Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tell congress to celebrate our independence by salvaging it from Cheney.

Dear MoveOn member,

You've probably seen the news this morning: President Bush let Cheney aide Scooter Libby, the one man who was convicted for the lies around the Iraq war, go free. Paris Hilton served more jail time than he will.

Bush and Cheney think their administration is above the law. That's un-American, and this July 4th it's time for Congress to re-assert its constitutional authority and stop the administration's obstruction of justice.

Congress can start by demanding answers from the Bush administration about the Iraq war and their illegal spying program, and not backing down until they get them. Cheney won't testify? Subpoena him. He won't come? Hold him in contempt of Congress and send over the police. And if that doesn't work, impeach the guy. We just can't let President Bush and his administration dismantle our Constitution.

This July 4th, it's time to bring checks and balances back again. Click here to sign the petition and send a message to Congress to act now (click on the text of the petition below to get to the petition signature page):

"Congress must force Vice President Cheney to respond to its subpoenas. If he continues to obstruct justice and disregard the rule of law, Congress has no choice but to begin impeachment proceedings against him."

Then please send this message to your friends, family, and others who would be interested. This issue has everyone outraged—only 32 percent of Republicans agree with the president's decision.

This isn't just about the Bush administration, of course. Law is determined through precedent. If Congress doesn't rein the Bush administration in, it'll change the rules for every administration that comes after.

And letting Libby off the hook is only the most recent example of a consistent Bush administration pattern of obstruction of justice.

When their illegal program of warrantless wiretapping was revealed, the Bush administration refused to answer subpoenas from Congress to testify about what, precisely, they were doing. When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales—the nation's highest law-enforcement officer—testified in front of Congress under oath, he lied and said the program didn't exist.2

And in retrospect, it's clear what Bush meant when he said this about the Plame case back in 2003: "[I]f there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."3 Last night, Bush certainly took care of Scooter Libby.

On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy said he would hold Cheney and others in the administration in contempt of Congress if they refused to directly answer questions. Members of Congress are asserting their authority and standing up.

But they need to know the American people are behind them. Can you take a moment to click this link and send that message right now?

YES! I will sign that petition!

As they say in civics class, America is a country of laws, not of men. It's time for Congress to stand up and use them.

Let's celebrate Independence Day by reaffirming the basic, founding idea of our government: No one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.

Thanks for all you do.

–Eli, Matt, Karin, Wes, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

[your humble editor adds:]
You can add your own message to the petition, My own note to my fairly liberal delegation was to remind them the price they will pay for the short term ease of not forcing the constitutional show down is ownership of the consequential mess come November 2008:

Dear Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Representative Markey:

Gentlemen from Massachusetts, YOU and your colleagues are bogged down in a horrible war in Iraq that, in addition to costing thousands of innocent lives and billions that our nation needs to ease domestic crises, is costing this congress the support of typical Americans. Those typical Americans do not at this point fully comprehend how badly they have been lied to. You do comprehend but must not lose moment in exposing the criminality. The President is not bogged down, not by his part in lying to you to bring on this war, not by deceptions of any in his administration, not even those convicted of perjury to cover up an act of treason.

If, in Congress there are merely chiding speeches but the President and the Vice President go on with law breaking and corruption as usual, it will be held against a do-nothing congress by an angry American electorate. Bush faces no upcoming election, you and your colleagues do.

The commutation of Libby's sentence just rubs salt in the wounds this administration has inflicted on the rule of law. Is your job as the makers of those laws meaningless to you?

If you have to resort to impeachment, you would have my enthusiastic support. I recognize that is a grave step but at least act now to make it clear to all that the scofflaw whitehouse gives you no choice.

But by all means do not delay in enforcing the subpoenas on Cheney and his staff. Make clear to the judiciary branch that you expect them to promptly act their part as the interpreters of the constitution. They must help congress to restore the processes and restrain the personal power that is run amok in this administration. If you delay in this and Cheney walks away unchecked by next November, it is YOUR ineffectual ways that will on voter's minds no matter how many fingers are pointed at the departing Republicans.