What I Do and Do Not Fear

( – promoted by undercovercalico)

As much as I aspire to be motivated by factors more noble than fear – like love and compassion – as a human being I do have fears, and they do motivate me.  My need to express and proactively confront these fears arises from my digestion of yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.

While I was left feeling more optimistic about some Committee members’ sincerity in restoring the rule of law, as well as the options presented by witness testimony, I also became more acutely aware of my fears. I agree with Elizabeth Holtzman that the need for bipartisan support of accountability – specifically impeachment inquiries – is essential to the success of the process, and quite probably to the future integrity of our Democracy.

I’ll get to my point:  some Republican members of the Committee stated that the primary role of Congress is to protect Americans, to focus on “national security”, rather than conduct oversight hearings.  They, of course, attempted to justify this position by mentioning threats from terrorists, which did elicit fear in me – but, I’m sure not in the way these members intended.

So, I listened to my fear, and I had a conversation with it:

My fear of being attacked by “terrorists” is very low on my list of fears, if it’s even on the list, and it’s certainly not a fear that motivates me.  I think there are factors that are a far greater threat to our national security, and if some members of Congress were really interested in “national security”, they would consider those factors.  In fact, I think that one of our greatest threats is that some members of Congress have misplaced priorities, have misallocated our resources, and have misperceptions about what is and what isn’t “national security”.

I am afraid of excessive Executive Power – I’m afraid of individuals within the administration who violate laws and abuse human rights – who send Americans overseas to kill for corporate profit; who torture and indefinitely detain; who spy on anyone and obtain immunity; who leak the identity of CIA agents; who call judges, threaten them, and fire them when they don’t “cooperate”; who contract the construction of private detention facilities; who infiltrate and sabotage peaceful protest groups; who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas, constitutional limitations, international treaties, and judicial decisions – who can call anyone a “terrorist”, strip the accused of all rights, clothes, dignity, sanity, and life.  This – to me – is some very scary shit.  I don’t care how many times some members of Congress say “911”, “beheadings”, and “car bombs” – it’s just not as scary to me as the policies and unrestrained criminal activities of the current Administration of our country.

I am afraid that members of the 110th Congress will not protect us from what I perceive to be the greatest threat to our national security, but rather will continue to be complicit in that threat.

My fears of the policies and practices of the Bush/Cheney Administration motivate me – motivate me to persuade fear-mongering members of Congress to impeach and remove those members from office, to try to inform them on my perspective of “threats” and “national security” – what I see as real, and what I see as exaggerated or contrived manipulations.  I am afraid of some of the decisions this Congress has made, but I’m not afraid to do what I can to compel them to make better decisions.

I realize this perspective is mine, and it may not be shared by others here.  If you do share this perspective – or, if you don’t – I invite you to share your dissenting views, fears, motivations, and proactive ideas on how to gain consensus in Congress that excessive Executive Power is a threat to our national security, and that this threat can be confronted with impeachment inquiries.

Should impeachment inquiries focus on if and how members of the Administration misled Congress with altered intelligence reports on Iraq – as Dennis Kucinich has suggested with his Resolution?  Or should an impeachment inquiry focus on refusal by members of the Administration to comply with congressional subpoenas – as Bruce Fein suggested?  Neither?  Both?

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    • feline on July 27, 2008 at 2:24 am
      Author

    and sharing my feelings with you was kind of scary – but, I’m glad I did.

    • Edger on July 27, 2008 at 3:03 am

    idea on how to gain consensus in Congress that excessive Executive Power is a threat, although it may contain the seeds of one…

    I can understand why there whould be no consensus among Democrats in Congress that excessive Executive Power is a threat to themselves. They want that power, it seems, and expect to have it vicariously thorough Obama.

    I am amazed however that there seems to be no consensus among Republicans in Congress that excessive Executive Power under a Democrat the Oval Office will be a threat to them.

    Republicans and the right generally, don’t appear worried about it at all, though it must be fairly clear to them that Obama will win in November. I leave speculation as to why to others…

  1. individuals within the administration who violate laws and abuse human rights – who send Americans overseas to kill for corporate profit; who torture and indefinitely detain; who spy on anyone and obtain immunity; who leak the identity of CIA agents; who call judges, threaten them, and fire them when they don’t “cooperate”; who contract the construction of private detention facilities; who infiltrate and sabotage peaceful protest groups; who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas, constitutional limitations, international treaties, and judicial decisions – who can call anyone a “terrorist”, strip the accused of all rights, clothes, dignity, sanity, and life.  This – to me – is some very scary shit.

    That – is fascism.  

    It has always angered me that the Netroots won’t call the Bush Administration what it is–FASCIST.  

  2. Administration as to be the most frightening of any possible “exterior” threats.

    The fact that we are Americans means nothing.  

    We have been subject to an Administration, which has “arbitrarily” and at it’s “will” invented laws, irrespective of our Constitution and, most certainly, without regard to “cos jugens” (the Supreme law of the land), and the incumbent International laws.

    Knowing this, we have good reason to be more fearful of the people in this Administration than any other threat conceivable.  It should be obvious that such behavior could be easily turned “inward” toward us, the American people.  

    • feline on July 27, 2008 at 4:33 am
      Author

    I appreciate that frontpage promotion!

    • feline on July 27, 2008 at 5:13 am
      Author

    but, I’m planning on drafting a letter to send to the Republican members of the HJC – letting them know how much I appreciate their interest in my national security, and what I perceive as the primary threats to my security, so that they can better address those needs.

    Unfortunately, I am not a constituent of any HJC members – but, I’ll make the attempt to contact them, nonetheless.

  3. Feline, I well understand and share your fears.  If you’ll pardon the repetition, I’ll repost here my thoughts about why the republicans who defend bush’s actions, unconstititional actions because he’s a “war” are dangerous and entirely wrong, IMHO:

    Other than the Constitution and the power it grants to Congress’s to provide oversight when it comes to the use of military force, what mechanisms are in place in this nation to assure that a President doesn’t abuse his powers as CIC to use “wartime powers” to systematically dismantle our civil liberties and our very Democracy?  

    In these times of fast-moving events and fast-moving weapons:  Missiles, planes, ships already in position–what is to prevent a President from using military force before getting a declaration of war from the only Branch of Government that is authorized to declare war–the Congress?  The answer is:  Nothing.  In fact, though the Constitution states that Congress  is the Branch of Government that has the power to declare war, that formal authorization has become nothing more than a ceremonial exercise.  For the most part, Congress merely formally acknowledges  military actions already taken by a President as a fait accompli.

    Therein lies the huge problem with this widely parroted conventional “wisdom” that a President can take almost any actions in direct violation of Constitutional limitations, if it is “wartime”.  There are actually several problems with this false argument:

    1.  Presidents can take (and have taken) military actions before getting a formal declaration of war from Congress.

    2.  These unilaterally initiated military actions by the President can escalate quickly to the point that Congress is more or less forced to formally authorize declaration of war, because, especially in the case of a secretly planned & launched “pre-emptive” war, the attacked country can take retaliatory actions that mean there is no turning back from a rapidly escalating confrontation, possibly involving multiple nations.

    3.  Presidents–who are the ultimate “boss” of all US intelligence agencies and their employees, can manipulate data to falsely exaggerate reasons for going to and remaining at war.  

    So, given the fact that Presidents can, and have taken military actions without Congressional approval–what are the limitations on the President after he (or she) takes military action?  Well, if one accepts that a President has unlimited powers in “wartime” (even, apparently if he or she starts a war without a formal declaration of war by Congress–which BTW, isn’t very difficult for them to obtain, as we have seen many times in the past)–what is the oversight role of Congress?  

    Many would say:  The power of the purse.  That power, again as this President has demonstrated, is more fictional than reality.  The President has the Congress over a barrel here too:  He can (and this one has proven he will) put the troops in a warzone at risk if Congress even tries to limit the war funding.

    This condundrium will not go away.  It must be addressed sooner or later by Congress–and the sooner the better.  The ultimate question that Congress must  answer is:  What actions must they take NOW to ensure that the Constitution and the Balance of Powers are not forever compromised by a President and his advisors who can–and who have–used war in order to gain and retain unprecedented powers?  

    Some might even wonder if this seizure of power wasn’t actually the President and Vice President’s ultimate goal all along, and if the war/s were not merely a very convenient (for them only) means to their already intended end–that of an all-powerful Executive and two figurehead Branches?

    • feline on July 27, 2008 at 8:05 am
      Author

    who read this and shared your views tonight.

    Looks like the impeachment inquiry wins the votes here (at least so far!)

    I’m going to get some sleep for now…

  4. the United States breaks up into.

    Scary is my worldview as it holds as fact only the visible figureheads most people see as the United States government really have no power and the shots are called by the secret government, the New World Order.

    Surveillance society, implantable microchips, the erosion of the English language into Orwell’s doublespeak and the rise of corporate loom as unspoken elephants in the room.

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