The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Which We Stand on the Brink

The Path Cheney Chooses Watch

We stand poised on the edge of a razor, at a fork in the road, at one of the most important crossroads for our country since its inception. Down the first path lies an end to the Cheney regency government for our child emperor on January 20, 2009; the beginning of the restoration of hopefully more normal relationships with the rest of the world, the beginning of a return to the rule of law for our government. Down the second path lies something quite entirely different: a continuation of the current regime, justified by suspension of elections in response to some deadly event on U.S. soil, which will be pinned on Islamic extremists but blamed on people who dissent against the current administration.

I know this is beginning to sound like the ravings of some kind of conspiracy nut, but bear with me for a few minutes. There are several things that we know about the last six years, and together with a bit of logic we may see that the second path is not only possible, but perhaps even probable.

What are these things that we know?

We know that the intelligence community was extremely alert to terror threats in the summer of 2001 (to the point that administration officials stopped flying commercial in favor of private planes).

We know that Bush himself was warned in no uncertain terms about the plans for an attack, in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing titled “Bin Laden determined to strike in US”.

We know that no one in the administration, certainly not Bush or Cheney or Rice, did a single thing, based on these warnings, to prevent these attacks (or we’d have heard about it by now).

We know that the massive PATRIOT act, far from being written up in a deliberative process in response to the September 11 attacks, had already been prepared prior to the attacks.

We know that Cheney has set up a “shadow government” which is ready to take over from our actual government in the event of a terrorist attack. Its location is unknown, and it seems clear that it is populated by Republicans only. Note that in the initial Washington Post description of this planned coup, the Dauphin is even described as having a chance to survive the attack and give orders himself!

Known internally as the COG, for "continuity of government," the administration-in-waiting is an unannounced complement to the acknowledged absence of Vice President Cheney from Washington for much of the past five months. Cheney's survival ensures constitutional succession, one official said, but "he can't run the country by himself." With a core group of federal managers alongside him, Cheney -- or President Bush, if available -- has the means to give effect to his orders.

We know that this administration has secretly, and then when discovered boldly, asserted the right to monitor and record every phone conversation, email, and even paper mail correspondence of all US citizens, without warrants, without oversight, without limits. This kind of data mining is most likely next to useless for actually stopping attacks. But it has given them access to all of the communication of every Democratic politician in the country, every journalist, every administration critic, every Presidential candidate, every top businessman. The potential for blackmail and abuse of this information is overwhelming. We are asked to believe that even though Karl Rove could have monitored every conversation of John Kerry and every one of his top advisors in 2004, that he refrained. This administration hasn’t even had to put the denial of that implication on the record, because the press corpse has never even asked them the question.

We know that they have eliminated the right of habeas corpus, and although Democrats are currently trying to get it restored, it remains, as of this writing, dead.

We know that Bush thinks he can nullify any law by attaching a “signing statement” to it.

We know that with his recent executive order, Bush has eliminated the due process protection for people who “pose a risk” of committing an act of violence in order to “undermine efforts” in Iraq.

We know that Cheney has just asserted that once his administration claims “executive privilege”, neither the judicial or legislative branch has any power to enforce subpoenas: the executive is free to break any and all laws at will.

We know that Americans now accept, and that this administration engages in, torture.

We know that right-wingers are salivating at the thought of another big showy terrorist attack against Americans, because to their mind that will justify more powergrabs by Cheney.

We know that Michael Chertoff just knows, deep down in his gut, that we are going to be attacked again, maybe during the summer.

We have just learned that the Department of Justice has given the Office of the Vice President access to information regarding ongoing Justice Department investigations. There is no doubt in my mind that Cheney directly meddled in ongoing investigations, including the Valerie Wilson outing investigation.

And we know that, just recently, a Democratic member of the House Homeland Security Committee asked to review the government’s plan for government continuity after a terrorist attack, and was denied.

As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.

On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.

"I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack," DeFazio says.

"Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio said.

Given all of the things that we know, is it really plausible to believe that Cheney is now just going to hand the reins of government over to a Democratic president? That Karl Rove is going to accept that all of his phone conversations and emails could be monitored by agents of a Democratic administration for the next four to eight years? That they are going to leave even the remotest possibility of any of their current crimes seeing the light of day while they are still alive to be prosecuted? I just find that the most implausible kind of thinking.

The dominoes are all in place for our current system of government to fall. All it would take is for this administration to let their vigilance slip, allowing an attack on US soil and the “COG” takes over. The worst part is that it isn’t citizens like you and me who will decide which of the two paths we take. It is Dick Cheney himself. His finger is on the first domino.

Impeachment Watch

Many people argue that impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney is a stupid thing to do, because even if impeachment was achieved in the House of Representatives, the Senate would never have enough votes to remove them from office. Here is why impeachment should be done anyway: According to John Dean, who knows some things about impeachment, Bush and Cheney cannot assert executive privilege over items in an investigation against them. All of the dirty, illegal, underhanded, and unconstitutional crap that they have been pulling since this all started would be subject to subpoenas that could not be ignored. Regardless of the outcome of the trial in the Senate, an impeachment in the House would finally allow the people of this country to get at the bottom of the crimes being committed. And who knows? The atrocities they uncover might even lead to some of the bedwetting Republican senators to change their votes.

Frog Boiling Watch

Glenn Greenwald analyzes the administration’s claim to be above contempt charges from Congess in much more depth. He also notes that by allowing previous atrocities to stand, we are tacitly inviting worse ones:

There is nothing new here. As has long been known, this administration believes themselves to reside above and beyond the reach of the law. What else would they need to do in order to make that as clear as can be? They got caught red-handed committing multiple felonies -- by eavesdropping on Americans in precisely the way the law we enacted 30 years ago prohibited -- and they not only admitted it, but vowed to continue to break our laws, and asserted the right to do so. And nothing happened.

This latest assertion of power -- to literally block U.S. Attorneys from prosecuting executive branch employees -- is but another reflection of the lawlessness prevailing in our country, not a new revelation. We know the administration breaks laws with impunity and believes it can. That is no longer in question. The only real question is what, if anything, we are willing to do about that.

Yes, it is true that, as various Democratic statements are claiming, this theory poses a constitutional crisis since, yet again, the President declares the other two branches of government impotent and himself omnipotent. But we have had such a crisis for the last five years. We have just chosen to ignore it, to acquiesce to it, to allow it to fester.

There is no magic force that is going to descend from the sky and strike with lighting at George Bush and Dick Cheney for so flagrantly subverting our constitutional order. The Founders created various checks for confronting tyrannical abuses of power, but they have to be activated by political will and the courage to confront it. That has been lacking. Hence, they have seized omnipotent powers with impunity.

At this point, the blame rests not with the Bush administration. They have long made clear what they believe and, especially, what they are. They have been rubbing in our faces for several years the fact that they believe they can ignore the law and do what they want because nobody is willing to do anything about it. Thus far, they have been right, and the blame rests with those who have acquiesced to it.


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