Declaring independence from King George

King George WBy Robert Silvey

Scooter Libby walks free because he is a friend of the king. Two hundred thirty-one years after we American colonials declared our independence from the tyranny of one King George, another King George has reasserted the royal prerogative of placing himself and his friends above the law.

It’s time for a new Declaration of Independence, but we don’t have to start from scratch. Many charges in the original bill of particulars against George III are equally applicable to George W:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Keith Olbermann delivered his version of this new declaration yesterday on MSNBC, calling on King George and Regent Dick (Lord Cheney) to abdicate. (Sam posted the complete video here.) Olbermann lays out his own bill of particulars:

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.… I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors. I accuse you of subverting the Constitution.…

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, … of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. His lies protected the king and the regent from any prying eyes that might discover their participation in “high crimes and misdemeanors”; and the king returned the favor, setting free his loyal vassal. Sidney Blumenthal explains:

The pardon is the one monarchical power that the framers of the Constitution assigned the presidency. But they placed one restriction, that it could not be exercised for impeachment. In other words, the president could not use his power to pardon himself. Bush is entirely within his narrow right to use the pardon power in the Libby case. But it violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law governing that power because it is a consummate gesture of self-exoneration, at least if the vice president is an “entity within the executive branch.” Bush rewards Libby’s cover-up, thwarting the investigation into Cheney’s and
perhaps his culpability. Bush’s commutation is the successful culmination of the obstruction of justice.

This king is not given to self-doubt or repentance. It is unlikely that he would ever choose to abdicate. It’s time for impeachment. It’s time to declare independence from King George.

11 replies »

  1. It’s not often that I view the Constitution as flawed, but Blumenthal is right. I’d heartily support an amendment to take that power away from the Prez. It was meant as a balance against unfair sentencing, but this asshat has so abused it, it will never be trusted again.

  2. I also agree with Blumenthal: the power of presidential clemency invites abuse. Clinton’s was sleazy and questionable in two or three cases; Bush’s, apparently criminal here. The difference with W is that he is using clemency to conceal his own activity, which seems on the face of it to be illegal, and he does so in a secretive manner that breaks all the rules of his own (rules-challenged) Justice Department. If Libby told all he knew, both Bush and Cheney would probably be in serious legal jeopardy. Time for some congressional subpoenas, I think.

  3. Are you asking what proof exists that Libby didn’t tell all he knew? Well, the Bush-appointed prosecutor, the Bush-appointed judge, and the jury of Libby’s peers agreed that he committed perjury and obstruction of justice. In other words, he didn’t tell all he knew, or he told lies. And Bush said he agreed with their decision, but he only thought the penalty was excessive. That’s a lot of proof.

  4. not in d.c. it isn’t. bill clinton perjured himself….bill clinton obstructed justice…what was the outcome of that case? How much time did he do?

  5. There was no court case, as there was with Libby, so your lowercase assertions have not been tested in a normal legal context. And in the impeachment trial in the Senate, Clinton was found not guilty. Even if your assertions were found to be accurate, they were related to nothing more than a private consensual sexual encounter, not to the mendacious reasons given to Congress for starting an inessential war which has claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent victims.

  6. Keith Olberman-Isn’t he the guy ESPN fired because of all his snide comments nobody really understood or cared about or had any relevance to sports?