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Crossing The Line Into
Congressional Treason

Jim Kirwan

For decades now the congress has deserted its constitutional responsibilities in the matter of "advise & consent." This became a problem when presidents demanded that their choices for political appointees be simply rubber-stamped by the congress-rather than have those appointments scrutinized for their suitability to serve in the offices to which a president has demanded that his 'appointees be approved for' without objection from the Senate.
This constitutional requirement imposed upon the Senate was specially included in the Constitution to insure that the nation would not be held hostage to weak or ineffectual officers of either the Courts or the Attorney's General that serve to run the US Department of Justice. Congress has criminally failed the nation and the people of the country by unilaterally failing to act as any kind of check to executive powers in the above offices.
In the current case, members of the Senate Judicial Committee have chosen to invoke Double-Speak in their convoluted arguments for allowing this president to violate his oath of office by failing to appoint a suitable Attorney General to head the Department of Justice - which is a violation of the both the president's oath of office ands each of the senators themselves. To leave the nation without an Attorney General at the head of the Justice Department, just because the Decider cannot have the kind of individual that will simply approve his every wish - is a direct violation of duty under the Constitution of the United States. Here is what three key senators said yesterday about their decisions to vote "for" Mukasey. (1)
The current course by the congress, in failing to confront the real issues over this elemental part of their responsibilities in this constitutional farce, is tantamount to complicity in the theft of justice from the rights of all Americans to expect equal and fair treatment under the laws and the requirements of the Constitution of the United States. Double-speak and convoluted excuses are no substitute for confronting this criminal problem with which the executive has threatened not only the Congress with, but the whole nation as well.
This act of cowardice by the Senate, in tandem with the failure of Nancy Pelosi in the House of representatives, brings this Congress to the moment before the entire institution of the Legislative Branch of the US government crosses the line from 'considered 'legislative judgments' into open complicity in treasonous behavior which the executive has been unilaterally practicing since Cheney-Bush took office in 2001.
The oath of office of the Attorney General of the United States swears allegiance not to the president, but to the Constitution and to the people of the United States. Yet, since at least the term of Attorney General Mitchell, under Nixon-the oath of the A.G. seems to have been taken not to the Constitution but to the individual in the White House.
With the pending vote by the entire Senate, on the approval of Judge Mukasey to be the next Attorney General of the United States, it appears that the Congress of the US will join the Vice-President, the President and Donald Rumsfeld in being charged with War Crimes by the world court of public opinion. Either the United States government recognizes international law, US laws, and the Geneva Conventions or they do not. There is no half-way measure.
The president and indeed all the officers of this government are only men and women-they are not gods-in most cases they are not even especially decent human beings. The laws were written to prevent such less-than-desirable beings from hijacking the country or from ruining it in any one of several ways: all of which have now become moot points. Perhaps it is too late to reverse this course-but at least this behavior by the entire system of government can be challenged-because what they are doing now-is blatantly illegal and certainly immoral.
The US Constitution allows a president to either sign or to veto the legislation that Congress has dully passed and sent to his desk: yet this 'president' has added over a thousand 'signing-statements' to previous legislation that basically says he has no intention of following the new laws as written. This makes a mockery of any law the congress passes in any attempt to limit the executive to the role of 'just a president'-when he apparently now believes that he has become America's sole Decider. This was accomplished by creating executive orders that by-passed both congress and the courts-leaving George W. Bush the 'Commander-in-Chief' as the solitary authority, in a nation that supposedly had three separate and co-equal branches of government. The result of that ruptured-equation can only equal a coup by the executive that makes this Cheney-Bush dictatorship into the undeniable fact that it has become in practice, if not in name.
Naomi Klein had this to say about the actions of the Senate Committee:
"Well, I think that was an absolutely shocking display and I think what's most shocking about it is this idea that this is somehow a question of good government and the torture question can be belittled. I mean, what we just saw was lawmakers knowingly voting in favor of someone who has said that one of the classic modern torture techniques -- I mean, the classic torture techniques of the French in Algeria, for instance, were simulated drowning, electroshock and rape. These are the three main tools of contemporary torture. And this is a man who has said to the world that one of those key techniques, simulated drowning, water torture, is not illegal. So, with that knowledge, he was just endorsed.
And to elevate a man who has said this to the highest legal office in the country, I think, just puts everyone of those lawmakers, but particularly the Democrats who voted for him, into bold new territory. They have just crossed a line, because they can no longer pin this on Bush. They can no longer claim ignorance. Anyone who faces these techniques in the future, they will be complicit in those war crimes, in those crimes against humanity -- everybody who voted for this man.
And it's amazing to belittle the importance of what it would mean to take a stand in this moment, in the face of this statement that Mukasey has made that he does not -- he's not sure that waterboarding is illegal. He has put that forward. And now there's an opportunity for an absolutely unequivocal repudiation of that position. That power is there, and it's just slipping away.
It's an amazing moment. It's an amazing crossing of the line into active complicity. It's bad enough that you have Democrats in power who are unwilling to hold the Bush administration legally accountable for the war crimes they have already committed, but now they've moved into endorsing it. And they can say all they want, that they're not actually voting for him when it comes to torture, but they just did it, because he has said it publicly, and they no longer have plausible deniability. It's gone." (2)
For a person to commit treason against his or her nation is one thing, but for the various branches of this government to involve themselves so thoroughly in acts of treason duplicity and blatant lies, against both the rules of law and the people of the United States is unforgivable. Yet these actions are compounded hundreds of thousands of times over while the nation is immersed in these illegal wars upon nations that had nothing whatever to do with the attacks on 911.
MSNBC Columnist Keith Olbermann put it extremely well . . .
"It is a fact startling in its cynical simplicity and it requires cynical and simple words to be properly expressed: The presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush. All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity; all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists...
All of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the refocusing of our entire nation, toward keeping this mock president and this unstable vice president and this departed wildly self-overrating attorney general, and the others, from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of this country."(3)
And now the Congress of the United States is about to plunge itself into the very heart of darkness - with this-their latest supreme act of cowardice in the face of the real enemies of the United States.
1) Despite Waterboarding Stance, Senate Committee Approves Mukasey http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/07/155221
2) Naomi Klein on State-Sanctioned Torture
3) Keith Olbermann - video


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