The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers

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A Discussion on Impeachment and T&RC’s

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I’m going to take a liberty here. Or two. Thomas Nephew at newsrackblog and Nell Lancaster of A Lovely Promise had a dialogue about impeachment of sorts that was interesting and pushed the discussion. Thomas took on Mark’s T&RC advocacy, while Nell made some strong new arguments for impeachment. Nell’s further comments in response to a comment I made went even further. I’m going to present all that as a whole, here, without permission of any kind. I urge you to read it carefully and follow the links. It’s our democracy that’s at stake.

Impeachment and truth now. Reconciliation? Maybe later.

by Thomas Nephew

While it wasn’t her point, Nell’s excellent post earlier this week (”Prepare to Dare or Prepare to Despair“) reminds me that I’ve been less energetic than I should have been in supporting and discussing Dennis Kucinich’s H.Res. 1258 resolution calling for George Bush’s impeachment. The lengthy resolution presents 35 articles of impeachment, leading with Bush’s propaganda campaign for the Iraq war:

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in
violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of
President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve,
protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of
his constitutional duty under article II, section 3 of the Constitution ‘to take
care that the laws be faithfully executed’, has both personally and acting
through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, illegally
spent public dollars on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause
for war against Iraq.

The resolution is a resource in its own right, presenting factual bases for each of the charges.* As David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org said,

Impeachment is only a lengthy process when you don’t already have the
evidence. President Andrew Johnson was impeached three days after the
offense for which he was impeached. … Bush and Cheney could be impeached, tried,
and convicted in a week.

 

Not even every impeachment supporter will agree that every single article in H. Res. 1258 merits Bush’s impeachment, removal from office, and banning from future federal office. But even in this the resolution serves a useful function, reminding us that impeachment is by design a political tool, to be wielded by the House of Representatives — not a judicial one or one limited to narrowly proveable violations of U.S. law.
To be sure — for those who insist on them — there are (in my opinion) such statutory and treaty violations involving illegal detention (Article 17), torture (Article 18), and illegally spying on American citizens (Article 24).

But impeachment can and sometimes must also be applied to the kinds of breaches of trust and willful poor judgment that have characterized the Bush administration, even if no specific statute is broken, even if “only” our constitutional system itself is at stake. The cannon of impeachment may seem less warranted for, say, the relative fly of “endangering the health of 9/11 first responders,” (Article 35), but quite a bit more so for the propaganda catapult of misleading claims about Iraq and 9/11 (Article 2), Iraqi WMD (Article 3), or “even” climate change (Article 32) — regardless of whether particular statutes were broken in the latter cases. Yet others strike at the equally profound subversion of the American political system, such as those about tampering with free and fair elections, corruption of the administration of justice (Article 28), creating secret laws (Article 22), and announcing intent not to follow duly enacted law (Article 26).

As AfterDowningStreet.com is reporting, Dennis Kucinich will present petitions supporting immediate impeachment hearings to Speaker Nancy Pelosi today. (You can still add your support here.)

Kucinich will also reportedly urge the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission — something Mark Gisleson (”Norwegianity”) supports in an article written for Mick Arran’s impeachment blog “The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers.” The arguments of Mr. Gisleson and others (like local congressional candidate Gordon Clark) notwithstanding, I see the “T&R” idea as a half measure ratifying a drift away from the Constitution and towards unwritten and impotent customs and conventions.
But even the half-measure of “truth and reconciliation” is not eagerly embraced by the Obama campaign. As Mark Benjamin reported for Salon.com (via Mick Arran) this summer:

…don’t hold your breath waiting for Dick Cheney to be frog-marched into federal
court. Prosecution of any officials, if it were to occur, would probably not
occur during Obama’s first term. Instead, we may well see a congressionally
empowered commission that would seek testimony from witnesses in search of the
truth about what occurred. Though some witnesses might be offered immunity in
exchange for testimony, the question of whether anybody would be prosecuted
would be deferred to a later date — meaning Obama’s second term, if such is
forthcoming.

On the other hand (and for what it’s worth), while it doesn’t call for either a commission or impeachment, the draft Democratic platform identified many of the same issues highlighted in H. Res. 1258. And it closed the relevant “Reclaiming our Constitution and Our Liberties” section with the ringing words:

Our Constitution is not a nuisance. It is the foundation of our democracy. It
makes freedom and self-governance possible, and helps to protect our security.
The Democratic Party will restore our Constitution to its proper place in our
government and return our Nation to our best traditions–including our commitment
to government by law, and not by men.

Impeachment is not a nuisance either — it’s an integral part of the Constitution. Impeachment is no esoteric afterthought — it’s the biggest actual “check and balance” in the document, and it’s mentioned six times. Impeachment is literally patriotic. And it would be a far more powerful tool towards uncovering the truth than any congressional committee or even special prosecutor would be — refusal to honor impeachment-related subpoenas was itself an article of impeachment in the Nixon articles of impeachment.

As Nell Lancaster wrote:

Impeachment is the key to reversing the damage of the last eight years, not
simply papering it over. The time to organize for demanding it is not after the
election, but now._______________________________________________________

 
From Prepare to dare or prepare to despair

by Nell Lancaster

Impeachment right away: Only a small minority of the American public — even of informed, activist liberals — understands that the Constitution provides for impeachment of officials after they’ve left office, not just for sitting presidents. Yet post-power impeachment hearings are the single best way to uncover just what lawbreaking was done. Not only do impeachment investigations have much stronger testimony-extracting powers than regular Congressional hearings, but post-term impeachment is much less easily characterized as a “partisan witch hunt” because it’s removed from an electoral landscape.

Other excuses will be will be thrown up by compromised, fearful, lazy, and/or power-loving Democrats. The two most common are “we don’t want to be seen as vindictive” and “impeachment would be a distraction from the vital work we have to get done”.

The best answer to ‘vindictive’ is that this is about restoring the Constitution, pruning back these dangerously expanded executive powers that no one — including “our” people — should have. That’s the opposite of vindictive.

We’re going to get the ‘distraction’ line not only from politicians but from our allies, every organized progressive constituency desperate to get issues addressed by Congress after eight (or 28) years in the desert. Yet if the impeachment investigations are put off for even a year, we’ll run right up against the midterms, and by 2011 the presidential campaign will have begun. So if hearings don’t begin in 2009, it’s hard to see how they could get going before 2013 -– by which time the “ancient history” charge will have more effect. So it could be 2009 or never.

We cannot wait. If there’s no serious domestic move toward accountability for torture, for which impeachment hearings are among the most practical and plausibly effective forum, then within a year there will be international legal interventions. The politics and optics of that are terrible, for anyone who cares about achieving a systemic rooting-out and reversal of this country’s policy of torture. Legal threats from outside the country risk creating an effect of rallying around the old regime (however incredible such a thing seems now), and not only among Republicans. The most secure footing for international law will be created by Americans ourselves restoring the rule of law in the United States.

Likewise, only actual exposure of what went on with domestic spying under Bush-Cheney can light a big enough fire under Congress to get them to roll back the legislation that enables it, and only impeachment hearings seem to me to have the testimony-inducing force to get that exposure.

Impeachment is the key to reversing the damage of the last eight years, not simply papering it over. The time to organize for demanding it is not after the election, but now.

(The mechanics to accomplish this are for another post. Please don’t wait for that; share thoughts and suggestions in comments.)

Written by Mick

September 11, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Posted in The Kucinich Bill

Open Letter (3): Nixon, Reagan, and the Church

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If it seems to you. Ms Pelosi, Mr Obama, as if these events are long ago, far away, and hardly germane to a modern question like whether or not to impeach a president, let me try to clarify the context by resorting to some far more recent history.

Thirty-four years ago last week, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States after he was proved to have used agencies of the US government to spy on his domestic political enemies, among other crimes.
Barely a month later, on Sept 4, Gerald Ford, his Vice President. pardoned Nixon for any and all crimes he might have committed as president, calling the situation “a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it.”

Sound familiar?

Nixon, who had been the first president to claim executive powers well beyond the Constitutional limitations put on the office by the Founding Fathers and the first to deliberately and with malice betray that Constitution in ways that wounded the nation so deeply that the effects are still being felt 30 years later, never saw a trial, never saw a minute in jail, never – to the disgust of the country he had treated like a dictator treats a banana republic – never saw a single consequence for criminal actions taken against all of us except the loss of the office he had violated repeatedly, not only without remorse but arrogantly insisting to the end that he had done nothing wrong.

Present VP Richard Cheney began his career in govt under Nixon, first as Donald Rumsfeld’s assistant at the OEO, then as Gerald Ford’s chief-of-staff after Nixon resigned and Ford became president. He has said that he developed the concept of the “unitary presidency”, in which he claims monarchical powers for the executive, in response to what he considered the “hounding” of Nixon from office.

Barely 12 years after Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s blanket pardon, President Ronald Reagan proceeded to appoint a rump government within the White House whose job it was to break laws and evade Congressional legislation and oversight – its Constitutional prerogative. In what came to be known as the Iran/Contra Affair, laws that were properly passed under the Constitution by the Congress of the United States were blatantly and recklessly violated in an arms-for-hostages deal that Reagan himself had publicly forbidden but privately ordered DefSec Casper Weinberger to carry out.

In all, 14 Reagan Administration officials were charged with crimes and 11 were convicted, including Weinberger and Ollie North. NOT ONE SAW A DAY OF JAIL TIME. North’s and John Poindexter’s convictions were overturned on technical grounds, and Federal prosecutors refused to try them again, possibly because they were aware that in the waning days of his administration, President George HW Bush was going to pardon them all, unconditionally.

And so not once, but twice, American presidential administrations have defamed and trampled on some of the most serious and solemn provisions of the Constitution of the United States WITHOUT LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF ANY KIND FOR ANYONE INVOLVED. But most especially there was no action whatever taken against those at the top levels of govt who had ordered those violations: the president and the vice president.

Is it any wonder that the Bush Administration felt free to do whatever it wished, to violate US law, the Constitution, and Congressional orders lawfully given? To do its business entirely in secret, refusing even to let the Congress itself know what it was doing? The lesson they had learned and learned well was that a president could ignore laws, the Constitution, Congress, the judicial branch, and the people themselves WITHOUT FEAR THAT THEY WOULD EVER HAVE TO PAY A PRICE FOR THEIR CRIMES.

But the real tragedy is not in the lessons the criminals learned but in the lessons we, the people, have learned. Nixon, Iran/Contra, and now George W Bush, have taught us that we have no protection from runaway govt. That our politicians can violate the laws with impunity. That powerful men are allowed to do in the US as they have done everywhere else – betray the law, betray the people, betray their trust, lie, steal, even kill – and they will never have to pay the price for their illegal, unethical, immoral acts. That – and this is the worst consequence of all – the promise of America that has been held out as an example to generations of men and women longing to escape the tyranny of the rich and the powerful, that that promise is dead. That it is at best meaningless lip service. That the rich and powerful can get away with anything, and that our so-called “equality” is a sham.

Yet as bad as all that is, we have not yet hit bottom. If we return to the example of the Catholic Church in the previous post, we know that this is but the beginning of an unrelenting and inevitable process of decay if we insist on imitating their “move on”, “get past it” policy of denial and avoidance.

The history of the GC’s tells us that for as long as we avoid, so will the decay advance, even for 1000 years. The more recent history of the modern conservative movement tells us that modcon True Believers feel their sense of entitlement like a perpetual itch. They will not quit, they will not stop trying to get – by hook or, more likely, by crook – what they believe they are owed: power over the rest of us. And if they face no consequences for their actions, consequences serious enough to deter them from doing it all again the first chance they get, Church history says that we have a long way down yet and long before our thousand years are up, we will no longer be living in even the semblance of a democratic equality. The rich and powerful will run everything, the whole society will be as corrupt as the Bush/Cheney Regime, and the American Dream of freedom and equality for all will have become a nightmare of modern feudalism.

At this point, you are the only ones who can prevent this from happening. Please reconsider your decisions. For all our sakes. For the sake of our democracy. For the sake of our future.

Written by Mick

August 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Open Letter (2): The Catholic Church and the Danger of Irresolution

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An essential component of conservatism is the conservative’s active sense of entitlement (see Corey Robin). He sees himself as someone to whom the world owes whatever he wants (nearly always, desires are expressed by conservatives as necessities) or believes he and, perhaps, he alone has a right to have. He is set off from the rest of his neighbors by some special attribute – he has more money, he has the “right” skin color, the “right’ background, the “right” ethnicity, is of an elite class, and so on – but more relevantly for our purposes, he believes that this “special quality”, whatever it is, absolves him from following the rules he expects the rest of us to live by.

Of all the world’s ultraconservative institutions, including empires and monarchies, arguably the longest-lived and least flexible of them is the Catholic Church. For some 2000 years, for 3/4 of which it was the single most powerful body in the Western world, forcing kings and empires to obey its dictates, it has survived virtually intact even as its enemies have fallen by the historical wayside. Empires are gone, kings dethroned, feudalism a bygone historical oddity but the Church remains, essentially unchanged, doctrinally at least, from the Church as it was in the very beginning. If there is a conservative success story – and there are very few – it must be the Catholic Church’s survival through ages of chaos and massive change.

We may ask, how did they do it? And at what price? The answers to those questions provide the modern world with a cautionary tale for, yes, it survived, but it did so at the cost of its integrity, its influence, most of its power, and the lives of millions of innocent people, most of them non-Catholic. As for the “how?” I can answer that in a single phrase: through evasion and a stout refusal to address risky realities. In other words, it ran like a rabbit.

~~~~~~~

The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, 325-1870 by Catholic historian Monsignor Philip Hughes is a popular summarization of the background and actions of over 1500 years worth of General Councils of the Catholic Church. “General Councils”, as opposed to local or regional councils, are periodic gatherings of the entire Church structure – archbishops, bishops, cardinals, monks, prelates – the entire gamut of the hierarchy from every country on the globe. They meet at irregular intervals and only when they are called to meet to resolve weighty issues that involve the entire Church, usually theological issues, and while they’re at it they promulgate and vote on a list of canons (laws that regulate the actions of Church members much the same way that civil laws regulate the actions of citizens).

There are two things we can say about every GC from the first, the council of Nicaea in 325, to the Council of Trent 1200 years later.

  1. They were rubber stamps, every single one of them. Each of them – and there were 18 – met with orders from the pope laying out what they were to do and how they were to decide each question of canon law and theological dispute already in their hands. In no case, whatever blustering some did, whatever objections some loudly proclaimed, did any of the legal GC’s disobey those instructions. They might change a little wording here and there in order to assert their limited power, but they never materially altered what Authority told them to do. (They reminded me of the Democrats bragging about how they had won “major concessions” from Bush over the FISA bill when the “compromises” they had “won” amounted to little more than the bishops’ changing of an insignificant word in a papal canon to prove they had done something.)
  2. They consistently ducked every serious issue of theology or clerical behavior except heresy. While they came down like a ton of bricks on anyone who deviated even slightly from papally-approved dogma, every other issue that had raised its ugly head since the last GC was invoked was swept swiftly under the carpet, usually on the orders of a pope who feared retribution from either a political source (the wars between the popes and various kings and emperors are infamous) or the laity itself. Delay, denial, and disinterest were every pope’s best weapons when it came to avoiding confrontation, and they weren’t shy about using them.

The classic example of papal and episcopal duck-and-cover is probably the issue that finally brought about rebellion in 1517 when Martin Luther broke away from the Church and began the Protestant Reformation. It will be a familiar one to those following the ins-and-outs of the Bush GOP as it has run amok the last 8 years.

Corruption.

As early as the Council of Ephesus in 431, the issue of bribery was already simmering behind the scenes. In a theological confrontation between two antagionists, a pope-approved Cyril and a pope-disapproved “heretic” named Nestorius, Cyril – who was a pretty rich prelate – decided to bend the issue a bit by spreading some of his wealth around. Hughes admiringly quotes a French historian, Msgr Pierre Batiffol, “At the court every man had his price, and Cyril did not stop to count the price.” Hughes then gives us a sense of what that meant.

We have a list of the valuable presents that flowed in, carpets (of various sizes), furnishings, valuable silks, jewels, ivory chairs, ostriches, and good plain golden coin. Of this last, one group of fifteen high personages “touched” between them the equivalent of nearly a million dollars.

Cyril won the argument when those who got the goodies voted for his side. He bought the outcome, plain and simple, the same way a Mafia don might have bought the verdict of a jury.

For this act of excessive zeal, they made him a saint.
The fish rots from the head.
 
With examples like St Cyril to lead them, it isn’t surprising that the corruption spread.
  • At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 the bishops found it necessary to warn monks not to take “secular employment” for money and castigated them for their wasteful lifestyles spent in “unedifying idleness”.
  • At the Fourth Council of Constantinople 400 years later, the bishops had to forbid each other from selling off church property and pocketing the money, and from selling ordinations (the making of a priest).
  • At the Second Lateran Council (1139) 300 years after that, there were canons forbidding inherited benefices (the income-producing properties or legacies that kept a parish or bishopric financially afloat) because it was common for priests and bishops to treat the income as their own and pass it on to their children or relatives (oh, yes – children; morality was a whole separate problem and there, too, no one wanted to face the music).
 
It was also at the Second Lateran that clerics of all stripes had to be warned against the wearing of too much finery when they went about visiting the common folk because all those furs and jewels might be considered “unseemly” by parishioners sunk in poverty. They were also told to lay off the heavy taxation of their laity, and forbidden to continue lending money at usurious rates. The bishops at the Council were very clear and very strict and excommunication was the least a cleric could expect for disobedience.
 
Not that any of that stopped them. The rules, as they expected, were never enforced. There were no consequences, you see. Everyone wanted to “move on”, “get past it”. There was a pretense that, since the Councils were the Last Word in Church law, they would, of course, be obeyed. No more would need to be said or done, and the High ranks of the Church could move to more pressing matters, like the Emperor Frederick II’s kidnapping of their pope or the invasion of the Huns, Saracens, or French, whichever was trying to take them over this week. So they never put any teeth into the laws, no enforcement, no consequences.
 
As a result, by the time Pope Julius II (Michelangelo’s patron? Rex Harrison played him in the movie?) called the Fifth Lateran Council in March of 1517 just 7 months before Luther hung his treatises on that Wittenburg door, the situation had deteriorated to such a degree that the Council’s whole purpose was reform of a badly corrupted system. The reforms, even then, were put in place without any system of enforcing them, and the abuses continued for another 25 years until the Council of Trent (1545) finally took this horrendous state of affairs seriously enough to enact facilities for seeing to it that consequences happened and the abuses were, once and for all, ended.
It was Luther and the Reformation who finally forced the Church’s hand. The loss of half the Western world was what it took to make them stop “moving on”. They had to backtrack and undo over 1000 years of overlooked crimes, and by the time they did the disgust with the corruption they had allowed to flourish unchecked and unpunished was general in most of Europe.
(to be cont’d)

Written by Mick

August 14, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Posted in History

Open Letter to Barack and Nancy: Why “Moving On” Is a Recipe for Disaster (1)

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Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership have chosen not to bring the Bush Administration to account for any of its crimes because they consider it a risky political decision that could potentially backfire on them and cost them the election. One can certainly make a good argument that polls would tend to pretty strongly suggest otherwise, but even if one accepts their argument, there is a far deeper problem they’re ducking: the effect on the country.

Barack Obama backs Pelosi’s decision to take impeachment “off the table” for a slightly different reason (although we have to assume that Nancy’s reason carries a lot of weight with him). He is looking forward to his administration having massive problems to deal with in the wake of the worst presidency in American history. The last thing he wants to do is stir up partisan resentment that will make reforms more difficult (if not impossible) by alienating Republicans who might be disposed to work with him. One can certainly make a good argument that the modern conservative movement is so filled with heterodoxical extremists and unbending ideologues that any truly bi-partisan relationship is nothing but an unrealistic dream, but even if one accepts his position, there is a far deeper problem he’s ducking: the effect on the country.

This past June in The Nation, Corey Robin, in an essay on the way the Right has always followed and/or copied the Left, made the point that in the 1960’s Goldwater saw that conservatives, who were taking a beating as corrupt, mindless, corporate puppets had to prove that they had a “credo” of strict values that they lived by. To some extent, the late “values movement” came out of that perception.

Making privilege palatable to the democratic masses is a permanent project for conservatives, but each generation must tailor it to the contours of its times. In 1960, Goldwater’s challenge was set out in his book’s title: to show that conservatives had a conscience. Not a heart–he lambasted Eisenhower and Nixon for trying to prove that they were compassionate–or a brain, which liberals from John Stuart Mill to Lionel Trilling had doubted. Political movements often have to show that they can win, that their cause is just and their leaders are savvy, but rarely must they prove that theirs is a march of inner lights. Goldwater thought otherwise: to attract new voters and rally the faithful, conservatism had to establish its idealism and integrity, its absolute independence from the beck and call of wealth, from privilege and materialism–reality itself. If they were to change reality, conservatives would have to divorce themselves, at least in their self-understanding, from reality.

***

Goldwater learned from the New Deal. During the Gilded Age, conservatives had opposed unions and government regulation by invoking workers’ freedom to contract with their employer. Liberals countered that this freedom was illusory: workers lacked the means to contract as they wished; real freedom required material means. Goldwater agreed, only he turned that argument against the New Deal: high taxes robbed workers of their wages, rendering them less free and less able to be free. Channeling John Dewey, he asked, “How can a man be truly free if he is denied the means to exercise freedom?”

FDR claimed that conservatives cared more about money than men. Goldwater said the same about liberals. Focusing on welfare and wages, he charged, they “look only at the material side of man’s nature” and “subordinate all other considerations to man’s material well being.” Conservatives took in “the whole man,” making his “spiritual nature” the “primary concern” of politics and putting “material things in their proper place.”

This romantic howl against the economism of the New Deal–similar to that of the New Left–was not a protest against politics or government; Goldwater was no libertarian. It was an attempt to elevate politics and government, to direct public discussion toward ends more noble and glorious than the management of creature comforts and material well-being.

It was all a scam, of course, an illusion they were selling the country, but it worked. Goldwater used an imaginary victimhood of conservatives as the basis of a cry for justice and “balance” that struck a chord with Americans who thought of themselves, too, as victims. Modern conservatism began as a sort of Victims’ Support Group. Robin writes, “Conservatives have asked us not to obey them but to feel sorry for them–or to obey them because we feel sorry for them.”

Reformers and radicals must convince the subordinated and disenfranchised that they have rights and power. Conservatives are different. They are aggrieved and entitled–aggrieved because entitled–and already convinced of the righteousness of their cause and the inevitability of its triumph. They can play victim and victor with a conviction and dexterity the subaltern can only imagine, making them formidable claimants on our allegiance and affection.

But we need to understand why it took “aggrieved” conservatives 30 years to conceive of a solution to FDR, and 30 more years to put it into victorious operation. The answer is actually fairly simple. Roosevelt didn’t just rout the conservative movement of his time, he resolved all the issues of its enemies and absorbed them into his coalition, an alliance that lasted 60 years and could have lasted longer if the Democrats who followed him hadn’t become so lazy and complacent.

What Pelosi and Obama (and the rest of the DLC-style leadership) is proposing to do is skip over this step and leave the hatred, anger, resentment, and sense of massive injustices done by the Bush/Cheney Gang to fester inside the body politic for the indefinite future. They can say that they’re “moving on” but what they’re actually doing is moving past – with their eyes shut – hoping the whole thing will just go away.

Unfortunately, history shows us that as a policy of providing for future peace and stability, you couldn’t make a worse choice.

(to be cont’d)

Written by Mick

August 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Pelosi Will Allow Non-Impeachment Impeachment Hearings

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Maybe we’re having some effect after all.

The Associated Press says Kucinich’s Impeachment Articles will get a hearing. Oh, not to impeach Bush, of course. That’s “off the table” (Nancy Pelosi TM). No, this is about politics. It seems that when the DLC Democrats aren’t being Bush, they’re busy living up to the GOP’s unflattering characterizations of them as opportunistic scoundrels who care less about the country than their own re-elections.

 

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich’s single article of impeachment will get a committee hearing — but not on removing President Bush from office.The House on Tuesday voted 238 to 180 to send his impeachment article — for Bush’s reasoning in taking the country to war in Iraq — to the Judiciary Committee, which buried Kucinich’s previous 35-article effort in June.

This time, the panel will open hearings, possibly as soon as next week. But House Democratic leaders said the proceedings would not be about Bush’s impeachment, a first step in the Constitution’s process of a removing a president from office.

 

Instead, the panel will conduct an election-year review — possibly televised — of anything Democrats consider to be Bush’s abuse of power. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, is likely to testify. So will several scholars and administration critics, Democrats said.

 

 

(emphasis added)

 

This is…hard to describe. Pathetic? Absurd?

 

August 27, 1945

Dateline: Berlin

 

This week the Allied Forces decided not to try their prisoner, Adolf Hitler, because, as General Patton put it this morning, “He’s been through enough and anyway he’s lost the war. It’s time to move on. Enough of this crying and moaning. We need to look to the future, not the past.”

 

Instead, they are going to present a series of films about where Hitler went wrong and present testimony to prove to the world that he’s not a Nice Guy. “If we had been in charge of Germany,” said US Senator Jay Rockefeller, “we would have done a better job. We would have abused the German Constitution less than he did, for one thing. And we would have made it all legal retroactively. If he had done that, there wouldn’t even have been talk about a trial.”

 

The Committee in Charge of Whitewashing Dictators is expected to hear testimony from several German generals who will swear that none of this was Hitler’s fault, and a number of American businessmen (Preston Bush is one) who have complaints about non-payment by Hitler’s government for military supplies used against our soldiers.

 

“A deal is a deal,” Bush spokesman Chris Wallace said. “OK, the stuff was used against American troops but that’s not our fault. Who could have predicted an outcome like that? Nobody. We sold those armaments in good faith and we expect Adolf to keep his word and pony up.”

 

RCA Radio has already said it will refuse to carry the hearings live because “nobody cares any more. It’s old news. We need to think of the future and move on past all this quibbling. We have business to do with the Germans.”

 

Makes about as much sense, doesn’t it?

Written by Mick

July 22, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Pelosi May Allow Impeachment Hearings

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Dennis Kucinich has been in Congress long enough to have a well-developed sense of how intelligent his compatriots are and how much information they can absorb without squads of interpreters and weeks of special tutoring. As soon as he saw their stunned, vacant reaction to the 35 Articles of Impeachment he introduced in the House, he knew he had to pare the list down to a level they could comprehend: One. So he did. (Via TMiss)

Concerned that the 35 articles of impeachment he introduced a month ago might be too much for members of the House Judiciary Committee to handle all at once, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) simplified things Thursday.

The former Democratic presidential candidate introduced a single article to impeach President Bush, accusing him of deceiving Congress to convince lawmakers to authorize his invasion of Iraq more than five years ago.

That wasn’t the best news, tho. The best news is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated she might actually allow the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on it. This is either a distinct 180-degree turnaround or else she’s lying. Either is possible but the latter is more likely.

Still, ONE article isn’t too much for the average House member to handle? Is it?

Written by Mick

July 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Impeaching Bush/Cheney May Be the Only Way to Stop WW III

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The Third Gulf War is already in the works. Seymour Hersh outed the Adminsitration’s plans to egg Iran into a war and the Army’s reluctance to go along.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran, the person familiar with the Finding told me. Similarly, a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror said that “at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders”—the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world—“have weighed in on that issue.”

The most outspoken of those officers is Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure, after giving a series of interviews stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran. For example, late last year he told the Financial Times that the “real objective” of U.S. policy was to change the Iranians’ behavior, and that “attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice.”

Admiral Fallon acknowledged, when I spoke to him in June, that he had heard that there were people in the White House who were upset by his public statements. “Too many people believe you have to be either for or against the Iranians,” he told me. “Let’s get serious. Eighty million people live there, and everyone’s an individual. The idea that they’re only one way or another is nonsense.”

When it came to the Iraq war, Fallon said, “Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”

None of which stopped Bush and Cheney. A former CIA op has filed suit in Federal court to release documents proving that he was fired by the Administration when he wouldn’t go along with their rationale for yet another pre-emptive war.

A former CIA operative who says he tried to warn the agency about faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs now contends that CIA officials also ignored evidence that Iran had suspended work on a nuclear bomb.

***

The former operative alleged in a 2004 lawsuit that the CIA fired him after he repeatedly clashed with senior managers over his attempts to file reports that challenged the conventional wisdom about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Key details of his claim have not been made public because they describe events the CIA deems secret.

***

“On five occasions he was ordered to either falsify his reporting on WMD in the Near East, or not to file his reports at all,” Krieger said in an interview.
(emphasis added)

This is precisely the pattern the White House followed while it was attaemptingn to gin up an unnecessary war in Iraq. Below the radar, Cheney has been conducting a private war against Iran aimed apparently at getting them to retaliate so he’ll have an excuse to invade. Hersh reported that Fallon wasn’t asked to leave because he disagreed but because he insisted on being informed of what Cheney was doing in Fallon’s territory. You don’t demand accountability or information from the most secretive and arrogant VP of all time.

Fallon’s early retirement, however, appears to have been provoked not only by his negative comments about bombing Iran but also by his strong belief in the chain of command and his insistence on being informed about Special Operations in his area of responsibility.

***

[T]he Bush Administration, as part of its global war on terror, instituted new policies that undercut regional commanders-in-chief; for example, it gave Special Operations teams, at military commands around the world, the highest priority in terms of securing support and equipment. The degradation of the traditional chain of command in the past few years has been a point of tension between the White House and the uniformed military.

“The coherence of military strategy is being eroded because of undue civilian influence and direction of nonconventional military operations,” Sheehan said. “If you have small groups planning and conducting military operations outside the knowledge and control of the combatant commander, by default you can’t have a coherent military strategy. You end up with a disaster, like the reconstruction efforts in Iraq.”

Admiral Fallon, who is known as Fox, was aware that he would face special difficulties as the first Navy officer to lead CENTCOM, which had always been headed by a ground commander, one of his military colleagues told me. He was also aware that the Special Operations community would be a concern. “Fox said that there’s a lot of strange stuff going on in Special Ops, and I told him he had to figure out what they were really doing,” Fallon’s colleague said. “The Special Ops guys eventually figured out they needed Fox, and so they began to talk to him. Fox would have won his fight with Special Ops but for Cheney.”

The Pentagon consultant said, “Fallon went down because, in his own way, he was trying to prevent a war with Iran, and you have to admire him for that.”

The unnamed CIA op suffered the same fate if more ignominiously than Fallon.

In court documents and in statements by his attorney, the former officer contends that his 22-year CIA career collapsed after he questioned CIA doctrine about the nuclear programs of Iraq and Iran. As a native of the Middle East and a fluent speaker of both Farsi and Arabic, he had been assigned undercover work in the Persian Gulf region, where he successfully recruited an informant with access to

sensitive information about Iran’s nuclear program, Krieger said.

The informant provided secret evidence that Tehran had halted its research into designing and building a nuclear weapon. Yet, when the operative sought to file reports on the findings, his attempts were “thwarted by CIA employees,” according to court papers. Later he was told to “remove himself from any further handling” of the informant, the documents say.

Most of this has flown by unnoticed while our media concentrated on Obama’s lapel pin and John Edwards’ hair. So, apparently, has this little tidbit, which hasn’t exactly been making the night news: there’s a bill encouraging the US to blockade Iran which newsrackblog‘s Thomas Nephew, who discovered this, likens to “waving a red cape in front of a bull in a china shop.”

True, the resolution affirms that nothing in it shall be construed as authorizing use of force against Iran, but (a) little details like that are not likely to bother Cheney or Bush, (b) a blockade — and that’s what it is — is an act of war. Note also that while allegedly thoughtful internationalist types like Van Hollen may think “international effort” means “U.N. approval,”, Bush et al are likely to claim some “coalition of the willing” including Albania and the Fiji Islands is close enough for government work.

There’s also that little matter of last fall’s National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which seems to have gone down the memory hole, or into the Beltway’s equivalent, a “la la la I can’t hear you la la la” hole. On this, H.Con 362 is nothing if not brazen, citing and essentially ignoring the finding in the same sentence; we’re back to preventive acts of war:

Whereas the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran was secretly working on the design and manufacture of a nuclear warhead until at least 2003, but that Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon as soon as late 2009;

Well, what more do we need — anchors aweigh!

As if they had never been caught the first time, the Bush Administration is trying the same tricks that worked the last time in an attempt to key us up for another oil war – bogus intel, lies about what Iran is doing or not doing, horror stories, and a secret war waged by the goddamn vice president with the knowledge of so-called “Democrats”, the Bush Dog leaders in Congress.

Written by Mick

July 1, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Iran

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