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A Bill of Indictment is delivered today by Keith Olbermann. And what could be more remarkable, on the Fourth of July, 2007, than the similarity of this Bill of Indictment to one which was delivered 231 years ago today by representatives assembled in Congress in Philadelphia.
From the Bill of Indictment contained in the Declaration of Independence:
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. Consider Bush’s signing statements, pursuant to which he nullifies laws even as he signs them.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. Consider Bush’s practice in securing passage of the USA Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and other legislation, frequently voted without deliberation, indeed without Congress even knowing what it has voted on.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. Consider Bush’s partisan litmus test for judges, the “Justice Sunday” events arranged by Bush’s cronies, and acts of crass intimidation against judges who assert the independence of the judiciary.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. Bush has overseen an unprecedented expansion of government bureaucracy, swelling the public debt.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. Bush has adopted a pattern of violations of the Posse Comitatus Act involving spying by the military authorities on the territory of the United States, against U.S. citizens he considers politically disloyal – such as Quakers; and he has set military authority over U.S. citizens not in service, as in the case of Jose Padilla.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: Consider Bush’s creation of Military Commissions, and his suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: Consider the transformation of our government through Bush’s concept of the Unitary Executive, under which the powers of Congress and courts have been usurped.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. The war against terror is a war on our civil liberties.
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 & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. Under George W. Bush for the first time in its history, America has raised and deployed an army of mercenaries, and held them immune from all accountability.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. 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. The word “tyrant” is understood by the Founders to describe a ruler who first subverts the rights and freedoms of his people, and second who fails to do justice. And by this standard, which King George is the greater tyrant?
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”