Stealing Our Future: Conservatives, Foresight, and Why Nothing Works Anymore

Brad DeLong once said that "'Nobody could have foreseen ______' is
the Bush administration's version of 'The dog ate my homework.'" It
does seem to be their handy-dandy Swiss Army Knife, all-purpose
explanation for the various disasters that have happened on their

We first heard this excuse all the way back in May 2002, when
Condoleezza Rice blithely dismissed Congressional queries about 9/11 by
saying, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people
would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take
another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use
an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

A nation of Tom Clancy fans — and those who remembered Sam
Byck's too-close-for-comfort White House flyover back in the 70s
— wondered what on God's green earth these idiots were thinking.
But the Bushies decided they were onto something.

In fact, they liked this excuse so much that they trotted it out
again after Katrina. As New Orleans' Ninth Ward vanished under the mud
of Lake Ponchartrain, W went on the national airwaves to insist, "I
don't think anybody anticipated the breech of the levees."

That was wrong, too, of course: everyone from the City of New
Orleans to the Army Corps of Engineers had seen this one coming for
decades. In fact, the New Orleans Times-Picayne had done an entire
series on just this subject as recently as 2002. You’d think that
the coast-to-coast derision that followed might have alerted Bush and
crew they were reaching for an excuse that no self-respecting
third-grader would touch.

<a href='http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/stealing-our-future-conservatives-foresight-and-why-nothing-works-anymore'>link</a>

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Text of SJM 8016 2007-08

We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of
the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully
represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, The citizens of Washington state expect and require their
highest elected officials be subject to the laws of the land, like any
citizen, and uphold the constitutional oath taken by them upon assuming
office; and
WHEREAS, The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
guarantees Americans privacy and freedom from warrantless search; and
WHEREAS, In 1967, the Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States,
that the monitoring and recording of private conversations constitutes
a "search" for Fourth Amendment purposes, and that the government must
obtain a warrant before domestic wiretapping; and
WHEREAS, In 1978, Congress passed a law making it a criminal
offense to eavesdrop on Americans without judicial oversight; and
WHEREAS, In 2001, the President signed a secret executive order
authorizing warrantless surveillance of American citizens in direct
conflict with the United States Constitution and United States law; and
WHEREAS, The President both demonstrated knowledge of the law he
was breaking, and lied about breaking the law by stating on April 20,
2004, "... a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the
way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking
about getting a court order before we do so."; and
WHEREAS, The President again demonstrated knowledge of the law he
was breaking and again lied about his lawlessness by stating on July
20, 2005, "Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission
to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, or to track his calls, or to
search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of
the tools we're talking about."; and
WHEREAS, On December 12, 2005, the New York Times published a
government leak that revealed the unlawful surveillance program,
stating that according to government officials: "Months after the
September 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National
Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United
States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-
approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying."; and
WHEREAS, Five days later, on December 17, 2005, the President said,
"I have reauthorized this program more than thirty times since the
September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our
nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.";
WHEREAS, The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell,
indicated in a letter to Senator Arlen Specter that the President's
executive order in 2001 authorized additional secret surveillance
activities and undisclosed activities beyond the warrantless
surveillance of e-mails and phone calls that Bush had confirmed in
December 2005; and
WHEREAS, The President denied the necessary security clearances to
investigators from the Office of Professional Responsibility in the
Justice Department who were to have investigated this matter, but could
not and did not; and
WHEREAS, On March 10, 2004, Alberto Gonzales and the President's
Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card, Jr. tried to bypass Acting Attorney
General James Comey by meeting directly with a sick Mr. Ashcroft in his
hospital bed. According to the testimony of James Comey before the
Senate Judiciary Committee, the purpose of this visit was to
reauthorize the secret wiretapping program, which Comey had refused to
reauthorize; and
WHEREAS, The President subsequently appointed Mr. Gonzales to the
Attorney General post, who continued to reauthorize the warrantless
surveillance program until he tendered his resignation on August 26,
2007, under threat of impeachment; and
WHEREAS, The secret surveillance program uses a "splitter" to send
a copy of internet traffic and phone calls to a secure room operated by
the NSA in the San Francisco office of AT&T, according to the testimony
of Mark Klein, the retired AT&T communications technician who admitted
to connecting the "splitter" that copied the data in 2003; and
WHEREAS, Mark Klein also indicated that similar spy rooms were
being constructed in other cities, including Seattle, Washington, and
San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego; and
WHEREAS, On August 17, 2006, the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Michigan, in ACLU v. NSA, ruled that the NSA
wiretapping program violated privacy and free speech rights,
constitutional separation of powers, and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act, and stated that "It was never the intent of the
framers to give the President such unfettered control, particularly
where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated
in the Bill of Rights"; and
WHEREAS, This unwarranted and unlawful, and seemingly
unconstitutional surveillance program is still being used to spy on
American citizens; and
WHEREAS, United States and international law forbid invading a
foreign country without provocation; and
WHEREAS, International laws ratified by Congress are part of United
States law according to Article VI of the United States Constitution,
which states "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States
which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be
the supreme Law of the Land"; and
WHEREAS, The United Nations Charter was ratified by the United
States in 1945 and requires that member states, including the United
States, not attack or threaten attack of another country without
explicit Security Council approval except for self-defense against an
armed attack; and
WHEREAS, There was no armed attack upon the United States by Iraq,
and the United Nations Security Council did not vote to approve the use
of force against Iraq; and
WHEREAS, On September 16, 2004, the Secretary General of the United
Nations Kofi Annan, commented on the United States invasion of Iraq by
stating: "It was not in conformity with the United Nations charter.
From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was
illegal."; and
WHEREAS, In October 2002, Congress authorized the President to use
his discretion to decide whether or not to use force against Iraq; and
WHEREAS, The President and Vice President mislead Congress and the
American people about the potential threat of Iraq; and
WHEREAS, The President and Vice President were either deliberately
deceitful or willfully ignorant about the potential threat of Iraq; and
WHEREAS, On March 19, 2003, the President, acting on his sole
discretion, ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq, according to his
letter to Congress dated March 21, 2003, stating "I directed U.S. Armed
Forces, operating with other coalition forces, to commence combat
operations on March 19, 2003, against Iraq."; and
WHEREAS, United States law, 18 U.S.C Sec. 2340A forbids a United
States citizen from committing or conspiring to commit the offense of
torture outside of the United States; and
WHEREAS, International law forbids torture and the United States
has bound itself to this unconditional prohibition by the American
Convention on Human Rights signed in 1977, the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights signed in 1977 and ratified in 1992, and
the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment signed in 1988 and ratified in
1994; and
WHEREAS, In 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer,
Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a United States
civilian; and
WHEREAS, In March 2006, the United States Department of State's
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor released a 2005 report on
human rights practices in Tunisia in which it formally recognized
"submersion of the head in water" as torture; and
WHEREAS, The CIA has confirmed using waterboarding and former CIA
agency official, John Kiriakou, has told news agencies that the White
House and Justice Department knew of and authorized the use of new
harsh questioning techniques, including waterboarding; and
WHEREAS, The President, acting with the support of the Vice
President and the same former Attorney General who resigned under
threat of impeachment, authorized the abusive treatment of prisoners;
WHEREAS, The President and Vice President used "war on terror" as
part of their justification for authorization of the abusive
techniques; and
WHEREAS, The CIA has reportedly used waterboarding on Abd al-Rahim
al-Nashiri, one of the prisoners; and
WHEREAS, In November 2005, the CIA destroyed video evidence of
their interrogations of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri; and
WHEREAS, All the details Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri made of his claims
of torture were redacted from his transcript; and
WHEREAS, Federal attorneys defended the abusive treatment of
prisoners by arguing that antitorture provisions did not apply to
Guantanamo Bay captives; and
WHEREAS, When Congress sought to reaffirm the United States
prohibition on torture by passing a 2005 antitorture law, the President
signed the law with a signing statement that effectively states that
the President has the right to torture at his discretion because, "The
executive branch shall construe...the Act, relating to detainees, in a
manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to
supervise the unitary executive branch..."; and
WHEREAS, The abusive techniques authorized by the President were
inflicted on people the President declared "enemy combatants"; and
WHEREAS, The abusive techniques authorized by the President were
committed during an armed conflict; and
WHEREAS, The abusive techniques authorized by the President have
previously been classified as torture and prosecuted as a war crime by
the United States; and
WHEREAS, International law defines torture during an armed conflict
as a war crime; and
WHEREAS, International law defines that a commander involved in
ordering, allowing, or insufficiently preventing and prosecuting a war
crime is criminally liable under the Command Responsibility doctrine;
WHEREAS, The President appears to be guilty of war crimes by simple
application of the Command Responsibility doctrine to the publicly
known facts; and
WHEREAS, Based on the overwhelming evidence that has been presented
to the American people as established in this resolution, numerous
grounds for impeachment appear to exist; and
WHEREAS, Illegally authorizing torture in violation of United
States and international laws, and committing war crimes would seem to
constitute an impeachable offense; and
WHEREAS, The President's authorization and subsequent lies about an
unwarranted, unlawful, and apparently unconstitutional surveillance
program would seem to constitute an impeachable offense; and
WHEREAS, Misleading the Congress and the American people to justify
invading another country in direct violation of international and
United States laws would seem to constitute an impeachable act; and
WHEREAS, Such offenses, if committed, are subversive of
constitutional government to the great prejudice of the cause of law
and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of Washington
state and of the United States of America; and
WHEREAS, Petitions from the country at large may be presented by
the Speaker of the House according to Clause 3 of House Rule XII; and
WHEREAS, Jefferson's Manual section LIII, 603, states that
impeachment may be set in motion by charges transmitted from the
legislature of a state; and
WHEREAS, Impeachment is a process defined in the United States
Constitution by which charges are brought against a President or Vice
President or civil officers of the United States in the House of
Representatives; and
WHEREAS, The filing of these charges is followed by a trial in the
United States Senate that determines guilt or innocence; and
WHEREAS, If the President or Vice President committed such
offenses, ignoring these offenses would undermine core American values
of truth and justice; and
WHEREAS, Failing to impeach the President and Vice President if
they have committed such offenses would signal tacit approval of these
activities and sanction their use by future administrations; and
WHEREAS, Failing to impeach the President and Vice President simply
because they are serving their second term would signal future
administrations that any high crime or misdemeanor, if committed or
covered up until their second term, will be tolerated until an upcoming
election; and
WHEREAS, Freedom and liberty, and the laws and the Constitution of
the United States of America can only be protected by Americans; and
WHEREAS, America has only until January 20, 2009, to signal to
history that America will not sanction torture, America will not
sanction unprovoked war, and America will not sanction illegal spying;
WHEREAS, America will defend herself from all enemies foreign and
domestic; and
WHEREAS, America will protect the integrity of the Constitution and
the Executive branch; and
WHEREAS, We, your Memorialists, have each sworn an oath to protect
the United States Constitution;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists, exhort our Representatives in
the United States Congress to charge President George W. Bush and Vice
President Richard B. Cheney with the above offenses and commence a full
investigation and trial in the United States Senate.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately
transmitted to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker
of the House of Representatives, and each member of the United States

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