Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush Thinks He’s as Good as Lincoln, But He’s Better Than Nixon

As the Civil War started, in the very beginning of Lincoln's presidential term, a group of "Peace Democrats" proposed a peaceful resolution to the developing Civil War by offering a truce with the South, and forming a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to protect States' rights. The proposal was ignored by the Unionists of the North and not taken seriously by the South. However, the Peace Democrats, also called copperheads by their enemies, publicly criticized Lincoln's belief that violating the U.S. Constitution was required to save it as a whole. With Congress not in session until July, Lincoln assumed all powers not delegated in the Constitution, including the power to suspend habeas corpus. In 1861, Lincoln had already suspended civil law in territories where resistance to the North's military power would be dangerous. In 1862, when copperhead democrats began criticizing Lincoln's violation of the Constitution, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus throughout the nation and had many copperhead democrats arrested under military authority because he felt that the State Courts in the north west would not convict war protesters such as the copperheads. He proclaimed that all persons who discouraged enlistments or engaged in disloyal practices would come under Martial Law.--

The South was lobbing shells at the White House in 1862. In 2005 the US military occupies Iraq almost exactly half-way around the world. President George W. has repeatedly authorized unwarranted wiretap surveillance within the United States, an admission of illegal activity that may be an impeachable violation of the oath of office and the Constitution.

President Bush defended Monday a secretive program that eavesdrops on some international phone calls involving U.S. citizens, saying the United States must be "quick to detect and prevent" possible near-term terrorist attacks.—CNN, 12/19/05

President Bush came out swinging on Snoopgate—he made it seem as if those who didn’t agree with him wanted to leave us vulnerable to Al Qaeda—but it will not work. We’re seeing clearly now that Bush thought 9/11 gave him license to act like a dictator, or in his own mind, no doubt, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.--Jonathan Alter Newsweek, 12/19/05

President Richard Nixon, in 1971, made the same argument as President George W. Bush makes today to justify domestic spying without the need for judicial approval…

…A unanimous Supreme Court (the vote was 8-0, with Justice Rehnquist recusing himself because he was in the Justice Department legal counsel's office when the domestic spying program was formulated), with Justice Powell writing the opinion, in United States v. U.S. District Court, unambiguously rejected any such notion, articulating a clear-cut admonition to those who would diminish the import of the Fourth Amendment by suggesting that domestic spying at the whim of the president would be permitted under any circumstances…

…What is really happening is that the Bush Administration is seeking this moment to reverse the Nixon case and gather unto itself an unrestricted and unreviewable right to engage in domestic spying.--Martin Garbus, Nixon Loses, Bush Wins,, 12/19/05

The question is, where is the House Judiciary Committee, and the would-be ensuing impeachment hearings regarding the many possible Bush offenses against his oath of office and the Constitution?

It took a while, but by the time things were this bad off under Nixon, the House Judiciary Committee hearings were revved well up. So far, the democratic leadership (if there is one?) needs to come out of “stand-by” mode and do its mandated duty—call to account the law-breakers who admit their wrongdoing as if throwing down a glove for a duel.

As I’ve noted in this blog, there would come a time when the ultimate skeleton key would pop out, and bring Bush and his bunch down—admitting to a federal crime, such as repeatedly approving illegal domestic bugging in blatant violation of protected 4th-Amendment rights—this is it. Bring the hearings on.

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