Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Deep Shallow

Today's post is written by guest blogger GreyHawk.

This morning, a Republican Congressman gave voice to his concerns regarding the non-binding resolution about the Iraq War that coined a new term for the distinguished men and women of the Hill. It was well spoken, and hit the mark squarely.

He said it was a "deep shallow." (Hat-tip to Roxy of ePluribus Media.)

Representative Bob Bishop of Utah made what I found to be a singularly insightful speech on the House floor regarding the non-binding resolution that Congress is now passing time on:

Yesterday, I had the opportunity of going back to Baltimore and watching a play, "Wicked." And in the play, the main character, the male lead, Fiero, is in love with Elphaba. And she tries to distance herself from him by saying, "Yeah, but you're thoughtless and shallow." And Fiero says, "I know, but I am a deep shallow." This resolution is a deep shallow. It may have words aimed at the White House and the White House action, but regardless of those words, when history is written the finger of accusation will not point to the executive branch, who has been consistent, it is going to point back here to Congress, to our actions.

Our Constitution gives Congress the responsibility of the declaration of war. Instead, we passed a resolution approving force. With a war declaration, there is a commitment to action and to ultimate goals. A resolution of force implies something less, and it allows Members of Congress who did that to say, yes, I agreed with force but I didn't expect it to be used this way. Or, I wasn't really that serious. Or I didn't expect it to be anything more than a little war taking place. It is a process that allows you to be deeply shallow.

This resolution may clear the conscience of some people, it may put political distance between others, but it does noting for soldiers, it does nothing towards a U.S. victory, to benefit this country, or to improve the body politic. Our words, our actions, our votes will be looked on in history with contempt, for they are indeed in this issue deeply shallow.

In conclusion, I would like to describe the good that will come from this resolution for our Armed Forces.

Yes, that about sums it up.

Notice the extensive list of good things that will come of this non-binding resolution, situated between the last two sentences of the excerpt.

Heady stuff, eh? Powerful. I can't believe there's even room for debating such goodness.

...the concept of what good may come of the non-binding resolution has been explored here and elsewhere before. I'm not going to delve into the subtleties of the various pros and cons. To quote again from Mr. Bishop's speech, from a section just before the excerpted bit,

By definition, it means it does nothing. It changes nothing, but allows us all to make statements for media consumption and allows some of those who made the original vote to use force the ability to shirk the responsibility of that particular action.

That's all.

Sure, there are benefits to putting one's thoughts down or forcing one's opponents to give voice to words that could come back and haunt them. But our troops are still inadequately supported. Our troops are still dying, their families faced with a sotto voice, a folded flag.

It's all well and good to say that with the Republican majority broken and the GOP stranglehold on Congress loosened, we can forego any thoughts of impeachment and let the Bush Administration serve out the remainder of their term relatively neutered, but that's purely a fantasy. They are not neutered, and they do not intend to be. In fact, they have been actively working to prepare for this very time when Congress might actually attempt to stall their plans.

A somewhat random and eclectic perusal of stories and diaries paints a starkly pessimistic picture of the lengths that the Bush Administration will go to. Let's review a couple, shall we?

  1. Trial by Fire? Executive Order on Alien Unlawful Enemy Combatants by exmearden describes how an executive order sets the stage to bolster the MCA and Patriot Acts in order to denaturalize a citizen -- declare that person's citizenship revoked and thus term that person an alien, enabling the label of "enemy combatant" to apply and effectively remove any and all rights and liberties.

  2. US Attorneys Establish Patriot 2 Via Precedent (Repost) by TheFatLadySings -- also cited within the piece by exmearden -- speculates on one possible goal of the Attorney Massacre -- the de facto establishment of Patriot 2 through the creation of precedents that bolster the underlying "adjustments" to law and how they are executed. ePluribus Media has been running a series on other relevant aspects of the Attorney Massacre -- they are posting another one soon that touches on the use of political profiling. (There's a lot more going on with regard to the US Attorney Massacre; check this comment for a list of the various other pieces they've covered so far, and keep an eye open for the profiling piece.)

  3. In the piece Things Running in the Background by ABA, several aspects of the Patriot II provisions are explored and extrapolated -- very scary stuff.

  4. A diary titled A Government of Men, Not Laws? by Vox Libertas illustrates the manipulation of laws to enhance the Unitary Executive Theory, which in and of itself is a dangerous threat to our nation. Here's a killer excerpt:

    The second action that fits into this pattern of centralized Presidential control is to be found in H.R. 5122, the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007", which among a great many other things amended the Insurrection Act, which along with Posse Comitatus controls and limits the President's use of the military within the United States. The changes are worded as a collection of edits which alter a substantial fraction of the wording of section 333 of the Insurrection Act, and so I found it helpful to create a marked-up version of §333, showing the changes. Also helpful is a flow chart in the Wikipedia entry for the insurrection act.

    As either of these should make clear, the major change is to expand the circumstances under which the President can deploy the armed forces and take direct control of the National Guard away from the Governors who normally command them. In the past, he could do so only in cases of "insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy". Under the new wording "natural disasters, public health emergencies and terrorism" are added to the list as is the wildcard "other circumstances". Other changes include specifying that the President can use the armed forces, including the National Guard, in US territories as well as the states, explicitly naming the National Guard rather than referring to "the militia" and what appear to be minor textual changes.

    With a broad enough interpretation of "other circumstances" and "opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws" or "impedes the course of justice", the President can pretty much deploy the military domestically whenever he feels it necessary and become the sole military commander in the area, federalizing the National Guard. So long as you trust the President, this isn't such a bad thing. But as other nations have learned, elected officials are not always what they seem.

    Adjustments that bolster such changes and additions are going to be very hard to erase and resolve back toward a true nation of the people. The capacity for a ruling elite is being reinforced at every turn.

  5. Then there are two that tie directly to immigration and national security in the form of a national ID -- I consider them related, in that they help control "the masses" without having to worry (much) about the distinction between "citizen" and "non-citizen." REAL ID: States Revolt, ID Ghetto Our Future? by lapin and Immigration: Attrition by starvation term by BlueStateLiberal.

How bad must things get before more people begin to wonder if our nation suffers from either Creeping Fascism or Just a Simple Dictatorship? (hat-tip BooMan)

Our nation has been betrayed by those who cover for the current Administration's gross negligence, criminal incompetence and outright unConstitutional behavior. Our people have sent a clear message to Congress and the Executive Branch through last November's election. Elections have consequences. And the November election of 2006 also set some expectations. Congress is on notice.

The Executive Office is manned by people who now clearly meet the definition of "domestic enemies" -- enemies of the State, who seek to undermine the proper workings of government for their own good. Those who adhere to them and give them aid and comfort are committing treason. The White House, with the adherence of these traitorous bastards, is attempting to define any opposition by Congress to their plans as unPatriotic and treasonous, knowing full well that they themselves are the ones truly betraying their nation.

Enough is enough, folks.

It is time for Congress to stop the political games, to step up and call out against the tactics of this Administration and their proponents. The political comfort zone of staying within "the deep shallow" must be forbidden to them.

It is time to act.

Impeach, starting with Vice President Cheney. Set the process in motion for Bush, too, so that he cannot issue pardons and interrupt the process, but pursue Cheney through to the end. Then finish the process on the Unitary Executive and his coterie of malcontents.

We have two years. Even two days is too much, with the cost in both lives and money, as well as a multitude of other resources, burning away in the raging inferno of incompetence that surrounds these criminals and decimates everything in their path.

Crossposted at DailyKos, ePluribus Media, BooMan Tribune, My Left Wing, Never In Our Names (NION), The Impeach Project (TIP) and Progressive Historians


Demon Princess said...

Great post. The cynical subversion of democracy in favor of despotism at the highest levels must surely rank among the highest crimes & treason, but seems few Americans are really paying close attention. It's all legal gobbledy-gook to them, & they have more entertaining things to do~ like hold onto their jobs & health insurance, & go shopping with the fruits of their labors. We don't seem to have any werewithal left over to examine what's happening under our very noses.

Keep on blogging!

Blue Panther said...


Perseverance doth pay!

Thanks for accepting me as your renter!


Vox Libertas said...

Thanks for the quote.

I agree with you. Enough is enough, and it is time to act.

You'll excuse me if I am a little uneasy about the notion of impeachment, though. The last time we drove a VP out and then impeached the President, or at least started to, we ended up with an unelected incumbent. It worked out OK that time around because that president never really wanted to be president. We might not get that luck this time.

By the way, my Vox Libertas blog appears on Vox, LiveJournal, MySpace, and BlogSpot as well as Kos.

Anonymous said...

I encourage you and your readers to take a few minutes and see:

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. The participation page is at:

Since this campaign began, three members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents.