Summary: Impeachment is too gentle a punishment for some high crimes by a President. They deserve everlasting infamy. Like this recent act by a President, as yet unpunished. We need drastic action as a reminder to future generations that we must be ever vigilant in defense of the Republic
“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
— By Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher). From Letter 76 dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres et Opuscules. Once we were worthy of America. Is that true today?
To understand today, see how far we have come
The evolution of liberty took a large step forward in 1215 when King John signed Magna Carta. Much of what Britain and America are today came from that moment. Three provisions of Magna Carta remain in effect today in Britain, including clause 39.
“No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land.”
It took 450 more years to limit the English Monarchs’ right of arbitrary arrest and punishment, achieved in the English Civil War (1641-1651).
This accomplishment, unique in history until then, was embedded in the US Constitution. First, limiting Congress in Article I Section 9: “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” Second, limiting State governments in Article I, Section 10: “No state shall …pass any bill of attainder ….” A Bill of Attainder declares a person guilty – without trial – and orders capital punishment (see more about it).
To make this clearer, the Sixth Amendment says “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed …” See more about it.
These are fundamental laws of America. Violation of them deserves the most severe possible punishment. Remember, remorse for crimes is a mitigating factor.
The worst violation of the Constitution by a President
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
— Written by Benjamin Franklin for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its “Reply to the Governor” (11 November 1755).
On 8 November 2011, President Obama’s DoJ produced a “white paper” granting himself powers not seen in Anglo-American history since the Stuart Kings. Centuries of progress were erased overnight, without protest by Congress or the mass of the US public. Obama did not call out the army or arrest protestors. We accepted his usurpation of power like pleasant peasants.
To firmly entrench the precedent – and demonstrate our subservience – on his orders, US citizens Anwar Awlakiand Samir Khan were executed in September 2011 by drone strikes in Yemen. If this is not a High Crime, then what is? Now that this precedent has been successfully made, future presidents will again use it.
Barack Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, He knew full what he was doing. He has never expressed remorse for his actions. Thus the course of a nation is shaped.
“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.
Obama has escaped impeachment. But much could still be done. Trump has never officially repudiated the DoJ memo or Obama’s actions. He should immediately do so.
Congress has taken no official notice of Obama’s illegal actions. They have passed many bills about past events for symbolic reasons. They could pass a sense of Congress resolution declaring Obama’s actions – and any similar future actions – illegal and deserving of impeachment.
This would be smart for the Republicans, putting the Democrat’s charges against Trump in a better perspective. But they won’t do so, which reveals much about their priorities – loyal to the Deep State’s quest for more power over their own partisan interests (and, of course, over the Republic’s needs). The Democrats in the House probably will not do so (ditto).
This would a great story for journalists, although not as hot as it would have been in 2011. That they have ignored such hot stories shows their higher loyalty to the Deep State.
The legal and civil liberty groups have been relatively quiet, except for those attacking the Republic. Such as Eric Posner (Prof Law, U Chicago). See his “President Obama Can Do Anything He Wants To Fight Terrorism” at Slate on 5 February 2013 – “That’s the lesson of the leaked drone memo.” Remember that when reading Slate’s daily hysterical rants about Trump’s tyrannical actions.
Now, for the mystery: why have the American people ignored all this? Whatever the reason, it is bad news for the Republic.
Our ancestors spent oceans of blood, sweat, and tears between that day on a meadow at Runnymede and the Constitutional Convention in 1787 at Philadelphia. The liberties provided by the Constitution were won over 30 generations by peoples from the unruly Saxons and Normans of Medieval England to the Founders. They had in common a high regard for their liberties and a willingness to fight for them. Since 9-11 we’ve thoughtlessly thrown away political structures that took centuries to build.
The Constitution is just a “paper bullet of the brain”, with no power except to the degree it lives in our hearts. That love appears to have died. The ill results might take decades or generations to fully emerge. But we have taken the first essential steps to a new regime. Our descendants will not forgive us if we do not act soon. But we will do so with few friends among the great institutions of America.