Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Battening The Hatches

The Bush administration is bracing for impeachment hearings in Congress. "A coalition in Congress is being formed to support impeachment," an administration source said.

Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Administration sources said the charges are expected to include false reports to Congress as well as Mr. Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to engage in electronic surveillance inside the United States without a court warrant. This included the monitoring of overseas telephone calls and e-mail traffic to and from people living in the United States without requisite permission from a secret court.

Sources said the probe to determine whether the president violated the law will include Republicans, but that they may not be aware they could be helping to lay the groundwork for a Democratic impeachment campaign against Mr. Bush.

"Our arithmetic shows that a majority of the committee could vote against the president," the source said. "If we work hard, there could be a tie."
The sycophants at the White House understand the danger they are in. Fortunately for them, their biggest threat comes from the Democratic Party, which has developed moral cowardice and appeasement of political thugs into a fine art. Don't count your chickenhawks before they fry.

Notice that this concern by all the Prez's men is directed toward the Senate. If a real attempt at impeachment is made, it will have to come from the House, where the iron triangle of corruption has junior Repubs too imtimidated to breathe without permission. The House will not pass a bill of impeachment until the Democrats retake it. I've predicted for some time that impeachment will not be tried until 2007.

One other point: Nixon would probably not have been impeached if Agnew had still been Veep. Cheney is far worse. If you want to take down Bush, you've got to get Cheney out of the line of succession first. Take the evidence and quietly offer him a chance to resign for "health reasons", and he'll go. Otherwise, you'll have to impeach him first.

I've been rereading history about the final collapse of small-"R" republican institutions in ancient Rome. Legally, the old structure remained. In fact, it had been usurped by extra-legal powers. Our Congress still has much more power to stop these tyrants than the old Roman Senate, but they are letting it slip away each day they do not use it.

You know, for most people in Rome, or Italy, or much of the rest of the Imperial world, the rule of Augustus wasn't too bad. Gibbon even wrote of it as perhaps the happiest time in western history. You may not even need to flee to foreign lands, if you keep your head down and don't become guilty of treason by criticizing the Great Leader. Relax, watch the circuses on TV, and don't worry about the trouble-makers being rounded up. Broken eggs for omelets and all that.

Before too many generations, no one will any longer believe there ever was a country where people really ruled themselves for two centuries. Dormez bien.

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