of attainder, which he explains is a declaration that a certain person or class of people (i.e. terrorists in this case) are prima facie guilty of a crime. But as he notes, the Constitution specifically outlaws bills of attainder, saying in Article 1, Section 9, “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed…”
3. The letter violates the separation of powers, according the president the powers of executive, legislature and judiciary.
4. The letter violates the Sixth Amendment in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which guarantees everyone the right to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” Needless to say, an execution ordered by the president skips all of this.
Reliance on the AUMF for presidential executions such as that of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son means that President Obama, like President Bush before him, is claiming that the whole world (including the US) is a battlefield, and that he therefore has the absolute authority as Commander in Chief, to kill anyone , anywhere in the world, that he deems to be an enemy or a threat. But such a concept is a complete violation of international law and sovereignty as defined by the UN Charter, a solemn treaty to which the US is a signatory, making it a fundamental part of US law.
Too bad no one in Congress wants this fight.
Both Republicans and Democrats are probably more comfortable letting gun control simmer. For the right, the constitutional crisis appears contained to the perceived erosion of the 2nd amendment, fueling fear that the foundation for public disarmament is being established.
For what constitutes as the left in this country, it’s much easier to ridicule gun-worshipers than hold the president they elected accountable to his constitutional oath.
It’s been an intense week for Obama’s illegal, immoral, counterproductive killing of “militants” absolutely anywhere this lawless administration claims to find them.
First, Michael Isikoff drops his memo bomb on the Maddow show (cool kids call them white papers).
Then we get a suspiciously delayed reveal by the Washington Post about a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia, a story they sat on for quite some time.
You know, like the NYT dragging out Bush’s warrantless wiretapping after his reelection. We wouldn’t want our media to let these awkward stories loose before the presidential office they grovel for is secured, now would we?
Of course, the way this insider tells it, it was high level Bush administration officials doing the groveling. Let’s take a quick side-trip down memory lane for a little reminder on how worthless our media have become. Continue reading for that, and much more.
For 13 long months, we’d held off on publicizing one of the Bush administration’s biggest secrets. Finally, one afternoon in December 2005, as my editors and I waited anxiously in an elegantly appointed sitting room at the White House, we were again about to let President Bush’s top aides plead their case: why our newspaper shouldn’t let the public know that the president had authorized the National Security Agency, in apparent contravention of federal wiretapping law, to eavesdrop on Americans without court warrants. As New York Times Editor Bill Keller, Washington Bureau Chief Phil Taubman, and I awaited our meeting, we still weren’t sure who would make the pitch for the president. Dick Cheney had thought about coming to the meeting but figured his own tense relations with the newspaper might actually hinder the White House’s efforts to stop publication. (He was probably right.) As the door to the conference room opened, however, a slew of other White House VIPs strolled out to greet us, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice near the head of the receiving line and White House Counsel Harriet Miers at the back.
For more than an hour, we told Bush’s aides what we knew about the wiretapping program, and they in turn told us why it would do grave harm to national security to let anyone else in on the secret. Consider the financial damage to the phone carriers that took part in the program, one official implored. If the terrorists knew about the wiretapping program, it would be rendered useless and would have to be shut down immediately, another official urged: “It’s all the marbles.” The risk to national security was incalculable, the White House VIPs said, their voices stern, their faces drawn. “The enemy,” one official warned, “is inside the gates.” The clichés did their work; the message was unmistakable: If the New York Times went ahead and published this story, we would share the blame for the next terrorist attack.
More than two years later, the Times’ decision to publish the story—a decision that was once so controversial—has been largely overshadowed by all the other political and legal clamor surrounding President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program: the dozens of civil lawsuits; the ongoing government investigations; the raging congressional debate; and the still-unresolved question, which Congress will take up again nextweek, of whether phone companies should be given legal immunity for their cooperation in the program. Amid the din, it’s easy to forget the hits that the newspaper took in the first place: criticism from the political left over the decision to hold the story for more than a year and from the right over the decision to publish it at all. But the episode was critical in reflecting the media’s shifting attitudes toward matters of national security—from believing the government to believing it less.
That last line is really quite amazing, and leaves me wondering if Eric Lichtblau (real last name) actually believes what we writes:
the episode was critical in reflecting the media’s shifting attitudes toward matters of national security—from believing the government to believing it less.
Another story about drones that probably won’t get the attention it deserves describes one particular drone strike that happened last August (NYT):
Late last August, a 40-year-old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen.
It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir after 9 p.m., saying they merely wanted to talk. Mr. Jaber agreed to meet them, bringing his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection.
As the five men stood arguing by a cluster of palm trees, a volley of remotely operated American missiles shot down from the night sky and incinerated them all, along with a camel that was tied up nearby.
This man taking a stand against “Al Qaeda” in Yemen was the father of seven kids. Will any of Jaber’s children follow in their father’s moderate footsteps? Or will the hardline jihadists peel a few of them toward their side, toward matching violence with more violence?
The culmination of this week’s news was yesterday’s vetting of Brennan for top dog of the CIA. The same NYT article that led with Jaber’s unintended consequence frames Brennan like this:
From his basement office in the White House, Mr. Brennan has served as the principal coordinator of a “kill list” of Qaeda operatives marked for death, overseeing drone strikes by the military and the C.I.A., and advising Mr. Obama on which strikes he should approve.
“He’s probably had more power and influence than anyone in a comparable position in the last 20 years,” said Daniel Benjamin, who recently stepped down as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official and now teaches at Dartmouth. “He’s had enormous sway over the intelligence community. He’s had a profound impact on how the military does counterterrorism.”
Yes, profound. Profoundly stupid.
So this is where we are at in America. Spineless Democrats allowing Obama to shred the constitution, and Republicans more concerned about their guns than the constitutional protections of US citizens.
What is it going to take for people to understand how serious this is? Domestic drone strikes?
If Obama’s drone program continues unchecked, that reality isn’t far off.