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What Can We Do About Democrats & Republicans Aiding & Abetting Treason?

It is clear now that George Bush and Dick Cheney have been pushing hard for war with Iran for months, all the while knowing--and trying desperately to hide the fact from the public--that the entire US intelligence community had established with a high degree of confidence that Iran poses no threat of becoming a nuclear power, and that it is not playing any significant role in Iraqi attacks on American troops in Iraq. They were, to put it simply, lying and scheming.

It is also well known that Cheney actually slinked behind the State Department's back earlier this fall and tried, on his own, to talk the Israelis into attacking Iran's nuclear facilities in hopes of getting Iran to retaliate and thus drag the US into a war with Tehran.

These are acts not of policy but of treason. But aside from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and a group of fewer than 25 backers, you don't hear any calls from the Congress for impeachment. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership are busy squelching any such talk.

We now know too that the White House, including key legal aides Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Harriet Myers and John Bellinger III, were counselling the CIA as late as 2005, either overtly or by a wink and a nod, to destroy video tapes depicting torture by the CIA, even after several federal courts had ordered the production of such tapes.

As well, we have learned from former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that Bush and Cheney and their top aides also orchestrated a cover-up of the Cheney conspiracy to out a key CIA undercover operative specializing in the monitoring of nuclear proliferation. That would be Valerie Plame.

These are both clear cases of conspiracy to obstruct justice and of actual obstruction of justice (two of the charges that were voted by the House impeachment panel against Richard Nixon), but aside from Reps. Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), there has been no Congressional call for impeachment hearings for these grave crimes.

The president continues to brazenly refuse to enact and enforce laws passed by the Congress, and to willfully violate others, most recently asserting that he has the power to take money authorized by Congress for one military purpose and shift it to another (something he already did to terrible effect illegally back in 2001 when he withdrew money voted to fund the assault on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and shifted it to a future war he was planning against Iraq).

Although the president's assertion of a heretofore unheard-of, non-existent, and purely un-Constitutional "unitary executive" authority to ignore both Congress and the Courts fatally undermines the whole founding principle of checks and balances built into the government as constructed by the authors of the Constitution, and although his actions turn Congress into nothing more than a debating club, there has been no call from Congress for the president's impeachment.

And as the President and Vice President and their key staffmembers have simply thumbed their noses at investigation after investigation by committees in the House and Senate, even when those committees issue subpoenas, with the president going so far as to say he would instruct his attorney general not to allow the US attorney in Washington to enforce those subpoenas against his staff, thus proving the impotence of Congress and the futility of a policy of "investigations," there has been no cry from Congress for impeachment. Yet this is clearly the only way to effectively conduct those investigations in the face of such intransigence and abuse of power.

Confronted with all these, and with other frontal assaults on American democracy and the Constitution, Congress is behaving as if everything is normal, aided by a national corporate media which simply do not report on the constitutional damage that is being done by this inaction and by the White House's behavior.

Instead of action on impeachment, we have the pathetic spectacle of the Congress calling for a major investigation into, what? Steroid use by American professional athletes! And that does get media coverage!

I will pause here to give you, the dear reader, a chance to either laugh uproariously or to retch uncontrollably--your, or your body's, choice.

Done? Okay, so what do we do?

Clearly the Democrats are a bunch of gutless buffoons unworthy of anyone's vote next fall. They have demonstrated that they haven't the political sense of a donkey or the will of a jellyfish, and if left in control of the House and Senate, will continue to allow the growth of unfettered executive power next year, whether under a Democratic or Republican president. My own representative, two-term Democrat Allyson Schwartz, doesn't even talk about the administration's constitutional crimes. She's on and on about "tax relief for the middle class" without even mentioning the president's collosal waste of $500 billion--actually several trillion dollars counting interest and future costs for care of the injured--caused by the illegal and disastrous Iraq war.

The only answer left to us is to throw them all out.

This year, only candidates who are committed to impeachment, and to a reassertion of the Constitution as the law of the land deserve to be returned to or elected to Congress. If that means voting for a Republican, vote for the Republican. If it means voting third party or write-in in your district, then do that. If we do not stop the cancer of dictatorship that is growing in Washington now, we will end up having to restore popular government by force later, under much worse circumstances.

And I'l reiterate my call for progressive people in towns across the nation who are registered Democrats to organize mass marches from some symbolic point--say a war memorial, or a library--to the local board of elections to have mass de-registrations from the Democratic Party--marches that should be announced to the local media in advance (especially Fox, which will love reporting on them). These actions, if they snowball, will scare the crap out of Democratic Party leaders, and if people make it clear they are quitting the party unless it acts to end funding for the Iraq War, and unless it begins impeachment proceedings, I'm confident, we'll see those things happen.

The time for grumbling about Democrats and then just voting like sheep is over.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's new book is "The Case for Impeachment," co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: